Should I buy an adjustable bed?
Adjustable beds are popular with people with bad backs or mobility problems as they allow you to find a comfortable lying position. There are two types:
- Most adjustable beds sold by major bed retailers are called ‘lifestyle’ adjustable beds. They’ll lift your head up so you can watch Match of the Day in bed, or you can try out a few positions to stop you snoring or feel more comfortable. They usually look like a normal divan bed.
- More specialist adjustable beds are called ‘profiling’ beds. They aren’t generally sold by major bed retailers. They are more akin to the kind of thing you’d have in a hospital or residential home. This NHS guide is a useful starting point.
This guide focuses on ‘lifestyle’ beds as I don’t feel qualified enough to advise on more specific mobility problems. Prices and review scores are correct at the of writing.
Here are six of the best adjustable beds to consider:
1. Dreams Lucia Sleepmotion 200 Adjustable Upholstered Bed Frame – from £1048 (single, small double, double, king or superking excluding mattress)
This Lucia Sleepmotion adjustable bed from Dreams gets very good reviews of 4.8/5 from 450+ customers. It’s available in a number of sizes including single, small double, double, king and super king and is available in 3 colours (dark brown, grey or silver).
I’m a big fan of upholstered bed frames. Partly because they look classy but mostly because you can walk into them on the way to the toilet at 3am without screaming in pain. Wooden frames are less good for that.
It doesn’t come with a mattress, but they do offer a range of ‘compatible mattresses’ if you want to buy it as a bundle. Prices start at about £130 for a single mattress. Most of the recommended mattresses are memory foam mattresses, which tend to work well with adjustable mattresses. Some people find memory foam makes them feel a bit warm. However, they do provide consistent all-over support.
Memory foam and allergies
As an aside, there’s contradictory research and advice on whether memory foam is good for people who suffer from allergies to dust mites. Mattress Online say that a foam mattress has a ‘solid core’ which makes them ‘impenetrable to dust mites’. They say that means memory foam is ‘particularly beneficial in lowering the risk of dust mites and allergens in your bedroom’.
On the other hand, academics in Norway found that ‘the risk of finding mite feces was four times higher in foam compared to spring mattresses…and eight times higher for the foam mattresses without a cover’. They worked this out by taking samples from both types of mattress and published their findings in 2002. See ‘House-dust mites and mattresses’ by Schei, Hessen and Lund.
The charity Allergy UK features both pocket sprung and foam mattresses in its guide to approved mattresses.
Upgrades and mattress options
You may prefer pocket spring mattresses, which is what most of us have been sleeping on all our lives. Highly-rated brand Sleepeezee has a range of mattresses for adjustable beds.
If you want something with fancier features, you can get adjustable beds in the same range which come with a built in TV. The Sleepmotion 200i TV bed will cost you £1698.
Pros: good choice of sizes available, option to upgrade to an adjustable TV bed, trusted retailer, good value for the cheapest model
Cons: poor range of colours, basic one year warranty, mattress not included
Our Value Rating: ****
2. Sleepeezee Gel Comfort 1000 Adjustable Divan – £839 (single including medium firmness mattress)
If you want a reasonably priced adjustable bed from a recognised brand then I’d take a look at the Sleepeezee range. Most of their range come with a 7 year guarantee.
It’s only available as an electric single bed although you could put two next to each other. That has the extra advantage of having your own set of controls for when your spouse wants to read and you want to go to sleep. These are actually long single beds so if you put two next to each other then you’ll end with a UK super king size.
As an overall brand, Sleepeezee gets very good reviews on TrustPilot of 4.3/5 and they even have a Royal Warrant.
What’s the mattress like on this adjustable bed?
The mattress on this base has 1000 pocket springs. That’s an adequate number for a light person but is a little low if you are an 18 stone bodybuilder. As it’s a pocket spring mattress, it will appeal to those who don’t like the sinking feeling of memory foam.
Pocket spring mattresses are the best sellers. They offer much better support than a grotty old open coil mattress which your grandma had in her spare bedroom.
The downside (in my opinion) of this mattress is that you can’t turn it over, you just rotate it to avoid sagging. Of course, if you have a bad back then you might not want to attempt to turn over a mattress anyway.
It’s got a ‘gel foam’ layer which should add a bit of added comfort.
It’s a medium firmness mattress which generally means that it is most suited for people of an average weight, as you will sink in enough to end up with a nice straight spine. The slight problem is that bed manufacturers have never actually agreed what soft, medium and firm means so it’s always a bit of a guess.
Pros: good quality pocket sprung mattress included, eight colours to choose from, seven year warranty
Cons: double or king size not available, medium firmness won’t suit everyone
Our Value Rating: ****
3. Dreams Sleepmotion 200 adjustable bed frame – from £749 (single, small double, double, king or superking excluding mattress)
This adjustable bed frame is a cheaper option in the same range as the Dreams Lucia Sleepmotion bed frame mentioned above. It gets similarly positive reviews of 4.8/5.
It’s got a simple design which lifts up your legs and head, either via a remote or an app on your mobile (oooh, fancy!). If you want extra features like massages and more adjustments you’ll need to upgrade to something like the Tempur Moulton (£2789, see number four).
It’s got a weight limit of 355kg, but that includes the weight of a mattress. By my calculations, that means that it can cope with two people who each weigh about 23 stone.
