Best crib mattress: 7 safe, high-quality buys for your little one

Buying the best crib mattress you can get your hands on is a smart step in creating a safe, cozy nursery.

Included in this guide:

best crib mattress
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(Image credit: Safety 1st)

It's worth investing in the best crib mattress you can buy: Infants can sleep 16 or more hours a day (some of those might be at night if you're lucky), so you'll want to ensure the mattress you choose not only helps promote restful sleep but is high-quality and made of safe, non-toxic materials. 

With hundreds of mattresses to choose from, it can be overwhelming to know what you should even be looking for in a crib mattress, especially if you're a first-time parent. 

Luckily, I've been there done that. When I was a first-time mom in 2015, I did extensive research on the crib mattress I chose for my son. It was spurred by both my own determination to find a high-quality mattress, and also (mostly) by a friend who'd also just had a baby and warned me about the hazards of fire retardants. I ended up watching documentaries and reading studies about chemical flame retardants, which lead me to investigate the rest of the materials that went into crib mattresses. 

At the end of my crib-mattress rabbit hole, though, and thanks to the recommendations of friends and family, I ended up with an all-natural, flame-retardant-free, eco-friendly crib mattress that I loved (it's #1 in the guide below!). I liked it so much in fact, I bought another one for my second son in 2018, and have recommended it to countless friends since. Of course, as parents become increasingly aware of the materials in crib mattresses, the environmental impact of the products they buy, and infant sleep safety, there have been dozens of new mattress introductions over the last few years. (Many just as good as the one I chose). 

So, I set back out on my crib mattress research journey, with the help of a few new moms on our team, recommendations from friends, and hundreds of reviews on the internet, to find the best of the best crib mattresses on the market. I took into consideration all of the key factors I used when purchasing my own crib mattresses: Things like high-quality materials, VOCs, air-quality certifications, sustainability, price, firmness level (a firm mattress is best for babies!), durability, waterproofing, plus whether or not the mattress could be flipped and used for a toddler (many mattresses have slightly-softer sides for after your baby turns one). 

Then, I whittled down my list into the picks that I would actually purchase for one of my own children. I've chosen a variety of price points since the best crib mattresses can start to get a little pricey. But even the budget picks have some impressive stats and have become far safer in terms of chemical content. In fact, none of the products on our list contain chemical flame retardants (something I urge you to look into if you're a first-time parent!). 

Read on for the top crib mattresses at a variety of price points, or skip to the bottom of this post for tips on what to look for in a mattress. And if you're looking for new mattresses for the whole family, be sure to check out our best mattress guide, too. 

How we chose the best crib mattresses

There were a few key points I prioritized when choosing top crib mattresses. For one, we chose products that were non-toxic, or as close to non-toxic as we could get. We looked for products made without chemical flame retardants/PBDEs, and that are either GREENGUARD Gold Certified, CERTI-Pur US certified, or better. 

We also looked at other parents' reviews for the products, any recall information, water resistance, and whether the mattress was hypoallergenic. We gave preference to reversible mattresses, too, which can be flipped from a firmer "infant" side, recommended for safe sleeping, to a slightly softer "toddler" side for when your child is a little older.

Finally, we compared price points to see which crib mattresses offered the most bang for your buck, which were the best bargain buys, and which were the worthwhile luxury splurges. Here's what we came up with. 

Best crib mattress 2021

best crib mattress

(Image credit: Naturepedic)

1. Naturepedic Certified Organic Cotton Classic Baby Crib & Toddler Mattress

Best waterproof organic crib mattress: Firm, eco-friendly and nontoxic

Specifications
Type: Innerspring
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: Y
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+Organic+Dual-sided+All-natural waterproof cover
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

The Naturepedic Certified Organic Cotton Classic 150 Baby Crib & Toddler Mattress takes a lot of what we like about other mattresses on this list and fuses it into one. While its price tag is at the higher end for a crib mattress, it's not the highest on our list. 

What we like about it
This mattress is both pure and practical. As far as its non-toxic credentials go, it's GOTS-certified organic, GREENGUARD Gold Certified, Made Safe Certified, and free of flame retardants. It also features important functional elements, like a waterproof cover (made from organic cotton and a patented, waterproof coating that meets food contact standards), and flippable infant and toddler sides. 

It also has no noticeable off-gassing odors after opening, and no strong lingering smells. 

Things to note
Some reviewers have noted sagging in this mattress, however, my first son slept on this mattress until he was almost four, and my second son has been on his for two years, and  I haven't noticed the sagging, even after my first born discovered he could use his as a trampoline. 

