Purple vs. Sleep Number Mattress Comparison
At Mattress Nerd, we cut open the Purple and Sleep Number 360 c2 mattresses, putting them through many performance tests. Both of these companies have created innovative designs meant to deliver particular qualities to aid your sleep. Continue reading and find out which best matches your unique needs and preferences.
Purple vs. Sleep Number Overview
The Purple and Sleep Number c2 mattresses are very different beds. The Purple’s proprietary GelFlex Grid addresses temperature, support, and cushion. The Sleep Number c2’s adjustable air chambers provide a customized setup to meet your firmness preferences while also adjusting to your sleeping position in real time.
|Purple is best for…
|Sleep Number is best for…
|Sleepers with Back Pain
|Adjustable Air Mattress Shoppers on a Budget
Who Should Choose the Purple Mattress?
- Hot Sleepers: If you wake up sweaty at night, you’ll quickly become a fan of the Purple mattress. With over 1800 air channels in the top layer, its GelFlex Grid is designed to increase airflow.
- Back Sleepers: Its unique comfort layer also collapses in areas of greatest pressure to provide relief, while maintaining stability and shape elsewhere. This balanced feel is ideal for back sleepers weighing less than 230 lbs.
- Sleepers with Back Pain: The flexible comfort layer supports a healthy spinal alignment which can decrease or help prevent back pain in the first place.
Who Should Choose the Sleep Number Mattress?
- Combination Sleepers: If you prefer sleeping on your back, front, or a combination of the two, the Sleep Number c2 does a great job of supporting your body in those positions. It also has ResponsiveAir that adjusts firmness based on how you are lying on the mattress to maintain your selected Sleep Number.
- Couples: With above-average motion isolation, temperature neutrality, and edge support, the Sleep Number c2 can make sharing the bed less of a hassle.
- Adjustable Air Mattress Shoppers on a Budget: The Sleep Number lineup has quite a large price range. The Sleep Number 360 c2 is their most affordable model, offering their trifecta of adjustable air chambers, ResponsiveAir, and SleepIQ technology.
Purple vs. Sleep Number: Top Similarities
- Temperature: Though the Purple felt a little cooler during testing, both mattresses circulate air well and disperse body heat.
- Responsiveness: It’s easy to move around on both of these mattresses, which can be helpful for seniors or those who change sleeping positions often.
- Pressure Relief: We wouldn’t recommend either of these mattresses for side sleepers. There are so many better options out there that will cushion your hips and shoulders.
Purple vs. Sleep Number: Top Differences
- Materials: The Purple mattress has a stretchy polymer gel material on top, unlike anything else on the market, plus several layers of foam. The Sleep Number beds are adjustable mattresses with a few inches of gel-infused polyfoam for cushion.
- Price: Sleep Number’s entry-level model is a bit more affordable than the Purple mattress though both are classified as mid-range in price.
- Motion Isolation: Sometimes a strength can show up as a weakness. That’s what happens with the responsiveness of the Purple’s GelFlex Grid—it transfers that movement across the mattress which isn’t ideal if you share the bed.
Purple vs. Sleep Number: Firmness & Feel Differences
At Mattress Nerd, we use a scale of 1 to 10 to rate mattress firmness, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. The Purple is a 6.5/10 which is medium-firm. Interestingly, though the Sleep Number has 20 sleep number choices for firmness, zero (the softest) is equivalent to medium-firm.
What’s the Firmness Of the Purple & Sleep Number Mattresses?
Lightweight and average-weight sleepers will find that the waffle-like grid of Purple’s comfort layer nicely cradles your heavier body parts while still supporting you everywhere else. Heavyweight sleepers over 230 lbs, however, will sink into the firmer support foam and won’t experience much cushion.
The Sleep Number technology allows you to adjust the air mattress to your firmness preference, ranging from 0-100 with 20 different levels (increments of 5). With only a thin 2″ comfort layer, when set to zero, our testers rated the Sleep Number c2 as medium-firm—important information if you are shopping for a softer mattress.
If you like a firmer feel, sleepers of any size who prefer their back or stomach should find the support needed for proper spinal alignment. And no matter your weight, side sleepers will likely want to find more cushion for your hips and shoulders.
What Do the Purple & Sleep Number Mattresses Feel Like?
The Purple’s GelFlex Grid was first designed for wheelchairs in order to provide pressure relief for the owner. This material is like no other. Take a look at our Purple Hybrid mattress video review or go to Purple’s website and purchase a sample for a small fee if you’re curious. The proprietary hyper-elastic polymer gel layer excels at cradling your body in a supportive way vs the doughy “stuck” feel of memory foam. And with its foam layers below, it keeps your body lifted on top of the mattress.
The Sleep Number c2 gives a little cushion to help the mattress contour to your body. The air chambers underneath create a sleeping “on” the mattress feel, almost like you’re floating on the mattress vs. sinking into it.
