Pros: Adjustable after purchase, relaxed sales approach, good customer service
Cons: Takes some getting used to, doesn't actively maintain air pressure
First, to clear up some misconceptions here...
- Select Comfort claims the bed has a weight limit of 1,000 lbs. I (unfortunately) weigh 280lbs and have had a combined weight of over 500lbs on the bed with no indication it was stressed in any way.
- One thing I learned right away is that you must be laying on the mattress while you're adjusting the sleep number. While the scale is 5-100, it is measuring pressure. I set it to 55, the number I got at the store, and laid down and saw it rise to 90. It makes sense in hindsight, and it is noted in the manual (but of course I read that later!)
- The motor is no louder than an aquarium pump and runs only while you are adjusting it. There is no problem with leaks, but as the manual notes, changes in barometric pressure and room temperature (or an electric blanket) may affect it. I also find it can help to go up 5-10 and then back down sometimes to let it re-measure it.
- The bladders are natural rubber with a canvas covering. Apparently there are baffles inside to keep it mostly level and even. While it's filling you can feel the air push down the length of the bed sometimes so I tend to believe this is the case.
A little commentary...
- It is possible for any product, no matter how new, advanced or expensive to be defective upon delivery or at some point after. If your motor is noisy, your base unstable, or your mattress is leaking air... call the company and ask for help. When you do call, be polite and calm and based on what I see from everyone else, you will get excellent service. They want people to be happy because they are the best people to promote future sales.
- Everyone is different, as such we respond differently to environments, temperatures, drugs and sleeping conditions. Consumer Reports wrapped up an extended mattress sleep study recently and drew no conclusive results. With the exception of the absolute cheapest mattresses in the stores, people were completely split on mattresses at all prices and designs. Some people loved tempurpedic, others thought it was like sleeping on wet sand. Some found a low cost model just fine, some found the most expensive models uncomfortable.
- Obviously back pain will only be helped if it is caused by something that will be improved by sleeping on an evenly supportive surface. If it is caused by a pinched nerve, slipped disc or something else medical, it doesn't matter what bed you get. Also, a bed that helps that condition may not be the bed you would find comfortable once the condition is corrected.
- The only reason people are upset about the construction is because Select Comfort packaged the bed efficiently to safe on shipping and storage costs. This means you get to see what it is made of. If they shipped it fully assembled or assembled it in your absence in my case, would that have made it feel any different? If you have ever disassembled a DVD player and found 3/4 of the case empty or seen that the modern Ford Mustangs have no steel frame, but are made of sheet metal stamped into shape and welded in a few spots, you know that things are not what they appear. We live in a society that allows companies to put materials together and sell them as a product. That a shirt from the Gap is just some cotton and thread, doesn't diminish its value to those who buy it. That I can buy the meat and vegetables I get at a restaurant and cook them at home doesn't prevent me from eating out. As a niche product, they sell fewer than the more traditional products so they need to get more per sale. And frankly, if it was really cheap, it wouldn't have the same credibility.
My buying experience...
I decided I wanted a new bed but knew that no two mattress stores sell the same models of mattress. This means there is no comparison shopping and the sales people are on par with car salesmen. So I hated the idea of shopping for mattresses in that way. I liked the idea of memory foam but having used a couple memory foam toppers on my mattress in the past, I knew they were very warm and I tend to sweat a lot as it is. So I decided to check out Select Comfort.
I went in and talked to a guy who was real nice. He asked what I was looking for and I gave my standard "I don't know" answer that I give to most things in life. He said he was hear to help, but I had to give him something to go on. So I explained I was looking to go to a larger size bed for myself and that while I liked the memory foam I get too warm. I also said that I'm seeing a chiropractor for back and neck problems and while he would like me to sleep on my side I have always tended to sleep on my stomach. Next he started with the 3000, a slightly improved version of the original model which is just air chambers and covering. This particular bed had pressure sensors on it. He inflated it to 100 and showed the pressure points from laying on it. Then he slowly reduced it until I could feel consistent support throughout my body. Where there were clear "hot" pressure points before, it now showed a larger surface on the sensor with lower pressure colors throughout. It was also a noticeable difference in feel. He also explained that the reason I prefer to sleep on my stomach is because my weight is better distributed. Here again, I could see the difference on the pressure sensor.
Then he showed me the 5000 and got a foam pillow for me to try since I try to sleep on my side. I played with that a little and he explained that the only real difference is the materials and pads on the various models. The 3000 and 4000 use the original pump which is louder, the 5000 and up use a whisper quiet pump and have a wireless option. Then he handed me the reference card with retail prices and specifications and gave me time to review it in peace. I thought the 5000 seemed to offer a good selection of features and a reasonable monthly financing price. So I decided to move forward on that. We did the financing check and he calculated out all the promotional discounts. There was a percentage off, a free dual-weight comforter, and apparently someone had dropped off a card for free setup and delivery they got in the mail and weren't going to use so I got to use that too. While expensive, I could get 20% off all the extras at the time, so opted for their waterproof mattress pad then their thick rayon mattress pad which he said would breathe better (It's very nice!) I got a set of sheets and the free comforter. I also got a body pillow which was large and filled with gel beads which was on sale for 50% off and came with a free zippered pillowcase. All told I was back at the retail price or so, but not bad. The only "salesmanship" that came up was when he suggested maybe I would like a to get extra sheets or accessories since I had the discount available. I declined and he rang it up.
