Tempur-Pedic vs. Sleep Number Mattress Comparison

Sleep Number and Tempur-Pedic are two heavyweights in the mattress industry. Both have extensive product lines and are known for specific mattress characteristics. In the case of Sleep Number, it’s their air-chamber support core that can be adjusted to suit each sleeper, and for Tempur-Pedic, it’s the use of TEMPUR memory foam and its attendant contouring feel.

Though both are successful and popular brands, these mattresses have little in common. The differences start in their design and construction and continue with their performance. Making an informed decision between these products, it’s essential to understand these differences.

In this guide, we’ll explain how these mattresses are built, how they feel, how much they cost, their benefits and downsides, and more. We’ll also give some specific pointers to help you navigate your way to the best choice for your bedroom.

Mattress Construction Comparison

The Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number beds are built completely differently, and reviewing their construction is step one in understanding which may be the right fit for you.

Tempur-Pedic

 

Tempur-Pedic sells mattresses as part of three product lines: Contour, Cloud, and Flex. The Cloud and Contour lines are made entirely of foam while the Flex mattresses are hybrids with an innerspring support core.

The Cloud and Contour mattresses each have memory foam, specifically TEMPUR foam, as their top comfort layer. Tempur-Pedic was a leader in using memory foam in mattresses, and the company’s TEMPUR foam is generally considered to be high-quality. The strength of these foams is in their responsiveness and ability to contour to the body. There is a thicker layer made up of polyfoam that is underneath the memory foam. The thickness of the TEMPUR and polyfoam layers varies based on the specific mattress model, and there are more than 10 such models in these two product lines.

The Tempur-Pedic Flex mattresses, like the Cloud and Contour, use memory foam in the comfort layer. The support core in the Flex mattresses, though, is made with pocketed innerspring coils. Pocketed coils add bounce to the mattress without sacrificing responsiveness in the mattress as a whole.

Tempur-Pedic does not publish technical specifications for the Cloud, Contour, or Flex product lines. This means that we do not know the exact thickness of these layers in each model, and we also do not know the density or ILD of the foams that the company employs.

Sleep Number

 

A common feature of all of the Sleep Number mattresses is a support core that is formed by a dual air chamber that can be inflated or deflated using an attached control or using a smartphone app. The two air chambers correspond to each side of the mattress, allowing people on each side to adjust the amount of air -- and thus the feel of the bed -- to their own liking.

Over time, the mattresses sold by Sleep Number have undergone a number of changes, and some models that were previously available are no longer offered by the company. Currently, the company divides its products into two main categories: general Sleep Number beds and 360 Smart Beds.

The basic Sleep Number beds include the c2 and c4 models. These models include the dual air chamber and limited or no comfort layer. The c2 model has only a knit cover while the c4 has a 1.5” polyfoam comfort layer.

The 360 Smart Beds have a feature that allows the mattress to automatically adjust the amount of air in the bed through the night. Models in this category include the p5, p6, i7, i8, and i10. These each have a more robust polyfoam comfort layer that ranges from 4” to 7” in thickness.

Sleep Number does not release details regarding the foams that are used in the comfort layers of any of their mattresses. As a result, we do not know the exact nature of the foam nor its density.

Firmness Comparison

Firmness is normally the first characteristic that people think about when looking for a new mattress. This demonstrates how important finding a comfortable mattress is for your sleep: being comfortable is a lynchpin to having a welcoming sleep environment.

Many terms like “plush” and “extra firm” are used to describe firmness levels, and while these terms can at times be helpful, we prefer to give each mattress a firmness rating on a scale of 1-10. Using this scale, the softest possible mattress is a 1 while the hardest possible mattress is a 10.

A huge benefit to each of the Sleep Number mattresses is that firmness can be changed in real-time to meet your preference. The controls let you add or remove air from the air chamber, which can make the mattress feel harder or softer. This is why the company advertises about finding your Sleep Number: the number that is most comfortable for you specifically. This firmness level can also be different on each side of the bed, a huge benefit to couples who may have diverging firmness preferences. In the Sleep 360 Smart Beds, the mattress is designed to make minor adjustments to the firmness level automatically through the night.

The Tempur-Pedic mattresses are not adjustable, but there are different models are available in a number of firmness levels. For example, the all-foam product lines, the Cloud and Contour, have models that range from 3-8 on the typical firmness scale. The Flex product line has options ranging from 4-6.

