The decision to buy a mattress for your home is one of the biggest ones you will make. After all, a comfortable night’s rest depends on it. But the sheer number of choices available can make the task seem impossible. It can be exhausting to navigate the many materials, marketing jargon, and sizes and then figure out what you want to spend.

The bedding experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute’sTextiles Lab thoroughly test the mattresses to determine the most suitable bed for each type of sleeper. Our testers are asked to review mattresses and give feedback. We also conduct proprietary surveys and research on brands and features. We’ve evaluated hundreds of beds over the years and have learned some things about what to look for when shopping for a mattress. Be aware that there isn’t a single best mattress for everyone. When you’re shopping, it’s important to take into account your individual needs.

Things to consider before buying a mattress

Your spine should be aligned as you lay down. The position you sleep in, your body type, and your preferences regarding the feel and material of the mattress will all determine which mattress best suits your needs. Consider cost, convenience, and durability, as well as any sleep problems you may have, such as back pain, if you are prone to it or if your partner wakes up at night. These topics (and many more!) will be discussed. To help you decide.

Types of Mattresses

There are many types of beds available. The most common are innerspring and memory foam, but other constructions are increasingly popular. You can find different firmness and price levels within each mattress type. How to choose your mattress type

Memory foam

Memory Foam mattresses provide with the best pressure relief, as they conform to you and relieve pressure on pressure points. Users say that foam beds make them feel like they are being cradled. They are ideal for side-sleepers or those with back problems because they promote spine alignment and reduce stress on the shoulders and hips. These mattresses also aid in motion isolation so that you are less likely to be disturbed by your partner’s movements.

Multiple layers are used, with firmer foam at the bottom to provide durability and support and softer foam at the top for comfort. Memory foam can be a downside because it traps heat easily. However, many brands have built-in cooling systems to help prevent overheating.


Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam beds, but they’re more resilient. It is bouncy and firmer than memory foam. It is usually more expensive than memory foam.

You’ll see two types of latex when you go shopping: Talalay and Dunlop. Talalay is usually softer. In reality, it’s possible that you can’t tell the difference.


These mattresses are made from steel coils. They are firmer and have more bounce. Many shoppers are familiar with innerspring mattresses, particularly when compared to boxed beds, which have been popular in recent times. These mattresses are better suited to back and stomach sleepers who need a firmer surface in order to align their spine.

When shopping, consider both coil gauge as well as coil count. The coil gauge is a measure of the thickness of steel. It usually ranges between 12-15, and a smaller number indicates sturdier and longer-lasting materials. The coil count is the number of springs that are in the mattress. A quality model should have at least 400 springs for a Queen-size. Consider pocketed coils for targeted support. Each spring is individually wrapped instead of being webbed together.


These mattresses combine memory foam, latex, and coils. You don’t need to choose just one. In recent years, hybrid mattresses have gained popularity. This is especially true for brands that sell online. Coils are usually placed at the bottom of the bed for support, while foam is placed on top to relieve pressure. When you lie down, many hybrids — particularly those from brands that sell bed-in-a-box — have a similar feel to foam mattresses. They’re more expensive to buy and heavier to install than all-foam beds.


adjustable mattresses are less common but have an air-chamber that allows you to adjust the firmness of the bed. These are especially useful for couples who have different preferences. Although they are expensive, users tell us that the investment was worth it because of the high-quality sleep they get.

Mattress Firmness levels

Most mattresses are classified as either soft, medium or medium-firm. Medium-firm to firm beds are most popular, as they meet a variety of needs. It’s important to consider your body type and sleep position when choosing your firmness.

Sleep Position

Side Sleepers: This position is most common and recommended by doctors to prevent back pain. The best mattresses for side sleepers are soft to medium firm because they align your spine. You may put too much pressure on the hips and shoulders if it is too firm.

Stomach Sleepers: For stomach sleepers, a firmer mattress will be more suitable. You don’t need your pressure points sinking in too much.

For back sleepers: Medium Firmness is best in this case. You risk having an incorrect alignment if your mattress is either too soft or firm.

Combination Sleepers: Choose medium firmness for the best support of your different positions if you are moving around during the night.

Body Type

Heavy bodies: Firmer mattresses are best for more serious people because they put more pressure on their beds. A mattress that is too soft can sink into the bed and cause back pain. Some of the best-performing mattress brands offer models that are designed for people who weigh more than 250 pounds.

Lightweight Sleepers: Smaller frame sizes are better with a soft mattress because they don’t put as much pressure on the bed. The bed should be firm enough to allow the body to sink into it.

When deciding which firmness is best for you, consider your weight and sleep position. If you are a light stomach sleeper and you want to choose between firmness levels, you could go with a medium level.

Another thing about firmness: Some brands describe their mattresses using a 1-10 scale, with ten being the firmest. You can use these ratings to compare firmness when shopping, but you shouldn’t be too focused on the number. Our mattress testers are often asked to rate the firmness of a mattress on a scale from 1-10. Their responses don’t always match what brands specify.

Sleep Problems

While shopping, it is important to consider your specific needs. Here are some of the most common problems and what you should look for: