softside waterbed vs hardside waterbed

Softside Waterbed vs. Hardside Waterbed- Which is right for you?

Waterbeds offer great contouring support and pressure relief, but how do you know which style is best for you? Let's take a look at the different styles of waterbeds to help you determine which waterbed is best for you.

Softside waterbeds

A softside waterbed is used by people who want the look of a traditional bed, but the feel of a waterbed.  These beds typically consist of either tubes or a vinyl mattress, known as the bladder, being supported by a foam tub and encased in foam padding. Dual bladders are also available for softside mattresses for couples that need different support levels. These bladders can be free flow, meaning very wavy, or filled with fiber known as baffles, making the bed waveless. Furthermore, they come as shallow fill, mid fill or deep fill depending on how much motion you want. With whatever softside you choose, they are typically softer mattresses due to their padded top, although you can adjust the feel by adding or subtracting water.

Benefits of a softside waterbed mattress

  • There are several benefits to a softside waterbed mattress. One advantage is support, yet with a conforming soft top. This is for someone that wants a very supportive bed, yet does not want to sleep on a firm surface. With a softside waterbed you have a plush padded top and still get all the support you need from the water.
  • Pressure relief is a huge benefit to a softside waterbed. Between the plush top and the water, pressure is greatly reduced on the body. This is a great mattress for a side sleeper due to the foam top, which reduces the pressure on the hips and shoulders. However, it will also give great support, with low pressure, for a back sleeper.
  • Unlike hardside waterbeds, a softside waterbed comes in traditional mattress sizes. Therefore, finding bed frames and bedding is simple. Almost any type of bed frame, even a platform bed, can be used. There is far less water in a softside than a hardside, therefore making it safe to use on virtually any frame.
  • Heaters are also optional with the softside waterbeds. This gives you control over the temperature of your bed.  The padding on the top and the foam encasement will prevent you from getting cold without a heater. However, for someone that likes a warmer feeling bed, you may want to use a low watt heater.
  • Another advantage is being able to adjust the feel of your bed, as well as individual support for sleep partners. While with a traditional innerspring mattress you are stuck with the same firmness level throughout the time you have it, with a softside you can control the firmness level of the mattress. If one is wanting more support they would simply add more water, and if someone were wanting a softer bed they would reduce the amount of water added to the mattress. With a dual softside mattress, such as the Cashmere made by Boyd Specialty Sleep, a couple can adjust their own sides. Both individuals have their own mattress, making it perfect for sleep partners that are needing different support levels.

Hardside waterbeds

A hardside waterbed is exactly what it sounds like- a water mattress supported by a hard sided frame. These traditional waterbed mattresses have six components- a riser, a laser box, decking, a heater, a liner and lastly, a vinyl mattress.  The vinyl mattress is supported by the decking and the sides of the wood box- known as the laser box, while the riser is used to do exactly what it says-raise the box off of the floor. The liner protects the mattress from the wood. Because there is no foam encasement like a softsided waterbed a heater is needed to keep the bed warm.

Benefits of a hardside waterbed mattress

  • A hardside waterbed is great for someone looking for a “wavier” feel.  Typically, a hardside waterbed mattress does not have the foam top that a hardside mattress has, therefore you can actually feel the movement of the water.  The hardside waterbed is recommended for someone that wants to sleep directly on the water. There are also many mattresses to choose from depending on how soft or firm they want their mattress and how much movement. A free flow or semi baffled mattress would be recommended for the individual wanting to feel the movement of the water, while a completely baffled one would be used by someone wanting less motion and more support.
  • Hardside waterbeds are very economical. Unlike a traditional mattress, a hardside waterbed mattress is allegen free and easy to clean, making it last much longer than a traditional mattress that will eventually need replaced due to dustmites.  There is also never any need to worry about body impressions which can happen with a traditional mattress. Replacement vinyl mattress are much less expensive than buying a traditional bed and with regular use of Blue Magic conditioner can last two to three times longer than any other mattress available.
  • Because you are directly on top of the water a heater is necessary on a hardside mattress. This is perfect for someone that wants to control the temperature of their bed, especially during the different seasons. Not only do people love the warm feel of the heater in the winter, it can help with arthritis and aching bones. The heater does have a dial, so it can be turned up and down. Therfore, there is no reason to get worried about getting hot.  You can simply adjust the temperature.

As you can see, there are benefits to both softside and hardside waterbeds.  It is up to the individual to decide which mattress works and feels the best for them.

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