For many, waterbeds are a comfortable alternative to the traditional mattress. This type of mattress was particularly trendy in the 1970s and is no longer as popular as it once was, but many people still find them a comfortable sleep option and they can still be purchased today. There are two basic types of waterbeds, both with their own advantages and disadvantages, the key is finding out which type best fits your individual needs.
The most traditional type of waterbed is a hard-side waterbed. This type is what most people picture when they think of a waterbed. Hard-side waterbeds are a box-like frame that contains a water-filled mattress. The mattress itself has no shape and simply conforms to the frame. This type of waterbed creates a very different sleep experience than a traditional mattress as the mattress follows your movements and creates a mild motion as you sleep. Many people find hard-side waterbeds very comfortable, as they move with the weight of your body, which puts less pressure on your joints.
The other type of waterbed available is the soft-side. This type is more like a traditional mattress, but it is filled with water and then covered in foam and vinyl to protect it. This type of waterbed mattress does not require a special frame or special sheets, unlike the hard-side type, and many people find them more visually appealing. Soft-side waterbeds are still waterbeds and require more care and upkeep than the traditional mattress, though they are easier to care for than the hard-side type. However, they are also more expensive than the hard-side type, because of their more complex design.
In addition to the two different types of waterbeds, there are also different types of waterbed mattresses. Not all waterbeds have the same range of motion, which means that they all give a different sleep experience. Waterbed mattresses generally have one of three motion types.
When most people picture the traditional hard-side waterbed, they also picture a full-motion mattress. This type of mattress, only available for hard-side waterbeds, is a vinyl bladder with free-flowing water. With a full-motion waterbed mattress, you will be able to feel the water underneath you. As you move, so will the water, creating a wave-like motion that many people find very restful.
Some people are not big fans of the amount of motion caused by a full-motion mattress and for those people a semi-waveless waterbed may be a better fit. This type of mattress can be used in both hard-side and soft-side waterbed. A semi-waveless waterbed has inserts, usually foam but resin is also occasionally used. The inserts restrict the water flow, cutting down on the wave effect, but still allowing some motion.
The final mattress type is the waveless mattress. This is the most type of mattress for soft-side waterbeds. With a waveless mattress, the water is contained in a firm shell. The mattress is softer than a traditional mattress and moves naturally with the body, but it does not have the same range of motion that is normally associated with a waterbed.