Comfort Scale

January 7, 2020

Firm or Soft?

Our Comfort Scale is simple. We rate mattresses with a number from 1 to 10, with 1 being the firmest and 10 being the softest.

Some people instinctively think that the softer the mattress is, the better. So, they think a Comfort Scale rating of 10 is the best, but that isn't quite how it works. Few people actually prefer a Comfort Scale of 10 or a Comfort Scale rating of 1. Most people do best with a comfort level somewhere in-between.

See below for a more in-depth look at the range of Comfort Scale ratings.


Extra Firm Firm Medium Plush Extra Plush
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Comfort Scale ratings 1-2: Very Firm

Mattresses with a Comfort Scale rating in the 1-2 range are designed for those who want the firmest mattress possible. Mattresses with this level of comfort are generally recommended only to back sleepers. Side and stomach sleepers usually need more softness and padding. These mattresses have minimal padding and focus on rigid back support that keeps your spine properly aligned.

  • Good for some back sleepers

  • Too firm for stomach sleepers

  • Too hard for side sleepers

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Comfort Scale ratings 3-4: Medium Firm

Mattresses with a Comfort Scale rating in the 3-4 range are considered medium-firm. These mattresses work well for back and stomach sleepers who prefer something on the firmer half of the Comfort Scale. They're generally too firm for side sleepers though. Mattresses in this comfort range are for those who need a firmer, more rigid sleeping surface but enjoy some padding for comfort.

  • Good for most back sleepers

  • Good for some stomach sleepers

  • Too firm for side sleepers

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Comfort Scale ratings 5-6: Medium

The 5-6 range on our Comfort Scale is sometimes referred to as the "Goldilocks" zone. These mid-range mattresses have a great combination of softness and support. They work well for all sleeping positions. They're soft enough for most side sleepers, firm enough for most stomach sleepers, and provide a near-perfect balance of comfort and support for back sleepers. This comfort zone is ideal for guest bedroom mattresses, as it appeals to the widest range of sleeping types. And it works just as well in your master bedroom. Medium comfort mattresses aren't perfect for everyone though. Some people prefer a sleeping surface that's firmer or softer than mid-range.

  • Good for many back sleepers

  • Good for most stomach sleepers

  • Good for some side sleepers

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Comfort Scale ratings 7-8: Soft

Mattresses in the 7-8 range on our Comfort Scale are ideal for most side sleepers and work for back sleepers who like a plush mattress they can sink into. Stomach sleepers should beware of sinking in too much. It can overextend the arch of your back with a mattress this soft, so look lower on the Comfort Scale. If you're in the market for a mattress that's main focus is pressure relief, this is likely the comfort range for you.

  • May work for back sleepers

  • Too soft for stomach sleepers

  • Good for side sleepers

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Comfort Scale ratings 9-10: Very Soft

We sometimes refer to very soft mattresses in the 9-10 range of our Comfort Scale as "cloud-like." These mattresses use some of the softest comfort materials available, for a plush sleeping surface that you're sure to sink into. Stomach sleepers should avoid mattresses in this category. Most back sleepers will also need something with more support. But for side sleepers and the few back sleepers who want the most pressure relief possible, this comfort range may be right for you.

  • May work for some back sleepers

  • Far too soft for stomach sleepers

  • Good for some side sleepers

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See Mattress Comfort Ratings by Brand