Welcome to T3's official guide to the best mattress in 2021. Finding the mattress that's perfect for your sleep style and circumstances can be a very personal thing, but we've put together this list to help guide you through the different options. Online-only companies that deliver you a mattress, rolled and boxed, to your door, have become even more popular during the pandemic. Generous free trial periods eliminate the risk of buying a mattress without lying on it first, but it's altogether easier if you can get it right first time.
To that end, we've reviewed a selection of mattresses at a range of price points, including our top memory foam, pocket sprung and hybrid models, to put together this definitive list of the best mattresses for a range of sleepers. We've conducted extensive research, as well as trying all these mattresses out for ourselves, to make sure they deliver on their promises.
How often should you change your mattress? Well, more often than you might think. According to SleepFoundation.org, every 6-8 years under normal conditions. It might be an investment, but it's one worth making: studies have found that newer mattresses can significantly improve your sleep quality and reduce aches and pains. And even if you clean your mattress regularly, sweat, dead skin cells and dust mites build up to frankly horrifying levels fairly quickly.
Memory foam has been a popular choice for some time now, and innovations in materials mean these mattresses are better than ever. In fact, right now the best mattress is the Nectar Original. It's absurdly comfortable, delivering the perfect balance of support and softness, and there's a well-above-average 365-night trial and a lifetime warranty. However, for the best of both worlds, we also love a hybrid, and our favorite right now is the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid. It's luxuriously thick, with a cozy, cloud-like topper, and it won't trap heat like memory foam often does.
If neither of those take your fancy, we have plenty of other options for you to explore too. Our automatic price widgets will hunt out the lowest prices for each model so you can be sure you're not overpaying (the festive season, moving into January, often sees lots of price drops, so now's a great time to shop. If price is paramount, you should also explore our best cheap mattress deals roundup.
To protect your new mattress to protect it against dirt, dust-mites and avoid spills and stains, make sure to invest in the best mattress protector. Alternatively, you can squeeze some more life out of your old lumpy model by adding a quality mattress topper to your bed. Then, complete your new sleep haven with the best weighted blankets to keep you calm and cozy.
Convinced? Read on for our pick of the best mattresses available right now.
Best mattresses US 2021 ranking
We think the Nectar Original is the best mattress in the US right now. We were blown away in our Nectar mattress review: it's supremely comfortable, wonderfully supportive and impressively cool to sleep on. It's also one of the cheapest of the big brands – and regular Nectar discount codes and deals can take the price down even further, making it stupidly good value for money.
The Nectar offers a medium-to-firm support level that suits any type of bed and all sleep styles, although it's especially good for back sleepers. We found it on the firmer end of the memory foam spectrum, and if your tastes are for a softer mattress you might be better exploring other options below. There's a bit of give in the top layer, which neatly molds around the body, while a complex supporting base layer adds the required firmness for a peaceful sleep. The adaptive cooling cover top layer is supposed to draw heat away from the body, and while we're not sure it actually does this, it certainly feels cooler than many memory foam options.
Delivery is super convenient: even the enormous Nectar Cal King model comes packaged in a very manageable box, ready to be set up in your room of choice. But where Nectar really stands out from the competition is in its extras. 100-night trials are pretty common among the established challenger mattress brands, but Nectar goes the extra mile with not only a 365-night trial, giving you a whole year to make your mind up, but also a lifetime warranty for your new mattress. Nectar's also a climate-neutral company that offsets its emissions through various global schemes, including an Amazon forest protection program.
DreamCloud's Luxury Hybrid mattress promises a perfect night's sleep, and in our DreamCloud review we found it lived up to its lofty claim. It features five meticulously engineered layers, starting with a 'Tight Top' quilted foam and cashmere cover, followed by a layer of gel memory foam and a layer of support foam. Next come the springs, providing some bounce and allowing air to flow through the mattress, ensuring it doesn't trap heat. Finally, there's a foam base.
