If you’re having trouble finding the “right” position on your mattress, waking up sore, or are ready to swap out the bed you’ve had for over a decade, you may have already started shopping for a new mattress. The process can be overwhelming since there are so many online mattresses available. 

Because poor sleep can negatively affect your mood and mental health, the Handbook Team takes our mattress recommendations seriously. We’ve researched more than 100 mattresses and tested more than 20 models to help you find the right one. 

This review focuses on the Bear Original, an affordable mattress we’ve ranked as the “best firm mattress” in our best mattress review. We’ll discuss the mattress’s firmness and performance, our recommended sleeping positions, and everything we liked—and didn’t like—about it. We’ve also included the Bear Elite Hybrid mattress to compare the two mattresses and offer an alternative option.  

A note on our testing

We acknowledge that every body is different, and what feels comfortable to one person may not feel comfortable to another. Throughout our reviews, we refer to weight categories as light (below 130 pounds), average (130–250 pounds), and heavy (above 250 pounds) to distinguish between body weights.

Typically, lighter-weight sleepers perceive mattresses to feel firmer than they are, and higher-weight sleepers perceive mattresses to feel softer than they are. Keep in mind that most mattresses are designed for the average-weight person.

9.4 Excellent
$998 for queen-size.
All-foam mattress.
120-night trial.
Limited lifetime warranty.
9.4 Excellent

What you need to know about the Bear mattress

Here are the five most important things to know about the Bear mattress.

Bear Mattress
The Bear Original foam mattress is firm and contains three foam layers.  The Bear Original foam mattress is firm and contains three foam layers.
We recommend the Bear Original for stomach sleepers and higher-weight sleepers. We recommend the Bear Original for stomach sleepers and higher-weight sleepers.
The Bear Elite Hybrid is a medium-firm mattress with cooling materials in the cover. The Bear Elite Hybrid is a medium-firm mattress with cooling materials in the cover.
The Bear Elite Hybrid has three firmness options: soft, medium, and firm. The Bear Elite Hybrid has three firmness options: soft, medium, and firm.
All Bear mattresses include free shipping, a 120-night trial, and a limited lifetime warranty. All Bear mattresses include free shipping, a 120-night trial, and a limited lifetime warranty.

Bear Original mattress

Bear Original
Bear Original
Bear Original
Key features
  • Our rating: 9.4/10.
  • Best for: Stomach sleepers, higher-weight sleepers.
  • Material: Memory foam. 
  • Trial period: 120 nights. 
  • Shipping method: Free or $100–$200 white glove delivery.
  • Financing: Starting at $58/mo at 0 percent APR with Affirm. 
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty. 
Pros and cons of the Bear Original mattress
Pros Excellent for stomach sleepers. May support higher-weight sleepers who want a memory foam mattress. Starts at $699 (not including discounts). Cons May be too firm for most side and back sleepers. Cooling cover costs extra.

HelpGuide Handbook’s testing methodology and score breakdown

of research
1000+   hours
of research
100+   models
7   people
21   experts

Our testing methodology includes a seven-factor score breakdown that our Handbook testers use to rate mattresses.

Here, we focus on the Bear Original mattress in our score breakdown.

Pressure relief: 4 /5

We think some average-weight (130–250 pounds) sleepers and most higher-weight (more than 250 pounds) sleepers will feel pressure relief when lying on their backs, but higher-weight sleepers will likely feel more support and relief since they’ll sink deeper into the firmer mattress. Our average-weight tester’s shoulders feel crunched when lying on their side, and the pressure map shows significant pressure buildup in this area. 

Firmness: 8/10

We rate the Bear Original as a firm mattress. For reference, a firmness rating of 6.5 out of 10 is considered a standard medium-firm mattress. The Bear Original contains denser foam, making it firmer. With memory foam, you typically get a “sinking in” feeling, but our testers were surprised they didn’t feel more contour and hug from this foam mattress. 

Motion isolation: 4/5

The Bear Original mattress is great at isolating movement, meaning you probably won’t feel your partner or pet’s movements when sharing the mattress. When testing motion transfer, our tester only felt faint movement on their side of the mattress. Most of the movement they felt was the mattress cover pulling, not the movement itself. 

Cooling: 3.5/5

Generally, memory foam mattresses trap heat since they’re denser than hybrid mattresses. The Bear mattress has a breathable cover and gel memory Memory foam that contains small gel pods designed to draw heat away from the body. foam layer designed to keep sleepers cool, but the denser foam layers make its cooling performance average. 

