With what often seems like an endless list of options, features, brands, costs, and designs, buying a mattress can feel overwhelming even for a single person. Factoring in the needs and preferences of a second person can make the task of finding the right mattress for a couple seem even more daunting.
Thankfully, there are a number of resources, tips, and strategies that can help couples go through the process of selecting and buying a mattress that is likely to deliver a great night’s sleep to both individuals. In this guide, we’ll cover the key issues that couples should take into account, some of the features to look for, the types of mattresses on the market, and the top choices for mattresses for couples.
Keep reading to get all the information from the guide, or click here to skip straight to our top picks.
Types of Mattresses
You can read a lot more detail about the different types of mattress options that are on the market in our Buyer’s Guide, but we’ll provide a quick refresher here. You can classify almost all mattresses into the following categories:
- Foam: these mattresses are built with several layers of foam, and the exact foam composition and specifications can vary. One of the most common types of foam mattress construction involves a base of support foam with one or more comfort layers on top. The comfort layers are most often composed of memory foam or another type of foam with a similar feel. Specifically, this type of comfort layer responds to the amount of pressure applied in each specific place, which helps to provide appropriate support to each part of the body.
- Innerspring: these mattresses use coils inside the mattress to provide spring and support. This is the most traditional type of mattress, and the innerspring coils often have a slightly softer top layer, such as a pillowtop, that can provide some additional plushness or comfort. There are numerous types of innerspring construction that can affect the support and performance of an innerspring mattress.
- Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses include elements of memory foam, innerspring coils, and/or latex. Specifically, a hybrid mattress has a layer of memory foam, latex, or a similar type of foam on top of a support core of innerspring coils. The goal of a hybrid is usually to try to capture both the benefits of an innerspring and a foam mattress. That said, the benefits and downsides of a hybrid mattress depend in large part on the layering and materials involved in its construction.
- Latex: these mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber. Latex tends to be a heavier and more expensive material, so it is not uncommon to see all-latex mattresses sell for thousands of dollars. Latex offers a high level of responsiveness, but it also tends to be bouncier and more resilient than many foams on the market.
Considerations for couples
When couples start thinking about a new mattress, there are a handful of different issues to discuss and take into account. It is best to talk and think these through at the outset as it can help to narrow down your options and simplify the search for your optimal mattress. Below, we’ve tried to outline these key considerations.
For most sleepers, the best mattress is one that achieves a balance in which it is responsive to their weight and pressure but does not sag or sink excessively. This can help to maintain a proper spinal alignment. But every individual sleeper’s perception of this ideal balance can vary.
For example, people with certain types of back pain may require a mattress with more or less contouring and responsiveness. When starting to consider new mattresses, couples should ask themselves the following questions about support:
- Do either of us have an issue (such as back pain) that requires special accommodation in terms of support?
- Are there any sleep surfaces that either person knows would not be adequately supportive?
The comfort layer is made up of the top layer or layers of the mattress, and it largely influences the “feel” of the mattress. Firmness is an important element of this feel. For most people, a medium-firm mattress, which falls between a 5-7 on the typical firmness scale, is the most comfortable and supportive choice. However, many people prefer firmer or plusher mattresses.
Comfort can also be affected by other aspects of the top layers, including the bounce or resilience of the mattress. If each person in the couple has a different comfort preference, it can make choosing a mattress tricky. Some questions for couples to discuss in their buying process include:
- What is each person’s ideal firmness level (based on the typical firmness scale)?
- What is the range of firmness levels on which each person could still be comfortable?
- Does each person prefer to feel like they are sleeping in the mattress as opposed to on the mattress? How much sink into the mattress is too much?
Motion transfer refers to how much the movement of one person on the mattress can be felt by another person on a different part of the mattress. If there is a lot of motion transfer, one person’s movements can easily disturb the other.
On the other hand, a mattress with good motion isolation tends to prevent movement on one part of the bed from being felt on other parts. Before buying a new mattress, couples should ask themselves a few questions about this:
- Is either person prone to lots of movement while sleeping?
- Is either person sensitive to motion and prone to waking up in the night at even a slight disturbance?
Some people naturally sleep hotter than others. Waking up in a sweat can be a huge detriment to a good night’s sleep, so for people who sleep hot, it is important to choose a mattress that does not encourage excess heat retention. In some couples, reducing heat retention may only be a priority for one person.
Couples who think about their normal sleep temperature and whether they have issues sleeping hot can better determine how much to prioritize temperature regulation in their shopping. This can be a huge help in finding the type of mattress that will be the best choice for them.
