Cheapest Mattress that Isn't Too Firm or Toxic?

Hi, all–love this site, and have been reading about mattresses for literally years. My organic $$$ 7" WJ Southerd Bliss latex is now too firm for me and my new hip problems. While I love my son’s CozyPure in the medium plush, getting one for myself is not in the budget–but I am tired of sleeping on the sofa! Can anyone recommend the cheapest mattress that isn’t too firm? I’m also terrified of chemicals so making the leap into petroleum-based foams frightens me, but if you can reassure me that I won’t die, I could be happy with a foam bed instead of latex… I’ve read all the posts but can’t find one that addresses cheap + plush + non-toxic. Any recommendations under $800 (full size) appreciated!!

Hi CoraLee77.

Welcome to our Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

There are no “standard” definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

There are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved in choosing a mattress for someone else to make specific suggestions based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or theory at a distance that can possible be more accurate than your own careful and objective testing (using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post) which is always the most reliable way to predict which mattress will be the best match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) (see post #2 here).

Hyperbole aside, this is more of a situation of you deciding what is “safe enough” for you.

“Toxic” is a term for poisonous substances produced within living cells or organisms, although the term is often used in the mattress industry (and often part of some “fear-mongering” campaigns), but I think I understand your point. Most people that are looking for “non-toxic” (toxicity is dose-dependent) mattresses or materials are usually concerned most with “safety”.

As there is quite a bit of confusing information available online about toxicity, safety and organic, there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here, and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons, or whether a “safety” certification is enough, and what those certifications can mean to determine whether the contents of any particular mattress are “safe enough” for you.

I am sure that if you’ve done a great deal of reading on the site, you can clearly see that the focus on here is “how” to choose and that it’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

I’m not sure what you’ve read since you found the site but just in case you haven’t read it yet … the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).

While again nobody can speak to how any specific mattress will “feel” for someone else or whether it will be a good “match” in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances and you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress … outside of PPP (which is the most important part of “value”), the next most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress. This is the part of your research that you can’t see or “feel” and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new so I would always make sure that you find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

Using a $800 upper limit budget in queen (mattress only), I took a quick look at the lists that are linked in the tutorial post and while I may have missed some … here are some quick results. All the links provided below are trusted members of this site which means that I think highly of them and they use good quality and durable materials and components within their mattresses.

Flexus has a number of innerspring mattresses (not all foam and shipping would be extra with some).

Sedona Sleep sells a polyfoam base mattress

addable / sells a memory foam mattress.

SleepEZ also has this option which in Queen size would fit your budget.

Nest Bedding has their Love & Sleep Mattress .

Novosbed Canadian-only. Memory foam over polyfoam layer and polyfoam base.

Comfort Sleep Systems also has innerspring options that fit your budget.

My Green Mattress with a few good options that fit your budget range.

Sleep EZ with their Natural Latex Mattress falls into your budget range as well.

Latex Mattress Factory

Texas Mattress Makers with many good quality and low budget options.

Christeli has one memory foam option

There are also some lower budget latex and latex hybrid options that are listed in posts #3 and #4 here that are in “relatively” lower budget ranges (although some of these may be more than your budget).

Some of the new “simplified choice mattresses” that are also in relatively low budget ranges (from $600 to $1000 queen size) are also listed in post #2 of this topic and may also be worth considering as well although most of them are also more than your budget range.

I hope this helps. Once you have a chance to narrow down your finalists please let me know and if you have more specific questions I’ll be happy to assist you.


Thank you so super much! Based upon your suggestions here and in your “Simplified Choice Mattresses” post, I’ve narrowed my search to the following:

Sedona Sleep (Serenity Bed in a Box)
Nest Love & Sleep Mattress (which doesn’t look as good as the original Love!)
Tuft and Needle
My Green Mattress (not sure which model yet)

Now I just need to decide if I want foam only or latex with innerspring, largely from a PPP perspective. I’m guessing in general, foam is a bit more plush than innerspring (because foam is softer than steel!).

I’m so grateful for your help on finding the toxin/chemical information, though; it can be so misleading, and there’s so much fear-mongering online about sleeping on steel and petroleum foams when there’s actually a lot of testing and safety information available, and many manufacturers are being transparent and prioritizing health.

Thanks again for being so thorough in all your posts!! So grateful for the help.

:slight_smile: Cora

PS I’m getting a full size, so these choices are still MOSTLY on budget but some are $999… :slight_smile:

Hi CoraLee77,

I’m happy that you found the information useful.

