Thickness is the height of the mattress that depends on the number and thickness of layers. Simply put, it is the height of your mattress. This is one of the most important things to consider when choosing the mattress because:
- Different levels of thickness work for different types of sleepers
- The feel of the mattress depends on the thickness
- Your bedroom aesthetics depends on the thickness, too
- Thicker or thinner mattresses work in different ways for people with certain health issues, etc.
How thick your mattress should be? Let us find out.
Mattress layers and mattress thickness
There are 3 types of layers in every mattress. They are the support layer, comfort layer, and the cover. They form the thickness of the end product, so let us take a closer look at each of them.
It would be wrong to say that one of the layers is more important than the other ones, but it would also be wrong to deny that there can be no mattress without a support layer. It determines how firm the mattress is, and, of course, it also determines the level of support.
There are two main types of support layers: those that are made of foam and those that have springs inside.
- Foam layers. A lot of manufacturers use high-density foam to produce the thick support layer. Such materials have a few serious advantages over springs. Firstly, they are used to produce the most compact mattresses, so-called beds in a box (memory foam mattresses that are delivered in boxes and inflate after they are unpacked). Secondly, mattresses with such support layers are usually much lighter and easier to move.
- Springs. Hybrids and innerspring mattresses, however, contain another type of support layers. Spring systems are considered lasting and very supportive, and these are the main reasons why they are still used in many modern mattresses. They also fall under the two subcategories: connected coil systems that are supportive and budget and pocketed coil systems that provide better motion isolation.
The comfort layer consists of a few layers (2-4) that determine the level of comfort and feel of the mattress. The number of possible combinations is nearly endless — a lot of materials (each of which has its unique properties) can be used to create a thicker/softer/more supportive/more bouncy mattress. Let us take a look at the materials that are often used by top manufacturers:
- Memory-foam. The most popular material. It may be softer or denser, provide extra support, or a softer feel especially appreciated by side sleepers and those who like to sink into a mattress.
- Gel-infused foam. It is still a foam with all its properties, but it is cooler due to the cooling gel. This material is used to produce mattresses for hot sleepers.
- Latex. It is a natural, bouncy material that provides great support and is still quite soft & comfortable.
- Polyurethane. It is a dense material used to produce the most supportive mattresses that work well for bigger people.
- Polyester. Polyester, also called “white fibers,” is used in many affordable mattresses. Manufacturers usually mix it with more natural materials, in particular, cotton.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of mattress covers: damask and knitted ones.
- Damask. These woven covers are soft, breathable, and very lasting.
- Knitted. These are the knitted soft-touch elastic covers that make a mattress more breathable.
There are also types of finish, which are as follows:
- Quilted. This is a soft, elastic, and breathable finish.
- Tufted. This is a bit firmer, supportive finish that provides better motion isolation but is pretty hot.
- Plain. Such mattresses don’t have any finish.
What is the difference between mattress thickness and mattress density?
Contrary to popular belief, thickness and density are not interchangeable terms.
Thickness is the height of the mattress that depends on the number of layers and the thickness of each of these layers.
Density is its weight per 1 unit of volume. Unlike thickness, it is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). The denser the mattress, the firmer, and more supportive it is. If low-density foam is used, the mattress will feel very soft, and you will likely sink into it.
As you can see, thickness has nothing to do with density — these are two independent parameters. For example, we can imagine a very thick, i.e., a very high mattress which, however, is a low density one. Such a mattress would feel very soft, but it would be difficult for a sleeper to “climb” into a bed, and they will likely sink down to the bottom layer. The latter will happen not because of thickness but because of the very low density.
The standard thickness of mattresses: Your thickness chart
What are the most common types of thickness? Find all of them, from the mattresses that can be used as toppers to extra-thick mattresses in the table below.
Thickness (in inches)
Bunk beds, trundle beds
Very firm, light, supportive, and super thin
Works for those who want to have an extra firm mattress or to add firmness to their mattress
Bunk beds, trundle beds, kid’s beds, guest rooms.
Good for children, might be a good option for the elderly.
Very light, easy-to-move, space-saving, and budget mattresses. Usually, such mattresses feel firm.Don’t work for heavy people, though.
Super versatile, may work for everyone except for those who want to have a very low bed
You can find thousands of such options, latex, foam, hybrid, innerspring mattresses, etc. You can also choose between any levels of firmness.
More affordable premium
Super versatile, may work for everyone except for those who want to have a very low bed
Tons of options, all levels of firmness, all types of mattresses.
More expensive than standard mattresses but cheaper than premium super-thick mattresses
Those who are ready to pay more for a mattress, healthy adults who don’t mind climbing into a bed
More than just comfortable, any level of firmness, edge support, bouncy.
Can be placed only in big bedrooms, difficult to find suitable bedding.
How thick should your mattress be?
