DIY replace layers in Nautilus Air Bed (like sleep number)

Hi, I am planning to upgrade my over 20 year old queen airbed by replacing the layers. I have already added a 2 inch memory foam topper (wrapped in polyester batting) in the layer under the pillow top. I also have a old 5 inch memory foam on the inside layer on top of the air bladders.

I am wanting to replace that 5 inch memory foam with something that makes more sense.

My question is what would you all suggest?
I was thinking maybe 4-6 inches of a medium or medium-firm polyfoam.

I can’t do latex.

Is there anything else I should consider adding under that medium mattress foam? Like should I add a firm polyfoam then medium polyfoam? Would pocket coils or micro coils be an option to consider?

I think there is around 6-8 inches of room for a layer on top of the air bladders (probably more if I reduce the air in the bladders, basically setting a new max height).

I am a side preference combo sleeper (usually start on side and end up on back or side) and weigh 160lbs, my height is 5 ft. 4 in.

For reference:
I have the Premier Series - dual interlocking air chambers with a removable pillow top layer

Hi Tarianjed,

Welcome to the MattressUnderGround and becoming a new MUGster!

Thanks for your question. I am not very familiar with this particular air bed, but given your requirements and preferences, here’s a more general suggestion for upgrading your airbed:

  1. Medium or Medium-Firm Polyfoam Layer (4-6 inches): Since you can’t use latex, a medium or medium-firm polyfoam layer sounds like a good choice. This will provide support and comfort, especially considering your side preference as a combo sleeper. Generally, Polyfoam’s of 1.8lbs or greater offer more durability, but can be made to various ILD’s for comfort. Firmer layers in the mid 30 ILD to 44 range for firm and lower ILD’s for less firm feels.

  2. Consider Adding a Firm Polyfoam Layer: If you’re looking for extra support, adding a thin layer of firm polyfoam underneath the medium or medium-firm polyfoam can help provide a more stable base. However, since you’re relatively lightweight, this might not be necessary if the medium polyfoam alone provides sufficient support. Recently a friend’s SN comfort layers began to fail miserably, with no relief even on the 100 setting (not sure if the bladders are performing at their peek performance either) . A polyfoam or coir layer can be used to firm things up, but I suspect there may be other internal issues he may be battling. This, only after 6 years of service.

  3. Coil Options: Pocket coils or micro coils could be considered for added support and bounce. However, since you already have an airbed with adjustable firmness, adding coils might not be necessary and could potentially complicate the setup, a challenge I am not so sure is worthy of investigation. Really a non option from my perspective.

  4. Adjusting Air Bladder Height: Since you have 6-8 inches of room above the air bladders, you have some flexibility to adjust the overall height of the mattress. If you find that adding layers makes the mattress too high, you can reduce the air in the bladders to accommodate the new layers.

Finally, you many want to contact these folks as they purchased the Nautilus Air Bed System’s Assets in 2006. Perhaps within their new designs there are some options to complete your replacement layers for your original Nautilus. I always approach reviving and restoring older bedding systems with caution, as some might consider it funding good money on a bad project. Only you know the condition of your Nautilus’s mechanics and whether it may be worth the risk making these planned upgrades.

Good luck with this project.


Thanks for confirming things for me! I will start with a 4 inch layer of medium polyfoam and see where things stand.

The air bladders and other internals basically look near new, even the tubing which I expected to look in bad shape after almost a quarter century is clear with minimal yellowing. I cleaned the pillowtop zippered cover in my bathtub a few months ago and that gave it a new lease on life as well.
It’s condition is probably because only lighter weight people have slept on it it’s whole existence.

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@MFC Would you have any recommendations for companies State side that sell HR polyfoam cores similar to your offering? I was looking at foamonline because they are more transparent about their foam specs but I figure I would ask for opinions first.


Good morning tarianjed,

Unfortunately, I’m not up to date on the USA polyurethane foam market and therefor cannot make any recommendations. However I did a quick search and came up with 2 other companies that potentially sell HR foam:
Foam Factory

I suggest you contact them to see what they offer and get back to us with your findings.

All the best