The Best Soft Mattresses – Buyer's Guide
Tomorrow Sleep mattress
PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress
Check out the rest of our favorite soft mattresses that offer the support and comfort you need to get the best sleep you deserve.
Everything to Know About Buying a Soft Mattress
You’ve always been jealous of Cupid’s perch. You stare longingly out the airplane window when it rises above the clouds. Simply put, if you could sleep on a cloud, you would.
If this fantasy resonates with you, the call of a soft mattress is hard to ignore.
There are unique challenges in shopping for a soft mattress. Finding the right balance of plush feel and support is important. Based on your body size and sleep position, a plush mattress may be ideal or give you pause before you proceed.
And backing all the way up, what is firmness anyway, and how is it measured?
This guide points out the potential pitfalls of a soft bed while steering you toward the best soft mattress for you. We’ll answer your questions about firmness, break down the types of sleepers who benefit most from a soft mattress and what those benefits are, and give an overview of which mattress materials tend to be softest. We’ll also provide our recommendations for the best soft mattress, whether you’re looking for memory foam or coils, whether you’re on a budget or able to splurge.
How Is Firmness Measured?
Coil count, construction, and material sourcing and manufacturing all require expertise to understand, or at least a bit of research. Mattress firmness, however, is apparent to anyone who applies a basic hand test.
Firmness and support are different things. While the former refers to a mattress’ initial feel, the latter refers to a mattress’ ability to provide proper spinal alignment. So it’s quite possible to find a soft mattress with top-notch support.
Below is the firmness scale used by most mattress makers. It’s a straightforward 1 to 10 scale, with 1 being the softest rating and 10 being the firmest.
1 (very soft): Home of the absolute softest mattresses that provide maximum body contouring and sink.
2-3 (soft): Still quite a bit of sink and contouring. Will feel plush to most sleepers.
4-6 (medium): May feel soft to some sleepers or hard to others. Usually provides firmness, support, and conformability in roughly equal measure.
7-9 (firm): Unquestionably firm but with degrees of conformability and priority on comfort.
10 (very firm): Extremely hard with little padding. Suitable for the very heaviest sleepers.
Our Top Picks
Here is a cheat sheet that highlights our favorite plush mattresses that occupy the low end of the firmness scale, in no particular order. Prices are listed for a queen size mattress.
|Manufacturer||Model||Mattress Type||Price (Queen)|
|PlushBeds Botanical Bliss||Latex||$1,499|
|Amerisleep AS5||Memory Foam||$2,099|
|Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid||Hybrid||$990|
Is a Soft Mattress Right for You?
Firmness is ultimately subjective. A mattress that feels unbearably hard to one sleeper may be a perfect fit for another, and likewise, one person’s perfectly plush mattress is another person’s nightmare of sink without support. A person who weighs 100 pounds will see firmness differently than the person who weighs 250 pounds. But some sleep characteristics do lend themselves particularly well to sleeping on a mattress at the soft end of the firmness scale.
Who is most suited to a soft bed?
Many side sleepers find that soft mattresses relieve the pressure on their shoulders and hips that comes with sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t contour to their body. The best plush mattresses promote spinal alignment in side sleepers by giving more sink to these parts of the body.
Along with side sleepers, lighter weight and lower BMI sleepers are the people best suited to soft mattresses. They experience these mattresses as firmer than heavier people do, and their lightness keeps contouring from turning into too much sink.
People who sleep cold also tend to enjoy plush mattresses. Many soft mattresses are made of materials that retain heat, and their hugging effect can mean extra material surrounds a sleeper. This is a problem for some people, but for those who occasionally wake up shivering, the right soft mattress can be an excellent complement to warm bedding.
The plushness of soft mattresses frequently translates to motion isolation. When one of these mattresses hugs a sleeper, it keeps their movements from transferring to other parts of the bed. A plush mattress with superior motion isolation is an excellent option for couples, especially if one partner tends to toss and turn.
Who is least suited to a soft bed?
Back and stomach sleeping are the positions least suited to a soft mattress since they require an even spread of firmness rather than contouring to promote spinal alignment.
