Hardness Of The Mattress: Important Questions And Answers

According to some sources, we spend up to 24 years of our lives in bed. Accordingly, choosing the right mattress is essential for our well-being. The choice of the right model, apart from size and material, always depends on the degree of hardness.

However, nowadays one often loses track of what is going on because it seems that every manufacturer uses a different designation for the hardness of the mattress. This much is clear: unfortunately there is no standard. It is absolutely understandable that a certain uncertainty arises here. You would not be the first to give up the search for the right mattress because of confusion.

Therefore, in the following report we would like to explain what guidelines there are, what you can adhere to and offer solutions to help you find the right degree of hardness of the mattress for your needs. Because once you know what’s behind it, things are much less complicated.

The most important facts in brief

  • The market offers mattresses with a hardness between H1 and H5. The gradations range from “soft” to “ultra firm”. Alternatively, designations between F1 and F5 are also used.
  • Depending on the material of the mattress, two identical degrees of hardness can feel different.
  • An adjustable slatted frame can influence the feeling of lying down immensely.

What is the hardness of a mattress?

While the person is sleeping, he usually takes up a certain position. Depending on the surface, it can happen that he “gets lost”. This means that he might get up the next morning and complain about back pain.

In order to avoid this and other unsightly appearances, mattresses are additionally equipped with a degree of hardness in addition to an ergonomic division. This ensures that the spine is optimally supported during sleep and thus relieved.

The choice of the correct degree of hardness depends on various factors. These include size, sleeping habits and, of course, which lying position you prefer. Some prefer to lie a little firmer, others feel more comfortable on a softer mattress. When choosing the right degree of firmness, however, something else plays an important role: your own weight.

An important factor for determining the degree of hardness is also the so-called compression hardness. It is decisive for the density and strength of the mattress. The higher it is, the firmer the material is as well as the texture. The structure of the mattress is also a factor. Depending on the starting material, this is also an element that influences the degree of hardness.

Are there any particularities in the degrees of hardness?

Mattresses today are made of different materials. Especially popular are models made of latex and natural latex, visco-mattresses and spring mattresses. However, it can happen that two mattresses of different materials and identical degree of hardness feel completely different in terms of the quality of lying.

There are also models on the market that are designed to meet special needs. For example, if someone often complains of back pain, there is the perfect mattress with the right degree of firmness for them. There are also variants that require the use of a topper.

In this case, the degree of hardness must be different from when the mattress is used alone. And finally, there are the popular box spring beds, whose construction also influences the choice of the right degree of hardness.


  • Hardness level for spring mattresses: This depends on both the wire thickness and the coils of the springs. Hardness grade 1 (H1) uses a wire thickness of 2 millimetres, while hardness grade 2 (H2) already uses 2.2 millimetres. They are more point-elastic than other models, thanks to a higher restoring force. The number of springs also plays a role in the lying sensation.
  • Hardness level for Visco-Mattresses: The higher the density, the better the body adaptation. The core absorbs the body and is thus intended to provide optimum support. A tip: It is better to buy these models too hard than too soft, otherwise they can cause a hammock effect on the spine over time. Shoulders and pelvis should not sink in too deeply.
  • Hardness grade for latex and natural latex mattresses: It is best to pay attention to the respective layers. Depending on the density and processing, they are decisive for the sleep feeling. Materials such as coconut rubber and horsehair as a factor for the point elasticity are essential for the sleeping comfort.


  • Degree of firmness for back pain: The degree of firmness alone only plays a role in choosing the right mattress for back pain. The material used is also decisive. Above all, it should offer good point elasticity. Mattresses that contain a layer of natural materials can significantly support this factor.
  • Hardness with Topper: A Topper increases both comfort and pressure relief, but does not make the mattress harder. The foam used in the topper rather ensures that a mattress that is too hard gets the necessary point elasticity and back pain can be prevented a little better.
  • Degree of firmness for box spring beds: Here the correct degree of firmness is determined by means of mattress springing. With a higher degree of hardness, more springs are integrated or a higher wire thickness is used. In order to find the correct degree of hardness for your needs, you always have to take into account the topper and its degree of hardness or properties.

What does the slatted frame have to do with the hardness of the mattress?

In addition to the degree of hardness, the slatted frame in particular plays a major role in lying comfort. The market offers a wide variety of designs in this area. From the simple roll-up slatted frame to the electrically adjustable, orthopaedic slatted frame. In order to ensure a perfect lying feeling, it is recommended to have a few adjustable elements.

