Best mattress 2021: 11 of the top mattresses for sleeping well this year

On the hunt for the best mattress of 2021? We did the heavy research for you. Plus our top tips for choosing a new bed

Awara hybrid mattress best mattress
(Image credit: Awara)

A supportive and comfortable mattress is the necessary foundation for a great night's sleep. In that case, you'll want the best mattress (your) money can buy. Sleep is vital when it comes to our health and overall wellbeing. And one major factor that decides both is not so surprisingly the mattress we turn to at the end of each day. 

However, finding the best mattress for your needs isn't as easy as it once was, especially when you consider the important things like selecting a mattress according to your body, sleep position, and budget. Add in a sleeping partner with different preferences, and the decision feels even more complicated We agree it's an intense process. Both hopping from mattress to mattress in-store and deciding which mattress to commit to from the hundreds of options online is a daunting place to start.  

As if there wasn't enough competition in the mattress sphere, one estimate from CNBC claims that there are nearly 200 mattress companies to have cropped up in the last ten years. 

And if it's been longer than that since you've bought a new mattress, today's mattresses are not anything like what you used to sleep on. Hybrid and memory foam options reign supreme over strictly traditional innerspring, while features like pressure relief and cooling properties are among the sleep technologies we seek out the most.  Talk about overwhelming! 

To help narrow down the process, we took it upon ourselves to try out, test, and research the best mattresses on the market. Personally, it was quite an enjoyable experience for us, and we thoroughly loved the idea that it would make things easier on your end, too. We've gone ahead and curated this Real Homes' buying guide to assemble all of our favorite mattresses in one place. From here, we've thought of every factor you should think of when making your next mattress selection such as choosing a mattress according to your sleep type, the ideal bed size,  and special features that make one mattress stand out from another. Consider it your comprehensive guide to finding the best mattress for your needs. 

Below, our top 11 mattresses. Each will have you drifting off to dreamland in no time. Additionally, considering the holiday season is upon us, you can expect to find some great mattress deals on our top-rated mattresses as well. 

  • Not sure you're ready to spring into buying a mattress just yet? A mattress topper can be an effective way to make your current mattress more comfortable. Check out our guide to the best mattress topper for more. 

Best mattress 2021

Best mattresses of 2021

Saatva Classic MattressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Saatva)

Best mattress, overall

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal king
Depth: 11.5" or 14.5"
Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Plush (3), Medium (5-7), Firm (8)
Best for: all sleep types
Availability : Online
Trial Period: 180 nights
Warranty: 15 years
RRP: $887-$2,174
Reasons to buy
+Choose from three firmness levels and 2 depths+Hybrid combines memory foam and coils+Stays cooler than an all-foam mattress+Made to order of eco-friendly materials+Free White Glove Delivery and Mattress removal
Reasons to avoid
- $99 return fee to cover the labor and transport fee for pickup-11.5" doesn't have side handles

This mattress nabbed our number one spot for several reasons, but to put it simply: this one's got it all. The Saatva Classic mattress is a hybrid, which means it combines both memory foam and classic innerspring technologies, so you're bound to get the best of both mattress worlds. Plus, it's made from top-quality materials like CertiPUR-US foam, organic cotton, and recycled steel coils; and the price point is affordable (though not cheap), especially for a mattress of this quality. Saatva is also one of the few DTC (direct to consumer) mattress companies that offer free White Glove Delivery and in-home setup, plus optional free removal of your old mattress. Making it a no-brainer that this mattress is worth the investment, and as hassle-free, as it gets when trying a new mattress.

What is the Saatva mattress like to sleep on? 
Our best comparison is a high-end hotel bed. It's got a cozy, sink-in factor thanks to the pillow top, but the innerspring layer below adds plenty of support for spinal alignment and pressure point elimination. The mattress comes in three firmness levels: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm, with most customers finding the medium-rated Luxury Firm version to be ideal. We agree, and think it's a happy medium that'll appease stomach, back, and side sleepers. 

Special features
One reason why we love a hybrid mattress is that it's able to solve some of the pitfalls that are associated with a memory foam mattress. Among the list of things, this hybrid does better than standard memory foam: edge support and airflow. If you've ever sat down on the side of your memory foam bed to put on your shoes, then you'll appreciate that the Saatva mattress offers excellent perimeter edge support thanks to dual-reinforced edges. And the coil construction allows airflow that's hard to match from an all-foam mattress. 

