Custom Scroll Top

Why Did Manufacturers Discontinue Waterbeds? Answer For You

Why did manufacturers discontinue waterbeds, once an iconic symbol of comfort and relaxation? This intriguing question has sparked curiosity among many sleep enthusiasts. In this article, you’ll delve into the reasons behind the discontinuation of waterbed manufacturing.

What Were Waterbeds And Why Were They Popular? 

Waterbeds were innovative sleep surfaces that gained immense popularity during the late 1970s and 1980s. They were practically mattresses filled with water.  They offered a unique and customizable sleeping experience. You can trace the idea of a waterbed back to ancient civilizations, but it was in the 20th century that they experienced a renaissance.

Waterbeds became popular for several reasons. First, people saw a waterbed as a symbol of luxury and indulgence in their homes. They provided a distinct level of comfort that traditional mattresses couldn’t match. The sensation of floating on water appealed to people seeking a novel-like sleep experience.

Moreover, many believed a waterbed would offer health benefits. Advocates claimed that the even distribution of weight reduced pressure points. This, in turn, alleviated back pain and promoted better spinal alignment. The water’s buoyancy was also thought to improve circulation and minimize the risk of bedsores.

However, the popularity of waterbeds was short-lived. As the 1980s rolled around, the novelty of the waterbed faded, and consumers began to seek out more traditional sleep solutions. As a result, this bed fell out of favor and ceased to be manufactured by most manufacturers.

Read more: IKEA Mattress Review

Why Did Manufacturers Discontinue Waterbeds? 

Waterbeds are not entirely disappeared, but the number of people buying them has decreased in the past 40 years. This drop in popularity is mainly because the trouble of owning a waterbed often outweighs the benefits. They are hard to care for, tricky to move, and need to fill with water, drain and some other reasons are listed below: 

Disadvantage of getting into and out of bed 

One of the disadvantages of a waterbed was the difficulty in getting into and out of bed. The lack of firmness and stability of a waterbed posed challenges for certain individuals. 

The mattress moves and sways when you try to get in or out of bed, making it more challenging to stay balanced. People who are elderly or have mobility limitations may find this particularly difficult.

This posed a significant inconvenience and potential risk for users. The difficult process of getting in and out of bed was a contributing factor to the decline in the popularity of these beds. It played a significant role in why manufacturers discontinued waterbeds.

Hard to transfer and deliver 

A waterbed was hard to transfer and deliver. They were heavy and bulky, making them challenging to move around. The size and weight posed problems during transportation, especially in narrow hallways and staircases. 

Maneuvering them through doorways was a difficult task. Their large size made it hard for delivery personnel to handle them efficiently. These challenges made it inconvenient for both manufacturers and consumers. 

Read more: Best Three Quarter Mattress

Require high maintenance 

A waterbed mattress required high maintenance. They needed regular upkeep and care to prevent leaks or punctures. Maintaining the right water level and temperature was also essential. Moreover, cleaning and treating the water to prevent bacteria growth was time-consuming. 

Additionally, they often required special cleaning products and procedures. The complex maintenance routine made them inconvenient for users. It was challenging to ke

What Are Some Water Bed Types?

Waterbeds came in various types, each offering a different sleeping experience. 

Free-flow and wave-less 

One popular type of waterbed was the free-flow waterbed. Inside this mattress, the water moved freely, creating a gentle wave-like motion.  Another variant was the waveless waterbed, which was designed with baffles or fiber inserts. These additions reduced the movement of water, resulting in a more stable surface for sleep.


Another notable type of waterbed was the soft side. It featured a water-filled bladder enclosed within a foam frame, giving it the appearance of a conventional mattress.  The design of the soft-side waterbed aimed to address the challenges of maintenance and stability that were often associated with a traditional waterbed.


The hard-side waterbed, otherwise, had a sturdy wooden frame that held a water-filled mattress securely. This type offered a more traditional waterbed feel, with the visible presence of the water-filled mattress.

What Safety Concerns Were Associated With Waterbeds?

Besides the difficulties they have, waterbed mattresses also had some serious safety concerns.  

Puncture and leaks 

As mentioned above, waterbeds often have a risk of leakage or punctures. More dangerous, the presence of water around electrical outlets and appliances increased the risk of electrical hazards. Leaks also could damage flooring, leading to slippery surfaces and potential falls. 

Moreover, the accumulated water could create a breeding ground for mold and mildew, posing health risks. Furthermore, if unlucky, the water level drops and the mattress becomes unstable, leading to falls or injuries.

Chemical exposure

Certain waterbeds contained chemicals like vinyl chloride, which had the potential to emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds, when present, could cause respiratory issues and allergic reactions, particularly for individuals with sensitivities.

The prolonged exposure to VOCs from the vinyl material used in waterbeds raised health concerns. Users will be worried about potential long-term effects and the overall safety of sleeping on a mattress with chemical components.


They are also associated with some safety concerns related to mold. The presence of water in the mattress provided a conducive environment for mold growth. If proper maintenance and cleaning were not carried out often, mold could develop within the waterbed. 

Exposure to mold spores could trigger allergies and other health problems. The risk of mold growth raised doubts about the overall safety and hygiene of waterbeds. 

Read more: 5 Best Semi-Truck Mattresses

Is It Still Possible To Buy A Waterbed Today? 

The answer is yes. While they are not as popular as they once were, there are still manufacturers and retailers that offer them for sale.  However, the availability of waterbeds may vary depending on the region and market demand. Online shopping platforms and specialty stores may be the best places to support you find them. 

Customers interested in purchasing a waterbed for their bedroom have the option to explore different choices. They can consider traditional waterbeds or modern variations that come with added features like adjustable temperature controls and wave reduction systems.

Note: Waterbeds today might require more effort compared to purchasing a conventional mattress because they are no longer as widely available to be stocked in stores.


Manufacturers stop making waterbeds due to various factors. These challenges and concerns led to a decline among people and decreased demand for them. These reasons have answered many people’s questions as to why manufacturers discontinue waterbeds. It’s crucial to remember that not all waterbeds have the same drawbacks since design and new technology have advanced in time.


What year did they stop making waterbeds? 

They stopped being manufactured sometime after their peak popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, the exact year when they ceased production may vary among different manufacturers.

Were waterbeds comfortable? 

Opinions on the comfort of waterbeds vary among individuals. Some people found them to be comfortable because of the mattress’s conforming and pressure-relieving properties. However, others found them uncomfortable due to the limitation of motion transfer and lack of support. 

How long do waterbeds last? 

On average, with proper care, a waterbed can last between 10 and 15 years. However, individual experiences may differ, and some waterbeds may last longer or have a shorter lifespan. 

David Elkie

David Elkie

David Elkie is the CEO at Banner Mattress. He has been in the writing and editing business for the mattress, bedding accessories and décor industries for over 20 years.