Best crib mattress 2020: 5 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. Not sure which to choose? We've broken down the pros and cons of the top picks, below.

best crib mattress
(Image credit: Safety 1st)

Is there's one thing that's worth investing in when you're putting together your baby's nursery, it's 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 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. 

So, the moms (and moms-to-be) on our staff put our heads together to come up with our pick of the best crib mattresses. This list is based on our own experience as parents, extensive (borderline obsessive in some cases) research we did when choosing our own crib mattresses, industry expertise, and some good old-fashioned testing (though, we must admit, no one on our team actually slept in their child's cribs for this story). 

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

The best crib mattresses: How we chose

There were a few key points we looked for in 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 without chemical flame retardants/PBDEs, and 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 mattresses of 2020

best crib mattress

(Image credit: My Green Mattress)

1. 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 the best crib mattress money can buy, 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. We got our hands on one and here's what we thought. 

Pros

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, bound together by organic dunlop latex. It's about as close as you can get to having you baby sleep on clouds of fresh mountain air. The wool layer acts as a natural fire retardant, eliminating the need for the chemical variety. 

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 it, it had no noticeable chemical smell. Instead, it smelled vaguely of wool, which makes sense as wool is the second layer. 

Cons

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)

2. Babyletto Pure Core Non-Toxic Crib Mattress

Best value crib mattress: Non-toxic 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, and while it's not certified organic, it's made only with nontoxic materials.

Pros

This mattress is made from a non-toxic polyester, but 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 waterproof cover that's machine washable, something that's sure to come in handy.

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

Cons

Although the mattress is nontoxic, the waterproof cover is made from vinyl, so if you're looking for something that's truly all-natural and manufactured under the highest environmental standards, this isn't it. 

best crib mattress

(Image credit: Naturepedic)

3. 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, either. 

Pros

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 flame retardant-free. Practically speaking, it also features important functional elements, like a waterproof cover (made from non-toxic, non-GMO sugarcane), and a flippable infant side and toddler side. 

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

Cons

Some reviewers have noted sagging in this mattress, however, one of our editors has purchased this mattress twice for her children and has not noticed sagging, even after three years of use. 

Tip: This mattress also comes in a lightweight version, which is less expensive, and also makes it easier to change your baby's sheets.

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 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, the company recommends purchasing the organic crib mattress protector, too, since the crib mattress isn't waterproof. A splurge for sure, but with all the accolades this mattress racks up, a worthwhile one if you can afford it. 

Pros

This mattress is as pure as they come. Not only does Avocado only use certified-organic materials in their construction, but it's the first mattress brand to achieve Climate Neutral certification, which 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 side, something other mattress brands leave you to guess. 

Cons

Like we mentioned, this mattress is the most expensive on the list, and the cover isn't waterproof.

best crib mattress

(Image credit: Safety 1st)

5. Safety 1st Peaceful Lullabies Crib Mattress

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

Specifications
Type: Thermobonded
Chemical flame retardant: N
Hypoallergenic: N
Waterproof cover: Y
Flippable: N
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 Peaceful Lullabies Crib Mattress is firm, well-made, GREENGUARD Gold Certified, and created from materials that are better for baby. 

Pros

This mattress is made from cotton, wool and polyester fibers, and enclosed in a cover made from polyester and rayon of Bamboo. 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 $70, perfect for those on a budget or looking for a second mattress for a grandparent or babysitter's house, without compromising on materials.

Cons

The manufacturer notes that this mattress is for sleeping only, not jumping. 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. 

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