The Best Soft (Plush) Mattresses

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Finding Your Firmness

There was a time when orthopedicians recommended a firm mattress for spinal health. But the myth that a firmer mattress provides better support has since been debunked.

The reality is a bit more complex. Whether a mattress with a firmer or softer surface is right for you need depends on many factors, including mattress design, your weight, sleep position, and personal preferences.

If you crave the comfort of a soft sleep surface and adore the sensation of sinking into bed at night, you’re in luck -- there are many mattresses on the market that balance a soft, plush feel with superior spinal support. As someone who prefers a softer mattress, you can use this guide to learn more about choosing the best soft mattress for your needs.

How is Firmness Measured?

In the mattress world, terms like “firmness” and “softness” are used to describe how a mattress will resist or conform to your body when you lie on it.

A firm mattress will have a higher level resistance, which can create the sensation of floating on your bed. Alternatively, a softer mattress will allow you to sink deeper into the surface, contouring the curves of your body. The feeling of sleeping on a medium-firm mattress may feel somewhere in the middle: floating, but with a slight give beneath your hips and shoulders.

Many mattress manufacturers and reviewers rate products on a scale of 1 to 10:

  • 1 - very soft: A 1 or “very soft” mattress will allow sleepers of most body types and sleep positions to sink deeply into the surface.
  • 2 to 3 - soft: Mattresses with a 2- or 3-level softness offer good pressure relief and a fair amount of sinkage for most body types and sleep positions.
  • 4 to 6 - medium-firm: A medium-firm mattress balances soft and conforming with floating firmness and support.
  • 7 to 9 - firm: Mattresses rated a 7, 8, or 9 deliver a firm, floating feel without sacrificing comfort and contouring.
  • 10 - very firm: A mattress rated a 10 or “very firm” will be very stiff with minimal conforming or softness.

It’s worth noting that firmness is subjective and may vary based on your preferences and BMI. For example, a mattress that feels firm to a 100-pound sleeper may feel ultra plush to a 300-pound sleeper.

Is a Soft Mattress Right for You?

The unique characteristics of soft beds make a plush mattress particularly well suited to some sleepers, and less so for others.

You may be more suited to a soft mattress if one of the following applies:

  1. You tend to sleep on your side. When you sleep on your side, pressure can build around your hips and shoulders. A soft mattress provides release around these pressure points, helping to keep your spine in healthy alignment while preventing aches and pains.
  2. You sleep cold. A softer mattress lets you sink deeper into your bed, enveloping your body in a hug. Because less of your skin is exposed to the air, sleeping on a softer mattress can help you sleep warmer at night. This is especially true of beds made with memory foam, which tends to absorb heat.
  3. You have a low BMI. Sleepers who weigh less than 150 pounds may find a firm or medium firm mattress does not conform to their pressure points. This may occur when the body doesn’t exert enough weight onto the mattress to force it to give way around these areas. If you have a lower body mass index (BMI), you may find a softer mattress is better able to deliver pressure relief and keep your spine in healthy alignment.

  4. You experience joint pains. A softer mattress may be able to minimize pressure on your joints, thus preventing aches and pains from developing or growing worse.

On the other hand, there are certain types of sleepers who may sleep better with a firmer mattress. You may be less suited for a soft mattress is one of the following applies:

  1. You sleep on your stomach or back. When you sleep on your stomach, your hips may sink too deeply into a softer mattress, resulting in improper alignment and lower back pain. Similarly, individuals who sleep on their back may find a firmer mattress is better able to keep their spine in a health position.
  2. You have a higher BMI. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier you are, the firmer your mattress should be. A firmer mattress may be better able to handle heavier weights without sagging over the long term.  
  3. You sleep hot. As we mentioned, softer mattresses tend to hug your body in mattress materials, restricting airflow. If you tend to sleep hot, you may find a firmer bed will help you avoid overheating.
  4. You sleep with a partner. On a soft bed, sleeping with a partner with a lower or higher BMI can cause an imbalance. The heavier one of you may sink deeper into the mattress, resulting in an uneven sleep surface.

Benefits of a Soft Mattress

Still not sure whether a soft bed is the right choice? Here are some soft mattress benefits that could help you make up your mind:

Contouring.

Mattress “contouring” refers to how the surface of the bed conforms to your body. A softer mattress provides closer contouring, providing the gentle sinking preferred by some sleepers. By allowing your hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress, a softer bed can keep your spine in healthy alignment.

Pressure relief.  

A soft mattress cradles your pressure points, resulting in both comfort and alignment. By conforming to your pressure points, a softer bed can minimize aches and pains felt in these sensitive areas.

Motion isolation.

The term “motion isolation” is used to describe the effectiveness of a bed at preventing movements from transferring across the mattress. An important consideration if you share a bed, good motion isolation can keep you from disturbing your sleeping partner when you change positions or climb in and out of bed. Soft mattresses tend to offer superior motion isolation compared to firmer beds, absorbing movements rather than transferring bounce and vibration across the surface.

Warmth.

If you tend to get cold in the night, a soft mattress can help. Sinking into a mattress means your skin is less exposed and your body heat can keep you warm.

Mattress Types

When browsing the mattress market, you’ll see softer and firmer versions of all major mattress types. That said, certain mattress materials are associated with a softer sleep experience than others.

Here’s an overview of the primary mattress types and their typical firmness range:

Foam mattresses include memory foam, polyfoam, or a combination of the two materials. Typically, memory foam beds are denser and more durable than polyfoam mattresses. Memory foam beds tend to be on the softer side, but both polyfoam, memory foam, and foam blends come in varying levels of softness and firmness.

