Best mattress for the plus size people

Ok… I apologize if this has been covered somewhere already. I’ve looked through some of the guides and I don’t see anything specific to mattresses for the heavier set. My situation is:

Me: Back and side sleeper / 6’1" / ~305 lbs

Wife: Stomach and side sleeper / 5’ 5" / ~250 lbs

Finding a durable and comfortable mattress has been a challenge. Due to our weight we are obviously hard on a mattress. Our last S company innerspring mattress became uncomfortable within a couple of years of purchase. So we decided to try an inexpensive memory foam mattress to see if we liked it. We bought a 12" memory foam mattress from amazon (Dynasty mattress) that was supposed to have 5" of 5 lb memory foam. For the first few months it was great. But after about a year it has really gone downhill. The top layer of foam instantly sinks in and does not provide any support. There not any obvious sagging in the mattress when you look at it. Just no support when you lay on it. Both my wife and I are waking up in pain so time for another mattress. This time I decided to do a little more research which is how I’ve ended up here.

I live in upstate NY (north of Albany) and local options are limited. It seems like mostly S brands and Tempurpedic in the local stores so I’m thinking I should purchase from a good mail order vendor like the ones you talk about here.

In my travels I did find one page that discussed mattresses for heavy people:

About the only take aways from that page are:

  1. Thicker is better
  2. Latex and memory foam are probably our best choices

So here I am. I’ve been reading about the various mattress types and I think I’m leaning to trying a latex mattress but I haven’t ruled out a memory foam model. I’ve spoken to a couple of different folks at brooklyn bedding. One person suggested I try a medium-firm memory foam model like the following:

ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint: Brooklyn Bedding - Brooklyn Bedding

The other suggested either:

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Brooklyn Bedding - Brooklyn Bedding

I was also looking at the spindle mattress after I saw it mentioned on this site:

I was also intrigued by the hybrid latex/memory foam model at brooklyn:

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But according to the person I spoke with that is no longer carried.


Both my wife and I prefer a softer feeling bed but support and durability are key. If we go 100% latex I’m thinking something with a dunlop core and a Talalay comfort layer. If we go hybrid I’m thinking we need a good quality HD core like what you find Aloe Alexis.

Lastly, we’ve been a Queen bed couple forever but we are considering biting the bullet to move to King.

So some of my questions:

  1. Am I off base here? Heading in the wrong direction or does this make sense?

  2. Any specific suggestions for a big guy like me? Does latex or memory foam sound better for me? Specific material suggestions?

  3. Would moving to a king mattress provide any benefits other then additional space? In our last couple of mattresses they seem to sag in the middle first and I’m wondering if the king size mattress would give us two person specific indentations and that might work out better for us?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can give.

Hi TimJohnst,

It definitely sounds like you’re on the right track and all makes good sense. If you’ve not seen it, the best place to start your research using this website is from the tutorial post. Phoenix does a wonderful job of identifying the steps to follow to help you find the best mattress for yourself.

Besides being a wonderful starting point, the tutorial helps you understand some of the ways to evaluate if a mattress has a useful/suitable amount of softness, as well as correct support, as you wrote.

Hi TimJohnst,

dn already linked the tutorial post which is the first place I would start. The same basic principles apply to heavier people as anyone else except you will need to put a special emphasis on more durable materials and constructions and probably on mattresses that have firmer comfort and support layers (firmer materials feel softer for heavier people and firmer support layers are usually important to for good alignment for higher weights). I would especially make sure you read the durability guidelines here and post #4 here about the factors that can affect durability and the useful life of a mattress. Post #2 here has some generic guidelines for different body types and sleeping positions, the first part of post #2 here also has more information about couples that have a larger weight differential and post #14 here has more about the benefits of thicker comfort layers and thicker mattresses (most of these are in the tutorial post but I thought I’d highlight them here as well)

There are also a number of forum posts and threads about mattresses and higher weights and a forum title search on heavy (you can just click this) will bring up many of them. Some examples include post #2 here and post #2 here and this thread

The choice of materials and components is a personal preference but it’s important to make sure you choose a durable version of whatever materials you prefer. Latex (you can read more about the different types in post #6 here), 5 lb or higher memory foam, 2 lb or higher polyfoam, and stronger innersprings with more steel or in the case of lower coil counts with lower gauge springs (around 13 gauge or lower) are all among some of the more durable materials and components that can work well for higher weight ranges. I would make sure that any lower quality foams are less than around an inch or so in a quilting layer because more than that can become the weak link in a mattress … especially for someone that is heavier (unless of course the mattress is for shorter term use or for a guest bedroom where durability isn’t as big an issue).

