Like bed-in-a-box products themselves, the number of mattress brands consumers can choose from is expanding rapidly. So how do established mattress companies stack up in the age of straight-to-your-door competition?
To put that question to rest, two members of our team tested one of the traditional mattress sector’s flagship combinations: Tempur-Pedic’s TEMPUR-breeze° mattress paired with its TEMPUR-Ergo power base.
Meet Our Sleepers
Because sleeping preferences are subjective, we started by surveying our testers. Who are they, and what’s their perfect sleeping environment?
Our first tester is a runner who prefers a firm sleeping surface. He sleeps best on his side (the significance of which we’ll cover below). Our second tester? She’s a former professional athlete who struggles to get to sleep after a series of sports-related injuries. Both testers are in their mid-thirties, and both prefer a cool room.
What did they discover? A whole lot more than a better night’s sleep.
What We Looked For
Because it’s meant to help the sleeper stay cool, both testers were intrigued by the LUXEbreeze edition of the TEMPUR-breeze. According to Tempur-Pedic’s own testing, the LUXEbreeze “feels up to 8 degrees cooler based on average heat index… measured over an 8 hour period.” It does so with a series of layers that sap heat, allowing cool air to circulate beneath the sleeper.
But a great mattress isn’t just cooling. It should be long-lasting, comfortable no matter the sleeper’s position, and priced appropriately. And to support the sleeper, it needs a high-quality base.
Although Tempur-Pedic offers three bases and three foundations, our testers wanted to see the latest in sleep technology attached to a top-quality frame. Tempur-Pedic says the TEMPUR-Ergo power base is “an essential part of a holistic sleep system.” Because neither tester needed an extended-length bed, we opted for the TEMPUR-Ergo rather than the TEMPUR-Ergo Extend.
With those needs in mind, we put our testers to work — and to bed.
The Wake-Up Report
After sleeping for a solid eight hours, both our testers reported that the TEMPUR-breeze° lived up to its claim of keeping the user cool. Both noted that they tossed and turned less due to heat, allowing them to get to sleep sooner and stay asleep better. Neither needed to get up for a glass of water in the middle of the night, which they often do to avoid dehydration.
In fact, the Tempur-Pedic allowed both testers to sleep comfortably while lying on their backs throughout the night. That may sound unremarkable, but it’s a bit surprising given that only 8% of people sleep on their backs — and neither of our testers fall into this category.
What about durability? Although our test didn’t span the years needed to truly test this mattress attribute, our sleepers — as well as those online — had good things to say. One tester commented that the mattress maintains its shape well. Non-partisan review site Sleep Like The Dead suggests Tempur-Pedic users keep their mattresses for about eight years — longer than similarly priced offerings from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons.
Speaking of price, the TEMPUR-breeze does command a premium. Although both our testers pointed out its $4,499 price tag, they became significantly less concerned about it after sleeping on the mattress. Plus, Tempur-Pedic offers financing options: Those who can’t afford to pay upfront can split the cost into $93.73 per month across 48 months.
Aside from the premium price, our testers struggled to find fault with the TEMPUR-breeze. But what about the TEMPUR-Ergo base?
The Bottom Line on the Base
Mattresses, not their bases, make direct contact with sleepers. That doesn’t mean, however, that bases are less important. After testing the TEMPUR-breeze first on their existing foundation and then the TEMPUR-Ergo, our sleepers reported a whole-sleep experience that was greater than the sum of its parts.
The first difference our testers noted was the power base’s range of motion. With their typical base, our testers used additional pillows to take pressure off their shoulders for side sleeping. The TEMPUR-Ergo allows the user to raise the head of the bed as high as 57° and the foot up to 46°.
That might sound like an unnecessarily large range, but it opened up a range of new in-bed activities for one of our testers. For the first time in her life, she reported, she could read and write comfortably while sitting in bed. Although her job requires her to spend large amounts of time on those activities, she’d always experienced a degree of discomfort when practicing them in bed.
While it’s important to note that Fast Company suggests working from bed may cause more stress, figures from Winston Churchill to John Lennon swore that the practice helped to bring out their best. Whether it’s a good idea or not, the TEMPUR-Ergo seems to be designed with that capability in mind.
Our testers were similarly fond of the TEMPUR-Ergo’s other power features. The TEMPUR-Ergo’s “Zero G” setting takes the pressure off a sleeper’s back by moving the bed to preset head and foot positions to supposedly simulate weightlessness.
Both testers felt the Zero G position was comfortable to sleep in, though neither had experience sleeping in a zero-gravity space. One sleeper suggested the setting was most noticeable when returning to a flat profile, likening it to lying in a draining tub and feeling her full weight return.
What about the TEMPUR-Ergo’s “two-zone massage” setting, which vibrates the bed with varying levels of intensity? In addition to steady modes, the bed can vibrate in cycles around both the user’s head and feet. To avoid wasting energy, the bed’s vibration settings turn off automatically after 30 minutes.
Our testers agreed that the setting couldn’t replicate a true massage’s ability to relieve muscle aches, but neither disliked the experience. One user likened the sensation to the feeling of a purring cat lying by her side. Both sleepers said the low- and moderate vibration modes helped them fall asleep faster.
Although the ancillary features didn’t wow our testers like the TEMPUR-Ergo’s anti-gravity and vibration features, they appreciated the thoughtful extras nonetheless. One of the testers especially liked the under-bed lighting, which is dim enough to not wake her partner in the middle of the night. Adjustable legs and USB ports provide additional convenience and customization opportunities, particularly for our tester who likes to use his tablet in bed.
A Better Bed?
All told, our testers gave the TEMPUR-breeze an “A-.” The TEMPUR-Ergo received an “A.” Here’s how they broke it down:
- Ideal for sleepers who like to stay cool.
- Accommodates multiple sleeping positions via an adjustable base.
- May help side sleepers switch to other sleeping positions.
- Easy to set up, especially given that the delivery team assembles the bed.
- May ease orthopedic pain, though users seeking pain relief should be sure to talk to their doctor.
- Expensive. Although the sleep system we tested retails for $5,998, frequent sales mean buyers often pay less. Tempur-Pedic’s warranty covers the mattress for 10 years and the base for 25 years.
- Elevation is broad but limited. One tester felt additional leg elevation would have improved his sleep experience.
- The TEMPUR-Ergo base moves as a single unit. Buyers who prefer different settings than their partner may prefer the TEMPUR-Ergo Extend, which accommodates this.
Yes, our testers concluded, traditional mattresses — at least those at the top — still have an edge over bed-in-a-box mattresses. For those willing to pay a premium price for premium sleep, Tempur-Pedic’s TEMPUR-breeze and TEMPUR-Ergo can certainly provide it.