Best Extra Firm Mattress of 2020 - In Depth Mattress Reviews
Last Updated: February, 2021
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A good mattress is essential when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling rested for your day. However, it isn’t so simple to just buy any mattress. Everyone is different and you need to find the right mattress to meet your preferences. While some people sleep best on a soft, cushiony mattress, others need a more firm, supportive mattress. If you’re wanting something firm, there are some things to consider.
You have a lot of different options and they’re all unique -- with different features and materials-- so it’s important to know what to look for. Luckly, we’ve already done a lot of testing to help make this easier for you. According to our tests, the best extra firm mattress is the Idle Dunlop Latex mattress. It's an ultra firm, ultra cool latex material that comes in at a very competitive price.
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7 Best Extra Firm Mattresses of 2020 (Reviews)
Idle Dunlop Latex Mattress (Extra-Firm Option)
We got to choose a different firmness level for each side. You’ll also love the anti microbial and hypo-allergenic properties.
This firm all foam mattress is a great bang for your buck. It's great for relieving stiffness and pressure points.
Idle Talalay Latex (Extra-Firm Option)
This super firm premium mattress is great if you sleep hot and want a mattress thats firm and helps keep you cool throughout the night.
Diamond Brighton (Firm)
This Diamond Brighton mattress gives you a perfect firm feel and support with hybrid materials. You’ll love the impressive pressure relief of this firm bed.
Plush Beds All Natural Latex Mattress
This is the ideal mattress for people that wish ‘firm’ went a bit farther. The cover is soft, but there’s a ton of support.
If you’re a hot sleeper, you’ll love how cool this Keetsa Plus mattress feels. It’s effective and soothing for back pain too.
Sleep EZ Natural Latex Mattress
If you want a very firm bed, but don’t want the coil innersprings or chemicals from foam, this might just be the one for you. You can also adjust the firmness of your mattress, making it ideal for anyone.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Of our extensive testing, the Idle Dunlop Latex is our favorite extra firm bed. The 6 inches of 100% natural dunlop latex on top feels amazing. Not many natural material beds we’ve found offer that much latex.
Dunlop latex has a really unique feel, in that it isn’t quite as bouncy as you might expect, but it also doesn’t cause you to sink into the mattress. It’s worth mentioning that this type of material is quite a lot heavier than other firm mattresses - especially ones made with foam. However, it’s also extremely durable and retains its shape.
What’s really impressive is the fact that you can choose a different firmness level for each side for a different mattress type on either side. So if you and your partner have different preferences on how firm you’d prefer your side of mattress to be, you can customize it to be either medium or luxury firm mattress. The medium choice is more on the firm side and the luxury firm options is extremely firm (9 - 10/10) This is almost like buying two separate mattresses for the price of one. This option makes the bed a great choice for all sleepers, everyone can find comfort with this product whether you like something on the firm side, or slightly more plush.
We also love that this extra firm mattress is flippable and has coils, which really helps in extending the already long, durable life of this mattress. We did mention that this mattress is heavy, but flipping is actually made quite easy thanks to the addition of 4 reinforced leather handles on the sides of the mattress. They’re very sturdy and make moving and flipping the mattress very easy.
Related Content: Idle mattress review
What We Like
What We Don't Like
GhostBed has several different mattress models with various firmness levels, but today we're going to talk about the GhostBed Classic. The is one of the firmest all-foam beds we've tested, making it great for stomach sleepers or those who just like a firmer feel.
This mattress was specifically made for back and stomach sleepers, as well as people who experience lumbar and joint pain, as it’s very firm and supportive where it matters. As far as memory foam beds go, this one is one of the best for people who prefer a firmer feel.
The mattress itself is 4 layers that combines various foams and latex. Latex is a top-tier premium material, which you nearly never see with mattresses at this price point.
Technically, this mattress is a "medium firm" but we really love how plush the surface of this mattress feels while still being a fairly firm bed overall. The plushness really makes it easy to move around on it, while we’ve found that with some of the really firm memory foam beds it can be difficult to move around comfortably. It’s also very cool for being made of foam.
Memory foam firm mattresses are typically known for being very warm and absorbing body heat, but this one feels very good, thanks to 2 inches of gel memory foam infused, temperature regulating layer. If you want to learn more, read the full GhostBed review.
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What We Like
What We Don't Like
This extra firm mattress is a very close second and very similar to the Idle Dunlop Latex options. However, it’s more expensive. This is likely due to the fact the talalay latex product does require more manufacturing steps, whereas the dunlop latex doesn’t require as much processing.