The biggest benefit of a king size mattress is more room (it gives each person the equivalent of a twin size mattress) but there will also be more space in the middle that isn’t used as often which can lead to some impressions on each side of the mattress and a “hill” in the middle as the center isn’t slept on as much and some of the materials may shift towards the middle (see post #20 here) which are more common in larger sizes. the most important thing is to make sure that you have durable materials in your mattress no matter which size is best for you so that foam softening and impressions doesn’t lead to the premature loss of comfort and support that means the mattress will need to be replaced.

Some of the better options and possibilities I’m aware of in the Albany, NY area are listed in post #4 here.

Hope this helps :slight_smile:


Thanks dn and Phoenix! Great information and I appreciate the time. All in all it looks like I’m on the right path. I just need to do more homework and see if I can find a local outlet that might carry latex mattresses in stock.

I called around some and I found one local outlet (metro mattress) that carries spring air latex mattresses in stock. One was “Natures Rest Peaceful Serenity” and the other was “Natures Rest Cabo San Luca”. Of course I can’t find anything with those names anywhere on the web but maybe I can get some sort idea of what laying on a latex mattress is like. I’ll do a little shopping this weekend and see what I can find.


Hi TimJohnst,

Nature’s Rest is made by Spring Air and includes all latex mattresses and latex/polyfoam hybrids so make sure the retailer can provide you with the specifics of the layers inside the mattresses you test so you know what you are testing.


Thanks Phoenix…

The local retailer had two latex mattresses in stock and both were floor models on clearance. Unfortunately I was not able to get any specifics on the construction since he was pretty oblivious to the details. However, it did allow me to sample what it feels like to lay on latex and overall I was impressed. I guess my next decision is whether to go with latex over high quality foam or full latex.

I also spoke with someone at Spindle mattress who took a bunch of time talking to me. I was really impressed with his knowledge and willingness to educate me. He’s not as big of a fan of latex over foam for someone my size and suggested either full latex or a 3" latex topper over a basic firm innerspring mattress with 13 gauge wire and as as little quilting as possible. If I went full latex he suggested using natural latex in the core due to its higher density.

Any thoughts on this?


Hi TimJohnst,

My thoughts would be very much along the same line as Neal’s :slight_smile:

You can also read a little more about an all latex mattress vs a latex polyfoam hybrid in post #2 here. At the very least I would make sure that with higher weights that there are thicker layers of latex in the upper layers of a latex/polyfoam hybrid mattress and that the polyfoam was a minimum of 2 lb density to better accommodate greater weights and improve durability.


Well… After much research and thought, I finally settled on a new bed.

We are getting a 10" Total Latex model from Brooklyn Bedding. I selected the Natural Dunlop core and a Talalay comfort layer. At Mario’s suggestion I selected the level 3 firmness.

I want to thank everyone for their help and I’ll try and come back to update the thread with my thoughts after it arrives.


Hi TimJohnst,

Congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

You certainly made a great quality/value choice and I’m looking forward to your feedback once you’ve received it and had the chance to sleep on it for a bit.


Been on the new mattress for about 2 months now. Overall I’m pleased with the decision. We placed the mattress on a simple platform bed from

The slats are a little wide (3 3/4") but the bed is good quality.

My wife and I are both sleeping better. I still wake up with some back pain but it’s shifted to my mid back instead of my lower back. I think this is due to the firmness of the bed and my side sleeping. I’ve been waiting to see how things go as the bed breaks in. I may exchange my side of the latex or I might just put on a 2" memory foam topper.

Anyway… I wanted to post a followup review in case anyone was in a similar situation. Good luck with your search!

Hi TimJohnst,

Thanks for taking the time to share your update … I appreciate it :slight_smile:


So it’s been a few months and overall I’m happy with the quality of the bed we purchased but I think it’s a bit too firm for us. My wife is waking up with her arms feeling numb and I’m still experiencing some back pain between my shoulder blades. I’m outside my exchange window so I think I’m going to add a topper to see if that helps. I was thinking a 2 or 3 inch memory foam topper but in speaking with BB they recommended a 24 ILD latex topper.

