What is an orthopedic mattress and should you buy one in the Memorial Day sales?

Saatva RX mattress
(Image credit: Saatva)

Orthopedic mattresses are ideal for offering support to the spine and joints, and they are particularly popular for treating back pain. These pressure-relieving beds are usually recommended to people suffering from aches, pains, soreness, and injuries, but what is an orthopedic mattress and should you buy one?

Orthopedic beds are the best mattresses for pain and pressure relief, but they do tend to be more expensive than beds that aren't tailored to ease back and join pain. With the price in mind, it's good to know if an orthopedic mattress is actually right for you.

Here, we'll look at what orthopedic mattresses are, their pros and cons, and whether their worth buying in the upcoming Memorial Day mattress sales. We've also rounded up the top three orthopedic mattress deals you can shop now if you can't wait until Memorial Day.

What is an orthopedic mattress?

In short, an orthopedic mattress is any bed that's designed to offer great support, provide pressure relief, and promote healthy spinal alignment. While they provide support to all sleepers, they are particularly good for those suffering with joint and back pain, achiness in the morning, or sports injuries. 

To keep the spine properly aligned, these mattresses tend to be firmer than most. Most of our picks for the best mattress for back pain are medium-firm to firm, so the hips and back are well supported. The firm surface prevents hips from sinking into the mattress and keeps the spine healthily aligned, which in turn prevents lower back pain. 

Benefits of on orthopedic mattress

A man sits on the edge of the bed holding his neck and back

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The main benefit of orthopedic mattresses is their ability to properly align your spine (while providing excellent pressure relief) to alleviate back pain, aches, and stiffness. These firm-feel beds are also some of the best mattresses for stomach sleepers and back sleepers as these kinds of sleep positions require an ample amount of support in the hip and back region. 

Orthopedic mattresses also tend to use higher quality materials and a sturdy design, meaning that longevity is another key benefit. A lot of these beds come with long warranties - sometimes lasting a lifetime - which is a good indicator of a long lifespan. They are built with a mixture pressure-relieving comfort layers and support layers for a balanced feel. 

The best orthopedic mattresses tend to either be all-foam or hybrids, as foams provide cushioning pain relief while springs provide support. Some orthopedic mattresses have cooling features such as gel infusions, breathable materials, and ventilators such as springs or coils. 

Are orthopedic mattresses expensive? 

Orthopedic mattresses tend to be pricier than most as they use sturdy designs and quality materials, with a vast majority of these beds sitting in the upper-mid or premium price brackets. This is especially true if it has experts' stamp of approval, such as an endorsement from The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) . 

WinkBed PLUS mattress in a white bedroom

(Image credit: WinkBeds)

Some of the best luxury mattresses are orthopedic, but you can find frequent deals on orthopedic mattresses from brands such as DreamCloud, Saatva, and WinkBed, However, even when discounted these beds are never below mid-range prices. Other premium brands, such as TempurPedic, usually sell their orthopedic models at full retail price and only rarely roll out a discount. 

However, there are some lower mid-range and budget-friendly options if you're looking for an orthopedic mattress on a tight budget. For example, Cocoon by Sealy Chill Mattress review praised the lower-mid mattress for its superb pressure relief and features in our best mattress under $1,000 guide, with a queen permanently available for just $699. 

Who should buy an orthopedic mattress? 

An orthopedic mattress provide support for all sleepers, but you'll benefits the most if you have the following:

  • Joint or back pain
  • An active lifestyle prone to injuries
  • A build of over 250lbs 
  • Suffer from achiness, soreness, or stiffness in the morning

Back and stomach sleepers may also benefit from a firm orthopedic mattress as they need ample support in the hip region to keep their spine properly aligned and prevent lower back pain. 

Who shouldn’t buy an orthopedic mattress? 

While the firm feel can be of benefit to back, stomach and heavyweight sleepers, those who sleep on their side or weigh under 130lbs may need more pressure relief find them uncomfortably hard. Check out our guide to the best mattresses for side sleepers for beds that will provide cushioning pressure relief and support.

They may not always be right for couples, especially if only one of you suffers from aches and pains and needs a firm mattress. You could opt for a split king size, but not all orthopedic mattresses come in this sizing option, and it isn't worth it if you can't customize the firmness levels. 

Should you buy an orthopedic mattress in the Memorial Day sales?

PlushBeds Botanical Bliss mattress in a bedroom

(Image credit: PlushBeds)

A lot of orthopedic mattresses are permanently discounted, so you'll never have to pay MSRP. However, some deals fluctuate while others stay evergreen. For instance, you'll never have to be strategic about when you buy a bed from Cocoon by Sealy, DreamCloud, or WinkBed, as their sales stay the same. 

On the other hand, Saatva, Brooklyn Bedding, and Nolah have different sales depending on whether there's a big holiday savings event, such as Black Friday or Memorial Day. These events tend to offer greater savings, so it's best to hold out for these days. Then there are brands such as Tempur-Pedic, who rarely roll out any sales on their top orthopedic mattresses, so it's worth waiting for a holiday just in case a deal surfaces. 

The top 3 orthopedic mattresses to buy ahead of Memorial Day

Saatva RX mattress: $1,995$1,345 at Saatva

Saatva RX mattress: from $1,995 $1,345 at Saatva
Our glowing Saatva RX mattress review named this the best mattress for chronic back pain thanks to its superb support and excellent pressure relief. It also sleeps cool and has sturdy edge support. Right now there's $650 off all sizes of the Saatva RX, with a queen down to $1,345. This is one of the best Saatva mattress sales we've seen in a long time (even better than Black Friday's discounts) as Saatva usually take around $200-$400 of the mattress. Extras include a 1-year sleep trial, free white glove delivery, and a lifetime warranty.

The WinkBed: $1,149 $849 by WinkBed 

The WinkBed: from $1,149 $849 by WinkBed  
Our WinkBed mattress review says that this is a great mattress for back pain, as this luxury bed offers four levels of firmness to pick from. Extras include 120 nights to try out the bed, a full replacement lifetime warranty, and free shipping and returns. There's a mainstay WinkBeds sale that knocks $300 off any size mattress, with a queen mattress down to $1,499 from $1,799, so you'll never have to pay full retail  price. 

The Botanical Bliss:  $2,449 $1,199 at PlushBeds

The Botanical Bliss: from $2,449 $1,199 at PlushBeds
We rank this as one of the best organic mattresses for pressure relief, and is highly recommended by orthopedic specialists and chiropractors thanks to its customizable firmness. There's an evergreen PlushBeds sale that takes $1,250 off, so you don't have to worry about when you buy. 

Frances Daniels
Sleep Staff Writer

Frances Daniels is a Sleep Staff Writer at Tom's Guide and her role includes covering all mattress and sleep news, in addition to mattress reviews and buyer's guides, plus sleep accessories such as pillows and mattress toppers. Frances is a PPA-accredited journalist and is hugely interested in the relationship between good sleep and overall health. When not writing about mattresses and sleep for Tom's Guide, Frances enjoys writing about women's issues, health and wellbeing, the environment, and her native Wales.