Ghostbed Vs Purple online mattress comparison

Firm vs. Soft Mattress: Which One is Right For You?

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Even with the advent of online mattresses, there is still one aspect of mattress shopping that confounds shoppers; whether to buy a soft or firm mattress.

Granted, most online mattress companies have made it easier to make a decision. Not because people are sure what kind of mattress they need but because they can make free returns if the mattress turns out to be too firm or too soft for their comfort.

But it would still make the shopping process much easier if you could know the right mattress firmness for you. So we have put together a quick guide explaining when you should buy a soft mattress and when a firmer one is better.

If what you are torn between is memory foam vs. spring mattress, read our online mattress comparison.

The Best Choice For Most People

If you are not sure which mattress firmness is right for you, always buy a medium-firm mattress. It provides the best balance between firm and soft, the sweet comfort point for most people.

In fact, more and more online mattress companies today such as Casper and Leesa offer only a single medium-firm mattress. But if you think a really soft or extra firm mattress is what you need, consider the following factors when shopping.

1. What are Your General Comfort Preferences?

Leesa vs Casper vs Tuft & Needle vs Saatva online mattress comparison

Some people love to feel like they are floating on the mattress. They prefer a firm mattress that doesn’t sink in too much.

Other people love the plush feeling of a soft high-sinkage mattress. For them, the deep hug of a soft mattress feels more luxurious and comfortable.

Where do you fall? If you love the floating experience, buy a firm mattress. If you prefer sinking into your mattress, get a soft mattress.

Mattresses like Saatva and Nest Alexander Signature come in different firmness options. So you can choose the one that fits your comfort tastes.

2. Do you Have Back or Shoulder Pain?

Sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause or aggravate back and joint pains. If you already have lower back and shoulder pain, you don’t want to get a mattress that will make it worse.

So should you go for a soft or firm mattress? According to medical experts, for most people the answer is none. A medium firm mattress is the best choice. It provides the right balance of support and pressure relief.

Luxi mattress support balancing technology

This ensures that your spine is correctly aligned, which reduces back problems, and that extruding areas like your shoulders or hips are not digging painfully into the mattress.

For serious back problems, I recommend you talk to your doctor. They are in a better position to recommend a specialized orthopedic mattress.

3. What’s Your Sleeping Position?

Back and stomach sleepers generally fare better with a firmer mattress. This is because the mattress is able to align the spine and body in a natural position. A soft mattress would create uneven support, causing strain in certain areas such as the lower back.

If you are a side sleeper, you will most likely be more comfortable with a softer mattress which provides more pressure relief. It prevents your shoulders and hips from experiencing too much pressure by conforming to your body’s contours.

For sleepers who have no particular favorite position, we recommend a medium firm mattress. It will support you properly when you are on your back or stomach and provide pressure relief when you are on your side.

Pros of A Firm Mattress

  • Supportive. A firm mattress provides more support especially for heavier-bodied sleepers and couples.
  • Because there is less sinkage and sagging, a firm mattress is likely to last longer than a soft one.

Cons of a Firm Mattress

  • It can be less comfortable especially if you are switching from a softer mattress. Most people sleeping on a firm mattress experience back and joint pains in the first few nights.
  • Not ideal for those with existing back problems. The mattress can worsen the pain.

Pros of A Soft Mattress

  • It feels plusher. A lot of people love the plush feel of hotel mattresses. A good quality soft mattress can provide it.
  • It’s great for side sleepers. A soft mattress takes on your body’s curves, ensuring no part is being pressed against the mattress.

Cons of A Soft Mattress

  • It’s likely to sag faster. If you are not careful about buying a good quality soft mattress, you might end up with one that sags within a couple of years. If you buy a soft mattress, make sure it has a thick high-density foundational base to provide longevity.
  • Not ideal for couples and heavier-bodied sleepers. A soft mattress does not provide the kind of compression support that can support couples or those with heavier bodies.

Conclusion on Choosing The Best Mattress Firmness

As I mentioned, most online mattress sellers have very friendly terms nowadays. Most allow a 100-day trial period. Within that time, you can return the mattress free of charge if you don’t like it.

