The Best Soft Mattress 2021Updated on March 3, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about how we make money here.
Looking for a Soft Mattress? Here’s What You Should Know
You spend one-third of your life in bed, so choosing a mattress that offers quality sleep is critical. No one can tell you which mattress is best for you. That’s up to you to decide because comfort is subjective. If you’ve decided that a soft mattress is what you want, this information can help guide your decision.
We’ll show you the pros and cons of sleeping on a soft mattress, whether soft is a good choice for your health, which materials there are to choose from, plus our top five soft mattress reviews and choices. As an educated consumer, you’ll be better prepared to select the best mattress for your needs.
What Is a Firm vs. Soft Mattress?
Soft mattresses are often referred to as “plush” in bedding terminology. How firm or soft a mattress feels is subjective to the sensations of each sleeper, but the industry uses a scale of 1-10 to evaluate mattresses. The assigned number can guide you, but how a bed feels to you is what’s important.
A mattress rated with a lower number should feel softer and the higher the number, the firmer the mattress was designed to feel. Mattresses are usually constructed with multiple layers that work together to deliver a sensation of softness versus firmness.
|1||Extremely Soft||A plush mattress should let you feel that you’re “sinking in” to the bed.|
|2-3||Soft||A soft mattress with the “sinking in” quality that’s not quite so plush.|
|4-6||Medium||A less plush mattress with less “sinking in” feeling, but is still soft.|
|7-9||Firm||A harder mattress that doesn’t “sink in” and feels less soft.|
|10||Extremely firm||A hard mattress that doesn’t let you “sink in” and isn’t plush or soft.|
Our Top Five Soft Mattresses
|Layla||Foam||Flippable: Medium Soft (4) and Medium Firm (7.5)||$999|
|Amerisleep AS5||Foam||Soft (3)||$2,199|
|Leesa||Foam||Relaxed Firm (6)||$1,099|
|Puffy Mattress||Foam||Medium (5)||$1,150|
|Nolah Signature 12||Foam||Medium (5)||$1,299|
*Price will vary based on mattress size from twin to California King (prices listed are for queen) and optional accessories chosen.
Best Soft Mattress Reviews
Selecting a mattress is about what feels good and helps you achieve your best sleep. Your sleep position, weight, and health conditions should factor into your decision. Our top five recommended soft mattresses offer selections in an array of preferences and cost. Read these detailed plush mattress reviews to see materials, construction, pros and cons, and why each mattress made our list.
Why we like it:
- Flippable design for multiple firmness options
- Thick layer of shredded foam offers plenty of loft
- Ability to remove foam provides huge flexibility in reducing loft
- 100-night in-home trial with free returns
Construction: The Layla mattress is composed of three layers of foam. The top and bottom layers are copper-infused memory foam with a 6-inch polyfoam support layer sitting in-between. The top layer is 3 inches deep, while the bottom layer is 1-inch thick. These both act as comfort layers, since the Layla is a flippable mattresses. One side has a medium soft feel, and the other side is firm.
Pros: The Layla’s medium soft side has a luxurious plush feel. The use of copper-infused memory foam allows this bed to sleep relatively cool. If you sleep with a partner, you will hardly feel any movement on the Layla. The lifetime warranty shows Layla believes in their product.
Cons: As with most memory foam builds, the edge support on the Layla is lacking. If you prefer sleeping near the edge of the bed, you might experience some roll-off. The Layla’s support core might not be sufficient enough for larger sleepers.
Why Choose Layla: The Layla is a quality memory foam mattress well below the price of similarly constructed mattresses. The copper-infused and open cell memory foam gives a much cooler sleep experience than other memory foam beds as well. If you’re looking for a soft mattress, the Layla provides an plush, supportive sleep.
Why we like it:
- Thick foam layers contour closely and alleviate pressure
- Above-average durability for an all-foam model
- Excellent motion isolation
- 20-year warranty
Construction: Amerisleep’s lineup includes a series of all-foam mattresses, and the AS5 is the thickest and softest model in this collection. The AS5 begins with a 3-inch comfort layer of Bio-Pur, a proprietary memory foam noted for its high density and long-lasting shape. Two polyfoam layers reinforce the Bio-Pur without compromising the AS5’s exceptionally plush feel and deep contouring ability. The support core contains a 7-inch layer of high-density polyfoam. Altogether, the AS5 measures 14 inches thick. A cotton/polyester cover encases the mattress.