Read our full Saatva Classic mattress review

Up to 15% off Saatva
Latest Saatva promo

Up to 15% off Saatva

Save 10% off your purchase or 15% off orders over $2,750. This is your best chance to save now, as Saatva has announced that it will be increasing its prices on December 14th. 

best mattress nectar real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Nectar)

Best mattress for bad backs

Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 12"
Type: Memory foam
Firmness: Medium-firm (6.5)
Best for : All sleep types
Availability: Online and in stores
Trial Period: 1 year
Warranty: Forever
RRP: $798 - $1,598
Reasons to buy
+Medium-firm for firmness+Good motion transfer+Good breathability
Reasons to avoid
-No handles-Too firm for some side sleepers-Cover will pile without protective cover

If you are searching for a trustworthy memory foam mattress that won't lose its firmness (even after many years' worth of use), then this Nectar mattress will be your match! Plus, it's top-rated for providing support and comfort to those experiencing back pain.  It's suitable for all sleep types, and 90 percent of sleepers in a survey said it reduced overall aches, stiffness, soreness, and/or discomfort. 

What's the Nectar Mattress like to sleep on? 
Thanks to its memory foam filling, the Nectar Mattress will make your joints feel cushioned from night one thanks to the pressure-relief foam layer. The seven-zone base foam provides additional contoured support plus depth.  With regards to motion transfer, the Nectar is as good as any memory foam — and if interrupting your other half during the night is a big no? Then, this mattress is the best find for you.

On the firmness front, Nectar is rated 5.5–7.5 on the website, which the company claims is "just right." Users will find this option is not too soft, not too firm, and after all, what could be better than that? No one wants a mattress that is too firm, trust us. 

Adaptive Cooling Cover
It has an Adaptive Cooling Cover designed to draw away heat from your body and circulate fresh air every time you move. That in addition to aerated memory foam will help you sleep cool. 

Read our full Nectar mattress review.

Latest Nectar promo

$100 off, plus score $399 worth of freebies with every mattress purchase 

Bingo! It's Nectar's best deal all year! Take $100 off and snag a sheet set, mattress protector, and pillows, for free. 

best mattress casper original mattress real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Casper)

Best memory foam mattress

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Comfort foam/memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Best for: Side and back sleepers
Availability: Online and in-store
Trial period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $695 - $1,495
Reasons to buy
+Cool, comfy foam+Medium firmness+Good for all sleep positions, especially side sleepers+Good for motion transfer+Hybrid option, too
Reasons to avoid
-Usual chemical smell when you unpack it, but it will fade

The Casper Original, an award-winning dual foam mattress, scores big on comfort and coolness and is bound to be beloved by any side sleeper who suffers from joint pain to stomach sleepers seeking proper spinal alignment. 

What is the Casper like to sleep on? 
This Casper mattress is softer than any other memory foam on the market, which makes it a top choice for side sleepers. When used properly, users will notice that their hips and shoulders sink lower than the rest of their torso, to ensure an ergonomically aligned spine, with special support across three different ergonomic zones. But don't be alarmed, there is little motion transfer, so your partner will never notice any tossing or turning on your end in the wee hours of the night. And best of all? The cooling layer! It's breathable, which again aids in offering undisturbed, blissful sleep.

Special features
The top cover can seamlessly zip on and off when you're looking to give your topper a deep clean, though you should still use a mattress protector for added peace of mind. Thanks to handles, you'll have full maneuverability, so go ahead and unzip it off and throw it in the washing machine on hot! You'll be amazed just how easy the cleaning process can and will be, thanks to this spectacular feature.  Unsure if you're ready to commit to a memory foam mattress, Casper makes a top-rated hybrid mattress too. Oh, and if you are looking for more amazing features? It's important to mention there are dog mattresses available, as well, so Fido can get some quality naps in too... when's he not snuggled with you of course!.  

Read our full Casper memory foam mattress review.

Up to 50% off
Latest Casper Promo

Up to 50% off

While Casper mattresses are currently 10% off, shop up to half off bedding, 20% off pillows, and 10% off everything else. 

best mattress avocado green mattress real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Avocado)

Best eco-friendly mattress

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 11" or 13" with pillow top
Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium to Firm (7)
Best for: Side and back sleepers
Availability: Online
Trial Period: 1 year
Warranty: 25 years
RRP: $1,099- $2,799
Reasons to buy
+Sustainably harvested latex rubber foam+Medium to firm for firmness+No fire retardants+Handmade in Los Angeles
Reasons to avoid
-One of the most expensive mattresses on our list-Can be too firm for some

Looking for the best organic mattress on the market? The Avocado Green mattress takes the title in our books. It's an eco-friendly option from top-to-bottom, made with GOTS-certified organic cotton and wool, and sustainably harvested latex foam. It's also handmade in Los Angeles and is uncompromising when it comes to quality. Sure, it might be one of the most expensive mattresses on our list, but it's well worth the price if it's within your budget. 

