Last updated: August 23, 2021

A healthy and restful sleep provides the perfect start to the day. Sufficient sleeping comfort is therefore the be-all and end-all. With a waterbed you can create optimal sleeping conditions. Here you can find out what you should consider when buying a waterbed.

In our waterbed test 2022 we present the best and latest models from the respective categories. We also give you important tips and tricks on the subject of sleeping comfort. Whether you're looking for a hardside or softside waterbed, you'll find the best beds on the market here.

Contents




Smmary

  • A waterbed offers perfect sleeping comfort. The mattress adapts optimally to the body. The temperature can be individually adjusted, pleasant warmth ensures relaxation.
  • A waterbed is the ideal solution for allergy sufferers. It is more hygienic than other mattresses. Dust mites, bacteria and mould don't stand a chance.
  • A waterbed has a long life. The mattress does not wear out due to "lying through" and sweat residue.

The Best Waterbed: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a waterbed

What is a waterbed?

A waterbed is a bed construction in which the mattress part is filled with water. There are several variants with different features. In most cases, a heating system is also integrated to ensure a comfortable sleeping temperature. Properly adjusted, it is a bed that is easy on the back and joints. Due to the special construction, it has very good hygiene properties and is excellent for allergy sufferers.

The waterbed consists of a bed frame and a mattress filled with water. It is particularly suitable for allergy sufferers and enables a sleep that is easy on the joints and back.

Compared to conventional mattresses, a waterbed cannot become saggy, and the filling is easier to renew or replenish than with foam or innerspring. (Photo: Free-Photos / pixabay.com)

What does a waterbed cost?

Many people think a waterbed is an expensive investment. Good waterbeds do not have to be more expensive than comparable boxspring beds, but they do have a longer lifespan. Of course, the price of a waterbed increases with the features. The heating system adds electricity costs, as well as regular maintenance. However, the additional costs are relatively low.

A good entry-level model is no more expensive than a high-quality box spring bed, but it lasts longer.

Can I try out a waterbed?

You can try out a waterbed at any well-equipped specialist shop. It is important to get to know the different versions, degrees of hardness, levels of comfort and features. Only if you really feel comfortable in your waterbed will your sleep be restful. However, they probably won't let you spend the night there. The waterbed feeling should set in after just a few minutes.

How do I clean and care for a waterbed?

A waterbed is easy to clean. The fabric cover can be removed and washed in the washing machine. The outer vinyl cover of the waterbed is wiped off with a damp or dry cloth. This completes the daily cleaning. A little extra care every three months with vinyl cleaner and cream will make the waterbed look like it did on the first day. Once a year, conditioner must be added to the water core to maintain the water quality.

The fabric cover is machine washable. The vinyl cover is maintained every three months with special cleaners. A conditioner treatment for the water core should be carried out once a year.

What alternatives are there to a waterbed?

In the area of bedroom furniture, there is a wide choice, especially in beds and mattresses. The most popular choices are innerspring mattresses, comfort foam mattresses and box spring beds. Mattresses are available in different sizes, degrees of firmness and qualities.

Alternative Description
Innerspring mattresses An innerspring mattress is the classic among mattresses. A layer of fleece and felt contains spiral springs made of steel. This layer prevents you from feeling the springs when you sleep. Furthermore, a sheet of foam provides a soft finish.
Comfort foam mattresses The special manufacturing process of this mattress gives the material an open-pored and therefore breathable structure. The light foam material also has hardly any weight, which makes the mattress particularly convincing due to its low dead weight. In addition, the mattress can be divided into different zones, which provides secure support especially for people with back pain.
Boxspring beds The boxspring bed is particularly widespread in the United States and Canada. In contrast to beds in Germany, the base of the bed is not a slatted frame but a box spring on which the mattress lies. In most cases, the mattress itself is particularly thick.

What advantages does a waterbed have over other types of bed?

A waterbed has several advantages over conventional mattresses. It provides better sleeping comfort and is easier on the joints and back. With a heating system, it provides pleasant sleeping temperatures. Because of its good hygienic properties, it is very suitable for allergy sufferers. In addition, waterbeds have a long service life.

A waterbed offers a high level of sleeping comfort, cosy warmth and is gentle on the back. It has a long lifespan and is well suited for allergy sufferers.

Can I move with a waterbed?

Of course it is possible to move with a waterbed. As with other beds, there must be space for the bed in the new home. Before dismantling the bed, the water filling is drained from the mattress.