We do need to mention though, that the feel of talalay latex tends to be more consistent and dunlop can vary at times. Additionally, this material is also extremely durable and long lasting and provides consistent comfort for the life of the bed. In fact, this mattress should last you 20+ years, two to three times in industry average. So while it might be more expensive, you won’t necessarily need to replace as soon as you might need to replace the other.
When comparing the feeling of these two different types of latex, talalay latex is definitely bouncier and very noticeably less dense than the dunlop latex. This means that this mattress is much lighter than the dunlop option, which not only makes it easier to move and flip, it is a bit cheaper and easier to ship.
Talalay latex has an open-cell structure which makes it quite breathable, keeping it cool while you sleep, whereas other types of material like foam can really heat up throughout the night.
Additionally, talalay offers more pressure relief and comfort, making it a good option for side sleepers - this is due to the fact that it has more of a bounce and isn’t quite as dense. So we definitely recommend this one if you want something firm, but still need some pressure relief and comfort factors as well for the ideal feel.
Like the Idle Dunlop Latex Mattress, this talalay latex version is also flippable and both sides can be customized to fit the preferences of you and your partner.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
When we tried out this mattress, we were pleasantly surprised at the firmness beneath the soft topper. It’s made with a hybrid design, and materials. There’s plenty to love about this mattress, especially if you tend to switch sleeping positions throughout the night.
Whether sleeping on the side, back, or even stomach, it maintains the same equal firmness and support. If you’re like a lot of people, you might end the day with an aching lower back. Or if you don’t have the right mattress, you probably start the day like that too.
Lower back support is one of the areas the mattress really excels in. We were looking for a mattress that takes the strain off pressure points, but especially in the hips and back. It’s firm enough that you can really feel the support, but not too firm to be able to comfortably move around.
If you’re like many of us, and ease of movement is a reason you can’t make yourself get rid of your old innerspring bed, it’s time to let go. The Diamond Brighton mattress still has the feeling of structure you get with an innerspring mattress, plus the cradling of memory foam.
While it’s always hard to make the move to a new mattress, this was a pretty easy choice. First, it’s clearly made of high quality materials. Next, it comes with a reasonable price tag and an impressive warranty.
The mattress itself has a five year warranty, while the CertiPUR-US memory foam and materials are guaranteed for up to ten years. With that kind of confidence coming from the manufacturer, we knew it was a solid bet.
Another nice bonus: the base of the mattress is actually non-stick. That’s a huge deal, since no matter how much you move, this mattress wont.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
Having a mattress that helps you sleep better is great. It’s even better when it’s eco friendly, chemical free, and helps keep allergies at bay. That’s exactly what we got with this mattress. While it may feel like it sinks a little more than your typical ‘extra firm’ mattress, it delivered spine support you just can’t argue with.
There’s plenty of bounce, so if you move about a lot during the night, that’s good news for you. We realized that while the mattress memory foam is definitely responsive, it’s much denser than we expected too.
One of the best things about this mattress was how the latex worked to even out the memory foam feel. When testing out memory foam firm mattresses, we felt like we were sinking more often than not. That didn’t happen with the Plush Beds mattress. There is some contouring to your body, but it’s just the right amount. It feels like the latex keeps you from sinking, while the memory foam eases pressure points.
We also noticed that the latex seems to push back when there’s weight on it. That adds plenty of support to keep your shoulders, neck and spine aligned, which is ideal for people with frequent back and joint pain as well as pressure. The wool cover is nice and soft, so it doesn’t feel like other beds.
In essence, you get an almost plush feel from the cover alone, while the foam layers of the mattress keep you back and pressure points positioned for great sleep.
If you need a fairly firm mattress to support your back, but like the idea of a plush mattress, you’ll want to check this one out. It feels like a gentle firmness, which is a nice change from other brands.
6. Keetsa Plus
What We Like
What We Don't Like
It can be difficult to find the best firm mattress that helps with back pain, and keeps you cool at night. Naturally, that was one reason we had to test out the Keetsa Plus mattress. If you’re a really hot sleeper, you know how hard it is to find a mattress that actually ‘sleeps cool’. With a 90 day trial period, taking it for a test run was too hard to resist. Of course, we were also interested in checking out a mattress that performs like latex, but without actually containing any latex.
Of the firm mattresses we checked out, Keetsa seems to have the most range for people of different heights, weights, and body types. It had a nice balance, which comes from the individually wrapped coils and special foam layers. We had plenty of support, but with the feeling of a more plush bed.
The upper layer is actually pillowy, so you don’t have to lose the plush feel. Underneath, you can definitely tell there’s built up support, though. We felt like it was a good combination, and makes for a good compromise between partners that can’t decide between a really firm mattress and a soft pillow top style.