Even though many plush mattresses feature excellent support, heavier weight and mid-to-high BMI sleepers may experience the softness as insufficiently supportive. They usually experience the right amount of sink at the higher end of the firmness scale.
Soft mattresses are less than ideal for hot sleepers for the same reasons they serve cool sleepers well. But some plush mattresses aim to sleep cooler by using more breathable materials and designs.
A soft mattress may seem like a great fit for someone with aches and pains. It can provide relief by reducing pressure on the joints. But when it comes to people with long-term, serious back pain, they usually require a mattress that is at least a medium on the firmness scale.
Benefits of a Soft Mattress
If after evaluating your body’s needs and sleep position you decide a plush mattress is a good fit, you can reap any number of rewards. A plush mattress is the closest you can get to fulfilling that common fantasy of sleeping on a cloud. The best soft mattresses provide a supremely comfortable sleep experience without sacrificing an ounce of support.
The benefits to side sleepers are especially great. Side sleeping on an overly firm mattress can cause serious spinal misalignment when the mattress doesn’t compress enough under pressure points like the hips and shoulders. Soft mattresses solve this problem, letting side sleepers maintain their favorite sleep position while aligning their spines.
The best plush mattresses provide the proper amount of support to lightweight people without overwhelming them with hard materials in their top layers. Because of the comfort they provide, soft mattresses can relieve certain aches and pains. Just make sure you get the approval of your physician if you have medical concerns.
Many people want the softest bed they can find that still provides them the support they need. This is the dream that a plush mattress can turn into reality.
You may associate a material like memory foam with softness and innerspring mattresses with rigidity, but mattress makers can customize all materials to accommodate a softer or firmer sleep. Here are the connections between the most common mattress materials and firmness:
Usually made of polyurethane in one form or another, foams—both polyfoams and memory foams—relate to softness through density.
High-density foams feel firmer than low-density foams, and manufacturers often stack foam layers of varying densities to create mattresses that are unique to their brands. They tend to put high-density foams in the lower layers to provide support and low-density foams in the upper layers to create a soft initial feel.
Note: Memory foams may start a little firmer than they eventually end up. So a memory foam mattress that has a firmness rating of 7 may settle into a 6 over time.
Many people associate latex beds with a softer sleep, but these mattresses can appear at nearly any point on the firmness scale.
The most important distinction to pay attention to when it comes to the firmness of a latex bed is the method of processing the latex. The Dunlop process involves fewer additions to the latex and creates mattresses that are heavy, firm, and supportive. Mattresses made from the Talalay process are a little softer and bouncier, yet they are still plenty supportive.
Hybrid mattresses run the firmness gamut because of just how many different materials they may contain. Memory foam, latex, coils, polyfoam, and organic fabrics may all coexist in a hybrid mattress in varying ratios. While a hybrid mattress may contain any number of those materials, the one defining feature it must have to be a true hybrid is a coil support core.
Because of the diversity of firmness levels hybrid mattresses offer, they are an excellent starting point when investigating your subjective experience of firmness.
Just because they feature metal coils doesn’t mean innerspring mattresses are necessarily hard. Higher gauge coils are thinner and result in springier, softer feels than their thicker, lower gauge counterparts. Innerspring mattresses may also vary in softness according to the number of coils they contain and the size of the coils (i.e., coil length, as distinct from coil gauge).
Many innerspring mattresses include other materials, and since mattress makers rarely put coils near the top of a mattress, those other materials may contribute more to the relative firmness of the mattress than the coils.
Best Soft Mattress Reviews
Now that you know the benefits of a plush mattress and the variables involved in searching for the one, let us take you on a deep dive into our top picks and why we chose them.
Best Soft Memory Foam – The Novosbed
The Novosbed is the premier mattress offering from Novosbed, one of the oldest direct-to-consumer mattress companies.
Novosbed, the company, makes the Novosbed from several layers of high-density memory foam, ensuring customers a mattress that is not only soft but also durable. The top layer of the Novosbed is a gel-infused memory foam, and many sleepers find that gel reduces the tendency for memory foam to sleep hot.
The Novosbed is manufactured in North America and holds a CertiPUR-US certification for minimal chemical emissions.
