Best Soft Mattress

How to Get the Best Soft Mattress for a Good Night’s Sleep

 

Your choice of the best soft mattress is deeply personal. Comfort is subjective to what feels good to your body night after night. Ideally, you should wake feeling rested, with no aches and pains caused by your mattress or sleep position. The foundation of a good night’s rest is a quality sleep surface, so choosing a mattress is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

Research from Netflix shows we spend almost 20 minutes a day deciding what to watch on their platform. That equates to more than 120 hours a year. If selecting your next binge-worthy show feels like a crucial decision, then your choice of mattress is monumental, especially if you watch TV in bed. Yet most consumers spend a few hours, at most, selecting a soft mattress.

The journey to buying your next mattress shouldn’t start with the mattress itself but educating yourself on whether you need a softer or firmer bed, the types of mattresses on the market, and which are the best soft mattresses for the money. This guide will help you make an informed decision and includes reviews of our top five recommendations for a soft mattress.

First, let’s look at what makes a mattress soft and how soft of a bed you need.

Soft Vs. Firm Mattress

As you search for your new mattress, the first thing to understand are your options for softness and firmness. Mattresses are industry-rated on a scale of 1 to 10 although some manufacturers may not rate their beds on this scale. Beyond the numbers, what’s most important is how the bed feels when you sleep on it.

Firmness Scale

The scale of softness

When looking for a soft mattress, you will want to consider mattresses rated between 1-5 on the firmness scale. However, you should also know that an extremely soft bed might not offer the support you need to keep your spine properly aligned. We’ll discuss below who should consider a softer mattress based on BMI, health concerns, sleep position, and more. Here’s what the numbers mean:

  • Very soft (1) mattresses allow you to sink into the bed deeply.
  • Soft (2-3) beds contour your body and let you “sink in” significantly.
  • Medium (4-6) to medium-firm offer more support and firmness but still conform.
  • Firm (7-9) beds offer enhanced support but still have some cushion and comfort.
  • Very firm (10) mattresses offer little padding, contour, or pressure relief.

Design determines firmness

Some materials are inherently firmer, and some are softer as we’ll discuss below in the mattress types section. A mattress is made of two main sections – the support core and comfort layer(s). The support core determines firmness and should provide a base that helps keep your spine aligned. The comfort layer goes on top and cushions your pressure points.

Next is a summary of our top five soft mattress picks. Then we’ll dive into the pros and cons of softer sleep surfaces, how to know if a soft bed is best for you, which mattress types are softer, and then provide detailed reviews of our top picks to help decide what to buy.

Our Top Five Soft Mattresses

 

Manufacturer Model Mattress Type Firmness Price*
  Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid 4 $949
  Cocoon by Sealy (Classic) Foam 4 $799
  Helix Hybrid 2-4 $995
  Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid   Hybrid 4 $1,199
  Zenhaven Latex 4.5 $1,899

*All prices are for a queen-sized bed.

Pros and Cons of a Soft Mattress

If you currently have a soft mattress and know it works for you, you’re ready to shop. However, if you are on a firmer sleep surface and are trying to decide if a softer bed is better, the pros and cons below will let you know what to expect. Once you decide softer is better, the next question is how soft you should go because there’s a range of softness.

If you see the word “plush” when looking at mattresses, just know it’s often used interchangeably with soft and means the same thing.

The pros and cons to consider with a softer mattress include:

 

Pros Cons
Softer
  • Offers greater pressure relief for joints
  • Provides pleasant “sinking in” sensation
  • Is more comfortable to the touch
  • Sleeps warmer
  • May not keep spine aligned
  • Over time, materials may soften
  • Could feel a “hammock” effect
  • May sleep too hot
Firmer
  • Offers consistent spine alignment
  • Easier to breathe by less pressure
  • Better oxygen flow from support  
  • Usually sleeps cooler
  • Less pressure relief on joints  
  • Could aggravate low back issues
  • Adjustment period required
  • May not sleep warm enough

Once you decide you want a softer mattress, that still leaves a range of options. As seen on the scale above, softness and firmness run the gamut. You may want a bed that’s softer than what you have now, but that’s not at the extreme low end of the scale.

