What You Need to Know About Mattress Thicknesses

Jo Davies (Mattress Expert)

If you’ve followed along with any of Sleepify’s mattress reviews, you’ll know that we love to talk about mattress thicknesses when it comes to the durability and quality of mattresses.

Of course, there is a lot more in a mattress than just how high the profile is, though the height of the mattress does play a big part in how long you’ll get out the mattress and whether you’re going to get the support you need.

For those of our readers who have taken the time to research a few mattresses online, you’ll know that there’s a lot of different ‘standard’ mattress thicknesses out there. These are generally two inches through to twenty inches and will dictate the comfort and the weight limits of the mattresses.

One thing to keep in mind is that the mattress size does not dictate the height of a mattress. For example, a queen size mattress does not need to be thicker or a higher profile than a single.

All of that said, let’s take a look at mattress thicknesses and what you really need to know about this confusing metric.

The Lower Profile Mattresses

Coming in at 2 to 5 inches.

The thinner or thinnest mattresses you’ll see on the market today are generally as thin as two inches and five inches.

Of course, this is ultra-thin for a mattress and is more like a topper than anything else. However, these are still sold as mattresses. When it comes to these beds, you’ll not want to use these as nightly mattresses, but rather use them for one-off guest beds or space saving sleep surfaces.

These aren’t going to offer the best lumbar support and aren’t great for side sleepers, though for back sleepers they can get the job done.

Most reviews online of these types of mattresses do outline that they are somewhat uncomfortable and aren’t a great idea for everyday mattresses. Though, if you’re looking for a floor bed or a bed that’s going to save space on a sofa or for easy storage, these are certainly a good option for you.

At Sleepify, we would stand by a mattress of around five inches as this should provide the bare minimum depth for pressure relief in joints and some sinkage for the shoulders. Though, any thinner than this and you’re certainly giving up comfort and back support.

One final thing to note is that these mattresses are not ideal for heavier sleepers. You will find that these simply flatten out and leave you to be supported by the floor or base beneath, rather than the foam or springs inside.

The General Thin Mattress

Coming in at 5 to 8 inches.

The mattresses on our list that are a standard ‘thin’ mattress come in at around five to eight inches thick and are often too thin to be constructed with springs.

These mattresses are typically an all-foam mattress and rather affordable. With a five to eight inch profile, you can expect a little support here and these beds are good enough for routine sleeps. Though, we’d still advise against these as being your everyday bed as eight inches isn’t enough depth to give you ideal pressure relief in the joints.

A lot of us will know these mattresses from school camps or our days in the scouts as these are often the ideal mattress profile for bunk beds.

For parents of small children, these are going to be a godsend as they do offer enough depth for lighter kids to get the back support they need without taking up too much space on a bunk bed. If you’re looking for the best mattress for a bunk bed, without taking up too much vertical space, then these ‘Thin Mattresses’ are the best choice for you.

One area that may become an issue for these beds is their foam design. Heavier kids and heavier weighted sleepers will, again, sink a little too low in the foams and experience less of an ideal back support experience here.

In some cases, the five to eight inch profile mattresses are thick enough to feature spring-supported designs, however, most of these beds are made of just a light, low-density foam.

When it comes to aesthetics, however, Sleepify does stand by these beds as a means to get an ultra-elegant and professional low-profile look for an executive bedroom. For flat-based bed frames, these are the mattresses for you.

That in mind, if looks are more important than comfort, then the slimline and ‘neat’ looking thin mattresses are certainly your best bet for this. Though we highly suggest placing back support above visuals alone.

All that said, these are mattresses that are ideal in many cases for every-night use, though only for lighter weight sleepers. They are stylish, minimal and go with furniture that is low profile and elegant.

The Standard Mattress

Coming in at 8 to 12 inches.

To the mattress profile that’s likely sitting on your bed frame at home, the standard mattresses, are the most common — and for good reason.

The mattresses coming in at eight to twelve inches thick are the ideal profile for optimal back support and comfort for all styles of sleepers at all weights. You’re going to have plenty of sinkage here, and that means correct back support and reduced joint pain.

You’ll also note that these are the sizes that come with a variety of different build materials. Unlike thin profile mattresses, the thick mattresses can be designed with all common materials such as coil springs, memory foam, latex and bamboo, for example.

These mattresses also offer a tonne more with regards to firmness options. All the other profiles that are thinner than eight to twelve inches simply come with a rather firm firmness level due to the fact they’re so thin. Manufacturers need to keep their materials firm to prevent over-sinkage.

One other thing to note is that these mattresses are going to be a little more costly.

Of course, there is more ‘mattress’ here and that means a higher cost, though, when comfort and support are concerned this added cost is warranted.

