From Water to Air
Boyd Sleep (formerly Boyd Specialty Sleep), a manufacturer of waterbeds for 40 years, has made adjustable airbeds for 30 years, almost as long as Sleep Number. The SensAire brand by Boyd is now Night Air with its own website and Facebook page.
They have also been making airbeds for other companies for a long time. In June 2006 they were making Simmons BeautyRest luxury guest airbed models. Since 2013, they have been making Synchrony brand airbeds for Thomasville Furniture. Since they are guest beds, Simmons BeautyRest Air Beds will be covered in a separate review.
The Choice of 2 or 6
Boyd Sleep’s bedroom airbeds, both Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony, come with the choice of two or six air chambers. Both brands have pairs of models which differ only in the number of air chambers.
Technically, the 6-chamber models are tri-zoned airbeds. In a single-sleeper sized airbed (Twin or Full), the original configuration is one air chamber – 2-chamber airbeds are for two-sleeper mattresses (Double, Queen, King).
According to BedTimes Magazine, tri-zoned airbeds were first made (about 1997, nine years before mid-2006) by American National Manufacturing, a manufacturer of waterbeds. Not only has Boyd Sleep followed suit, but Air-Pedic adjustable airbeds are all tri-zoned.
What is the advantage of tri-zoned over un-zoned air support?
A tri-zoned air bed has three air chambers per sleeper instead of one. The middle chamber is adjusted separately from the end chambers. In the annotated side-sleeper photos by both Air-Pedic and Boyd Air, the air pressure under the hips and lumbar is higher than under the feet and head. One is 47-82-47, and the other 45-68-45. Besides showing how the center chamber uses more air pressure to support the heaviest section of the body, it also illustrates how the differential is customized for the individual user.
Differential air pressure is a remedy for a problem of single-chamber support – hammocking. As explained in the article On the Air with Airbeds, this is sagging of the air chamber under the weight of the torso pushing up the ends. This is a lesser problem with lighter sleepers and firmer air settings, but greater with heavier sleepers and less firm settings. Side sleepers are shown in the illustrative images because side sleepers need softer mattresses to accommodate the shoulder, therefore lower air settings, meaning hammocking is more likely. But sagging is also more of a problem for side sleepers, since it distorts the spine laterally.
As to the choice between 2-chamber or 6-chamber models for Boyd Sleep airbed customers, 2-chambers may be acceptable for back sleepers who prefer firm mattresses, but side sleepers need 6-chamber airbeds.
A few commentators dismiss tri-zoned airbeds, saying this means more opportunities for problems, such as with air hose connections. However, customer reviews have about the same proportion of complaints about air connections and pumps for 6-chamber beds and 2-chamber beds.
Here are the pairs of models for Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony:
Night Air [formerly SensAire]
2-Chamber Air Beds
6-Chamber Air Beds
On Top of the Air
In spite of a few who deny any benefit for foam above the air chambers, adjustable airbeds with foam top layers are holding their own in the marketplace. Although there are some customer complaints about foam failure on airbeds, they seem to be no greater than for other mattress types with foam comfort layers. Customer remarks seem to favor more foam over less. The analysis of Boyd Airbeds by Sleep Like the Dead shows greater customer satisfaction for models with more foam on top, along with greater satisfaction for the 6-chamber beds.
The selection of comfort foams differs between Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony adjustable airbeds.
Night Air Comfort Layers
Currently, there are six models each for Night Air’s Supreme (2-chamber) and Ultra (6-chamber) series. The models are numbered Supreme 2250-2290 and Ultra 6650-6690. Since these are parallel models, differing only in the number of air chambers, we’ll refer to the last two digits of their model numbers.
The 50 airbeds have 2” of engineered latex and 8” air cores.
The 55 airbeds have 2” of gel-infused engineered latex and 8” air cores.
The 60 airbeds have 1” of memory foam and 2” of gel-infused engineered latex over 8” air cores.
The 70 airbeds have 2” of gel memory foam and 1” of gel-infused engineered latex over 10” air cores.
The 80 airbeds have 2” of gel memory foam and 2” of gel-infused engineered latex over 10” air cores.
The 90 airbeds have 4” of gel memory foam over 10” air cores.
All Night Air models but the 2250 and 6650 have gel-infused foam. All but 2250 and 6650 have memory foam. All but 2290 and 6690 have engineered latex.* The lowest models are 10” and the highest 14” in height.
Except in the 2250 and 6650 airbeds, all Night Air models have foam with “sculpted” air channels for cooling and freshness. Patents are pending for the “sculpted foam” by Boyd Sleep. Evidently the design is different from the channels in Selectabed’s patented Airflow Transfer System, but these are a functional equivalent. The same or similar design is used in the Thomasville Synchrony beds. This is in addition to the use of gel, underscoring the limitations of this popular foam infusion for cooling.
