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Best mattresses for back and side sleepers

7 winners in innerspring, foam, and adjustable-air mattresses

Published: March 02, 2015 04:15 PM
Charles P. Rogers Powercore Estate 5000

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Consumer Reports has updated our mattress Ratings, and the best we’ve tested provide plenty of support, resist bounciness, allow easy movement, and should last for many years before you need to replace it. You won’t find scores for comfort in our Ratings; that’s an individual judgment. But here’s a look at some mattresses that did especially well in back and side support.

If you sleep on your back

Our tests for back support graph the spine’s natural curves for a range of adults, and then we record how consistently mattresses maintain that curve.

Charles P. Rogers Powercore Estate 5000, $1,500
This innerspring isn’t the best choice if you occasionally roll over to your side, but it delivered better back support than any other innerspring—or foam bed—in our tests. We tested its firmness as medium.

Spring Air Back Supporter Natalie, $1,200
Sold at Costco, this memory foam bed also wasn’t notably good for side sleepers, but for the back, it was impressive. The manufacturer claims the mattress is “ultra firm,” but we judged it as medium.

Sleep Number i8 Bed
, $3,000

Our testers judged this adjustable-air mattress, topped by foam, as soft. But this and its lower-price sibling were among the very best at back support. With these, you can adjust firmness one half of the bed at a time—helpful if two sleep partners like a different feel.

Sleep Number c2 Bed, $700
This adjustable-air mattress fared almost as well but for more than $2,000 less. One primary difference is this bed’s firm feel, likely because of the considerably thinner foam topping. Roll over now and then? Both these Sleep Number beds were impressive for side sleepers as well.

Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause

If you sleep on your side

For our side-sleeping test, we check how well a mattress keeps the spine relatively horizontal when someone is lying on his or her side. All three of our top picks for side sleepers also fared above-average at back support. No mattress, however, received our top score in this test.

Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause, $1,075
This innerspring has gotten a bit difficult to find, but it’s a winner if you can locate it. We judged it as medium, which apparently didn’t hurt in our tests; it’s the top-Rated innerspring.

Beautyrest ReCharge Hybrid Jeffrey’s Bay, $1,800
While pricey, this Beautyrest was among our top innersprings, and we judged it as medium. One caveat: Couples might find it a bit bouncy if one partner gets up during the night.

Casper The Casper 10”, $850
This online company produced a winner in this memory-foam bed, which we judged as medium. You might wish you could try it out—and if you're shopping in New York City you can—but we found its return policies to be very generous.

Need a new mattress?

Our online mattress Ratings now include almost 40 models, along with companion, survey-based Ratings of mattress stores and brands. Be sure to see our mattress buying guide before narrowing your choices.

—Ed Perratore (@EdPerratore on Twitter)

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