Medical Beds

5 Main Types of Adjustable Beds

It’s no exaggeration to say that an adjustable bed is probably one of the most important investments you’ll make, particularly if you experience mobility issues. The right bed can greatly improve your quality of life, helping you sleep more soundly and also assisting you in getting up each day. On the other hand, the wrong bed can make it impossible to sleep and, in some cases, even cause serious injury. 

The problem, of course, is that it’s not always clear which model and style of adjustable is the right choice. There’s no shortage of options available to you, no limit to the many different brands and the bells and whistles they add to their basic functionality. Today, we’re going to help you make sense of all that. 

We’ll go over the five major styles of adjustable beds so you can decide which one is the best fit for your needs. 

Why Purchase an Adjustable Bed? 

Compared to static beds, adjustable beds offer several significant advantages. First, the ability to adjust the bed’s position and angle with the push of a button is immensely beneficial for circulation. 

Whether you struggle with circulatory issues or need to keep a certain part of your body elevated,  an adjustable bed can get you in the right position without too much tossing and turning.  This can also help reduce inflammation and pain.  Similarly, if you suffer from acid reflux, you can use an adjustable bed to sleep on a slight incline. 

Health conditions aside, many modern adjustable beds ship with features such as built-in massage equipment, USB ports, separate adjustable sections, and Bluetooth connectivity. These are extra comforts you’d probably never experience with a traditional bed.  They’ve also been known to help with problems like restless leg syndrome and snoring. 

Finally, as we mentioned earlier, adjustable beds are ideal for anyone with mobility issues. If you have trouble getting into or out of bed, an adjustable bed can make your life considerably easier. In the long term, it may even improve your mobility.

In short, an adjustable bed not only helps you get into bed faster and sleep more soundly, but you might also wake up feeling better, as well. 

Adjustable Frames vs. Adjustable Mattresses

At the highest level, there are two main types of adjustable beds, categorized based on where the mechanisms that move the bed are situated.

An adjustable frame, also known as an adjustable base bed,  contains all the moving parts in the foundation. Adjustable base beds typically allow you to control height, angle, elevation, and more. Although you don’t need a specialized mattress for an adjustable frame, there are certain mattress models that you should avoid using. 

For instance, the interlocking coils within certain innerspring mattresses can become tangled and warped if the mattress is bent and stretched too much.  As a general rule, the safest choice is a memory foam mattress or something similar. Even though most mattresses released within the last several years are compatible with adjustable beds, there’s still a chance you’ll wind up with one that isn’t. 

Meanwhile, adjustable mattresses consist of either a mattress-frame combination or contain all the adjustment mechanisms within the mattress itself.  The only real difference between adjustable mattresses and adjustable base beds is that you don’t need to worry about finding a compatible mattress. You’ll already have one. 

Air Beds

The term ‘air bed’ is just a fancy way of saying ‘inflatable mattress.’  The main draw of an adjustable air bed is that in addition to controlling things like elevation and angle, you can also adjust the bed’s firmness by drawing in or releasing air.  Certain adjustable air beds even allow you to do this independently for each side of the bed — ideal for couples with different sleep preferences. 

The Air-Pedic 1000 is hands-down the best adjustable air bed on the market.  Each side of the bed consists of three independent air chambers,  and every one of these chambers is independently adjustable. Firmness is measured from 1-100, with 1 being the softest. 

Air-Pedic’s mattresses are also designed for breathability and cooling, combining a bamboo mattress cover with gel-infused foam for maximum comfort. AirPedic’s optional patented AirFlow Transfer System can also be added to any of its mattresses. The ATS uses air circulation to improve heat transfer, keeping the mattress and sleeper cool and comfortable. 

Split Beds

Some adjustable beds contain two separate sets of mechanisms, allowing each side of the bed to be adjusted independently. Known as split beds, they’re an excellent choice for couples, as each person can adjust their side into the most comfortable position on their own. Note also that a split bed can simultaneously be any other type of adjustable bed. 

The Puffy Adjustable Base is one of the most prominent and successful split beds. Featuring wireless control, one-click Zero G elevation, and dual massage motors, Puffy ships with a lifetime warranty. The mattress is also incredibly easy to set up, as it’s designed to be as intuitive as possible. 

Smart Beds

A relatively recent innovation, smart beds are exactly what they sound like. They’re adjustable beds that leverage Internet connectivity to add a range of new features and functionality. Their most basic smart beds allow you to control their functionality entirely via your phone, typically by using a companion app. 

Smart beds may also include features like voice controls and smart home connectivity.

The Sleep Number 360 i8  comes to mind here. As one of the most popular models of adjustable bed on the market, it features an integrated mattress, adjustable firmness, and automation that allows it to respond intelligently to your motions when you sleep. 

Sleep Soundly By Making The Right Choice

Finding the right adjustable bed can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. If you go in demonstrating your understanding of the different makes, models, and styles, you’re far likelier to find a resolution to your sleep issues, one way or the other.  This is doubly true if you memorize the different makes and models of each option you’re considering. 

Whether you’re struggling with mobility issues, chronic illness, or simply old age, an adjustable mattress can make your life much easier. The above examples represent not even a fraction of your available choices. And so, with that in mind, we’ll leave you with one final piece of advice. 

Do your homework. Look up reviews and testimonials about each adjustable bed that catches your eye. Reach out to people they’ve worked with in the past and put out feelers to determine which vendors are above board and which are better left avoided.

Finally, once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a single option, all that’s left is to make the purchase and enjoy a better night’s sleep. 


Questions? Contact a Bed Expert.

Our friendly staff is here to answer your questions and can help configure a bed to fit your needs.

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Transfer Master

About Transfer Master

Transfer Master has built electric adjustable hospital beds for the home and medical facility since 1993. We started with a simple goal that hospital beds should allow wheelchair users to transfer independently in and out of bed. Twenty-five years later, our customers are still at the center of everything we do. You’ll feel the difference.