Best Mattresses for Heavy People

A mattress is meant to keep you comfortable. But “comfortable” is not a standardized scale. Each sleeper has unique preferences and needs, based on their own body and sleeping style.

Considering your own body weight and makeup will help you determine which mattress will give you the best possible sleep. In this guide, we will look at the types of mattresses which are typically best suited for larger sleepers.

When we talk about a “larger” sleeper, we are referring to weight, height, and/or body composition. There is no definite measurement that places a person in this category. When considering mattress evaluations, we tend to notice a change in performance and preferences at around 200lb. So for the purposes of this guide, we will use that as our benchmark.

Body weight and composition affect your experience with a mattress in many ways. Larger sleepers often feel most comfortable with certain mattress conditions and qualities. It’s especially important for these sleepers to consider mattress thickness, firmness, and density, in addition to other personal preferences and tendencies such as motion isolation and sleeping position.

This guide will go through the specific features a larger sleeper should look for in a mattress, the different types of mattresses that are available, and other information to consider before you make a purchase.

Features to consider

Many mattresses are billed as “universally comfortable.” But there’s no perfect mattress for all people. Larger sleepers in particular should pay special attention to a few specific features when shopping for a new mattress:

Mattress Thickness

A mattress typically tends to cost more the thicker it is. But thicker doesn’t always mean better and often that extra thickness doesn’t result in any added comfort. For a larger sleeper though, that extra thickness could be worth the money. Typically, a larger person puts more pressure on a mattress and therefore sinks down further into it. So someone larger is often more comfortable on a thicker mattress that provides more compression support and durability. There is no specific height that guarantees comfort, but we recommend that a larger sleeper looks for a thickness of at least 11-12 inches.

Thickness of the Mattress Large Person (200 lbs or more)
6 inches Poor
8 inches Below Average
9 inches Fair
10 inches Good to Fair
12 inches Good
13+ inches Good

Mattress Firmness

Firmness refers to how a mattress feels when you lie down on it. A firm mattress does not give and offers resistance when depressed. A softer (less firm) mattress will offer more “give” and allow the body to sink down slightly. As mentioned, a larger sleeper will exert more pressure and naturally sink down more deeply into their mattress. Mattresses that are firmer, therefore, may feel more comfortable and provide more pressure relief in this case. This is especially true for larger sleepers who tend to sleep on their sides or stomachs. Since weight is not distributed evenly in these sleeping positions, these sleepers are more susceptible to uncomfortable pressure points in the neck, shoulder, lower back, and hips. Mattress firmness is rated on a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least firm and 10 being the most firm. Again, firmness is a personal preference and there is no right or wrong number. Generally speaking, however, larger sleepers tend to report feeling most comfortable on mattresses rated between 6-8, so that may be a good place to start.

 

Body Shape Back Sleeper Side Sleeper Stomach Sleeper
Your waist is wider than your shoulders and hips 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm) 5-6 firmness (Medium-firm) 4-6 firmness (Medium to medium-firm)
Your waist, hips, and shoulders are the same width 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm) 5-6 firmness (Medium-firm) 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm)
Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips 4-8 firmness (Medium to firm) 4-6 firmness (Medium to medium-firm) 5-6 firmness (Medium-firm)
Your hips are wider than your waist and shoulders 4-6 firmness (Medium to medium-firm) 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm) 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm)
Your shoulders and hips are wider than your waist 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm) 5-8 firmness (Medium-firm to firm) 5-6 firmness (Medium-firm)

Foam density

If you are considering a mattress that uses a foam layer, which a majority of mattresses today do, it’s important to consider the density of that foam. A foams’ density determines how much weight the mattress can support and how long it will last. A larger sleeper will benefit from a higher density foam, as it offers more support and usually a longer lifespan. Foam density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Polyfoam that is rated between 1.5-3.5 PCF is considered high density, while memory foam rated above 6 PCF is considered high density. This information is often not included in mattress specifications, but it is worth digging for. You can generally find it by contacting a customer service representative for the mattress manufacturer, either online or over the phone.

