Pros: Minimal motion transfer, very supportive, comfort, price
Cons: No handles
My husband and I were thoroughly disgusted with the performance of our not-that-old traditional mattress, and I just couldn't bring myself to pay up to $1800 for a new top of the line queen mattress set.
I did a lot of research into different types and brands of mattresses. We seriously considered the Nautilus Sleep System, but I was somehow put off by having my bed plugged into an electrical outlet and all those moving parts. Plus I can't help but think there's always the chance of a puncture when you're dealing with air.
I'd heard about the Tempur-Pedic memory foam mattress advertised locally, and began to look into it. And while I was researching the Tempur-Pedic, I found the Isotonic Memory Foam Sleep System Mattress made here in the USA by the Carpenter Co.
First let me tell you a little bit about memory foam mattresses, and then I'll give you a comparison between the Tempur-Pedic and the Isotonic.
~ What is Memory Foam?
Paraphrased from the Carpenter Co. Website: "Memory foam," also known as visco-elastic foam, was originally developed by NASA for astronauts. The idea was for the foam to sense the body temperature and body weight, and then gently conform to the shape of their body, thereby providing the perfect amount of support over an extended period - particularly during increased G-forces.
Apparently it was a great success, because hospitals began ordering memory foam mattresses for bedridden patients and burn victims. A Swedish company soon realized this could be great for home use as well, and began marketing the first generation of memory foam mattresses to the public, known as Tempur-Pedic.
The Carpenter Company has refined the memory foam mattress further with their Isotonic Mattress, and made it even more affordable as well.
~ Isotonic Mattress Construction
The Isotonic Sleep System Mattress has a 5 inch core of modified Omalon foam, which was originally developed as a carpet underlay, and is designed to hold its shape and not crush or pack down. Unlike conventional innerspring mattresses, this foam is guaranteed never to go flat or bottom out.
On top of the Omalon foam base is 2 inches of Conform Visco Foam (memory foam). Then on top of that is the Isotonic mattress topper. The Isotonic topper has two separate layers. The top 1 inch layer is a softer, lighter convoluted memory foam that provides a great "first contact" feel. The second layer is 2 inches of "conform" memory foam, which provides extra support. The topper also has 100% cotton chintz fabric on top of a 1 inch layer of antimicrobial polyester fiber that is designed to wick away perspiration while still conducting body heat through to the memory foam. (It's body heat that helps the memory foam adapt to the shape of your body.)
There is perimeter edge and corner support which helps prevent collapsing when sitting on the edge of the bed.
~ Isotonic Box Spring Construction
The Carpenter Co. is only offering the Isotonic mattress as a set with the box spring. I don't know a lot about box spring construction, but Carpenter claims their box spring design is a "breakthrough" and that it is practically indestructible.
The box spring features what they call "Tru-Lock technology." It has horizontal tempered steel springs that flex just the right amount under your body weight, and then spring back to their original position. The coils are an S-curve, which improves support, strength and stability. The high tensile strength prevents the coils from bending out of shape and distributes body weight evenly. This is also designed to eliminate the bouncy feeling of conventional coil springs. Carpenter claims the Tru-Lock's triple contoured formation wire also eliminates sharp angle spring arms that can break down under continual use.
~ Compare to Tempur-Pedic
Isotonic and Tempur-Pedic both have a two-layer mattress topper, but Tempur-Pedic's is not convoluted. Apparently some people feel the Tempur-Pedic is too firm. The Isotonic topper is a bit softer, yet with plenty of support underneath.
Tempur-Pedic's base core is standard polyurethane foam, instead of the pre-densified Omalon of Isotonic. The polyurethane over time will lose height and resiliency.
Apparently there's also been a problem with Tempur-Pedic and lack of breathability. Tempur-Pedic's topper is covered with a thin velour cover on top of a plastic vapor barrier which prevents perspiration from entering the foam. This puts you right next to the plastic vapor barrier, which doesn't breathe, and neither does the foam underneath. You can get uncomfortably hot. The Isotonic has improved the design and breathability by putting a cotton fabric on top of the antimicrobial polyester fiber that wicks away any perspiration.
Tempur-Pedic's box spring uses a semi-flex design, a series of straight rods which don't flex much and won't spring back if bent.
Best of all, Compare Pricing:
Isotonic Sets (includes shipping)/Tempur-Pedic Sets (shipping is extra)
Twin XL $799/$1284
East. King $1299/$1999
Cal King $1299/$1999
These prices are effective as of August, 2002, from the Carpenter Co. website.
Carpenter will deliver your Isotonic mattress within 3 weeks (mine came in two weeks), and Tempur-Pedic will take 30 days for delivery.
