Top Ten Problems With Waterbeds

  1. A waterbed can fall through a floor
    In all my years of the waterbed business I have only heard of one instance of a waterbed in fact falling through a floor and this involved a weakened floor from a house fire. Lets face it waterbeds have been on the market since the 70’s, who do you know who has had a waterbed that has fallen through his or her ceiling? My guess is no one. For more info contact your insurance agent, local contractors, or structural engineer, they will put to rest this waterbed myth.
  2. Waterbeds can pop, burst, or leak leaving my house in a flooded state of ruin.
    Sure it is possible to have a leak but the majority of them are either small fatigue cracks or pinhole size punctures that can be repaired. Leaks usually only consist of a few gallons of water that are held by a safety liner. Interestingly I have seen mattresses filled to twice their normal fill capacity and not pop or burst, as compared to daily normal usage these excessive pressures don’t exist. Back several years ago Bigfoot demonstrated the strength of a water mattress by driving over it in a TV commercial.
  3. Waterbed heaters are expensive to operate
    Today’s average waterbed heater costs approximately $7.00 – $12.00 a month to maintain. This is usually offset by the fact that the temperature in the bedroom can be lowered dramatically saving you money. Most people do not take into account the health benefits from a heated waterbed such as muscles that are soothed and relaxed. This benefits us by falling asleep faster and waking up less stiff store in the morning.
  4. It is not easy to get in and out or even turn over in a water bed
    It is true that hardside waterbeds are hard to get in and out of and turn over in. Some ease of movement and surface transition can be gained by purchasing a more stable and supportive baffled replacement mattress. A better choice is the softside waterbed with their softer foam racetrack edge that makes getting in and out of a waterbed incredibly simple.
  5. Waterbeds are unhealthy and bad for your back
    Skeptics who know little to nothing about mattresses including waterbeds usually bring about comments like these. Unfortunately many of these remarks come from professionals that include doctors and chiropractors who have had little if any training what so ever in mattress construction, mattress support, or anything else to do with a mattress for that matter. Many people feel that waterbeds benefits and comfort exceed that of mattresses and boxsprings especially with the newer soft side waterbeds.
  6. Waterbeds are hard to take care of
    Waterbeds simply require adding conditioner one time a year with the correct treatment that is quite inexpensive. The waterbed mattress must be burped to extract the air that makes noise, but also makes the water mattress more comfortable to sleep on. No turning, flipping, or heavy lifting is required in regular care of a waterbed. These beds require more time to move, but for the few times this is done, most waterbed owners find it is worth the extra effort.
  7. Waterbeds use odd size sheets and comforters that are expensive and hard to find
    This is true of hardside waterbeds. They use special sized water bed sheets. This is not true of soft side waterbeds, which use the same conventional sheet sizes that are used on conventional coil spring mattresses. Softside waterbeds are much easier to make and have virtually no weight in the corners while lifting to put on the sheets.
  8. The movement of a waterbed will wake my partner
    Most people are unaware but waterbed technology often exceeds most mattresses and boxsprings when it comes to motion transfer. This is because of highly baffled mattresses that not only increase support but also eliminate movement in the watermattress. Dual configured waterbeds help chamber and isolate the water for each side of the bed while reducing weight displacement.
  9. Waterbeds are known for making people seasick.
    Over 22 years of people trying our waterbeds I have never had to make the infamous call over the intercom “clean up in isle 5”. Sleeping on a waterbed mattress is similar to floating on your back without the feeling of possibly drowning or an occasional wave splashing your face. This is not like being in a boat. I like to assimilate it to food; you will never know if you like it until you try it. The same can be said for waterbeds and most people who try a water bed really end up liking a water bed.
  10. I had a waterbed and hated it
    I cannot tell you how many times I heard this and I wanted to simply scream. 9 9/10 out 10 (and yes that’s a real stat) people who claimed not liking their waterbeds owned free flow or Semi waveless or waveless waterbeds. Lets get real here, these particular models are the cheapest, least supportive, and most uncomfortable waterbed mattresses offered. Often people chose these products thinking little money invested, little money to lose. The problem is to this day these same people swear that waterbeds are junk. I think they got exactly what they paid for. These same people often spent $1000. on a pretty bed frame and headboard with drawers and  $40. – & 200. on a low-priced, poorly constructed, back aggravator of a waterbed mattress that they may as well not bought in the first place.