If you already know your comfort needs and preferences, find the mattress that meets them. If you are not sure what you need, don’t worry about wasting hundreds of dollars on a mattress you won’t like. Buy a medium firm mattress and if you don’t like it, simply return it and find another.


See My Favorite Products of 2021!
Select a list >MattressesToppers & PadsCooling/HeatingPillowsSheets
Touch a tab above to reveal my top picks for that category.
Of the 60+ beds I've reviewed, these are my current favorites:
My Top PickType of MattressPrice
1. Saatva ClassicInnerspring$887 - $1,774
Save $200 on purchase of $950 or more
2. Puffy LUX
Luxury Foam$1,145 – $1,695
Save $300 + Free Accessories Upto $433
3. Leesa Original
Budget Foam$699-$1099
"Save $200"
4. Nest Alexander HybridLuxury Hybrid$799.00- $1499.00
Save Upto $300
5. PlushBeds Botanical BlissLuxury Organic Latex$1,149- $2,148
save $1,250 On Bedroom Mattresses + Free Luxury Sheet Set.
6. EcoterraBudget Latex$849 - $1,349
Save $175 Usecode: LABOR175
7. DreamcloudLuxury PillowTop$599-$1,099
Save $200 + $399 Free Accessories(Sheet, Protector, Pillows)
8. LaylaFlippable/2-Sided$499 - $1,099
Save $200 Now
9. Big FigFor Plus-Sized People$1,499 - $2,099
Save $200 With Code: FALL
10. HelixCustom-Fit$500 - $1,149
Save $200!
Mattress toppers & pads are a great way to cool your bed and extend its life.
Topper SizeMaterialFirmnessWarr.
LINENSPA
LINENSPA 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin
Best Value2"Gel memory foamMedium3 years
MOLECULE AIRTEC
MOLECULE AIRTEC
Best Comfort3"Memory foamMedium-firm5 years
MyPillow
MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (Twin)
Best pressure point relief3"FoamMedium-firm10 years
LUCID
LUCID 2-Inch Ventilated Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper - Full
Best cooling2"Gel memory foamSoft3 years
Milemont
Milemont Mattress Topper Twin, 2-Inch Cool Swirl Gel Mattress Topper for Twin Size Bed, Blue
Best for back pain2"Gel memory foamMedium10 years
Pure Green
Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm - 2 Inch - Queen Size
Best for stomach sleepers2"Natural latexExtra-firm5 years
Sleep Innovations
Sleep Innovations 4-inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Enhanced Support, King, Made in the US Mattress Topper
Best for side sleepers4"Gel memory foamSoft10 years
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Sleep Number DUAL TEMP
Best temperature regulation-Forced Air-1 year
TEMPUR ProForm
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme 3-Inch Mattress Topper Medium Firm, Full, White
Best memory foam3"Memory foamMedium-firm10 years
Avocado Green
Avocado Green
Best organic2"Organic latexSoft/firm10 years
Bed cooling/heating systems have come a long way – especially the BedJet, my favorite.
SystemTypeBest For...Temp. RangeControl
BedJet V3
BedJet V3
Air cooledBEST OVERALL (esp. for night sweats)66°F-104°FWireless remote control/smartphone app
ChiliPad Cube 3.0
Chili Technology chiliPAD Cube 3.0 - ME and WE Zones - Cooling and Heating Mattress Pad - Individual Temperature Control, Great Sleep Enhancement, Wireless Remote Integration (Queen (80" L x 60" W))
Water cooledBest water cooling system55°F-115°FWireless remote control
Ooler Sleep System
Ooler Sleep System
Water cooledBest temperature control55°F-115°FSmartphone app via Bluetooth
The Pod by Eight Sleep
The Pod by Eight Sleep
Water cooledBest smart cooling system55°F-115°FSmartphone app/smart voice assistant
Mattress Cooler "Classic"
2020 Mattress Cooler "Classic" Chilled Water Sleep Cooling System (Now with a Spare "27x63" Cooling Pad)
Water cooledBest budget cooling systemN/AWireless remote control
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
SleepNumber Dual-Temp v3
Air cooledN/ARemote control
bFan Cooling System
bFan Cooling System
FanBest bed fanN/AWired remote control
Brookstone bed fan
Brookstone Bed Fan with Wireless Remote
FanN/AWireless remote control
These pillows excel at relieving neck and shoulder pain:
PillowWhy I Like It
PlushBeds Shredded Natural Latex Pillow
Best Cooling Mattress Pads

