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9 Best Soft Mattresses to Buy in 2022

The best plush yet supportive mattresses on the market.

best soft mattresses to buy in 2021

A soft mattress can feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud, helping you get the best night's sleep possible. While a soft mattress may not work for everyone, it’s ideal for light and mid-weight frames and side sleepers. For these types of sleepers, a soft mattress will compress with your body; in other words, it will cradle you, not put too much weight on pressure points such as hips and shoulders and help keep your spine properly aligned. It may seem counterintuitive that a soft mattress helps your spine align, but note that just because a mattress is plush doesn’t mean it can’t be supportive as well.

Here at the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab, we’re constantly reviewing all kinds of mattresses, from popular mattress-in-box options, cooling mattresses, mattresses for back pain, organic mattresses, hybrid mattresses and more. Not only do our Textile experts review brands, materials and features, but we have consumer testers try out each mattress and have them answer surveys to get in-depth reviews from real users. Our latest survey had responses from 5,500 mattress owners, and we reviewed over 126,000 data points before making these recommendations.

We recently reviewed this article in February 2022 and stand by our recommendations based on our thorough evaluation process. Our picks below are based on our categorical expertise and thorough tester feedback. Read on at the bottom of this article for more details on who should sleep on a soft mattress, the best materials, how to pick a soft mattress and shopping tips. But first, here are the best soft mattresses of 2021:

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    Best Overall Soft Mattress
    Classic Plush/Soft Mattress

    If you’re shopping for a soft mattress, you’ll love the Saatva Classic in “Plush Soft”. Compared to Saatva’s other styles, the “Plush Soft” has softer foam and extra padding in the pillow top, making it great for someone who likes a body-hugging feel or for side sleepers that need more contouring.

    Saatva consistently earns high scores from our consumer panel for comfort, support and overall sleep quality. We also love the great edge support for getting in and out of bed. Unlike other mattresses that come in a box that you have to set up yourself, Saatva offers free delivery, setup and old mattress removal. They also have a 180-night trial to make sure you love it, though there is a $99 pick-up fee if you return it.

    Height: 11.5 or 14.5 inches
    Firmness level: Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, Firm
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: 180 days (with a $99 return pickup fee).

    • High ratings for comfort and support
    • Free delivery and setup
    • Real users told us they love sleeping on it

    • $99 return fee
    Best Value Soft Mattress
    12-Inch Hybrid Mattress

    This mattress is a #1 bestseller on Amazon with over 117,000 reviews and a 4.5 rating, is highly rated by our tester panel and is a total steal at under $400 for a queen-size mattress! This hybrid mattress combines innersprings and foam and comes in 8-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch versions. For the plushest option, opt for the 12-inch which has thicker memory foam on top.

    Dozens of testers told us it was well worth the price and setup was incredibly easy. One tester notes, "Opening the mattress took less than 5 minutes until I had it on the bed frame." Some testers noted it seemed a bit thin but had no major complaints.

    Height: 10 inches
    Firmness level: Medium
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Short Queen, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: N/A

    • Affordable
    • Lightweight for easy setup
    • Good ratings from real users

    • No trial period
    Best Soft Mattress in a Box
    AS5 Mattress

    When our tester panel tried this Amerisleep mattress, those who prefer soft beds gave it high marks. This is Amerisleep’s softest mattress and it has several layers of foam, making it a great choice for side sleepers to take the weight off of the shoulders and hips. According to Amerisleep, the top layer of foam bounces back fast so you won’t feel “stuck” when moving throughout the night, though we haven’t tested this in the Lab.

    Because this mattress was noticeably taller than other boxed mattresses, it may be more cumbersome to set up by yourself; however, none of our testers ran into any issues during the setup process.

    Height: 14 inches
    Firmness level: Ultra Soft
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
    Trial period: 100 days

    • Pressure relief for side sleepers
    • Taller than other boxed mattresses
    • Good customer service

    • May be heavy to setup for one person
    Best Soft Mattress for Side Sleepers
    Nova Hybrid Mattress
    Now 15% off

    We love the Casper Nova Hybrid for side sleepers so much that we gave it a spot in our bedding awards. It has firm springs at the base, but the top layer is softer, making it plusher than other Casper models. What makes this mattress stand out is the ergonomic layout. It's contoured to provide more relief around the shoulders with added support around the lower back for proper spine alignment, which helps make it feel soft while still offering support.

    One of our testers praised this mattress saying, “As soon as I lie down on it, it feels like it’s supporting my whole body.” Overall our panel has been pleased with Casper as a brand, but if for some reason you don’t adore your Casper mattress, there’s a free 100-day trial.