Unlike most of the other mattresses on this list, the DreamCloud isn't zoned as such; it's classed as medium-firm all over. However, DreamCloud says its springs are more flexible than regular springs, and along with the memory foam layers, they help the mattress contour to your body as well as providing support and pressure relief where needed. If we had to pick a hole, there is some motion transfer compared to memory foam-only mattresses, and the design lacks slightly in edge support, but we found it completely dreamy overall. It provides just the right balance of support, bounce and firmness, with plenty of comfort thanks to the luxurious top layer.
The extras for this mattress are outstanding, too. You get a Forever Warranty (the only one in our list) and a 365-night trial, which matches the best on the market. Reviews online are extremely positive – and those that aren't, focus on delivery and customer service issues, rather than problems with the mattress itself.
This mattress has a luxury look and is deeper than many others at 14 inches, but the price, even at MSRP, is very reasonable – and a DreamCloud coupon or promo code can knock that price down even further.
The Casper Original is the mattress that changed everything. It's Casper's first mattress, and it absolutely stormed the bed-in-a-box market when it launched back in 2014. Six years later and it still stands out in our best mattress list, for two main reasons.
First up is its zoned support system: there's a band of extra firmness across its center, while the head and foot areas are slightly softer. The thinking behind this is that it gives you extra support on the hips and spine, and pressure relief around the shoulders (especially useful when you're lying on your side). For this reason, we think the Casper original is one of the best mattresses around for back sleepers.
Secondly, there's Casper's proprietary 'Airscape' top layer, which is bouncier and more responsive than your average memory foam. It minimizes that 'sinking' feeling you tend to get from thicker memory foam, and makes it easier to move around on. It's also perforated to promote airflow and prevent overheating. And if there's still not enough bounce for you, this mattress is also available as a hybrid with an extra layer of springs. One final nice touch is the mattress cover, which is made from recycled bottles.
As with most of the choices in our best mattress ranking, you'll likely be able to find an offer that'll reduce the price – take a look at our Casper discount codes and deals page to discover the best offers. And to see how it compares to our number one mattress, check out our Casper vs Nectar mattress face-off.
Looking for an innerspring mattress? You almost certainly want the Saatva Classic. It's made using two layers of recycled steel springs: an upper layer of small, individually-wrapped coils that contour to your body, on a base of more heavyweight springs that provide a strong and stable foundation.
In our Saatva mattress review, we were impressed by the plush organic cotton pillow top, plenty of edge support to stop you from rolling off in the night, and an extra zone of memory foam in the center to give your lower back some extra support.
If you find memory foam mattresses a bit too hot to sleep on, an innerspring mattress makes an excellent alternative because its springs don't trap heat like a thick slab of foam does. They also give you a more responsive sleep surface that has more traditional mattress bounce and is easy to move around on. While you may notice more motion transfer because of this, the smaller top layer of springs is designed to minimize it.
Saatva also lets you pick your depth and firmness, depending on your personal preference, which is a nice touch. Keep an eye out for a Saatva promo code or deal for savings on your purchase.
If a low price is your priority then look no further than Allswell, a bargain mattress that offers incredible value for money. Its Cal King mattress will cost you under $500, and while you might quite reasonably be put off by a price that low, it's actually a very good basic mattress with a bunch of positive reviews to prove it, and much attention given to its luxurious feel.
This a hybrid mattress, with a layer of individually-wrapped coils topped with a layer of charcoal and copper-infused memory foam, and a quilted top layer on top of that, and there's edge support on the sides (but, it's worth pointing out, not at the ends). It comes in around the middle of the firmness scale, and if you're intrigued by this combo of decent features and a low price there's an industry-standard 100-night trial period and 10-year limited warranty.
A mattress for athletes? Why not. And even if you're not an athlete but still live an active or physically demanding life, the Zoma hybrid could well be the mattress for you. Designed with athletes in mind it features targeted support thanks to its Triangulex gel memory foam, with three different zones providing pressure relief where it's needed.
Backing this up is a responsive 'Rectiv' top layer that contours to your body without restricting movement or giving you that memory foam sinking feeling, plus a sturdy base with edge support and a layer of springs for added bounce. (If you're not too bothered about bounce, though, this model is also available as foam-only).
To keep you from getting too hot at night, the gel memory foam contains cooling channels and is designed to be much more breathable than traditional foams, and the stretchy cover is ventilated, although we did find it felt a little thin.