Regarding innersprings versus foam for a support core, innersprings will tend to have a more “flat line” response curve. They also absorb less energy (are more resilient) and “push back” more strongly. Springs tend to have more “air” in them and also tend to be more breathable than foam cores. Innersprings comes in many variations of compressions and plushness, so ultimately it comes down to your own personal preference and the differences that you can feel. Both innersprings and a good high-density polyfoam can perform well as support units.

If you have more specific questions, I’ll do my best to answer them.


Okay, NOW I’m excited about potentially building my own hybrid coil & talalay topper mattress… Is a member here? I can’t find much information about them in the search bar. And I need to figure out if the coils and topper purchased separately have any kind of inherent fire barrier (I prefer wool only).

Thanks! I’ve been enjoying reading up on all this information on the site, and had no idea you could “build your own” mattress until I found such topics here. This forum is impressive!! Thank you.’ does not appear to be a valid URL, but if you mean ‘’ that’s Arizona Premium Mattress Company which is a MU forum member: Arizona Premium Mattress

Hi CoraLee77.

Building your on mattress can be indeed very exciting and rewarding. (I have fond memories of designing our mattress)
As Sweet Dreams pointed out… (Thanks!) is indeed Arizona Premium Mattress who is one of the trusted members of our site and as will all our members it means that I think very highly of them and that I believe that they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, knowledge, and transparency. Ken at Arizona Premium is extremely knowledgeable about latex and different configurations, and I would not hesitate to recommend them for your consideration.
You can use the search feature here to find more information about Arizona Premium Mattress ( as they are frequently mentioned on our forum.

Arizona Premium has a large selection of mattress encasements, bamboo, bamboo quilted with organic wool, organic cotton cover which meet the flammability standards for their latex mattresses. The zipper is made with Teflon and zips around all four corners making it easy to assemble. You can purchase each component separately but my guess is that it may be slightly more expensive than going for their customizable component system.

The system I am assuming that you are looking at Ultimate Hybridl/Latex is a good quality/value choice with a pocket coil from Leggett and Platt with 3 different wire gauges to provide better support for the edge and lumbar zone of the mattress.

As you may be aware with all of the layers of a mattress working together and contributing to comfort, in this scenario the innerspring unit would be primarily responsible for deep support and alignment, while the Talalay or Dunlop latex layer above it would primarily be responsible for surface comfort. You can read more about the two functions of a mattress, support and comfort, in this article to help decide which level of plushness/comfort is most suitable for you.

I would suggest that you work closely with the manufacturer and use your careful testing and feedback from your own body along with Arizona’s expertise about their own mattresses to help you make your best choice in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences).

I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding and if you have any other questions I’ll do my best to answer them.


So I’m on night #3 of my Pure Echo, and it’s a little more firm than I’d like (as evidenced by my shoulder/neck pain being worse), but I’m going to stick it out for the whole adjustment period—and probably will also invest in a Talalay topper. It feels strange to sleep on an innerspring mattress again after a few years on latex! I love how it feels when I fall asleep, and my hips aren’t hurting, but my shoulders really are.

Do you have any suggestions about which base allows for the most comfort? Right now it’s on the floor, and I prefer platform beds for the lower profile, but wonder if a box spring would allow for more pressure point relief.

Thanks so much for all your help!


Hi CoraLee77,

Congratulations on your new Pure Echo mattress! :cheer: You certainly chose something using good quality materials, and as you’re aware My Green Mattress is a site member here, which means that I do think highly of them.

Regarding your first three nights on the product, besides the fact that your mattress is still going through its initial “break-in” process, you’re also sleeping upon something that uses different materials that will tend to be a bit “firmer” than your old latex mattress, so some adjustment would be quite normal. I’m happy that you’ll be taking the time to allow that to happen.

Regarding your shoulder/neck pain, it will be useful to have you reevaluate your pillow choice, specifically the thickness, to make sure that you are in a generally neutral alignment. The amount that you will “sink-in” in the shoulder area will be different on your new mattress as compared to your old, so you may require an adjustment with your pillow choice.

As for a proper foundation, you can see the recommendations that My Green Mattress provides for their products on this page. They recommend a firm, flat surface, or a slatted surface with no more than 3” gaps between slats. Using an improper foundation form what they recommend (such as a coil box spring) causes an exclusion to their warranty. If you’re attempting to manipulate comfort/pressure points, you’re best off with the area closest to your skin, such as adding a topper, as you mentioned you were considering.

I’ll look forward to learning about your progress.