Pros: The AS5 will be appealing to anyone who prefers close conforming from their mattress. This group may include side sleepers, people who weigh less than 130 pounds, and those with sharp pressure points along the spine. The dense memory foam also absorbs movement and practically eliminates motion transfer, so couples won’t need to worry about sleep disruptions when their partner moves around or gets in and out of bed.
Cons: Since it contours so deeply, the AS5 has a tendency to trap body heat and sleep uncomfortably warm. Its exceptionally soft feel also means many people – back and stomach sleepers in particular – will sink excessively, and some may develop aches and pains as a result.
Why Choose Amerisleep AS5: If you’re looking for a very soft mattress that contours closely and hugs the body, the AS5 is a great option. If you want more support, Amerisleep offers four other mattresses in the all-foam series that feel progressively firmer.
Why we like it:
- Close conforming for pain/pressure relief
- Isolates motion transfer for couples
- Suitable for most weights and sleep positions
- 100-night sleep trial
Construction: The Leesa is constructed with a top layer of polyfoam, followed by a secondary layer of memory foam and a high-density polyfoam base. These components absorb motion and isolate it to areas of the mattress, which can prevent sleep disruptions for couples when one person shifts positions or gets out of or into bed. The Leesa is also silent when bearing weight.
Pros: While ultra-plush mattresses may be suitable for some, many sleepers prefer a balance of soft body-conforming and even, sag-free support. The Leesa is a good option for these sleepers. It offers a medium (5) feel that hugs the body closely without sinking too much. This allows the bed to improve alignment for side sleepers while maintaining a flat surface with even weight distribution for back and stomach sleepers.
Cons: The Leesa may come with an initial off-gassing odor that should dissipate within a few hours after unboxing. The bed offers only moderate edge support and may be heavy and difficult to move.
Why Choose Leesa: The Leesa is very low-priced, even by all-foam mattress standards, and the company offers free shipping to all 50 states. The bed is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Why we like it:
- Affordable price point
- Contours pressure points without trapping heat
- Above-average motion isolation
- Free shipping with a 101-night sleep trial
Construction: The Puffy Mattress keeps it simple with a two-layer, all-foam construction. The top layer is made from 4 inches of a Cooling Cloud foam, a gel-infused visco polyurethane material. Meanwhile, the bottom layer is built from 6 inches of high density foam. The cover is a removable, washable polyester. The Puffy Mattress is available in one firmness level: 5, or medium.
Pros: Considering its premium foam construction, the Puffy comes with an affordable price point. The upper layer of Cooling Cloud foam is designed to contour pressure points without trapping heat, while the Firm Core Support foam helps with spinal alignment. The mattress offers above-average motion isolation. The Puffy is made in the U.S. and includes free shipping with a 101-night sleep trial. The Puffy company also oversees a charity program that donates mattresses to homeless youth shelters.
Cons: Like other foam beds, the Puffy offers little edge support. The Puffy is not bouncy, making it less suited for sex.
Why Choose Puffy Mattress: If you’re seeking a quality, soft bed without a high price point, the Puffy represents a solid choice. The bed is also an attractive option if you enjoy the pressure relief and contouring of a memory foam mattress without the associated drawback of over heating.
Why we like it:
- Medium (5) feel
- Adaptive polyfoam contours to the body without too much hugging
- Very good motion isolation for couples and no noise
- Lifetime warranty
Construction: As its name implies, the Nolah Signature 12 is a high-profile mattress measuring 12 inches thick. This all-foam model features a top layer of proprietary AirFoam, which offers the same even body-contouring and pressure relief as memory foam without the deep hugging sensation. The mattress also includes a second polyfoam comfort layer, a transitional layer made of dense AirFoam, and a high-density polyfoam support core. Its feel is medium, or a 5 out of 10 on the firmness scale.
Pros: This mattress offers the same benefits as many of its all-foam competitors – namely above-average motion isolation, great pressure relief, and no noise. People who find the body-hug of memory foam uncomfortable will likely enjoy the responsive, gently cushioning feel of AirFoam. The same goes for hot sleepers, as AirFoam is designed to retain little body heat and sleep cool.
Cons: The Signature 12 tends to sink along the edges due to its all-foam composition, making it more difficult for people to get in and out of bed – especially if they already have mobility issues.
