Compare Memory Foam Mattresses To Air Beds

Are you in the market for a new mattress or bed? Should you get an air bed or a visco foam mattress? We researched every important detail of these two types of mattresses, from the way they work to the support and pressure relief they offer.

How Do Memory And Air Mattresses Work?

Viscoelastic Mattress Essentials

Viscoelastic foam is made of open cells, billions of balloons with holes in them. When you sit on it, air moves from one cell to another, and the mattress contours your body in a unique fashion, relieving pressure points and supporting your weight.

With regular foam mattresses, which are made of closed cells, the air in the compressed cells pushes back against you causing pressure points that constrict circulation at the area of contact. The result is discomfort and even pain over time. When you lie on a visco foam mattress there is no air left in the cells to push back and cause discomfort. The air is spread to adjoining cells and the foam simply ‘melts’ under you to provide long-term, balanced support and comfort.

Airbed Essentials

Air beds have a totally different functioning system. The skeleton of any air mattress is made of foam rails which give it its shape and allow you to sit on the edge of the bed without falling over. The main part of an air bed is, by definition, the air chamber (or chambers, if the mattress has separate firmness control for each side like Sleep Number beds do).

With the help of a separate or built-in pump, this air chamber is filled with air to provide support. Most models also come with a control system, which allows you to change the firmness level according to your preferences.

Last, but not least, all air beds have a top foam layer and a special cover made from a ticking pleasant to the touch, both designed to prevent punctures and improve comfort.


  • Insiders’ Guide to Picking an Air Bed – Excellent points on air mattress shopping.
  • Air Mattresses – Info on air mattress styles, components, and benefits.
  • Air Sleep Systems – Description of 13 health benefits associated with air mattresses.
  • Air Mattress at Wikipedia – Brief description of an air bed.

Customer Opinions

Others have said this, and I agree, that I just feel like I am floating in it. I toss and turn very little because all positions are extremely comfortable. No pressure points even when laying on my side (I am primarily a back sleeper). Often I wake up in the same spot and position that I went to sleep in. I sleep very soundly in this bed and wake-up very rested and refreshed almost every day.

The surface of it is rather hard, almost slab-like; while everything advertised about the way it conforms to your exact body is true, it just didn’t have that “ahhh, there’s my sweet comfy bed” feeling. Believe me, we tried hard to work up a little love for the poor thing, but we just weren’t feeling it.

The pump is louder than we would like. There’s no way either of us can adjust the mattress while the other is sleeping.

I’m really enjoying the ability to change the mattress firmness. Normally I like it a bit soft but when I’ve been out exercising and my back muscles are screaming it’s really nice to be able to firm it up a little more than usual.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *