A common misconception in the mattress world is that a firmer mattress is inherently better. But the idea that a firmer mattress offers more support is untrue. For example, try sleeping on your floor. The key to finding the most comfortable bed for you is searching for something that offers an even balance of comfort and support; so if you’re looking for the best soft mattress, you have options.
Best Soft Mattress: 30-Second Summary
Our Recommendation: The Amerisleep AS4 is our recommendation for the best soft mattress you can buy. We like Amerisleep in general because they’ve been around for almost a decade. In their beds, they use Bio-Pur®, a plant-based memory foam to provide comfort and support. In this bed, they use 4 inches of cushioning Bio-Pur® to create a cloud-like sleep experience. Plus, they offer a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty with each of their beds, allowing you to shop with confidence.
Best Soft Mattresses of 2020
|Brand||Mattress||Type||Sleep Trial & Warranty||Price (Queen)|
|Amerisleep AS4||Memory Foam||100 Nights & 20 Years||$1499|
|Amerisleep AS5||Memory Foam||100 Nights & 20 Years||$1899|
|Helix Sunset||Hybrid||100 Nights & 10 Years||$995|
|Zenhaven||Latex||120 Nights & 20 Years||$1899|
|Saatva||Innerspring||120 Nights & 15 Years||$1099|
Finding the Best Soft Mattress
Because of advances in foam technology in the past decade, many of the best soft mattresses are available from online retailers. Foam mattresses can be easily compressed and shipped, and many major online retailers offer lengthy trials and help with shipping if you want to return the item. By reading bed-in-a-box reviews you can see online retailers can offer high-quality products at a fraction of the price.
Here are the top six soft mattresses.
Our Editors’ recommended soft mattress is Amerisleep’s AS4. We like Amerisleep because they make only five mattresses and each model ranges in firmness, so it’s pretty easy to choose which one of their mattresses you’re best suited for. Plus, they state on their website who each of their models is good for— whether it be back, side, or combination sleepers. Additionally, they use state-of-the-art materials in their beds to deliver healthy, restful sleep.
Their AS4 contains 4 inches of Bio-Pur®, so it should be perfect for people looking for a soft, but supportive bed.
Let’s break down the layers of this mattress.
For starters, Amerisleep uses a soft, breathable fabric to cover their beds. This airy fabric helps to keep air flowing throughout the mattress and prevents body heat from building up.
The top layer is 4 inches of Bio-Pur®, Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam. They design this foam to be more breathable than traditional memory foam, so it works in conjunction with the breathable cover to keep you cool and comfortable while you sleep.
Most memory foam mattress brands hesitate to use more than 2 or 3 inches of memory foam in their bed due to the risk of heat retention. However, because Amerisleep uses plant-based foams, they’re able to offer more memory foam without the risk of trapping heat. The layer of Bio-Pur® offers a cushioning, cradling feel when you lay down on this bed.
Below those two layers lies a layer of their HIVE® technology, a zoned support layer. HIVE® technology promotes your spine’s natural curvature and reduces pressure points, so it contributes to pain-free sleep. The last layer of the AS4 is their sturdy core foam, in place to offer shape and support to the layers and sleeper above.
When you shop with Amerisleep, they offer a 100-night risk-free sleep trial to test their beds out. If you’re unhappy with it, you have the option to exchange for a different model, so you could try another one of their soft beds, or you can return it for a full refund; but we’re confident you’re bound to find a good match with this brand.
Amerisleep’s AS5 is our Editors recommended soft mattress for heavy sleepers. Though the AS5 is advertised as Amerisleep’s softest mattress, it contains a responsive layer none of their other beds do, which can actually make it feel more firm than the AS4 for petite sleepers.
If you weigh over 250 pounds and want a soft mattress, choose their AS5. However, if you’re between 130-250 pounds, you’re better suited to their AS4.
Let’s talk about the construction of the AS5.
The AS5 contains all of the same great layers the AS4 did, but with the addition of Active Flex, a latex-like layer.
The first layer is 3 inches of Bio-Pur® to offer cushioning comfort and relieve aches and pains. Below the layer of Bio-Pur® is the layer of Active Flex, a poly-foam they designed to be responsive and bouncy like latex. They put this layer in their AS5 to keep you suspended in the mattress and prevent your spine from sinking too far in the bed, this promotes healthy sleep positions and creates a comfortable sleep surface.
Then, is a thin layer of HIVE® technology to offer zoned support and promote healthy sleep styles. Last but not least is their Bio-Core® support foam.
We like the Helix brand because they strive to help sleepers find the most compatible mattress to get restorative, comfortable sleep. When you visit their website, they prompt you to fill out a questionnaire about your sleep style and preferences and after, pair you with your perfect mattress. Helix sells seven different mattresses and even makes mattresses for couples with different firmness levels on either side of the bed.
Helix sells two soft mattresses, the Sunset and the Moonlight; we recommend the Sunset because it’s made for side sleepers, so we should feel a tad softer than the Moonlight.
