Sleep Number beds are manufactured by a public company called Select Comfort based out of Minneapolis. The company is known for its adjustable air mattresses, which allow people to adjust the bed’s firmness according to their taste. In fact, the “sleep number” refers to this, and the higher the “sleep number,” the more firm the mattress is. It’s an innovative concept that makes the company quite unique. The company has had a number of newer innovations and now has a memory foam version of its mattress. Sleep Number beds are sold in retail stores and online. I took a deep dive into this company in an attempt to parse out the most important things you should know about the company and their adjustable air beds. Here is my overall review for Sleep Number beds.
How do they work?
The mattress will look generally like a normal foam mattress, but underneath on both sides is a separate air chamber. You will get a remote control and be able to increase or decrease the “sleep number” to make the bed more or less firm for each side. This process just means increasing the air pressure within the air chamber to make the mattress firmer or decreasing the pressure to make it softer. It’s as simple as that.
Sleep Number is very unique in the mattress industry and has carved out a very specialized niche. Furthermore, none of the major players in the industry has really tried to go after this niche to directly compete against Sleep Number. That is VERY unique in really industry. When Tempurpedic started doing really well, many different competitors tried to mimic what they were doing. The fact that that is not happening with Sleep Number says something to me. To me, it shows that Sleep Number has a very unique and innovative product that is hard to replicate. It would take a big R&D investment to get a bed that matches the specs of a Sleep Number bed. Furthermore, I think it’s a sign of respect from competitors that they are not really trying to copy what Sleep Number has done. There is room to try to cover the price range just below Sleep Number, but no one has really tried very hard to be the company to do it. Overall, I think this means Sleep Number has carved out a unique space and entrenched itself in part of the market where no other competitor feels the need to compete.
Sleep Number provides four series of beds. Like most companies, they differ in the quality of the materials going into them and price range (see them all here). The 4 series are as follows:
Classic Series– The lowest price option, with queens as low as $1,000. The mattress height is in the 8-9 inch range, which is lower than the other three series of beds. This series will allow you to get the feel and benefits of the unique technology of the company without having to pay an exorbitant amount of money.
Performance Series– These beds start at $2,100. The mattresses are thicker than the classic series, which is normally associated with more comfort. There is a pillow top design and a 5-zone comfort layer that allows for individual conforming of the different parts of your body.
Memory Foam Series– These beds start at $2,800. The main difference from the Performance series is the foam. The memory foam uses gel technology to keep the sleeping surface as cool as possible.
Innovation Series– These are the most expensive beds, starting at $3,000. These are the thickest beds available and have special features that the other series do not have. These beds are for the most serious mattress buyers with budget to spend.
There’s a few things to note about the price and the value you get from buying one of the Sleep Number beds. First, you should note that the beds last much longer than an average bed. You can therefore get a lot more value than with another brand. This should be a big consideration if you are buying a mattress for the long-term. If you aren’t buying for the long-term, then the value proposition certainly becomes less.
With the four different series of bed models, there is a significant range in price. The lowest price series is made up of lesser-quality materials than the Innovation series, but a lot of people question whether you really get twice the quality/benefit by stepping up to the Innovation series, which is twice the price. This issue is probably the reason why the Performance series is the most popular series of beds. You can still get the benefits of the Sleep Number technology, but you will pay about half as much.
In general, if you are just looking for a good quality mattress without any specific needs, the value you get from Sleep Number beds might not be as enticing as other options. But, if you sleep with a partner and have a need for the customization and adjustability that Sleep Number provides, it may be well worth the price tag. Overall, the Classic and Performance series beds provide the best bang for your buck.
To make their beds more affordable, Sleep Number does provide financing options. They have a pretty simple and easy credit application process. You simply fill out some financial information about yourself, click submit, and then receive an instant credit decision. If the price tag worries you, then this financing option may be a good fit for you.
One really interesting innovation that we want to note is SleepIQ (read more about it here and then check out my thoughts here). Sleep Number has really embraced the “Internet of Things.” Some people have wearable devices that track sleeping and breathing patterns, but SleepIQ does this without the need to actually wear anything. The way it works is simple. The beds that have this technology have sensors. The sensors measure your heart rate, breathing rate, and movement while you sleep. This tracking allows you to be able to learn more about your sleep and the software will give you advice on potential changes you can make to your “sleep number” and/or daily routine. Overall, I think this technology is really cool, but it probably won’t be high up on a ton of people’s priority list.
