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Sleep Number vs Purple (2022): Which Innovative Mattress Should You Buy?

As the mattress market grows and gets crowded, manufacturers push the envelope for what beds can do. Sleep Number and Purple are two standouts here.

Known for its smart beds, Sleep Number’s catalog consists of mattresses with varying levels of support. At their core, they boast adjustable firmness and support through innovative air chambers. The Sleep Number 360 p5 Smart Bed is arguably the best Sleep Number bed, if not the most popular. Like its siblings, it retails for a premium price.

Meanwhile, Purple builds around consistency. While its lineup is modest compared to Sleep Number, these beds all feature the proprietary Purple Grid layer. This unique gel material is aimed at providing improved pressure relief. And although the Purple catalog has expanded, the original Purple Mattress remains the brand’s best seller.

Below, we compare their top-rated models to see which mattress is better for you. Is the Sleep Number worth it? Or are you better off with the original Purple mattress?

Sleep Number vs Purple Mattress Comparison Chart

ModelSleep Number 360 p5 Smart BedPurple Mattress
 
Price
TypeSmart bedHybrid mattress
Available SizesTwin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King, FlexTop King, FlexTop Cal KingTwin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King, Split King
Firmness LevelAdjustableMedium-Firm
Sleep Trial100 nights100 nights
Sleep Requirement for Returns30 nights21 nights
Warranty15 years10 years
ShippingWhite glove deliveryFree shipping to the contiguous United States
Price Range Across Sizes$$$$$$$$$$

Design and Construction

Sleep Number anchors itself on smart air chambers and adjustable bases. Purple, on the other hand, relies on an innovative elastic grid.

Sleep Number vs Purple Mattress Design and Construction
A look at the multiple layers of the Sleep Number 360 p5 (left) and the Purple Mattress (right)

Sleep Number

Sleep Number offers four lineups of mattresses — Classic Series, Innovation Series, Performance Series, and Memory Foam. The “p” on the p5 Smart Bed stands for Performance. Mattresses in this category are different from the others owing to a pillow-top style. This means a foam layer, which Sleep Number calls a comfort layer, is sewn on top of the mattress, lending it a soft, pillowy feel.

However, the heart of the Sleep Number 360 p5 is its air chamber. Depending on the size of the mattress you buy, you get either one or two. This layer uses 24 vulcanized chambers that inflate and deflate via a hidden hose and pump. This allows sleepers to control the firmness level of the bed. Pressure sensors inside the air chambers can also detect a sleeper’s movement and make the necessary adjustments.

Unlike other mattress brands, Sleep Number bases are sold separately. The most basic for the 360 p5 Smart Bed is the Integrated Base which provides a level surface for the mattress. If you want to further enhance the sleep experience, adjustable bases are available. Branded as FlexFit, adjustable bases allow the head and foot positions of the mattress to be raised. In the case of the FlexFit 3 model, you even get foot warming.

Purple

When it comes to mattress design and construction, Purple is more straightforward. There are no inflating layers, smart sensors, or moving bases here. Instead, the brand relies on what it calls the GelFlex Grid, the core layer of every Purple mattress. It’s guaranteed to be 100% non-toxic and enjoys CleanAir GOLD and CertiPUR-US.

As its name implies, the GelFlex layer boasts a repeating geometric structure in the form of a grid. It’s made from a proprietary polymer that adapts as you move in bed without losing shape. The result is a soft but equally supportive mattress that suits your body weight.

Purple’s GelFlex Grid is sandwiched between two other layers. On the top, you get a SoftFlex cover with a knitted design. Below the grid, Purple adds high-density foam layers to serve as a durable base for the mattress. Purple adds that the materials used across these layers are hypoallergenic and that the overall construction facilitates airflow to prevent the growth of mold, fungi, and bacteria.

Firmness and Comfort

Sleep Number’s 360 p5 Smart Bed may have adjustable firmness levels, but Purple’s mattress wins when it comes to temperature regulation.

Sleep Number vs Purple Mattress Firmness and Comfort
A look at the covers of the Sleep Number 360 p5 (left) and the Purple Mattress (right)

Thanks to its air chamber, sleepers can change the firmness of the Sleep Number 360 p5 as they please. This makes it hard to categorize the specific feel of the bed. However, since the 360 p5 uses a pillow-top, you’ll find it’s generally softer than other Sleep Number mattresses. The comfort layer also adds to the pressure relief offered by the model.

Meanwhile, the Purple Mattress is 9.25-inches thick, thinner than most memory foam and even hybrid mattresses. But because the bed uses an elastic GelFlex Grid, standard scales don’t quite capture the firmness of the mattress. According to Purple, the base model is both soft and firm — soft on your shoulders and hips and firm on your back and legs.