Then the bed construction can be dismantled, moved and reassembled and filled in the new flat. Before dismantling, the water filling must be drained. Then the move is possible.

Decision: What types of waterbeds are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between two different types of waterbeds, hardside and softside:

  • Hardside: A stable bed frame around the waterbed mattress provides stability and holds the construction together. The mattress completely fills the bed frame.
  • Softside: A heat-insulating foam frame surrounds the water core of the mattress. This variant can be built into existing beds or placed on a base.

In addition, there are special variants that are offered for both types of waterbed:

  • For a gel bed, the water in the mattress is mixed with a granulate. Depending on the requirements, this can be used to create a thick or thin gel. This allows the degree of firmness of the mattress to be individually controlled and also subsequently adjusted.
  • Calming stages reduce the wave motion within the waterbed mattress. The waterbed suppliers offer a wide range of different versions and calming levels.
  • Solo and dual systems are options for double beds. A solo system has a common water bladder. If both partners have different requirements in terms of weight, temperature and calming, a dual system makes sense.

Optimal weight distribution and hygiene conditions

There are some features that all waterbeds have in common, regardless of the type you choose. A waterbed can adapt to the body and weight much better than conventional mattresses. Muscles and joints can therefore relax better during sleep. Such sleeping conditions are also optimal for the spine.

Waterbeds thus prevent back and joint pain or provide relief from existing complaints. When sleeping on a waterbed, there is less pressure on individual parts of the body. For patients in need of care, this can be a great support if they have to lie down permanently. Some health insurance companies now even recognise waterbeds as aids for patients who are affected by pressure sores.

In terms of hygiene, waterbeds have clear advantages over conventional mattresses. The fabric cover around the mattress can be removed and cleaned in the washing machine. The surface of the mattress, which is usually made of vinyl, is wiped damp and dry. No house dust can penetrate the mattress and settle there.

Mites and their excretions also have no chance. These are good sleeping conditions for allergy sufferers who have problems with house dust and mites. Sweat also does not get inside the mattress. It remains in the fabric cover or can be wiped off the surface of the mattress. When it comes to hygiene, waterbeds clearly score points.

Temperature control and durability

Most waterbed systems are equipped with heating or temperature control. This has great advantages, especially in winter temperatures. A preheated bed does not give you cold feet, and with cosy warmth you can sleep faster and better.

If the waterbed has a temperature control that can also provide cooler temperatures, optimal conditions for a good night's sleep can be created even in summer heat. Slightly cooled, the body is better able to rest and nothing stands in the way of a restful night's sleep.

Waterbeds also last longer than other mattress systems. Without penetrating sweat, a waterbed ages very little for hygienic reasons. There is also no mechanical wear and tear caused by the body weight of the sleeping person. Sagging or sagging of the mattress is impossible. This is another reason why a waterbed is a long-term investment.

What are hardside waterbeds and what are the advantages and disadvantages of hardside waterbeds?

Hardside waterbeds were the pioneers when this type of bed came onto the market in the 1960s. The basis is a stable frame construction, for example made of four wooden planks with a base. This frame can be supported in many places on the underside of the bed. The waterbed mattress is then placed in the frame.

Advantages
  • The mattress fits perfectly to the body
  • The entire lying surface is available
  • Simple frame construction can be created by the user
Disadvantages
  • Entry and exit are less comfortable, you just sit on the wooden frame
  • Poor insulation causes heat loss and higher electricity costs
  • Low demand makes for poor supply of spare parts.

The heavy weight of a waterbed mattress requires even distribution in the supporting structure. A heater is built into the bed frame to provide the desired temperature control for the mattress, as well as a safety tray. Finally, the waterbed mattress with the water core is placed in the frame construction.

The water core thus uses the largest possible area within the frame. The bed construction can come from a waterbed supplier, but can also be assembled by the user. The mattress is only slightly insulated by the frame construction. A lot of heat is lost here. If you want a comfortably warm mattress, you have to heat it well.

When you get out of bed, the water mattress sinks and there is a height difference to the frame. Depending on the height difference, comfort when getting up is somewhat limited. Sitting on the edge of the bed is usually not very comfortable. Hardside waterbeds have a relatively low surface tension. The mattress adapts perfectly to the shape of the body.

This variant of the waterbed was the standard in this market segment for a long time. In the meantime, waterbeds of the softside variant have secured the largest share of the market. Hardside waterbeds are still available on request, but only have a small market share.