What’s It Like to Sleep On the Purple & Sleep Number Mattresses?
While we don’t recommend the Purple mattress for heavyweight people, lightweight and average-weight back sleepers will appreciate the balanced feel the stretchy grid provides—a nice cradle for pressure points plus support to keep the rest of your body aligned. For stomach sleepers, the grid collapses at the hips which can cause or worsen lower back pain. You need a firmer mattress to maintain your spine’s natural curve. Only lightweight side sleepers will feel adequate cushion from the Purple’s comfort layer.
Back sleepers of any size should be pleased with the performance of the Purple’s one-of-a-kind comfort layer. Even heavyweight stomach sleepers are likely to notice it keeping your hips elevated, which is important in preventing lower back pain. And if you toss and turn from front to back, you’ll benefit from how the grid rebounds back into place quickly, making your movements easy and seamless. Again, side sleepers would be better served by a softer mattress than either of these medium-firm models.
The Purple vs. Sleep Number Mattresses By Body Type
Purple Performance By Sleeping Position:
|Lightweight (< 130 lbs):
|Average weight (130 – 230 lbs):
|Heavyweight (> 230 lbs):
Sleep Number c2 Performance By Sleeping Position:
|Lightweight (< 130 lbs):
|Average weight (130 – 230 lbs):
|Heavyweight (> 230 lbs):
1 = Very poor, 2 = Not good, 3 = Fair, 4 = Good, 5 = Excellent
Average-Weight Sleepers (130–230 lbs)
Average-weight back sleepers is the group that will be most impressed with Purple’s unique construction and feel. So keep this in mind if you share the bed with someone of a different size and/or preferred sleeping position. If you spend a little time on your side and prefer a firmer bed, the Purple could be a good fit.
The Sleep Number c2 is pretty versatile for those with this body size. If you gravitate to your back, stomach, or toss between the two, the air channels can be customized to easily meet your needs for support, while the 2″ foam on top helps buffer your pressure points. Side sleepers will probably want a softer mattress if this is your primary sleeping position.
Heavyweight Sleepers (> 230 lbs)
If you’re a heavyweight sleeper, the comfort layer of the Purple mattress will collapse immediately, leaving you on the firmer foam layers underneath. This will feel firmer than its 6.5/10 rating and likely not give your back the support it needs.
The Sleep Number c2 can accommodate back sleepers in this category since you can adjust the firmness to support your spine, no matter your weight. But stomach and side sleepers can find a better fit among all the choices available online. As a side note, if you’re on the taller side, too, you might feel like a giant on this shorter-than-average 8″ mattress.
Lightweight Sleepers (< 130 lbs)
If you have a lightweight body size, the Purple’s construction will give superior support and cushion as it flexes where you need it. Back, front, and side sleepers will find it a versatile pick with a 2″ cushion layer and several layers of transition and support foam.
Back and stomach sleepers on the Sleep Number c2 might be the happiest customers in the bunch. The small amount of padding atop the air channels will be just enough for those weighing less than 130 lbs. Side sleepers might agree that your heavier parts, the hips and shoulders, could use a little more cushion, like one of the more expensive Sleep Number models can provide.
Differences In Mattress Construction
Both of these mattresses are shorter than the average 10 to 12 inches. The Purple measures 9.5″ with a special, stretchy grid atop foam layers.The Sleep Number c2 is only 8″, comprised of a short gel-infused foam layer above the adjustable air chambers.
|Purple Mattress Materials
|Sleep Number c2 Mattress Materials
|Stretchy Cooling Cover (polyester, viscose, and Lycra)
|Cooling, Zippered Cover
|GelFlex Grid (2″ hyper-elastic polymer gel material)
|Polyfoam Comfort Layer (2″ gel-infused)
|Polyfoam Transition Layer (2.5″)
|Air Chambers Base Layer
|High-density Polyfoam (4″)
|Non-slip Bottom Cover
The Purple’s stretchy cover is a good fit for the flexible comfort layer. Its combination of polyester, viscose, and Lycra also create breathability. The Sleep Number c2 comes in a cooling, zippered cover.
Unlike an all-foam bed, the Purple’s comfort layer has over 1800 air channels and looks like a big, squishy, purple waffle. This strange construction actually provides superior airflow, something all-foam beds cannot do. And the flexible nature of the hyper-elastic polymer gel material makes it responsive to your movements, adjusting pressure relief and support to where you need it.
The Sleep Number c2 has the smallest cushion layer of all the Sleep Number models. The more you pay, the more cushion and pressure relief you’ll get. With 2″ of gel-infused polyfoam, this mattress has a pretty short profile of only 8″.
Purple mattresses have two layers of foam underneath the GelFlex Grid. The 3.5″ transition layer is a cushion barrier made of a softer polyfoam. The high-density polyfoam base delivers firmness and durability. There’s also a non-slip cover on the bottom to prevent the mattress from moving around.
