Though they were first used in hospitals for patients with serious medical conditions, adjustable beds have seen an impressive uptick in sales over recent years across a whole spectrum of shoppers.

About 9% of all American consumers currently own an adjustable bed frame, with sales increasing by 24% over just this past year.

But is all this business really justified?

What makes adjustable beds so popular these days – and could they be the right solution for you?

Since adjustable beds often require you to invest in both a motorized bedframe and a specialized mattress, this definitely isn’t the kind of investment you want to jump into out of hand.

There’s quite a bit of money on the table here, so it pays to have a solid understanding of what an adjustable can and cannot do for you.

What Is an Adjustable Bed?

Let’s start with the basics – just what is an adjustable bed, anyway?

There’s a huge range of these products on the market right now, but they all do have a couple things in common.

Couple with remote beside adjustable bedFirst of all, all adjustable beds come with adjustable motors that can change the angle of your sleeping body, which you can control with a remote.

Some kinds of adjustable bed are split, so if you’re sleeping with a partner, each of you can decide the exact angle you want to sleep at.

The number of motors a bed has installed varies from company to company – the more customizable the bed, the greater the cost.

All adjustable beds also require adjustable mattresses that will work properly with them, so you’ll have to take this into consideration when having a look at the cost.

If you go adjustable, you’ll have to buy a new mattress, as well as a new bed.

Different Kinds of Adjustable Bed

There’s practically no limit to the number of features you might find on different kinds of adjustable bed.

They come in every shape and size, and with every kind of option you could want.

Some come with adjustable firmness.

Some offer full-body massages.

Some adjust to the movements of your body during the night.

Some come with all kinds of technology bells and whistles, like built-in USB ports!

You’ll have to decide on your own which of these features are important to you, but as a rule, you should know that the more features you sign on to, the more expensive your investment will be.

Health Benefits of Adjustable Beds

For most people, the main advantage of an adjustable bed is its ability to help treat a number of serious medical conditions.

The way you sleep can have a major impact on your health, and adjustable beds and mattresses can maneuver you into the best possible sleep position.

Note, though, that you should always consult a medical professional before making so serious a decision based on your health.

We can outline some common conditions these mattresses may help with, but every person is unique.

Adjustable Beds Help with Back Pain

The ability to sleep in at an angle or in a semi-upright position is much more comfortable for many people than lying flat on your back.

People suffering from neck and lower back problems in particular may benefit from an adjustable mattress.

(If you’re experiencing this kind of discomfort and think a new mattress may help, you can also check out our article on your best mattress options for back pain.)

Old man with back painSome common back issues adjustable mattresses may help with include: 

  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis (facet joint arthritis)
  • Spinal stenosis

The increased support and tilted spine position adjustable beds offer can often provide relief for individuals with these conditions.

You may also benefit from an adjustable bed if you’ve just gone through neck or lower back surgery.

Adjustable Beds Help with Acid Reflux

Adjustable beds have also been found to help with acid reflux.

If you find yourself waking up two to three times each night with a bitter, burning sensation in your mouth, you might want to consider investing in an adjustable bed.

Sleeping at as little as a six inch incline can greatly reduce symptoms of acid reflux by keeping your stomach acid down where it’s supposed to be.

Adjustable beds can reduce or eliminate the need for antacids or protein pump reducers that you’d normally need to treat conditions like this.

Adjustable Beds Help with Sleep Issues

If you’re having issues with snoring, sleep apnea, or insomnia, an adjustable bed might help you better get to sleep and stay asleep.

While this may not work for everyone, the ability to reposition yourself during the night can help better reposition your throat and diaphragm.

This will typically totally eliminate snoring, so your partner will definitely thank you!

Ideally, you’ll also experience less tossing and turning at night with an adjustable mattress, since your body will already be in the most comfortable possible position.

Allows for Greater Independence

Adjustable beds are often much easier to get into or out of than their more traditional counterparts, which can be a serious benefit to those suffering from ongoing health issues that may limit their range of motion.

In addition to being more comfortable, these mattresses also improve independence by making it far easier to get into and out of bed.

