How to Choose the Best Mattress for Heavy or Larger People

Updated on May 13, 2019
Reginald Thomas profile image

Reginald has been a sleep specialist for the past 20 years, training new and veteran associates in the retail mattress industry.

If you are a heavy or a larger person looking for your next mattress, you will need more than just the run-of-the-mill set to sleep on. How frustrating it is to sleep on a mattress that is uncomfortable, night after night. You wake up with a sore back, or worse yet, don’t even make it through the night and end up in your chair or couch in the living room. It’s time for the new mattress, but with the wrong selection, you might be sacrificing important items and suffer again with bad sleep.

I will tell you early here in the article that I most definitely recommend the "hybrid mattress" as the best one for heavy people and will explain the reasons why as you read further. I am a heavy person and speak from experience.

Follow these simple steps below and learn all about choosing your next set. You will be extremely comfortable and excited after knowing that you did the research and chose the correct mattress just for you (and your partner). This article is not an endorsement for any particular brand name but provides you enough information that will put you at an equal level with any salesperson selling you a mattress set.

There are so many beds to choose from. How do you know which one is for you?
There are so many beds to choose from. How do you know which one is for you?

Support for Heavy People

The number one concept that I wish to convey in this article will be in the area of "support" and "comfort" in a mattress set for heavy people. Many times people get these two words confused when they’re trying to choose the correct mattress.

First, with the word “support,“ we must remember to start with the frame or what is underneath the mattress and box spring. Whether you are putting your box spring and mattress on a metal frame, the same set on a wooden bed, or (as will be discussed later in this article) you decide to go with an adjustable bed base, it is very important to make sure that this item has a strong support for you and your partner, as well as the mattress set.

A simple metal frame will not suffice. Unless it says that it will support a large person or indicates a high number of pounds, do not get it. You may even want to make or have made for you a frame out of 2" x 8" pine board construction with two center supports.

Next, is your box spring. Contrary to popular belief, a box spring is very important to how you sleep and the life of your mattress. There are two types of box springs:

  • The foundation box spring: Constructed of very thin wood around the perimeter of the area. This wood is stapled together, and nothing is in the middle but air.
  • The steel box spring: Constructed of a heavy wood base with heavy grid steel cage from head to toe and side to side. This allows the mattress to have the best support for you at night when you’re sleeping.

Solid Support + Great Comfort = Healthy Sleep!

Comfort for Heavy People

When choosing the comfort level for yourself as a heavy person, it is no different than for persons that weigh 110 pounds choosing one for themselves.

Approximately 72% of all people sleep on their sides. This gives the mattress manufacturers a wide spectrum of comfort levels to produce for you, the consumer. This is why when you go into a bedding store and see all of the selections that they have, it can be a little confusing. Most of these models will be designed for side sleepers.

The manufacturers simply categorize these choices into levels of comfort called either "plush" or "pillow top." The major differences between the two have to do with marketing, but for the most part, we are dealing with a thicker mattress when it comes to the pillow top. Have you ever gone car shopping and were amazed at all the different models in the lot? It’s the same thing.

Let’s say that you are a back sleeper. This means that your body is used to sleeping the whole night through on your back. Your comfort level should be eliminating anything that is really soft.

Coil Spring Systems

There are three different styles of mattresses today. The innerspring or coil mattress, all foam (memory foam or latex foam) mattress, and the hybrid mattress.

The coil spring or innerspring mattress is the old standby as well as the most popular. Every manufacturer today produces a variety of innerspring mattresses. The different coil systems are:

  • Bonnell system (closed and open): Very popular.
  • Continuous coil: Not as popular. (I don't recommend.)
  • Marshall unit: This is the pocketed or encased coil. (I highly recommend.)

The coil system mattress is very popular primarily because of the lower price and comfort levels. There are the no-Flip companies like:

  • Serta
  • Simmons
  • Spring Air
  • Sealy

Then there are companies that feature the two-sided mattress:

  • Englander
  • Restonic
  • Corsicana
  • Gold Bond

The big tip in this section will be for you to look for a coil system that has a strong spring system. Look for things such as heavy gauge wire, tempered steel, and five turn coil.


  • Memory Foam: When talking about the best mattress for heavy people, this type of mattress is a result of science at its best. Visco elastic foam, better known as memory foam, was invented back in the '70s by a Swedish chemist and further developed for other science applications by NASA. Because of its pressure-relieving qualities and long-lasting effect, memory foam is a very popular material to sleep on. Memory foam contours to you either as a side-sleeper or a back-sleeper. It also has several firmness and softness levels for side sleepers.
  • Latex Foam: Another type that is good for pressure relief is latex foam. This foam has two separate characteristics—natural latex and synthetic latex. Natural latex comes from the rubber tree, whereas synthetic latex is a man-made product. This type of foam, unlike memory foam, will give you the feeling of sleeping on a bed. Good, natural latex will be on the more expensive side. But if you like that feel for comfort, it is well worth the price, because it will last for years and years.

Adjustable Bed Base

An adjustable bed base is a great option for a heavy person. The benefits are numerous and very affordable these days. I can tell you from my own experience that it has also helped with my back pain tremendously over the years.

An adjustable bed base is great option for a heavy person. It supports up to 800 lbs.
An adjustable bed base is great option for a heavy person. It supports up to 800 lbs. | Source

The Hybrid Mattress

The Hybrid Mattress is half-coil and half-foam. The coil is called "pocketed" or "encased." This coil system has very good support for your body. Because of its design, it provides excellent help with spinal alignment. Also, with two people in the bed, if one should move, the other person will not be disturbed. Nice!

The foam in most retail stores with a hybrid mattress is memory foam. There are retailers though (specialty bedding stores) that will make a hybrid with latex or a combination of memory foam and latex foam for you.

Again, I am a firm believer in this type of mattress for heavy people because of the way it works with any materials on it, including the foams mentioned earlier.

© 2018 Reginald Thomas


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