The unique construction of the Sleep Number beds allows them to last a much longer time than traditional mattresses. This is because the beds are constructed as a combination of parts. If something goes wrong with the mattress, it is usually a function of a bad part. In that case, the part can simply be replaced, and your mattress as an overall unit will maintain. If you were to compare this to a coil mattress, normally when something goes wrong there, the whole mattress will need to be replaced. This “construction by parts” makes the Sleep Number beds last much longer. As you think about price and value, this is something you must keep in mind. If the bed is priced higher than a similar mattress, BUT it lasts much longer, then the value you receive is much greater than you probably realize. Sleep Number beds are probably best suited for the serious mattress buyer who wants a long-term solution. Those types of owners will get the most satisfaction and best value from these beds.
Adjustable Firmness/ Customization
This most unique part of Sleep Number beds, and what really differentiates them from other mattresses, is the ability to adjust the firmness of both sides of the bed whenever you want. The company feels that a traditional mattress is limited by providing a one-size-fits-all solution. Sleep Number allows each bed to cater to any individual by letting the individual adjust the firmness of the bed with the push of a remote. If you like to do things on your bed in the middle of the day and want a different firmness for the day vs night, Sleep Number allows you to do this. If you sleep with a partner, you can adjust just your side of the bed and your partner can separately adjust his/her side of the bed. This may be ideal if you like a firmness setting different from your partner. The ability to customize is what makes Sleep Number stand out from the rest.
If you sleep with a partner, you know that motion isolation can be a big deal and really affect the quality of your sleep. If motion isolation is poor, you will find yourself waking up frequently when you partner moves around or gets up out of bed. Having said this, Sleep Number beds do a really good job of isolating motion, making their beds ideal for couples. Compared to coil/innerspring mattresses, Sleep Number beds excel in this area. However, compared to the best memory and latex foam mattresses, Sleep Number doesn’t quite isolate motion as well. This is because a little bit of air will be displaced when one partner gets up out of bed, which could affect the person staying in the bed. Overall, however, motion isolation is quite good with Sleep Number beds.
The warranty at Sleep Number is limited for 25 years. For the first two years, Sleep Number will fix/replace just about anything for free. After that time period, the warranty is prorated. Essentially, that means each year that passes, you will then be responsible for more of the repair costs. This type of warranty is somewhat standard for mattresses in this category, but companies are beginning to offer more friendly terms for their warranty than this. Overall, most owners say the warranty could be better.
You get a 100-night window to try out your mattress with Sleep Number. This is a long period of time and certainly more than enough to know whether it will be right for you in the long-term in my opinion. If you want to return the mattress within that time frame, you will have to pay the shipping cost to send it back to Sleep Number. This aspect frustrates some people. With the new companies that are coming out in the mattress industry, the new standard is to take the mattress because for free, so I feel that Sleep Number is a little bit behind with this policy, and this mood is reflected many times across the reviews on the Internet. I feel that the trend in the industry is moving towards more and more companies offering returns without any costs that the customer has to incur. Perhaps Sleep Number will change their policy in the future on account of this trend.
Preference- There are some issues that owners have noted over the years as they related to Sleep Number beds. Not every mattress can please everyone. A small percentage of people say the adjustable comfort/firmness didn’t really work for them. They claim that the adjustments didn’t really increase their comfort level. This is to be expected with just about any mattress, so this isn’t very surprising and I don’t think really raises any red flags. The vast majority of owners have a good experience with adjustment concept.
Air Loss- As with any air mattress, air loss is a concern. Sometimes the air chamber can become faulty, which will certainly affect the quality of your sleep. In this case, the company’s parts replacement comes in handy and you can simply replace any faulty part of your mattress. So, while a small percentage of people may face an issue with the air chamber itself, the problem can be resolved.
Cratering- As with any foam mattress, there is always the risk of the top of the mattress forming a swell or crater. This is less of a concern with Sleep Number, but it is something that has been noted in a few reviews. If the mattress has two different settings for each side, some people have noted that there can be a sag in the middle. You might notice it if you ever move around and come across the middle of the bed.
Who The Beds Are Ideal For
-There is no question that the beds are ideal for couples with different preferences on firmness. Any sort of debate about what firmness is best for the couple goes away because you can set different firmness levels for each side of the mattress.
-If you find yourself in bed a lot during the day and have different needs from day to night, these beds can be really good for you. For example, if you read a lot in bed and want a different firmness while you read, Sleep Number beds are ideal.
-If you are looking for a very long-term solution, Sleep Number beds are built for the long-term and more so than most mattresses. The construction in parts method allows you to replace any defective part and it makes maintenance and keeping the mattress great for the long-term very easy.
-Otherwise, if you have the budget and just want a high quality mattress, Sleep Number still provides a unique and interesting value proposition. The beds are not for everyone, and there are certainly other options with high quality materials at lower price points, but Sleep Number’s beds do fill a very unique niche in the mattress space.
I hope that you have enjoyed my Sleep Number review. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any follow-up questions.