A Different Kind of Hybrid
Flex-Tech, the newest mattresses by Selectabed, are tagged as “pillowtop hybrids.” Mattresses that are hybrids are usually either (1) a combination of a high section of foam comfort layers with an innerspring base, or (2) a combination of latex and memory foam comfort layers. Fewer hybrids are those with coir and innersprings.
Flex-Tech mattresses are none of these. What makes these “hybrids” has to do with the feel of the bed. According to Selectabed, Flex-Tech has “The innovative luxury traditional feeling [of] pillow-top mattresses without the uneven springs and motion transfer.” The foam support core is engineered to have the same kind of resiliency as steel coils, but with the motion isolation of a foam core or pocket coils.
The Flex-Tech line was designed by a chiropractor, Dr. Rick Swartzburg, who is also the VP of Product Development for Relief-Mart, the parent company of Selectabed. Many patients preferred the feel of pillowtop hybrid innerspring mattresses. One thing they liked was the resiliency of the coils.
However, there were some drawbacks. Although the foams in the pillow top and the comfort layer(s) did dampen motion transfer somewhat, there was still some with offset coils, continuous coils, and Bonnell coils. Only pocket coils had motion isolation.
On the other hand, pocket coils, not being tied together, need some kind of border or edge support. Some users can sense individual coils, even through layers of foam. Also, without the support of the other coils, they appear to be not as durable. Much of this is seen in customer reviews of several leading pocket coil brands.
Layered Stabilization Technology
Dr. Swartzburg calls his solution to achieving the feel of a traditional pillowtop mattress without the disadvantages of coils layered stabilization technology. It begins with softer materials at the top, and gradually transitions through intermediate layers to firm support at the bottom. This is the same principle put to work in the Tri-Pedic Series of memory foam mattresses and the Fibro-Pedic and Soft-Pedic latex mattresses.
What makes Flex-Tech different from these other models is the support base material – Resili–Flex™. Generally, support cores in foam mattresses (including latex mattresses and memory foam mattresses) are very firm polyurethane foam. More than firm, the Flex-Tech base is resilient enough to be springy – like coils. This is intended to make it feel like an innerspring mattress, but without the coils.
[By the way: a related technology is the development of latex-like foams – polyurethane foam engineered to have the resiliency of latex. In this case, the designed resiliency is like that of coils.]
The advantages of this base material over coils are
- It evenly distributes support,
- It does not need edge support or encasement,
- Coils are not felt,
- Broken coils do not protrude,
- No coil failure to leave gaps in support, and
- No concentration of ambient electromagnetic fields (for those concerned about “electromagnetic pollution”¹ or “electrosmog”²).
Optional Airflow Transfer System
The patented³ Airflow Transfer System (ATS) is an available option for Flex-Tech models, as it is with other Selectabed mattresses, and can be selected when the mattress is ordered. ATS facilitates the two-way flow of air from the top of the mattress, through the foam, and out the sides, The key components of this are (1) the Kool–Flow cover, (2) vertical perforations in the upper layers of foam, and (3) horizontal channel cuts in the top surface of the base layer.
Currently, there are four models of Flex-Tech Hybrid Mattresses: Original™, Deluxe™, Extreme™, Elite™:
- Original™ – This is a 9-inch high, extra-firm mattress.
- Deluxe™ – This is a 10-inch high, firm mattress.
- Extreme™ – This is an 11-inch high, extra-soft mattress.
- Elite™ – This is a 12-inch high luxury plush mattress.
In Flex-Tech mattresses, the “comfort layer” is the pillow top. The next layer is called “Transitional Flex-Support” in the Original, “Flex-Comfort Layer” in the Deluxe and the Extreme, and “Extra-Durable 5lb. Density Ventilated Memory Foam” in the Elite.
The covers of all the Flex-Tech models feature a knit of bamboo-sourced rayon. The pillowtop comfort foam is quilted to this. With the ATS option, this is the Kool–Flow cover – a blend of 43% bamboo rayon, 56.4% polyester, and 0.6% Lycra, which has knitted-in micro-vents.
So far, mattresses in the Flex-Tech series are available only on the Selectabed website and in the Selectabed/TempFlow/Air-Pedic showroom in Agoura Hills, California.
Not to be confused with …
There are a few mattresses with names similar to Flex-Tech.
The Kingsdown Flex Tech mattresses sold by Sleep Country in Canada are also pocket coil hybrids.
The sound-alike mattresses most like Selectabed’s Flex-Tech line are the Novaform FlexTech mattresses made by Sleep Innovations and sold by Costco. First of all, they are all-foam mattresses, like those in the Flex-Tech Series. Their title feature is a “responsive” Flex Tech Foam in the top layer. Without calling it a latex-like foam or labeling it as “Energex”, “Avena”, or “Engineered Latex”, the way its use is described leaves that impression.
There are two significant contrasts between Flex-Tech by Selectabed and and Novaform Flex Tech. First, one is a base support foam, while the other is a top-side comfort foam. Second, one is made in the USA, while the other is most likely made in China.
Warranty and Sleep Trial
The warranty period for Flex-Tech mattresses is 18 years for the Original and the Deluxe. For Extreme and Elite, it is 30 years. The Sleep Trial is 120 days.
No customer reviews and ratings are yet available at the time of this writing, since this line is new. Customers have not had enough time to evaluate their experience with these models.
¹ VitalWOOD touts their “metal-free mattress” as not contributing to electromagnetic pollution, because the wood does not resonate with electromagnetic radiation (otherwise known as radio waves).
Excerpt from W. Vaughn, “Wooden Coils: What Will They Make Springs from Next?”, Beds Blog, Feb. 17, 2014 [http://www.beds.org/blog/wooden-coils-what-will-they-make-springs-from-next/].
² And being wood, not metal, they do not amplify and focus electromagnetic radiation, which is believed by many to have harmful effects on the human body. VitalWOOD calls this radiation “Electrosmog.”
Excerpt from “VitalWOOD Perfect Variations Review”, “VitalWood”, Mattress Reviews, Beds.Org, Aug. 27, 2014 [https://www.beds.org/mattress/vitalwood-perfect-variations.php].
³ The optional Airflow Transfer System™ is protected by U.S. Patent No. 7,334,280.