best shredded latex pillow for side sleepers
Coop Home Goods Memory Foam
Coop Home Goods - Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow - Hypoallergenic Cross-Cut Memory Foam Fill - Lulltra Washable Cover from Bamboo Derived Rayon - CertiPUR-US/GREENGUARD Gold Certified - Queen
perennial, proven Amazon Choice with over 16,000 reviews
MARNUR Contour Pillow
MARNUR Cervical Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Contour Pillows for Neck Pain Ergonomic Pillow with RoHS Certification and Pillowcase Covers, White(23.5×14.5×5.5 Inch)
perfect spine support using a groove down the middle
SleepRightSplintek Side
SleepRight Splintek Side Sleeping Pillow Memory Foam Pillow – Best Pillow for Sleeping On Your Side – 24" x 5" Standard Size
full facial cradle plus a perfectly-angled shoulder cradle
Xtreme Comforts Adjustable Pillow
Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic, Adjustable Thickness, Kool-Flow Micro Vented Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Bed Pillow for Sleeping, Back, Stomach & Side Sleepers, Queen Size, Made in USA
thinner and softer than most, so your head will not bend back
UTTU Sandwich Pillow
UTTU Sandwich Pillow, Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow, Bamboo Pillow for Sleeping, Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain, Neck Support for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers, Orthopedic Contour Pillow, CertiPUR-US
designed specifically for neck support and alignment.
Mediflow Water Pillow
Mediflow Fiber: The First & Original Water Pillow, clinically Proven to Reduce Neck Pain & Improve Sleep. Therapeutic, Ideal for People Looking for Proper Neck Support
clinical tests prove it reduces neck pain
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow
Cradle Me Cervical Pillow - Orthopedic Contour Memory Foam Pillow for Back and Side Sleepers with Neck and Spine Support - Helps Reduce Back and Neck Pain
best overall design with lots of position choices
KaUa Neck Roll
K Ka Ua Neck Roll Pillow Cervical Bolster with Bamboo Cover – Memory Foam Spine Lumbar Traction Spondylosis Support 4” Diameter x 17 “Length (4 Inch)
1,000s of satisfied customers & rave reviews
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
J-Pillow Chin Supporting Travel Pillow - 2020 Version - British Invention of The Year Winner - Supports Your Head, Neck & Chin (Blue)
added chin support prevents your head from falling forward.
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow
EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillows, Ergonomic Cervical Pillow for Neck Pain - for Side Sleepers, Back and Stomach Sleepers, Free Pillowcase Included ( Firm & Queen)
Designed to support and cushion you neck and shoulders
J-Pillow Travel Pillow
AVOCADO GREEN PILLOW-Loveable non-toxic pillow has an adjustable fill, made from GOLS organic certified latex and GOTS organic certified kapok.
An all-natural, organic and vegan pillow with an adjustable loft to suit all sleeping positions
These are my favorite luxury sheet sets sold online:
Best Luxury SheetsIncludesSizesColours
Parachute
Parachute
Fitted sheet + two pillowcasesTwin to Cal KingSand, Slate, White, Light Grey, Blue
Brooklinen
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set – Includes 1 Flat Sheet, 1 Fitted Sheet + 2 Pillowcases – 480 Thread Count Sateen Sheet Set – 100 Percent Long-Staple Cotton – Oeko-TEX Certified – Smoke – Twin
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Cream, Steel, Smoke, Smoke Stripe
Saatva
Saatva
One flat sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.Twin to Cal KingWhite, Ivory, Grey
Boll and Branch
Boll & Branch Luxury Fair Trade Long Staple Organic Cotton Sheet Set - Full, Natural
one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and two pillowcases.Full, Queen, King, Cal King onlyWhite, Solid Natural, Striped White, Pewter
Best For Specific Needs Soft and Warm: Parachute’s Sateen sheets Most Luxurious: Brooklinen’s Linen sheets Organic Luxury Sheets:  Saatva Lofton Organic sheets Breathable/Cool: Percale sheets from Parachute or Brooklinen

Learn More

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