Any thoughts on this? What I’m really looking for is to add a more cushion without sacrificing support. My current setup is a 6" natural dunlop core with a 3" talalay comfort layer. According to the website my firmness level of 3 means a 36 ILD core and a 32 ILD comfort layer. Do you think adding another 3" 24 ILD layer on top of my setup work?

One option would be to purchase the latex topper and use the 30 day return policy but I’d really like to pick my best option to start with.

Thanks for any insights!

Hi TimJohnst,

Memory foam and latex are very different materials but both can do a good job with pressure relief so the choice between them is really a personal preference (see post #2 here for more about the difference between them).

Memory foam will change some of the “feel” and properties of sleeping on latex (such as ventilation and temperature regulation and the resilience and ease of movement of latex) which is likely why you chose latex in the first place so I would tend to stick with the materials you prefer unless you you are confident that you would prefer sleeping on a memory foam topper.

There is more a about choosing a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to but when you can’t test a mattress/topper combination in person then a more detailed conversation on the phone with a knowledgeable and experienced manufacturer is usually the most effective approach … particularly if they have a good exchange or return policy so you can use your actual experience to decide on whether your mattress/topper combination are working the way you want them to.


I just stumbled upon this 12" Posture Plush Cushion-Firm Memory Foam Mattress on the plushbeds website and am wondering how this looks for higher bmi’s?

3" PlushFoam Firm 4.0lb Memory Foam
2" 100% Natural ARPICO Latex
2" High Density 2.5lb Air Flow Layer
5" High Density 2.5lb Supportive Mattress Core

Hi Ari,

If you are looking in the direction of memory foam, ideally 5 lb and higher would be a good idea with a higher BMI. While it isn’t as durable as latex it is a very durable material and can work well for those who prefer the feel and performance of memory foam. But in the uppermost layers of a mattress, and more than just an “inch or so”, I’d be a bit cautious of 3” of 4 lb memory foam. The other materials in that mattress (latex and 2.5 lb polyfoam) are good quality and durable materials.


Thanks Phoenix :slight_smile:

so i also found this from sleep warehouse

3" Sensus Natural 5lb Memory Foam or 3" Aerus Natural 4lb Memory Foam or 3" 3.75lb Gel Memory Foam
( i would go with the 3" 5 lb top layer)
2" HD 1.8lb 28 ILD Base Support Layer
2" HD 1.8lb 32 ILD Base Support Layer
3" HD 1.8lb 40 ILD Base Support Layer
10" CoolMax Breathable Mattress Cover

they also say
“SleepWarehouse has base foam layers available in 28, 30, 32, 35 and 40 ILD’s. In addition we have 2.25 and 2.8 density HR/HD upgraded support base foam options available.”

ill call them tomorrow but am not quite sure how high i want the base layers, i know support foam for me should be at least 2.2lbs - would i keep the same ilds? would i want the same base foam layers all the way down or do it as they do it gradually getting the firmest at the bottom?

Hi Ari,

Yes, I would recommend considering at least the 2.2 lb polyfoam offered for higher BMIs. As far as ILDs go, I would consult with them when you phone, as they may have different ILD offerings with the different densities. A progressive ordering, as in the sample you provided, is quite common, and I would use the guidance and suggestion of the manufacturer, as they would have the best grasp of how their materials work together and “match” up to create a comfortable product.


so I’m spinning my wheels and wasting time trying to find a memory foam bed made with higher density quality foams.

it seems that latex is a good way to go but will it offer good pressure point relief like memory foam does?

i spoke to big fig they wouldn’t say if their bed provides pressure point relief. depends on the person. I’m not sure if coils are a great idea anyway for pressure points?

Hi Ari,

Pressure relief is a very complex subject but in its simplest terms it involves spreading body weight over a larger surface area so that the pressure on any particular part of the body is lower than the pressure inside the capillaries so the blood continues to flow. There’s a very detailed and technical discussion of pressure relief in post #2 here.

