6 Best Extra Firm Mattresses – Perfect Choice for a Backache

We checked out all of the best extra firm mattress options on the market today and ranked them in our ultimate list of our favorites.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 20, 2021
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Extra firm mattresses are the best option if you’re looking for some extra support while you sleep. Shopping for any mattress can be a hassle, but did you know that finding a good extra firm mattress is more challenging than finding a good option for any other firmness level in a mattress? That’s why we went ahead and did all of the research for you – to make your mattress buying experience as easy and satisfying as possible.

We looked at extra firm mattresses from some of the top mattress brands on the market and compared several key features, including back support, length of risk-free trial options, and other important factors. Read on for our detailed extra firm mattress review.

Top 6 Extra Firm Mattresses Reviewed 2021

1.

The WinkBedEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Material: gel-infused foam, individually wrapped pocketed coils
  • Cover material: Tencel
  • Firmness options: softer, luxury firm, firmer, plus
  • Warranty: lifetime

More features: 120-night risk-free trial, extra-edge support system, best for backache

WinkBed, which is based out of New York, is one of the most popular online mattress companies around. Their extra firm mattress does a great job of combining motion isolation, pressure relief, and temperature control.

This mattress is a great choice for side and back sleepers, as it provides excellent spinal support. Stomach sleepers will also love this mattress, but depending on the individual, some may find it lacks an extra layer of cushioning that stomach sleepers often prefer. We would say that this mattress earns an 8 out of 10 on the firmness scale (with ten being close to the firmness of the ground).

Why are we impressed?

  • We loved the temperature control offered by the Tencel covering. Tencel, for those who don't know, is a fabric made from eucalyptus. When used as a mattress cover, it helps to wick away heat from sleepers, allowing you to get a great night of cool sleep. We also loved the excellent edge support offered by the WinkBed Plus and didn’t feel any sagging near the edges. Another great aspect was the pressure relief, which is achieved in the Plus model by using a layer of polyfoam with a layer of latex. Lastly, we love the 120 risk-free trial option!

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • This mattress was nearly perfect, but we did find it to be a bit less ideal for stomach sleepers than side and back sleepers. It was still an excellent choice if you prefer sleeping on your tummy, but we did notice a difference between the three. Also— as with most synthetic foam mattresses that are shipped in compression packaging— there was a slight smell to deal with after unboxing and setting up the mattress. The odor dissipates quickly (give or take 30 hours), but if you're sensitive to smells, you should bear that in mind.
2.

Helix Dawn LuxePremium Pick

Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Material: gel Visco, dynamic foam, high-grade polyfoam, DuraDense foam
  • Cover material: Tencel
  • Firmness options: firm
  • Warranty: 10 years

More features: made in the USA, 100-night sleep trial, zoned lumbar support, quilted pillow top, back and stomach sleeper support

The Helix Dawn Luxe mattress— which was our Premium Pick— is a truly wonderful mattress that actually feels as though it were created just for you. The Helix Luxe mattress comes in 6 firmness options (of which Dawn is the firmest), features a Tencel covering, pressure-relieving gel memory foam, and much more. This is both an excellent extra firm memory foam mattress and one of the best custom extra firm mattresses.

This mattress is great if you’re a back or stomach sleeper. The hybrid mattress featured a combination of high-density memory foam and pocketed coils that increase the firmness while making sure a sleeper’s spine stays in proper alignment— regardless of sleeping position. This is also a great choice if you tend to run hot while you sleep, as the Tencel cover helps wick away your body heat.

Why did it make our list?

  • We were thrilled with the firmness of this mattress and simply couldn't get enough of the gel memory foam topper. The topper performed excellently at relieving spinal pressure, and we never once woke up with an achy back. Despite the fact that this extra firm mattress offers great support, it also somehow managed to make us feel as though we were gently cradled in a cloud. All in all, it was a true winner. As an added bonus, this mattress comes in six different sizes.

What is not ideal about it?