Tip: This mattress also comes in a lightweight version that has dual-density wavecore support instead of innersprings. That makes the mattress lighter and easier to move around when you change your baby's sheets — and it's less expensive.

best crib mattress

(Image credit: My Green Mattress)

2. My Green Mattress Emily Mattress

The best crib mattress you can buy

Specifications
Type: Innerspring, Latex
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: N
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+Organic and nontoxic+Eco-friendly+Durable and well-made
Reasons to avoid
-Cover isn't waterproof

If you're looking for a high-quality crib mattress that's eco-friendly, sustainable, and safe, look no further than the Emily Mattress from My Green Mattress. This mattress was created by a father who was looking for a top-quality, non-toxic mattress for his young daughter and came up short. So he created the organic, non-toxic, responsibly manufactured Emily Mattress. Our freelance writer, Ann Loynd Burton, got her hands on one for her new baby girl and gave us her thoughts. 

What we like about it
This mattress ticks virtually every box when it comes to safety and responsible manufacturing: It's entirely organic, made from Global Organic Textile Standard- (GOTS) certified organic cotton, GOTS-certified organic wool, and a GOLS-certified organic coconut coir pad layered over a firm innerspring. 

In case you're not familiar with coconut coir (we weren't), it's a material made from coconut fibers that are bound together by organic Dunlop latex (note, if a latex allergy runs in your family, you may want to opt for a different pick). It's about as close as you can get to having your baby sleep on clouds of fresh mountain air. The wool layer in this mattress acts as a natural fire retardant, eliminating the need for chemical fire retardants. 

The mattress feels firm with a bit of bounce (thanks to the latex), and the cover is a super-soft quilted cotton. When we opened the mattress, it had no noticeable chemical smell. Instead it smelled vaguely of wool, which makes sense as wool is the second layer. 

Things to note
While the mattress is flippable (and the manufacturer recommends you flip it once a month for the first three months), it doesn't have a designated side for a toddler. 

Also, the cover isn't waterproof.

best crib mattress

(Image credit: Babyletto)

3. Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

Best value crib mattress: A non-toxic pick with mid-range pricing

Specifications
Type: Innerspring
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: Y
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+Recyclable+Hypoallergenic+Made with a crinkle-free waterproof cover
Reasons to avoid
-Not organic

If you're looking for a good non-toxic crib mattress but don't want to spend hundreds, the Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress is a great choice. It's not the cheapest on our list, but it's also not the most expensive. Although this mattress isn't certified organic, it's made with nontoxic materials.

What we like about it
The Babyletto Pure Core non-toxic crib mattress is made from a non-toxic polyester, but list of what it's made without is more impressive: It's free from polyurethane foam, soy foam, vinyl, PVC, chemical flame retardants, dyes, allergens, phthalates, PFCs, synthetic latex, and off-gassing materials. 

It also comes with a machine-washable waterproof cover — something that'll come in handy when diaper disasters ensue, which they always do.

Finally, this mattress is hypoallergenic and resists dust mites, and it's dual-sided so you can flip it when your baby becomes a toddler.

Things to note
Although the mattress is nontoxic, it lacks the organic/environmental certifications that you'll find on some of the other mattresses in this buying guide. But when it comes to finding the best value at the most reasonable price tag, we still think this is the best mattress out there.

best crib mattress

(Image credit: Avocado mattress)

4. Avocado Crib Mattress

Best luxury crib mattress: incredible quality and no-compromise manufacturing

Specifications
Type: Innerspring
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: N
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+GOTS-certified organic+Avocado is the first mattress company to be certified Climate Neutral
Reasons to avoid
-Most expensive on our list

Like the other organic crib mattresses on our list, the Avocado baby crib mattress is made from GOTS-certified materials, and contains no chemical flame retardants or other harmful ingredients. It's also sustainably manufactured in Los Angeles. We call this a luxury pick because, in addition to the higher-end price point for the mattress itself, the company also recommends purchasing their organic crib mattress protector; the mattress itself is not waterproof. 

That makes this a splurge for sure — but with all the accolades this mattress racks up, it's a worthwhile purchase if you can afford it. 

What we like about it
This mattress is as pure as they come. Not only does Avocado only use certified-organic materials in their construction, it's also the first mattress brand to achieve Climate Neutral certification. That means they fully offset their carbon footprint to net-zero. 

Otherwise, the mattress features a soft, quilted top layer (but still sleeps firm), and had embroidered labels that designate the toddler and baby sides — something other mattress brands leave you to guess. 

