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Plush vs Medium Mattresses: What’s the Difference? 

plush vs medium mattress

The main difference between plush and medium mattresses is that soft mattresses offer more pressure relief, while medium mattresses provide more support. 

However, medium and plush mattresses fall in different places on the firmness scale and are designed for different sleepers, so it’s important to know which is right for you before you purchase. 

What’s The Difference Between a Firm and a Soft Mattress?

Firm or soft, most mattresses have similar support cores. The difference lies in the padding above them. Firm mattresses have little to no padding, while soft mattresses tend to add cushioning layers between the cover and the support layer. Thus, the more plush material that rests between you and the support core, the softer the mattress will be. 

What is a Plush or Soft Mattress?

Plush mattresses (also known as soft mattresses) are the softest mattresses on the firmness scale. A plush mattress offers the most pressure relief and contouring of all mattress firmness levels, and these mattresses typically have several layers of foam or other padding above their support cores.

The Comfort and Feel of Plush Mattresses

When you sleep on a softer mattress, you’ll notice it feels like sleeping on a puffy cloud. It will hug your body, allowing you to sink into the mattress and relieve pressure. This can be wonderful for certain sleepers but uncomfortable for others.

Who Should Consider Plush Mattresses?

  • Side sleepers – Sleeping on your side causes you to require more pressure relief for your hips and shoulders.
  • Petite sleepers – Lighter-weight sleepers often need more pressure relief and contouring than heavier sleepers.
  • Sleepers with back pain – Extra pressure relief and contouring can alleviate certain back issues. 
  • Hot sleepers – Plush mattresses with cooling technology can keep hot sleepers who need extra contour cool.

Benefits of Plush Mattresses

  • Lots of pressure relief
  • High contouring power
  • Cloud-like comfort
  • Motion isolation

What is a Medium Mattress?

Medium mattresses offer an even balance between support and pressure relief. This means they fall squarely between soft and firm mattresses on the firmness scale, making them highly versatile mattresses that accommodate many different sleep styles. If you like to switch sleep positions, you’ll want to find a mattress with a medium feel.

The Comfort and Feel of Medium Mattresses

A medium mattress may be the best mattress for versatility. When you sleep on a medium mattress, the equal balance of support and contouring provides pressure relief and lift all at once. This allows you to sleep in multiple poses, and it also means medium mattresses are better at accommodating various sleepers. 

Who Should Consider Medium Mattresses?

  • Combo sleepers – Sleepers who like to change positions throughout the night need the adaptability of a medium mattress. 
  • Back sleepers – Certain back sleepers (like petite back sleepers) can do better on a medium mattress, especially if they have lower back pain.
  • Couples – A medium mattress may be a good firm compromise for couples with different firmness needs.
  • Multi-sleeper situations – Medium mattresses are perfect for guest rooms because they’re comfortable for the broadest range of sleepers.  

Benefits of Medium Mattresses

  • Balanced support and pressure relief
  • High versatility 
  • Good for couples
  • Ideal for guest rooms

The Firmness Scale: Understanding Mattress Firmness Levels

Regardless of mattress type, mattress firmness is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest. Generally, the softest mattresses will fall around a 3 on this scale, while the firmest go up to an 8. This is because all mattresses still need at least some support and some contour, even if they’re supposed to be very soft or very firm. 

Other Firmness Levels Beyond Plush and Medium

Besides medium and plush mattresses, there are a few other firmness options for different sleepers. 

Medium Plush Mattress

Medium plush mattresses are around a 4 on the firmness scale. They still have lots of pressure relief, like soft mattresses, but with a little more support. This type of mattress is a great alternative for side sleepers who want extra lift. 

Medium Firm Mattress

Medium firm mattresses (6) have slightly more support than pressure relief. They keep you lifted onto the sleep surface without eliminating contouring and cushion. This makes them another great option for back sleepers. 

Firm Mattress

Firm mattresses (7) offer tons of support and little pressure relief. This means a firm mattress feels more like sleeping on a board than a cloud. Many people find firm mattresses uncomfortable, but stomach sleepers and heavier sleepers who need lots of lift should consider a firmer mattress.

Where Plush and Medium Mattresses Stand on the Scale

Plush mattresses are the softest on the firmness scale, at a 3, while medium mattresses sit right in the middle at a 5. Soft mattresses are best for side sleepers, while medium mattresses are best for combo sleepers. 

MLILY Soft and Medium Mattresses

MLILY offers a wide range of amazing medium and soft mattresses for all types of sleepers. Whether you’re looking for a cooling plush mattress, a versatile medium mattress, or something in between, you’re sure to find a product in the fantastic MLILY lineup. Here are just a few.

Harmony Chill 3.0

This plush memory foam mattress with five pleasantly chilly layers and the most cutting-edge cooling sleep technology will to keep hot sleepers cool all night. 