Why choose Nolah Signature 12: The Signature 12 has an approachable price-point and is built from high-quality materials. Couples should also sleep soundly thanks to the bed’s above-average motion isolation and noise-free design. Shoppers can opt out of Nolah’s 120-night sleep trial and save some money on their purchase.
Is a Soft Mattress Right for You?
Good sleep is a function of many factors including mattress choice, good sleep posture, sleep position, age, weight, health, and other concerns. The sensation of softness is distinctive to each person, and the mattress that feels perfectly soft to you might feel too soft or too firm to someone else. If you have a firm mattress now and aren’t sleeping well, it might be time to give a softer bed a try.
If you wake with pain in pressure points such as your shoulders and hips, your mattress may be too firm. Your weight also factors into what feels soft or firm. Bear in mind that what feels soft in a showroom might not feel as soft at home. That’s why sleep trials are important to long-term satisfaction. Here are some guidelines on who should consider a soft mattress and who should stick with firm.
Soft mattresses may be better for:
- Side sleepers
- Colder sleepers
- Lower BMI/Lighter weight
- Older people
- Sleep apnea sufferers
Side sleepers are the most common. A study from The Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service showed that 69% of people sleep on their sides in one position or another. On your side, a softer mattress better cushions your hips, neck, and shoulders than a firmer sleep surface. However, you also don’t want a mattress that’s too plush, or you might throw off spinal alignment.
Colder sleepers are those that get chillier at night versus those that wake sweaty and kicking off the covers. An underactive thyroid or other medical condition might leave you cold at night, or you might just be one of those people that feels cold more than others. Softer mattresses cradle you and insulate using your body heat to keep you warm.
Lighter weight people have a lower BMI, and that means you will experience mattress firmness in different ways than heavier people. The more you weigh, the more you’ll sink into the comfort layers of a mattress. Firmer mattresses will be less comfortable the less you weigh so you’ll likely want a mattress that’s plusher if you have low BMI.
Older people may enjoy a softer mattress. Because seniors tend to run colder, a plusher bed lets you sink in and enjoy the insulating benefits. Thicker comfort layers protect joints that grow more fragile with age. You may be more sensitive to pressure from a firm mattress and may sleep better and wake with less soreness if you have a softer bed.
Sleep apnea sufferers should sleep on their sides according to Dr. David Schulman of the Emory Sleep Center. Risk factors for sleep apnea include Down syndrome, chronic sinusitis, enlarged tonsils, and excess body weight, among others. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), though, is caused by improper sleep posture. No matter the cause, side sleeping is preferable, and a softer mattress may help.
Soft mattresses may not be a fit for:
- Stomach and back sleepers
- Heavier people/Mid-to-high BMI
- Hot sleepers
- Back pain sufferers
- Arthritis sufferers
Stomach and back sleepers make up about 20% of the population, according to a study in the UK. If you sleep on your stomach or back, a soft mattress may let you sink in too deep which throws off the natural “S” curve of your spine. When your sleep posture isn’t correct, you can wake up with back and body aches, and firmer beds are better for those who sleep face up or face down.
Heavier people don’t sleep as well on softer beds. Research from the Sleep to Live Institute shows the higher your BMI, the worse you sleep. If you’re heavier, a softer mattress may let you sink in excessively producing a hammock effect which throws your spine out of alignment. You may struggle to change position when you’re hammocked, and this can increase discomfort.
Hot sleepers typically do better on firm mattresses because less sinking in means you stay cooler at night. Research in Sleep Medicine Review show body temperature should drop two degrees at night when you’re in an optimal sleep cycle. If you run hotter when you sleep, your sleep won’t be as restful, and a firm mattress might be preferable for air circulation reasons.
Back pain sufferers were once thought to benefit from very firm mattresses. This theory was debunked by extensive research which shows that medium-firm beds are preferable for low back pain. Soft mattresses might not work as well because the “sinking in” effect that others find comfortable might not offer quite as much support for spines that are prone to pain.
Children from birth sleep on firm surfaces for safety reasons as is the case with crib mattresses. Transitioning to a softer mattress might throw off their sleep. Children’s sleep patterns evolve as they age, and their sleep needs can vary widely depending on growth cycles. Studies show that kids need more sleep during growth spurts and consistency of sleep surface is key.
Arthritis sufferers might seem better candidates for soft mattresses, but research from the Cleveland Clinic indicates otherwise. A mattress with a firmer support layer (the inner layer of the bed) and a softer upper comfort layer (the top part) may offer greater sleep comfort to those with achy joints. Firmer mattresses also allow easier sleep position shifts which can keep joints from locking.