Best Soft Mattress Reviews

Do you dream of plush surfaces, superior spinal support, and conforming comfort? Check out the following beds, which were hand-selected for being the best plush mattress models on the market today:

Best Overall: Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid

The Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid is available in three firmness level: Plush, Medium, and Luxury Firm. For those seeking an ultra soft bed with excellent spinal alignment and above-average cooling, we recommend the Plush model.

As its name suggests, the Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid is a hybrid of innerspring and foam. On the top, a combination of foams contribute to softness and contouring. To reduce the overheating associated with soft beds, these upper foam layers are infused with cooling elements like copper. Below the softer contouring foam, a core of Quantum Edge Pocketed Coils adds bounce, support, and even more breathability. The bed is wrapped in a quilted cover, crafted with gel-infused memory foam and Thermic Phase Change Cooling Fabric to create a plush, cool pillowtop feel.

Pros:
  • Combines softness with above-average cooling thanks to unique design and features like Thermic Phase Change Cooling Fabric
  • Copper infusion provides distinctive benefits like cooling and enhanced blood circulation
  • Free shipping with 100-night home trial
Cons:
  • More expensive than bed-in-a-box competitors
Nest Hybrid

Editor's Choice: Saatva Plush Soft

The softest of three Saatva mattress models, the Saatva Plush Soft is designed with side sleepers in mind.

All three models of the Saatva mattress feature a unique “coil-on-coil” construction featuring two distinct layers of springs beneath a layer of high quality memory foam. The upper layer of springs includes individually wrapped coils for comfort and motion isolation, while the lower layer is made with tall, steel springs for support.

The Plush Soft version features coils wrapped in soft, contouring foams that cradles your pressure points and lets the body sink gently into the surface. The mattress is wrapped up in a organic cotton cover that is quilted with a European-style pillow top for extra softness and pressure relief.

Pros:
  • Coil-on-coil construction sleeps cool and includes edge support enhancement
  • Thick, plush European-style pillow top quilted into the cover for ultra plush feel
  • Free full-service delivery with 120-night home trial
  • Low price point for luxury bed
Cons:
  • Minimal motion isolation
  • Heavy and difficult to move
Saatva-Mattress-1-e1519687199481

Softest Mattress: Amerisleep AS5

Of the five Amerisleep mattress models, Amerisleep AS5 is the softest. The mattress is built from four layers of foam, beginning with a plant-based BioPur foam designed to be cooler and more responsive than conventional memory foam. Below the plush memory foam is another layer of “Active Flex” foam, which contributes even more softness and bounce. Below, two layers of firmer, denser foam contribute durability and support.

The Amerisleep AS5 is covered in a Celliant fabric, which can help transform body heat to infrared energy to improve blood circulation.

Pro:
  • Top layer of open-cell memory foam gently cradles body while keeping you cool and supported
  • Celliant cover carries health benefits like improved blood circulation, increased tissue oxygenation, and heat regulation
  • Free shipping with 100-night home trial
Cons:
  • Weak edge support
  • 30-night break-in period required before returns accepted
Amerisleep AS5 Mattress

Best Value: Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid

As you may have guessed from its name, the Tomorrow Hybrid is a hybrid of memory foam and innerspring. The mattress comes in two firmness levels: Medium Soft and Medium Firm. If you are hunting for a softer mattress, consider the Medium Soft version.

The Medium Soft mattress is topped with a layer of cooling, open-cell memory foam and a layer of gel foam that work together to deliver contouring and pressure relief. Compared to the firmer version’s, the gel foam layer is slightly thicker in the soft model to provide a plush feel. The Medium Soft model also omits a level of bounce foam in order to create the gentle sinking sensation.

Below the gel there is a support system comprised of pocketed steel coils and polyfoam. The Tomorrow Sleep Hybrid is encased in a stretchy blend of polyester and nylon.

Pros:
  • Top memory foam layers create pressure relief and above-average cooling
  • Low price point for luxury bed
  • Free shipping with generous 365-night home trial
Cons:
  • Heavy and difficult to move
  • May be noisier because of pocketed spring coil system
Tomorrow Sleep Mattress

Best Luxury: Zenhaven

Dreamed up by the creators of Saatva, the Zenhaven is a reversible mattress with two different firmness levels -- Luxury Plush and Gentle Firm -- on either side. Blending bounce with pressure relief, the Luxury Plush side is built special for sleepers who prefer a softer bed.

The Zenhaven is constructed from five layers of all-natural Talalay latex, which is durable and resistant to dust, mold, and bacteria. The bed features a quilted cover of organic cotton. Below the cover, a layer of organic New Zealand wool helps wick away moisture, boost air circulation, and serve as a natural flame-retardant.

Pros:
  • All-natural Talalay latex is cooling, hypoallergenic, and green-friendly
  • “Five-zone” comfort layer features different densities to support the hips and shoulders and keep the spine aligned
  • Free white-glove delivery with 120-night home trial
Cons:
  • Heavy and difficult to move
  • More expensive than bed-in-a-box competitors
Zenhaven Mattress

Best Soft Mattress Picks

Brand Name Price (Queen)
Best Overall Nest Alexander Signature Hybrid $1,199
Editor's Choice Saatva Plush Soft $999
Softest Mattress Amerisleep AS5 $2,099
Best Value Tomorrow Hybrid $990
Best Luxury Zenhaven $1,899