Firm Mattresses

Best Firm Mattresses UK (2024)

Last updated: 13.03.2024 Reading time: 9 Min.

On the hunt for the best firm mattress in the UK?

We’re here to help! 💪

Firm mattresses offer high levels of support for optimal spinal alignment and retain less heat for a cooler sleep.

If you hate the feeling of sinking into your mattress, it’s time to seek firmer pastures.

Follow along for our top recommendations and expert advice.

Let’s get started! 🌛

Firm Mattresses
Sleep Hero Favourite

Origin Hybrid Mattress

The Origin mattress is a firm and supportive mattress, ideal for stomach sleepers.
  • Hexagrid foam, graphite-infused foam, pocket springs & polyurethane 
  • Very firm
  • 25 cm (10 inches)

Tell me more about the Origin Hybrid mattress

The Origin Hybrid mattress combines six unique layers for firmer-feeling support. 

The HexaGrid layer has hexagon-shaped grooves that cradle your pressure points and offer relief to your joints.

The Origin mattress also has a graphite-infused cooling foam layer that regulates body temperature and antigravity pocket springs that give individual support to each area of the body.

The bamboo Tencel cover is high quality and feels soft and gentle on sensitive skin.

This firm feel makes it ideal for stomach sleepers who require a firm mattress that promotes a straight spine.

It also offers excellent edge support for those who like to sit on the edge of the mattress.

Reasons to buy

200-night trial period & 15-year guarantee 

Great value for money 

Excellent support for stomach sleepers

Reasons to avoid

It might feel too firm for side sleepers 


Panda London Hybrid Bamboo Mattress

The Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress is the world's most advanced bamboo mattress.
  • Bamboo, memory foam & pocket springs
  • 27 cm (10.6 inches)
  • Medium-firm to firm


Tell me more about the Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress

The Panda Hybrid Bamboo mattress is made in the UK and offers orthopaedic-grade support

The plush bamboo cover is soft, temperature-regulating, hypoallergenic, and antibacterial. 

The Panda mattress is infused with bamboo, making it odour-resistant and highly breathable​​​​​.

We found the Panda Hybrid Bamboo Mattress exceptionally comfortable in the back-sleeping position. 

The OrthoAlign foam optimises spinal alignment and works with a multi-zonal spring base for superior support.

Additionally, the mattress has 1,500 premium pocket springs that isolate motion, so you won't be disturbed by your partner. 

Reasons to buy

100-night trial period

10-year guarantee

Firm & supportive feel

Reasons to avoid

Might be too firm for lightweight sleepers 

The mattress initially had a chemical smell that lasted a few days

Best Guarantee

DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid mattress is a 5-layered premium mattress.
  • Memory foam & pocket springs
  • 28 cm (11 inches)
  • Medium-firm

Tell me more about the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid is a premium mattress from the same company that makes the Nectar memory foam mattress.

It combines high-quality memory foam with full-size pocket springs (called ActiveEdge coils), each measuring 15 cm (5.9 inches).

This is an orthopaedically designed mattress with medium-firm support to help eliminate back, neck, and shoulder pains.

The mattress offers enhanced breathability to help keep you cool and refreshed all night long. 

It also has low motion transfer and great edge support, making it an excellent choice for couples.

Reasons to buy

365-day trial period

Lifetime warranty

Excellent motion isolation for couples

Reasons to avoid

Extra deep sheets required 

Too firm for lightweight side sleepers

The cover is not removable 

Emma Elite

The Elite is Emma Sleep's most luxurious and breathable mattress to date.
  • Unique AirGrid technology and pocket springs
  • 27 cm (10.6 inches)
  • Medium-firm

Tell me more about the Emma Elite Mattress

The Emma Elite mattress is Emma Sleep's most luxurious and breathable model to date.

It features a unique AirGrid layer specifically designed to enhance airflow and remains the only Emma mattress with this technology.

While deemed a medium-soft mattress, our tests have shown it has a much firmer feel than expected, making it ideal for back, side, and larger-build sleepers.

The Elite mattress also comes with a thick and luxurious padded cover that's removable and machine-washable.

You'll also benefit from free delivery and returns, a 200-night trial period, and a 10-year guarantee.

Reasons to buy

Exceptional breathability

Thick and luxurious cover

200-night trial period

10-year guarantee

Reasons to avoid

May be too firm for lighter-weight sleepers

Very expensive

Great For Hot Sleepers

Bensons for Beds iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top Mattress

The iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top mattress includes a deep gel temperature-regulating layer.
  • iGel Advance Graphene & pocket springs
  • Soft, medium, or firm support
  • 32 cm (12.6 inches)

Tell me more about the iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top Mattress

The iGel mattress mattress is designed to keep you at the perfect temperature throughout the night. 

