Mattress Guide For Large & Small People


Most mattresses are manufactured to cater to the common needs of average-sized people, while some special requirements of large people (over 230 pounds) and small people (under 120 pounds) tend to be overlooked.

A mattress with the ideal fitness for lighter people may not work well for individuals who are heavier.

The following research is intended to provide some reference and guidance for large & small people when buying mattresses.

See other guides like Mattress Firmness, or Mattress Warranty, or Mattresses and Back Pain Relief.

And if you want to buy a mattress online, here're the Top 10 Websites you may want to find out.

What To Consider For Large & Small People Before Buying A Mattress?

1. Mattress Thickness

Large-sized people

Mattress thickness can be the most important deciding factor for people with large or small sizes. Large-sized people are in need of thicker models to support their weight, while thinner mattresses tend to generate "bottoming out" and excessive pressure points. For people over 250 pounds, the supportive part or base layer of the mattress( springs, foam, latex, or air) should be at least 6-inch thick.

Small-sized people

For small-sized people, thinner models often can provide enough support with a lower price, so there's no need for buying mattresses with thicker support layers.

2. Mattress Density

Large-sized people

A denser mattress is considered to be best for a heavier individual because it's capable of providing more support every square centimeter. Different types of mattresses have different density standards. Regarding foam mattresses, high density means mattresses with a 4 or 5-pound density foam. As to innerspring mattresses, having high density means that the coil count of a queen-size mattress is no less than 600.

Small-sized people

Low-density foam often conforms better to a small person's body. For memory foam mattress, low density means mattresses with a 2.5-3.9 pound density foam.

Know more at Memory Foam Mattress Density

Based on available reports online, the chart below gives some proper mattress thickness & foam density ranges for large-sized people with different weight levels.

200-300lbs 300-350lbs 350-400lbs over 400lbs
Minimal thickness 10″-11″ 11″-12″ 12″-14″ 14″+
Foam density 4 – 5 lb 4 – 5 lb 5 lb-6 lb 6 lb+

3. Mattress Firmness & Sleeping Positions

Large-sized people

Firmness means the opposing force a mattress applies on your body. The firmer a mattress is, the less sinking effect you will experience. A mattress with medium-firm to firm firmness is a good choice for large-sized people. Usually, heavier people tend to exert enough pressure on the mattress to make it contour to their body, so a firm mattress won't feel too firm for large-sized people especially if they are side or stomach sleepers. Medium-firm or firm mattresses will help to maintain their shape better and give long lasting support.

Small-sized people

A mattress with medium to soft firmness is suitable for a small-sized person. Usually, the weight of small-sized people isn't heavy enough to make a firm mattress contour to the body which often leads to discomfort or back pain.

Know more at Mattress Firmness Guide

Heavy and light people with different sleeping positions also require different firmness levels, the chart below may offer you some reference.

Large-sized People (230 + Lbs) Small-sized People (Under 130 Lbs)
Back sleeper Medium-firm/Firm Medium-soft/Soft
Side sleeper Medium-firm/Firm Soft
Stomach sleeper Firm Medium-firm
All positions combined Medium-firm Medium-firm

4. Sleeping Hot

A major complaint frequently heard from heavy people is the sleeping hot problem because large-sized people often sink deeper into the mattress which may cause poor ventilation. Moreover, as we have mentioned before, heavy people need to choose mattresses with thicker layer and high density for more comfort, but thicker mattresses with high density often result in heat trap. If you have a serious sleeping hot issue, innerspring and latex mattresses are good picks, as they absorb heats to keep the mattress cool. If you prefer memory foam mattresses, then make sure it’s made of advanced open cell memory foam or gel memory foam or other cooling layers.

5. Edge Support

Edge-support of the mattress is always an important factor for large-sized people. As we all know, mattresses tend to sag with everyday use especially in the center area. With the sagging continues, people are likely to sleep near the edges gradually. If the mattress has poor edge support, it will collapse one day all of a sudden in your sweet dream. Large-sized people have a higher chance to confront edge collapse situation.

6. Motion Isolation

If you are much heavier than your partner, then you'd better look for a mattress with very good motion isolation to make sure it absorbs movement and does not transfer across the bed.

What Are The Best Types Of Mattresses For Large & Small People?

With so many types of mattresses for people to choose from, here we've summarized the positives and downsides of all the popular mattress types to give large & small people some guidance.

Positives Downsides Recommend Or Not?
Memory Foam(Gel Foam Included) • offer good support
• many models available
• heat trap
• poor edge support
Latex • immense comfort
• good cooling
• often expensive
• off-gassing
Innerspring • good egde support
• aborb sleeping heat
• poor motion isolation
• below-average durability
Air • adjustable firmness on each side
• Above-average durability
• Noise possible
• difficulty of initial use
Memory foam hybrids • well-distributed support
• good motion isolation
• questionable lifespan
• heat retention possible
Water • last for decades
• good motion isolation
• too cold for winter
• often heavy
Futon • inexpensive price • low comfort level No


Since people with average size are in the majority, so large and small-sized people should not naturally assume that a popular or highly rated mattress will suit them. They should instead evaluate a mattress according to the all the points discussed above.