Adjustable slatted frames usually have several ergonomic areas. These are partially reinforced and carry the main load. Therefore they are often located in the middle of the grate. They prevent the body from sinking in deeper and the spine from buckling during sleep.

The adjustment is done by a few sliders. By the way: It is also possible to adjust your own sleeping habits with these sliders. There are positions that are suitable for side sleepers, the same applies to belly sleepers or those that lie mainly on one side of the bed instead of always in the middle.

An alternative to the usual slatted frame are models with plate modules. The so-called plate slatted frame has plate elements that are spring-mounted so that they can be moved in any direction. They therefore adapt to the lying body even better.

Ideally, the modules are even individually adjustable and offer a perfect basis for individual needs. However, there is one shortcoming: they should only be used under foamed mattresses. In the field of pocket spring mattresses, there are very few models that are suitable for use on a plate slatted frame.

Whether you choose a rigid model or a version with height-adjustable head and foot sections is left to your personal taste. The fact is, however, that the slatted frame can also be used to influence the quality of sleep.

Which mattress firmness level is healthy?

When choosing the right degree of hardness, the preservation of one’s own health is of course in the foreground. However, a standard mattress with hardness grade 2 is not necessarily suitable for children or the use of two persons.

So how to make the right choice here? In the following we have summarized a few tips to help you find your way around.

What is the hardness of the mattress for adults?

In adulthood, the search for a suitable mattress including hardness begins. The most important factor here is your own body weight. The manufacturers provide different classifications for this purpose, which move upwards from a body weight of 60 kilograms. A table below gives a good impression of which degree of firmness is suitable for which weight.

However, it also plays a role here whether you prefer to lie a little softer or harder. Those who prefer a somewhat firmer position are welcome to slide up a degree of hardness. For those who prefer to lie a little softer, it should nevertheless remain at an appropriate level. In case of doubt, a topper can always be used to achieve a softer lying comfort.

What is the hardness of the mattress for two people?

Although it is always advisable to choose two separate mattresses to ensure personal sleeping comfort, there are more and more couples who prefer a continuous mattress. The degree of firmness is selected here according to the person who has a higher body weight. In this way, it is possible to at least to some extent ensure that a good sleeping feeling is achieved.

However, if the weight classes between the partners are relatively far apart, there is another alternative: so-called partner mattresses. These have a continuous design as far as the cover fabric is concerned. Inside, however, they are individually tailored to each partner.

Thus, on the left side a hardness grade 1 can be used, while the right part is equipped with a hardness grade 4. Practically two individual mattresses are integrated, which are also glued together in the middle, depending on the manufacturer. However, there are only a few suppliers of such mattresses on the market so far.

If, on the other hand, you decide on two individual mattresses at the end, you can cover the visitor’s gap with the so-called love bridge. An alternative to this is a continuous topper, which makes the underlay a little softer again.

Below is a clear table to summarize the above information:

What is the hardness of the mattress for children?

The health of the back is shaped at an early age. Nevertheless, a normal cold foam mattress including a washable terry cloth cover is recommended during infancy. The degree of firmness does not yet play a role at this age, but the model should not be too firm.

Only from a size of 1.50 metres can you think about a mattress with a hardness grade of 1. Only then does an ergonomic subdivision make sense.

The same applies if the children change to a larger bed. Suitable mattresses are not too hard here either. Since children are still very restless when sleeping, they constantly change their position and a degree of hardness, as well as a division into different zones is still relatively nonsensical.

Mattress hardness grades in the overview

As already briefly mentioned, manufacturers on the market use gradations between H1 and H5. Alternatively, there are also designations such as F1 to F5. But in principle, the same is meant by this. The designations can also vary.

For example, a mattress with hardness grade 3 is described as “firm” by one manufacturer, but as “hard” by another. There is no standard for this. Nevertheless, the following table is a good guide as to which degree of hardness seems suitable for which weight.

Is there a hardness degree calculator for mattresses?

To make one thing clear: there is actually no formula that can be used to calculate the perfect degree of firmness, because when choosing the right mattress, things like sleeping habits and your own well-being play a not insignificant role.

However, there is a calculator on the pages of some mattress suppliers that can help you decide on the right degree of firmness. The calculators provided are based on body weight and your own height. The displayed result can be used as a guide when choosing the right mattress.