The Graphene technology absorbs excess body heat when you get too hot and releases the heat when you're too cold.

The pocket springs support the body, minimise motion transfer and encourage optimal airflow. 

The iGel Advance 3000i Plush Top mattress has a moisture-wicking cover that keeps the mattress clean and keeps you feeling fresh all night.

You'll feel optimal comfort as the gel crystals mould around pressure points and provide targeted support. 

The AdvantEdge ensures you'll feel supported right up to the edge of the mattress.

Reasons to buy

10-year guarantee

40-night trial period 

Excellent temperature control

Reasons to avoid

You may need to purchase extra deep sheets 

Very expensive 

What is a firm mattress?

A firm mattress is characterised by its rigid feeling.

It has minimal give and won't sink significantly when you sit or lie down.

Unlike a softer mattress that creates a snug, 'hugged' sensation, the best hard mattress provides more of a 'lying on top' experience. 🛏️

Ultimately, mattress firmness isn't black and white; it's a spectrum.

At Sleep Hero, we rate mattresses on a firmness scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest.

mattress firmness scale

The softest mattresses are most suitable for lighter-weight people and side sleepers, while mattresses on the firmer end of the scale are best for stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and heavier people.

You'll see similar firmness rating scales used by most online mattress brands and retailers.

However, it's worth noting that firmness scales aren’t standardised between different companies. 🙅

Still, they are a useful tool for customers trying to estimate their ideal firm feeling.

All of our top recommendations for firm (and extra-firm) mattresses are rated as a 7 or above on our firmness scale.

If you're unsure about buying a firm mattress in the UK, you should consider a medium-firm mattress instead, as these are considered very comfortable for most sleepers.

Is a firm mattress right for you?

Firm mattresses are ideal for back and stomach sleepers and heavier individuals. 🌟

They provide a supportive surface with less sinkage, which helps maintain healthy spinal alignment.

Firm mattresses are also a great pick if you prefer to feel like you're sleeping on top of your mattress, not being hugged by it.

back pain
A mattress that is too soft can leave your body unsupported, aggravating back pain.

In particular, studies reveal that medium to firm mattresses can help alleviate lower back pain [1], resulting in higher sleep quality.

They can help reduce back, shoulder, hip, and lower back pain. 😍

This is because, over time, inadequate support in these areas can result in discomfort, pain, or even more serious long-term issues.

The right level of firmness means the weight of the body is evenly distributed, preventing pressure build-up. 🤗

Firmer mattresses, particularly firm orthopaedic mattresses, are designed to offer more support.

The Sealy Steeple Ortho Plus, one of the best extra-firm mattresses, is designed with the help of an expert orthopaedic advisory board and is an excellent option if you often wake up with back pain.


Firm mattresses also tend to retain less heat and allow better airflow around the surface of the bed.

They have good temperature-regulating capabilities and can help people sleep better by lowering body temperature [2].

Woman wakes up happy with cat
A medium-firm or firm mattress can help people sleep better and wake up pain-free and refreshed.

Most people sleep best on a medium-firm to firm mattress.

However, a very hard mattress isn't suitable for everyone and could be uncomfortable, prevent proper spinal alignment, or even lead to pain.

We'll look into this in more detail next. 👇

Who shouldn't buy a firm mattress?

Obviously, if you love sinking into a softer mattress, even the best hard mattress won't suit you.

But beyond this preference, who else should think twice about buying a firm mattress? 🤔

People not suited to firm mattresses:

  • Side sleepers
  • Light to average-weight people

A mattress that's too firm will be uncomfortable for side sleepers, particularly lighter-weight individuals, as it prevents areas like the shoulders and hips from sinking adequately into the mattress.

correct mattress firmness

Too little (or too much) sinkage can cause spinal misalignment, aggravating hip, shoulder, and back pain. 💥

Discomfort can affect our sleep, which is essential for our physical health [3] and mental well-being.

Ultimately, even the best firm mattress won't help you get a good night's sleep if it's preventing healthy spinal alignment.

Too-firm mattresses can also cause increased pressure on joints.

This can aggravate nerve endings and even worsen the pain for people with conditions like arthritis or scoliosis.

If you're a light to average-weight side sleeper who still wants something firmer - why not check out our favourite medium-firm mattresses?

Our favourite medium-firm mattresses:

How to choose the best firm mattress in the UK

Once you're sure a firmer mattress is right for you, it's time to choose one to buy!

