Air bed or Waterbed – Which is better ?

A comfortable bed determines how you wake up in the morning, either rested or tired, even after sleeping for an entire night. Air beds and waterbeds have features that increase your sleeping comfort.

Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so you can opt for one which is desirable for you. With an in-depth look at both, this article may help you decide which is best for you.

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An airbed, also referred to as an air mattress is an inflatable mattress. The majority of these beds are normally made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), though in today’s market, other material versions are available.

You can fill them up with air either orally, which requires blowing into a valve. You can also use a manual foot-powered pump or even better, the most common option an electric pump.

Benefits of an air bed vs waterbed


  • Medical purpose:

For long-term hospitalized patients, they may likely experience pressure from the muscles caused by staying in a similar position.

Airbeds are usually structured to prevent such bed sores.

  • Multi-user:

Each Full-size or big air mattress has two distinct sides. This means that the two sides can have different firmness. Each person can customize the mattress rigidity according to their liking, and not compromise for the other.

  • Several uses:

This is dependent on the size of the mattress. A smaller air mattress is suitable for camping escapades, an all-night road trip, or even carry it to relax in your living room. This is due to its flexible and light nature that it is portable. The alternative is having a folding mattress.

  • Quick to inflate an air bed:

Inflating an airbed takes a couple of minutes, depending on the type of pump and the size of the mattress.

  • No smell:

The PVC material used in the air mattress is odorless. You don’t have to bear with awful smells like the toxic VOCs from a new foam mattress.

  • Air bed provides flexibility:

One major benefit of an airbed, especially when used as the main bed, is that you can regulate the firmness to what you desire. Inflating the mattress makes it firmer while deflating it will make it softer. This, in turn, helps to ease back pains.

  • Long-lasting:

Depending on the quality, conventional bed lasts up to 7-10 years; however, an airbed can stay up to 15 years. Most times, it is the pumps break down before the bed, although it is cheaper to substitute the pump.

Disadvantages of an air bed:

  • Substituting the pumps:

This is a major challenge for airbeds with an inbuilt pump. For the airbeds with an external pump, you can either repair or replace it.

  • Noisy pumps:

Noisy pumps are a common complaint. The good thing is the pumps only run when inflating or deflating the mattress, so you don’t have to worry about the noise for a long time.

  • It takes time to put together:

For the sized, permanent airbeds, it takes a long time to assemble and may require you to seek a helping hand.

  • A short term warranty:

Airbeds have a limited time warranty compared to latex or innerspring. This is disadvantageous to the owner who has to bear the costs of a spoilt pump or even the mattress material itself.

2. Waterbed

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A waterbed is a vinyl mattress containing water. Initially, filling of waterbeds was by a garden hose, but today, fill tubes known as bladders have replaced them.

There are two types of waterbeds; Hard-side, which contains a wooden bed frame to allow the mattress to retain its shape while a soft-side waterbed, has the exterior looking similar to a conventional bed.

Advantages of a waterbed:

  • Relaxes your muscles and joints:

Minimizes pressure in muscles and joints, and supports the back and spine. So, waterbed eases arthritis, back pain, and other joint problems.

  • Comfortability of a waterbed:

Lying down on a waterbed will have the mattress shape itself around your body, providing comfort. With this, you don’t have to keep on turning in bed to get a comfortable sleeping position and guarantees a good night’s uninterrupted sleep.

  • Waterbed is easy to heat:

A waterbed has an inbuilt heater to warm the water and guarantee a good sleep even when cold. Moreover, that warmth is important in blood circulation and relaxes stiff joints and muscles.

  • Waterbed retains shape:

Maintenance of shape is ordinary for a waterbed as the water inside gives its firm shape. You, therefore, don’t need to keep on turning it over to make it comfy.

  • No dust with waterbed:

This factor makes it perfect for those with allergic reactions to dust.

  • It is easy to clean a waterbed:

Dust or any other impurity does not penetrate the mattress surface. Wipe the surface with a vinyl cleaner to keep it bright as new. For soft side mattresses, they have a zipped cover that is easy to remove and clean.

  • Waterbed has a longer life-term:

A waterbed mattress lasts up to 10-20 years, while a traditional mattress lasts for 4-5 years.

  • Waterbed comes with flexibility:

A variety of modern waterbeds design has a twin mattress. This enables every user to heat the water according to their preference.

Challenges of water bed

  • The high cost of energy:

During the cold season, a higher level of energy is necessary to keep the water warm, hence increasing total energy use. Turning the thermostat down when the heater is on can be helpful.

  • Special bed linens:

The common bed sheets used in waterbed may slip off the corners as you toss and turn in your sleep because of its soft surface. It is also impossible to tuck in the sheets as done with the traditional mattress.

You need a special kind of bed sheet for the water mattress. The major problem lies with hard-side beds. For soft-size beds, they come in conventional sizes to get rid of this issue.

  • High maintenance:

Waterbeds require high maintenance, such as using a conditioner for the exterior vinyl cover, replacing or repairing bladders if there’s a leakage.

  • Prohibition of water-furniture:

A number of insurance plans and leases forbid water-furniture as it is prone to accidents and damage when it leaks. This is more so risky when the water comes into contact with electrical appliances.

  • Not convenient to move around:

Once in a while, you may need to have a room makeover to avoid monotony over a long period. When it comes to the waterbed, it is a hectic process.

You disassemble the parts, empty the water, move the parts to the desired place, and reassemble them again. You cannot push it around like a traditional bed.


Both air beds and waterbeds are susceptible to puncture. But waterbeds are made so that the susceptible water core is somewhat protected from the danger of puncturing.

Conversely, airbeds come without such protection; any seal breach leads to a fast or a slow leak, and ultimately the mattress deflates. Airbeds are usually not very durable, while waterbeds may last longer, with the right care.

Last update on 2023-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API