It’s also good to keep in mind that bed bases and accessories as well as bedding is going to be designed to fit beds of these profiles, whereas the thinner mattresses will need custom or less common sheets, for example.

In all, Sleepify suggests the standard mattress for our readers who want the most simple and straightforward mattress experience. You won’t need to research sheets and bedding for these beds, and all standard bed frames with railings and timber side framing will suit these mattresses without worry.

The Medium-thick Mattress

Coming in at 12 to 20 inches.

Starting to climb back out of the standard mattresses, the medium-thick models are the mattresses that will, again, have bedding that’s hard to find.

These mattresses are typically available in profiles taller than twelve inches, though this is generally for a good reason. You’ll find some rather unique design perks here, such as added foams and internal materials to improve comfort.

These mattresses still remain quite popular and are a top choice for those heavier weight sleepers who need a thicker profile mattress to sink down into.

One thing to keep in mind is that, aesthetically speaking, these beds can be a little visually commanding in bedrooms with thinner bed bases and reserved furniture. A twenty inch mattress is a bit of an attention grabber.

To add, these mattresses do come with various materials inside, which means hybrid designs are common in the mattresses above twelve inches. You can find memory foam and spring variants as well as latex and spring models here too, so you’re getting the best of both worlds on a lot of these mattresses.

In all, you will notice that the comfort on these thicker mattresses is a lot better than standard and thin mattresses, and if this is the primary focus for you, then Sleepify suggests opting for these models.

You will need to keep in mind that some of these beds are more costly and harder to find bedding for, though for many of our readers, this is worth the hassle for a good night’s sleep.

The Ultra-thick Mattresses

Coming in at over 20 inches.

You won’t often find these mattresses online or in retail stores as they are generally based upon older technology.

The mattresses that stand over twenty inches tall are generally older, or preowned mattresses that were designed in years past before internal materials had the density to offer ideal support in a thinner profile.

Of course, visually speaking, these mattresses do work well in specific situations such as luxurious hotels and country retreats, and you will see these beds used in these locations, however, they’re not generally purchasable outside of these situations.

As mentioned, these beds are often used for aesthetic purposes only and there aren’t too many comfort-focused perks coming from a mattress that is twenty or thirty inches thick.

If you’re looking to style a home in an elegant or Tudor-like way, then this might be a good mattress thickness for you, though, there aren’t too many reasons otherwise.

One thing to note with these mattresses is that your bedding will essentially be custom when there’s a profile of thirty inches thick. You’ll also not be able to find too many showrooms that offer beds of this thickness.

If you do happen upon these beds, they are far more costly than standard models too, which means you will be paying a tonne for these beds, without getting much more in return than a different visual look.

The Mattress Toppers

Coming in at 1 to 4 inches.

For our readers looking to add some depth to their thin mattresses, then the mattress toppers are the way to go.

You can easily beef up an ultra thin mattress with a one or four-inch mattress topper, and this is a great affordable option to get the most out of a bed that is lacking in the comfort department.

If you’re looking at our list because your bed is too low to the ground, for example, and you’re wanting to raise the profile to make it easier to get in and out of it — then a topper is the best option for you.

You can easily add up to four inches, and sometimes more, with a solid topper, and these are typically firm enough to hold their height as you get in and out of the bed.

To add, they’re also an incredibly affordable way to revive an old, tired mattress that’s lost its comfort. You’ll be able to overlay a nice, plush mattress topper on a rigid and uncomfortable mattress and get a few more years of comfort out of the bed.

Lastly, these toppers are easy to have delivered to the home and are often rolled up in a package. You’ll find delivery is fast and affordable, so Sleepify certainly stands by mattress toppers as an alternative to a high profile mattress.

The Takeaway

To end our article on mattress thickness, it’s good to keep in mind that there are a tonne of options on the market today — with regard to mattress height.

Of course, the thinner profile options are great for on-and-off use or for small children and aesthetic purposes, though these shouldn’t really be used as your everyday bed. The high profile and standard mattresses are your top choice if you’re looking for the easiest models for bedding and a good way to get your hands on multi-material beds.

If you’re someone who does struggle to get in and out of bed, or has mobility issues, the high and ultra-high profile mattresses are also here to help you out. A bed that stands thirty inches off its frame is certainly going to make getting in and out of bed a whole lot easier.

To end, it’s always good to keep in mind your comfort requirements, your bed base or frame and the bedding you need to work with the mattress. Some thinner mattresses won’t fit standard sheets, nor will the thicker models, so keep this in mind when investing in a new mattress.

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My goal with Sleepify is to be the ultimate sleep resource – helping you have a better night’s sleep.

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