Bounce: 2/5

The Bear Original has some bounce, but not much. A slower bounce may not be ideal for sleepers who prioritize sexual activities in bed. While the mattress has minimal bounce, testers can move easily to change positions. 

Sex: 2.9/5

To determine if a mattress may be suitable for sex, we factor in bounce, edge support, and cooling ratings. The Bear mattress has strong edge support, but we gave it a low rating for sex due to its poor bounce and average cooling performance. 

Family: 3.45/5

Our family score helps us determine whether a mattress supports couples, pets, or other family members. To determine this, we review motion transfer, edge support, cooling, and overall support. We gave the Bear Original mattress a slightly above-average family score. 

For more information, learn how we test and review sleep products.

Bear Original mattress firmness and feel

The Handbook Team rates mattress firmness on a scale of one (softest) to 10 (firmest). We put the Bear Original at a solid eight—a firm mattress. Bear classifies the mattress as a 7.1 out of 10, but we think it’s slightly firmer. 

From our tester

“It felt like there was a lack of support in the lower back, and eventually, I could see myself settling into the mattress so my spine sags to meet the mattress, which would be uncomfortable. Instead, the mattress should meet my lower back and reinforce it.”

The mattress cover isn’t quilted like other mattresses we’ve tested, so the surface doesn’t have that soft, cushioned feeling. You may think the Bear Original is too firm if you prefer a plush pillow top feeling. We recommend the Bear Elite Hybrid for a more cushioned, contour feel.

Sleeping on a supportive mattress is important, but firmness may create pressure points. Having a pillow top or mattress topper to add cushion is a great way to distribute pressure evenly.

Kevin Lees, a chiropractor and director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic
Our tester pushes down on the Bear Original to test firmness
The Bear Original has a strong, supportive edge compared to many memory foam mattresses. 

Bear Original mattress performance

Let’s see how the Bear Original mattress performs based on sleeping position, body weight, and pain relief. 

Sleeping position and body weight

Our average-weight tester feels the most comfortable lying on their stomach on the Bear Original mattress. The firm, denser foam prevents their hips from sinking down and out of alignment with their spine. 

Remember, depending on your sleeping position and body weight, a mattress feels different. Lighter-weight sleepers will perceive this mattress as much firmer than higher-weight sleepers normally would.

Compare the Bear Original mattress for different sleeper types

Lower weight (<130 pounds)Average weight (130–250 pounds)Higher weight (>250 pounds)
Back sleepersPoorGoodIdeal
Side sleepersPoorPoorGood
Stomach sleepersIdealIdealIdeal
Combination sleepersPoorGoodIdeal

We don’t think the mattress is plush enough for lighter- and average-weight side sleepers, who typically need a soft mattress. Their shoulders and hips are less likely to sink enough into the firm mattress for pressure relief. 

Bear Original mattress pain relief performance

While we can’t guarantee a mattress will completely relieve pain, we consider pressure relief, support, and motion isolation to determine if a mattress helps support sleepers with pain. The Bear scored high for pressure relief for back sleepers—our pressure map readings show testers’ weight evenly distributed when lying on their back. 

The Bear Original isolates motion well, helping prevent sleepers from being disturbed by a partner’s or pet’s movements, which may exacerbate pain. 

Side sleepers, especially those with shoulder or hip pain, may find this mattress too firm. The pressure map A mat rolled across a mattress that uses color-coded thermal imaging to show how much pressure someone puts on the bed when they lie down on it. shows significant pressure buildup in these areas, which could cause pain and discomfort over time. 

Because it’s so firm, the Bear Original may not offer the best support for lighter- (less than 130 pounds) and average-weight (130–250 pounds) sleepers. 

Higher-weight (more than 250 pounds) sleepers living with back pain may feel adequately supported and contoured by the mattress. They will likely sink deeper into the surface, which can help relieve pressure while the dense foam supports them. 


If you’re experiencing chronic pain, changing your mattress may not be enough to manage your condition. Pain is often a multifactorial symptom that requires a proper workup, diagnosis, and treatment plan tailored to you. Consult with your doctor to receive directed and personalized recommendations for your case.