Things to note
As already mentioned, this mattress is the most expensive on the list — and the cover is not waterproof.

Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib & Toddler Bed Mattress

(Image credit: Safety 1st)

5. Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib & Toddler Bed Mattress

Best crib mattress on a budget: Flame retardant free and under $100

Specifications
Type: Thermobonded
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: Y
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+GREENGUARD Gold Certification+Under $70
Reasons to avoid
-Some reviewers say it's great for infants but not ideal for toddlers

This budget-friendly mattress is the best you can buy for under $100. The Safety 1st Heavenly Dreams Crib & Toddler Bed Mattress is firm, well-made, GREENGUARD Gold Certified, and created from materials that are better for baby. 

What we like about it
This mattress is made from thermobonded cotton, wool and polyester fibers, and encased in a vinyl cover. The cover is water-resistant and washable, and neither the cover or mattress are treated with chemical flame retardants.

The price tag also comes in at under $100, perfect for those on a budget or looking for a second mattress to keep at a grandparent or babysitter's house, without compromising on materials.

Things to note
The manufacturer notes that this mattress is for sleeping only, not jumping. That's fine for a baby, but once your child is a toddler the no-jumping policy gets tougher to enforce.  If you plan to move your older child out of the crib to make way for a younger sibling, however, this can still be a great choice. 

moonlight little dreamer crib mattress

(Image credit: Moonlight)

6. Moonlight Little Dreamer

Best foam crib mattress: The Moonlight Little Dreamer still packs an impressive list of eco-friendly certifications

Specifications
Type: CertiPUR-US foam infused with plant oils
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: Y
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified+Reversible+Woven fire barrier (no chemical fire retardants)
Reasons to avoid
-Foam construction has some limits

Not everybody wants a foam crib mattress — in part because even the best certifications for polyurethane foam don't guarantee that the product is actually organic or completely toxin-free. However, if you are looking for a foam mattress, the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer is our favorite. 

What we like about it
Although the Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer is made from polyurethane foam, it's CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certified, and infused with plant oils instead of fire-retardant chemicals. Its flame-retardant qualities come from an internal stocking fire barrier.

The waterproof, hypoallergenic cover is a stretchy, medical-grade knit that's designed to be anti-microbial, odor-resistant and stain-resistant. It wipes clean easily, or you can toss it in the washing machine. 

The mattress itself is easy to move around — the foam construction makes it nice and light. It's also reversible, with firm foam on the "infant" side and softer foam on the "toddler" side.

Things to note
Although we appreciate this foam mattress's CertiPUR-US and GREENGUARD Gold certifications and lack of chemical fire retardants, it's still made of foam — which some parents dislike because it eventually starts to break down into small pieces.

Foam mattresses also tend not to have quite the same degree of edge support you get from innerspring mattresses. If you do opt for a foam mattress, it's important to make sure it's a snug fit inside your crib, which will help reduce the risk of baby becoming trapped at one of those weak edges.

Newton Baby Crib Mattress

(Image credit: Newton)

7. Newton Baby Crib Mattress

Best washable mattress: You can wash the entire mattress in the shower

Specifications
Type: washable
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: Y
Waterproof cover: N
Flippable: Y
Reasons to buy
+Entire mattress is washable+Highly breathable+GREENGUARD Gold certified+Reversible+Recyclable
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Not the firmest mattress

Cleaning your baby's mattress doesn't get much more practical than pulling it into the shower with you — and that's exactly what the Newton Baby Crib Mattress is designed for.

What we like about it
The Newton Baby Crib Mattress is made from food-grade polymer; in case of a really big mess, you can put the mattress cover in the washing machine and then pull the mattress itself into the shower to hose it off. You'll need to let it air-dry, but its great breathability helps with that.

The mattress is also reversible, to suit both infants and toddlers; GREENGUARD Gold certified; and completely recyclable.

Things to note
Washable it may be, but this crib mattress is also one of the most expensive on our list — and it doesn't seem quite as firm as some of the others we've considered. 

You'll also have to pay extra if you want a fully waterproof cover. We say go for it, if it's in the budget; as nice as it is to have the option of hauling the whole mattress into the shower with you, that's not something you want to do every time there's a little mess in the crib.

Kaitlin Madden
Kaitlin Madden

Kaitlin Madden Armon is a writer and editor covering all things home. In addition to Real Homes, she's written for Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, Refinery29, Modern Luxury Interiors, Wayfair, The Design Network, and lots more. She graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in journalism and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband, two sons, and black lab.

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