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Manufacturers often liken their mattresses to sleeping on a cloud, with descriptors such as “plush,” “luxe,” or simply “soft.” Some tout a pillowtop for an added layer of cushioning.
But these marketing terms won’t tell you which mattresses are actually the softest—or, perhaps more important, which mattresses will support your spine despite their less-than-firm feel.
Rather than take a manufacturer’s word for it, Consumer Reports measures firmness for each mattress we test.
Using an objective industry test standard, we apply a load of up to 1,000 newtons (4.4 newtons equal a pound) to the mattress and then plot the results on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest.
That makes it easy for you to compare one mattress with another—a 3 is a 3, regardless of how the manufacturer describes it. And any mattresses on the lower end of the firmness scale is relatively soft compared with the firmest mattresses in our ratings.
Keep in mind that even if you love a soft mattress, you still need to find one that supports your sleep style and body type. Softer doesn’t necessarily mean better.
“A mattress that’s too soft won’t properly support you over time and will likely lead to discomfort,” says Chris Regan, a CR tester. “If you know you want a softer mattress, start on the softer end of the spectrum, but try firmer mattresses, too, based on what you’re feeling.”
We measure more than firmness, of course. To test mattresses, we use lab equipment and human subjects to evaluate how well a mattress supports the body for both back and side sleepers, how easily sleepers can shift their weight without disturbing their partner, and how well the mattress keeps its shape over time.
Our comfort and owner satisfaction ratings are based on data from recent surveys on CR members’ experiences with more than 74,000 mattresses purchased within the past decade. We asked members to rate the comfort of their mattress, and used the data to generate ratings by brand and type of mattress. Owner satisfaction is based on a member’s overall judgment of such factors as firmness/softness, value, quality of sleep, and more.
CR members can browse our full mattress ratings, which include our rankings of mattresses from brands including Casper, Charles P. Rogers, My Pillow, Shiffman, Serta, and Tuft & Needle.
Top 6 Soft Mattresses From CR’s Tests
CR members can read on for ratings and reviews of the six softest mattresses that earn our recommendation and a score of 3 or below on a firmness scale.
A few soft mattresses in our ratings cost less than what you’ll see below, though they don’t earn a high enough Overall Score to make this list. If you’re curious about lower-priced softer mattresses, use our mattress ratings to filter by price range, then firmness. (Click the Firmness rating column at the top right of the ratings chart.)
The mattresses below appear in order of CR Overall Score.