What are softside waterbeds and what are the advantages and disadvantages of softside waterbeds?

Softside waterbeds have been entering the market since the 1990s and have largely replaced the previous model. A softside waterbed has a stable foam frame that forms the basis of the mattress. The actual waterbed mattress is then built into this frame.

Advantages
  • Waterbed mattress is well insulated, there are lower heating costs
  • getting in and out is comfortable, as is sitting on the edge of the bed
  • waterbed can be adapted to existing bed frames.
Disadvantages
  • Not the entire surface of the bed is available as a lying surface
  • Due to the high mattress, sheets in special sizes are usually required.

The foam frame insulates the mattress against heat loss and offers easy entry and exit. At the edge, the waterbed does not sink in much due to the sloping foam construction. Getting out of the bed is easy. It is also comfortable to sit on the soft frame.

With the foam frame and the waterbed mattress with heating embedded in it, the waterbed is almost complete. It can be mounted on a substructure that supports the weight of the mattress over a large area. With an appropriate base construction, it can also be installed in many existing bed frames.

If you wish, you can also install the Softside waterbed without an additional bed frame or substructure. To compensate for the loss of lying space, softside waterbeds are often considerably longer than 200 cm.

The foam frame is very stable. It has to support the weight of the mattress and also the weight of the user. A high quality frame is therefore crucial for a long-lasting waterbed. It is also important that the frame can be screwed to the underlying bed construction. This provides additional stability.

What are gel beds and what are the advantages and disadvantages of gel beds?

The mixture of water and granulate creates a gel mass in the mattress. Depending on the mixing ratio, the gel is thin or thick. This viscosity (toughness) can also be adjusted later. The lying properties can therefore still be adapted to personal requirements even after purchase.

Gel beds rock less than classic waterbeds; the viscosity reduces the swell. People who sleep on a gel bed do not sink in as deeply. Many buyers also opt for a gel bed because for them the temperature of the mattress is already comfortable even without additional heating. If a gel bed is nevertheless to be equipped with heating, this is only possible with special heating systems.

Advantages
  • Viscosity and degree of hardness can be adjusted at any time
  • Low maintenance
  • Heating is optional
Disadvantages
  • With unheated beds, moisture can settle on the mattress
  • Removal is more complicated by emptying and refilling with the gel mass

Water displacement with dampened waves

Like a waterbed, a gel bed uses the principle of water displacement. Lying on a gel bed also creates a floating feeling. The gel adapts to the shape of the body, light parts of the body are supported, heavy parts sink in. The weight is distributed evenly. This process is slower and gentler on a gel bed than on a water bed. The perfect adaptation to the body shape ensures a pleasant sleep.

Waterbeds now also have options for dampening the waves. Changing the strength of this damping can only be done by changing the mattress. With a gel bed, the viscosity and thus the degree of hardness can also be adjusted subsequently without replacing the mattress.

Filling in additional granulate makes the gel bed more stable. This is easy to do because nothing clumps together and the gel is distributed evenly throughout the mattress. If you want your gel bed to swing more and be softer, you can achieve the desired result by adding salt.

Heating in a waterbed - useful or not?

If you want to get by without heating in the bed construction, you should choose a gel bed because it does not cool down as much as a waterbed and does not radiate cold even when unheated. An insulating overlay prevents the body from cooling down in winter. It is important to choose an overlay that supports the comfort of the gel bed. The specialised trade offers a good selection here.

There are also gel beds with heating. However, because of the low thermal conductivity of gel, such heaters are more expensive than models for normal waterbeds. With the heater, you set your desired temperature. As soon as the temperature drops below the desired level, the heating becomes active and brings the gel bed back to the desired temperature.

Did you know that heating a waterbed costs 50-100€ per year?

It is best to keep the bed covered during the day and air it for 15 minutes in the morning.

Less maintenance, but moving becomes more complicated

A gel bed requires less maintenance. There are no air bubbles that cause bubbling noises and are removed with a pump. There are also fewer material problems that can reduce lying comfort. Even a leak does not become a problem. If there is a leak, the gel remains in the mattress.

Before moving with a gel bed, the gel must first be liquefied. After emptying, moving and refilling the mattress, the desired viscosity must be re-established by adding granulate. This is more time-consuming and also incurs additional costs.

What are waterbeds with wave calming and what are the advantages and disadvantages of waterbeds with wave calming?