All Helix mattresses are hybrids that contain their proprietary Helix Dynamic Foam in addition to a pocketed coil system. Their pocketed coil system offers zoned support, while the top layers give the sleeper cushioning comfort. In the Sunset, the top layer of Helix Dynamic Foam— a poly-foam engineered to be soft like memory foam, but breathable like latex— is relatively thick, giving you room to sink in the mattress. However, Helix includes a layer of transition foam below to ensure you don’t sink too close to the pocketed coil system. They determine the firmness of the transition layer by your body type, so they use the answers from your questionnaire to create a truly customized plush mattress.
The Zenhaven is one of the only latex mattresses on this list, and for a good reason. For the most part, latex has a bouncy, lifting feeling, which gives a more “on the bed” feel. If you’re looking for a soft mattress, latex could feel too firm for you.
Now, we’re not here to say latex mattresses can’t be soft— and the Zenhaven is a good example of a latex bed that offers the best of both worlds. In fact, we’re fans of the Zenhaven because it has flippable firmness— one side is firm, but if you flip it over, you have a soft latex mattress!
Zenhaven rates their soft mattress a 4-5 out of 10 on the firmness scale, so it likely has a soft to medium-soft feel. Remember, body type plays a key role in the perception of firmness, so it will feel a bit different for every sleeper.
The design of this mattress is pretty simple, as it only has four layers of latex. Starting with the soft side up, we have a layer of soft latex, followed by two layers of dense latex in place to act as the core of this bed, and the last layer is a firmer layer of latex. The top and bottom layers, or the “Soft” and “Firm layers, each offer the sleeper zoned support.
Zenhaven creates this support system in their bed by varying the size and distribution of pinholes in the layer, these make the latex feel firmer under your shoulders and torso for extra lift. Alternatively, the strategic distribution of pinholes makes the bed feel softer where you would want soft cushioning, so you’re able to get the soft feeling you want from a bed without foregoing support.
The last mattress on our list is the Saatva, a top-rated innerspring bed. This mattress is available as “Plush Soft,” “Luxury Firm,” and “Firm;” if you want their softest mattress, choose the “Plush Soft,” rated a 3 out of 10 on the firmness scale. Saatva combines two coil systems to create a bouncy and soft sleep surface. These coil systems double as zoned support, so they help you get healthy sleep by nurturing your spine’s natural curvature and diminishing pressure points.
The Saatva features three layers: a Luxury Euro Pillow Top, a pocketed micro-coil system, and a steel coil system below. Within their bed, they infuse their Spinal Zone Technology, which is essentially just more support in the lumbar region of this mattress to offer your midsection extra support. This technology works in conjunction with the coil systems underneath to make sure you don’t sink too far in the mattress and overextend your spine.
In their softest model, they include sofer foams and extra padding in their pillow top to create a truly cloud-like sleep experience.
Benefits of a Soft Mattress
When you don’t get enough of the right kind of sleep, you are more likely to spend your days feeling foggy and exhausted. You may have a hard time thinking clearly, reacting quickly, or making decisions; you’ll have a harder time remembering important things; you’ll be easily distracted, and you’re more likely to feel stressed and irritable. On a short-term basis, these problems can be uncomfortable; on a long-term basis, however, they can turn into more significant health issues.
Some studies have linked long-term sleep deprivation to other chronic or life-threatening health conditions.
- Heart disease
- Bone loss
- High blood pressure
Although many insist that firm mattresses are the best, this is far from accurate. The benefits you get from your mattress can vary greatly, depending on what your physical needs are and what position you sleep in. People who may benefit more from soft mattresses include the following:
Do you sleep on your side? Sleeping on your side is the most common position, according to sleep science. Per a United Kingdom sleep study, about 70 percent of people sleep on their side for most of the night. While firm mattresses support the curve of the back in people who sleep on their backs or stomachs, a hard mattress can be rough on the spine’s natural curves when you sleep on your side. In contrast, soft mattresses let the hips and shoulders sink into more natural alignment, allowing the body to relax into proper support.
Do you have a low body mass index (BMI)? People who have a BMI of 18.5 or lower, which is considered underweight, may require an extra cushion to support their frames. This is especially true for people who are underweight due to a medical issue, even if they have healed from it. Being underweight contributes to joint pain and feeling cold. Sleeping on a softer mattress allows for body heat to stay close to the body, greatly reducing the impact on joints and muscles.
Do you experience sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, primarily impacting the quality of sleep, which in turn raises stress, blood pressure, and heart rate, and lowers cognition, learning, and memory abilities. As much as 20 percent of American adults suffer from sleep apnea but do not know it. One recommended way to avoid sleep apnea is by sleeping on your side, which may mean finding a soft mattress to support your body and to help you remain in that position for much of the night.
Different Mattress Types
As new types of materials are created and tested, mattresses seem to be made of dozens of special foams, lattice or comb structures, and fabrics. All of these mattress materials can impact the longevity, quality, and softness of your mattress.