It’s certified eco friendly too, which we felt good about, considering how much waste can come from mattress manufacturing. You’ll love that it comes with a 12 year warranty.
What We Like
What We Don't Like
When it comes to firm mattresses, you may feel like you have to choose one mattress firmness level for decades and hope it consistently provides you with what you need. But just like anything else, over time there can be different circumstances and different needs. This makes it harder to guarantee that what you need now will be what you need down the road. We love how Sleep EZ’s Natural Latex bed allows you to get the most out of your investment over the years. You get to adjust your mattress’s firmness through a multi-layer design.
Rather than just one layer of memory foam or coils, this mattress is made up of several different layers, including 100% natural organic latex. We love how these layers have different levels of firmness, allowing us to switch them around to get a firmer or softer feel to fit our needs.
Being natural latex, there are no harmful chemicals to worry about and no need to worry about your impact on the planet when looking at this best fir mattress. You can also rest assured that the mattress will prevent body heat from being trapped inside, making it too hot to sleep, as well as preventing noise and providing you with motion isolation.
This company takes pride in their product, with free shipping in the US, a 90-day risk free sleep trial period, and between ten and twenty years of warranty protection in addition to being one of the best firm options out there. They also have an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, making them a very trusted company.
How to Choose an Extra Firm Mattress
To help you choose the best firm mattress, here are some important things to keep in mind, aside from just mattress firmness scale.
Most firm mattresses are rated on a scale from one to ten to identify how firm the mattress is. One is the softest, plushiest option, while seven and eight are viewed as firm. For an extra-firm mattress, you want to look for something that would be a nine or ten on this scale.
Materials used to construct firm mattresses are crucial in determining both how firm it will be and how long it will maintain that level of firmness. Memory foam is a great material for plush or medium firm mattresses, but is not as ideal for firm mattresses. With extra-firm mattresses, you want as little memory foam as possible. Instead, you want to go with a mattress that relies on coil innersprings to provide the shape and support of your mattress instead of memory foam. When going for the best firm option, you can expect to pay a bit more since the best firm and medium firm beds are made of premium materials.
Latex can also be a good option for those who do want some kind of topper on the innersprings inside your mattress. There are also latex foam mattresses that can be extremely firm or medium firm, but is it important to make sure you pay attention to the specifications of the mattress to make sure it will be firm enough for your needs.
If you have tried firm or medium firm mattress options, but you are not getting the results you are looking for, you may not be factoring in your weight. If you are over 130 pounds in weight, firm mattresses may not be ideal to support you. Your body has specific needs.
Heavier people may need firm mattresses, instead of medium firm, to make up for the lack of your mattresses ability to maintain more weight. If you're worried about your weight and how it works with a new bed, opt for a hybrid with coils as one of the at least three comfort layers. A good mattress should have a core support layer, a mid section support layer, and a top layer. Each of the three comfort layers helps create the overall firmness level you need in a premium mattress. Also check for a warranty, in case the mattress sags over time due to your weight..
Sleep Position & Different Sleepers
It is important to remember that the firmness of your mattress you require relates heavily to your sleeping position. Firm and extra firm mattresses are best for those who sleep on their stomachs or backs, protecting the natural alignment of your spine. For side sleepers, firm or extra firm mattresses are not recommended. Stomach sleepers need the firmest, but if you're one of those back and stomach sleepers, rather than just a stomach sleeper, a medium firm option may do just fine.
Some back sleepers love a firm mattress, other back sleepers and stomach sleepers don't. If you can, try out some mattresses in a store to determine your firmness preference. Buying a mattress in store will cost way more than buying online. However, different sleepers need to figure out what type of mattress they like.
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Side sleepers generally like something plush. Side sleepers won't like a firm mattress most of the time. These types of sleepers need a surface that provides more plush comfort, and a firm mattress isn't appealing for that reason.
Strict stomach sleepers need the best firm mattress types, some that might even feel like the plank mattress with a coil layer creating the hardest firmness level. Memory foam mattress options won't be firm enough, so if you're stomach sleeper, don't go with a memory foam mattress because a memory foam mattress will sink in more than you'd like.
Sagging is a problem for any mattress, but it can ruin a firm mattress and hurt your back if you're one of the stomach sleepers. That is because sagging ruins your mattress’s ability to provide a straight surface to support your spine’s natural alignment, no matter the firmness level.
Because that is the biggest reason to have a mattress this firm, you really need to look for a mattress that will resist sagging as much as possible. This is not only important for the middle, but for the edges as well.