How can the Carpenter Co. offer their Isotonic mattress for so much less? Everything is made in the USA, not Sweden. There are no high shipping costs from Sweden for heavy materials. There are no high import duties to pay for. Also, the Carpenter Co. is not paying for high-end advertising and celebrity endorsements.
Carpenter is also offering a 60-day "free" trial on the Isotonic mattress. Actually, it's not really free though, because there's a $175 charge to ship it back.
Carpenter has a limited 10-year warranty on the Isotonic Sleep System. This is for any defect in material or workmanship, excluding cover and handles.
~ My Experience Using the Isotonic Sleep System Mattress
Wow! What a difference! This is the best sleeping experience I've ever had. The memory foam creates a customized sleeping surface that fits the curves of my body. And yet, there is a sensation of complete support and stability. It's not cushy, wishy-washy soft. It yields, but supports at the same time. In my opinion, it's perfect.
As you lie down you can feel the foam slowly yielding to your body. It takes just a few seconds as it reacts to your body heat and weight. When you turn over or change positions, the foam readjusts. Now this is all fairly subtle though. I've never felt at all "trapped" or swamped by the foam. The memory foam helps relieve pressure points - for example, your shoulder or hips when you're lying on your side. It definitely makes a difference, and it's way more comfortable for me to lie on my side now with the Isotonic mattress.
When you get up, you can see a body impression. But within a couple of minutes, the foam returns to its original shape and there is no body impression left.
I like that there are no innersprings in the mattress. It's not in the least bouncy or springy. It is VERY supportive and actually quite firm. I have noticed a pleasant warmth against my body created by the foam, especially in the, er, heavier areas of my body (okay, my butt area primarily). But I've never felt overheated or sweaty from the foam, which has been a problem I guess with some memory foam mattresses. Since there are no innersprings, it's a very quiet mattress.
Oh, and the other really great thing is there is virtually NO motion transfer. If my husband turns over, I'm hardly aware of it. You can get out of bed without disturbing your partner at all. Frankly, I'm amazed at how well the foam stops any motion transfer. There is no roll-together effect either. It makes our Queen sized bed seem bigger somehow.
I noticed on Carpenter's website they mentioned there could be a slight odor at first and to air out the mattress for a while if necessary. I was a little concerned about that. But upon arrival and removing the mattress and box spring from the boxes and then taking off the plastic wrappers, I noticed only a very faint "new" smell, that dissipated almost immediately. No problem there.
The mattress should be rotated head to foot every three months. There are no handles on the queen mattress, though, which would have been helpful. I'd say the mattress is about as heavy as any ordinary innerspring mattress.
The queen mattress is standard size, and is 9 inches high. It takes regular sheets, not the deep-pocket ones.
Carpenter is also currently (8/02) offering their "White-Glove" service, where they will set up your mattress and box spring on your empty bed frame. You must dispose of your old mattress and box spring, however. And this service, as well as shipping costs, is included in the price of the mattress set. A pretty good deal, in my opinion.
~ Final Thoughts
If you're having a hard time finding a mattress you really like and are ready to try something new, I recommend the Isotonic Sleep System. It gives firm support, and the most comfortable sleep I've ever had. And the price is right, too! That was definitely a motivating factor in my decision to go with the Isotonic.
If you have a medical condition or situation where you need to relieve pressure points as you sleep, the Isotonic Sleep System may be the perfect choice for you.
There is the chance, however, that some folks may feel this mattress is too soft. The memory foam does yield to your body weight, and this could possibly make it too soft for some people. If you prefer a very hard/firm mattress, you might find the Isotonic too soft.
I've been using the Isotonic Sleep System for about two months now. Granted, there remains the test of time, years, to see how this mattress holds up. But so far I am very pleased with my decision, and feel I will never go back to an ordinary innerspring mattress again. I am giving this product a rating of 4 stars now, until I see how well it holds up after a few years.
By the way, Carpenter also sells memory foam toppers that you can put on your existing innerspring mattress, and memory foam pillows, too. Take a look at their website for all the details and more information:
or call them at 1-877-856-7378
Just wanted to update and mention that's it has now been about 10 months since we've had the Isotonic mattress, and it has remained in the exact condition as the first night we slept on it. It is THE most comfortable bed I've ever slept on! I've rotated it every once in a while, but it never seems to "need" it. We LOVE this bed!
~ 2-YEAR Update
It's now been just under two years since we've had the Isotonic. I can see some slight indents where we sleep now, yet this doesn't seem to affect comfort. My husband still mentions "Gawd, I LOVE this bed!" every once in a while.