Edge support

Edge support refers to how well a mattress is reinforced around its perimeter. Good edge support results in a more consistent sleeping surface. It’s also important if you often sit on the edge of your mattress as you get in and out of bed or ready for the day. Innerspring and hybrid mattresses are typically reinforced around the outside of the mattresses and therefore tend to  offer the most edge support. Foam and latex mattress are typically not reinforced and as such offer little to no edge support. If you’re a larger sleeper, you might consider more edge support, especially if you often sit on the edge of your bed.

Temperature control

Sleeping hot is an issue for many people. Larger sleepers are particularly prone to this problem. Your mattress material will make a difference. Some mattress types – specifically foam models – are known to retain heat. Other mattress types – notably innerspring and hybrids – allow for more airflow and therefore retain less heat. That doesn’t mean you have to totally rule out a foam mattress. Some foam models feature a layer of gel or latex foam, designed to alleviate this common problem.

Your partner

If you sleep with another person, you’ll want to take this into consideration. If you both weight more than 200 pounds, you should look for a mattress that is thick, firm, and dense enough to provide you both with proper support. If only one of you weighs more than 200 pounds, you may notice that your mattress sags under the heavier person. To combat this, you might consider a mattress with a “dual firmness” option. This allows each sleeper to customize their firmness rating. This will help prevent sagging and help ensure that both people are comfortable.

Best mattress types for larger sleepers

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses have gained popularity for the customized feel and support they offer sleepers. NASA originally made this foam to provide crash protection. It reacts to pressure and heat, allowing it to change shape and mold to a sleeper’s body. A memory foam mattress uses a support core made from a high-density polyfoam to create a sturdy base. This is topped with a memory foam layer, which make up 25-40 percent of the mattress.

Price Range:

A queen-size memory foam mattress ranges from $150-$4,000.

Pros:
  • Memory foam provides excellent support and pressure point relief.
  • Memory foam offers superior motion isolation, which keeps you from disturbing your partner.
  • Quality foam is very durable and has a longer lifespan than traditional innerspring mattresses.
Cons:
  • Memory foam mattresses tend to trap heat.
  • Some sleepers dislike the “sinking” feeling of the mattresses conforming to your body. A larger sleeper will tend to be particularly aware of this feeling.

Innerspring Mattress

An innerspring mattress is comprised of steel coils or springs. These coils are available in a range of thickness, from 12 (being the most easily compressed) to 18 (being the firmest). This allows innerspring mattresses to be offered a wide variety of firmness options. The coils are usually cushioned and encased in a quilted fabric, then topped with less than two inches of comfort layers. These layers range from cotton to memory foam to latex.

Price Range:

The average price for a queen ranges from $800-$1,200.

Pros:
  • You can choose your firmness preference, with a wide range available.
  • Space between the coils allows for easy ventilation and more airflow, allowing body heat to escape and making for a cooler sleeper.
  • Innerspring mattresses offer reinforced edge support.
Cons:
  • Sagging tends to be an issue, especially for larger sleepers.
  • The coils tend to create movement transfer. So if you sleep with a partner, you will probably notice each other’s movements more so than in other mattress types.

Hybrid

hybrid mattress uses the same coiled support system as an innerspring mattress for its foundation underneath a thick layer of memory or latex foam. On a hybrid mattress, this comfort layer will be at least two inches thick, differentiating it from an innerspring mattress. A hybrid combines the pressure relief and support of foam with the more traditional feel of an innerspring mattress.

Price Range:

Prices for a hybrid mattress range from $600-$4,000. Price will depend on the type of coil used in the support system and the type of foam used in the comfort layer.

Pros:
  • Larger sleepers in particular often benefit from the pressure relief and support of foam.
  • A hybrid typically doesn’t trap heat like traditional foam mattresses do.
  • A hybrid provides better motion isolation than a traditional innerspring mattress.
Cons:
  • Since it uses a coil support system, a hybrid is still prone to sagging.
  • This is one of the most expensive mattress options.