  • As mentioned previously, vacuum-sealed mattresses all have a slight chemical odor when you unbox them, and the Helix Dawn Luxe was no exception. This odor was a bit stronger than most (which was why it lost some points), but the smell disappeared after about 48 hours after we let it sit in a well-ventilated area. Additionally, the mattress was heavy, so don’t attempt to unbox it alone, please!
Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King
  • Material: foam and coils
  • Cover material: microfiber
  • Firmness options: extra firm
  • Warranty: 10 years

More features: 100-night trial, pressure relief, quilted cover, motion isolating design

The Zinus Pressure Relief Extra Firm iCoil® Hybrid Mattress features 936 wrapped spring coils that were scientifically designed to cradle your body and offer the best support for your spine. This was one of the firmer mattresses on our list and is the right choice if you want your mattress to be as firm as possible. Additionally, we found this to be one of the best extra firm mattresses for a big person.

This mattress would make a great purchase for individuals who prefer sleeping on their backs or stomachs or even those who prefer switching it up in the night. If you fall into the last category, you’ll especially love how easy it is to move around and switch sleeping positions with the iCoil® Hybrid Mattress.

Why are we impressed?

  • This is an excellent choice for couples looking for an extra firm mattress, as the motion isolating design allows for movement without disturbing someone sleeping beside you. We also loved how cool the mattress stayed during the night, which we attributed to the coil design that allows for increased airflow through the mattress (when compared to a solid memory foam mattress option). We concluded that if you prefer sleeping on your stomach or back and you weigh more than 130 pounds, this is a great option for you. The firmness level also makes it one of the best extra firm mattresses for back pain on this list.

What negatives must you be aware of?

  • One of the things that we weren’t quite as keen on was the fact that this particular mattress lacks the extra cushiony topper that we have come to expect from our mattress. To that effect, it is still a great choice if you prefer stomach or back sleeping, but if you ever sleep on your side, you might find the lack of cushioning to cause some pressure or discomfort on your joints.
4.

Amerisleep AS1Best Extra Firm Memory Foam Mattress

Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
  • Material: plant-based Bio-Pur foam
  • Cover material: not specified
  • Firmness options: extra firm
  • Warranty: 20 years

More features: 100-night trial, made in the USA, perfect for back and stomach sleepers, eco-friendly production, resistant to dust mites and mold

The Amerisleep AS1 is on the thinner side (10 inches tall) but still manages to offer exceptional support and was one of the best extra firm mattresses we tested. Indeed, it was the winner of the best memory foam extra firm mattress, and its plant-based memory foam does a great job of providing cushion without allowing the sleeper to sink too deeply into the mattress.

This mattress is great if you sleep on your stomach or back and tend to run hot while you sleep. It’s also the best choice for you if you’re specifically looking for a mattress that falls on the shorter side. This mattress was designed to be resistant to dust mites and mold, making it a wonderful hypoallergenic option.

Why did it make our list?

  • We loved the overall firmness of the Amerisleep AS1 mattress and found that the memory allowed it has less give than some of the other options we looked at. The support offered by the mattress was top-notch, especially considering it's made entirely of memory foam. We never felt as though our spines were out of alignment while sleeping on this mattress, and we were simply thrilled by the mattress' innate resistance to dust mites and mold. Lastly, this is one of the best options for strong edge support in an extra firm mattress.

What is not ideal about it?

  • Again, if you prefer sleeping on your side, you might not be as happy with this mattress as with another. It offers such a firm level of support that side sleepers would likely find it to be uncomfortable on their joints— particularly their hips and shoulders. This is also due to the fact that the Amerisleep AS1 has a relatively thin comfort top layer and doesn't offer much pressure relief for side sleepers.
5.

Brooklyn Bedding PLANKBest Extra Firm King Size Mattress

Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split Cal King, Short Full, Short Queen, Short King, Olympic Queen, RV King
  • Material: foam
  • Cover material: PCM fabric
  • Firmness options: extra firm
  • Warranty: 10 years

More features: 120-night trial, made in Arizona, flippable design

This was our winner for the best extra firm king-size mattress, largely thanks to the super cool dual-firmness feature that basically makes it feel like you own two different mattresses in one! The price point for the king is also excellent for an all-foam mattress and maybe a particularly attractive feature for some buyers.

