When shopping for a new mattress, one of the biggest decisions is soft versus firm feel. The right mattress firmness comes down to your sleeping position, body type, health conditions and personal preferences. This guide will compare soft and firm mattress pros, cons, and features to help you determine the best fit for your needs.
Canada’s leading mattress brand, Mississauga-based Mattress To Door provides quality mattresses from plush to extra firm. With free shipping, 90-night trials and 10-year warranties, Mattress To Door aims to help customers find their ideal comfort.
How Mattress Firmness is Measured
Before diving into soft versus firm mattresses, it helps to understand mattress firmness scales. Most brands rate mattresses on a 1-10 scale:
- Soft mattresses are 3-4
- Medium soft is 4-5
- Medium is 5-7
- Medium firm ranks 6-8
- Firm falls between 7-9
- Extra firm mattresses rate 9-10
Higher numbers indicate a more rigid, supportive feel while lower numbers are more plush and cushioning. Mattress construction determines firmness level:
- Softer foams and thick padding create more contouring and sinkage.
- Firmer polyfoams, tight coil gauges and minimal padding provide more reinforcement.
Pros and Cons of Soft Mattresses
Known for their plush, body-conforming feel, soft mattresses have distinct advantages and disadvantages:
Pros of Soft Mattress
- Exceptional pressure relief around shoulders, hips and other common sore spots
- Minimal motion transfer for undisturbed sleep when partners move
- Less impact on joints and injuries
- More contouring for a floating, “hugged” feel
Cons of Soft Mattress
- Often insufficient spinal support leading to poor alignment
- Excess sinkage makes it harder to change positions
- More prone to premature indentations and sagging
- Can sleep hot due to conforming foams trapping heat
- Less responsive during sex or changing positions
With exceptional cushioning but potential lack of support, soft mattresses have clear trade-offs to weigh.
Pros and Cons of Firm Mattresses
On the other end of the spectrum, firm mattresses provide robust reinforcement:
Pros of Firm Mattress
- Promote back health by keeping spine aligned
- Easy to move around on top of the bed
- Bouncy and responsive for sex
- Resist sagging impressions better over time
- Allow more airflow so less heat buildup
Cons of Firm Mattress
- Can create new pressure points without enough cushioning
- More motion transfer across the surface
- Not enough contouring for some
- Can irritate existing injuries, arthritis or pressure points
- Potential for creaking and mattress noise
With superior support but less cradling, firm mattresses have clear upsides and downsides to consider.
How Sleep Position Affects Soft vs Firm Needs
Your dominant sleep position often determines ideal softness or firmness level:
Most back sleepers need medium firm to firm mattresses around 6-8/10 for optimal spinal alignment. Without enough support, the midsection sinks too deeply causing back arching and pain.
But an ultra-firm mattress can create new pressure points along the spine. Lightweight back sleepers under 130 lbs often prefer slightly softer beds around 4-6 for sufficient reinforcement without discomfort.
Side sleepers need softer mattresses from 3-6 on the scale. Softer foams cushion the concentrated weight around the shoulders and hips to relieve pressure while supporting the waist.
However, heavier side sleepers over 230 lbs may sink too deeply into soft beds causing spinal misalignment. A slightly firmer mattress around 5-7 can provide a happy medium of cushioning with support.
Stomach sleepers typically require firm to extra firm mattresses from 7-10. Firm support reinforces the midsection to keep the spine properly aligned and prevent back strain. But mattresses that are too rigid can over-elevate the pelvis and head. Lightweight stomach sleepers often favor medium firm to firm beds from 6-8.
Combination sleepers who change positions often need blended characteristics for cushioning and spinal support. That’s why they tend to prefer medium firm mattresses around 5-7 on the scale. This balances conforming and lift regardless of shifting sleep position.
Always test mattresses in your main sleeping positions when evaluating softness versus firmness.
Other Personal Factors in Soft vs Firm Mattresses
While sleep position is key, other factors like body type, chronic pain, mattress lifespan and personal preference also affect ideal soft or firm feel:
- Heavier individuals over 230 lbs often require firmer support around 7-9.
- Those with chronic back or joint pain usually prefer firmer beds.
- People with hip or shoulder issues need softer mattresses for pressure relief.
- Soft mattresses wear out faster under concentrated weight.
- Firm mattresses tend to last longer, up to 7-9 years.
- Personal comfort preference matters - if you know you prefer ultra-plush or extra-firm beds, choose what feels best!
- Compromise on firmness for bed partners with different needs.
- A too-firm mattress can be softened later with a topper.
No single firmness is universally best. Carefully considering your body, sleep habits and needs guides you to the right soft or firm option.
Trying Mattresses at Mattress To Door
The best way to evaluate soft versus firm mattresses is to test them out in person. At Canada’s premier mattress brand Mattress To Door, our sleep experts help you assess which firmness best supports your body and sleep style during in-store trials.
Customers can test out mattresses for 90 nights during our sleep trial. Experience how your new soft, medium or firm mattress performs for pressure relief, spinal alignment and comfort in your own bedroom.
With free shipping, sleep trials, warranties and quality mattresses from $249, Mattress To Door makes finding your perfect soft or firm mattress affordable and risk-free. As a proudly Canadian company based in Mississauga with stores nationwide, we aim to tailor comfort by finding every customer’s ideal mattress firmness and feel.
Key Takeaways for Choosing Soft vs Firm Mattresses
Soft mattresses offer great pressure relief but can lack support. Firm beds provide alignment but less contouring.
Your regular sleep position typically dictates whether you need a soft, medium or firm mattress.
Consider your body type, health conditions, mattress lifespan, bed partners and personal preferences when choosing soft vs firm.
Test mattresses in your sleeping position for at least 10-15 minutes. Extensive sleep trials let you evaluate beds at home.
Leading Canadian brand Mattress To Door provides personalized fitting guidance and quality mattresses from plush to extra firm so you can find your perfect comfort.
Rather than sticking to rigid soft vs firm labels, the ideal mattress contours gently while keeping your spine aligned. With in-depth guidance from Mattress To Door’s experts, you’re sure to find your perfect balance of cushioning and support for many years of blissful rest.