Benefits of a Soft Mattress
Selecting the best mattress should be about your personal preference, sleep style, and what is comfortable to you. With that in mind, consider these benefits of soft mattresses:
If you like a mattress that conforms closely to your body, then a soft mattress is better. Softer comfort layers will cradle your body and let you enjoy that “sinking in” sensation that many people prefer. Firm mattresses are not known for conforming to your body. The best plush mattress for you may come with soft comfort layers to conform and cradle your body while you sleep.
Sleeping too hot will wake you up, according to sleep studies. However, being too cold at night can also wake you and disrupt your circadian rhythms and sleep cycle. Piling on blankets can help those that run colder, but a softer sleep surface that allows greater “sinking in” will use your body temperature to insulate and keep you warmer at night if that’s your preference.
Comfort while sitting up.
For those that sit in bed to read, watch TV, or surf the internet with their tablet or laptop, you might find that a very firm bed will not be comfortable. A softer mattress will let you sink in and find a better position for your back. Consider a plush mattress or ultra plush mattress with pillow top comfort layers along with good pillow choice for frequent bed-sitters.
Improved motion isolation.
Plush mattresses, such as memory foam products, are the best for motion isolation. If you sleep with a spouse or partner and they move a lot at night, a firm mattress is problematic because you may feel every move they make. Choosing a softer mattress protects you from the bounce and wave feel that comes when the other person moves.
Less stress on pressure points.
If you wake with pain in your hip, shoulder or neck and have a firm mattress, a softer bed might be the answer. Plusher comfort layers take the pressure off areas that push into the mattress surface while you sleep. A soft mattress that cradles your body without excessive “sinking in” can lessen pain on waking.
Although there is a seemingly infinite variety of beds on the market, there are only four types of mattresses. Once you understand that, it becomes simpler to evaluate the options, and cut through sales jargon. Each of these types of mattresses is available in soft options. There are pros and cons to each type of mattress materials that can influence your buying decision.
The four types of mattresses are:
There are three types of foam used in this type of mattress: polyurethane foam, memory foam, or a blend of both. Foam mattresses are not organic or all-natural. They are created by a chemical process and are wholly synthetic. Despite the similarity in their basic materials, polyfoam and memory foam are drastically different in feel and how they sleep.
Polyfoam comes in three types: regular, high density (HD), and high resiliency (HR). Regular polyfoam is cheaper and less comfortable than HD and HR foam. HD foam is denser, and HR foam is more elastic and responsive. Both memory foam and polyfoam are available in different levels of softness. Memory foam is made denser and thicker by additional chemical processing.
Latex mattresses can be natural, synthetic, or a combination of the two. Synthetic latex is the result of a chemical process while natural latex is made from the sap of the rubber tree. To make a latex blend, sap and chemical latex are combined. Latex beds were once too costly for average consumers, but now they are more affordable and come in an array of softness and firmness levels.
Latex mattresses offer greater conformity which can help you wake without pain in pressure points. Because it’s heavy and dense, latex is durable so the mattress may last longer. Latex sleeps cooler than foam and is more responsive. The top comfort layers of a latex bed determine the relative softness of the sleep surface, but many options are available.
Innerspring mattresses are the oldest type of modern sleep surface. Innersprings are coils of wire attached to each other to form the inner layers of the bed. Comfort layers are applied on top as a buffer between the coils and the sleeper. There are four types of mattress coils: Bonnell, offset, continuous wire, and pocket coils.
The comfort and responsiveness of an innerspring mattress varies by coil quantity, how the coils are attached to each other, the thickness of the wire, and the angle of the coils. As a rule, innerspring mattresses are firmer than the other three types of mattresses. However, the softness of an innerspring bed depends on the thickness and quality of the top comfort layer.
As the name suggests, a hybrid mattress is a combination of the other three types of materials. The support layer is pocket coils which are springs inside individual sleeves that are sewn or glued to one another. Comfort layers on top of the coils can be made of memory foam, latex, or some combination of these materials.
Innerspring beds tend to be bouncier and transfer motion so pairing these with foam comfort layers reduces unwanted movement. The top foam layer cradles your body for comfort and softness while the springs below support proper sleep posture and spinal alignment. Hybrids usually sleep cooler than a foam-only bed because the innersprings provide greater air circulation.