Adjustable beds are more popular than ever, and it’s easy to see why. From giving sleepers complete control over sleep positions to adding amenities like massage and more, electric adjustable bases bring a whole new dimension to sleep.
But, choosing the right mattress isn’t always so easy and straightforward. In this guide, we’ll be looking at some common questions on buying the best mattress and comparing pros and cons of different types.
Your Questions Answered: The Best Pairing of a Mattress and Adjustable Base
Before we get into the specifics of different mattress types, we tackle some of the more common questions people have about mattresses in general.
Should I get a base with an attached mattress or one sold separately?
There are a few ways you’ll see adjustable bases sold: by themselves, in a set with a mattress, or with a permanently attached mattress.
Adjustable beds sold by themselves allow you to have maximum choice when it comes to your mattress, since it can be paired with any compatible bed from any brand. If you want to shop for your mattress separately or already have a mattress, than this would be an ideal option.
Bases sold in paired sets usually have a limited selection, but may offer a better price when purchased together (and the mattress can still be swapped out if it doesn’t end up working). The pairing and ordering from one place can also be convenient.
Adjustable foundation that come with attached mattresses usually have the most limited selection but the all-in-one nature can be convenient for people who don’t want to research different products or shop around. Longevity may be questionable though since the mattress cannot be replaced once worn out, and if you don’t end up liking the mattress there may be no option to exchange or return the unit.
Does the mattress really matter?
While the base does all the heavy lifting and contains the bells and whistles, its the mattress that provides you with support and cushioning. A poor mattress can render even a top quality adjustable foudnation uncomfortable.
The additional needs of a flexible frame make choosing the right mattress even more important, since it will working much harder than your typical flat bed. For you as a buyer, this means that getting the right mattress is very important to overall satisfaction with your new sleep system. It needs to capable of being bent and flexed, durable enough to remain comfortable, and contain materials that still provide support and pain relief under different conditions.
Are their certain types of mattresses for adjustable beds?
Yes! Since they can adjust, bend and flex, the mattress needs to be able to take the movement while still remaining comfortable and not breaking down quickly. Some types of beds also have rigid designs that simply can’t bend.
Whenever you’re are shopping for an adjustable bed mattress, always check with the manufacturer to make sure that it will work, and that the warranty covers usage on an adjustable base (some will not). Check out the comparison further down for more mattress info.
What sizes can these bases accommodate?
Adjustable bed sizes can vary somewhat from traditional mattresses, and there are also more options. It’s helpful to have an idea of the sizes to find the right match and to know what size mattress you’ll need.
- Twin – 38”-39” x 75”
- Twin XL – 38”-39” x 80”
- Full – 54” x 75”
- Full XL – 54” x 80”
- Queen – 60” x 80”
- Split Queen – two sides, 30” x 80” each
- Eastern King – 76” x 80”
- Split King – two sides, 38” x 80” each
- California King – 72” x 84”
- Split California King – two sides, 36” x 84” each
Can a mattress be too thick?
While thicker mattresses can offer better pressure point relief and cushioning, they also tend not to bend quite as well as thinner beds. The ideal range for most mattresses would be 8” to 12”, though natural latex beds in the 6” range can also work. People that consistently sleep on their backs and smaller individuals can opt for beds on thinner end of the spectrum, while side sleepers and larger individuals will likely find the most comfort on thicker beds.
Are their any mattresses that won’t work on an adjustable base?
Certain traits make a mattress undesirable or impractical for use with this type of base:
- Beds with rigid wood, border wires or hard foam side panels.
- Many spring mattresses.
- Beds with chambers whose ability to operate would be impeded by bending.
- Water beds.
- Beds whose warranties don’t cover adjustable base use.
- Beds who aren’t designed to operate with a flat/rigid foundation.
Comparing Different Mattress Types
The three types of mattresses most commonly used with adjustable beds are memory foam, latex foam, and innersprings. Each offer distinct advantages as well as potential drawbacks to consider when trying to find the perfect match.
Here’s a quick look at how the mattresses compare, read below for more detailed information.
|Flexibility||Excellent||Good||Poor to Good|
|Durability||Good||Good to Excellent||Fair|
|Pressure Point/Pain Relief||Good to Excellent||Good to Excellent||Fair to Good|
|Availability for Adjustable Beds||Excellent||Good||Fair|
|Average Owner Satisfaction*||81%||80%||63%|
*Average price and owner satisfaction based on Sleep Like The Dead research.
