Choosing the right mattress firmness is an investment in your health and ensures a good night’s sleep that maintains your overall health. The level of firmness in a mattress can significantly impact sleep quality and various aspects of health.
There are two main types of firm mattresses on the market- firm and luxury firm. Each has its different benefits and is better suited to certain sleepers.
In this mattress-buying guide, we will explore:
- The similarities and differences between the two mattress types
- Who should choose firm and luxury firm mattresses.
Let’s get started!
The Firm Mattress Explained
Firm mattresses are a particularly popular choice due to their high level of support. Firm mattresses typically have less give and are designed to keep your body in a more elevated, neutral position.
They are a great option for people who sleep on their backs, or people who need more postural support.
Characteristics of a Firm Mattress
- Firm Feel: Firm mattresses have a stiff feel when you press down on them, meaning they don’t contour as much to the shape of your body compared to softer mattresses
- Minimal sinkage: Because firm mattresses do not ‘bend’ as much, you won’t experience the sinking feeling you do in softer mattresses
- Durability: Because of their firmer construction, these mattresses are often more durable and can maintain their shape and support for a longer time compared to softer mattresses
- Allergy Safe: Because of the firm surface, there are no deep crevices present that can be more likely to trap allergens such as dust mites and mold (which can aggravate allergy sufferers).
Who Should Choose Firm Mattresses?
- Back and Stomach Sleepers: Firm mattresses are often recommended for back and stomach sleepers because they help prevent the hips and lower back from sinking too deeply into the mattress. This helps to maintain proper spinal alignment
- People who run hot/cold: Because firm mattresses have fewer contours, they typically have better airflow and heat dissipation compared to other mattresses. This helps people who regulate their temperature during the night
- Heavier individuals: Firm mattresses are great for people with higher body weight due to the level of support they relieve
- People who suffer from back pain: People with back pain often benefit from choosing a firm mattress, due to the added support
- People who have neck and shoulder pain: People with neck or shoulder pain and tension may benefit from a firm mattress. Firm mattresses help prevent these areas from sinking too deeply into the mattress, thus reducing strain and discomfort.
Firm mattresses can be uncomfortable for people who prefer a softer, plush sleep surface.
People who enjoy the feeling of sinking into their mattress may find a firm mattress too hard!
This is important to consider if you are buying a mattress for a guest house. It is also important to note that slimmer individuals are more likely to find these mattresses uncomfortable.
Firm mattresses may not provide enough cushioning for individuals with sensitive pressure points, such as the shoulders and hips.
This can lead to discomfort and potential pain issues, especially for side sleepers or people with pressure sores.
Not Ideal for Specific Health Conditions
People who suffer from some health conditions including arthritis or fibromyalgia will often find firm mattresses uncomfortable.
These people often require a more cushioning mattress to help manage their pain and discomfort.
Understanding Luxury Firm
A luxury firm mattress is a type of mattress that offers a balance between support and comfort.
It typically falls between a traditional firm mattress and a medium-firm or plush mattress in terms of firmness.
This mattress type is great for people who require the support of a firm mattress but may prefer something a bit softer, such as combination sleepers.
Characteristics of a Luxury Firm Mattress
- Supportive Core: A luxury firm mattress has a supportive core, often made of materials like innerspring coils, latex, or high-density foam that helps to support proper spinal alignment during sleep
- Cushioning Comfort Layer: Unlike traditional firm mattresses, a luxury firm mattress includes a comfort layer that provides some cushioning and contouring to the body. This layer can be made of materials like memory foam, latex, or hybrid combinations and helps add another layer of softness whilst maintaining proper support
- Pressure Point Relief: Luxury firm mattresses offer more pressure point relief compared to very firm mattresses. They do this by conforming to the body’s natural curves, such as in the shoulder and hip area. This helps to reduce discomfort and prevent pressure sores
- Balanced Feel: Luxury firm mattresses are not excessively hard but still offer a degree of cushioning and support.
