All You Need to Know About Waterbed Mattresses

Softside Water Bed Mattress

The waterbed has a long and fascinating history, from its origins as a medical device to its rise as a pop culture icon. Although its popularity has waned over the years, it remains a unique and comfortable sleeping option for those who appreciate its many benefits. Read on as we take a closer look at waterbed mattresses and everything you need to know about them.

The Groovy Origins of the Waterbed

Origins of the Waterbed

The idea of sleeping on water dates back to ancient civilizations, where people would fill goatskin with water and sleep on them. However, the modern waterbed as we know it today was invented in the 1800s by a Scottish physician named Neil Arnott. He created a water-filled mattress to prevent bedsores in hospital patients.

Early Development of the Waterbed

In the early 1900s, waterbeds were primarily used in hospitals to aid in patient recovery. It wasn’t until the 1960s when Charles Hall, a design student, created a waterbed for personal use. He filled a vinyl mattress with water, which was surrounded by a wooden frame to prevent it from spilling. He founded the company, Innerspace Environments Inc., to produce and sell waterbeds commercially.

Popularity of Waterbeds

In the 1970s, waterbeds became increasingly popular, and soon they were not just a novelty but a must-have item in many homes. Celebrities like Elvis Presley and Hugh Hefner were known for their love of waterbeds, and soon the trend caught on. Waterbeds were seen as a symbol of luxury and hedonism, and their popularity continued to soar throughout the 1980s.

Waterbeds Used To Be A $2 Billion Industry — What Happened?

What Are Waterbed Mattresses?

Waterbed mattresses are a type of mattress that is filled with water instead of traditional materials like foam or springs. Waterbeds have been around for a long time, but they’ve evolved and improved over the years.

Hard-Sided Waterbeds

Hard-sided waterbeds are made up of a wooden frame and a vinyl bladder that holds the water. These types of waterbeds are typically larger and heavier than soft-sided waterbeds. Hard-sided waterbeds require a special frame that can support the weight of the water-filled bladder.

Soft-Sided Waterbeds

Soft-sided waterbeds look more like traditional mattresses. Instead of a wooden frame, they have a foam-filled cavity that supports the water-filled bladder. Soft-sided waterbeds are lighter and easier to move than hard-sided waterbeds. They can also be used with most standard bed frames.

Benefits of Waterbed Mattresses

Waterbed mattresses offer a number of benefits that make them a great choice for anyone looking for a comfortable and supportive sleeping experience. Here are just a few of the benefits of waterbed mattresses.

Pain Relief

Waterbed mattresses can help to relieve pain in the back, neck, and joints. The water in the mattress can conform to the shape of your body, providing support where you need it most.

Improved Sleep Quality

Many people find that they sleep better on a waterbed mattress. The even support of the water can help to reduce pressure points and improve circulation. This can lead to a more restful and restorative sleep.

Temperature Control

Waterbed mattresses can be heated or cooled to your desired temperature. This can be particularly beneficial for people who struggle with temperature regulation during the night.

How to Choose a Waterbed Mattress

Choosing a waterbed mattress can be overwhelming, but there are a few key things to keep in mind. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a waterbed mattress.


Waterbed mattresses come in a range of sizes, from twin to California king. Make sure you choose a size that fits your bed frame and your sleeping needs.


As we mentioned earlier, there are two main types of waterbed mattresses: hard-sided and soft-sided. Consider which type of waterbed mattress would be best for your needs.


Waterbed mattresses can vary in the level of support they provide. Make sure you choose a mattress that offers the right level of support for your body.

Waterbed Accessories

Waterbed mattresses require specific accessories, such as heaters and liners, to ensure their proper functioning. Ensure that you factor in the cost of these accessories when choosing a waterbed mattress.

Maintenance of Waterbed Mattresses

Waterbed mattresses require some maintenance to keep them in good condition. Here are some tips for maintaining your waterbed mattress.

Keep It Clean

Regularly clean your waterbed mattress with a vinyl cleaner to prevent buildup and damage.

Adjust Water Levels

Over time, the water level in your waterbed mattress may need to be adjusted. Make sure you regularly check and adjust the water level as required.

Check for Leaks

Waterbed mattresses can develop leaks over time. Make sure you regularly check your mattress for leaks and repair any issues promptly

Common Concerns About Waterbed Mattresses

If you’re considering a waterbed mattress, you may have some questions or concerns. Here are some common concerns and their solutions.


One of the most common concerns about waterbed mattresses is the possibility of leaks. While leaks can happen, they’re relatively rare if the mattress is properly maintained. Make sure you regularly check your mattress for leaks and promptly repair any issues.

Motion Transfer

Another concern with waterbed mattresses is motion transfer. Because the water moves, it’s possible that movement on one side of the bed can be felt on the other side. However, modern waterbed mattresses are designed to minimize motion transfer.


Waterbed mattresses can be heavy, especially hard-sided waterbeds. Make sure you have a sturdy bed frame that can support the weight of the mattress.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are waterbed mattresses more expensive than traditional mattresses?

A. Waterbed mattresses can be more expensive than traditional mattresses, but the cost can vary depending on the type and size of the mattress.

Q. Can I use my current bed frame with a waterbed mattress?

A. Soft-sided waterbed mattresses can typically be used with most standard bed frames. Hard-sided waterbed mattresses require a special frame.

Q. Do waterbed mattresses require a special heater?

A. Yes, waterbed mattresses require a special heater to keep the water at a consistent temperature.

Q. Can waterbed mattresses help with back pain?

A. Many people find that waterbed mattresses can help with back pain by providing even support and reducing pressure points.

Q. How often should I check for leaks in my waterbed mattress?

A. It’s a good idea to check your waterbed mattress for leaks every few months, or more frequently if you notice any issues.

In Summary

Waterbed mattresses offer a unique and comfortable sleeping experience that can help you get a good night’s sleep. They offer benefits such as pain relief, improved sleep quality, and temperature control.

When choosing a waterbed mattress, make sure to consider factors like size, type, support, and accessories. Proper maintenance is important for keeping your waterbed mattress in good condition. While there are some concerns with waterbed mattresses, they can be minimized with proper care and maintenance.