Waterbeds have been around for centuries, going back as far as 3600 BC, when Persians filled mattresses made of goatskin with water. In the 19th century, hospitals used waterbeds made of rubber for patients. Fast forward to 1968, Charles Hall invented a waterbed that had a vinyl mattress, which he named “The Pleasure Pit.” He called it so because the waterbed was known to be better than other beds in quite a few ways, including in promoting proper sleep.

By the 1980s, waterbeds became increasingly popular, with 1 in 5 homes in the United States having one. However, they had fallen out of popularity once the 1990s came around – mainly due to the maintenance required. The good news is that anyone who wants a waterbed can still find them today. You can find waterbeds mostly online, but they are also available in some stores.

Types of Waterbeds
Before you find out the types of waterbeds available, you should know what exactly a waterbed is. Simply put, it is a vinyl mattress filled with water. In the 1980s, when waterbeds were at the peak of their popularity, consumers had to use a garden hose to fill up the entire bed with water. Today, tubes called “bladders” are the only thing you have to fill when you buy a waterbed. Some of the waterbeds you will find in current market can support themselves, doing away with the need for a separate frame. You will also find some innovative ones that come with temperature-control devices to heat the water.

Waterbeds come in many brands and sizes. However, you will find two main types of waterbed mattresses on the market today – Hardside and Softside.

Hardside Waterbeds

This type of waterbed is designed with hardwoods or softwoods to help it hold its shape. In other words, Hardside waterbeds come with a frame. With bookcase-type or plain headboards, they look more like traditional beds than Softside waterbeds. This is why many consumers looking for aesthetics rather than comfort go for Hardside waterbeds rather than Softside ones. They look more sophisticated and can add to the visual appeal of a bedroom.

When you choose a Hardside waterbed, you will need to buy California-size sheets to go with it. This puts a limit on your choices when you go shopping for linens. But if you do not mind this small issue, Hardside waterbeds are the right type for you.

Softside Waterbeds
This type of waterbed is a popular choice among homeowners as it provides a comfortable outer edge. Softside waterbeds are designed with foam bolsters to help them hold their shape. In other words, foam surrounds the bed. A fabric casing covers the foam and is topped with a padded layer as well. All of these materials used in Softside waterbeds sit upon a well-designed upholstered box, a lot like a box spring.

Apart from the comfort they offer, ease of shopping for linens is one of the reasons that Softside waterbeds are popular among consumers. Regular-sized linen or sheet can be used with this type of waterbed.

Type of Maintenance Required for Waterbeds
The waterbed fell out of popularity in the 1990s due to a number of reasons, including the bed’s weight, the lengthy process of filling up the beds and the extensive maintenance required to take care of waterbeds and make them last as long as possible.

Although these problems are not as major as before, you do still need to perform some maintenance on waterbeds. To have and use a waterbed:

You need to do the job of filling your waterbed yourself. When you buy one, you must bear in mind that it can be quite a tedious task to install a waterbed mattress. A king waterbed holds approximately 235 gallons of water. Installation is a drawback for many people because it is not always the easiest or most fun task to snake a garden hose into the bedroom.
It is necessary to apply a waterbed conditioner every year. You need to do this to keep the vinyl of your waterbed supple and keep it from becoming brittle. Doing this annually helps in making the waterbed last longer.
Although leaks are not as much of a problem as they were in the past, you do need to check and fix them from time to time. You can use a vinyl repair kit to fix leaks. These kits usually come with a vinyl repair patch and liquid cement. You can also use these kits to quickly fix and repair holes in air mattresses if you own one.
It may be necessary that you set aside some time to drain the mattress now and then. Keep in mind that full waterbeds are extremely heavy – roughly 2000 pounds if it is a king size and slightly lesser if it is a queen. So, while the water in the mattress does not have to be changed, you will have to drain it if you are going to move a waterbed. You will need a garden hose to drain the mattress, similar to how you feel it.
Top 5 Waterbeds on the Market
Here is a look at 5 of the best waterbeds available on the market today.

Author's Bio: 

Vishal Ingole is a Content Strategist and Blogger. He has written for numerous publications in the past on topics ranging from finance, Enterprise IT to health and travel. He also writes for Sleep Sherpa and oversees the overall content strategy.