Check out our Zoma Hybrid mattress review for the full scoop on what we thought – in summary, we were extremely impressed with this mattress. We found it extremely comfortable and supportive, with our testers sleeping more soundly than usual and noticing a significant decrease in their usual aches and pains after switching over.
Looking for a mattress with solid ecological credentials? Check out the Avocado Green mattress: all its materials are certified organic, and every mattress is GREENGUARD Gold Certified for low emissions.
The Avocado Green meets federal safety standards by using 100% GOTS organic certified wool instead of the usual chemical fire retardants. It uses no chemical treatments and it comes from Avocado's own Himalayan herding collective. But if you draw the line at wool, there's even a PETA-approved wool-free vegan version. And to complete the ecological experience, Avocado is carbon negative, offsetting more carbon than it generates.
None of this means that it compromises on mattress comfort, though. The Avocado Green features a latex comfort layer on top of 1,414 tempered steel coils, with another layer of latex underneath. There's a reinforced steel perimeter to give you plenty of edge support, and also five support zones to give you extra firmness where it's needed.
This mattress is on the firmer end of the scale – though you can customize it by adding an optional pillow-top, or a plush or firm mattress topper made from organic latex. Note that you will probably have to pay a little more to go green – this mattress is at the higher end of the market. For more info, head to our article: Are Avocado Green mattresses any good?
Purple erupted into the mattress marked in 2016 and since then, it's been a major player with a great USP. Instead of springs or memory foam, Purple uses a patented 'Purple Grid' – a hyper-elastic polymer grid – for its top layer. It's designed to flex under your body, giving you similar support to memory foam, but with the ability to respond to your movements as well as the bonus of not trapping heat. It's durable, hypoallergenic and non-toxic.
The Purple Original consists of a soft knitted cover on top of a 2-inch Purple Grid, and it's finished off with two layers of breathable comfort foam. Purple doesn't provide firmness ratings; rather it says that its mattresses are 'Universal Firmness' as the grid is designed to adapt to your body and provide just the level of support and softness that you need. For more info, head to our article on is Purple mattress any good? Or to pick up a bargain, be sure to check out our Purple mattress promo codes and coupons roundup.
Sitting in the middle of the Leesa mattress range is the award-winning Leesa Hybrid. This excellent hybrid includes layers of premium foam with pocket springs to deliver comfort and advanced support. Leesa has come up with an innovative way to stop its memory foam from overheating: it has added a hole punched 'comfort layer' to allow heat to dissipate, while the foam beneath still hugs the sleeper's body and relieves pressure around the hips and shoulders. Beneath this, 1,000+ active response pocket springs provide stability, stability and bounce. All of this is wrapped in Leesa's signature gray-striped soft, breathable cover.
If shopping ethically is important to you, Leesa has some impressive credentials: it's B Corp certified, which means the company meets the highest environmental and social standards. For every 10 Leesa mattresses sold, one is donated to a child in need. Looking for a discount? Head to our Leesa discount codes and deals guide to browse the best savings.
If you're on a tight budget and just need a mattress that covers the basics, the Tuft & Needle Original should do the job nicely. It features a simple but effective design with two layers of open-cell foam with added graphite and cooling gel to wick away heat and moisture, giving you a good night's sleep at an attractive price.
The T&N Original is rated as medium-firm, with a design that balances pressure relief and support regardless of your sleeping position. Reviews praise it for responding instantly to the body, absorbing motion effectively and bouncing back into shape when you move, unlike memory foam.
It's very much a budget mattress, which means you won't find any of the advanced features you'll find elsewhere on this list, but it great for the price even if it has a few drawbacks: it can trap heat, and the edge support could weaken over time. It's received plenty of great reviews, though, and offers the industry-standard trial period and warranty so can buy with confidence.
In short, if you're looking for a good, cheap and basic mattress to suit a wide range of preferences and sleeping styles, this is probably it. The only people we wouldn't recommend it for are customers that weigh over 250lbs since they might need something more supportive.