He forgot to put in the free comforter and incorrectly opted to void it. This meant when he re-entered it, the delivery card came up as being used. So it took forever, but he and the manager got it sorted out and I left with the in-stock items. The following week I got the other accessories shipped to me. I bought the bed on a Saturday and got a call the following Thursday to my home phone. I called back Friday and they offered me Tuesday for delivery and setup. I said fine, and they said they would call back 2-3 business days before delivery with a timeframe. I pointed out that it _was_ 2-3 business days before, she laughed and said they would be calling later that day then! Unfortunately, when they called it was to tell me that the delivery slot was no longer available and they had to reschedule on Friday. They did call before then and gave me a 8am-12noon delivery window.
I stayed home that morning for the delivery. But at 11:30 I hadn't gotten the promised call from the driver saying they were on their way. I called and they sent a message to the driver. But at 12:30 I gave up and left a "permission to enter" form with the front desk at the apt complex and went to work. I left a note on the door explaining that they should remove the twin wood frame I had removed the mattress from and place the new bed there. There was another queen bed in there since it's a loft and my roommate and I share the one large room. Anyway, they came and apparently didn't see the note and disassembled the queen bed and put this one in its place, choosing to take all the stuff off the queen bed and dump it on the empty bed frame!
Delivery aside, it was fine. I put on the mattress pads and sheets. The pads had extra long side panels and the sheets had elastic straps to hold them on firmly. This is great since I have a history of pulling the sheets off at night.
I figure that springs and memory foam will compress based on your weight, but in both cases, the more they compress the more force they exert. There is probably a practical limit to how far they will go before it's like pressing against a hard surface. This can also change over time as wear occurs.
Waterbeds were meant to fix this, but water can't be compressed, only spread out, ultimately you can only sink into a waterbed as much as the weight of the water you would displace (plus what the bladder would allow). Air makes sense for this because it can compress so there is some "give" to it, it's weightless and therefore can allow the bed to conform to the person laying on it in order to better support their body regardless of shape. This makes sense to me and it felt good in the store so I went with it.
Overall the bed is soft and warm. I think I have the comforter on turned 90 degrees since it makes it longer and I'm tall. This works out since "dual weight" means that one side has more insulation than the other, so one person can have more warmth than the other. Since I'm the only one in the bed most of the time, having it turned that way puts the extra warm part at the bottom to keep my feet warm and the lighter weight part up where I usually get too hot. I love the material its made of, but got a duvet cover to keep it clean.
I got dual chambers figuring I'll eventually have someone to share it with. But this means there are really two ideal places to lay on the bed. Since I move around a lot at night I'm not sure this was the best decision. Sometimes it can feel bowed at the top. The manual says some people can sense this and to call if it's a problem. I just raised them to 100 and laid on each side while lowering it back to the number. It seems ok now, though this morning I woke up on the foam between the chambers. If I keep having that problem maybe I'll see if I can switch to a single chamber since I'm within my 30 days. Or maybe I'll try switching the top foam pad to memory foam like someone here suggested. It is the main difference between this model and the higher models (the remotes also have a memory function but that doesn't seem worth the additional cost.)
Overall though, it's comfy and warm, I really like it.
I ended up switching to the single chamber and it was worth it. I called up and they said I could switch anytime within the first year for the cost of shipping. Unfortunately the first chamber I got had a leak. I pumped it up to 100% after installing and it was nearly flat a few hours later. I was frustrated that I had to put the old ones back in, but luckily the replacement one worked fine. I did get a little bonus as a result, I was supposed to pay shipping to send back the dual chambers. But they sent a prepaid label for the defective single chamber. So I put both RMA numbers on the box and put both chambers inside and sent it back on the prepaid label.
While I determined my sleep number to be 55 in the store, I noticed many people advertise theirs to be much lower. So I experimented down to 40 and found that 45 actually worked really well for me. While it's more prone to some rocking/movement when you move around, it really supports your body better as it conforms to your curves. If another person joins you, it jumps up to 65 or so, and I have to tell it to go to 45 again. It's a little annoying that it can't just actively monitor it and adjust as necessary, but it's not really a problem. It might be a problem though if you regularly slept with two people because if one person got up, the pressure would drop to 30 or so and you might bottom out. I guess this is why there is the dual chamber option, but for one person most of the time, it makes it awkward as I described previously.
I found a pillow at Amazon that has normal stuffing in the top part then the bottom has a cell that you add water to. This lets you control the thickness of the pillow and the water spreads out some and supports your head. People raved about it so I got one and I like it too. I adjusted the water amount twice before I got it right, then it was great in combination with the bed.
I've had some very comfortable lazy late mornings in this bed, something I'm not used to with previous beds. When I went home to visit family I found the difference in that bed to be quite noticeable. My mom noted that she spent a lot of money on her mattress and even so, within a few months you could see impressions where she and my dad sleep. I suggested she look at Select Comfort next time since it is impossible for that to occur. Plus, she likes a really firm mattress and I'm not sure my dad does or if he just tolerates it.