You’ve probably heard all about innersprings, polyfoam, memory foam, latex, and all their many, many variations.
But what about the mattresses that don’t fit into those categories?
There are some mattress manufacturers out there who work in a more avant-garde space, exploring bold new frontiers of mattress construction.
In this article, I’ll introduce you to a few of these pioneers, explain what makes them different from the more standard sleep options, and briefly discuss their pros and cons.
The Purple Mattress
Of all the mattresses you’re likely to encounter, the Purple is perhaps the most innovation-oriented.
Purple’s whole brand is built around the idea that their mattress offers a sleep experience unlike anything that came before.
But can those bold claims be believed?
What Makes the Purple Special?
Although it includes some foam layers for the sake of support, the true star of the Purple mattress is its unique hyper-elastic polymer grid.
I don’t pretend to know exactly how it works, but the idea seems to be that the grid provides a sense of structural firmness akin to traditional box springs, enhanced with the motion isolation of a modern foam mattress.
Since the hyper-elastic polymer material isn’t really similar to a foam—and since it’s totally unique to Purple—it makes the Purple mattress truly unlike anything else you’ve slept on.
But is that a good thing?
There certainly are plenty of perks!
The feel of a Purple mattress has been described as firm and supportive, with plenty of hug.
There’s also a sensation of floating above the mattress!
I haven’t experienced it myself, so I’m a little skeptical, but it’s impossible to deny that this is a remarkable mattress.
If that’s exactly the feeling you’re looking for, the Purple is the only place to get it.
It’s also reasonably durable, it sleeps cool, and it’s made 100% in the good ol’ US of A.
The downsides are honestly pretty minor, but depending on who you are and where you live, they might just turn you away.
First, the Purple costs extra if you’re having it shipped to Alaska or Hawaii. And, as far as I know, Purple doesn’t offer international shipping yet.
It’s also only available in four sizes, so if you’re shopping for a Twin or a Full size, you’re out of luck.
If you want to know more about the Purple mattress, be sure to read our full review!
The IDLE Sleep Air Mattress
IDLE Sleep is another company that focuses their brand on innovation.
They’re most famous for their double-sided foam mattresses, bringing back an old innerspring trick to help extend the lifespan of their products.
Today, however, I’m not here to tell you about their flagship double-sided products.
Instead, let me introduce you to the modern air mattress.
What Makes the IDLE Sleep Air Mattress Special?
Now, I know you’ve heard of air mattresses.
They’re those cheap, uncomfortable things your grandma keeps in the closet for when you come to visit for Christmas, right?
Well… sure, they can be, but these days, the air mattress has evolved.
The modern air mattress—exemplified by this model from IDLE Sleep—is a multi-chambered marvel that avoids a lot of the downsides of the air mattresses you’re more familiar with.
What does that mean, exactly?
IDLE Sleep Air Mattress Pros
For starters, it means that instead of the rigid, single-chambered air mattress your grandma owns, the IDLE Sleep air mattress has multiple chambers, allowing it to be more flexible and contour more smoothly to the shape of your body.
It’s also more than just a big empty balloon—the IDLE Sleep has foam layers too, so it offers the softness and support you expect from a modern mattress.
Its greatest strength is the fact that it takes full advantage of the adjustable nature of an air mattress to provide you with minutely customizable degrees of firmness.
IDLE Sleep Air Mattress Cons
It’s a great option if you have that kind of dough to sling around, but it’s far from being a frugal choice.
There’s also—unlike most other mattresses you’ll see these days—a pretty high degree of motion transfer.
Air mattresses just aren’t very good at motion isolation.
Not satisfied with my short summaries? That’s what the full-size reviews are for!
The Pod, by Eight Sleep
Perhaps more than any other company, Eight Sleep markets themselves as a tech-savvy mattress maker.
They’re really into the idea of smart technology and the internet of things—so if you’re one of those folks who likes to have your devices all connected and keeping you on track, Eight Sleep’s products are right up your alley!
What Makes the Pod Special?
The Pod is one of Eight Sleep’s many smart mattresses.
As far as construction goes, it’s pretty standard—just the comfort and support layers of foam we’ve all come to expect.
But for Eight Sleep, the materials aren’t the most important thing. They’re interested in the tech!
The Pod, for instance, is capable of analyzing your sleep cycles and waking you up when your body is ready to be woken up.
The Pod Pros
I’m talking about a bed that can sync with the lights in your bedroom (and your smartphone alarm, if you like) to wake you up at the perfect moment.
Its other defining feature is the ability to regulate your temperature—no more sleeping too hot or too cold!
Seriously, I can’t stress enough just how cool this bed is. We’re officially living in the future, folks!
And if you’re concerned about the materials—and trust me, I’m right there with you—rest assured, the foam Eight Sleep uses for this bed is top-notch.
The Pod Cons
As you’d expect for a bed that seems like it came out of the Jetsons, the Pod is at the very high end of the price range.
We’re talking around $2,345 for a queen-size—definitely not an option for every buyer.
I can’t say for sure if it’s worth the price (after all, only you can make that judgment), but the cost is really the only major downside.
Folks, this is a dang good mattress.
If you want to read our full review, you can find it right here.
This, of course, is not a comprehensive list.
After all, the mattress world is constantly innovating.
Who knows? Tomorrow, all three of these mattresses might be out of date, and there’ll be a new competitor on the scene!
Just take this article as a reminder to look beyond the basic options.
Best of luck in your search for the perfect mattress, and happy sleeping!