Pros: Comfortable. My back feels the best it has in many years.
Cons: King size air chambers could use an extra foot of hose length.
This past spring 2004, my wife and I decided to upgrade from a full size to a king size bed. This, of course, required a new mattress. Our 8 year old full size spring mattress just wasn't cutting it anymore. Being 6 ft 2 inches, I wanted more room to sprawl.
MY BACK PRIOR: Prior to the Comfortaire purchase I had suffered from chronic back discomfort for many years. When I got out of bed in the morning (or in the middle of the night) it felt like someone was poking a rod into my lower back. I could not bend my back at the bathroom sink, fearing a muscle pull if I did so. About every 3 or 4 months I'd get a severe muscle strain in my back that would take several days to subside. I work for a major air express company sorting, loading and delivering packages. I've taken a simple step on my job and pulled my back out of whack. I've had epidural steroid treatments for herniated disks in my lower back. I couldn't sit in my recliner any extended period of time without great discomfort.
RESEARCH: Hearing celebrity radio ads touting the virtues of air chamber mattresses, we decided to check them out. My wife and I visited a local Select Comfort store, but she wasn't sold on the high price they were asking. It is hard to test a mattress out in a store with people staring at you and one minute on a mattress isn't going to tell you anything about long term comfort. I did research on the web and was intrigued by the reviews, cost and warranty of the Comfortaire line available at Nationwidemattress.com.
THE ORDER: We ordered the Comfortaire Cerulean Eastern King Mattress from Nationwidemattress.com 6 months ago (June 2004). They had a 90 day guarantee, and you really need that amount of time to get the full benefits/detriments of a mattress. I ordered by phone. Richard took my order and answered all my concerns. The mattress arrived 9 days after I ordered. It came in 2 boxes. Here are the boxes when they were delivered:
CONSTRUCTION & ASSEMBLY: We had purchased a king foundation locally for $200. The quality of the Comfortaire materials seems nice. The mattress assembled easily with one exception:
The king has 2 air chambers. Our bed's headboard is against the wall. The air chamber hoses are centered at the bottom head of the chamber. Depending on which side of the bed you wish to connect the pump, it must be done under the bed because the opposing air chamber hose is not long enough to clear the side of the bed. It comes up about a foot short. The pump must be under the bed unless your headboard is not against the wall. It was awkward for me to connect and clamp the distant hose a foot under the bed. Another option would have been to pull the bed away from the wall and work from behind, but our bed is heavy and would be difficult considering the cross braces supporting the foundation of our king size bed. Fortunately we had adequate clearance, but I've seen beds with virtually no side board clearance. This was a minor annoyance for me. This may not be an issue with smaller size mattresses.
PUMP: The pump sounds like a cannister vacuum cleaner, but you only use it to pump the mattress up, then you can essentially forget about it.
OPTIONS: We opted for the memory foam pad. I'm not sure of the benefits of this pad since it is below the 3 1/2" pillowtop cover. We also received two, free with mattress purchase, memory foam pillows. I couldn't get used to a squared foam pillow, so they now rest in a closet.
MINOR ISSUE: Two months after usage we had to replace an air chamber that had a slow leak. Every couple of weeks my wife found she had to add air to her side. I swapped out pump connections to isolate the source of the leak (pump or chamber). I called Richard at Nationwidemattress and he had a replacement chamber sent out and received in less than a week. He told me to simply place the defective bladder in the box the replacement came in, and UPS would pick it up in a couple of weeks. After a few weeks the defective chamber had not been picked up. I called Richard to let him know I still had the defective chamber. Within a week I received a UPS return shipping label for the box. I thought UPS would come by to get it, but after a few weeks I dropped it off at a UPS Store. This was no big deal since I received the replacement quickly.
RESULTS: The first night sleeping on the mattress, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom. I noticed that that "rod poking me in the back" feeling was gone. This was significant because I was expecting it, as usual, and it was gone! Over time, sleeping on this mattress, many of my back pain and herniated disk symptoms have significantly subsided, in and out of bed. These are problems that had been getting worse over 20 years. I can now sit in my recliner indefinitely with no problems. I've had no back problems at work and my lifting ability has improved. Six months with this mattress and my back feels better than I can remember. I've never had to adjust my side and since my wife's side was replaced, hers hasn't needed adjustment either. The mattress is steady. With my wife gets in and out of bed, I can't feel it. I actually go to bed earlier because I look forward to the comfort that this mattress provides me. These improvements have occurred over time on this mattress.
Maybe some of the benefits are from going from a full to a king size bed. I'm sure it's mainly the comfortable Comfortaire Cerulean mattress!