You'll need to consider various factors about yourself and the mattress to ensure you get the best firm mattress UK. 🤔

These include:

  • Mattress quality
  • Sleeping position and weight
  • Mattress materials
  • Mattress sizes
  • Mattress delivery, trials, and guarantees

Let's dig into these in more detail. 👇

Mattress quality

Quality should always be your top priority, no matter what level of support and firmness you prefer.

Remember, we spend about a third of our lives asleep [4], so your mattress plays a crucial role in your overall health.

A quality mattress provides an excellent balance of support and comfort. 👏

Well-made firm mattresses are also more durable than lower-quality ones (though you should know that a firm mattress isn't necessarily longer-lasting than soft or medium-firm mattresses).

Choosing a firm mattress
While choosing the best firm mattress online can be tricky, a quality mattress will last for years to come.

So, how do you find a quality mattress online?

Factors like the brand reputation, materials, manufacturing processes, guarantees provided, and customer feedback are all good indicators of quality.

For instance, we recommend opting for mattresses with higher-density foams (at least 40 kg/m³) and more springs (at least 1000 springs).

All of our picks for the best firm mattresses in the UK are of top-notch quality across these categories. 🏆

If you're looking for a high-quality mattress that's surprisingly affordable, we suggest checking out the Origin Hybrid.

Its excellent support and minimal motion transfer make it one of our favourite firm mattresses for couples


Sleeping position and weight

As we've mentioned before, your preferred sleeping position and weight affect your ideal level of firmness.

People who sleep on their stomachs need the firmest mattress. 🧱

A firm surface helps prevent the pelvis from sinking excessively, which would cause the spine to bend.

stomach sleeper spinal alignment
A firmer mattress can help keep the spine aligned, preventing dipping, which could strain the back.

Meanwhile, back sleepers are best suited to a medium to firm feel that allows their pelvic area to sink slightly.

As well as sleeping position, weight also impacts ideal firmness.

Heavier individuals require something firmer, while lighter-weight people need something softer. ⚖️

For instance, side sleepers who weigh more than 108 kg (240 lbs) may want to consider a firmer mattress that accommodates their hips and shoulders while preventing them from sinking too far into the mattress.

The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid is a good option for heavier-weight individuals.

It has a medium-firm feel, is 28 cm (11 inches) tall, and can support up to 292 kg (644 lbs) across the surface of the mattress.


Mattress materials

The firmest mattresses are typically constructed with open coil springs or pocket springs.

Having said that, you can still find firm hybrid, foam, and latex mattresses.

To help you choose we've got a table listing the benefits and drawbacks of these different materials.

Mattress materials Pros Cons
Firm coil spring mattresses
  • Sturdy and durable base
  • Firmest feel
  • Often more affordable
  • Better for heavier-weight sleepers
  • Higher motion transfer, meaning you're more likely to feel your partner move
  • Don't offer great pressure relief
Firm pocket sprung mattresses
  • Stable base
  • Move independently for body-adaptive support and spinal alignment
  • Firmer feel
  • Ideal for back and stomach sleepers
  • Suitable for heavier-weight people
  • More expensive than coil or foam mattresses
  • Tend to be heavier
Firm hybrid mattresses
  • Stable base
  • Softer top made from body-contouring foam or natural materials
  • Firmer feel
  • Great for all sleeping positions
  • Good for heavier-weight individuals
  • More expensive than foam or coil spring mattresses
Firm foam mattresses
  • Heat responsive, allowing it to mould to your body and needs
  • Reduces pressure points
  • Ideal for those with orthopaedic concerns
  • Good for those with allergies
  • Outstanding motion isolation
  • Sleep hot
  • Have more of a 'sleeping in' feel, which may be uncomfortable for restless sleepers
Firm latex mattresses
  • Natural and synthetic options
  • Similar to memory foam mattresses but with a firmer, 'sleeping on' feel
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Natural material
  • Great for people with allergies
  • Very durable
  • More expensive
  • Dense material makes latex mattresses very heavy
  • Not suitable for people with latex allergies

Generally, memory foam and latex mattresses offer the best body-contouring support and motion isolation.

Hybrid and pocket sprung mattresses are ideal for those who want something firmer and breathable.

The firm version of the Bensons for Beds iGel Advance 3000i is ideal if you want a hybrid mattress with firm support, a plush top, and a cooler feel, ideal for hot sleepers.

BUY IGEL ADVANCE 300I£ 1,649.99

Mattress sizes

Mattress size is crucial when choosing the best firm mattress for your home. 📐

UK mattress sizes

Luckily, firm mattresses are available in a range of sizes.