This is great if you love to switch up the firmness every now and then or if you sleep with a partner who has a slightly different firmness preference than you do. It’s also an excellent choice if you tend to prefer sleeping on your stomach. Both the firm and extra firm sides of the Brooklyn Bedding Plank mattress are great for stomach sleepers, as they both tend to prevent the midsection from sinking too low, which can lead to improper spinal alignment. This is also a great option for back sleepers, but some may find the extra firm side to be firmer than they prefer.

What are its best features?

  • We loved how easy it was to move around on this mattress and switch sleeping positions. We never felt as though we were trapped in the mattress or struggling to roll over. There was minimal contouring which helps make movement easier. We also found the edge support for this model to be phenomenal and experienced no sagging at all when we sat at the edge of the mattress or rolled near to the edge during our testing. Edge support is a great factor to consider if you tend to “roam” during your sleep, as good edge support won’t cause you to feel as though you’re about to fall off the bed.

What could be improved?

  • All-foam mattresses tend to come with a bit of a strong smell when you first unbox them, and this one definitely had that “new mattress smell.” It only took a day or so for the odors to disappear, though, so this wasn’t a huge issue by any means. Additionally, this mattress wasn’t the best for offering pressure relief to sleepers, as it didn’t provide a lot of contouring to the body during sleep. For this reason, pressure points tend to feel a bit strained in certain positions when using this mattress.
6.

Brooklyn Bedding Spartan HybridBest Extra Firm Queen Mattress

Features
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split Cal King
  • Material: CopperFlex™ foam, Ascension® coils
  • Cover material: fabric with Far Infrared Rays (FIR) technology
  • Firmness options: soft, medium, firm
  • Warranty: 10 years

More features: 120-night risk-free trial

This bed truly has all the bells and whistles one could ask for when shopping for an extra firm queen mattress (although this mattress also comes in twin, twin XL, full, king, and California king). The Spartan is the most expensive model offered by Brooklyn Bedding and comes in three firmness options.

This is one of the few mattresses on this list that would be a good option for side sleepers, and that’s largely due to the cushiony foam that manages to offer great support and firmness while simultaneously cushioning the joints and providing relief for pressure points. Back and stomach sleepers will also love this mattress. Additionally, this is a particularly great mattress choice for athletes or people who live a very active lifestyle (the fancy technology throughout the mattress really does wonders in aiding rest and recovery). It’s also a good choice for couples looking to invest in a mattress for the long term.

Why is it special?

  • We loved the great features offered by the Brooklyn Bedding Spartan Firm model and were truly blown away by how well-rested we felt compared to some of the other mattresses on this list. There’s really something to the copper-infused foam and infrared technology that actually works! We also found that this model had great edge support and allowed us to comfortably roll all the way to the edges of the mattress without feeling like we might fall over the side. We found that it was really easy to move around on the mattress during the night as well.

What are the flaws?

  • Although the features on the Brooklyn Bedding Spartan model are really cool (and totally worked for us!), we did find the price point to be a little higher than we would have liked. This wouldn't be a great choice for anyone who is trying to save up their money or who hasn't budgeted several thousand dollars on purchasing a new mattress. As with all of the mattresses on this list, we also found that there was a strong odor upon unboxing, but this isn't really something that can be avoided in most cases.

Things to Consider

Buying an extra firm mattress can seem pretty intimidating, especially if you don’t know where to start or if you’re primarily shopping online. Choosing the right mattress can be crucial to your health, so you should always consider multiple options and read a lot of reviews before buying. We made the whole process simple and straightforward for you by compiling this handy list of the best extra firm mattress options available.

Advantages of the Extra Firm Mattress

Sleep is one of the most crucial factors to maintaining your health and wellness, as evidenced in this CNN article Trusted Source Sleep benefits: 10 life-changing reasons to get shut-eye - CNN A lack of quality sleep not only affects how we feel during the daytime, but can also impair our immune system function, which is vital in protecting us from common viral illnesses. www.cnn.com . For this reason, choosing the right mattress for you and your needs is a really important task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Firm and extra firm mattresses tend to be the best choices for people who need a bit more support, prefer sleeping on their backs Trusted Source The Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers in 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter If you prefer to sleep on your back, you’ll probably want a medium-firm mattress to align your spine and keep your shoulders, hips, and lower back comfortable. www.nytimes.com or stomachs, or are looking to improve their posture.

