Whether you’re a strict back or stomach sleeper or a heavier person who favors any sleeping position, you need an extra-firm mattress that offers optimal support to keep your spine in a healthy alignment at night. Extra-firm mattresses are also good choices for plus-size sleepers looking for additional support and people with back pain.
The CNET mattress testers have tested over 200 mattresses, and only a handful are designed with an extra-firm profile. These are the best extra-firm mattresses that stood out to be as firm as the floor without sacrificing comfort.
What’s the best extra-firm mattress overall?
The Plank mattress by Brooklyn Bedding is one of the firmest mattresses I’ve tested; but it also manages to offer some pressure relief at the same time. How is that possible? The Plank mattress is flippable, with a firm (10 out of 10 on the firmness scale) profile on one side, and medium-firm (7 out of 10 on the firmness scale) on the other. It also offers a great value.
Mattress price scale:
These reflect MSRP or list prices. Sales might make a mattress less expensive, but are always changing.
Best extra-firm mattresses for 2024
Other mattresses we’ve tested
This is a list of the best extra-firm mattresses available right now. However, other firm options didn’t quite make the cut but are still worth mentioning.
Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid: While not the firmest option out there, the Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid mattress strikes a nice balance between relief and support. It has a comfort layer of Amerisleep’s Bio-Pur memory foam, which has an open-cell design and renewable, plant-based oils.
WinkBed mattress: The WinkBed mattress is another that we considered firm, but not the firmest out there. It’s firm without being overly solid and hard. It’s a pillow top mattress with a mix of pocketed innersprings and layers of foam.
How we tested the best extra-firm mattresses
Testing mattresses is what we do. With over 200 mattresses under our belt, we’ve spent thousands of hours testing and rating beds. During our years of testing, we’ve established various procedures that assess each mattress on factors like firmness, motion isolation, durability and edge support.
Firmness and feel
We assign each mattress a number on our 1 to 10 firmness scale, corresponding with industry terms like “medium” or “medium firm.” When testing firmness, we get the perspective of different body types to get the complete picture of a mattress.
When assessing the feel of a mattress, we pay attention to how it feels as we test. Do we sink in or sit on top? Additionally, we note how the materials respond when we remove pressure. Some foams snap back quickly, like latex foam, while more traditional memory foams take a while to respond, which makes it harder to change positions.
Motion isolation may not seem like a big deal, but if you sleep with someone who moves around at night, you know how crucial it can be for good sleep. We have a few methods for testing motion isolation. First, we note if our tester can feel the movement of the person tossing and turning next to them. Then, we use a glass of water near the end of the bed and roll around to see if it topples over. If it does, the bed doesn’t have the best motion isolation.
We look to the construction for how durable and supportive a bed will be. We do this by cutting the bed open and checking out the layers inside. Beds with an innerspring system or pocketed coils tend to last longer and be more supportive.
Edge support is another one that may not seem like a big deal, but it matters if you need access to the entire sleeping surface. Edge support is how strong the bed’s perimeter is. We test this by sitting on the edge of the bed. If the edge sinks under our weight, then it doesn’t have good edge support.
CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read more on how we test mattresses.
What to consider when shopping
While we chose the Plank mattress to be the best overall extra-firm mattress, there’s no one right mattress for everyone. It’s subjective and depends on what you require and want from your next bed.
When shopping for a mattress, you need to keep certain factors in mind to help you narrow down the pool and choose the right option. These factors include your sleeping position, body type and budget.
Extra-firm mattresses are best for back or stomach sleepers. The firmness will keep you from sinking into the bed at uneven levels, which would throw your spine out of alignment and cause back pain.
Side sleepers need to be more careful with extra-firm mattresses. Side sleepers need a bed that contours to their curves and combats pressure points at the shoulders, hips and knees. In the same way that extra-firm mattresses can relieve back pain for back and stomach sleepers, it may cause pain for side sleepers.
Your body type also matters in determining which mattress you should choose. Not only does it influence how hard or soft a bed feels to you, but it helps you narrow down the type of mattress you should get — all-foam, innerspring or hybrid.
Heavier body types (over 230 pounds) will sink further into the mattress, which means it will feel softer to them. Petite body types will put the least pressure, making a bed feel even firmer. Petite side sleepers should steer clear from an extra-firm mattress.
Your budget is one of the most important things you should consider when shopping for an extra-firm mattress. Beds are a significant investment. The average mattress costs $800 to $1,200, though there are beds at every price point. Budget shoppers can find mattresses as low as $300, or you can consider a more luxury option at well over $2,000.