Sleep Experience

Firmness is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to understanding the sleep experience on any given mattress. Several other factors come into play, and these can be significant when you have mattresses with designs as different as those of the Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number. In this section, we’ll review those elements of the sleep experience and what you could expect from these two brands in each of those areas.

Temperature Control

Many sleepers have issues with overheating in the night, and this can be a profound disruption to a restful night’s sleep. While some people naturally sleep hotter, a mattress can also play a central part in overheating for two main reasons. First, if a mattress hugs the body too tightly, air can’t flow around the skin to cool it down. Second, if the mattress material, specifically in the comfort layer, retains heat, it can contribute to the body heating up through the course of the night.

Sleeping hot is generally a more serious issue with the Tempur-Pedic mattresses. The nature of TEMPUR foam is to contour closely to the body, and this can reduce airflow. In addition, memory foam holds in heat and becomes softer as it does so, making it even easier for airflow to be reduced. Tempur-Pedic has made changes to their mattress design to incorporate more cooling properties, but sleeping hot is still an issue for some people on these mattresses, especially people who already have a propensity to sleep hot.

The Sleep Number beds are around average when it comes to temperature control. The models with thicker comfort layers usually have more issues with heat retention but still less than mattresses that are built with memory foam comfort layers. Additionally, the amount of airflow is affected by how much a person sinks into the mattress. As a result, someone who keeps their bed at a very low level of inflation is likely to have greater issues with overheating than someone who keeps the bed firmer and with less sink.

Motion Transfer

If you share a bed with a partner, you know that someone else moving in bed can wake you up in the night. Motion isolation helps prevent these disruptions by limiting how much motion on one part of the mattress is felt on other parts.

Motion isolation is a huge strength of the Tempur-Pedic mattresses. The way that memory foam contours to the body helps keep the motion contained just to that part of the foam with little or no ability for it to be felt on the other side of the bed. For couples who want a foam bed that does not transfer motion, it’s hard to do better than the Tempur-Pedic beds.

The Sleep Number beds are average to above average at isolating motion largely thanks to the fact that each side of the bed can be adjusted to its own setting. However, this doesn’t completely isolate motion, and motion transfer is more noticeable on the models that have little or no comfort layer. Even in those with a thick comfort layer, the polyfoam does not have the same level of motion isolation as TEMPUR foam.

Responsiveness

Sleep is supposed to be restorative, and achieving this means that a mattress has to give the right kind of support to prevent you from waking up with aches and pains. To do so, the mattress should promote healthy alignment of your spine, and that requires responsiveness. An example of responsiveness is when the mattress can give more cushioning to your pelvis (a pressure point) than to your ankles (which are relatively light).

When it comes to responsiveness, the Tempur-Pedic mattresses clearly outpace the Sleep Number beds. TEMPUR foam has excellent contouring properties that come from its ability to compress proportionally to the body. This means that the foam gives more cushioning where necessary in order to reduce pressure points and support proper spinal alignment. As this material is included in every Tempur-Pedic mattress, responsiveness is a major strength of all the beds produced by the company.

Sleep Number beds have less ability to conform to the body in the same way that the Tempur-Pedic beds can. The c2 and c4 models have very limited or no comfort layer, which means that, even though the firmness feel is adjustable, the bed has no way of tailoring its support for different parts of the body. The other models that have thicker comfort layers will be more responsive, and for many customers, there will be enough support from those layers. However, people who need more pressure point relief or hug from their mattress are likely to find many of the Sleep Number mattresses to be lacking.

Resilience and Bounce

Resilience and bounce has to do with how the mattress recovers when you remove your weight from it. If the mattress only retakes its form slowly, it is low-resilience and will have limited bounce. How much bounce is best is subjective, but many customers want more bounce to make it easier to move on top of the mattress (either as they change sleeping positions or for the purposes of sex and intimacy).

Neither of these mattress brands can be described as high-resilience. The bounciest of them is the Tempur-Pedic Flex mattresses because of their use of innerspring coils in the support core. The Sleep Number beds will have less sink and thus will feel more resilient than the Tempur-Pedic Cloud and Contour mattresses although this comes at the expense of responsiveness.

Edge Support

The Tempur-Pedic Cloud and Contour product lines both struggle significantly when it comes to edge support. The Tempur-Pedic Flex mattresses have more robust edge support because of the innerspring coils. In the Sleep Number beds, the amount of edge support will depend in part on how much the air chambers are inflated. Edge support will usually be worse in the beds that have thicker polyfoam comfort layers.