What is the Avocado mattress like to sleep on? 
The Avocado mattress sits on the firmer side of medium, and the brand rates it a seven out of 10 (with 10 being the firmest). It's designed with a soft top layer that's constructed from latex foam to add comfort to its already supportive base — that's made of up to 1,414 individually tuned, tempered steel coils (with the exact number depending on the size of mattress you ordered). Plus, this mattress is divided into five ergonomic "zones" designed to keep comfort at a premium and motion transfer at bay.

Oh, and for those who prefer a softer feel, the mattress is also available with a plush cotton pillow top. 

Side- and back-sleepers, and those with chemical sensitivities or allergies will particularly enjoy this mattress.  The mattress is made without fire retardants, petroleum-based foams, or chemical adhesives so, the off-gassing period typical of other foam mattresses is none existent. 

Special Features
Instead of chemical flame retardants, the Avocado green mattress meets U.S. flammability standards with an all-natural fire retardant: wool. It's also one of only three mattress brands in the world to be MADE SAFE Non-Toxic certified.

Read our full Avocado Green mattress review.

 Take $125 off Green, Vegan, All Latex, and Vegan Latex mattress
  • Want more eco-friendly mattress picks? Our best organic mattress guide examines why you might want to choose these green mattresses. 

Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Dreamcloud)

Best luxury mattress at a mid-range price

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 14"
Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (6.5)
Best for: All sleep types
Availability: Online
Trial Period: 1 year
Warranty: Lifetime
RRP: $1,198- $1,798
Reasons to buy
+Memory foam cradles body+Coils provide support and airflow+Won’t be disturbed when your partner rolls out of bed+Can be used on all bed frames
Reasons to avoid
-Will likely require deep-pocketed sheets

The true appeal of the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid is that it gives you hotel quality luxury at an extremely competitive price point, and often with a promotion to be had. At 14 inches, the thickness alone evokes feelings of luxury-though you will likely need to stock up on deep pocketed sheets, but this mattress is packed with five layers of foam, individually wrapped springs, and 

What is the DreamCloud mattress like to sleep on? 
True to its name, the DreamCloud is just like sleeping on a cloud. DreamCloud rates it as a 6.5 firmness rating out of 10 and we agree. No matter the position, you'll feel support without a suffocating" falling in" to the mattress feel. It's the perfect blend of firmness and softness in this mattress for the ultimate comforting experience, on the side of plush. The cashmere topped cover stays both cozy and cool, while the quilted memory foam offers just the right amount of comfort with a layer of gel foam just beneath for pressure relief and a cooling effect. The individually wrapped coils offer necessary and customized support as it yields to the shape of your body and promotes better airflow throughout the mattress. 

Special Features
The thickness alone feels luxurious, but add in the cashmere-blend cover and we're at a 5-star resort. The mattress is equipped with various technologies from low motion transfer foam to edge to edge springs to make sure that you don't feel your sleeping partner (or roll-off, thank you edge support) and keep from overheating in your sleep too. It's also one of the few investments with a year-long trial and lifetime warranty. 

Read our full DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress review.

$599 worth of savings
Latest DreamCloud promo

$599 worth of savings

This DreamCloud deal is big! Get $200 off your mattress, plus $399 worth of freebies including a mattress protector, sheet set, and two pillows. 

best mattress emma mattress real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Emma)

Best mattress for breathability

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Comfort foam/memory foam
Best for: Stomach and back sleepers
Firmness: Firm
Availability: Online
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $649- $1,299
Reasons to buy
+Zoned support+Perfect temperature control+Medium-firm for firmness+Good motion transfer
Reasons to avoid
-Too hard for some side sleepers-May sleep too warm for some

British favorite Emma Mattress only made its way stateside recently. One to keep an eye on, this mattress is comfortable, supportive, and incredibly affordable. (In fact, we're almost certain that the Emma mattress is the reason Europeans supposedly get five hours more sleep per week, on average, than Americans.) 

What is the Emma like to sleep on?
Truthfully, we'd go ahead and rate this mattress towards the firmer end of medium. But to be clear: that doesn't mean it's rock solid. Here, users will find this mattress is evenly supportive across the entire surface, so there is plenty of room to spread out comfortably night after night. It uses comfort point-elastic caving that enables an ideal and unique fit for your body that keeps your spine straight while offering you the necessary amount of support and comfort. The Airgocell foam layer seamlessly adapts to pressure while responding to any movement. Which means what exactly? In the event, you're a side or back sleeper, the HRX material will not only provide counter-pressure and alignment to your lower back while simultaneously proving shoulder support, too.

Special features 
We love that the breathable, removable top cover can be washed on a hot cycle in any washing machine to kill dust mites and bacteria. And another reason we love it? Despite its European roots, this American version of the mattress is made in the USA of three different foam layers.