Important Features

While creating our buying guide, we examined several key features that really make all the difference when it comes to selecting the right extra firm mattress for your needs. Some of the factors we considered include the size, material— for the mattress and the cover, levels of firmness, design, and warranty.

Each sleeper is bound to have a unique set of needs and desires when shopping for the right mattress for them, and each should therefore consider the various pros and cons laid out in our review of the best extra firm mattresses.

Size

Size can be a critical element when looking for a new mattress, and it definitely helps if the company you’re considering offers a lot of sizes to choose from. There are, of course, different situations that would require a different size mattress, and different companies will naturally offer a different range of sizes. From twin all the way to California King, there are so many options for extra firm mattresses. For the best extra firm king-size mattress, we strongly recommend the Plank by Brooklyn Bedding, which offers the unique feature of having two separate firmness levels built into the same mattress! For the best extra firm queen mattress, you should consider the Spartan by Brooklyn Bedding, which is one of the most luxurious and technologically advanced on this list. We found that all of the benefits offered by this model performed exceptionally well in the queen size while still hovering around a price point that was relatively manageable.

Material

Material is another important thing to consider when buying your extra firm mattress. While conducting our mattress reviews, we looked closely at two different types of mattress materials: all-foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses that offered a combination of foam and pocketed spring coils.

Typically, you’ll find a lot more body contouring with the hybrid models, which can provide an added layer of comfort for anyone who is looking for an extra firm mattress that is still soft and comfortable.
For hybrid mattresses, we highly recommend the Helix Dawn Luxe mattress, which combines their awesome memory foam with pocketed coils to achieve maximum support and comfort.

For those who prefer an entire memory foam bed, we also suggest the Amerisleep AS1, which uses several different kinds of plant-based memory foam and has the added benefit of being only 10 inches tall, which is great for those who are tight on space.

Cover material

The cover material can go a long way in providing a little extra benefit from your new extra firm mattress. One of our favorite cover material options is Tencel, which is a great material made from the eucalyptus plant.

Tencel is well-known for being one of the best materials for moderating body temperature during sleep and has heat-wicking properties that help you maintain a lower temperature if you tend to overheat during the night.

If you’re looking for a great mattress with a Tencel covering, we would suggest the WinkBed, which also received our Editor’s Choice award for its fantastic support and comfort.

Another cover material option can be found on the Brooklyn Bedding Spartan model, which utilizes something called Nanobiotic® Technology, and is referred to on the Brooklyn Bedding website as a “smart fabric.” The material works by promoting increased blood flow on the parts of the body in contact with the mattress. This is, according to their site, designed to promote faster recovery and restful sleep. For these reasons, the Brooklyn Bedding Spartan model is a great option for athletes as well.

Firmness options

Firmness options are, of course, quite important when considering a new extra firm mattress. When it comes to the mattresses on this list, we found that some companies only offered one option in the firm category while some offered several. This isn’t to say that the companies who only offer one type of extra firm mattress are worse options at all, though. All of the companies we looked at did offer at the very least one option in the soft, medium, and firm categories.

The WinkBed was a great choice if you’re looking for a firm and an extra firm option from the same model, and it has a whole slew of other benefits to offer as well. Additionally, the Helix Dawn Luxe bed is the firmest option of six available firmnesses from the Helix Luxe mattress model, so if you find that the Dawn is a bit too firm for your taste, you have a lot of wiggle room.

Design

6 Best Extra Firm Mattresses – Perfect Choice for a Backache

Different types of fabric are used when designing a mattress. You should pay attention to cover material if you have any allergies.