Mattress Highlights

  • Breathable gel AeroFusionTM memory foam
  • Thermally conductive bamboo charcoal memory foam
  • Egg crate flex comfort foam for extra circulation 
  • Hot sleepers
  • Side sleepers
  • Petite sleepers

ChiroPro Plush

This soft hybrid mattress features a design to alleviate back pain and is backed by the International Chiropractors Association, thanks to its plush comfort. 

Mattress Highlights

  • AdaptiFoamTM for responsive and contoured support
  • Liquid gel flex foam circulates air and conducts heat away
  • Zoned coils for ergonomic and dynamic support 
  • Sleepers with back pain
  • Active sleepers
  • Side sleepers

Fusion Luxe

This medium plush hybrid mattress is designed to provide plenty of cradling comfort and a pinch of extra support. 

Mattress Highlights

  • Breathable gel AeroFusionTM memory foam
  • Egg crate flex comfort foam for circulation and support 
  • Individually pocketed springs with seven separate zones of comfort
  • Hot sleepers
  • Side sleepers
  • Combo sleepers

Mprove 2.0

This temperature-regulating, CBD-infused medium mattress is perfect for those who want to relax into sleep. 

Mattress Highlights

  • CBD infusions to promote relaxation and comfort
  • Gel memory foam to draw heat away from your body
  • Performance foam to enhance versatility and durability
  • Combo sleepers
  • Back sleepers
  • Those who have trouble sleeping

Fusion Supreme

This adaptable and versatile mattress was designed with active sleepers in mind – if you toss and turn, this medium bed could be for you.

Mattress Highlights

  • Ventilated gel AeroFusionTM memory foam 
  • Flex comfort foam for extra support
  • Pocketed coils to enhance bounce and adaptability 
  • Active sleepers
  • Combo sleepers
  • Couples

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Medium and Plush Mattresses

When trying to find a mattress that fits you, consider the following factors before making the decision: 

Body Weight and Type

Your weight can impact your firmness needs if you are heavier or lighter than average (around 130 to 230 pounds). Heavier sleepers can use a little extra firmness, while lighter sleepers may need more pressure relief. 

Sleep Preferences: Back, Side, or Stomach

Your sleep style also impacts your firmness needs. Stomach sleepers need the firmest mattresses, while side sleepers need the softest. Back and combo sleepers usually fall somewhere in the middle. 

How Materials and Construction Affect Longevity

A mattress’s materials and construction will significantly impact its durability. Generally, a latex mattress will last the longest, while an innerspring mattress will need to be replaced most frequently. Hybrid and memory foam mattresses are also highly durable.

Temperature Regulation and Breathability

If you want to choose the best mattress to keep cool, pick a mattress with pocketed coils and/or gel memory foam. Ventilated foam also keeps cooling air flowing, and mineral infusions can help draw heat away from you.

Addressing Specific Health Considerations

You’ll want to consider whether you need a mattress for back pain. You’ll also need to consider issues like allergies, as some mattresses are made of common allergy triggers like latex. 

Price Range and Value

Remember that a mattress’s price is not the same as its value. If a mattress provides little comfort, it’s low value, even if it’s inexpensive. So try to select mattresses that offer the most comfort at the best price. 

Customer Insights

Sleepers Who Prefer Plush Mattresses

Customers choosing a soft mattress loved the feeling of sinking into the cloud-like sleep surface because it helped protect their sensitive pressure points from pain. Plush mattress lovers also prefer the body-hugging feeling a soft mattress can provide. 

Sleepers Who Prefer Medium Mattresses

Customers who chose a medium mattress preferred a happy middle ground between a soft or firm mattress. They felt a medium mattress might help relieve pressure without letting them sink too far into the mattress.  


When choosing a plush or medium mattress, it’s important to think about what will be the right mattress for your body. You want one that isn’t too firm or soft for your sleep position. Your personal preferences will also factor in when determining whether a medium, plush, or firm mattress is right for you.


Can a mattress topper change my mattress firmness?

It depends. Soft mattress toppers can make firm beds plusher. However, firm mattress toppers cannot increase the firmness of a softer mattress because mattress firmness comes from the support core and not the top layers. 

Does a mattress get softer over time?

Most mattresses get softer after their “wearing in” period. Mattresses also get softer with age, as their support cores begin to wear out. This is why it’s important to choose a mattress built using high-quality materials because these will age slower. 

Are mattress firmness and support the same thing?

Mattress firmness is a descriptor that indicates how hard or soft your new mattress is going to feel. Mattress support refers to the ability of the mattress to keep your body lifted and your spine aligned. So, firmer mattresses have a higher support level, but firmness and support differ. 

Do medium mattresses have a long lifespan?

Firm mattresses have the longest lifespans, but a medium mattress could last almost as long as a firm one with proper maintenance. Make sure you’re flipping and/or rotating your mattress every six months, and use a tight protector to add external strength. 

How can I make a firmer mattress softer?

If you buy a mattress that turns out to be too firm, you need a plush mattress topper. Mattress toppers add similar padding to what is already under the covers of softer mattresses. By adding a mattress topper, you can increase the softness of your feel without sacrificing support. 

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