The Complete Adjustable Bed Buying Guide

August 4, 2016 Sleep Science & Tech Reverie

In recent years, sales of adjustable power bed bases have grown exponentially. Yet, when it’s time for a sleep upgrade, many people still think only about mattresses. They remain unaware of the big difference in sleep quality that a power bed can provide, mistakenly equating them with hospital beds. With all the technology now infused into adjustable beds, nothing could be further from the truth.

An adjustable power base gives you the ability to control and tweak the position you sleep in, which can lead to longer and more restful sleep. It can also reduce snoring and alleviate pain. And then there’s the lifestyle perks. Like finally being able to read in bed comfortably with support under your knees.  Or drifting off to a massage every night. Or programming the head of the bed to rise automatically in the morning to help you wake up. And more.

All in all, an adjustable foundation is a big value-add in a big busy world. But with so many bed frames on the market, how do you go about choosing? It depends on your needs of course. But here are seven important things to consider.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#1  How good is the engineering?

Perhaps no other piece of furniture is as complex as an adjustable foundation in that it moves. How many pieces of furniture do more than swivel or go up and down? In the case of higher end bases, they move in so many different ways. You’re ponying up a decent sum here, so take your time to check it out. Lay in the bed and try every single function on the adjustable bed remote control. Does the bed move quickly on command? Are the motions jerky or smooth? Be sure to evaluate with your ears as well. A good base will operate quietly as a result of the high quality adjustable bed motors. Ask your salesperson a ton of questions and do some homework online. Does the company building your base have a sizable product line and at least a million bases behind them? The importance of great engineering can’t be overemphasized.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#2  How much science went into the design?

So let’s assume the base has acceptable engineering. The next thing to ask is, how did they develop the positions and features? For example, lumbar support is worthless unless it’s specifically developed to align with the spine. Is the massage feature something that just shakes the bed, or is it a sophisticated, travelling motion, developed using the principles of physics? Is the Anti-Snore position exactly the optimal angle for most people? Did doctors or scientists give input into developing the bed? Inspect the edges, seams and all other aspects of the bed for nice finishes, solid materials, smooth joints and overall sturdiness. And while you’re at it, think about your personal design aesthetic. A lot of bases out there look like bulky fabric-clad pontoon boats rather than sleek pieces of machinery. Function is important, but style matters, too.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#3  What features does it offer?

An entry-level base will usually allow you to operate the head and foot of the base. Make sure the operation is smooth and that those sleeping positions feel comfortable to you. Just because there are strings on your wallet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a well-made product. More sophisticated adjustable power bases have additional desirable features like variable massage levels, enhanced neck support and life-changing presets like Anti-Snore and Zero Gravity, which simulates weightlessness. Premium power bases let you control the bed through your smartphone and program multiple settings to run at specific times. You may even find some under-bed nightlights.

#4  Split adjustable bed base or not?

The reality of any bed is that usually two people are sleeping in it. When that’s the case, a split adjustable bed is something to consider, because it allows both people to adjust the bed independently. Make sure the manufacturer provides two bed remotes for that purpose, and that each of you can adjust the other side of the bed with your remote, not just your own side. This can come in handy for any couple dealing with snoring or sleep apnea. If you decide to go with a split adjustable base, your mattress becomes a part of the equation. You can order a Split King mattress, which allows independent movement on both sides and is essentially two separate twin mattresses with their own separate domains. If you like to sleep while cuddling, make sure any partially split mattress moves well with the base in the foot region. Split bases are sometimes offered in Split Queen size, but most manufacturers only offer them in Split King.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#5  Do you want it to fit within an existing bed frame?

Already have a bed frame you love? The better adjustable bed bases have been specifically designed to fit within many standard types of bed frames. They have dimensions and certain compact crossbars to make that happen. They also come with different leg heights or adjustable bed risers that you can swap out to put your mattress at the right height. Ask the manufacturer for measurement specs to see if your bed will work. A serious maker of adjustable bases will have such bed size specs available for you.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#6  Remotes and apps add to the experience

A good adjustable base comes with a remote that’s simple to use. If it’s back lit, that’s a plus. Ditto if it’s wireless. Some manufacturers also realize that you can never have too many charging stations and have gone to the trouble of creating a quality remote cradle that also charges your smartphone. If you’re into more sophisticated operations, ask your salesperson for a demo of the company’s smartphone app. A high-end app will let you easily program multiple positions and massage settings with timings.

The complete adjustable bed buying guide

#7  Who made your bed? Warranties, service and reputation.

Many companies have gotten into the reclining bed market in recent years, looking to make a quick buck without knowing much about power beds. Avoid them. A power adjustable foundation is a complex piece of equipment. Like a car, it has moving parts, electronics and a motor. So be sure you’re dealing with a company that’s built a lot of electric beds and has a reputation for standing behind them. Also, a great bed warranty is the sign of a great power base. Check out some of the leading bed sellers, and you’ll find they’re pretty oblique about the warranties on their bases. That is because most of them farm out their power bases. Some even require you to ship the base back for service. A good company will clearly call out its policy:  how long labor is covered, how long parts are covered and how long the motor is covered. Some companies guarantee the motor for as long as 20 years.

And do yourself a favor before you buy … call the customer service department and see who answers the phone. Does the company care enough to handle customer service in-house? Or have they outsourced that, too? A good quality base will have few or no problems, but if you have questions about operation or installation, a well-trained customer service team is highly desirable.

The world of sleep is no longer flat.

A power adjustable base helps you to settle into your own perfect sleeping position, which often involves a raised head or a little support under your knees. With stress in abundance and time for sleep in low supply, a power base gives you a whole new toolbox of sleep options. Choose wisely and start enjoying them pronto.

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