Next, see what body types, sleep positions, and health conditions benefit from a soft mattress.

Is a Soft Mattress Best for You?

For those that are already sleeping well on a soft mattress, you’re one step ahead in your decision-making process. However, for those sleeping on a firmer bed that want a more comfortable night’s sleep, you should evaluate how you sleep to decide how soft of a bed you need. Answer these questions to find the best plush mattress for you.

How soft is your current bed and how does it perform?

Soft beds are those rated 4.5 and below. If you have a soft bed now that feels great, you already know what works for you. If your bed is firmer, and you wake with sore joints or feel like you’re sleeping “on top” of the bed rather than “sinking in” comfortably, a softer bed may perform better.

What’s your BMI?

The less you weigh, the softer bed you need because you want a “sinking in” feel to ensure you’ll get pressure relief on your joints, neck, hips, and shoulders. Firmer beds won’t do this for you. On the other hand, if your BMI is greater than 25, you may find a plush mattress lets you sink in too deeply.

Do you run hot or cold at night?

Thinner people tend to sleep colder, and those with higher BMI sleep hotter. Age, health conditions and hormones influence sleep experience. Softer beds sleep warmer than firmer. If you’re a hot sleeper that wants a soft bed, latex may be your best bet (see more below in mattress types).

How old are you?

If you’re older (60+) and starting to get achy joints or run colder at night, you may want to consider a softer mattress. However, you don’t want to go too soft (close to 1-2 on the scale), or you might get too much sinkage and struggle to shift position or get out of bed.

Sleep Positions

 

Are you a side, stomach, or back sleeper?

While you likely move around at night, most of us have a sleep position we prefer. According to a UK study, 69% of people sleep on their sides with most in the fetal position. Side sleepers do well on softer beds because it cushions your pressure points at neck, shoulder, and hips.

If you sleep on your back or stomach, you should be careful not to go too soft with your mattress. Stomach sleepers may find squishy beds obstruct breathing and back sleepers might not get enough spinal support from a softer mattress.

Are you plagued with lower back pain or have aching joints?

Everyone wakes up stiff and sore sometimes, but if you have chronic lower back or joint pain, your choice of mattress can significantly impact your health. A Harvard study showed that low back pain sufferers usually do better on a medium-firm bed that offers optimum spinal support.

However, you might be fine on a bed that’s medium-soft rated around 4.5. Those with joint pain often do better on a plush or ultra plush mattress that lets you sink into deep comfort layers for enhanced pressure relief. If you’re unsure, a sleep trial may be the best way to decide the best soft bed for you.

Are you an active or stationary sleeper?

Motion transfer is the energy from changes in sleep position that move the bed. If you sleep with a partner, it can disrupt their sleep (and vice versa). Even if you sleep alone, your own movements can wake you. Softer mattresses tend to minimize motion transfer for undisturbed sleep.

Mattress Materials: Quality, Comfort, and Cost Compared

What makes a bed soft or firm is the material composition and architecture of the bed. The two key concepts to consider are comfort and support. Both are subjective to your specific needs. Understanding how these relate and how materials determine their interaction lets you select the best bed for you.

Comfort is about sinking into the top layers of the bed while support is how well the innermost layer of the mattress keeps your spine aligned. Be aware that one person’s soft bed may be too firm for another depending on body weight, health issues, and sensitivity.

There are three materials used in mattresses: foam, innerspring, and latex. The fourth type of bed is a hybrid which is a combination of some or all these materials. Any mattress material can be firm or soft depending on its construction and materials quality. Knowing that there are just four main types of mattresses cuts through the marketing hype that surrounds the bedding industry.

In order of least to most expensive (on average), here’s a look at mattress components.

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses have been around since the 1800s but have come a long way since then. They are the cheapest type of bed and the firmest. Innersprings are coils of wire attached to each other by wire, glue, or stitching. The coils flex and bend when weight is applied, and the quality and design of the springs determine how firm the bed will be.