Latex

Latex mattresses start with a support layer of dense latex foam topped with one or more comfort layers of a softer latex material. A latex mattress combines the conforming, pressure-point relief of a foam mattresses with the supportive features and more traditional feel of a hybrid or innerspring bed. The latex used in these mattresses is derived from the sap of a rubber tree plant.

Price Range:

A queen latex mattress costs between $850-$2,400.

Pros:
  • Latex contours to the body for good pressure point relief and support.
  • Latex is available in a variety of firmness levels.
  • A latex mattress tends to sleep much cooler than foam.
Cons:
  • Latex mattresses are primarily available online, making it difficult to try before you buy.
  • A latex mattress is generally one of the more expensive mattress options.

Consider the warranty

When comparing mattresses, always consider the manufacturer’s sleep trial period and warranty terms. A sleep trial period should be at least 30 nights. Many manufacturers, however, offer 100+ nights, giving you the opportunity to make sure the new mattress is right for you.

A warranty should protect you against premature and/or excessive sinking and indentations, along with other defects. Any mattress will eventually sag, indent, or otherwise deteriorate over time. But if this happens early or to an excessive extent, it might be covered under warranty.

Make sure you understand the warranty terms and inquire specifically about the sagging and indentations that are covered. Typically, a warranty will clearly state how deep the sagging or indentations must be in order to be considered a defect and therefore covered. Most warranties cover sagging that measures 1-1.5 inches deep, but this will vary by manufacturer and mattress. You’ll find some warranties that cover an indentations as small as .5 inch, while other warranties don’t mention sagging or indentations at all.

In addition, also make note of repair and/or replacement costs. Some warranties call for the owner to cover shipping and handling costs related to the return or repair of a mattress. This would typically cost between $100-$200, but can vary greatly. Some manufacturer’s also stipulate fees for returns, repairs, and replacements.

Nonprorated and prorated are two terms you also need to know about when decoding a mattress warranty. During the nonprorated period of the warranty, the owner will not be required to pay anything to repair or replace the mattress (possibly excluding shipping and handling costs). During the prorated period of the warranty, the owner is made to pay a portion of the original purchase price, based on how long they have owned the mattress. The prorated charges will increase every year. Some manufacturers structure warranties to be entirely prorated, some are completely nonprorated, while many are a combination of both.

Other considerations

Value

Everyone wants a good value, whatever they’re shopping for and getting a great mattress for a good price should always be the goal. With a plethora of retailers and a wealth of information now available, shoppers are in a position to get the most mattress for their money. Whether you’re shopping online or in-store, keep an eye out for sales. Don’t be afraid to negotiate in-person sales and hunt around for discount codes online. Most of all, do your research and know what mattress will give you the best night’s sleep for your money. For more on this, please visit our guide about the Best Mattresses for the Money.

Shipping

If you’re planning to buy a mattress online, be aware of the site’s shipping policies. Many manufacturers now offer free shipping. Those that don’t always offer this service will often run promotions to include it. It can be a significant savings and is worth considering. If you’re buying in-store, the same applies to delivery fees.

Sleep Trial

Any mattress you buy should have some kind of trial period. The only way to actually know if a mattress is right for you is to sleep on it for several nights. Make sure the manufacturer offers this, but also find out what happens if you do decide to return your purchase. Returns should ideally be free and easy, with the manufacturer covering all costs. This isn’t always the case – be sure to confirm this before you buy to avoid any surprises.

Pillows and Alignment

A mattress isn’t the only factor in a good night’s sleep – your pillow also plays a big part in that. A pillow’s primary purpose is to keep your head, neck, and spine in alignment while you sleep. Your pillow’s ability to do this will depend on its loft (or height). A larger sleeper tends to exert more weight on their pillow, causing it to compress or sink more. So they might do well to start with a slightly higher pillow.

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