How to Buy a Waterbed

First, convince your boyfriend that his free flow waterbed of 20 years is not the ideal sleeping arrangement for two full grown adults who are light sleepers. This may take several years.

Second, compromise on buying a new waterbed with waveless technology instead of a conventional mattress.

Third, do research.

Fourth, briefly mourn the loss of Consumer Reports as your guide when you realize their mattress reviews do not include waterbeds.

Fifth, discover that most waterbed mattress review sites look like they were made in the 70s, although you’re pretty sure that the internet did not exist then. Contemplate the felicity of such color combinations as pink, yellow and orange all within the same comforter.

Sixth, learn that waterbed tech has indeed changed a great deal. There are now softside and hardside waterbeds. Realize that you want a hardside waterbed, even though the name for it is completely counter-intuitive. Because hardside waterbeds have no sides, they’re just the water filled bladders so they are in fact rather soft. Whereas softside waterbeds are actually within the frame of a rigid mattress. So they have firm sides.

Softside

Hardside

Seventh, marvel at the variations available. You have your free flow, semi-waveless, waveless, and ultrawaveless.You have your hydraulic, your fiber layers, your foam layers, your coils, your lumbar support, and your tubes all lined up in a row.

A Plethora of Mattress Types

Free Flow

Semi-waveless

Waveless

Hydraulic Ultra Waveless

Inner Coils

Tubes

Eighth, you go to a Waterbed Store. These are hard to find. The first place you go used to be a waterbed store, but now is just a bed store, and while they have hardside waterbeds, they don’t have any you could try. You wander the store in desperation and find a Boyd softside. So you try it. You lie down on one side, your SO on the other, and take turns trying to make the bed slosh. And you discover that it is possible, hallelujah, to have a waterbed and not disrupt your partner when you move. The kindly salesman unzips the softside for you at which point you see a dual for the first time. Choirs of angels sing. But don’t relax just yet,¬† your quest has just begun.

Not actually this cheesy.

Ninth, you call the one other store in a hundred mile radius that was once listed as a waterbed store and ask if they have any on display. “We sure do,” they tell you, “come on down!” So you drive an hour in the opposite direction and discover they have three waterbeds on display, but all by the same brand (Land and Sky). Well, try them all you say. The 95% waveless, you discover as you try to bounce and make waves, feels an awful lot like a blanket on a concrete slab. But no waves. The 90% feels good, but when you move, it does jostle your partner. Only for a second. Not the violent slosh-slosh¬† motion of your current bed. But still. You don’t know why, but you still try the 80% waveless. Slosh-slosh. The salesman nearly convinces you to buy the 90%, he’s got a discounted floor model after all and this, he says, is the best brand. In spite of your skepticism, he’s starting to win you over. But then you learn that he has softsides of other brands. Great! you say.

1980s girl not included.

Tenth, you spend the next two hours hopping from bed to bed. Softside to softside and back to the hardsides. And you like the Boyd softsides better than any of the hardsides. Aside from the squeaking noise. Because it does squeak, with all the passion of vinyl against vinyl. Does this, you ask the salesman, come in a hardside? He does his best to steer you back to the Land and Sky, and so you spend some more time lying on beds in indecision. But then you remember, Aha! People are bad at knowing what they want in the moment. But given time, it’s easier to look back and see. So you’ll sleep on it, you say, back at home on your very own slosh-slosh. You buy fancy sheets, since after all, you did just spend hours in their store lying on their beds.

Eleventh, you go home and you fire up Google. And you don’t much like what you’re reading about the Land and Sky customer service. And you relearn that, really, there are no good review sites for any of these beds, although you do read them all. And each manufacturer has both positive and negative reviews, so it’s about to be a toss up. But then, hallelujah, you see a Boyd hardside dual. It does exist! Twelfth, you ponder for several days. Because while the internal components (the water bed bladder itself) are the same as the softside, the softside does have extra padding on top.

Thirteenth, you order the hardside dual from ABC Waterbed Outlet: 90% waveless, four layers of foam. You figure you’ll find a nice cushiony mattress pad, possibly even one more cushiony for your half than your beloved might prefer because, after all, it’s a dual, and you shall be happy on your side of the bed. And he shall be happy on his. And when you move, you will neither of you wake the other with slosh. All that remains is waiting for the bed to arrive.

Congratulations, you have bought a waterbed.

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8 comments on “How to Buy a Waterbed
  1. Pure_Agnostic says:

    My partner and I had a waterbed for a few years. We gave it up when we moved to California a decade ago.

    The bed was comfortable for sleeping and fun for sex, but it was quite wavey. There were quite a few problems associated with that. Vigorous sex is trickier to do on a wavey waterbed than on a regular bed. Neither of us could get up in the middle of the night without sending a tsunami to the other side of the bed and waking the other. Reading in bed became impossible as we constantly interrupted each other by every slight motion. But you’re getting the dual-mattress kind with motion-reduction mechanisms, so maybe you won’t jostle each other as much as we did.

    Some things to consider:
    * If the heater gives out, you will feel very cold at night as the water steals your body heat. Make sure you have a well-insulated bed.
    * The heater consumes power, so that adds to your electrical bill. Also, some people consider waterbeds as non-environmentally friendly as normal beds because of the power consumption.
    * We had to “burp” the air out of the mattress every few months. It only takes 20 minutes to an hour, but be aware of this extra maintenance task.
    * No matter how well sealed the mattress is, you will need anti-algae chemicals. So another extra cost.

    Sweet dreams on your bed!

  2. Lisa says:

    We are undergoing the same process right now. I am at about step 7 right now and really confused. We live in a small town and there is no waterbed store around. I have found a listing for one 100 miles away, but haven’t called them yet.

    How do you like your Boyd dual? Thanks for the informative post.

    • diana says:

      We’re very happy with the Boyd dual we got. It actually fixed the problem of us waking each other. Doesn’t have as much wave as the old mattress, but it still feels like a waterbed.

  3. fred says:

    In your opinion is the 4 layer better than lumbar support?

  4. Lacey says:

    Probably would have been cheaper to buy direct from Boyd than ABC. Everything else was dead on. I don’t understand why with all the improvements in design, waterbeds haven’t made a comeback. No mattress will last as long and stay as close to the way it was as when you bought it. I have been using the mattress from hell for 7 years. It was hugely expensive and began to deteriorate after the first year. Never really comfortable either. I had three prior waterbeds, all hard sided before at over about 18 years. Not because they wore out but because I changed from full wave to semi waveless and later moved and had a husband that couldn’t empty it properly. The baffles were all bunched up so he just went out and got another one. I believe they tether them not so that isn’t as much of an issue. I never had a leak or a bad nights sleep in all those years. I just purchased my first softsided sigh unseen from Boyd and am waiting for them to send it. I hope it is as good as you say. Won’t take much to improve on what we have : )

  5. DianaG says:

    I also want to know if the 4-layer is better than a lumbar support!

  6. Janice says:

    The website you referred us to has lots of info….Thanks. I sent them a message, that I will ask here too.. Has anyone found a frame/bed for a hard side mattress that is more stylish than the 70′s beds? I want a massive oak 4 poster. We have a dark wood 4 poster but short posts about 3 feet at the foot and about 4 1/2 at the head. I guess I should be lucky it is not as plain jane as it could be. But I really want something that is more in style and big! Anyone have a place I can find one?

  7. Joe says:

    What is the website that you are referring to for info on waterbed.

    Thanks

    Joe

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