Standard UK sizes include:

  • Firm single mattress: Ideal for small adults or children.
  • Firm double mattress: A good starting point for couples.
  • Firm king-size mattress: Offers extra space for added comfort.
  • Firm super king mattress: Perfect for those with larger bedrooms who love to stretch out.

Couples should opt for a double or larger to ensure comfort throughout the night.

While a super king-size firm mattress would be nice and spacious, it is also important to consider the size of your room before you buy. 🏠

Mattress delivery

Most brands now offer free delivery and will deliver to the room of your choice for an additional fee.

While many online mattresses are delivered rolled up in a box, some are delivered full size.

rolled mattress and box

If you're in a rush, the Sealy Steeple is available for free next-day delivery, and the Origin Hybrid is delivered within 2 to 4 days. 🚚

Alternatively, Panda London offers free chosen day, room of choice delivery and a free old mattress removal service!


Mattress trials and guarantees

Most good firm mattresses now come with at least an at-home trial period and a 10-year guarantee.

Mattress guarantees are a good indicator of quality.

A warranty protects you against mattress faults that may develop over the years. 🛡️

But even with a good guarantee, buying a mattress online can be tricky since you can't try the mattress before buying it.

firm mattress trial period
A good trial period means you can try your new firm mattress without stress.

Trials are convenient, given that it takes time to get used to a new mattress.

People who've slept on the wrong mattress for a long time may have difficulty getting used to a new one. About 85% of people adjust after 1 - 2 weeks. 10% need 4 - 5 weeks to get used to a new mattress, and 5% need longer than 5 weeks. You may not immediately experience optimal comfort on a new mattress.

sleep expert Walter Braun
Walter Braun

Sleep expert

With the best firm mattresses in the UK, you can test your mattress and return it for a full refund if you don't love it.

If you're looking for an outstanding trial and guarantee, the firm DreamCloud Luxe Hybrid has a revolutionary, risk-free 365-day trial and lifetime warranty. 📆


Should you buy a firm mattress?

Firm mattresses are ideal for back and stomach sleepers and heavier-weight individuals. ⭐

They can ensure you get the support you need.

The right level of firmness can also promote optimal spinal alignment and relieve back pain, especially in the lower back.

Just bear in mind that a mattress that's too firm can also cause pain and discomfort. ⛔

If you think a firm mattress is right for you, check out our recommendations for the best firm mattresses in the UK for the perfect balance of support and comfort.

Our top picks for the best firm mattress UK:

Frequently asked questions

  • Is a firm mattress better for me?

    Studies [5] suggest that most people sleep best on a medium-firm to firm mattress.

    A firm mattress may be better for you if you prefer a supportive sleep surface or are a back or stomach sleeper, especially if you weigh more.

    In fact, if you're heavier, you may want to shop for the best extra-firm mattress UK (the Sealy Steeple Ortho Plus is one of our affordable favourites).

    Firm mattresses help maintain spinal alignment, reducing back pain.

    Generally, orthopedic mattresses (usually firm hybrid or hard spring mattresses), which are designed to offer firmer support, are best for alleviating back pain.

    Ultimately, you'll need to consider your comfort preferences, weight, and sleeping positions to decide if a mattress firmer to the touch is your best choice.

    How do I know if I need a firmer mattress?

    Your mattress may be too soft if you find yourself sinking too far into the surface.

    A mattress that isn't firm enough for stomach and back sleepers will cause your spine to bend as your pelvis sinks into the mattress.

    A common sign that your mattress is too soft is that you'll wake up with lower back pain.

    Firm mattress toppers and extra-firm mattress toppers are affordable ways to make your mattress feel a little firmer, so you can see if this is more comfortable before taking the plunge and buying a firm mattress.

    Just know that if your mattress is old and sagging, a firm mattress topper won't help - It's time to buy a new mattress.

    The best firm mattress UK could help you wake up with decreased pain, just remember it may take a few days or weeks to adjust if you're used to a softer mattress.

  • Is a firm mattress good for back pain?

    The right firm mattress could help alleviate back pain.

    Recent studies show that medium-firm to firm support levels are the best mattresses for people with lower back pain [5].

    However, you may suit the best extra-firm mattress if you're heavier than average and favour sleeping on your stomach or back.

    Firmer surfaces offer more support, preventing excessive sinkage, and helping your spine to remain aligned and healthy.

    Heavier-weight individuals, particularly those suffering from back pain, may want to consider an orthopaedic firm mattress or extra-firm orthopedic mattress.

    Having said all of this, firm mattresses aren't ideal for everyone!