As it relates to a material though … pressure relief (and the corresponding sensation of softness) is connected to ILD/IFD, compression modulus, and point elasticity (where memory foam and latex excel and which determines how exactly a material can mirror a certain shape) which along with the thickness of each layer (which is independent of the properties of the material itself) controls how large a surface area is bearing weight and the distribution of the weight. Some types of zoning can also even out pressure by allowing more sinking in of some areas which allows the more recessed areas of the body to bear more weight.

In the case of memory foam it can be even more complex because it’s softness is also affected by temperature, humidity, and the length of time it is continuously compressed so how soft it feels can also depend on the temperature sensitivity of the memory foam and can vary with your environment and circumstances or by how quickly a particular memory foam becomes softer with body heat.

Pressure relief also needs to be balanced with support and alignment because you could use a very thick slab of low ILD and support factor foam to do a great job relieving pressure but the heavier parts would sink in so far that the spine and/or joints would be twisted, bent, or flexed outside of their neutral range this would lead to the pain that goes with misalignment of the spine or joints.

As you can see this is all quite complex but again the three specifications of a foam material that control most of the pressure relief (along with layer thickness) are ILD/IFD, compression modulus, and point elasticity (and temperature sensitivity with memory foam) which together with the thickness of the softer layers create the pressure relieving “cradle” and needs to be balanced against its “opposite” which is support and alignment.

So, the two main functions of every mattress are to keep your spine and joints inside the range of their neutral alignment in all your sleeping positions and to relieve pressure by redistributing your weight across the surface of the mattress (what people commonly refer to as “pressure point relief”.

Because your body is much more curvy than flat and some parts of the body weight more than others (such as the hips/pelvis) and some parts are wider than others (such as the shoulders) … good support/alignment means that parts of your body need to be “allowed” to sink in more deeply and that other parts of your body need to be “stopped” from sinking in too deeply so that the end result is neutral alignment of the spine and joints. Post #6 here uses an example of floating in the air and slowly sinking onto the mattress surface to help you visualize this.

If you were to sleep on your side on the floor for example there would be no support under the waist because most of your weight would be on your hips and shoulders and the middle part of your body would sag onto the floor and your spine would be out of alignment.

In the same way … if you were to sleep on a thick layer of soft foam on the floor then you would certainly sink in far enough to fill in the gaps in the recessed parts of your body but the heavier parts of your body such as your pelvis would sink down too far before they were “stopped” and your pelvis would tilt which also leads to misalignment of the spine. You can see from the diagram here ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint:
that a mattress that is too soft or a mattress that is too firm can both provide poor support under different parts of the body. There is more about “primary support” (under the heavier parts of the body) and “secondary support” (under the lighter or more recessed parts of the body) and their relationship to pressure relief in post #4 here.

Heavier body types will tend to sink into a mattress more deeply than lighter body types so their concern is that with a softer mattress (with thick/soft comfort layers over the support core) that the heavier parts of his body will sag and sink down too far before being “stopped” by the firmer support core and he will be out of alignment.

People from the “old school” that think “firmer is better” generally tend to choose mattresses that are too firm and they don’t sink in enough to provide good support under the recessed curves of the body or don’t provide good pressure relief (especially for side sleepers).

People that treat mattresses as a “luxury item” rather than a utilitarian purchase that has a very specific function tend to go by “showroom feel” and “subjective comfort” and often tend to choose mattresses that feel great in a showroom but have comfort layers that are too thick and soft or support layers that are too soft to “stop” the heavier parts of the body quickly enough.

Both can lead to uneven support where the spine is out of alignment. The goal is to have comfort layers that are “just enough” and no more in terms of thickness and softness to provide good pressure relief and fill in the gaps in the sleeping profile and support layers that are firm enough to “stop” the heavier parts of the body from sinking down too far.

While all of this might be more information that you desired, it’s a bit of a more detailed way to say that both latex and memory foam can be good options for “pressure point relief”, but it varies by the ILD/IFD of the foam, the combination of materials used in the mattress and their arrangement and thickness, the compression modulus of those foams, the individual sleeping upon the product, their somatotype, their sensitivities and a myriad of other factors. So Big Fig was correct when they told you that pressure point “depends upon the person”, but their overall construction with only one layer of latex in the upper layer would not be as point elastic as a typical memory foam or all-latex mattress or hybrid latex mattress, and it would tend to have a comfort that most individuals would classify as somewhat firm.