In addition to its durability, one of the biggest assets of the Novosbed is the manufacturer’s Comfort+ firmness adjustment kit, which allows customers to add an additional layer of comfort beyond the customized firmness level they choose when ordering. That’s softness on top of softness, which should satisfy sleepers seeking the softest mattress they can find.
Novosbed’s sleep trial is a bit complicated. It requires customers to keep the mattress for 30 days before returning it, but returns are free, just like shipping.
Best Soft Latex Mattress – Zenhaven
If you are looking for a soft mattress but unsure of the exact level of firmness you prefer, the Zenhaven mattress by Saatva presents an elegant solution. The Zenhaven offers two firmness levels in a single mattress. All you need to do is flip it to switch from Luxury Plush to Gentle Firm and back.
Sleepers seeking softness will appreciate that the Zenhaven’s 100% natural Talalay latex layers offer cushion and a little bounce along with the support that comes from latex.
The Talalay latex in the Zenhaven is made in America, and the mattress also features an organic cotton cover and a layer of 100% organic New Zealand wool.
Like most latex mattresses, the Zenhaven isn’t cheap. But also like most latex mattresses, it’s quite durable and naturally resists microbes and mold.
Best Soft Hybrid Mattress – Tomorrow Hybrid – Medium Soft
The Tomorrow Hybrid mattress is a product of Tomorrow Sleep, a subsidiary company of big-name mattress manufacturer Serta Simmons.
The Medium Soft Tomorrow Hybrid is a combination of coils, memory foam, and gel-infused polyfoam. This allows sleepers to get the benefits of all these materials rather than having to settle for just one or two. The coils and the one-inch layer of foam at the bottom of the mattress provide support while the memory foam and polyfoam at the top give comfort and promote a cool sleep.
Tomorrow Sleep is a newer brand without a long track record, but being under the Serta Simmons umbrella allows the company to offer this mattress at a bargain compared to similar hybrid mattresses.
Softest Mattress – Amerisleep AS5
If you’re looking for the flat-out softest mattress of the highest quality, look no further than the Amerisleep AS5.
The AS5 contains multiple layers of plush, absorbent foam that stack up to more than a foot deep. When it comes to sleeping on a cloud, you can’t get much closer than this.
Not only is the foam in the AS5 soft, but Amerisleep uses foams that are dense enough to provide the mattress with a long life.
The AS5 includes a top layer of memory foam, but the mattress offsets the potential heat retention with a Celliant cover that turns body heat into infrared energy.
These mattresses do run expensive, but if you’re looking for the very softest sleep you can get, the AS5 justifies its price.
Best Soft Mattress Value – Helix
If you’re not looking to break the bank but you still want a mattress that is both soft and supportive, the Helix offers quite a bit of bang for your buck. It provides the softness that hybrid construction affords using micro-coils and layers of both firm support foam and responsive dynamic foam.
Helix transcends the fixed firmness scale by giving customers a short quiz about their body types and sleep preferences. Helix then tailors each mattress directly to the needs of the customer using a proprietary algorithm. It’s a system that poses some problems for comparison shopping, but it’s an impressive amount of customization, especially considering the mattress’ low price.
Best Soft Mattress Luxury – PlushBeds Botanical Bliss – Soft
PlushBeds’ Botanical Bliss is another very customizable plush mattress that occupies the higher end of the price spectrum. This is partially because of how much of the mattress is made of natural latex, one of the most expensive materials involved in mattress construction.
Another reason for the price is the sheer number of options customers have when picking out their Botanical Bliss bed. Between the various heights, sizes, and firmness levels, there are almost 100 different permutations of this mattress.
PlushBeds makes the Botanical Bliss with both Dunlop and Talalay latex to create a supportive yet supple sleep experience. The company emphasizes its use of natural and organic materials in the construction of the mattress, so customers get a mattress that is not only softer than most but also healthier and more environmentally friendly.
One of the biggest downsides that comes with ordering the Botanical Bliss is a benefit in disguise. There is a delivery delay of a couple weeks, but this is because PlushBeds makes each mattress to order. You can’t rush the delivery of your own personal cloud.