Find Out Which is the Best: A Waterbed Vs. Air Bed

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These days airbeds are growing increasingly common. It’s not difficult to see why because they’re so convenient. 

However, waterbeds also retain a level of popularity. They’re less fashionable than their heyday in the 70s and 80s. But they still have their pros and cons. 

In this guide, we’ll look at the advantages and disadvantages of both these beds compared to a standard mattress. Let’s get started! 

Advantages of An Airbed

inflatable mattress in an empty room

Air mattresses are common in many homes. Light and easy to stow, there are several reasons why they’re great. However, there are several cons if you plan to use them for a prolonged period. 

Let’s check out their positives and negatives. 

Light and Portable 

One of the main advantages of airbeds is that they’re so light and portable. 

This makes them fantastic for camping because you can bring them with you without breaking your back. It’s impossible to do this with a standard mattress or a waterbed. Some airbeds even have internal pumps, so they inflate themselves! 

As a result, you won’t even need to carry a pump with you. 

If you’re a frequent traveler, it’s perfectly viable to carry your bed with you. The light weight is another benefit because it’s potentially easier for a physically-challenged person to move around. 

Convenient for Guests 

This portability makes airbeds extremely suitable for guest bedrooms. 

You only need to inflate it when you want to use it. As a result, you can use your spare bedroom for other purposes when you don’t have guests. If there is a standard bed, you’ll have to work around it because it takes up more space. 

It even makes sense to deflate your airbed between uses. 

This will protect the integrity of your air mattress and prevent it from suffering damage. Airbeds are suitable for adults and older children. 

Affordable Substitute

Many air mattresses are much cheaper than their standard alternatives. 

If you’re operating on a tight budget and don’t want to spend all of your savings on a regular mattress, then consider an airbed. They’re also a great option for people living in unfurnished apartments or if you’ve signed a short-term lease. You probably won’t want the responsibility of a big, heavy mattress. 

It’s difficult to transport them from place to place. The same isn’t the case for air mattresses. All you need to do is deflate the bed and pack it away. Nor does it take up much space to store away! 

Health Benefits 

Happy young couple lying on inflatable mattress in their new apartment, flirting over morning coffee. Cardboard boxes on the floor.

Contrary to popular belief, air mattresses can provide several useful health benefits to their occupants. 

Some people find regular mattresses to be uncomfortable because they’re too firm. The advantage of an airbed is that you can inflate them to your personal preference. Some queen-sized airbeds are even inflatable on both sides. 

As a result, you and your partner can enjoy different densities. So there will be no more arguing about getting a hard or soft mattress!

Another health benefit is that some medical airbeds have a controlled leaking mechanism. This is effectively a controlled release of air that can cool the mattress’s user throughout the night. 

Disadvantages of Airbeds

Despite their positive aspects, air mattresses aren’t perfect. Let’s look at their disadvantages now. 

Lack of Back Support

One of the main criticisms of air mattresses is that they don’t provide enough back support. 

You can indeed inflate them to different levels of solidity. But overall, they don’t provide as much orthopedic support as a standard mattress. Typically, the latter spreads your weight across a larger area. As a result, there is less pressure on a specific area of your body. 

You will have a more comfortable night as it gives your body a higher chance of recovery. In contrast, if you regularly use an airbed, you may feel stiff with aches and pains.  


Another significant issue is the risk of air leaks. 

Most airbeds have protective layers that protect them from light knocks. However, they still have an inherent vulnerability. It’s advisable to keep animals away and never leave children unsupervised around your airbed. 

The safest way to maintain your air mattress is to deflate it between uses. However, this is inconvenient if you plan to use it regularly. Also, you shouldn’t sit on the edge of your mattress because this can damage the seams. 

Leaking will occur naturally over time. But you don’t want to endure unnecessary damage. 

Temperature Regulation

When you sleep, you want to be as comfortable as possible. 

Sweating through a humid night isn’t ideal. Unfortunately, if you have an airbed, the chances of this happening are higher. That’s because they’re made from PVC or vinyl. These materials aren’t great for regulating temperatures. 

The opposite is true of cold winter nights. 

If you want to remain comfortable on your airbed, you may want to invest in a mattress topper. Unfortunately, this is an additional expense. 

Advantages of A Water Bed 

Empty bed with sea view, directly above.

Now it’s time to look at water beds. They can provide health benefits like an airbed, but there are several flaws. Let’s look at the positive aspects first.

Check these out before you buy a water bed.

Easy to Heat

One of the great benefits of water beds is that they’re easy to heat. 

Most high-end water beds come with in-built heating systems. All you need to do is plug it in and configure the temperature to your requirements. Then you can enjoy a good night’s sleep without feeling like Frosty the Snowman! 

This added temperature can also improve your blood circulation. As a result, you’ll feel more rested. Air mattresses don’t always have this effect and can leave you feeling sluggish and stiff.

Very Comfortable 

Everybody thinks of waterbeds rising and falling like the waves of an ocean. 

Most modern versions aren’t as dramatic as the older models you’ll see in 80s movies. But they’re still very comfortable because they conform to the shape of your body.

Another benefit is that they offer no resistance against your body. The resulting sensation feels like you’re floating. Some people won’t like this because they prefer a firm mattress. But others love the feeling of weightlessness beneath them. 

Retains Shape

Water beds retain their shape more consistently than air mattresses. 

Sometimes if you sit on the edge of an airbed for too long, you can affect its structure. The same can happen when you lie on one side. The disproportionate spread of your weight can cause the shape to warp. Then you’ll need to inflate it again to fix the problem. 

However, water beds are much firmer due to the nature of their contents. While they will mold to your body’s shape, the overall structure won’t change. 

Disadvantages of Water Beds

While water beds have their positive aspects, there are also some cons. 

Take a look!

Expensive to Heat 

We’ve touted this as a positive aspect of water beds. It’s great that you can enjoy their warmth on a cold night. But there is a significant downside. 

Your electricity bill will suffer the consequences. It’s not cheap to heat your water bed regularly. This is something you’ll notice if you use it every night through the winter. 

Lack of Support

Like air mattresses, water beds also offer less support than their standard alternatives. 

They conform to your body’s likeness, but they don’t support your joints. Over time, you may feel back pain and a decreased quality of sleep. 

Vulnerable to Leaks

If an air mattress suffers a leak, it’s frustrating. 

But it’s not as bad as when a water bed leaks. You’ll have to deal with water all over the floor. At the very least, it will be an inconvenience. However, it can even damage the surrounding area.

It’s crucial to protect your waterbed from sharp edges so that this never happens. 

Inconvenient to Move

Waterbeds are not easy to move. 

Firstly, you must empty their contents. Then you have to disassemble the structure of the bed. It’s nowhere near as convenient as deflating an airbed. They’re certainly not convenient if you plan to move regularly or only want to use them occasionally. An air mattress is a much better option instead. 

It’s recommended to leave a waterbed fixed in place. Most users opt for one instead of a standard mattress and don’t plan to remove it anytime soon. 

Final Thoughts

Air mattresses and water beds are interesting alternatives to standard mattresses.

As you saw, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Some people will love the former for its ease of use. Nowadays, airbeds are more popular as a backup for sleepovers and guests or even camping. 

Water beds are less common, but their users love them. They provide a unique sleeping sensation that becomes addictive when you’re accustomed to it. They’re also extremely comfortable because you can adjust the temperature easily. 

It’s difficult to say that one is better than the other because they serve different purposes. But it’s more likely that you’ll have an airbed in your home because of their flexibility. 

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