A firm bed is less susceptible to sag, but it isn't impervious to it. Make sure you're investing in a bed that either has coils in the core to support it, or one thats made of entirely high quality materials like latex. The coils do a great job at preventing sag, but if you get a hybrid, latex, high quality mattress, this three factor combination sill virtually eliminate your issue with sagging, regardless of the firmness level.
When buying a firm mattress, thickness is a great indicator on just how firm it will be. This is because the thicker mattresses on the market include some sort of extra padding to make your mattress softer and more comfortable to lay on.
Even firm mattresses can end up with additional padding in the design. To help truly get the best mattress, you want to look for a mattress that has little to no top padding. Thinner spring mattresses help to indicate that there isn’t any extra unwanted padding. Looking at the internal makeup of any potential mattresses to make sure you are getting what you want. Spring mattresses will have more bounce, but can still be firm.
While it does not directly impact your bed, you need to consider your pillows that will be used with it. If you are interested in using an extra-firm mattress, you need to make sure your pillows are not going to impact the purpose of this kind of mattress.
For example, extra firm mattresses serve to provide as little disruption to your spine’s natural alignment as possible. If you are laying on your stomach or back, but your pillows are very high, it can cause severe neck discomfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Firm vs extra firm: Whats the difference?
Medium is the most popular type of bed, but some companies make beds specifically more on the firm side for people who need firmer support in a new mattress. A super firm mattress takes firmness to another level. Generally, a firm mattress won't have much give, but it'll have a plush top layer. An extra-firm mattress won't be as soft on top. Instead, it'll be firm throughout.
Can a firm mattress help with back pain?
The best mattress to help with back pain depends on your specific body type and sleep style. For heavier back sleepers, an extra firm mattress can absolutely provide the extra firm support that will help relieve back pain. With that said, a lightweight person, or someone who sleeps on their side won't find a new bed that's extra firm to be very beneficial for relieving back pain.
Should I get foam mattress, latex or a hybrid?
Generally speaking, latex mattresses are the firmest by default, but do a good job at minimizing motion transfer (meaning they have good motion isolation). However, foam and hybrids can be made very firm as well while still having good motion isolation. If you have a bigger budget for a new bed, latex is the best overall option if you're looking for a bed with firm support, great build quality, and one that will last longer than a traditional mattress.
Can I still use a mattress topper on a firm mattress?
Mattress toppers are normally used to add a comfort layer to an aging mattress, or one that doesn't have the firmness level or support you're looking for, or to help with motion isolation. If you buy the right bed to begin with, you won't need a mattress topper. A firm topper can still be added to an existing mattress to give it more comfort though. You may even want to go for cooling mattress toppers, especially for memory foam mattresses because memory foam mattresses tend to be hotter.
Is firm still comfortable?
Many people hear "firm" and think you're sleeping on a rock with no motion isolation or edge support, but that's not the case. Even the firmest bed will still have some give and support, as well as a comfort layer or various foam mattress layers. Back sleepers, stomach sleepers and heavyset combination sleepers are generally the type of people that find a firm bed more comfortable. When you're shopping for a new mattress, look for individually wrapped coils, at least a 10 year warranty, and keep in mind that most companies will let you return what you don't like.
I like firm, my partner likes soft, what can we do?
If you and your sleep partner disagree on the mattress firmness thats right for your body, you can try a split king bed, and get different firmness levels to fit the sleepers style (good for combination sleepers) and your body while still providing good edge support so the bed feels natural. A split king is two twin beds on a single frame, and allows for a more customized sleep setup. You can also get a bed with a long trial period. By opting for a bed with a longer trial period, you get time to decide if it's really a good fit or not. You can also add a comfort layer on an existing mattress that only on half of the bed if needed.
Will my bed frame work with a very firm mattress?
If you're worried about your bed frame with a firm bed, don't. An ultra firm bed works with any bed frame, and can even be easier to secure than a soft foam mattress. A firm bed has less sag and can be supported with less resistance.
What warranty should I look for?
A lifetime warranty is great, but the industry standard is 10 year, along with a decent trial period. A 10 year warranty gives you plenty of time to break in the mattress and have time to return it if anything goes wrong in that 10 year time trial period. Whether the comfort layer starts to sag, or something else about the mattress isn't good, a solid 10 year warranty is a good baseline for a bed.
It can be hard enough finding the right bed with just basic firmness. The challenge is made even harder when you need something extra firm. Despite how hard it was, we still managed to find these extra firm bed to meet the mark so start from our curated list and you’ll be on the right track!
Gabe is the newest member of The Sleep Shop team. If you like the design of The Sleep Shop, give Gabe a thumbs up. He’s a digital marketing and design guru and the brains behind the design and SEO of The Sleep Shop. He also won’t say no to testing a ton of mattresses either, and helps on almost every mattress review.