Typical construction layers
- Top cover: The top layer of a luxury firm mattress is made up of a high-quality cover fabric that enhances the overall look and feel of the mattress
- Comfort Layer: Placed underneath the cover fabric, the comfort layer is responsible for providing cushioning and contouring to the body which is usually not present in a firm mattress. The materials used in this layer can vary and may include memory foam, latex, or gel-infused foams
- Transition Layer: Below the comfort layer there is usually a transition layer designed which is used to help distribute weight evenly, providing a smooth transition between the comfort layer and the support core
- Supportive Core: The core of the mattress is responsible for providing the main support and may be made with coils or a high-density foam
The combination of these layers in a luxury firm mattress is designed to provide a supportive sleep surface with a moderate level of cushioning.
Who Should Opt for a Luxury Firm Mattress?
- Combination Sleepers: If you’re someone who does not have a set sleeping position throughout the night a luxury firm mattress is a great option for you. It provides the support needed for when you sleep on your back, along with the comfort needed if you decide to sleep on your stomach
- Couples with Differing Preferences: When you share a bed with a partner who has different comfort preferences, a luxury firm mattress can be a great compromise. It offers a supportive surface which is ideal for someone who sleeps on their back.
Luxury firm mattresses also provide some cushioning which is better for the partner who sleeps on their front, or side, allowing both partners to sleep comfortably
- People Who Prefer Balanced Comfort: If you appreciate a balance between a firm and plush feel, a luxury firm mattress provides support and comfort without being overly hard or soft
- Slimmer Individuals: People with a lower body weight often benefit from the support provided by a luxury firm mattress, but can find the firmness of a firm mattress too hard. The luxury firm mattress is a great middle-ground for these individuals.
Luxury firm mattresses are an investment and often come with a higher price tag compared to standard firm mattresses due to their premium materials and construction. The higher cost may not be affordable for everyone.
Because of the materials used in their comfort layer, luxury firm mattresses may retain more heat than firm mattresses.
This can be a drawback for people who are sensitive to temperature changes during sleep, such as people going through menopause.
Not Ideal for Specific Health Conditions
People with certain health conditions, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, may require a mattress with more cushioning and contouring to alleviate pain and discomfort.
These people will often find the hardness of firm or luxury firm mattresses too intense.
Comparative Analysis: Firm vs. Luxury Firm
Comfort and Feel
- Firm mattresses have a harder feeling than luxury firm mattresses. Luxury firm mattresses have a small amount of contouring to them, whereas firm mattresses have very little
- Because luxury firm mattresses have a little bit of give, they provide better pressure relief. For example, if you are in bed for long periods of time, or recovering from surgeries, a softer mattress will likely be better in terms of adding some cushioning
- Firm mattresses are better for people with back problems, or back sleepers, due to the high level of support they give.
Unlike softer mattresses, or luxury firm mattresses that have a little bit of give to them, firm mattresses remain taught and provide high levels of postural support.
Durability and Longevity
- Both mattresses are built to be highly durable. The firmness typically helps maintain the mattresses’ shape over time, reducing sagging and indentations.
However, the comfort layer present in a luxury firm mattress may need replacing before the core components do
- The comfort layer present in a luxury firm layer may need to be cleaned more frequently than firmer mattresses without this layer, as allergens may accumulate in the small indentations.
Price and Value
Mattress prices vary considerably, depending on the quality of materials and craftsmanship, as well as how well it aligns with your comfort preferences and sleep needs.
Overall, spending adequate money on a high-quality mattress can ensure it lasts for years and protects your health!
- Firm Price: Firm mattresses vary greatly in price. Entry-level models with basic materials and construction can be relatively affordable, starting at around $200 to $500 for a twin-sized mattress.
Meanwhile, higher-end or premium firm mattresses can cost $1,200 or more for a twin-sized mattress
- Luxury Firm Price: Luxury firm mattresses are generally positioned at the higher end of the price spectrum due to their premium materials and construction.
The cost usually sits at between $800 to $1,500 for a twin-sized mattress. Premium luxury firm mattresses which feature top-tier materials and advanced technologies, can cost $3,000 or higher for a twin-sized mattress.