*Just a note: According to some writers, “engineered latex” is neither natural nor synthetic latex, but polyurethane foam formulated to have latex-like properties, a latex feel.
Thomasville Synchrony Comfort Layers
There are currently eight models of Thomasville Synchrony adjustable airbeds. Four (named after stars/constellations) have six chambers, and four (named after planets) have two. None have latex in the comfort layers, and only half of them have gel. Some have higher air chambers. There are four heights, each with a model in each series: 9”, 11”, 12” and 14” high. Here are their comfort layers and air chamber heights:
Gemini and Mercury (9”) have 2” of polyurethane foam and 6.5” air chambers.
Aries and Neptune (11”) have 2” of memory foam and 8.5” air chambers.
Celestial and Saturn (12”) have 3” of gel memory foam and 8.5” air chambers.
Orion and Jupiter (14”) have 3” of gel memory foam and 2” of memory foam on 8.5” air chambers.
Both Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony adjustable airbeds have covers which are removable for drycleaning. Thomasville covers are quilted.
We calculate our ratings in accordance to our Verified Review Policy.
There are different sources for gauging customer response for Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony adjustable airbeds. For Night Air, these are Sleep Like the Dead, Feefo (a contractor for collecting customer reviews), anc GoodBed. Thomasville adjustable airbeds are reviewed on Costco (a made-for-Costco model) and the Thomasville Synchrony website.
Sleep Like the Dead
The independent evaluation site for mattresses and beds, Sleep Like the Dead (SLTD), collects comments by bed owners from several Internet sites, and analyze the responses to determine the owners’ views. They present their findings for several areas, such as owner satisfaction, affordability, durability, pressure relief, support, etc. They also evaluate the company itself.
According to SLTD, Boyd Sleep adjustable airbeds have an 81% owner satisfaction rate. Areas in which these beds score high are Adjustable firmness, Longevity, Less back pain, No “middle problem”, and Minimizing pressure points.
The Night Air models considered individually are not the current ones, but Supreme 2210-2240 and Ultra 6610-6640, indicating that these are the 2016-2017 models. Notably, the 6-chamber airbeds have higher owner satisfaction rates than their 2-chamber equivalents.
Feefo is a contractor that collects customer reviews for companies such as Boyd Sleep. The reviews give two ratings for their purchases: Customer Experience and Product.
The models reviewed by 13 customers range from the 10” 2-Chamber Mattress and the 12” 2-Chamber Mattress to the Supreme 2255 and the Ultra 6670. The 10” 2-Chamber was the most reviewed (4), followed by the Ultra 6630 (3). Four customers did not name their mattress, and four gave only a Customer Experience rating.
Overall, the average Customer Experience rating is 4.08 (81.54%), and the Product Rating 4.14 (82.73%), close to the SLTD rating.
Only 16 customers reviewed Boyd Sleep adjustable airbeds on GoodBed. Only two of these customers wrote actual reviews, and these two were at opposite poles. These ratings seem to be an anomaly. The average ratings for Back Support (2.3), Pressure Relief (2.8), Sleep Quality (2.5), and Stays “Cool” (3.4) are each higher than the average overall ratings (2.2) for the beds themselves. In contrast, the
“Owners Rating” based on whether the customers would recommend their airbeds, was 75%.
Four customers reviewed Flex Aire, the one Thomasville adjustable airbed model listed on Costco, with a 2.75 average rating.
The Thomasville Synchrony website has 37 reviews of their adjustable airbeds, more than all the Night Air ratings. The most (7) were for the Mercury Bed, and the fewest (3) for the Aires Bed. The rest of the models had 4 or 5 ratings. The average rating for all Thomasville Synchrony airbeds was 4.65 (93%). These are the current models, so there are no reviews/ratings available for earlier models. The numbers illustrate the effect of small review samples. Mercury Bed, with 7 reviews, has the lowest average rating, 4.0. It also has the only 3-star rating and only one 5-star. If one of the 4-star ratings had been 5 stars, the average for that model would have been 4.71 stars.
Pros and Cons
The most common pro in customer reviews of Night Air and Thomasville Synchrony airbed models is the adjustable air support. For 6-chamber beds, lumbar support is a frequently pro. Also cited is coolness. Customers who have had both say Boyd Sleep airbeds are cooler than those by Sleep Number, which may be due to the air channeling.
The most common complaints have to do with pumps or leaky valves. Less common is an air chamber leak. These are the most common problems with adjustable airbeds in general, no matter the brand. However, Boyd Sleep customer service has been mostly complimented for their response.