Air beds and air mattresses are used in hospitals and nursing homes because they are very efficient at alleviating pressure. Air beds and air mattresses distribute weight across the surface using different technology than foam and inner spring mattresses. Foam or inner spring mattresses absorb body weight but they do not displace body weight the way air beds or mattresses do.
Select Comfort introduced adjustable air beds and air mattresses to the consumer bedding industry over 5 years ago. Until that point, consumers could only choose from innerspring mattresses and futons. Initially, the price of air mattresses and air beds was very high due to the cost of raising awareness in the marketplace. With new awareness in the bedding industry, many other manufacturers have jumped into the air mattress market.
Nautilus Sleep Systems, Comfortaire and others have entered the market and prices are dropping considerably. Much like the visco-elastic memory foam market launched by Tempur-Pedic, greater competition has led to greater savings for consumers.