Best full mattress in 2021

If you’ve been tossing and turning on an old mattress or stuck in a memory foam sinkhole, you probably tend to wake up on the wrong side of the bed each morning. One of the best ways to change that and improve the quality of your sleep is to upgrade to a new mattress. But as we all know, a mattress isn’t just one of the most important purchases you can make — it can also be one of the most expensive. 

Luckily, it’s easier than ever to buy a mattress — you can purchase an affordable mattress online without ever stepping foot in a mattress store and then waiting for weeks for it to be delivered. Even better, mattresses purchased online typically have some sort of guarantee, so you can return your purchase if you try it out and decide that you need a softer mattress, firmer mattress or something else entirely.

But even with satisfaction guarantees, you still want to get it right the first time by choosing a good full size mattress right out the gate. You want to consider things like mattress construction, motion isolation and your personal preferences. Are you looking for a foam mattress, innerspring mattress or hybrid mattress (innerspring with a foam layer)? Do you prefer a soft mattress or a firm mattress or medium firm mattress? Are you considering a mattress that affords pressure relief or features motion isolation which preserves your sleep rest from your partner’s restlessness? Are you a stomach sleeperside sleeper or back sleeper? Do you need a mattress topper or a comfort layer? Are you going to be sleeping on an adjustable base? Do you want an affordable mattress or are you looking to splurge? It’s a lot to wade through.

But fear not! I already did most of the work for you by rounding up six of the best full mattresses below. And, once you find the mattress of your dreams, don’t forget to also invest in a good bed frame, mattress protector, box spring, pillows and sheets to maximize your good night’s sleep.

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The Layla Hybrid really has it all. It’s constructed of several layers, including a gel memory foam, airflow support form and individually wrapped pocketed coils that add extra support and just enough bounce. The mattress felt soft and comfortable, but also supportive, like it was contouring my body in all of the right places, without sinking too much. 

This hybrid mattress also had very little — if any — motion transfer, which is high on my list of mattress must-haves. I wasn’t disturbed or jolted awake when my partner tossed and turned, or left the bed to use the restroom in the middle of the night.

Plus, the middle layer of the Layla Hybrid is made from a copper-infused memory foam, which is designed to absorb and disperse heat, so that you stay cool while you sleep. So unlike other memory foam mattress options that can get hot and stuffy, this one stayed fairly cool, even in the hotter summer months. The copper is also antimicrobial, so it fights off bacteria and other icky things that can build up in the mattress over time.

One of the biggest things that sets the Layla Hybrid apart, though, is the fact that it’s a flippable full size mattress. And not only that, one side of the mattress is soft and the other side is firm, so you can change your sleeping experience every so often or test out both sides of mattress firmness to find out which one is right for you.

Cocoon by Sealy

The Cocoon by Sealy Chill Memory Foam mattress is the perfect marriage of softness and the right amount of mattress firmness support. While having some firmness level is important — if your mattress firmness level is too soft it can lead to back pain and many restless nights — you also want it to have enough give to contour your body and alleviate pressure. And that’s exactly what you’ll find here.

This mattress type is made with a specialized memory foam, called Perfect Fit memory foam, that’s designed to adapt to your body almost immediately. Underneath the Perfect Fit layer lies another layer of responsive comfort foam that prevents your body from sagging into the mattress, but also adds some extra cushioning. Not only did the Chill Memory Foam mattress immediately feel comfortable, it also provided excellent pressure relief so I really felt like it took the weight of the day off my body.

It also has a stretch-knit cover that’s designed to pull heat away from your body so you don’t sleep too hot. Even with a down comforter, I stayed cozy and comfortable.

The Helix Midnight Luxe is an excellent mattress for when you’re not really sure what you want — or which type of mattress is best for you. When it comes to firmness, this mattress is rated a 4 to 7 out of 10, which means that its firmness level is equal parts soft and firm and can please almost everybody. 

A true hybrid mattress, the Helix Midnight Luxe is made from a combination of high-density memory foam, gel visco and pocketed coils. This combination provided excellent lumbar support and relief from aches and pains that I had been dealing with from other mattresses. And it was equally comfortable whether I was sleeping on my side or back, something that can be difficult to find.

The Helix Midnight Luxe also felt plusher than other bed-in-a-box type mattresses. It has a breathable premium quilted top that provides an additional layer of cushioning that feels more reminiscent of a traditional mattress, but without any of the motion transfer. 


If you suffer from back pain — or you don’t have any pain and you want to keep it that away — the Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid is an excellent option for you. It’s made with a specialized layer of proprietary memory foam, called Bio-Pur, that contours your body and offers pressure relief for your back, hips and shoulders. It has a medium-firm mattress feel that provided enough support to keep my spine properly aligned, but still felt soft enough to have some give for my pressure points.

One of my favorite things about this foam mattress, though, was the better response time (compared to traditional memory foam mattresses). When you move around at night or change positions, it takes all foam mattresses some time to adjust. This lagging can lead to interrupted sleep, as it takes some time to get comfortable again. But the Bio-Pur foam responded to movement almost immediately, so I was able to readjust and fall back asleep ASAP.

The Bio-Pur memory foam is also designed to be more airy and breathable than denser memory foams, so the mattress doesn’t trap heat at all. I never woke up too hot and sweaty, even in the warmer months.

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The Purple Hybrid Premier 4 is a dream (pun intended). With its proprietary Purple Grid, it’s different from any other mattress I’ve tried — in all the best ways. Unlike memory foam, which is the foundation of many of these direct-to-your-door mattresses, the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 is made from a hyper-elastic polymer grid formation that feels strong and supportive, but somehow still soft and plush. 

The grid gives way to your body, expertly contouring and alleviating pressure where you need it most, like it was made just for you. I immediately felt weightless, almost like I was floating on this full size mattress. This Purple mattress also felt bouncier than the others, but it was still able to provide motion isolation and prevent motion transfer. 

While it’s comfortable in all positions, this Purple mattress is especially great for stomach sleepers since it has enough give to make sure your neck and spine stay aligned.

Lindsay Boyers/CNET

If you’re looking for a comfortable full-size mattress minus any potentially harmful chemicals, the Avocado Green is the mattress brand for you. It’s constructed of cotton, wool and natural latex (or you can opt for the vegan mattress, which is the same sans wool) — which is the safest combination recommended by the Environmental Working Group. It’s also free of polyester, polyurethane foam and fire retardants. But equally importantly, it’s comfortable and supportive too.

My first impression was that this full size mattress was too firm, but after a few days, my body adjusted and I was able to settle in. The natural latex mattress started to conform to my body and I felt comfortable and supported. The Avocado Green had just the right amount of give to provide pressure relief, but not so much that I felt like I was sinking into it. It also had a quick response time, so when I changed positions, it re-adapted right away.

One note: Mine came with the optional permanently affixed pillow top (which costs an additional $300 for a full size), so I can’t judge the mattress without it. But I will say that the pillow top added a layer of plushness that I think is worth it.

More for sweet dreams

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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