If you are not comfortable with the strong waves of a waterbed, there are other options besides the gel bed. Waterbeds are offered by manufacturers in different levels of calming. By inserting fleece material into the mattress, the waterbed is specifically calmed. In this way, an individual adjustment of the sleeping comfort is possible.

Advantages
  • A waterbed can be individually soothed by inserting fleece
  • adaptation to weight, stature and sleeping habits
  • optimal back support
Disadvantages
  • Adjustment of the cushioning subsequently only possible by replacing the mattress
  • fleece material is often less durable

Every person has different requirements for sleeping comfort. Size, weight, stature and sleeping position all have an influence. Without a calming effect, movements cause strong waves and a long after-swinging time. You sink deeply into the mattress, which adapts optimally to the shape of your body.

Different levels of calming

A medium calming of the waves helps to provide targeted support for certain parts of the body. Generally speaking, the more calming a waterbed is, the better it supports the back, for example. The after-swinging time of the water reduces with the degree of calming.

Waterbeds with very strong calming can be comfortable for people with a heavy weight. Senior citizens also benefit from the limited mobility of their mattress when they turn from one side to the other. Nevertheless, the waterbed brings orthopaedic advantages over conventional mattresses.

Although a completely stilled water mattress no longer gives the original waterbed feeling, it also has its advantages. Especially in couples, one partner is less disturbed by movements of the other partner. People who sleep on their stomach also benefit. So do allergy sufferers who buy a waterbed for hygienic reasons but do not want waves.

What should be considered when choosing?

The only way to find the right level of comfort is to try it out in a specialist shop. Here you can extensively compare different levels. A competent dealer can give you good advice based on his experience. If you are not satisfied with the chosen cushioning, the only solution is to replace the waterbed mattress. Many specialist dealers will exchange the mattress free of charge within the warranty period.

Different manufacturers use different types of fleece to cushion the mattress. There are different levels, processing and material quality. If the fleece material has a lower stability than the other materials, the lying comfort may already be impaired after a few years.

What are waterbed dual systems and what are the advantages and disadvantages of waterbed dual systems?

For a double bed, before buying a waterbed you need to decide whether it should be a solo or dual system. A solo system has one water bubble that has the same properties for both partners. For greater differences in weight, comfort or temperature requirements, a dual system is often the better choice.

With two different water bladders, individual settings are possible. When buying a waterbed, this is one of the most important decisions. It should be made before other details are chosen. Good advice from a competent specialist retailer is helpful.

Advantages
  • Individual adjustment possibilities in double beds
  • hybrid solutions are possible
Disadvantages
  • Dual system always has a disturbing middle
  • Associated with higher costs

A solo waterbed offers huge comfort. With the large surface area, the positive features of a waterbed come into their own more effectively. For singles, this is the ideal solution. Couples who have similar requirements for their mattress and sleep are also well advised to use a solo solution in a double bed. This is especially true if you and your partner like to cuddle together.

However, there are also many reasons that speak for a dual system in a double bed. Especially if the sleeping habits and requirements of both partners differ greatly. A dual system then makes individual adjustments possible. A hybrid system, a waterbed on one side and a conventional mattress on the other, is also possible.

If one partner is significantly taller or heavier than the other, the requirements for the waterbed will be different. If one partner turns frequently during sleep, this can be disturbing for the other partner in a solo solution. A dual system is also a good solution for different temperature requirements of the waterbed. Separate heating systems ensure well-being on both sides.

With a dual solution, different levels of comfort can of course also be combined. Perhaps one partner prefers the unrestrained swell, while the other partner cannot really feel comfortable without soothing fleeces in the waterbed mattress.

If wishes and requirements for sleeping comfort differ, a solo system is usually problematic. With a dual solution, individual wishes can be better fulfilled. The separating gap can then be bridged with a gel wedge or another suitable solution.

Buying criteria: These factors help you compare and evaluate waterbeds

Here we will briefly describe which criteria are important when you want to buy a waterbed. This should help you to find out which type of waterbed is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are the following factors:

  • Choosing the right retailer
  • Softside or Hardside waterbed?
  • Mono or dual system?
  • Waterbed or gel bed?
  • Which level of calming is suitable?

Here we explain the criteria in detail and show you how to deal with them.

Choosing the right specialist retailer

There are many furniture shops with large bed departments. Usually you will also find a few waterbeds here, because customers regularly ask for them. To cut a long story short, you should only buy waterbeds from a specialist. Only a specialist retailer is in a position to advise you on the choice of a suitable waterbed. Here you will find quality and service at fair prices.

