If you’re sharing your bed with someone else (or your pets), a king mattress is a no-brainer. The extra roominess can provide pressure relief and give you more space to move around freely and sleep comfortably.
But where to begin? Are you looking to ditch your original mattress and upgrade your whole sleeping situation with a new bed frame, sheets, pillows and more? Are you a side sleeper, back sleeper or stomach sleeper? Do you want a foam mattress, innerspring mattress or a hybrid mattress? If you’ve got company in bed, you probably also want to consider whether the mattress type offers motion isolation, so you aren’t jostled awake every time they shift in their sleep.
The main thing you need to consider, though, is firmness. Are you shopping for a firm mattress, a soft mattress or something in between? Firmness should always be an important factor in your decision-making.
I personally tested over two dozen mattresses to help you find the best king mattress for you. Whether you’re looking to upgrade to a king-size mattress, or you need to swap out your current model for something with more modern advancements, I’ve got you covered. From advanced gel memory foam technology to a hybrid mattress to a mattress comprising polymer grids, there are a lot of options out there, but these are my favorites.
Read more: The best California king mattresses of 2021
Editors’ note: The Nectar Lush has been discontinued and replaced with the Nectar Premier, which is similar in construction, with gel-infused memory foam and a denser comfort layer. We are currently in the process of testing the new model and will update this story when testing is complete.
The Nectar Lush is my top king size mattress pick for pressure relief and edge-to-edge support. This Nectar mattress is made of five layers — including a dense foam base, a high-density memory foam, a gel-coated memory foam and a cooling cover — that really work well together. As soon as I laid down on the king mattress, the foam layers started to adapt to my body and “hug” it in a way that made me feel fully supported and properly aligned. After sleeping on the Nectar mattress for a few weeks, I felt a noticeable difference in my pain levels, immediately upon waking up and throughout the day.
And this was true no matter how close to the edge I got — there was no sagging or dipping at all. The memory foam was also really responsive and didn’t have that slow, sinking feeling that’s common with many memory foam mattresses. When I changed sleeping positions at night, the Nectar mattress was quick to react and adapt to my body so that I felt comfortable right away and could quickly drift off back to sleep.
The Helix Midnight Luxe mattress is one of Helix’s most popular models and, after testing, it’s apparent why. The mattress is made from a combination of high-density memory foam, gel visco and support pocketed coils wrapped up in a breathable, quilted pillow-top cover, making it a true hybrid model. Out of all the king size mattress models I tested, the Helix Midnight Luxe had the most lumbar support, which really provided some pressure relief for my boyfriend’s chronic lower back pain. It also took the least amount of getting used to. This memory foam mattress felt comfortable almost immediately.
Although this particular mattress type is marketed toward the side sleeper, it’s comfortable for all sleep positions — I often sleep on my back, too. There’s almost no motion transfer and it falls smack in the middle of the mattress firmness scale — Helix rates it a 4 to 7 out of 10 — so it’s designed to please everybody, or at least serve as a really great compromise if you’re sleeping with someone else and can’t agree on a firmness level.
Rather than varying layers of memory foam, the Purple Hybrid Premier 4 has a hyperelastic polymer grid formation that’s meant to absorb and relieve pressure, no matter how you sleep. This Purple mattress seemed to have a magic ability to form around my body and perfectly cradle my pressure points, which not only made it immediately comfortable, but also had me waking up totally pain-free.
The Purple mattress also had the most bounce out of all of the mattresses, so if you’re looking for a king mattress that’s more reminiscent of a traditional spring bed, but without the noisiness and eventual breakdown, this is an excellent option. Coming from memory foam, the grid did take a little while to get used to. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was definitely different, so keep that in mind. There’s an adjustment period with any new mattress, though, so it’s not something that was totally unexpected.
The Leesa Legend was designed for all types of sleeping positions, but this king mattress is a standout pick for back sleepers. The mattress is categorized as medium-firm, but it felt plush enough to appease soft mattress lovers too. Sometimes I find memory foam too firm, but I sank into the Leesa Legend in all of the best ways. And since it has two layers of springs in addition to two layers of memory foam, it provided the right balance of body contour and support for good spinal alignment without any sinking. Like the Nectar Lush, it also had excellent edge-to-edge support and minimal motion transfer.
The 100% organic cotton and Merino wool cover was also a really nice touch. Not only did this king size mattress feel soft and inviting, it’s designed to wick away moisture, so you stay cool and dry while you sleep. And it’s made from recycled water bottles, which is really cool.
The Saatva Classic combines innerspring coils with latex foam, making it a true hybrid mattress, but this mattress type has enhancements that are designed to reduce stress and tension in your back. The middle portion of the Saatva mattress has “lumbar zone technology,” or a series of wires that add extra support for the memory foam to keep your spine properly aligned, especially when you’re sleeping on your side.
Although I didn’t love this Saatva mattress initially, after sleeping on it for a few nights, it quickly became one of my favorites. It was firm enough that I felt properly supported, but, thanks to some extra plushness and thickness from the pillow top, it also felt softer than other similar mattresses. The only knock is that this mattress has more motion transfer than the others, so if you sleep with someone who moves around during the night, there’s a good chance you’re going to feel it.
Let’s address the elephant in the room right away: This mattress is expensive. But if you have the budget for this mattress brand and you’re looking for a way to invest in your quality of life, you won’t be disappointed. The Intellibed Signature Matrix Grand is constructed of several layers, including a latex and foam layer, but the real star of the show here is the Gel Matrix technology — something that was originally used in the beds in burn units to help alleviate pain while patients recovered.
Without getting too technical, the Gel Matrix is an elastic gel that flexes and moves so that it’s somehow firm and soft at the same time, giving you the best of both worlds. The firmness provides the support your body needs and keeps your spine in the proper alignment, while the softness allows some give to relieve your pressure points without sagging. And it truly does work.
When lying on the king mattress, I felt it give to my pressure points — namely, my shoulders and hips — while still keeping my body properly aligned, no matter which position I was in. As soon as I got comfortable in it, I could feel the pressure lifting away, almost as if I was in a zero gravity situation and, after a few weeks with it, I realized I was sleeping through the night consistently.
It’s also the first mattress that my boyfriend and I wholeheartedly agreed on. There were other king size bed mattresses that we both really liked, like the Helix Midnight Luxe and the Purple Hybrid Premier 4, but the Intellibed Signature Matrix Grand has completely squashed all mattress discussions and, to me, that alone is worth the price.
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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.