What’s the Big Deal about Adjustable Beds?

What’s the Big Deal about Adjustable Beds?

Adjustable beds have slowly made their way into American homes, and as more and more retailers begin touting their benefits, people are often curious as to what all the fuss is about. For years, adjustable beds were primarily identified with hospital rooms and old folks homes, but this is no longer the case. Now, the market is seeing steady sales from a number of different consumer demographics, from young couples to baby boomers. With adjustable bases popping up in more and more stores and even pop culture, you might be curious about what these beds do and if they might benefit you. In this article, we will take a look at what adjustable beds are, why they are becoming more popular, and who this type of bed might be ideal for.

What is an Adjustable Bed?

An adjustable bed is, to put it simply, a bed that allows the user to adjust the angle of their upper and lower body. Unlike hospital beds, they typically don’t adjust vertically (height-wise) and they also don’t come with rails. The idea behind a home adjustable base is that it should fit into the average bedroom, so most of today’s models tend to resemble mattress boxsprings when flat. Most models can attach to headboards and footboards and some can operate within standard furniture frames.

The sleek look is nothing like the older adjustable beds that the market first produced, or the beds you see in hospitals. Many have conventional or even contemporary frames and fit into modern bed furniture, defeating the negative stigma that assumes that adjustable bases can only be purchased by older or ill consumers.

Now, the adjustable beds operate via at least two motors which lift the head section and knee section separately. The mechanics are usually fairly minimal, and contained under the base and concealed. They operate via standard electrical outlets, and can be adjusted by wired controls or remotes, depending on the model.

Also, it should be noted that an adjustable bed almost always refers exclusively to the base only, which is separate from the mattress. A few brands attach both pieces together, though most do not. At any rate, it is usually ideal to have separate pieces, as the base will often outlast the mattress, and the buyer can choose whatever mattress they prefer.

Features You May See on Adjustable Beds

In addition to the ability to adjust a person’s position, adjustable beds are also gaining popularity due to the variety of features available. Some are focused purely on comfort, others on convenience or aesthetics.

  • Wired Controls: Hand controls which are hard-wired to the base. On one hand, they can’t get lost and don’t need batteries; on the other hand, the cords can be obnoxious and unsightly.
  • Wireless Remotes: Hand controls which communicate with the base via infrared or WiFi. They can get misplaced and need batteries, but offer a greater range of motion, convenience, and better looks.
  • Mobile Controls: Some of the newer high-end bases can be controlled via smart phones and tablets using apps and WiFi.
  • Massage: Some bases come equipped with massage built into the base. The massage can work on vibration, pulse, or wave modes. Some models will have more features than others, like the ability to localize the massage, set intensity, and set a timer.
  • Built-in Alarm: The user specifies a wake up time and the bed uses vibration and/or sound to wake the sleeper. This can be more gentle and effective than an alarm clock, and means less clutter on your nightstands.
  • Snore Functions: Elevating one’s upper body can help open airways and reduce snoring. Some bases incorporate a button that allows either side to adjust the other to an ideal position to stop snoring.
  • Battery Backup: Many bases will include small battery modules below that come into play when electricity goes out. These aren’t meant for full-scale operation, rather to allow you to lower the bed to a flat position just in case.
  • Wall Hugger: This feature refers to beds that operate in a space-saving fashion. Instead of just moving forward, the base moves back and up. In addition to keeping the head of the bed near the nightstand, this also permits the base to operate within bed frames.
  • Dual Sides: A dual or split adjustable bed is a queen or king size model in which two sides operate independently. For couples with different needs or preferences, this can an excellent solution for obtaining comfort without compromising.

Why Do People Buy Adjustable Beds?

As you can see, there are many features adjustable beds can offer consumers, but there are three primary motivations for buying this product, which may help if you are trying to determine if one would be right for you.


Comfort is perhaps one of the biggest draws of adjustable bases, as they allow you to precisely select a position depending on your needs. A flat bed is not always best, if say your feet ache, your head is congested, or you have heartburn. Plus, even the healthiest person gets the occasional backache or muscle pain, which adjustable positions can help alleviate.

Elderly individuals and those with limited mobility can more easily get in and out of bed which is an asset not offered by all beds in the market. The base can be adjusted for specific concerns as well as everyday comfort when reading in bed or relaxing.


There are several health concerns which can aided or alleviate with adjustable beds. The include:

  • Those with swelling or circulation problems will appreciate being able to easily raise their feet above heart level.
  • For those who have had major surgeries, the ability to achieve medically beneficial positions at home can be a big help to healing. Plus, instead of sleeping in a recliner or with awkward props, you can sleep in your own bed.
  • Acid reflux/GERD symptoms can be minimized at night by slightly elevating the upper body.
  • Snoring and sleep apnea sufferers can also achieve some relief by sleeping with their heads elevated.
  • Setting the base to a neutral position with head and feet both slightly up can take pressure of the lower back and reduce back pain.


Though we listed several benefits for specific health concerns people may have, don’t think that adjustable beds are only for the ill or infirm. Perfectly healthy people of all ages can also benefit from the ability to adjust their sleep positions. For many, the massage and convenience features are big draw – kick up your feet after a long day of work, get a massage, and watch TV or read in a comfortable position. With an adjustable system, you can use the bed for so much more than sleep, which makes it a functional furnishing. Others just like the ability to have options  in their sleep systems, or the satisfaction of having technology-savvy beds.

Leading Adjustable Bed Retailers

Here is a brief comparison of a few leading brands of adjustable beds for quick comparison. If you are interested in more information, check our article comparing adjustable bed brands for more information. As you can see in the chart, our comparison found adjustable beds from Amerisleep to receive the highest overall consumer reviews. Their selection includes their own Ergo line as well as two models from Leggett and Platt.

BrandConsumer RatingsPriceHealth BenefitsDurabilityWarrantyTotal
Golden Rest333333
Sleep Comfort414453.6

Adjustable beds are permeating the mattress industry, with nearly every brand offering at least one adjustable system. The advent of specialty mattresses like latex and memory foam have also helped their growth, as these types of beds prove naturally compatible with adjustable systems.  Many people are opting for this type of bed simply because they provide many convenient features without taking up additional space in the home.  This product comes with a price tag ranging that can range from $500 to $5000 depending on quality and features, but it can truly be an long-term investment.  When all of the perks are considered, it is easy to see why adjustable beds are resonating with a broad demographic of consumers and becoming more ubiquitous.

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