Best Soft Mattresses

Updated May 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
66 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best soft mattresses 

We spend anywhere from a quarter to a third of our lives asleep. That’s a lot of time to be atop a mattress, so it's best to find the right one for your needs. While the proper mattress can help you feel rested and rejuvenated, a mattress that doesn't match your lifestyle, body type, and sleeping position can lead to tension and pain.
 
Soft mattresses are popular with sleepers who want comfort and coziness. The softest mattresses are typically made of foam or latex, though hybrid options with a soft top and multiple layers also exist. A soft mattress is compatible with some of the more popular sleeping positions, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for heavy individuals who need more firmness and support while they sleep.

Is a soft mattress right for you? There are many factors to consider, and we explore those here. Read our guide to soft mattresses to learn information and check out our specific mattress recommendations.

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If you suffer from joint pain, a soft mattress may be advised, as it can provide comfort to your pressure points while supporting your spine.

Key considerations

The pros and cons of soft mattresses

A mattress is a significant investment. Before you buy a soft mattress, familiarize yourself with the benefits and drawbacks. A soft mattress contours and cradles the sleeper, providing a comfortable and responsive surface. A firm mattress offers more resistance and support. Think of it this way: with a firm mattress, you sleep on top, but with a soft mattress, you sleep within. Notably, soft mattresses do tend to sag or become set in their contours over time. 

Rating

The softness and firmness of a mattress is rated on a scale of one to ten. A lower number is softer, and 10 is the firmest. For our purposes, we will be discussing mattresses with a rating of 5 or less. 

Layers

Mattresses feature a comfort layer, which is softer, and a support layer, which is firmer. The thickness of these layers, the materials within, and the presence of any additional layers influence how soft or firm a mattress is. Newer mattresses may have anywhere from three to five layers. Some feature both firm and soft layers, so it’s important to take note of the top layer as well as the product’s overall softness rating to understand how it would feel. 

Type

There are three types of mattresses from which to choose: innerspring, foam, and hybrid. Innerspring mattresses are “traditional” mattresses that tend to be on the firm side. They are made up of springs or coils that provide resistance and support.

Foam mattresses are predominantly soft, and they have gained popularity in recent years. The type of foam informs support, comfort, and longevity. Memory foam conforms to the body, but it does not have as long a lifespan as polyfoam or gel-infused foam, which offer better temperature regulation and resist sagging. Notably, foam mattresses tend to cost more than innerspring mattresses.

Hybrid mattresses combine a foam layer with an innerspring layer. Additional layers may also be included. Hybrid mattresses are the priciest options, but they tend to be highly durable. You can find both soft and firm hybrid mattresses. 

Sleeping position

Your sleeping position will determine what, if any, kind of soft mattress is right for you.

Side: One of the most common sleep positions is on the side. Side sleeping requires a mattress that will cradle you. You should be able to sink comfortably into the mattress so the gaps and contours of your body are supported while pressure is lessened on your shoulders and hips.

Stomach: This is a position that brings about the most risk if you have an improper mattress. Stomach sleepers need enough support so they don’t sink into a mattress and strain their spine. As such, extra-soft mattresses are to be avoided. For smaller individuals, a medium-soft mattress may be adequate.

Back: Back sleepers have more options when it comes to their ideal mattress. A medium-soft mattress is usually advised, but something slightly softer may suffice, depending on other factors. Foam and hybrid options will support a back sleeper.

Combination: A fair number of people move around during the night. In this case, a hybrid mattress that balances softness and support is advised.

Size

Soft mattresses are available in all standard sizes, from twin to king. Queen and king mattresses are recommended for couples. California king is the largest option.

Thickness

Mattresses range in thickness from as little as 6 inches to as much as 14 inches. The average person will be adequately supported by a mattress that is 10 to 12 inches thick. Slighter individuals may be well-served by a thinner mattress; heavier users will want greater thickness.

Do you share your bed with pets? If so, you may want to opt for a mattress that limits motion transfer and promotes breathability.

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Features

Airflow

Those who tend to warm up while sleeping and those who sleep in a humid, warm climate may want a mattress that promotes airflow. A mattress that lacks airflow can begin to feel stuffy over time, particularly if there is moisture in the air. Look for the words “mesh” and “ventilation” in the product description when seeking a mattress with good airflow.

