Deciding what mattress to buy is enough to keep you up nights. The model names are confusing and make it nearly impossible to compare a mattress sold at Macy’s, for example, to one sold at Mattress Firm. Throw in the aggressive sales tactics you run into at a mattress store and differing definitions of firmness and it’s enough to make you want to collapse, or at least lie down and take a nap. But on what?

We feel your pain. And so we've revamped our mattress ratings to make it easier to find a mattress that works for both you and your mate. In our tests of 73 mattresses, we determined which are best for small, average, and large people, whether you sleep on your side—like most folks—or on your back. Now you can simply look for models that score well in support for each of you, and see where there's overlap.

Say you’re a beefy 6-foot-2 and your partner barely clears 5 feet and tips the scales at double digits. In our new mattress ratings, you can find a mattress that offers the right support for each of you.

For example, the innerspring Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Trust Cushion, $1,275, is an excellent choice for a petite side sleeper but only mediocre for a large person who sleeps on his or her back. But our top rated innerspring, the Charles P. Rogers Powercore Estate 5000, $1,500, is excellent for back sleepers of all sizes and very good for all side sleepers.

We also changed the way we present our firmness ratings. Now they're on a scale of 1 to 10 (soft to firm), so you don’t have to take the manufacturer’s word for it. After all, our tests have consistently found their descriptions don't reflect reality.

Another big consideration for couples is the stabilization score, which tells you how easy it is to change positions without bothering your mate. Of the three top innersprings, the Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Elite Kelburn proved to be the most stable. You can find more in the "Best Mattresses for Couples."

Innerspring Highlights
Paying more for a high-end mattress like the Duxiana Dux 515 innerspring, $7,595, doesn’t guarantee you’ll both sleep soundly. While it was very good to excellent for side sleepers, if you sleep on your back, you may want to reconsider because it was mediocre for all three body types. The Denver Mattress Doctor's Choice, $500, is a fraction of the cost and a best buy, and is very good for side and back sleepers of all sizes.

Memory Foam Highlights

Prefer a memory foam mattress? The Novaform 14-inch Serafina Pearl Gel mattress sold at Costco for $800 is very good for sleepers of all sizes whether you sleep on your side or your back. We judged it be to a 5 in firmness.  We also tested the Luxi bed-in-a-box mattress, which features three layers of foam that you can arrange in any order for what Luxi says results in beds that are soft, medium, or firm. Oddly, our testing found that the mattress billed as the softest by Luxi was the firmest in our tests. The Luxi Soft, $1,000, earned a 69 in our tests and we recommend it. The Luxi Medium Firm scored a 64 and is not a top pick. The Luxi Firm falls near the bottom of our foam mattress ratings with a score of 54.

Adjustable Air Highlights
Two mattresses from Sleep Number were the highest scorers overall in our tests, the Sleep Number i8 bed, $3,000, and the Sleep Number c2 bed, $800, one of our best buys. Both mattresses are very good for side sleepers of all sizes and excellent for small and average size back sleepers. The Sleep Number c2 was very good, but not excellent, for tall back sleepers and the most stable of the two. The c2 was also the firmest mattress in our tests. We judged it to be a 9 in firmness compared to 3 for its more expensive counterpart.

Ready to shop?
 Check our full mattress ratings and recommendations of innerspring, memory foam, and adjustable air beds. In addition to support and stability scores, you’ll find out how long the mattress should last, how big it is, and what it’s made of. Also check our reviews of mattress brands and retailers to find the best brands at the stores with the best service.