Read our full Emma Orginal mattress review.

Save 40% off an Emma mattress
Latest Emma promo

Save 40% off an Emma mattress

One of the best savings all around! 

Purple plusReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Purple)

Most innovative mattress

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Depth: 11"
Type: Hyper-Elastic Polymer/ foam
Firmness: Medium (6)
Best for: Side and Back sleepers
Availability: Online and in stores
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $699 - $1798
Reasons to buy
+Excellent 'give' for side sleepers+Proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer aka "Purple Grid" is extremely responsive, breathable, and offers best in class pressure relief +Soft but supportive+Good for combo sleepers
Reasons to avoid
-May be too plush for strict stomach sleepers

If you thought finding the right mattress isn't rocket science, think again! However, here this Purple Plus mattress has it down to a "T". This specific option is designed from a proprietary Hyper-Elastic Polymer which was developed by two brothers — one of whom is a rocket scientist — with years of testing to back it up. It has since come to be referred to, as "The Purple Grid," a responsive, two-inch layer (in the case of the Purple Plus) with temperature neutral properties and soft, conditioning comfort. 

What is the Purple mattress like to sleep on? 
The Plus version features an additional two-inch layer of premium foam that provides better cushioning, response, and breathability for enhanced comfort and dynamic support. Re: it's plush, but soft where you want it, and firm where you need it. The famous grid construction of this mattress is designed to support your body as you move as you sleep, no matter what position you end up in. It is responsive and molds to your body while also offering an excellent level of support. It's built to accommodate all types of sleeping styles, though we think side and back sleepers will find the most comfort. 

The Purple Grid
There is nothing else on the market quite like Purple's proprietary hyper-elastic polymers grids that offer optimal pressure relief and is made with thousands of holes to enable better airflow. In fact, it's actually made up of 80% air, so you quite literally will feel like you're sleeping in a cloud.  Its squishy feeling can take a moment to adjust to, but once you do, you won't want to sleep on anything else.

Read our full Purple Plus mattress review.

Save up to $600 Bundles
Latest Purple promo

Save up to $600 Bundles

The Purple and Purple Plus mattresses are $100 off, and you can save another $200 when you bundle with a base. Or, save $400 off Hybrid 3 and 4 mattresses or, $200 off Hybrid.

best mattress tuft & needle real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

Best value mattress

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium
Best for: All sleep types
Availability: Online
Trial: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $656- $1,095
Reasons to buy
+Suitable for all sleep positions+Cooling gel-infused foam+Comes in a box – easy transporting+Well-priced+Greenguard Gold Certified
Reasons to avoid
-Reviewers report some initial off-gassing-May take up to 7 days to fully expand-Could be too firm for some

Say hello to your perfect happy medium: the Tuft & Needle original mattress. This option is a not-too-hard, not-too-soft foam mattress that is ideal for all sleeping positions. According to the company, 95 percent of customers keep and love their Tuft & Needle original mattress. Really, we consider it the solution to the Goldilock's Syndrom (and looking for a mattress that is not too soft, nor too hard), or just for anyone who wants continuous comfort night after night. And the only thing better than that? This mattress falls in the middle of the road when it comes to prices. 

What is the Tuft & Needle original mattress like to sleep on?
The Tuft & Needle original mattress is equal parts support and softness. Most favorably, this mattress is created from something called "T&N Adaptive Foam," which is infused with heat-wicking graphite and cooling gel beads and designed to provide flexible support to the spine. 

Now while the mattress is made from foam, it's important to be clear: this isn't memory foam. Instead, it's built with a denser bottom layer of open-cell foam and a soft, breathable top layer that makes all the difference. Here, this version is easier to move around on, and why we're highly recommending it to any fussy sleepers, or individuals who've found themselves tossing and turning often a night. Or, anyone who tends to sweat, too. Thanks to the layer of cooling gel, this mattress has those prone to overheating, as well. 

Environmental Certifications
In addition to being Greenguard Gold certified, this mattress is also certified low-VOC by CertiPUR-US and has been awarded Intertek's Clean Air Certification for meeting LEED indoor air quality standards. Now, given its low-VOC and PBDE-free status, this mattress is an excellent choice for children and those with chemical sensitivities. 