Check out all of our waterbeds


Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds - a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won't find the brand names here - just call and ask us why!

21 Comments Leave your comment »

Why does no one offer a soft sided water bed with lates instead of petroleum based foams??????? I am frustrated

Comment by Ayla — April 8, 2008 @ 12:19 pm

I think your question is, why don’t any of the waterbed manufactures offer softsided waterbeds with latex perimeters as apposed to the current model petroleum based racetrack foam sides or foam tubs?

Truthfully, I do not think there are enough progressive people who think outside the box like you. So I called the owner Ron Larson of Land and Sky and he agreed. He said he would be delighted to make you one. You would only need to contact us so we can discuss the details, size, bladders etc. at

Comment by Doug — April 8, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

Getting out of a hardside, that has 8 drawers underneath… From on your stomach position, lower one leg to the floor, and easily semi-roll out, done, easy.
Or… you can simply have a one-drawer pedestal, about 10 inches high, and with the 10 inch box, your bed is now 20 inches high; instead of a 27 1/2 inch height.

Whoops… #9 above:
“This is not like being in a boat. I like to assimilate it to food;”
– assimilate should be “associate”

Ed Taylor

Comment by Ed Taylor — April 9, 2012 @ 7:49 am

From 1978 to 1994 and from 2004 to now I’ve used a waterbed and prefer it to anything else. The reason I didn’t use one from 1994 to 2004 is that I was living in Fiji for those 10 years and waterbeds were not available there.

I have a “cheap” full-flow waterbed mattress in a hard-side frame and have no trouble with it. I suppose that some people would be bothered by the motion, but I don’t even notice it unless I make a point of noticing it. For me, I see no point in spending extra money to get a mattress with baffles in it. In addition to costing more, it would be more difficult to drain some years down the road if I ever move.

Also, I have never used chemicals in a waterbed mattress. I suppose that if the tap water contained organic matter on which microbes could live, chemical treatment might be required, but I’ve never experienced the need. Probably a small amount of boric acid would prevent microbe growth if it were put in once when the mattress is initially filled.

A good insulating mattress cover makes the bed comfortable with the water temperature as low as 74 degrees F. Obviously very little power is required to maintain such a low temperature, so the estimate of $12 per month to heat the bed is probably way too high.

The only problem I have with my waterbed is finding sheets that fit properly. The Consumer Reports have indicated that sheets for conventional beds are often too small to fit; the same is true with waterbed sheets. My current sheets are slightly too short and expose the mattress cover at both ends, although their width is generous.

Comment by F. R. Eggers — October 27, 2012 @ 3:55 pm

Wow I just had to replace my 30 year old waterbed bladder!! Vinyl finally broke down after hubbie laid on heating pad on top of it for hours. In 30 years we never did anything to it other than burping a couple times a year.
Bought a dual bladder fiber 3500 to replace it…LOL hope it lasts 30 more!

Comment by Mary — December 12, 2012 @ 11:59 am

My Husband just bought us a waterbed as a surprise after I complained that our old bed was starting to make me hurt as he thought it would help with my M.E., Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Spondylosis & Peripheral Neuropathy after researching the ‘medical benefits’ on the web. He bought a baffled bed. It is horrendous! It is dificult to get onto in the first place, the movement sends shooting pains through my joints, there is no support whatsoever in the areas that I need, getting out is an impossibility without rolling onto the floor & then struggling to get up from there. He is now sleeping in there while I am having to rest, though not sleep due to the pain caused by the waterbed ( I have had 6 hours sleep in five days!) on our old bed in the conservatory (which is freezing in the middle of the night) until he can find someone to help him get the torture device to bits & sell it on eBay then buy a supportive divan. I strenuously urge nobody to buy one of these beds as a surprise for anyone with an illness, they may be beneficial to some but not all, to some they can make things far worse. I have never been in as much pain in my life. I am now stuck until it goes as we have no room to put the old bed elsewhere & can’t afford another bed until he sells this. Depressed is an understatement