Trivia: Worth knowing and facts about the hardness of mattresses

Nowadays you sometimes come into contact with the subject of mattresses more often than you would like. At the latest since cheap mattresses in roll format have established themselves on the market, one sees at least once during each advertising break a mockery that deals with mattresses.

The said commercials suggest that it does not depend on the firmness or price when it comes to the quality of a good mattress. Above all, however, they contribute to the fact that when it really comes to finding the right model, you start to falter. Because the range of products is almost unmanageable.

Material, additional properties or the like make your head spin. Therefore we have clarified a few questions below, which not only, but also deal with the degree of hardness.

How much is a good mattress?

Regular advertising leaflets or spots offer cheap mattresses time and again. According to the advertising, a good mattress is not necessarily expensive. One thing is a fact: If you have the necessary budget, you can spend a lot of money without any difficulties when it comes to a suitable mattress.

First of all: Quality has its price! However, it also depends on the attitude with which you approach mattress purchasing. Several factors play a role here:

  • Are you trying to get a bargain?
  • Are you financially limited, but would like to buy the best possible model?
  • Is health in the foreground when choosing?

Depending on the answers to the listed questions, the setting will also be different. Bargain hunters are usually not prepared to pay more than 300 euros for their mattress. However, even after three years they are still faced with the decision to buy a new one.

The second group may be somewhat more qualitative. They have a financial upper limit, but are quite willing to invest a little more. Finally, there are also those for whom the budget plays a rather subordinate role. Their own health is immensely important to them. They pay attention to durability and to ensuring that the mattress meets their individual needs.

In principle, the following principle applies: Mattresses for which you invest a little more usually last a little longer. Models from 700 euros upwards can last up to twelve years, depending on material and workmanship. From a price of around 1,300 euros, there is no difference whatsoever in this respect.

The question of how much a good mattress costs must be answered by each individual. There are people for whom a model for 300 euros is perfectly adequate and those for whom a model for 1,000 euros more is still not acceptable.

What does the hardness of the mattress mean?

If the mattress had no degree of firmness, it would simply be a piece of foam or a mattress made of springs, which does not optimally support the spine during sleep.

The factors weight and height are used for orientation because these are the two things that affect the reaction of the mattress. The weight distribution is very different for a small person than for a large one.

It is similar when two people are the same size but weigh different amounts. The middle part of the mattress is more strained in heavier as well as larger people, which in turn affects the support capacity of the pelvis and shoulders.

Those who do not pay attention to the right degree of hardness risk a deformed spine in the long run, which not only causes back pain. Over time, it can also lead to diseases such as scoliosis or a herniated disc.

As a rule, the consequences cannot be remedied; the affected person usually suffers from permanent pain and thus from a severely restricted quality of life.

This makes it all the more important to ensure the correct degree of hardness when purchasing. As already mentioned, this can be adjusted relatively well and can therefore contribute to general health.

How can I see the hardness of the mattress myself?

First of all, all new mattresses are usually marked with a label as shown in the table above.

However, if you are still sleeping on an older mattress, you may find yourself in a situation where you would like to find out how hard it is. Be it to find out about a new model or simply because the new girlfriend thinks the mattress is much too hard for her. There are several ways to find out the correct degree of firmness:

  • Look for notes on the lying surface: On many mattresses there is a large piece of paper on which both size and degree of firmness are marked. By the way, it is also the same slip of paper with the indication “summer side” or “winter side” on it, if the mattress has any properties.
  • Find a note on the side: An alternative to the glued-on slips of paper are those that are incorporated into the side of the mattress cover. On them, the information just mentioned can usually also be found. Frequently, other mattress characteristics can also be read here.
  • Test lying and comparison: A visit to a specialist shop is necessary for this. The mattresses available here are all marked with a hardness grade. Anyone who takes advantage of a test bed here may be able to make comparisons. But if your own mattress is already relatively old, this procedure becomes more difficult.

In principle, it can be clearly stated at this point: if the mattress is so old that you can’t even find a piece of paper with the necessary instructions, a new purchase would be recommended anyway.


When choosing the right mattress, the degree of hardness plays a not insignificant role. There is no standard for it, but there are good guidelines that can be used to help you find it. To determine the correct degree of firmness, body weight and size are important, but other factors such as sleeping habits and personal expectations are also important.

As far as the price is concerned, it cannot be generalized when it comes to a good mattress. The attitude of the buyer as well as the own budget are decisive. However, with the right conditions – which, in addition to the right degree of firmness, also includes a suitable slatted frame – you will always be able to find a good mattress that is suitable for your needs.