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"Longevity" or "lifespan" in our research refers to the length of a mattress's useful life, that is, how long it maintains at least some of its original comfort and support. Longevity / lifespan often has the same meaning as durability, but not always.
The chart below shows how the mattress types compare on longevity / lifespan based on actual consumer experiences. Keep in mind that the chart shows what is often, but not always, the case. A particular brand, model or individual mattress may go against these findings somewhat.
Due to the design, construction and mechanical nature of air beds, durability and longevity / lifespan must be evaluated separately.
"Durability" in our research refers to how well a mattress can resist deteriorating or breaking down. Air beds are more mechanical in nature than other types of beds, and, as a result, more can conceivably go wrong with them, such as leaks and air pump breakdowns. Consequently, air beds tend to have no better than fair durability.
Although air beds tend to have only fair durability, they tend to have good longevity. This is because any part of most air beds, including its air bladder, air pump and comfort layer, can be often easily fixed / replaced with a new part. (The Tempur-Pedic Choice may be a partial exception to this.)
This ability to repair an air bed is a longevity / lifespan advantage over non-mechanical types of beds. Non-mechanical types (namely innerspring, memory foam and latex) usually cannot be fixed when they develop a problem and, consequently, need to be largely if not totally replaced.
Waterbeds tend to have good-to-fair longevity. Like air beds, if something goes wrong with a waterbed, such as a puncture or broken heater, the problem can often be fix without having to buy an entirely new bed system.
Latex mattresses overall have good longevity. All-latex mattresses tend to have better longevity than both latex-over-foam beds and foam-over-latex beds. As a latex mattress ages and wears, it may compress and develop body impressions.
Memory foam mattresses generally have respectable longevity. Higher density (more expensive) brands and models tend to have better longevity than lower density varieties. As a memory foam mattress ages and wears, it tends to become softer. Sagging and or body impression development are also possible.
Innerspring beds generally have less longevity than other mattress types because of their tendency to sag and develop body impressions. Those models with thick comfort layers / pillow tops tend to have the most problems with longevity.
Futon mattresses tend to have below-average longevity. The more expensive brands / models, however, tend to last longer than less expensive ones.
IN THE NEWS: Sleep Like The Dead's research findings have appeared in such news publications as Barron's • Toronto Star • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Edmonton Journal • Woman's World • The Consumerist • The Gazette • Ottawa Citizen
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