Comment by Mrs C — May 4, 2013 @ 2:09 am

Mrs. C I am sorry to here that a waterbed has not been beneficial for you. While it may have seemed like a good idea I personally don’t like the idea of buying a bed for someone else sight unseen for too many reasons to list. Perhaps you could share the type of waterbed your husband “surprised” you with a hardside waterbed or softside waterbed? I believe that if you had been able to test rest a waterbed first you may have eliminated it as a choice before purchasing. Please understand I am not responding to your post to bash your husband’s choice, rather to help others from making the same mistake. I hope you are able to find some relief from pain and the medical issues you listed. Good luck Mrs. C. Thanks for sharing your story. Doug Bellville Manager.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 7, 2013 @ 7:50 am

We had a hard side waveless for 10 years. Next a softsid tubular for 10. Now a piece of 3 inch regular foam with 1.5 inch intelligel on top. We meant it to be temporary until we decided what to get. That was 7 years ago. The foam is now uncomfortable but the intelligel is great. Our current dilemma is still what to get. Was considering a sleep number until I laid on my friends hard side waveless & it was pure heaven. We have a standard king bed frame with the 2 foundation boxes so I guess we’re forced to get another soft side. I thought perhaps skip the pillow top & insert the intelligel. Or wondering if we should sell the bed & go back to hard side. Bad back, hips, shoulders. 60 thus year. Kind of difficult getting out if the hard side. What are your suggestions?

Comment by Charity — June 13, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

I have had a waterbed for 20 years now, the heated pad is hot but the bed won’t warm up. Can anyone tell me the problem . Thanks Elena

Comment by Elena — February 2, 2014 @ 2:37 am

Hi Elena, You did not mention the age of the heater? Normal life expectancy is only about 7-8 years. If it is 20 that is nearly 3 times the typical life. I’m not sure how you determined the pad is hot? It should be recessed well under the water mattress making it hard to determine that information. If you came to this decision because the light on the controller is on that would be a poor indicator that the pad actually has power.My last guess is that the bed is poorly insulated. Keeping the bed covered is extremely important to maintain or increase water temperature. Finally if you did not get the answer you are looking for feel free to reply or give me a call. 1 888 785 2337 Hope this helps. Doug

Comment by Douglas Belleville — February 2, 2014 @ 7:26 am

Hi Douglas , thanks for the reply so quickly, the hearer pad is six years old it’s the second pad I bought, is there any filiment or something inside the water bed that’s not heating up. The pad is not in the middle of the bed it’s on one side but the heat is on the pad, green light working on the switch, we don’t sleep Much as it’s our second home. Thanks Elena

Comment by Elena — February 2, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

Hi Douglas I wonder if you can help me my mattress seems to have fluffy black grey yuck inside it even when I have emptied it and put conditioner in it yearly as advised the mattress is about 5 years old . Also could it seems me and the other half have aches and pains each morning ie back shoulders, and hips both In Our 40s. I have slept In a hard side free flow for over 20 years without any problems the last six months have been uncomfortable please could you offer some advice.

Comment by Tina — April 4, 2014 @ 6:14 am

Hi Tina, You need to be sure that you have been adding the one year bottle or dosage if you are going to add it annually. Also you want to read the bottle, it will tell you exactly what that bottle is capable of treating and for how long. As far as what you are describing, I haven’t a clue what it is. You did not mention a bad smell so that is a good thing. You may want to contact the manufacturer of the mattress and the conditioner company. You could also look into a shock treatment. Hope this helps, Douglas ;-)

Comment by Douglas Belleville — April 8, 2014 @ 7:29 am

I have been sleeping on a free-flow waterbed for many years as have also my brother and sister. We have no problems with them.