This becomes even easier if you add handrails.

Hang Out in Your Bed More Comfortably

If you’re a fan of hanging out in your bed during the day to watch TV, look at your phone, read, etc., an adjustable bed can make this a lot more comfortable for you.

You’ll be placing less strain on your back and neck to sit up properly, and you’ll be able to more fully immerse yourself in whatever it is you’re looking at.

While this might not be as serious as some of the other issues mentioned in this article, it’s a definite plus in a lot of people’s books!

Drawbacks of Adjustable Beds

Is this all sounding pretty good?

Well, it’s true—there are a lot of advantages to adjustable beds, and they can be a very good investment for many people.

Unfortunately, though, they’re definitely not perfect for everyone.

Don’t get out the checkbook just yet, because there are several drawbacks to consider before you run out and buy your first adjustable bed.

Adjustable Beds Are Often Quite Expensive

The biggest disadvantage of these products is probably price tag.

Man trying to shake out extra pennies from a piggy bank

Adjustable beds and mattresses are more expensive than non-adjustable beds and mattresses.

That’s just a fact.

At best, a good adjustable bed will cost you $800.

If you want one with all the latest options and features, though, you might be looking at a cost of $2,500 and up. 

Now, you should also realize that a higher price doesn’t necessarily mean higher quality adjustable mattress.

You’ll have to do your research in advance.

Don’t just throw money at the problem!

Payment Options to Consider

Thankfully, though, you won’t necessarily have to pay for your entire adjustable bed set out of pocket.

If you’re a little uncertain how much you might benefit from this purchase, for instance, you might want to think about renting a bed from a medical supply company before shelling out however many hundred or thousand dollars on their bed.

Remember, everybody is different.

Even if an adjustable bed helps most people with your condition, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will help you. 

If you can get an adjustable bed prescribed by your medical professional, though, you might be able to get the price covered by your insurance, depending on your coverage.

If there’s no luck with that, at the very least many states don’t charge sales tax on adjustable beds if you have a note from your doctor.

Adjustable Beds Can Be Noisy

In addition to being pricey, many adjustable beds are often quite noisy.

There’s a lot of variation from bed to bed, of course, but it’s never entirely possible to entirely eliminate the noise that comes with raising or lowering a bed.

This could be especially problematic if your partner is a light sleeper and you try to adjust your angle in the middle of the night.

Pull that too often, and you might find yourself sleeping on the couch downstairs!

They Might Be Too Heavy for Your Floor

Again, this isn’t necessarily true of all mattresses in all houses.

However, an adjustable bed is always going to be heavier than a similarly-sized non-adjustable one.

While a typical bed, mattress, bedframe, etc. weighs only about 175 pounds, your average adjustable bed weighs 625 pounds.

That’s over 3X as heavy!

This means that you’re probably going to want to check to make sure how much weight your floors are able to hold up before you get your adjustable bed.

Getting a bed too heavy for your floor is one mistake you do not want to make!

Alternatives to Adjustable Beds

There are also a number of alternatives to adjustable beds you might want to consider before making such a hefty purchase.

If you’re having sleep or back pain issues, for instance, there are a lot of options out there for you besides an adjustable bed.

You might consider trying out different sleeping positions.

You might consider just getting mattress that better meets your needs.

Or you might even just try pushing some pillows behind your back, and seeing if that can help.

The point is, there are a lot of factors involved in your sleep.

An adjustable bed might be the perfect investment for you.

But it also might be completely unnecessary.

Conclusion About Adjustable Beds

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to adjustable beds.

While the advantages they offer are definitely not to be sneezed at, there are also several drawbacks.

A key part of any purchase process is weighing the pros and cons, and deciding what works best for you.

Is an adjustable bed right for you?

Ultimately, that’s a question only you can answer.

Ted Wilson

Ted Wilson

Founder and Owner

Ted is the founder and owner of Mattress Guides and is an expert in his field. Ted believes that having the right mattress is key to getting a good night’s sleep and feeling well-rested in the morning.

Updated at November 6, 2020