Can I Use A Waterbed On My Current Bed Frame

Top 10 Things To Look For When Buying a Used Softside Waterbed.

June 26, 2010
In the Bedroom

The Softside Waterbed is the 2nd generation of waterbeds and is a major improvement over the old wooden framed hardside waterbed stores used to sell in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

If you are considering buying a used soft side waterbed there are a number of things to beware of when buying a used one.


  1. First examine for water damage and mold. Many times the foundations have cardboard and other light duty materials that can be seriously damaged by water. These materials are often used on the topside or the deck of the foundation. Sometimes this can be replaced.
  2. If the quilted cover is water stained it is usually not a big deal but do beware of mold, which can be a bigger issue. Most covers cannot be machine washed because they contain polyurethane foam. The few that can be laundered should never be put in a dryer instead line dry them. You may even want to contact the manufacturer for cleaning instructions if they are not present on the cleaning instructions label. Don’t assume you can just go out and buy a new one because they aren’t standardized and can easily cost over $1000.00 assuming you can find the correct cover to fit the bed.
  3. If the cover has a zipper make sure it is in good working order with no missing teeth or stitching that is coming undone.
  4. Mattresses for softside waterbeds are not standardized; there are many cavity shapes and sizes. Softsides have ranged from 4” deep to 13” deep over the years. Some have tapered or slopping sidewalls in the cavity while some are straight up and down. The length and width of the cavity can vary as well. Before buying one used make sure that you can find a company that sells the replacement bladder that will fit.
  5. Make sure that the baffling, fiber, or whatever was inserted inside the waterbed mattress is flat and straight. If it is bunched up in a ball or wadded up chances are it will not be able to be straightened to the point where the mattress will once again feel supportive.
  6. If you need to buy a new softsided waterbed bladder try to get an industry brand name, model off the tag, or at least the measurements of the inner cavity dimensions in order to assure a good fit.
  7. If you are considering a free flow mattress most brands today do not offer free flow bladders as an option for replacement, but there are manufacturers that can make them like SPS. Many manufacturers do not recommend them, especially in the shallower cavities under 8 inches deep.
  8. Foam side rails should be examined. If they are deformed, warped badly, or just plain broke down with age it is best to take a pass on the bed because they can be expensive to replace and they must be exactly the same. Some can be replaced if still in production. Some rails are in one-piece tub configuration and may be even be harder to find and replace.
  9. Be sure to inspect the waterbed heater or heaters if it has dual mattress chambers. Softside waterbeds usually require a low watt heater made specifically for softside waterbeds. If the bed is 8-10 years old replace the heater.
  10. Inspect the safety liner. We normally recommend not taking a chance on using the old one. These are inexpensive to replace and are often broke down, split out in the corners, or cracking from age.