While most of this guide focuses on sleeping on mattresses, sex is another important consideration for couples. Some mattresses are much better at facilitating sexual activity than others, and most couples want to make sure that the mattress they select won’t interfere with an active sex life.
In general, mattresses that facilitate movement — for example, mattresses with a lot of resilience and bounce that prevents feeling “stuck” in the bed — are much better for sex. You can read much more about this in our guide, the Best Mattresses for Sex.
Couples who are choosing a new mattress should make sure to carefully consider what size mattress is most appropriate for them. Many factors influence the right choice — including the size of the room the bed will go in, the height of each individual, how much space each person needs when sleeping, etc. — but it is helpful to address this discussion before getting too far into the process of mattress shopping. Knowing the preferred mattress size can help with comparing prices between different brands and models.
Mattresses can range from only a few inches to well over a foot thick. The choice of mattress height and the type of mattress frame influences how tall the bed is overall. Getting into a taller bed may be more difficult for a shorter person and vice versa. When bed shopping, couples may want to ask themselves:
- How tall is our current mattress? Is that a good height?
- What kind of bed frame or foundation do we plan to use?
- What is our ideal mattress height to fit with that bed frame?
There will be more wear-and-tear on a mattress that is used by two people than a mattress that is used by an individual sleeper. This is especially true for heavier couples and for very sexually active couples. As a result, many couples place a higher premium on buying a mattress built with high-quality materials that are more likely to stand the test of time.
Features that couples should look for when mattress shopping
High-quality materials: nothing determines the performance of a mattress more than the quality of the actual components that are used to make it. You’ll come across a lot of fancy marketing terms for different features, but sometimes this is just window dressing to cover over a mattress built with shoddy internal parts. When looking at the materials, here are some questions to think through:
- Does the company provide detailed specifications? For example, do they list the actual thickness of each layer of the mattress? If it’s a foam layer, do they publicly share the density and/or ILD of the foam? If it’s an innerspring layer, do they tell you about the type of innerspring construction? The more vague the details, the more skeptical you should be that perhaps the company cut corners in choosing their materials.
- Is there a weak spot? Some mattresses may use great materials in the comfort layer but use a low-quality foam for support. Remember that one weak layer can dramatically reduce the overall performance of the mattress.
- How thick is the comfort layer? An extremely thin comfort layer may degrade the feel and performance of a mattress and may limit its long-term durability as more pressure will be put on the supporting layers. In general, look for a comfort layer that is at least 2” thick, and if either member of the couple is heavier or is someone with major pressure points, you likely want an even thicker comfort layer or a combination of several comfort layers.
Split designs: some mattress companies offer their larger mattresses (such as queen, king, and California king) models with a split design. This means that one side of the mattress has a different composition and feel than the other side. For couples with very divergent preferences on comfort, support, and heat retention, this type of mattress — though usually more expensive — may be worth considering.
Price and value: you can find mattresses for bargain basement prices and for thousands and thousands of dollars. The cost of a mattress is often not reflective of its overall quality. That’s why we suggest inspecting the design of the mattress and doing your best to comparison shop. For more about getting the best deal, you can review our Guide to Mattress Sales and Discounts.
Free shipping: it’s important to consider the total cost of buying a mattress and not just the price of the mattress itself. Most online mattress companies offer free shipping. If you’re enticed by a mattress that has a shipping charge, just make sure to factor that into your total assessment of the value of the mattress.
Free and no-hassle returns: many people get concerned about buying a mattress online because they don’t have an opportunity to scope the mattress out in a store. Thankfully, most direct-to-consumer mattress companies offer an extended sleep trial that allows you to try the mattress out in your own home for several months. If you realize during the sleep trial that the mattress isn’t right for you, you can return it at no charge and with no hassle from the company. We suggest choosing a mattress that has this type of sleep trial and return policy to help protect your investment in case you find that the mattress just isn’t the right fit. This is even more important for couples that have divergent preferences as it may take trial-and-error to find the mattress that is the best compromise.
Solid verified reviews: as we’ve stated, there’s a lot of marketing that takes place in the mattress industry, and one of the best ways to cut through the noise is to only rely on trusted reviews. We’ve tried to do a lot of this legwork for you, and you can read more about any specific mattress in our brand reviews.
The Tuft and Needle mattress is our budget choice for the best foam mattress for couples. You can get a queen mattress for $600 before applying any coupons or promotions.
