Mattress for couples who prefer differing firmness levels
OverviewAir mattresses from manufacturers like Select Comfort and Comfortaire don't use springs or foam. Instead, they use adjustable, inflatable air chambers to create support. This gives sleepers an almost limitless degree of control over the firmness of the mattress, and some mattresses allow each partner to control the support on their side of the bed. However, these beds are more expensive than traditional mattresses, and not all who try air mattresses say they're comfortable. Some owners also complain that the foam sides of the bed are simply not firm enough to sit on, and others say that the space between the air chambers in dual-adjustable models makes the bed feel lumpy. But if you prefer a soft bed while your partner wants extra-firm (or vice versa), buying an air bed may be preferable to sleeping separately.
As with most specialty mattresses, air beds aren't discussed as frequently -- or in as much depth -- as innerspring mattresses are. Still, the mattress-buying advice at ConsumerReports.org and Choice magazines is applicable to air bed shoppers, and SleepLikeTheDead.com has detailed statistics on owner satisfaction with Select Comfort and Comfortaire mattresses.
Composition: Adjustable air pockets topped with padding layers
Infinitely adjustable support
Some models allow each sleeper to adjust firmness
Many offer long (10- to 20-year) warranties
Not comfortable for some sleepers
Sides not firm enough to sit on
Contributed by: Our Special Correspondent
City: San Francisco
Date: March 15, 2010