Some people might think that designing a mattress is a straightforward endeavor, but it can actually involve a lot of research and time! Just look at the Brooklyn Bedding Spartan mattress mentioned above, which incorporates a whole bunch of fancy and technologically advanced design elements. From the aforementioned Nanobiotic® Technology fabric covering to the copper-infused foam (which also aids in improved rest and recovery). Another great design is the compact, 10-inch-tall mattress from Amerisleep. This all-foam extra firm option is great for saving space or if you have an extra tall bed frame that would pair well with a shorter mattress.

Warranty

Lastly, a mattress’ warranty is a crucial factor to consider when comparing different models. Warranties can help protect you against any issues with your mattress’ construction, which can help prevent you from needing to pay a ton of money for mattress repair or replacement.

Many warranties even offer repair or replacement in their policies, so you should look closely at the different warranties of your mattress options if these are important factors for you.

On average, your standard mattress warranty will last about 10 to 20 years. Most of the mattresses on this list, like the Zinus Pressure Relief Extra Firm iCoil® Hybrid Mattress, offer 10-year warranties. Some others, like the Amerisleep AS1, offer a 20-year warranty, which can add an extra layer of comfort and protection for wary mattress buyers. Only one mattress on this list had a warranty that far exceeded the others: the WinkBed, which offers a lifetime warranty to all who purchase one of their models.

FAQ

Yes. Extra firm mattresses are great choices because they offer an abundance of support for your spinal alignment, which in turn can have a positive and lasting impact on the health of your back and your whole body. There are many benefits to extra firm mattresses, including improved posture. It is also beneficial for many people who are heavier in weight to sleep on a firmer mattress. This is because extra firm mattresses can prevent your spine from curving while you sleep— especially if you sleep on your back or stomach. Often people who weigh less will find that they don’t require as much support from their mattress, but they may still benefit from and enjoy sleeping on an extra firm mattress.

The best way to store an extra firm mattress— or any mattress, really— is by laying it flat on an even surface. Many people are tempted to store their mattresses on their side or standing up against a wall or other surface, but this can cause damage to your mattress’ structural integrity over time. Storing your mattress on its side can cause the inner materials to shift or become damaged, with can have a severe negative impact on your mattress’ performance and even your own health! Therefore, you should always store your mattresses by laying them down flat on the ground and completely covering them in a protective and sealed layer of plastic. Leaving your mattress uncovered can allow for all sorts of nasty critters and grime to find their way into your mattress, which isn’t something anyone wants for the surface they’ll be sleeping on!

Yes! As long as your child is over the age of 18 months, they can sleep on any mattress firmness they like, including extra firm. Since most children are likely to weigh less than 130 pounds (often considered the threshold for needing or benefiting from an extra firm mattress), they may not receive the same health benefits that adults would from an extra firm mattress, but there won’t be any health concerns or reasons to avoid letting them sleep on such a mattress. As with adults, every child is different and will therefore have a unique set of preferences for their sleeping arrangement. If your child expresses a desire for a firmer mattress, it may be a good idea to consider purchasing one. You can also find great extra firm crib mattresses for your younger kids, as well as extra firm twin mattresses and extra firm full-size mattresses for your older kids.

Our Verdict

We have to say that we were really pleased with all of the mattresses on this list, and you definitely won’t go wrong by choosing any of them! Each one was fairly unique while still offering incredible support and firmness, especially for stomach and back sleepers. That being said, we did have a few standout favorites that we would be remiss if we didn’t mention them again.

To recap, WinkBed won our Editor’s Choice title for its stellar temperature control fabric cover and great firmness and support. We also loved the Helix Dawn Luxe for the Premium Picks extra firm mattress and would highly recommend that (or another of the Helix Luxe mattresses) for its amazing features and high-quality materials. We also chose the Zinus Pressure Relief Extra Firm iCoil® Hybrid Mattress as our Best Value choice, and we think it’s a great option for anyone who is keen on getting the bang for their buck.

References

1.
Sleep benefits: 10 life-changing reasons to get shut-eye - CNN
A lack of quality sleep not only affects how we feel during the daytime, but can also impair our immune system function, which is vital in protecting us from common viral illnesses.
2.
The Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers in 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter
If you prefer to sleep on your back, you’ll probably want a medium-firm mattress to align your spine and keep your shoulders, hips, and lower back comfortable.
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