Cooling

This feature is similar to airflow and usually goes hand in hand with it, but it’s important to note the distinction. A mattress that promotes airflow doesn’t necessarily offer the coolest night’s sleep. Soft foam mattresses tend to trap heat, meaning you feel warm at night. Gel-foam mattresses possess a cooling trait that many users prefer.

Motion transfer

When sleeping with a partner, any movement one person makes may disturb the other. However, hybrid mattresses and mattresses made of soft foam limit motion transfer. This benefits those who share a bed, especially if one party goes to bed or gets up at a different time than the other. 

Sleep trial 

Some mattresses come with a sleep trial option, which means you can test out the mattress in your bedroom for a period of time. This is the best way to get the feel for a mattress and determine if it’s a good fit. The duration of a sleep trial varies depending on the brand, and while you typically get at least a month, some mattresses offer a sleep trial up to and even over a year.

Eco-friendly

Some soft mattresses are made exclusively with environmentally sustainable materials and free from anything synthetic and artificial. These options may be preferred by eco-conscious consumers.

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DID YOU KNOW?
Firmness and density are different mattresses qualities, but they tend to scale together and share some overlap. Typically, denser mattresses are firmer while less-dense mattresses are softer.
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Accessories

Bed sheets: Utopia Microfiber Bedding Set
Cover your new mattress with comfortable and beautiful bed sheets. We recommend this budget-friendly option from Utopia made of breathable, long-lasting microfiber.

Mattress protector: Lucid Waterproof Mattress Protector
Keep your mattress free from dust, accidents, and spills with a proper mattress protector. We like this inexpensive and effective option from Lucid.

Comforter: Royal Hotel Store Down Comforter
Stay warm and cozy on your new mattress with a luxurious comforter. This down-filled option from Royal Hotel Store is cotton and hypoallergenic for maximum comfort.

Soft mattress prices

Inexpensive: You can find a decent soft mattress for around $500. These will typically be thinner and lack a comprehensive layering design.

Mid-range: Most soft mattresses cost between $500 and $1,200. It’s a wide range in which a greater size, number of layers, and thickness prompt a higher price.

Expensive: Top-of-the-line soft mattresses, particularly hybrid ones, cost from $1,200 up to and over $2,000. These tend to be breathable and cool with excellent support and comfort.

One person’s idea of “soft” differs from that of another person. Partners who share a bed should both test a new mattress before committing to a purchase.

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Tips

  • Softness varies. Not all soft mattresses are soft to the same degree. Materials and design influence the extent to which a mattress is soft.
  • Air out your mattress. Upon arrival, and once every few months, it’s best to air out your mattress. Leave it uncovered in a well-ventilated room. Note that it may arrive with an odor from manufacturing.
  • Note the purchase date. If you haven’t bought a new mattress in seven years or so, it’s likely time to get a new one so you’re properly supported. 
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Foam mattresses may arrive rolled up, but hybrid options will likely be bulky. Clear a path from the front door to the bedroom to allow for easy delivery.

FAQ

Q. How can I best protect and maintain my soft mattress?

A. A mattress protector is paramount to keeping your mattress in good shape. Most are hypoallergenic and waterproof, preventing the mattresses from absorbing dust, dirt, mites, and fluid. Soft mattresses may also start to sag over time, so it’s advised to rotate it every three months to promote uniform wear.

Q. How do I fix a sagging mattress?

A. Rotating the mattress, or flipping it if applicable, helps prevent and slow down the sagging process. You may also want to invest in a mattress topper, which can add comfort and support to your bed. If your mattress is on its last legs, a temporary solution would be to use pillows in problem areas. Soft mattresses typically start to sag after five years of use.

Q. How long does a soft mattress last?

A. Memory foam usually has a lifespan of six to eight years. (Over time, the foam conforms and sets.) Gel-foam, polyfoam, and hybrid mattresses may last between 8 and 10 years. However, this lifespan is under optimal conditions. The mattress lifespan may be shorter depending on usage, environment, and whether it’s sufficiently protected from dirt and dust.

 

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