Read our full Tuft & Needle Original Mattress review

 Up to 20% off on Holiday gifts
Latest Tuft & Needle promo

 Up to 20% off on Holiday gifts

Tuft & Needle mattresses are 20% off, as well as a selection of giftable bedding items

best mattress leesaReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Leesa)

Best mattress for side sleepers

Size: Twin, Twin Xl, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Depth: 10"
Type: Comfort foam/ memory foam
Firmness: Medium (5-7)
Best for: All sleep types
Availability: Online and in-store
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $799 - $1,299
Reasons to buy
+Medium firmness+Good breathability for sweaty sleepers+Good motion transfer+B-Corp certified company
Reasons to avoid
-Sponge-clean only-Required 30-day trial period before returns accepted

This luxuriously thick memory foam mattress from Leesa will soon have everyone sleeping like a baby. It's ideal for all sleep positions, but it's even better for side-sleepers or those who get hot throughout the night (thanks to its top cooling layer). 

What is the Leesa mattress like to sleep on? 
With a rating of 5-7 on the firmness scale (with 10 being the most firm), this mattress is supportive but still soft enough to sink into, making it a fantastic choice for side-sleepers. At first glance, however, you may notice that this Leesa is initially quite firm. It easily softens as it warms to your body, but fear not, this is not to say that you sleep warmly. Actually, on the contrary, this mattress has carefully considered foam layers that were been specifically engineered to regulate temperature and prevent overheating. 

Sleepers can expect medium firmness (which is again ideal for side-sleepers.) Plus, it performs well at motion isolation, too.

As a certified B-corp., we love Leesa’s ethical values, which include donating one mattress to a child in need for every ten sold. Better than that? It's also made to order in the USA, meaning a fresh mattress that hasn't spent months in a warehouse and produces less waste. 

Read our full Leesa Original Mattress review

 Save 15%
Latest Leesa promo

 Save 15%

One of Leesa's best promotions, with the ability to save up to $210 off the Leesa mattress. 

best mattress awara Organic mattress real homes rated goldReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Awara)

Best latex mattress

Size: Twin - Cal. king
Depth: 13"
Type: Latex hybrid
Firmness: Medium (6.5)
Best for: All sleep types
Availability: Online
Trial: 1- year
Warranty: Lifetime
RRP: $1,798- $2,298
Reasons to buy
+Made from all-natural Sri Lanka latex+Great airflow+Certified organic+Non-toxic
Reasons to avoid
-Some motion transfer with the extra bounce 

Find yourself looking for an all-natural alternative to memory foam? A latex mattress is your best bet. We love the Awara mattress for its purity and comfort. It's all-natural, organic, and non-toxic. In this design, organic Dunlop latex and innerspring coils create a cool, natural night's sleep.

What is the Awara mattress like to sleep on? 
The Awara mattress is a medium firmness mattress and provides more "give" than other latex hybrids on the market. And why is that? It's a direct result of its 4" layer of latex at the top (the thickest of any latex hybrid on the market). As a result, it makes an excellent pick for any side and stomach sleepers, as well as an excellent choice for lighter-weight back sleepers (or anyone under 200 lbs).

Plus, since it's a hybrid, the motion transfer won't be as good as a memory foam mattress, but you'll make up for it with extra bounce and edge support. 

While latex is known to be more breathable than memory foam, the coil spring base promotes even more airflow, which will soothe hot sleepers.

Organic materials
The certified-organic cotton cover is filled with a naturally fire-retardant wool comfort layer. It is free of chemical flame retardants, formaldehyde, and polyurethane-based foams.

Read our full Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress review.

$200 off + $499 of Accessories with a new Awara mattress
Latest Awara promo

$200 off + $499 of Accessories with a new Awara mattress 

Among one of the best Awara deals we've seen this year, the freebie bundle includes a sheet set, mattress protector, and two latex pillows. 

Zinus 8 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress real homes rated silverReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Zinus)

Best Amazon Mattress

Size: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King
Depth: 6", 8", 10" or 12"
Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium
Best for: Back and side sleepers
Availability: Online
Trial Period: 100 nights
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $230-$330
Reasons to buy
+Relieves pressure on your shoulders and hips+Medium firmness+4 different depth options ranging from 6"-12"+Best for back and side sleepers+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Odor after unboxing-Weak edge support-Certain sizes and depths may be temporarily out of stock

If Amazon is your go-to for purchases big and small, Zinus is the de-facto number, one seller, when it comes to mattresses. The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress has over 80,000 five-star ratings, meaning plenty of happy buyers getting a great night's sleep. And don't be miffed by its cheap price tag, it's actually extremely comfortable. 

The mattress is available in a range of thicknesses, and the price increases as you go thicker. You have the option of 6", 8", 10" or 12", where the mattress gets much plusher the thicker you choose. We would recommend options that are at least eight inches or deeper. The 6" and 8" models are recommended for back sleepers and those of average weight, the 10" and 12"mattresses are recommended for side sleepers of petite to average weight. However, we have noticed some inventory shortages and price fluctuations, so you'll want to check Amazon directly for the latest stock updates. 