The Sleep Number c2 has adjustable air chambers as its base. This comes with dual air chambers if you purchase a full mattress or larger.
Purple vs. Sleep Number c2 Pricing
|Sleep Number c2 Prices
For exclusive discounts, see our Purple mattress coupons
Purple vs. Sleep Number c2 Mattress Performance Ratings & Differences
Hot sleepers should have no complaints about these two mattresses. Despite having a foam base, the Purple Grid top layer is a bunch of cube-shaped pockets that excel at circulating air, earning it a 5/5 score for temperature neutrality. And the Sleep Number c2 is an air mattress, so the air chambers dissipate body heat to provide a cool night of sleep.
If you share the bed with a partner, pets, or child, movement is a given, as well as a disturbance to quality sleep. Mattresses that isolate motion at its source are invaluable. The Purple’s special gel grid flexes and adjusts to your position, but this movement is transferred across the bed, so it’s not the best at motion isolation. In contrast, the Sleep Number c2 does quite well at this because there are dual air chambers, one for each side (for full size mattresses and larger).
When lying or sitting on the edge of your bed, a little sag is okay, but you certainly don’t want to slip off. The Purple provides reasonable edge support when lying down but wasn’t quite as steady when our testers sat on its edge. The Sleep Number c2’s foam border walls create above-average support which is helpful if you need to get up and down slowly or often tie your shoes while seated on the edge.
In the sleep lab, our Nerds roll out a pressure pad and take a look at how well a mattress disperses pressure at spots like the hips and shoulders for side sleepers, and the lower back and tailbone for back and front sleepers. Neither of these mattresses received high marks in this area, though the Purple was closer to average pressure relief. If you sleep on your side, or have any pre-existing shoulder or hip pain, you’ll want to find a softer mattress.
Back pain in the morning can be caused by a mattress that isn’t supporting the healthy “S” curve of your spine. To do this, a balance of two things is key: cushion for your pressure points and support for your back. The Purple’s waffle grid collapses at pressure points for cushion and stays firm at lighter areas which is a great combo for back sleepers under 230 lbs.
The Sleep Number c2 only has 2″ of foam on top, so there’s not a lot of cushion. You’ll need to shop for one of their more expensive models at our Sleep Number Mattress Reviews to find one with more cushion in the top layer.
The construction of both the Purple and Sleep Number is unconventional. The Purple’s proprietary hyper-elastic polymer gel grid is resistant to forming lasting body impressions which increases its durability. And the Sleep Number’s weakest material is that small layer of polyfoam, but we predict it’ll last you around 10 years, which is about the time to consider replacing old mattresses.
Shipping, Returns, & Warranties
Free shipping is available to most of the U.S., with a small fee for Alaska, Hawaii, and even Canada. Purple offers a 10-year warranty which covers things like permanent body impressions greater than 1″. And you can take advantage of the 100-night sleep trial period to determine if your new mattress is a good match for your sleeping needs.
Sleep Number c2
While shipping is “free”, because of the unique Sleep Number technology, you do have to pay an extra fee for Premium setup and delivery for any Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed purchase. But this does mean they’ll haul off your old, set up your new, and even get you set up with the SleepIQ app. With a 100-night sleep trial period and 15-year warranty, there’s little risk in satiating your curiosity about these innovative beds.
Other Models Available
ProductSleep Number 360 iLE Smart Mattress
FirmnessMultiple firmness options
ProductPurple Hybrid Mattress
ProductPurple Hybrid Premier Mattress
FirmnessMultiple firmness options
Our Final Take
The Purple mattress provides excellent support for back sleepers, and occasional side sleeping. Its responsive, flexible comfort layer is helpful for those who change sleeping positions at night. And you won’t find a cooler-sleeping bed that has a foam base thanks to those unique air channels in the comfort layer.
If you don’t suffer from pre-existing aches and pains, the Sleep Number c2 is a robust option that meets the needs of the average back or stomach sleeper. And it might end late night arguments with your partner since each of you can customize your own preferences.
Purple & Sleep Number c2 FAQs
Is the Purple mattress really worth the cost?
Your satisfaction is directly related to you (your weight, sleeping position, etc…), so it’s important to shop around to find a compatible solution. We think the Purple is a good fit for back and side sleepers (<230 lbs), especially if you’re a hot sleeper who loves foam beds.
How many years is a Sleep Number bed good for?
While Sleep Number offers a 15-year warranty, be sure to read the fine print. The bed and integrated base are covered by a 1-year full warranty, and then it’s pro-rated after that. Conventional wisdom recommends replacing old mattresses at the 10-year mark.
What bed is comparable to a Sleep Number?
If the Sleep Number c2 is out of your budget, you can pick one of the six Helix models of your choice for about a grand. They provide extra support, better pressure relief, and if you purchase the adjustable base, you can experience a similar feel to the Sleep Number.
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