Many purists do not consider a Tube Type Waterbed a true Waterbed rather they consider it a hybrid waterbed. This is the beginning of our two part blog that highlights the ten things we consider to be the biggest problems with this type of water bed.
1. Tube Beds do not feel like a deep fill waterbed.
It does not form to the body the way waterbeds that are 7 inches or deeper do. Deep fill waterbeds are much better at relieving pressure points on the body and decreasing tossing and turning than tube beds.
2. Softsided systems like the tube bed are usually too firm for most waterbed lovers.
They can feel as firm as a regular spring mattress, not providing the same head to toe full body support as a waterbed.
3. Tube type waterbeds usually are not heated.
Adjustable heat is the one thing most waterbed owners want yet many tube beds don’t have them. Most tube type waterbeds are designed with a thicker top cover to insulate and eliminate the need for a heater. If a heater is used it must be a low watt heater to keep the bed from overheating or even possibly burning out.
4. Trying to find where the leak is located.
With 8 tubes in a Queen mattress and 10 in a King mattress, each must be examined very closely. Many times it is one of the 8 or 10 cap and plugs that can leak and they must be replaced. If the leak is found in the vinyl of the tube, we recommend replacing the tube. Repairing in tubes can be tricky because leaks are usually in high stress areas due to their design. It is common for them to fail around a seam or the valve making it nearly impossible for a patch to stick and contain water.
5. Tubes / cylinders are awkward and hard to fill.
Tubes are usually filled in an area close to a water source and then carried into the bedroom and placed in the bed. Each tube should be filled to the same level. This means holding the 60 to 100 lb. tube erect which is very heavy and very awkward and filling to the fill mark on the tube itself. This is contrary to the sales pitch many sales associate provide suggesting that they are easy to fill, drain, and move. These same people usually have never installed one in a customer’s house much less attempted to fill and get the water level precisely the same so comfort is not affected..
6. Lack of core support from the multiple water mattresses
Look at the fingers on your hand and tightly pull them together. This is basically a simplified demonstration of the core support in a tube bed. The gaps in your fingers are no different from the gaps in the tubes that are lacking to properly support the sleeper. Over filled tubes exaggerate the problem and layers of foam in the cover disguise the problem.
7. Top covers can and do break down quickly.
One of the most common problems next to tube failure in these water log designed beds is that the cover of the mattress breaks down. Mattress covers are over filled with materials to insulate sleepers from what is usually considered a non heated waterbed. They usually have 4” or more of padding and foam and frequently breakdown and compress much like a fluffy pillow top mattress not to mention these top covers are not standardized or cheap to replace.
8. Finding the right size replacement tubes can be tricky.
Tubes are not standard in length and must be the correct length or they will rupture at the end seams of the bed. Some tubes are round while others are more squared off. Always take the old tube with you when you are shopping for a replacement tube to make sure you’re replacing it with a proper replacement..
9. Baffled or fiber filled tubes can be very hard to drain.
This baffling is usually an open cell foam. This foam acts like a giant sponge making them hard to extract the water from. If the baffled tubes are not handled carefully the foam can be torn. It can also shift out of its correct position or get balled up inside the tube. These tubes can cost up to 50% more than a free slow tube to replace.
10. Free flow tubes don’t have a very long life expectancy.
These cylinders have a tendency to give the bed a bucking motion. The water races the length of these tubes when pressure is exerted on the opposite end, which stresses the end seams and can cause a seam failure.
Somma is probably the most recognizable brand name of tube beds sold. Don’t get us wrong many people have enjoyed these beds over the years, however our 24 plus years of handling their service issues is the reason we are not big fans of their design. At STL Beds we have limited our sales of them and even removed them from our showroom floor. Their high failure rate, lack of support, durability and the fact that they feel nothing like a true waterbed puts them at the bottom of our recommendation list. Our suggestion is to consider a true deep fill softside waterbed. If your response is that tube waterbeds don’t feel like a waterbed then I think you can see why we believe the tube bed is a hybrid bed with a lot of troublesome issues making nearly any other mattress a better option.