Firm vs. Luxury Firm: Factors to Consider When Buying
Personal Sleep Preferences
Understanding your sleep habits, needs, and preferences is the most important place to start when you are considering what type of mattress to buy.
For example, if you’re someone who prefers to sleep on their back and requires postural support, a firm mattress is likely the better option for you.
On the other hand, if you sleep on your front and prefer a softer mattress while retaining support, a luxury firm mattress will be ideal.
A great way to make sure you have made the right purchase is by investing in a mattress that comes with a trial period. These trial periods typically allow you to sleep on the mattress for a set number of nights.
Many brands offer a 100-night trial. If you decide that you do not like the mattress or want to try a different one, you can return or exchange your mattress for a refund or a different mattress within this time frame.
The length of the trial period and the terms and conditions can vary from one brand to another.
It is important to look at the warranty period for your new mattress. Most mattress warranties are divided into two parts: a full coverage/non-prorated period and a prorated, or partial coverage period.
During the non-prorated period, the manufacturer covers the full cost of repairs or replacements for defects. Meanwhile, the prorated period typically starts after a few years.
During the second half of the warranty, you will likely be responsible for a portion of the costs.
Reviews and Testimonials
Leveraging others’ experiences for insights
Finding reviews for the mattress you are considering is a great way to gauge the mattress’s comfort, durability, and overall value for money. When doing this, it is important to not rely solely on one source or a single review. Look for consistency in feedback across various reviews to get a more accurate picture.
Recognizing subjective vs. objective feedback
Like many things, preferences for firm vs. luxury firm mattresses vary hugely. It is important to note that many reviews will be subjective. This means that some people may negatively review mattresses because they find them to be too firm. However, this may be a great level of firmness for you.
When reading testimonials, it may be more helpful to consider objective feedback. Objective feedback includes things like durability, price, and overall quality of the materials used!
What if I’m unsure between a firm and a luxury firm?
It can be difficult to choose between a firm and a luxury firm mattress. Luckily, there are some factors that make it a little easier to choose between the two.
If you are a back sleeper, have strong allergies, or have a tighter budget, then a firm mattress may be the better choice.
If you prefer a slightly softer feel, alternate between front and back sleeping, or sleep with someone who prefers a softer mattress than you, then a luxury firm mattress may be the better choice for you.
How do firm and luxury firm mattresses affect back health?
Firm mattresses are great for people with back problems who don’t have pressure sores.
They provide great support for people conscious of their back health, along with having a comfort layer that can alleviate pain caused by certain pressure points.
Is one type more expensive than the other?
Because luxury firm mattresses contain an extra layer of cushioning, they can be more expensive than firm mattresses. In saying that, both firm and luxury firm mattresses can vary considerably in their price tag. This depends on the materials used to make the two, along with what technologies are included.
Can I adjust the firmness of my mattress later on?
If you purchase a firm mattress and find it is too hard for your needs, you can add a foam mattress topper. This will adjust the firmness to a level you may find more comfortable.
On the other hand, some luxury firm mattresses are designed to be reversible. If your mattress can be flipped or rotated, doing so will even out wear and potentially make it feel firmer.
How do firm and luxury firm mattresses compare in terms of heat retention?
Firm mattresses often have better airflow and heat dissipation compared to softer mattresses due to the fact they typically have fewer layers of cushioning and less contouring – allowing for better ventilation. This can help regulate temperature more effectively.
However, some luxury firm mattresses use advanced materials in their comfort layers to regulate temperature, such as open-cell memory foam with improved breathability or latex with natural cooling properties.
Are there specific brands known for their firm or luxury firm mattresses?
Yes, some brands have built their reputation on their development of high-quality firm or luxury firm mattresses.
For example, brands known for firm mattresses include Saatva, Stearns & Foster, and Tempur-Pedic.
Brands with a reputation for producing high-quality luxury firm mattresses include Hästens, Aireloomm, Kluft, and Duxiana.