As a rule, innerspring beds are the firmest type, have the best bounce (which can be great for sex), and the greatest motion transfer (which is not great for sleep). Coils provide the support layer and the upper comfort layer determines how much the bed will cushion and contour you. If you’re looking for medium-soft, this might work, but innerspring beds are not typically extra plush.

Foam

There are two types of foam: memory foam and polyurethane foam (i.e., polyfoam). Some mattresses will blend the materials with layers of each. Both are synthetic products while memory foam is thicker and denser. Foam beds sleep hotter than other beds, and traditional memory foam is the hottest of the most common mattress components.

Recent innovations in gel and copper-infused memory foam defray heat retention and offer a much cooler sleep experience. The higher quality the foam, the better the bed. Foam can be regular, high density (HD) and high resiliency (HR). Regular foam is cheaper and less desirable. Foam offers less motion transfer and a good sinking in sensation.

Hybrid

Hybrid mattresses are costlier than either of the above and may combine foam, innerspring, and latex (see below). Most hybrids now offer pocket coils in the support layer which are innersprings enveloped in fabric sleeves sewed or glued to each other. The comfort layers on top of it are foam, latex, or a blend of both.

Because of the innerspring layer, hybrid beds sleep cooler than foam as it allows greater air circulation. These beds are also more responsive for sex than memory foam, and motion transfer is less than innerspring. Hybrid beds tend to offer the best attributes of all the materials on this list, but the cost is greater than a single-component mattress.

Latex

The most expensive type of mattress is latex, and it offers superior comfort, cool sleep, contour, and support. Natural latex is from rubber tree sap, while synthetic latex is from a chemical process. Some latex beds blend both natural and synthetic latex, and both materials feel much the same. They sleep cooler than all but innerspring beds.

The contouring effect of latex relieves pressure points while still supporting and keeping the spine in alignment. It’s very durable, doesn’t break down easily, and can support even the heaviest of sleepers. There’s good bounce for sex and an overall luxury sleep experience. The downside to latex mattresses for most consumers is their cost.

Now that you know the materials in mattresses, you can shop with expertise on your side.  

Best Soft Mattress Reviews

Choosing the best soft mattress for you is all about what feels good to you. Perusing mattress reviews is a good starting point, particularly if you look for buyers with similar traits and preferences. Below are our top five soft mattress reviews. You’ll see how each mattress is built, pros and cons, why we chose the mattress, and why it might work well for you.

Brooklyn Bedding Signature  

 

Materials

Brooklyn Bedding’s Signature hybrid is three layers totaling 10” thickness. The support layer is pocket coils topped with a dual comfort layer. The top comfort component is reactive TitanFlex™ foam infused with cooling gel over a transition layer of high-density foam for contour.

The Pros

Many customers say this bed sleeps like costlier latex and offers a cool sleep experience with good bounce for sex. This bed is rated at 4 on the firmness scale, so it allows a solid sink-in sensation without being too spongy. It gives excellent pressure relief at an affordable price point of less than $1,000.

The Cons

The Signature design came out in 2017, so while Brooklyn Bedding has a solid reputation, this product has yet to establish a track record. However, the company has been around since 1995 and owns its factory. Motion transfer is more pronounced than with memory foam beds.

Why Brooklyn Bedding Signature Stands Out

The foam is high quality with superior density, so it should be durable, and provides good edge support which is often a challenge with softer mattresses. Brooklyn Bedding designs its foams to be latex-alternative, and this mattress truly stands out with a premium feel and comfort.

Brooklyn Bedding soft mattress

Cocoon by Sealy (Classic)

 

Materials

Sealy’s Cocoon Classic is a three-layer design that’s 10” thick. The support layer is high-density foam, and the middle layer is a thick foam that serves as a transition to the upper adaptable memory foam comfort layer. All are wrapped in a breathable stretch knit cover.