Steel coils create the spring-based support system inside this type of mattress. Coil or spring mattresses are associated with being firm or very firm mattresses since they give a little and do not have as much padding as foam mattresses. However, the number, gauge or size, and design of the coils can vary by the mattress, creating different sensations of firmness versus give.
Between 600 and 1,000 coils will make a firmer mattress. However, fewer springs may lead to wearing out over time. While this leads to a mattress with more give and a sensation of more softness at first, you may end up being poked by springs as the top layers of upholstery lose their cushion.
Regardless of what the interior of the mattress consists of, this type of mattress will typically feel softer because of the additional layers of padding and upholstery on top. There are a variety of foam and fiber materials used to make this layer, and some may feel plusher or more pillow-like than others.
This may be a combination of coil supports and foam mattress – often polyurethane, memory foam, or latex. There may be a layer of gel or honeycombing to create more softness or a layer of thicker, firmer foam to add more structure. For people transitioning from a very hard or firm mattress in search of a soft mattress, the hybrid mattress may be a good in-between step while still providing enough give for the body’s curves.
Specialty Foam Mattress
This approach to mattresses is becoming increasingly popular with internet mattress retailers since they are easy to pack tight and ship to customers in smaller bags. There may be several different types of foam layered on top of one another for different levels of heat dissipation and comfort. Typically, these will conform to your body’s shape more easily, cradling your back, legs, shoulders, and head in a comfortable, hammock-like way.
Gel Memory Foam Mattress
This is a type of foam mattress, but gel foam is sprayed between other foam or upholstery layers to create levels of softness or firmness. The foam may contour to the sleeper’s body, creating a sensation of softness while still providing support. Gel foam mattresses tend to allow for better heat dissipation.
Memory Foam Mattress
Also called viscoelastic mattresses, memory foam mattresses are made from high-density polyurethane, contouring closely to the person’s body, ideally without too much give. Foam density can be adjusted for people who want firmer mattresses.
Like other types of foam, these mattresses use latex-based foam to create the support structures in the mattress.
Airbeds and Waterbeds
Waterbeds aren’t as common as they used to be, and air mattresses are usually considered temporary sleep solutions for guests or camping. Both these types of mattresses can be firmer or softer, depending on how much they are filled and how thick the plastic part of the mattress is. The true benefit of both these beds is that they are easily adjustable for firmness compared to other mattresses that must be replaced.
Soft mattresses tend to have a plush layer added on top with a stronger or firmer foam core and firm base – perhaps made from foam or using coils or springs in older mattresses. This arrangement of three primary layers allows for maximum compression, creating true softness.
What Sleeping Positions are Best for Soft Mattresses?
Soft mattresses are cushioning and comfortable, but they’re not ideal for all sleep styles. Side and back sleepers can get away with snoozing on a soft bed, but stomach sleepers likely cannot.
Side sleepers are best suited for soft beds because they’re cushioning enough to alleviate pressure in the shoulders and hips, preventing pain points. Back sleepers can be comfortable on soft mattresses, as long as the bed offers adequate support to prevent you from sinking too far in the mattress.
Stomach sleepers are almost never fit for soft beds because they cannot offer enough spinal support to prevent lower back pain. Commonly, stomach sleepers experience lower back pain because their beds are not supportive enough to hold their midsection in line with the rest of their body, resulting in an overextension of the spine.
Mattress Material and Lifespan
The lifespan of the material is also an important consideration. Although sleep specialists and mattress manufacturers tend to recommend changing your mattress every 7 to 10 years, the actual material your mattress is made of can determine how long you should wait. Different materials have different lifespans.
- Latex lasts about 12 years.
- Memory foam and hybrid mattresses both last about 10 years.
- Innerspring mattresses last around 8 years.
- Pillow top mattresses last around 6 years.
The quality of these materials can also dramatically impact lifespan. However, too often, soft mattresses are considered to have shorter lifespans than firmer mattresses. This may be due to the sinking effect: soft mattresses start out cradling the body, allowing a lot of sink into the mattress, but, over time, sagging can become uncomfortable.
However, it is important to note that older models of mattresses – both the innerspring and pillow top varieties – last less than a decade, while newer materials and certain types of foam tend to last longer. A more modern approach to a soft mattress, made from foam, could be a great solution to the problem of a perceived shorter lifespan.
Are You Ready to Buy Your Next Bed?
If you’re in the market for a new bed and prefer a plush feel mattress, there are a wide variety of beds to consider. When pinpointing the best mattress for your sleep needs, consider your body type, preferred mattress type, sleep style, and budget. Remember, use sleep trials to your advantage during your search. These give you the chance to test the bed out at home and see how the mattress feels, allowing you to shop in confidence.
We hope this guide has helped steer you towards your next mattress. If you’re still interested in learning about other brands or mattress types, check out our other online mattress guides.