Advantages and Disadvantages of Waterbed Mattresses
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Waterbeds for many people may be a throwback to the 1970′s but, like many ’70′s things, they are becoming popular again. In fact it’s a little surprising that it’s taken so long for waterbed mattresses to have their resurgence.
They come in two main forms – that’s the hard-sided beds and the soft-sided beds. On a hard-sided bed the waterbed mattress sits inside a rectangular wooden frame which rests on a plywood deck which all sits on a platform. A soft-sided waterbed has the mattress sitting inside a frame of sturdy foam, zippered inside a fabric casing, which sits on a platform that may resemble a conventional box-spring. The soft-sided type looks more like a standard bed.
How comfortable a waterbed is nowadays will largely depend on the mattress. The early ones often used a single water chamber which meant that motion in one area of the bed was transferred very easily via waves into the other areas of the bed. For sleeping couples this obviously wasn’t ideal. As the technology improved the mattresses incorporated wave-reducing methods such as fiber batting and interconnected water chambers. Nowadays some of the most expensive waterbeds are, essentially wave-less and use a mixture of interconnected air and water chambers.
Most waterbed mattresses are made from PVC. Punctures can be repaired with a normal vinyl repair kit. Many of these beds are heated ( sleeping on cold water can be uncomfortable)and temperature will be controlled by a thermostat, but this can be a rather expensive process as it uses a lot of electricity, especially in the case of a hard-sided model.
Other downsides of waterbeds include that sometimes hard-sided beds are made in different sizes to standard mattresses so that finding the right sized bedding can be problematical; movement of waterbeds is difficult as the bed needs to be drained, the base taken apart and, after movement, it needs to be re-assembled and filled with water that may need to be heated for many hours until it’s ready for use; also the chances of an annoying leak at some point in your waterbed’s life are fairly high – a plastic liner is a good idea to reduce damage but it will still need repairing which is a big inconvenience as the water will have to be drained and then re-filled again; the other major disadvantage is the heavy weight of a fully-filled waterbed, which can put a stress on floorboards in some properties – rented apartments especially may restrict the use of waterbeds.
Looking on the brighter side, the main advantages of waterbeds are that wave-less, heated models are extremely comfy, as there is virtually no pressure on the spine or the joints from water. The other main reason why people might choose a waterbed is that there is no place for dust-mites or other potential allergens to hide; even dirt and dead skin can be easily cleaned from the surface of the bed so they are very hygienic and easy to maintain.
The price of waterbeds will vary hugely – you will see $200 beds online, but you will also see $2000 beds in the same stores. As ever, do your research first and choose carefully.