If you’re a back sleeper looking for pressure relief, the Purple Mattress cushions the heaviest areas of the body. The bed is also more buoyant than most foam mattresses, so you lie on the bed rather than sink into it, much like a hybrid mode. On the downside, if you’re a heavy-set or side sleeper, you might find the Purple Mattress lacks support.

The 360 p5’s unique construction impacts its ability to regulate temperature. Some sleepers have mentioned the bed can get hot. Moreover, it doesn’t come with temperature-balancing comfort layers like the mattresses from the Performance Series.

With the Purple Mattress, the grid structure features over 1400 air channels. So unlike standard memory foam mattresses, Purple’s bed can dissipate body heat more efficiently.

Smart Features and Performance

Sleep Number’s mattress offers sleep insights, great motion isolation, and edge support. Purple’s Mattress has no smart features but it also delivers in minimizing motion transfer.

Sleep Number vs Purple Mattress Performance
Couples who don’t want to be disturbed in their sleep by their partners will like what Sleep Number and Purple offer

Living up to its branding as a smart bed, the Sleep Number 360 p5 enjoys a feature called SleepIQ. Using the same pressure sensors that adjust your bed automatically, the mattress can monitor your sleep patterns and characteristics. Data is collected and sent to the SleepIQ app, where you get personal insights through a SleepIQ score.

With adjustable firmness levels, the 360 p5 offers above-average motion isolation. For couples, this means your partner’s movement on the bed is barely noticeable. The air chamber and sturdy construction also lend the mattress solid edge support.

Purple’s original mattress has no smart features to boast of. Instead, the bed adjusts manually to a sleeper’s weight, all thanks to the GelFlex Grid. Since it does away with coils, the Purple Mattress also enjoys minimal motion transfer and bounce. And with two layers of polyfoam sandwiching the grid layer, expect decent edge support as well.

Click here to read our Tempur-Pedic vs Purple comparison.

Accessories

Sleep Number and Purple offer a range of sleep accessories for a customized bedroom setup.

Sleep Number vs Purple Mattress Accessories
A look at a Sleep Number base (left); Purple’s GelFlex Grid pillow (right)

Similar to most mattress brands, Sleep Number and Purple offer several accessories. This ensures you get a complete sleep experience, not just a mattress. As mentioned in the Design and Construction section, Sleep Number sells bases separately. Each delivers a different sleep experience — from adjustable foot and head rising to foot warming. 

If you go for Sleep Number, you can also choose from a range of bedding and pillows. Mattress covers, as well as comforters and duvet, are also available.

Purple’s peripherals also follow the same template. But unlike other mattress brands, Purple’s GelFlex Grid technology extends to these items, including its GelFlex Grid pillows. Sheets, duvet covers, and mattress protectors are also offered by the brand.

As for bed frames, the closest Purple comes to Sleep Number is its Ascent Adjustable Base. While it lacks physical or smartphone-aided controls, the Ascent bed frame can be manually adjusted. It can also recreate a zero-gravity, weightless sensation like Sleep Number’s technical mattress bases.

Verdict

Sleep Number is ideal for people who want smart and adjustable beds. If you want to spend less, the Purple Mattress is both a traditional and innovative foam bed with excellent pressure relief.

As smart technology becomes increasingly embedded in our daily lives, it only makes sense it makes its way inside our bedrooms. Sleep Number’s catalog of beds is known for its adjustable firmness and comfort levels. However, features like SleepIQ provide insight into sleep patterns that up the ante on what it means to be a smart bed.

In the case of the Sleep Number 360 p5, you get all these features — but at a high cost. You’ll also have to shell out for a bed base separately. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on features like raising head and foot positions.

At nearly half the price of Sleep Number, the Purple Mattress may seem like a budget alternative. In reality, even the base model is priced above most bed-in-the-box mattresses. Purple justifies its cost by highlighting the innovative GelFlex Grid. It’s a layer that delivers adjustable firmness and pressure relief but relies on the grid material’s ability to respond to a sleeper’s weight.

Users can also get their hands on Purple bed accessories, some of which can recreate the sensations offered by Sleep Number bases. However, like their mattress counterparts, these frames are only manually adjustable.

FAQs

đź“Ś What is the best Sleep Number alternative?

In terms of performance, mattresses from Purple, Saatva, and Nectar can serve as an alternative.

📌 What insights does Sleep Number’s SleepIQ offer?

Using SleepIQ, users can get information about how long they sleep, how well they sleep, and when they sleep.

đź“Ś Does Purple offer discounts if you bundle the Purple Mattress with the adjustable base?

Yes. Purple usually offers considerable discounts if you purchase a Purple Mattress with its Ascent adjustable base.

đź“Ś Where is the Purple Mattress made?

The Purple Mattress is made in the USA.

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Mari Bassig

Senior Editor, writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, social media, and music.