What's the Zinus Green Tea memory foam mattress like to sleep on? 
Overall, like sleeping on a cloud. Featuring a combination of conforming memory foam, soft, airflow enhancing comfort foam, and durable, high-density base support foam, the Zinus offers that conforming, sinking feeling that cradles your body, while offering necessary spinal support. This memory foam design is ideal for those who suffer from aches and pains and are looking for pressure relief.  However, while we've found the mattress to be very comfortable, edge support could be better, and memory foam recovery was kind of slow. 

During unboxing, some users have reported an odor, and that it takes up to 72 hours for the mattress to fully expand.  

Special Features
The gel foam is infused with green tea that neutralizes odor and keeps your mattress feeling fresh and moisture-absorbing ActivCharcoal.  

Read our full Zinus Green Tea memory foam mattress review. 

How we review our mattresses

The majority of the mattresses on our best lists have been personally reviewed by members of our team, who take into account value for the money, construction, comfort, and support, with various tests in place to consider factors like edge support, motion transfer, and spinal alignment. 

All our reviews are based on the real-life experience of using these products at home. The products are given to us free of charge and we test them for as long as possible before sending them back to the brand unless we are able to keep them. This means that we can continue to use the product which gives us the opportunity to return to our reviews for updating, so you can keep up-to-date with how it's fared over a period of time.

In the event that we have not yet had personal experiences with the mattress, we go off of online customer reviews from various retailers and as well word of mouth from those that we interact with.  

Mattress Essentials Checklist

Now that you have an idea of the best mattresses out there, you'll also need the proper accessories to complete the look. Most mattress companies offer bundle deals, but just in case you're interested in making decisions a la carte, consider all the items you'll want to make sure to have so that you're protected and comfortable. 

  • Considering you'll spend hundreds (if not thousands) on a new mattress, back up your investment with the all-important mattress protector for peace of mind against spills, stains, dust mites, and more from ruining your mattress.. or shortening its lifespan. 
  • Could it be time to refresh your pillows? It's definitely the right time to evaluate the best pillow too. You choose mattresses according to your sleep style, and you should do the same for pillows.
  • Where you've decided to adjust bed sizes or have chosen a thicker mattress that will require deep sheets, it's a good idea to consider a new sheet set.
  • Is your bed compatible with your new mattress? Platform bed frames are sound options for most foam, latex, and hybrid designs. However, if you have a metal bed frame, you can buy a foundation alongside your mattress, usually at checkout. Traditional innerspring mattresses, however, usually require the buoyant support of a box spring. 

Saatva mattress with white bedding

(Image credit: Saatva)

How to Choose the Best Mattress

Considering a new mattress? If you haven't replaced yours in seven (or more) years, or if you’re at the point where you are waking up in the morning feeling achy or uncomfortable, now is the time for an upgrade. Follow our comprehensive guide on how to choose a mattress for a better, more restful night's sleep.

1. Key points to consider when buying a new mattress

  • Work out your sleep position: if you're a side sleeper, you'll need a softer mattress (think memory foam or hybrid) than back or front sleepers, who will want something firmer
  • Are you heavy or light? Heavier people tend to find firmer mattresses comfortable; lighter people need a softer mattress they can sink into a little;
  • Tend to toss and turn, or have a partner who does? "Good motion transfer" is the phrase you're looking for in a mattress – most of those above have that (memory foam or hybrid mattresses usually more so than traditional spring mattresses);
  • Experiencing back pain? Look at memory foam or a hybrid (which is foam over springs); 
  • Allergy sufferer? Consider latex as a filling and designs marketed as hypoallergenic (although memory foam/hybrids will be good for you too;
  • Sweaty sleeper? Find a mattress made of breathable materials: most of those above have this type of filling.
  • Materials and certifications: Eco-friendly materials include latex, and organic cotton, and wool. Or, look for labels like Certi-Pur US, a certification program for foam products, ensuring their durability and manufactured with non-toxic materials.
  • Budget: not everyone can splurge on a mattress, which is why we've included a range of models to suit all budgets; PLUS our clever widgets (seen throughout the article) displays the best prices every day.

2. Use a free trial to test your new mattress

We'd never advise anyone to buy a mattress without trying it first. But back in the day, that meant going shopping and lying on mattresses in-store; but honestly, the days of buying a mattress in-store are far behind us. Now, you can safely shop online and take advantage of the free trial with hassle-free returns. As the majority of the mattresses, we've reviewed come with super handy 100-night+ sleep trials and/or lengthy warranties, you're sure to find an option that has you covered. Some companies like Avocado, Nectar, DreamCloud, and Awara offer year-long trial periods. 

