Customer opinions are divided between the two bed types. Understandably, both waterbeds and memory beds have pros and cons to consider before settling for one or the other. We've compiled the most notable pros and cons in an easy-to-read table.
But first, here's what you must know about home mattress trials and what makes a good foam mattress.
A high quality slow-recovery Tempur-Pedic bed can cost up to $3,000, while a top of the line waterbed can go as high as $1,500 (the 5 foam layer model, with special 4 drawer wooden frame plus accessories: electrical pump, maintenance kit, patch kit and heater).
The cheapest slow-rise foam mattress is around $800 and the least inexpensive water mattress can cost as little as $100. But don't forget about accessories: the pump costs another $100, maintenance conditioner another $30, patch kit another $7, heater another $30-120, depending on quality.
Waterbeds have been on the market for almost 40 years. They are not as popular as they used to be, but there was a time when sleeping on a watermattress was the coolest thing in the world.
Nowadays, waterbeds maintain their good reputation among allergy sufferers, seniors who are reluctant to try anything else and hyper active teenagers.
Most mattress and bed shoppers today, however, seem to prefer slow-rise memory foam, especially thanks to its heat-responsive ability.
Bottom line, waterbeds rocked the sleeping world when they first appeared on the market. They are comfortable, not very expensive, easy to clean and last for many years. They've kept their pole position for almost half a century.
Over the last few years, however, slow-recovery foam beds proved they have similar benefits and a few extra pros: heat responsiveness, better back support and no danger of leaking.
|Slow-Rise Foam Beds||Waterbeds|
|Major Pro||Can be very comfortable||Can be very comfortable|
|Major Con||Gets hot during sleep||Not enough support|
I've had a waterbed since 1976 and wouldn't consider anything else. I have arthritis besides FM and the warmth really helps both. When I sleep on a regular bed I notice more stiffness that I normally have.
I had a waterbed in the early to mid-80's, after hearing that they might be good for my back and legs (pain and spasticity). As it turns out, a waterbed was the worst thing for me. I have a pronounced curve (scoliosis), which is related to cerebral palsy and abnormal posturing. That space in my back essentially had no place to rest, and I always woke up stiff and sore.
With the waterbed mattress, I had almost constant back pain and arm / hand numbness that would wake me many times a night.
Sometimes, I just lie in bed and feel so comfortable, because I can actually feel that the memory foam is "hugging" a pressure point. This is mostly when I'm lying on my abdomen and I can feel it on my knees and ankles.
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A Critical Eye On The Latest Mattress Technologies
Many manufacturers claim viscoelastic foam was first used by the NASA Space Program to boost sales for their foam bedding.
NASA never did use that basic material in the 1960s. NASA foam pillow or space foam pillow technology simply does not exist as such.
The truth is the Swedish Tempurpedic company did eventually come up with a reliable formula now used in the best-selling Tempurpedic mattress.
While Tempurpedic pads are commonly known as Swedish pads, not all such products made in Sweden are made of the so-called NASA memory foam.
How can you check if your purchase as good as authentic Tempur beds? You can try the wine glass test, the egg test, or the fridge test.
The most commonly reported problem consumers have with memory foam pillows is that they sleep hotter when compared to conventional sleeping surfaces.
But sleeping conditions are influenced by environment temperature, the material's heat sensitivity and your own body heat.