    Height: 12 inches
    Firmness level: Medium Soft
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Short Queen, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: 100 days

    • Ergonomic design contours to bodies
    • Soft top layer with support underneath
    Best Soft Mattress for Back Pain
    Lux Hybrid Mattress

    As one of Puffy’s most popular mattresses, the Lux Hybrid is 12 inches thick and has six layers of foam for a medium plush feel. In addition to a soft feel, it also has targeted spinal alignment built into the mattress to eliminate pressure points, making it great for someone who also suffers from back pain.

    Multiple testers from our panel commented that this mattress is soft, supportive and helped with backaches and soreness. One tester said, “It’s soft, and I love feeling like I'm sleeping on a cloud.” The one downside, is that users noted it tends to retain heat.

    Height: 12 inches
    Firmness level: Medium Soft
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: 101 nights

    • Helps with backaches and soreness
    • Soft and supportive
    • Easy setup

    • Retains heat
    Best Reversible Soft Mattress
    Memory Foam Mattress

    If you are unsure whether you want a soft or firm mattress, this unique Layla Hybrid mattress gives you both. One side of the mattress has soft foam on top for a plush feel, with coils in the center for support. If you change your mind later and need a firmer mattress, you can simply flip the mattress over.

    The soft side of this mattress is ideal for side sleepers, and testers gave it high ratings for support. Some side sleepers specifically saying it conforms nicely to your body. It’s also infused with copper particles to help prevent overheating, though there were mixed reviews from panelists about whether the cooling effect works.

    Height: 10 inches
    Firmness level: Soft and Firm
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: 120 days

    • Reversible design
    • Good support for side sleepers
    • Often goes on sale

    • Some users didn't feel the cooling effect
    Best Adjustable Soft Mattress
    Sleep Number 360 p6 Smart Bed
    Sleep Number

    Sleep Number mattresses are perfect for couples who don’t agree on firmness level. It’s filled with adjustable air chambers so you can make your side of the bed as soft as you like, while your partner can choose their level of firmness as well. It also has a 5-inch comfort layer on top so it’s extra cozy, and biometrics sensors adjust the mattress throughout the night to keep you at just the right level of softness.

    This mattress is a top performer in our Textiles Lab and earned high scores for comfort, support and sleep quality. While it is pricey, one tester said, “I was initially hesitant because of the cost, but as soon as I laid on it, I changed my mind.” The brand also has a 100-night trial period for mattresses and products backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal.

    Height: 11 inches
    Firmness levels: Adjustable
    Sizes: Twin XL, Queen, King, California King
    Trial period: 100 days for the mattress, minus the cost of return shipping or a $199 pick-up fee. Adjustable bases are final sale.

    • Dual-sided firmness control
    • Hundreds of users on our panel swear by it

    • Expensive
    Best Cooling Soft Mattress
    Tempur Soft LuxeBreeze

    For a mattress that’s soft and has cooling benefits, try the Tempur Soft LuxBreeze mattress. Not only is this mattress the softest of the Tempur-Breeze line with a 13-inch height, but it also has innovative cooling technology. Instead of just feeling cool to the touch, this mattress uses unique phase change technology that helps keep you cooler when you fall asleep and throughout the night.

    According to Tempur-Pedic, this mattress keeps you feeling up to eight degrees cooler, and our testers stated the cooling factor is noticeable. Testers also say it has held up well over time, and one said the motion control works well. Another bonus: The cover is removable and machine washable.

    Height: 13 inches
    Firmness levels: Soft, Firm
    Sizes: Twin Long, Double, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
    Trial Period: 90 nights

    • Proven cooling capabilities
    • Comfortable and luxurious
    • Superior motion isolation

    • Expensive
    Best Soft Organic Mattress
    Natural Mattress

    Although this mattress isn’t traditionally what one might think of as a soft mattress since it’s not made with foam, it’s still great for someone who prefers a plush mattress because it’s ergonomically designed to help relieve pressure from areas like hips and shoulders. If you want to add even more softness to this mattress, you can also purchase their Plush Organic mattress topper.

    This mattress is made with latex, which has a slightly bouncier feel, and the wool and cotton help make it breathable. The cotton and latex are also GOTS-certified and OEKO-TEX-certified which means it’s free of known harmful chemicals.

    Height: 11 inches
    Firmness levels: Medium
    Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
    Trial Period: 100 nights

    • GOTS and OEKO-TEX certified materials
    • Ergonomic pressure relief
    • Contactless delivery in a box

    • Latex is not GOLS-certified
    Who should sleep on a soft mattress?