As for the heater, I don’t even use it. With sufficient insulating padding on top of the mattress, a heater is not required. Also, it hot weather, one can reduce the padding on top of the mattress and be comfortable with less air conditioning.

A bit of air on top of the water is no problem except for people who are bothered by the slightest noise. If the air noise really is a problem, it is not hard to get most of the air out.

Yes, there is wave action, but I really don’t notice it.

Yes, it’s a bit harder to get in and out of a waterbed, but so what? I’m now 76 and don’t find it to be a problem.

I have never used water conditioner and have experienced no problems. It’s my guess that most people don’t need it; probably it depends on the quality of the water used.

Except for people who are very inflexible and incapable of adjusting to new things, I recommend free-flow water mattresses. There is no need to pay for baffles, etc., to reduce wave action.

Comment by F. R. Eggers — April 8, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

My parents have a waterbed that hasn’t been filled, burped, or taken care of for probably at least 20 years. We want to get it out of the house at he moment and start over with a new bed for them, but they said the valve on the bed itself (to drain it) has been broken for years. Can you help me? How should I drain it and get it out of their bedroom so I can help them get a new bed and actually be able to sleep without a huge air bubble in the middle of their bed. They just haven’t taken care of it, are older and I need to step in and take over, but I have no idea how to do it! I’ve never dealt with a water bed before. Sorry I know thus might be unusual, but I just don’t know what to do with them. Thank you for your help!

Comment by Kathryn — May 12, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

Hi Kathryn, You threw a lot at me and would take quite a while to teach someone who has never owned an H2o bed. My poor little fingers would be typing for days. So I shared some of the basics. You may also call us toll free at the number at the top of the page. The informational links I shared should get you started. Here is an article concerning burping a waterbed. In addition there is one for various draining methods Waterbed Draining and Moving What you really need to know. You can even keep the frame if it is a wood waterbed frame and use a regular coil spring mattress called a waterbed insert.

Comment by Douglas Belleville — May 12, 2014 @ 7:37 pm

After 10 years without a waterbed we finally got another one. We both have had multiple back surgeries. My husband has both shoulders and knees replaced. I can now say Ahhhh sleep has come back with our waterbed. We purchased a sleep by number, a foam mattress and a pillow-top one. They all felt good for 3 weeks then they were awful. We spent a lot of money on different mattresses. Now we are pleased with a much cheaper semi-motionless waterbed. Thank You so much to the places who still produce waterbeds. They truly are a necessity in this home to get a Good Night Sleep.

Comment by Roberta Brazzale — May 18, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

Reading about the inconveniences associated with baffled water mattresses makes me more certain than ever that I made the right decision by getting a simple un-baffled mattress. An un-baffled mattress costs less and is far easier to drain.

It seems that most of the problems associated with filling and draining waterbeds result from a combination of not reading the instructions and having a poor mechanical aptitude. They are really very simple things.

Comment by F. R. Eggers — May 20, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

Hi Douglas
We had a new mattress installed about 6 months ago and find we keep having to top it up, yet there is no sign of a leak. We didn’t have this issue with our previous mattress that lasted for 15 years … any idea what’s going on?

Comment by A L North — August 11, 2014 @ 9:18 am

My husband and I recently purchased a softside waterbed with dual waveless bladders. We had a latex foam mattress that we loved but after 5 years I woke every morning in pain as the mattress canoed horribly and I had pressure spots. Now I wake up pain free…I love my new waterbed. However, we can’t seem to get the water level correct. We filled it just below foam initially and it was ok but I felt like I was on a hill…took water out…fell in a hole. We have adjusted several times. The level feels ok now but if hubby happens to roll close to me or puts his leg on my side I feel lik I’m leaning. What should we do…? I’ve consider just ordering one bladder but we have only had this bed about a month….thanks in advance.

Comment by Rhonda — January 23, 2015 @ 4:52 am

Great info…. Answered all my questions/ concerns. I’m going to purchase a soft side and cannot wait! Thanks!!!

Comment by Bonnie Braswell — February 24, 2015 @ 1:23 pm

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