Memory Foam Mattresses and Adjustable Bases
These mattresses are one of the more popular options for adjustable beds, since their design typically allows them to bend easily without affecting support or pressure point relief.
There are many brands on the market that work with adjustable bases, as well as sizes and designs to fit a variety of preferences. On average, memory foam mattresses tend earn the highest owner satisfaction ratings, with key advantages being good pain relief and good durability.
Although specialty mattresses have a reputation for being expensive, the average price people pay is quite similar to the average for spring beds. In our most recent comparison of memory foam mattresses, brands that offered the best value for regular use included Amerisleep and Bed In A Box (both mid-price brands).
When shopping for a memory foam mattress intended for use on an adjustable base, opt for beds with densities in the mid to high range for good durability (3.5 lb+ for the top comfort layers, 1.8 lb+ for base foam). Mattresses in the 8” to 12” range will give the highest range of motion, though thicker beds can still be used. Most beds of this type work with adjustables, but check with the brand and look at the warranty to be sure.
Latex Mattresses and Mechanical Bases
Latex mattresses are gaining popularity recently, particularly with people looking for greener options or prefer the springier feel of latex over the conforming feel of other types of foam.
Latex beds aren’t as widely available in stores, though there are several brands sold nationally online. There is a pretty wide range of types available, and some brands allow for customization of firmness and thickness. On average, latex earns similar satisfaction ratings to memory foam, the all-latex and natural latex beds do better than average. Key advantages are good durability, good support and pain relief.
In terms of affordability, latex beds do tend to be slightly higher than most other types of beds but primarily for all-natural, all-latex beds (synthetics, blends, and hybrids tend to be cheaper). We recently compared natural latex mattresses, and found top values among Astrabeds and Savvyrest.
If you are looking for a latex mattress to use with an adjustable bed, opt for an all latex bed (no polyfoam or springs) made with 100% natural latex for optimal durability. Mattresses between 6” and 12” thick will give the greatest durability. Thicker beds and ultra-firm latex beds can still work, but may limit motion. Most latex mattresses will be compatible with adjustables, but check warranties and brand policies to be sure.
Innerspring Mattresses and Adjustable Beds
Innerspring mattresses remain the most commonly purchases mattress type, and some adjustable bed brands only offer spring or spring hybrid mattresses.
Spring mattresses are widely available, however adjustable bed compatible models may be limited. Diversity in firmness and thickness can be found, as can models that incorporate different foams. Overall, innerspring beds earn the lowest average satisfaction rating, brought down by issues with durability and long-term comfort. Advantages include familiarity and initial comfort.
The price of spring mattresses can be lower than other types, but for mid-range models that often include comfort layers made from foam, the price difference proves minimal. Brands of spring mattress said to be compatible with adjustable bases include select Sealy Posturepedic, Beautyrest, and Serta beds.
If you prefer to use an innerspring bed, opt for one with independent pocket coils (support and comfort may be affected with connected ones), and a model with a minimal pillowtop (under 12”). Make sure it doesn’t have a border wire or rigid frame, and the manufacturer’s warranty won’t be voided by using it on a adjustable bed.
Regular smart shopping tips also apply, regardless of what you are buying a mattress for. Always do your homework and research the materials in the mattress, the return policy, the warranty, and look for trustworthy reviews from friends and online.
Know that most companies will not take adjustable bases back, but mattresses are still typically returnable or exchangeable within a certain time frame. If you’re buying your mattress alone, always check on it’s suitability for use on flexible bases with the manufacturer if it’s not specifically mentioned in the warranty — salespeople may not always know the details and you don’t want to void your warranty or trial period.
Also, don’t forget that you will NOT need a foundation or boxspring with your new mattress, since the adjustable base takes it’s place. However, if you are switching to a new split base, you will need two separate fitted sheets for the mattresses.
Certain holidays like Memorial Day, July 4th, and Black Friday can be good times to find deals, particularly on base and mattress sets. But, don’t feel pressured to jump into a purchase until you’ve had time to research — always compare multiple options to see who has the best overall value for your money.
If you’re looking for the right base, check out our detailed adjustable bed guide and brand comparison to get started.
Still have questions on finding the perfect bed for adjustable bases? Leave a comment below.
This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.