Ikea has a bit of a reputation for its weird-sized beds, but don't let that put you off looking at its mattresses; in addition to European sizes, the Ikea Morgedal memory foam mattress comes in US twin, queen and king size too. It’s a thick foam mattress in polyester wrapping, and it’s best suited to a slatted bed base or mattress base. Don’t jump on it straight away: it’s delivered rolled up and needs three to four days to return to suitable flatness.
In true Ikea style there's nothing particularly cutting-edge about the Morgedal. It's basically a fat chunk of foam that's comfortable and fairly immune to the movements of your partner. The foam can get a little damp if you tend to sweat a lot; if you do, a thick mattress protector is a good idea. There's a 90-day trial period, and has some strong plus points, despite its distinct lack of bells, whistles and 'challenger brand' credentials. If you're on a really tight budget or need something to put in the spare room, this is the cheapest mattress you'll find.
Which is the best type of mattress?
There are a few different mattress types on the market right now. When you start your search for the best mattress, you'll come across several types of mattresses. While the difference among them isn't massive, it's still helpful to understand what each one means before you hit that buy button. The three main mattress types you're going to come across are memory foam, sprung or hybrid.
This type of mattress has exploded in popularity over recent years. Memory foam is a responsive material that reacts to your temperature and weight to mold gently around your body when you're laying down. Memory foam mattresses offer great support and comfort, and are probably the most popular mattress type right now, with most of the big brands offering their own takes on this material.
One potential downside is that memory foam traps body heat more than spring mattresses. So, you'll have a warm cozy bed in the winter, you may find yourself getting a little warmer than usual in the summer. This may pose a problem if you sleep hot. Many brands have introduced cooling top layers to counteract this. You can read more in our memory foam mattress buying guide.
An innerspring mattress is a more traditional type of mattress. These mattresses use a steel coil system for support and have several different subtypes – from ones with springs that are connected and work as a single unit to those with springs inside their own fabric pockets (sometimes referred to as a pocket sprung mattress).
They can adapt to your body shape – the greater the number of coils, the better they can contour to your body. However, they're not as supportive as memory foam and may provide less movement isolation, which is a problem if you have a restless bedmate. On the upside, they do offer a bouncier surface to sleep on, which means that you won't sink into an innerspring mattress the same way you would on a memory foam one.
The term 'hybrid' could technically refer to any mattress that's made up of different materials, but it typically means a mattress that combines layers of pocket springs and memory foam. This makeup offers more bounce than memory foam-only mattresses, but with the added support and comfort of a memory foam upper.
There are a few more terms you might come across in your search. These mattress types are more uncommon, but still worth knowing about.
- Latex: A breathable, springy material that's exceptionally durable and resilient. Can be expensive.
- Continuous and coil: Made from a single looped wire, or from single springs fixed with one wire. These are cheaper, but less likely to give a good night’s sleep.
- Bed in a box: A delivery method in which mattresses are compressed, rolled or folded into a box for easy home delivery. They're usually foam or a memory foam and spring combination.
One last bit of advice before you start shopping: don't put too much emphasis on the mattress type. Personal factors like your height, weight, body shape, sleeping style and temperature are far more likely to affect how comfortable you find a specific mattress. All our picks in our best mattress guide above have been designed to deliver outstanding support and comfort for the majority of people – regardless of their material.
How to choose the best mattress for you
Before buying a mattress, the first big decision is between springs and memory foam – there are pros and cons of each. Next up, make sure it’s the right size. For a full explainer, including the differences between US, UK and EU naming, head to our mattress size guide. A good rule of thumb is that your mattress – like your bed – should be about 4 inches longer than the tallest person sleeping in it. It should also be wide enough for you and a partner to put your hands under your head without your elbows touching (or without touching the edge of the mattress, if you’re not sharing).
Also consider how firm the mattress is. Do the hand test: lying down on your back, push your hand under the lower part of your back. If you can’t, the mattress is too soft; if the gap is too big, it’s too hard. If you have a partner, make sure they try it at the same time: what feels fine on your own may feel like a bouncy castle with someone else on board. Bigger bodies may need something specialist – pick from our guide to the best mattress for heavy people.
It's also worth checking whether a mattress needs turning. Many don't these days, but if you’re considering one that does, make sure it has handles.