The Pros

At $799, Sealy’s Cocoon is the least costly of our top five, but the quality far exceeds the price. It’s ideal for side sleepers and those that co-sleep with a partner. Cocoon offers the sensation of sinking in and minimal motion transfer. If you need premium pressure relief, this is an ultra-plush mattress.

The Cons

The Cocoon can sleep a little hot, so Sealy offers the same mattress in a “Chill” option, but this tacks $150 onto the price. This bed will likely be too soft for those with high BMI or that run perpetually hot while sleeping. The edge support is less substantial due to the plusher comfort layer.

Why Cocoon by Sealy Stands Out

With 100+ years in the mattress business, Sealy knows what they’re doing. This bed offers a slow-moving memory foam feel. You gradually sink in and enjoy the hug of a plush mattress. The bed is rated 4 on the firmness scale. If you want a truly soft contouring bed, Cocoon offers that sensation.

Cocoon by Sealy soft mattress

Helix

 

Materials

The Helix is a four-layer hybrid made of three components including proprietary dynamic foam, pocket micro coils, and high-grade polyfoam. The mattress is custom built for you based on a short sleep quiz that determines how the layers are arrayed in this 10” thick bed.

The Pros

At a price point of $995, that’s modest for a customized bed. The bed rates between 2-4 for firmness depending on what options you choose. A big plus of this bed is that if you co-sleep with someone with different needs, you can get a dual design with two unique sleep zones.

The Cons

Helix is a newer company and is still establishing its reputation but seems well-liked by customers so far. Sleep science is an emerging field, and not much is known about their proprietary algorithm. Also, it takes 7-10 days to get the bed since it’s custom made to your specs.

Why Helix Stands Out

The custom design is a plus if you’re not sure what you need but know what you like. Plus, you can communicate with Helix about further customization. Helix has impressive customer satisfaction ratings and sleeps cooler than many similar hybrids.

 

Helix soft mattress

Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid

 

Materials

The Alexander Signature Hybrid has five layers in its lofty 13.5” design. The dual support is a layer of pocket coils topped with a layer of support foam. The comfort layers are innovative gel-infused memory foam over endurance foam, with a third layer of copper-infused foam.

The Pros

Copper and gel-infused foams and the phase change mattress cover contribute to a soft yet cool sleep experience. The HD foam and pocket coils support without excess firmness. The upper layers offer heightened pressure relief and superior motion isolation at an $1,199 price point.

The Cons

Rated 4 on the firmness scale, it’s not an ultra plush mattress. If you’re a stomach sleeper, you may sink too much. There’s a 30-night break-in period before you can get a refund under the 100-night sleep trial. Also, the mattress is heavy and might be tough to move alone.

Why Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid Green Stands Out

Nest offers an unprecedented Lifetime Comfort Guarantee© after the 100-night trial, so if you decide you want firmer or softer, or a different size, they offer a 50% discount on an exchange. This bed provides a luxury comfort sleep experience of a costlier mattress at a modest price point.

 

Alexander Signature soft mattress

Zenhaven

 

Materials

Zenhaven’s latex is all-natural with four layers plus a thick cover. Three base layers of premium Talalay latex support a breathable comfort layer designed with five zones to offer better spinal alignment and contour hug on sensitive pressure points.

The Pros

Zenhaven is flippable with one side offering a luxury plush sensation and the other a gentle firm configuration. If you’re torn between soft and firm, this quality latex bed offers you the option of both in one. Most customers prefer the plush side rated at 4.5 for firmness.

The Cons

At a price point of $1,899, Zenhaven’s latex mattress won’t fit in every budget. Also, if you decide to return the bed during the 120-night sleep trial, they deduct $99 from your refund to cover return shipping. Delivery and set-up are included so you must be home for receipt of the bed.

Why Zenhaven Stands Out

The open cell structure of its latex means Zenhaven’s mattress sleeps cooler than other beds. The differing densities in the comfort layer offer better support for your torso and shoulders without sacrificing contour and hug. If this bed fits your budget, it’s definitely one to consider.

 

Zenhaven soft mattress