    Lighter-weight individuals, side sleepers, and people with arthritis may find a firm mattress feels uncomfortable and worsens back pain.

    What kind of mattress is best for sciatica pain?

    For those with sciatica pain [6], a mattress that balances support with pressure relief is crucial.

    A medium-firm mattress typically offers this balance, providing enough firmness to support the back and alleviate sciatica symptoms while also offering comfort to relieve pressure points.

    Look for options with supportive cores and cushioning top layers that conform to your body without causing excessive sinkage.

    Medium-firm memory foam mattresses or pocket-sprung hybrid mattresses are good options as these contour around the body and have outstanding pressure-relieving properties.

  • What is the best firmness for a mattress?

    Research [1] suggests that a medium-firm to firm mattress is best for most people.

    Generally, side sleepers and lighter-weight individuals require something slightly softer.

    Meanwhile, back sleepers, stomach sleepers, and heavier-weight individuals need something firmer that prevents them from sinking too far into their mattress.

    Good firm mattresses and medium-firm mattresses offer a combination of support and comfort.

    If you weigh more than average and favour sleeping on your front, you may want to consider the Sealy Steeple Ortho Plus, our top pick for the best extra-firm mattress UK.

    What are the firmest types of mattresses in the UK?

    Generally, spring-based mattresses have the firmest feel.

    Orthopedic mattresses are a great choice if you're looking for the best, very firm mattresses that offer excellent support and comfort. 

    Firm hybrid mattresses are among the most popular firmer mattress options, often combining springs and foam or springs and natural fillings (like bamboo in the Panda Hybrid or wool in the Hypnos Origins 6).

    Firm pocket sprung mattresses are also a good choice as the springs are individually wrapped and can move independently to offer tailored support.

    While less common, you can find so-called extra-firm foam mattresses.

    One example is the highly-rated and affordable 'Rock Hard Mattress' from the retailer Mattress Online - though we'd be cautious of this since mattress foam tends to be heat responsive, softening as you lay on it.

    You can buy firm mattresses from a wide range of brands and retailers, including Tempur-Sealy, Sleepeezee (particularly the Backcare range), Hypnos, and British brands like Simba and Panda.

    Brands like Silentnight and Sealy even offer unique technology, such as miracoil zoned support and postureTech Core Support Springs, designed to respond to body weight, offering more support where needed.

  • What are the cons of a firm mattress?

    While a good firm mattress can offer support, it's not without its downsides.

    Some common "mattress too-firm symptoms" include:

    • Lower back pain
    • Hip and back discomfort, especially for side sleepers
    • Increased pressure on joints
    • Potential aggravation of pain for those with conditions like arthritis 

    Firm mattress reviews often highlight these issues, though these complaints often occur when a mattress feels firmer than expected.

    Unfortunately, brands and retailers don't all use the same firmness scale, and factors like preference, weight, and sleeping position can also impact how firm individuals find a mattress.

    People seeking orthopedic extra firm mattress options should consider these potential cons.

  • How can I sleep on a firm mattress?

    Firm mattresses are most suitable for heavier-weight people, back sleepers, and side sleepers.

    If you have recently transitioned to a firmer mattress, it may take you some time to adjust.

    Our sleep expert, Björn Steinbrink, notes that "around 85% of people adjust after 1 - 2 weeks. 10% need 4 - 5 weeks to get used to a new mattress, and 5% need longer than 5 weeks".

    If you’re lighter-weigh, a side sleeper, or like a hugging “sleep-in” feel, you may struggle to sleep well on a firm mattress.

    How to make a firm mattress softer?

    Many people want to know, "What to do if my mattress is too firm"?

    Well, a soft comfort mattress topper can make a firm mattress feel softer.

    You may want to add a softer mattress topper, like the Hypnia topper, to your firm mattress if it feels too firm, particularly if you're waking up with back pain.

    It's also worth noting that your bed frame can impact how firm your mattress feels.

    Sturdy divan beds and box-spring bases will increase firmness, while flexible slats will soften the feel of your mattress.

    How to make a soft mattress firmer?

    If you think your mattress is too soft and you're waking up in pain, it may be worth investing in a firm mattress topper for back pain.

    A firm mattress topper can help make a soft mattress feel firmer.

    However, a mattress topper won't help if your mattress is old and sagging.

    Toppers rely on the support of the mattress, so placing a topper on a lumpy or dipping mattress won't fix these issues.

  • References

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Katharyn Duffy

Content Writer

Katharyn is a research pro with a BA in English and over 4 years of experience writing health and well-being content. She uses her understanding of sleep and its importance to cut through the nonsense and provide honest information about various sleep products and topics.

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