    While the firmness level of a mattress is personal preference, the goal is to keep your spine in neutral alignment. Most side sleepers, especially those that have back pain, will benefit from a softer mattress because it takes the weight off pressure points like the shoulders and hips. Those who switch positions from back to side sleeping may also benefit from a softer mattress. Lastly, people with light to mid-weight frames may find a softer mattress more comfortable as it will allow your body to sink into the mattress, versus a firmer mattress that helps with pressure relief.

    What are the best materials for a soft mattress?

    Like firmness levels, the best materials for a soft mattress are going to vary from person to person. Here are some of the materials you’ll find when shopping for a mattress:

    Memory foam is one of the most common materials for a soft mattress because it can adapt to your body shape to gently cradle pressure point areas.

    Innerspring mattresses are usually firmer and have more bounce than foam mattresses due to the coils. Because these can be pretty firm, if you’re looking for a soft mattress, you'll want to look for ones with layers of foam or a pillow top.

    Latex mattresses are similar to memory foam and contour to your body, though they may not be as compressive as some types of foam. Latex is made from rubber trees and may be used in organic mattresses.

    Hybrid mattresses combine innersprings, memory foam or latex which means you don’t have to pick just one and can get different benefits from each material.

    Adjustable mattresses contain either interchangeable springs or inflatable air chambers that let you adjust the firmness of the bed.

    How to Pick the Best Soft Mattress

    Choosing the best mattress is a personal decision — there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. However, you can choose the best mattress for your situation. Here’s what to consider while shopping:

    ✔️ Sleep position: As mentioned previously, side sleepers benefit from a soft mattress because it helps relieve pressure points. If you’re not strictly a side sleeper and change positions between your back and side you may want to consider something between a soft to medium-firm mattress. Stomach sleepers probably want to avoid a soft mattress as it can cause your spine to misalign.

    ✔️ Body type: Along with sleep position, you’ll also want to take into account your body weight when choosing how plush you need your mattress. The amount of weight on the bed determines how much the mattress will compress and cradle your body. Lightweight frames are better suited for a softer mattress, so the body can sink into the mattress rather than floating on top, allowing for support and pressure point relief. Heavier frames need a firmer bed for support, as there won’t be too much compression, leading to spine misalignment.

    ✔️ Back pain: If you suffer from lower or upper back pain, look for a pressure-relieving mattress with all foam or a hybrid of foam and coils. You may not want to choose a mattress that is too soft, as medical experts also advise to look for medium firmness for a balance of cushioning and support.

    ✔️ Temperature: Hot sleepers or anyone dealing with night sweats would benefit from a mattress with cooling properties. Memory foam tends to sleep hot, so look for a mattress with coils for airflow or cooling technology like copper particles, gel or phase change technology that's added to the foam.

    Other Things to Consider When Shopping for a Mattress

    Beyond considering the mattress properties such as soft versus firm, temperature and more, there are other factors you may want to look for when shopping for a soft mattress:

    ✔️Price: Pricing for mattresses vary widely from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Based on our evaluations of mattresses a good mattress typically costs around $1,000-$1,500 for Queen-size (which is the most popular mattress size on the market). However, you can still find a good mattress for under $500 or if you can and are willing to spend more there are plenty of great options over $2,000 that are worth the splurge.

    ✔️ Trial period: It's difficult to know whether a mattress is a good fit without actually sleeping on it. Luckily, most mattress companies offer an any-reason return period for at least 100 nights. Before you buy, check whether there are any hidden return fees and how you go about making the return to avoid any headaches later on.

    ✔️ Certifications: It's important to know the difference between the various emblems you see when you shop since they often get mistaken for meaning the mattress is natural or organic. Here's a breakdown of the most common certifications:

    CertiPUR-US: This certifies whether any foam in the mattress is made without certain harmful chemicals and has been tested for low VOC emissions.
    OEKO-TEX: The Standard 100 by Oeko-TEX shows whether any fabric (like the outer cover) has been tested to ensure there are no unsafe levels of known harmful chemicals.
    GOTS: The Global Organic Textile Standard shows that the mattress follows strict standards throughout the entire production process. This is the gold standard when it comes to picking out an organic mattress made of natural materials. Just be aware that this certification is commonly misused by brands who use just one organic component (e.g., an organic cotton outer cover), so you can always check the GOTS public database to be sure.
    GOLS: The Global Organic Latex Standard is similar to GOTS, but it shows that any latex is certified organic. You'll often see these two organic certifications used together.

    ✔️ Mattress Toppers: Even after finding the bed of your dreams, over time you may find you need a change. Rather than replacing the entire mattress, a great alternative is to buy a mattress topper. A good mattress topper can make your bed more comfortable and give pressure relief, add softness or firmness, offer cooling and more, making it an easy and less expensive option.

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