- Why? The Tuft & Needle comfort layer provides a middle-of-the-road level of support and feel that works for most sleepers. It also does not have major heat retention or motion transfer issues. In addition, the mattress has been on the market for over 5 years and during this time, Tuft & Needle has developed a reputation as a quality brand with excellent customer service.
- Why not? This mattress is only available in one firmness choice and tends to be perceived as slightly more firm, which may not work for some couples. In addition, the foam density leaves a bit to be desired for an all-foam mattress, which may reduce long-term durability relative to some of our other top choices.
- The Bottom Line: Though this isn’t a perfect mattress, at its price point, it represents an excellent value and is a solid choice for couples who want a quality mattress that won’t bust their budget.
The Novosbed is our upgrade pick for the best all-foam mattress for couples.
- Why? The Novosbed is offered in three firmness options, which allows couples to try to identify which is most likely to work for them. Each model has at least 4” of foam in the comfort layers, and all of these layers have foams with a density of 3.7 PCF or higher. The result is a mattress with more durability and support than many competitors. Finally, the Novosbed is made by a company that has a strong track record and reputation for customer service.
- Why not? The Novosbed is somewhat more expensive than other all-foam mattresses, and their sleep trial is more complicated than that of most other online, direct-to-consumer mattresses.
- The Bottom Line: For couples looking for an affordable all-foam mattress built with quality materials, the Novosbed is an excellent option to consider.
Foam – Latex Hybrid
Our selection for the best latex hybrid for couples is the GhostBed.
- Why? This mattress features 3.5” of foam in the comfort layer including both memory foam and latex. The support layer has foam with a density of 2 PCF, which is higher than many competitors. Its combination of foams helps improve resiliency, which is good for sex and for preventing heat retention.
- Why not? The mattress is only available in one firmness option. In addition, while Nature’s Sleep has been selling mattress for over 15 years, the GhostBed has only been on the market since 2015, so we have less information about its long-term durability.
- The Bottom Line: For the price, the GhostBed uses a combination of quality materials layered in an arrangement that can be expected to provide a supportive and comfortable option for most couples.
The Saatva mattress is our choice for the best innerspring mattress for couples.
- Why? The Saatva is built with excellent components, including multi-layered coils. This feature helps provide both support and resilience, and most customers report this being a very comfortable mattress. Saatva also has a reputation for a high level of customer service.
- Why not? You won’t get a full refund if you return the Saatva. The company charges a $99 fee for return transportation in the event you decide you want to return it.
- The Bottom Line: while you can find innerspring mattresses out there for a much lower cost, they simply won’t deliver the kind of mattress performance offered by the Saatva.
Our top choice for the best hybrid mattress for couples is the Helix mattress.
- Why? The Helix hybrid is great for couples because it’s customized to your specifications using the results from a sleep quiz and a proprietary algorithm. The bed is a blend of three materials in four layers featuring cool sleeping dynamic foam, pocket micro-coils, and high-grade polyfoam. The customization is perfect for couples because Helix offers the option of a dual design mattress with each side set for individual preferences. Alternately, you can opt for a blended mattress that’s a mix of both needs.
- Why not? Helix is a relatively new company so they’re still establishing a track record for durability and long-term performance. The sleep science behind the designs are also new and preferences are highly subjective.
- The Bottom Line: Helix’s hybrid mattress offers superior components in a bed made to your specifications. The custom sleep zone option may benefit couples with drastically different sleep needs. Thoughtful design and quality materials make this bed a great value.
Our choice for the best all-latex mattress for couples is the Sleep On Latex Pure Green Mattress.
- Why? The Pure Green Mattress is built with natural latex that gets excellent reviews for its performance. With its combination of resilience and responsiveness, latex can offer a great mix of comfort and support while also facilitating sex and preventing heat retention. Sleep On Latex also offers several different options for mattress height and firmness.
- Why not? Sleep On Latex doesn’t provide quite as much detail about the mattress specifications as we would like. For example, they do not list the density or ILD of the latex used in their mattress.
- The Bottom Line: Even without knowing every detail of the build of this mattress, we can safely say that it includes a considerable amount of high-performance latex at a price that is a fraction of what these types of mattresses are often sold for.
For more helpful guides and resources to assist you in choosing a mattress, check out the following pages on our site:
- How to Choose a Mattress: A Buyer’s Guide
- Guide to Mattress Foam Density and Firmness Measurements
- Mattress Firmness Guide