Sitting on a waterbed can be a little unfamiliar at first. In general, you will probably have to get used to the different surface for sleeping. (Photo: JESHOOTScom / pixabay.com)

Softside or hardside waterbed

Hardside waterbeds have been outdated for some time. The modern softside versions offer more options and are more comfortable. However, if you have a very small bedroom where a hardside solution is the better option, your specialist dealer can advise you on this.

Mono or dual system?

A mono system with a single water bladder works well for single beds and for couples who have similar sleeping requirements. A mono system is the simpler and cheaper solution. However, if there are big differences between the sleeping habits and requirements of the partners, a dual system makes more sense. The degree of hardness and temperature are the most important criteria here.

Waterbed or gel bed?

If you don't like the strong undulations in a waterbed or would like to do without heating, look at a gel bed as an alternative. Here, the lying characteristics can be easily adjusted even after purchase due to the viscosity. A gel bed is also somewhat easier to maintain. Perhaps this is an interesting option for you?

What is the right level of comfort?

In the meantime, waterbeds are also available in different calming levels to reduce the waves. You can find out which level is best for you by trying it out in a specialist shop and during a consultation. The dealer will ask you about your sleeping habits and health problems and advise you on your choice.

Facts worth knowing about waterbeds

What is the optimal filling quantity of the water core?

An important criterion for a waterbed is the right amount of water. Sleeping comfort is only guaranteed if the amount of water is right. If there is too little water in the mattress, you will sink in. You virtually sink into the bed. If there's too much water, you'll feel like you're lying on a hill. To ensure that your waterbed has the right amount of water, it is important to have it set up and filled by a specialist dealer.

A rough guideline can be determined from the dimensions of the bed construction and your body measurements. For the fine adjustment, test lying and experience are decisive. The comfort can be optimally adjusted to the litre.

Does sleeping in a waterbed make you more beautiful?

Enthusiastic owners of waterbeds report that their sleep is more restful and undisturbed. The time it takes to fall asleep is shorter, you sleep better through the night, and deep sleep phases are better utilised. Good sleep of sufficient duration regenerates the brain, the spine, the internal organs and also the skin. All in all, a great programme for better health!

A waterbed mattress exerts less pressure on the parts of the body. This improves the circulation of the blood. Good blood circulation is important for all bodily functions and ensures greater well-being. In a short time, the skin also benefits, it becomes more beautiful. So you can sleep comfortably and beautifully.

Is sex in a waterbed different?

Everyone wants to know, but hardly anyone dares to ask directly. Is sex in a waterbed different? We don't know if there are any scientific studies on the topic of sex in a waterbed. However, statistics show that sex usually takes place at home in one's own bed. Does more sleeping comfort automatically mean better sex?

If you believe the rumours, the lower pressure from the waterbed mattress and the pleasant feeling of lying on it ensure relaxation and a good mood. The speed and movement do not come from the bed, but from you. But the bed carries you both gently and its movement stimulates additionally. It's difficult to try this out when you're lying down, but it will be later.

What do waterbeds have in common with seafaring?

A waterbed also has waves. A classic waterbed without calming, today also called Freeflow, reacts most strongly to your movements. When you move, you create waves that only subside after a while. You float gently on the surface.

Some people find so much swell a little uncomfortable. For this reason, waterbeds can be soothed by adding extra materials to the water core. Maybe you like a partially calmed bed best. Or maybe you don't like swells at all, and the strongest calming level suits you. Try it out and find out what level of swell helps you sleep best in your waterbed.

Did you know that waterbeds already existed 3000 years ago?

Back then, the Persians slept on goatskin pillows glued together with pitch, which they filled with water. These warmed up in the sun during the day and kept nice and warm at night.

Why is a waterbed good for your spine?

Your spine is under constant strain day after day. Standing or sitting for long periods of time, heavy physical work, but also too little exercise - all this puts a strain on the spine and the intervertebral discs. The ideal firmness level of a mattress is particularly important for successful overnight regeneration.

If you sleep on a hard base, the intervertebral discs cannot refill with water. If the base is too soft or the pressure is not evenly distributed, the spine will not find an optimal position. Overnight regeneration is only partially successful. Orthopaedists find the best results with waterbeds. Here there is an optimal distribution of pressure, the spine and intervertebral discs can regenerate and painful complaints disappear.

Image source: unsplash.com / Mak Mozza

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