While many mattresses are advertised as having “universal comfort,” the truth is that no one mattress works for everyone. Every individual has unique needs and preferences, and accounting for these can be a crucial step in finding the right mattress for you.
As a group, heavier sleepers are likely to find certain types of mattresses to be more comfortable, supportive, and durable than others. This guide gives an overview about the types of mattresses that are available, the important considerations for evaluating your mattress options, and also provides a set of top mattress choices for heavier sleepers. You can read on for the full guide or click here to skip straight to our recommendations.
Who is a heavier sleeper?
There is no scientific or clear-cut way of defining who is a heavier sleeper. In general, we believe that people weighing over about 230 pounds typically have different mattress needs. However, it is important to remember that it is not just about weight. Other factors — such as a person’s height and build — can also play a role in identifying the best mattress for any specific person. For example, a person might weigh less than 230 pounds but have more pronounced pressure points (such as in the shoulders) that put more strain on a particular part of the mattress. While not technically a “heavier” sleeper using our definition above, that person may still benefit from some of the tips and resources in this guide.
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. A common type of hybrid has a layer of memory foam on top of a base of innerspring coils. Another type involves a mixture of layers with support foam, latex, and memory foam. The benefits and downsides of a hybrid mattress depend in large part on the layering and materials involved in the construction of the mattress.
- 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.
What Are the Key Features to Look For?
There are a number of important features or elements of a mattress that heavier sleepers should consider when shopping for a new mattress. For an overview of how we assess mattresses, you can review our evaluation methodology, which we use for our brand reviews. Below we’ll go into more detail about some of the important things to 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. This is important for any mattress shopper, but it’s especially critical for heavier sleepers. 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 (or vice versa). Remember that one weak layer can dramatically reduce the overall performance of the mattress.
- Overall mattress thickness: this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but heavier sleepers should typically look for a mattress that is taller — normally 10” or more — as this usually means that there is more material in the mattress to provide support and durability. However, the construction of the individual layers is more important than the total thickness of the mattress itself.
- Design of the comfort layer: the comfort layer refers to the top part of the mattress that sits on top of the support layer and provides much of the overall feel of the mattress. In some cases, we use the term “comfort layer” broadly to refer to what may actually be several thinner layers of material that perform this function. Below are some important things to look for when evaluating the comfort layer:
- Thickness: heavier sleepers normally put more pressure on the comfort layer. If the layer is too thin, then you may “bottom out,” which means putting much more pressure on the support layer. This can erode the quality of your night’s sleep and can dramatically reduce the longevity of the mattress.
- Density: as discussed above, a mattress with higher-density comfort layers is likely to last longer. A higher-density material can also help to prevent bottoming out and prevent serious sagging of the mattress.
- In general, we recommend that heavier sleepers look for a mattress with a comfort layer at least 3” thick and with at least 3.5 PCF density (for a foam comfort layer). These suggestions are for a baseline or minimum requirement — thicker and denser materials may offer more support and durability.
- Comfort preference: the firmness or feel of a mattress is a big factor in determining what is likely to be the best fit for you. Heavier sleepers usually get the most benefit from a medium-firm to firm mattress, which is usually in the 5-8 range on the typical firmness scale. This level of firmness helps to provide more consistent support and reduce the degree to which you may sink into the mattress and out of spinal alignment. Sagging beds are often a cause of back pain. Excessive sink in the mattress can also cause heat retention and the feeling of “sleeping hot.” Our Mattress Firmness Guide provides a lot more information about making sure that you select a mattress to fit your sleeping position and comfort preference.
- Edge support: some mattresses have a solid support core but are very weak around the edge of the mattress. For heavier sleepers, this can be particularly problematic as support may give out and make someone feel unstable when sleeping near or sitting on the edge of the bed.
- 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.
What Else Should Heavier Sleepers Look For When Mattress Shopping?
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Warranty terms / fine print: having a solid warranty can provide an extra level of comfort with your mattress purchase. However, it’s necessary to carefully read the terms and conditions of the mattress warranty. Some warranties are extremely limited, and in some cases, they may also have exclusions that apply based on the weight of the sleeper(s) using the mattress.
- A proper pillow: proper support and spinal alignment isn’t all about the mattress. Having a quality pillow that is right-sized for your sleeping position can help make sure you’re getting the most restful night’s sleep.
The Novosbed is our pick for the best all-foam mattress for heavier sleepers.
- Why? The Novosbed is offered in three firmness options, and each model has at least 4” of foam in the comfort layers. All of these layers have foams with a density of 3.7 PCF or higher. The Novosbed is also made by a company that has been on the market longer than most of its competitors and that has a strong 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 heavier sleepers 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 heavier sleepers 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. The GhostBed offers a different feel with its combination of memory foam and latex and comes from a company — Nature’s Sleep — that has an extended history in the mattress industry.
- 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, including durability for heavier sleepers.
- 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 solid mattress for most heavier sleepers.
- Why? The Saatva is built with excellent components, including multi-layered coils. The inclusion of multiple layers of coils can help prevent bottoming out and can improve overall edge support for heavier sleepers. The company also has a reputation for a high level of customer service.
- Why not? Unlike many competitors, the Saatva comes with a charge for shipping that is not refundable if you decide to return the mattress.
- 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.
- Why? The Sapira has high-density foam in its comfort layer and has a support core made up of innerspring coils with foam support on both the top and the bottom. The Sapira is made by Leesa, which has been well-regarded for its customer support.
- Why not? Though it meets our minimum requirements for a comfort layer, for heavier sleepers, we would prefer a slightly thicker and denser comfort layer than what is built into the Sapira. The Sapira is also somewhat more expensive than some similar hybrid mattresses.
- Bottom line: Though ideally we would like to see a more robust comfort layer, the Sapira’s strong innerspring support core with foam buttressing should help to prevent bottoming out or other concerns associated with the comfort layer.
- 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 for heavier sleepers. 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.
- 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.
The Saatva mattress is our choice for the best innerspring mattress for heavier sleepers.
Our top pick for the best hybrid mattress for heavier sleepers is the Sapira.
The best all-latex mattress for heavier sleepers is the Sleep On Latex Pure Green Mattress.