Our overall thoughts about the Bear Original

We like the Bear Original foam mattress for sleepers who like memory foam but need more support. Higher-weight sleepers will likely sink deeper into the mattress, so we think the mattress should be supportive enough for those who mainly sleep on their back or side. There aren’t many memory foam mattresses as firm as the Bear Original, so we like that this is an option for higher-weight sleepers who prefer an all-foam mattress. 

Here are the Handbook Team’s favorite and least favorite things about the mattress to help you decide if it’s right for you. 

Our favorite things about the Bear Original mattress

  • A more firm, supportive feel than most memory foam mattresses. 
  • Queen-size mattress is less than $1,000 (before discounts). 
  • Has excellent motion isolation for couples. 
  • Comes with a limited lifetime warranty. 

Our Bear Original mattress complaints

  • Too firm for lighter- and average-weight side sleepers. 
  • Cooling mattress cover containing Celliant costs extra. 
  • Has only one firmness option, unlike the Bear Elite Hybrid. 

Another Bear model to consider

Bear Elite Hybrid
Bear Elite Hybrid
Bear Elite Hybrid
Key features
  • Our rating: 9.4/10.
  • Best for: Multiple body weights and sleeping positions.
  • Material: Hybrid (Innerspring and memory foam).
  • Trial period: 120 nights.
  • Shipping method: Free or $100–$200 white-glove delivery.
  • Financing: Starting at $61/mo or 0 percent APR with Affirm.
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime.
Pros and cons of the Bear Elite Hybrid mattress
Pros Available in three firmness options. Mattress cover contains cooling materials. Excellent support for back sleepers. Cons Higher price.

Our expert insights

As an alternative to the Bear Original, we also tested the Bear Elite Hybrid, which is available in three firmness options: soft, medium, and firm. We tested the medium option, which we believe has a true medium-firm feel (6.5/10 firmness). 

While the hybrid mattress is softer than the Bear Original mattress, it still offers reinforced support combined with a plusher, more contoured feel. The combination of support and cushion is great for pressure relief in most sleeping positions, especially for back sleepers. 

Although the Bear Elite Hybrid mattress is pricier than the Bear Original, we think the upgrades are worth it. In addition to its three firmness options, the hybrid mattress also has extra cooling technology for hot sleepers. The mattress cover contains Celliant Celliant A fabric infused with minerals and trace elements that capture body heat and convert it into infrared energy to improve circulation and stimulate muscle recovery. , a material that has been shown to increase oxygen levels and blood flow in the skin. Although the Celliant cover costs extra with the Bear Original, it’s included with the Elite Hybrid.

We recommend the Bear Elite Hybrid medium mattress for almost all body weights and sleeping positions, but it may not be firm enough for higher-weight stomach sleepers. Our testers gave the mattress a perfect score for pressure relief. They feel the mattress contours to their body and evenly distributes their weight, especially when lying on their backs.

From our tester

“I feel like I’m lying closer to the surface on the mattress. The cover has some give to it and is pushing up against my back, which is nice. The mattress is definitely molding to my body.”

Our testers also like the mattress’s responsive bounce. They can easily change sleeping positions without feeling stuck in the mattress. 

Hand pressing down on the edge of the Bear Elite Hybrid
 The Bear Elite Hybrid has a plush yet responsive surface. 

Frequently asked questions

The Bear Original mattress is a firm mattress, while the Bear Elite Hybrid is a medium-firm mattress.

We recommend the Bear Original for stomach sleepers and higher-weight (more than 250 pounds) sleepers. Any sleeper who prefers a firm mattress may also like this mattress.

The Bear Original twin mattress starts at $699 before discounts, and the queen-size mattress is $925.

Yes, all Bear mattresses include a limited lifetime warranty and a 120-night trial period.

The Bear Original mattress is an all-foam mattress with three foam layers: gel memory foam, dynamic foam, and high-density foam.

  1. Triantafillou, S., Saeb, S., Lattie, E. G., Mohr, D. C., & Kording, K. (2019). Relationship between sleep quality and mood: Ecological Momentary Assessment study. JMIR Mental Health, 6(3), e12613. Link
  2. Blackwelder, A. J., Hoskins, M., & Huber, L. R. B. (2021). Effect of inadequate sleep on frequent mental distress. Preventing Chronic Disease, 18. Link
  3. Gordon, I. L., Casden, S., Vangel, M., & Hamblin, M. R. (2019a). Effect of shirts with 42% CelliantTM fiber on TCPO2 levels and grip strength in healthy subjects: A placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Textile Science & Engineering. Link