Yes, it may be quite difficult to make a choice and pick one of the thousands of mattresses with different firmness levels. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision.
You need a thicker mattress if:
- You are pretty heavy. Very thin mattresses work pretty well for very thin people, but if you realize that your body sinks too deep into your bed, you might need a new, at least 10” thick mattress.
- You want to add some extra height to your bed. If you need to do a deep squat every time you sit up on the mattress, maybe, you need to purchase a thicker one. Note that in some cases, you need a foundation more and that it largely depends on your bed setup as a whole, but still, choosing a thicker mattress will help, too.
- You have a bed with a high headboard and footboard. Sometimes, you just need to buy a thicker, higher mattress because it will look much better than a thin one. However, if a headboard and footboard are pretty low, you would need a thinner mattress for aesthetic reasons.
You may also need a thinner mattress if:
- You need an easy-to-move mattress. Some mattresses need to be rotated or even flipped, not to mention moving it to your bedroom. Of course, some manufacturers provide delivery and setup services, but it does not solve the problem of rotation.
- It is difficult for you to hop up into a high bed because of mobility issues or any other problems.
- You don’t want to spend too much money on a mattress. It is no secret that the thicker the matters, the more you will spend on it. If you don’t want to spend a lot on the item, you’d better buy a thinner one.
What else do you need to consider when choosing a certain thickness? Here are some other important things to take into account:
- Your bodyweight. On the one hand, the more you weigh, the more supportive and firmer your mattress should be. On the other hand, if you are a bit heavier, you will think deep into a thin mattress. In this case, a supportive, medium-thick, and medium-firm or firmer mattress would be a perfect choice. If you are very light, you can buy a much thinner and softer mattress.
- The type of mattress you are going to buy. What type of mattress are you going to buy? Are you looking for a foam, innerspring, hybrid, or latex mattress? Sometimes, other properties (firmness, bounciness, level of support, level of edge support, etc.) determine what layers a mattress will be composed of, and this, in turn, determines the level of the thickness, turning it into a secondary criterion of choosing a mattress.
- Health issues. People with back pain often need firmer, thinner mattresses. Elders often cannot sleep on too high beds because of mobility issues. Consider all health conditions and issues before buying a mattress.
Does thickness influence the memory foam mattress price?
Yes, it does. In fact, the thickness of the mattress is just a parameter that shows how much material was spent and how many layers a mattress is composed of. The more material is spent, the more layers made of pricier materials are used, the more expensive a memory foam mattress is.
Please note that though thicker mattresses are usually more comfortable and pricier, please, don’t make thickness your only priority. Thicker doesn’t necessarily mean better. Consider all the criteria we mentioned above, and who knows, maybe this info will help you choose a cheaper and, at the same time, a better option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does mattress thickness matter?
Yes, it does. You may need a thicker mattress if you are looking for the highest level of comfort, higher bed, if you are too heavy to sleep on a thin mattress. Thinner mattresses are better for children, people who don’t want to climb into a bed, people with back pain looking for an ultra-firm mattress, etc. In other words, thickness matters.
How thick is the average mattress?
The average mattress is 8-14” thick.
How thick is a lux mattress?
More affordable versions of lux mattresses are 12”-20” thick, and the super-thick lux mattresses are 20+ inches thick.
Can I buy a mattress topper instead of purchasing a new thicker mattress?
Yes, you can, but you should note that it makes sense only if your mattress is still good enough and you just want to add some height to your bed. If the old mattress is worn out (sagging, not so supportive, etc.), maybe you need to buy a new, thicker one.
What’s the preferable mattress thickness for platform bed?
If you are going to buy a mattress for your platform bed, make sure that it is at least 12”-14” thick.
What is the best 14-inch memory foam mattress?
Sleep Innovations Shiloh 14-inch memory foam mattress is one of the best 14” memory foam mattresses. It is composed of base foam, premium Suretemp memory foam, and the cover made of cotton and polyester. This mattress is breathable, soft to touch, and rates medium in terms of firmness.
How to choose the needed height of mattress?
You should consider your own preferences (total height of the bed, softness/firmness, your own weight, mobility), size of your bedroom, and your budget (the thicker the mattress, the more expensive it is likely to be).
How thick is a regular queen mattress?
The average thickness of a queen mattress is 8-14 inches.
How thick should a memory foam mattress be?
Depends on what you expect from your memory foam mattress. The minimum recommended thickness is 4-5 inches.
How much does a memory foam mattress weigh?
It largely depends on the thickness and size of the mattress. Average twin mattress, for example, weighs 40-60 lbs, and the queen mattress weighs much more, about 80-100 lbs.
How much does a queen size Tempurpedic mattress weigh?
The TEMPUR-ProAdapt mattress in size full weighs 81 lbs, queen — 92 lbs, king — 121 lbs, and California king — 121 lbs, respectively.