Off-gassing and Smell

Foams used in mattresses give off a slight odor when they are first opened up from their packaging and set up in your bedroom. This odor can be expected with all of the Tempur-Pedic mattresses and with any of the Sleep Number beds that have a foam comfort layer. But you can rest assured that there is no health risk from this smell and that it should dissipate quickly (within a few hours or at most a few days).

Shipping, Trial, Warranty, and Returns

Details about the shipping and return policies as well as warranties for these mattresses can be found in the table below.

Tempur-PedicSleep Number
Delivery fee$25$89.99 (standard shipping) or $199 (white-glove)
How is it shipped?White-glove deliveryStandard shipping or white-glove
Old mattress removal?Included with $25 delivery feeAvailable with white-glove delivery
Sleep trial length90 nights100 nights
Return cost and processCustomer responsible for return shipping costCustomer responsible for return shipping cost
Warranty length10 years25 years

Prices, Sizes, and Value

Both the Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number beds are at the high end of the market when it comes to price. We’ve outlined the price range for these brands in the table below. Keep in mind that not every model is available in all sizes. As such, we’ve shown the price range for the available models for each standard mattress size.

Mattress SizeTempur-PedicSleep Number
Twin$1,299 - $2,299$499 - $1,799
Twin XL$1,299 - $4,299$599 - $3,099
Full$1,649 - $3,649$699 - $3,374
Queen$1,799 - $4,799$899 - $4,999
King$2,499 - $8.599$1,399 - $5,699
California King$2,499 - $8.599$1,399 - $5,699

If you’re deciding between Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number, you’re going to wind up paying a premium price for a mattress. Both are significantly more expensive than many other mattresses on the market, and it is hard to argue that either stands out on the metric of value. That said, each offers a defining feature -- TEMPUR foam or the adjustable air chamber -- that many customers finds justifies the extra cost.

If you decide to buy either a Tempur-Pedic or Sleep Number bed, remember never to pay the full retail sticker price. Both brands regularly offer discounts or run promotions that can dramatically decrease your total cost.

Tempur-Pedic Mattress vs. Sleep Number Mattress – Which One Should You Buy?

Sleep Number and Tempur-Pedic are two extremely well-known brands, so it comes as no surprise that both are on your radar for consideration. But with the differences between them, it can be challenging to know which one will suit you better. To help you out, we’ll list some clear ways that you might know which one to select.

Buy a Tempur-Pedic mattress if you:

  • Want more contouring: Tempur-Pedic’s beds blow the Sleep Number beds out of the water when it comes to contouring and hug. If that’s the feel that you want in your bed, or if you have major needs for pressure point relief, the Tempur-Pedic mattresses are likely a better option.
  • Are looking for a hybrid option: none of the Sleep Number beds have a support core other than their inflatable air chamber. The Tempur-Pedic Flex beds, though, have an innerspring support core beneath the TEMPUR foam.
  • Want white-glove delivery without a huge extra cost: all of the Tempur-Pedic mattresses come with white-glove delivery at a cost of just $25. In comparison, similar services from Sleep Number cost $199.

 

Buy a Sleep Number mattress if you:

  • Put a priority on flexibility: only the Sleep Number mattresses let you change your firmness level on the fly. Even though Tempur-Pedic sells mattresses at many firmness levels, none of those are adjustable, so if having the freedom to modify the feel of your bed is a valuable feature for you, the Sleep Number is your choice.
  • Share the mattress with a partner who has a different firmness preference: the dual-sided design of the Sleep Number beds is an extremely helpful feature for couples who have diverging preferences for firmness. Those preferences are easy to accommodate on the Sleep Number beds.
  • Don’t need as much support: you won’t get the kind of contouring on a Sleep Number, but that may be fine for you. If you find that even beds with limited hug or padding in the comfort layer are good enough for you to sleep pain-free, the Sleep Number will likely fit the bill as well.
  • Are worried about sleeping hot: temperature regulation is a potential weak point for the Tempur-Pedic beds, so if you know that you are prone to sleeping hot, Sleep Number may be a better fit.

 

Both Tempur-Pedic and Sleep Number have clear strengths and weaknesses. Neither brand is objectively better or worse; instead, what matters is knowing how those strengths and weaknesses align with what you need from your mattress.

By considering your preferences and the features that are most important in your case, you can use this guide to select between these two heavyweights of the mattress world.

Read our other mattress comparisons: 

Table Of Contents