3. Buy the best mattress to accommodate your sleep position

Are you a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or a stomach sleeper? Purchase your next mattress to suit how you sleep, and you'll be pain and ache-free in no time. 

Side sleepers can experience achy joints, especially around the hips and shoulders. Opting for a softer mattress you can sink into is the way to go, with medium-soft the most recommended comfort grade. We suggest the Emma mattress and the Casper Original for side sleepers. Both are foam mattresses.

Stomach sleepers might experience sore pressure points in the ribcage, knees, and elbows, as well as "general spinal discomfort." In order to alleviate this, you will need to find a firm mattress that supports you but also provides support in those sensitive points. Our all-around best bet to do that is the Awara, a medium mattress with a winning spring and latex construction. 

Back sleepers need to go for a middle ground for maximum comfort: not too soft, not too firm. Our favorite for back sleepers is the Nectar mattress it's also a good buy for side sleepers who prefer a slightly firmer sleep surface.

You also need to consider how things like your pillow impact your sleeping position and mattress choice, too. 

Use our guide on how to choose a pillow for your sleep position to get that right.

4. Get the right level of mattress firmness

One of the most important things to think about when purchasing a new mattress is getting the right firmness for you. Often it comes down to personal preference and whether you prefer a soft or firm feel; you just need to be confident that you have the correct support for the way that you like to sleep. Your weight plays a part, too: heavier people will find a harder mattress more comfortable than lighter people, who will usually fare better on a softer mattress. You'll also frequently see mattresses ranked on a scale of 1-10, with most falling between the happy median of a 5-7.  Here's a rough guide to what should suit you:

  • Soft medium: Ideal mattresses for side sleepers, as they let your shoulders and hips sink into the mattress while supporting the rest of your body;
  • Medium: If you sleep on your side but prefer the feel of a firmer mattress, choose medium support;
  • Medium-firm: If you change position from your side to your back this is the best option;
  • Firm: If you prefer to sleep on your back or sleep on your stomach, or a heavier person, choose a firm mattress, which will give you just the right amount of support;
  • Extra-firm: Sometimes called an orthopedic mattress, extra firm mattresses offer a very firm level of support. 

5. How to do a quick mattress comfort test

Many of our best mattresses, while available directly to you online, have also partnered with retailers such as Macy's or Mattress Firm to give you the chance to see it in real life before purchase, which is the case we've seen with Casper, Leesa, Nectar, and Purple. Some companies like Casper, Tuft & Needle, and Avocado have their own showrooms to visit. If you are testing out a mattress in-store, you can check if it might suit you by lying down and sliding a hand beneath the small of your back. If your hand slides in easily, the mattress is too hard; if you can't slide your hand in at all, it’s too soft. 

Bear in mind, though, that the base you'll be putting the mattress on will affect how the mattress feels at home. For example, a box spring will make a mattress feel softer than a solid or slatted base. 

Third-party brick and mortar stores also offer similar trial periods, same as buying online, but be sure to confirm what it is before purchase, just in case the mattress that felt great in the showroom, just isn't making the cut once you get it home. 

6. Choose the best mattress type for you

There's a mind-boggling array of mattress material choices but it's important to state that no one particular type is better than another; it's much more about what you'll find comfortable. Here's a quick rundown of the mattress types available:

Memory foam molds to your body's shape, and gives plenty of support, making it perfect for side sleepers or anyone with back pain. Newer memory foam mattresses have breathability built-in – so look for this as a feature when buying. It's also good for allergy sufferers. Our top choices are Nectar, Emma, Casper, and the Leesa.

Hybrid mattresses are constructed with a pocket-spring base and a memory foam top layer, so you'll get the responsiveness of springs plus memory foam support. Good for allergy and back pain sufferers. Our favorite is the Saatva Classic mattress, DreamCloud, Avocado, and Awara.

Latex is durable and breathable; it tends to be on the firmer side and is ideal for allergy sufferers thanks to its anti-microbial properties. It’s also a very durable material and can be expected to support you soundly for years. For a good combination of latex and pocket springs, we like the Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress, as well as Avocado's offerings. 

Innerspring mattresses, made from individual steel springs in pockets of fabric, provide lots of support, whether you prefer a soft or firm sleep surface. They can also come with different levels of support on either side of a double for partners who prefer different levels of firmness. 

Natural mattresses should not include polyurethane foam; rather, look for only natural fillings such as cotton, wool hemp, and flax, and they should provide an alternative to the chemical fire retardants that are used in other mattresses. A mattress that calls itself natural needn't be low-tech: advances in pocket spring technology mean that the days of squeaky, massive springs are over; new models use thousands of micro-springs that rotate as your body moves, so you should, at least in theory, be as comfortable sleeping on your natural mattress as on foam or hybrid mattress.  

