Sometimes people buy things that they eventually end up regretting. I know I’ve got a long list.
Today, I’ve got two words for anybody out there who is currently considering spending $1000 or more of their hard-earned money on a waterbed: buyer beware. That’s because, when you add it all up, there are far more disadvantages than advantages.
Believe me. After sleeping on a wood frame “hardside” waterbed with a free-flow mattress for a couple years, I know what I’m talking about.
In fact, there are a whole flock reasons why a waterbed could potentially leave you lying awake at night. Here are the biggest ones:
1. They’re a pain to set up. Assembling a waterbed takes time. Lot’s of it. For the uninitiated, hardside waterbeds can easily take upwards of three hours to build. Just make sure you choose your bed’s location wisely because:
2. Waterbeds are hard to move. A king-size waterbed can weigh as much as 1800 pounds, fully filled. As a result, older homes, especially, may be at risk of structural damage from the heavy weight. Which is a big reason why:
3. Waterbeds are often subject to restrictions. Not all homeowner insurance policies cover damage caused by waterbeds, and many landlords are so wary of potential problems that they prohibit them.
4. They act as a heat sink. Without a waterbed heater the cold water in the mattress rapidly drains heat from the body, making you feel like an ice cube in the process. True, you could forgo the heater in favor of insulative padding, however that often leads to:
5. Mattress condensation. Especially in humid climes. And who wants to sleep on an uncomfortably moist mattress? Even worse, that condensation can lead to mildew problems, which brings up another drawback:
6. They smell. Thankfully, it’s not always the result of bacteria taking advantage of a damp mattress. If you’re lucky, it may only be a temporary odor caused by the newness of the vinyl bladder.
7. Waterbeds can lead to higher electricity bills. According to San Diego Gas & Electric, the typical waterbed heater adds approximately $19 to an average monthly electricity bill — assuming you make your bed daily. If you don’t, it’s $30 per month.
8. Motion issues. If your waterbed has a free-flow mattress and you (or your partner) happen to be a restless sleeper, then you’ll probably have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. Yes, there are waveless mattresses, however they’re susceptible to baffle failures that are difficult to fix. Speaking of failures:
9. Waterbeds are prone to leaks. While uncommon, leaks do occur. Especially if you own a cat with claws, or have a habit of relaxing on the bed with zippered clothes. It’s particularly annoying when you find a leak late at night because:
10. Fixing a leak can take time. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find the hole quickly and patch it without having to completely empty the water from the mattress. Sometimes, though, that’s not always possible.
11. They’re noisy. While waterbeds are obviously much quieter than, say, a blowing hair dryer, the sloshing sounds they produce are louder than a good-quality traditional mattress — especially if there is a lot of air in the waterbed’s bladder.
12. Waterbeds are bad on the back. Many so-called “experts” insist waterbeds are therapeutic. They’re not.Â I remember many mornings waking up with a sore back after sleeping on my waterbed; not so with my traditional mattresses.
13. They don’t handle storage well. That’s because waterbed bladders are vulnerable to inadvertent punctures and prone to cracking on the fold lines. The baffles of waveless mattresses are also subject to damage during storage.
14. They’re hard to get in and out of. Believe it or not, getting in and out of a hardside waterbed takes practice; I never could figure out a graceful way of doing it. Hey … Speaking of “doing it”:
15. Waterbeds are overrated as a platform for sex. And you thought I wouldn’t broach this topic. Well, I just did. No, I’m not going to get into any juicy details. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.
Photo Credit: Jo.Marshall