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Mattress Ratings > Waterbed Reviews

unbiased Waterbed Mattress Reviews and Ratings

Based on 374 Actual Consumer Experiences

August 23, 2015

What You Need To Know

THE GOOD: Contours to body for reduced pressure points • good longevity possible • often inexpensive • largely dust mite resistant • temperature control.

THE BAD: Can be punctured • heavy • set up / assembly and maintenance • noise and initial odor potential • possible heating expense.

THE BEDS: Waterbeds come mainly in two types: hard-sided and soft-sided. A hard-sided waterbed (more common of the two) consists of a water chamber inside a wood frame placed on a deck and platform. A soft-sided waterbed looks like a conventional bed. It consists of a water chamber encased inside a frame of sturdy foam and fabric placed on a platform.

THE COMPETITION: Waterbeds tend to compete mostly with airbeds. See how waterbeds compare to airbeds and other bed types in the mattress type comparison.

THE RESEARCH: This page rates only waterbed mattresses – meaning not the frame or any other possible aspect of the beds including liner, heater, pad, fill/drain and hose. Consumer data was gathered using an unbiased, accurate methodology.

Waterbed Ratings Overview

Ratings below are based on over 370 actual waterbed mattress owner experiences.

Owner satisfaction b- Waterbeds have 79% owner satisfaction. They basically tie with memory foam, latex and air mattresses and rate higher than spring mattresses. Learn more.
Durability c Punctures / leaks are the top complaint of hardside waterbed owners. Most punctures / leaks are caused by cats, zippers and pens / pencils. Also, about 8% of owners report that the heater used to keep the water warm broke and needed to be replaced.
Longevity b- Longevity is a top positive of the mattresses. Punctures / leaks can often be easily repaired. With good maintenance, waterbeds can last for over a decade.
Price B+ Hardside waterbed mattresses often are $50-$400, while softside ones often cost $800-$1800. Higher priced models have more features, namely wave reduction and lumbar support.
Energy use / cost d+ Waterbeds are usually heated (at least in the winter) to prevent an uncomfortably cold sleep surface. Heating water takes significant energy and will result in somewhat higher electricity costs.
Less (back) pain B About 18% of owners report pain relief, while 9% complain that their bed causes pain. (See mattresses and pain relief for more analysis.) Also, the "hard side" of hardside waterbeds may be uncomfortable when getting on or off the bed.
Contours to body / reduced pressure a- Waterbeds contour to the body as well as, if not better than, other mattress types. The result is a mostly even distribution of one's weight and reduced pressure points.
Motion isolation D+ A mattress with good motion isolation absorbs movement from spreading across the bed and keeps one's partner from being disturbed. Single bladder, free flow waterbeds perform poorly, while dual bladder, waveless models can perform fairly well. Motion of the bed causes sea sickness-like symptoms for about 3% of owners.
Dust mite resistant / fewer allergies a- Waterbeds overall rate well on the issue of dust mites because the mites cannot enter into the water chamber.
No initial odor / off gassing D+ About 17% of waterbed owners report a significant and bothersome initial odor, usually from the vinyl.
No noise c- Waterbeds are generally quiet if air is removed from inside; otherwise the water may be heard (swishing, sloshing). In addition, the heater may make some noise.
Easy to set up / assemble d- A main disadvantage compared to most other mattress types. Setting up a waterbed often requires considerable time and effort.
Easy to maintain c- A water conditioner should be added occasionally, and the water level needs to be maintained. On the positive side, the mattress never needs to be flipped / turned.
Easy to lift, handle, move f Waterbeds are the heaviest type of bed and can weigh as much as 1,000 lbs when full. Moving the bed is difficult and time consuming because you must drain the bed to move it.
Good for sex c For the majority of owners, the beds are viewed as no better than average on this issue. See mattresses and sex for more info.
Warranties c- While the total warranty length for a waterbed can be 20 years or more, non-prorated coverage often ends after the first few years. (See mattress warranties: what you should know.)

Top-Rated Waterbed Mattresses

The table below compares waterbed mattresses that have at least 82% owner satisfaction based on a sample of 20+ consumer experiences. The mattresses below are all suited for traditional hard-sided (wooden) waterbed frames.

Blue Magic Fiber 1000 Natural Expressions Better Sleep 200 Blue Magic Fiber 3500 Semi Waveless WaterBed and Kit Innomax Sanctuary
Owner Satisfaction (sample)          
94% (47) 94% (39) 93% (58) 89% (83) 91% (23) 83% (59)
$104- $160 $225- $250 $67- $82 $160- $170 $300 $50
walmart .com wayfair. com wayfair. com walmart .com samsclub .com amazon
single, queen, king single, queen, king single, queen, king single, queen, king king king
Waveless or Free Flow          
70% waveless 100% waveless free flow 85% waveless 70% waveless* free flow
Lumbar Support          
yes yes no yes yes no
Includes Safety Liner          
yes no no yes yes no
Vinyl Thickness (mil)          
18 24* 24* 18 22 20
12 yrs total (3 yrs full coverage and 9 yrs prorated) 15 yrs total (3 yrs full coverage and 12 yrs prorated)* 15 yrs total (3 yrs full coverage and 12 yrs prorated)* 12 yrs total (3 yrs full coverage and 9 yrs prorated) 20 yrs total (2 yrs full coverage and 18 yrs prorated) 20 yrs total (2 yrs full coverage and 18 yrs prorated)
thin vinyl means greater puncture potential. made by Classic Brands made by Classic Brands thin vinyl means greater puncture potential. Included: mattress, liner, heater, pad, fill/drain and hose. --

* estimate

Owner Satisfaction and Wave Reduction

Owner satisfaction is somewhat linked to wave reduction. A mattress with a high percent of wave reduction will have only a few seconds of motion, while a free-flow mattress will have several seconds of motion. Keep in mind that the higher the wave reduction, the more expensive the bed will likely be.

waterbed comparison chart

About our unbiased Waterbed review and research

Ratings are based on 370+ waterbed owner experiences related to a variety of brands and manufacturers.

80% of the owner experience data was collected from over 180 online message boards. Find out more about our mattress research methodology and sources.

Waterbed Popularity

– At the peak of their popularity in the late 1970s and early 1980s, about 20 percent of the U.S. population owned a waterbed. Our research suggests that today about 2 percent of people own a waterbed.

Nevertheless, advances have been made over the decades, such as wave reduction, that make waterbeds more competitive with conventional mattress types in many ways.

At Amazon: A Top-Rated Waterbed Mattress

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