Vegan mattresses will be similar to natural mattresses in that they seek to use natural materials but do not feature any animal byproducts in their production, including wool or feathers. Rather, you'll find a preference for materials such as natural latex, cotton, or hemp. Vegan mattresses are found to be more breathable and naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and other bacteria. Many brands with an organic focus feature a vegan option, such as Avocado or Saatva. 

7. Pick the right mattress size

Most times, your current bed determines which one you're in the market for. However, if you are starting from scratch and looking to get a new bed and mattress, then a good place to start is with the right size. 

If you are sharing a bed with a partner, a queen is usually sufficient, but if you are someone who requires more space or is often disturbed at night, then it may be wise to go up a size (if you have the space, of course). Ideally, your mattress should also be wide enough to allow two of you to lie side by side with your hands behind your heads, without your elbows touching. 

As for mattress length, it should be 4" longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. So, if you're a strapping six-footer, you'll be looking at a king-size mattress as a minimum. Those mattresses (on our list) range from 6" to 14" in depth. See how high your bed is and check the overall height of your bed isn't going to be an issue (especially if you have mobility issues and climbing into a high bed is a challenge).

Below are the most common US standard mattress dimensions:

  • Twin: 38" x 75"
  • Twin XL: 38" x 80"
  • Full: 53" x 75"
  • Queen: 60" x 80"
  • King: 76" x 80"
  • California king: 72" x 84"

8. Look at additional features

It's useful to consider whether the mattress you're purchasing has any added features such as:

  • A cover that zips off for easy cleaning
  • Handles for turning
  • Zoned support
  • Hypoallergenic properties
  • Certifications like Greenguard, CertiPUR-US, or OEKO-TEX.
  • Temperature regulation – see our pick of best mattress cooling pads for more. 

9. Should I buy a mattress in a box?

Mattress in a box? Yes, it's a thing. Where once, we'd decide whether a mattress was right for us by spending just a few minutes on it in a shop (fully clothed, obviously), now you can have yours shipped out to you. 

Why not? It makes sense. Why spend your time trying mattresses in an overheated or crowded store when you can order a mattress in a box, have it delivered within days, then use the 100-day free trial that most of the best-boxed mattress companies will give you to decide if it's the right mattress for you? And if it isn't, you can get either an exchange or, in many cases, a full refund with no hassle returns policies. So easy! 

Made from innovative materials that can be rolled (usually vacuum-packed) into a surprisingly small box, these mattresses can be easily hauled upstairs and unrolled, and regain their shape after just a few hours. 

Our top choice of all the mattresses in a box is the Casper and the Casper Hybrid. Also in our top mattresses in a box are the Emma Original, Avocado mattress, Purple mattress, Tuft & Needle original mattress, Nectar mattress, Leesa mattress, and Zinus mattress. (We're clearly big fans of the concept!).

Though, we should note that with a mattress in a box, you do lose perks that some traditional retailers and mattress brands offer like White Glove Delivery where it's assembled for you and the delivery workers will remove your old mattress too. Additionally, mattresses from a box typically take time to off-gas and inflate to full depth. 

10. When to replace your mattress

The Better Sleep Council says that after seven-to-10 years your current mattress may not be offering adequate support. This will depend on the quality of the mattress in the first place and how much use it has had, but if your mattress is nearing that age it is time to check if you need a replacement. We've also consulted a number of sleep experts who agree with that timeline of how long a mattress will last, as well as some signs you need a new mattress.

For instance, If the mattress doesn't spring back to its original shape when you get off; has lumps and bumps; is dirty beyond cleaning, or is in any way uncomfortable it is time for a new one. 

11. When is the best time to save on a new mattress? 

Mattresses sales tend to surge around major US holidays and shopping events like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more.  If you can hold out on your mattress purchases until these major shopping events, this is when you'll save the most, and even score some freebies. 

To make life even easier for you, we keep this page up to date all year long so that it feeds the best prices available, for the best mattresses out there on the web right now. And if you're looking for the best deal, we constantly track the best mattress sales too. 

12. Recap: the best-rated mattresses in 2021

After extensive testing (i.e. sleeping) all the mattresses we've tried and tested excel in their own respective ways. Click the jump-link to see back to what makes one of these mattresses a great option for you. 

  • You've reached the end of the page. Jump back up to the top ^
Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

After returning to Future Publishing in February 2020, Jennifer has been working on our appliance and mattress content to showcase the best in class examples which are available to buy for your homes. When she is not scouring the web for deals or reviewing products for your pursuit, she can be found hanging out with our three guinea pigs in her Victorian terraced home which she has lovingly (patiently) been renovating with her husband over the past few years. Jennifer also likes tea and homemade cake, very much.