As with the Lucia Sleepmotion adjustable bed featured earlier, it doesn’t come with a mattress. However, there’s a recommended list of ‘compatible mattresses’ on the Dreams website. Alternatively, Royal-approved brand Sleepeezee has pocket sprung mattresses designed for adjustable beds.
Pros: affordable price, very positive reviews
Cons: basic design won’t suit everyone, only a one year warranty, mattress not included
Our Value Rating: ****
4. Tempur Moulton adjustable divan bed – £2789 (king size base, but other sizes are available)
This divan base doesn’t actually come with a mattress but it’s made by one of the most famous names in the UK bed market.
If you want a Tempur mattress to go with it, you’ll need to spend another couple of thousand pounds. Most of their adjustable bed frames are King Size. However, Tempur also have sizes including Super King and ‘long singles’ with the idea that you can put two adjustable beds next to each other.
With the Moulton model you can move your head, hips or legs and it’s also got a built in massager. Ooooooh baby….
Tempur are best known for pioneering the memory foam mattress, after developing NASA’s technology. Tempur say their mattresses are ‘not just memory foam’ and the company certainly deserves some credit for leading the way.
More on memory foam for adjustable beds
Memory foam provides consistent support all over, and it is good for people with allergies. Some people also claim that memory foam mattresses are long lasting and shouldn’t lose their shape quickly, whereas pocket sprung mattresses can start to sag with age (don’t we all, eh?). In their guide to sleeping, the charity Versus Arthritis says that ‘many people find memory foam mattresses or toppers helpful’. Obviously that advice just relates to arthritis.
The downside with memory foam is that some people don’t like the sinking feeling and find it makes them feel hot. Having said that, many manufacturers have made efforts to overcome the heat issue with ‘cooling layers’.
Pros: respected and long-established mattress brand, built in massager, several size options, longer warranty than most
Cons: very expensive
Our Value Rating: ***
5. Sleepkings Adjustable Bed With Memory Foam Mattress – £649 (single including mattress and headboard)
This budget adjustable bed and mattress from Sleepkings gets decent customer reviews and costs less than many standard single divan beds. It includes a headboard which should save you a few extra pounds.
It’ll lift up your feet or head and it comes with a mattress with a reasonable specification, even if it’s not a household name.
The mattress is memory foam, which many people think offers more consistent support than pocket springs. It’s also good for allergies, although some people don’t like the slight ‘sinking’ feeling which comes with memory foam.
When we checked it was scoring 4.2/5 from more than 100 reviews.
Pros: low price, mattress included, headboard included, good reviews
Cons: some people find memory foam a bit warm, lesser known brand, only one size option
Our Value Rating: *****
6. Vispring Sapphire II Adjustable Bed With Elegance Mattress – £4415 – (long single or super king including mattress and headboard)
Take a deep breath before you look at the price of Vispring adjustable beds. The £4000+ model is the cheapest we could find and it includes a ‘long single’ sized mattress. As you might have guessed a ‘long single’ is the same width as a standard single mattress but a bit longer (shocking, eh?). The idea is that you can put two together to make a super king size mattress for twice the price.
You could upgrade to an even more luxurious mattress (some models cost £13,000). However, the Vispring Elegance is very high quality so I personally would go for that one. The exception is if you’re heavier than average and then you might want one that’s a bit deeper.
What’s the appeal of Vispring adjustable beds?
So why do Vispring adjustable beds cost so much? Well, Vispring invented the pocket spring mattress more than a century ago and it’s still what most of us are sleeping on. They’ve got an unrivalled history and they use expensive natural materials rather than cheaper materials like foam in their mattresses.
By my calculations, the Elegance mattress has a pocket spring count of 1200. If you’re really interested, it is listed as having 722 springs but that is the number for a long single mattress. The industry standard is to give a pocket spring count based on the number on a king size mattress, so I got my calculator out.
That figure will provide plenty of support for the majority of people although if you’re very heavy you might want a higher spring count Vispring adjustable bed.
Other signs of quality with Vispring are things like the ‘hand side stitching’ which means it won’t collapse when you’re sat on the edge of the mattress whilst putting your socks on. It also has a ‘hand tufted finish’ which means it is held together strongly by button-type things on the top of the mattress.
Getting the right firmness level on adjustable beds
You can choose various lovely colours for the base and pick from soft, medium or firm tension for the mattress. One guide I dug out said that Vispring recommend soft mattresses for people under 11 stone, medium tension mattresses for people who are 11-16 stone and firm mattresses for people who weight 16-20 stone. I would also take your sleeping position into account as side sleepers need slightly softer mattresses than people who sleep on their front and back.
Pros: prestigious brand, pocket springs, mattress and headboard included, long warranty
Cons: exceedingly expensive, limited size options
Our Value Rating: ***
About ‘Our Value Rating’
We like to give a star rating for each product based on value for money. We look at what is being offered by the competition, alongside construction materials, warranty length and so on. It is just our opinion but we give five stars to those adjustable beds that we think are ‘exceptionally good value’ and four stars to ‘very good value’ beds. Three stars represents ‘good value’ adjustable beds. We wouldn’t normally feature two star and one star beds, but the numbers represent ‘reasonably good value’ and ‘poor value’ beds.
However, before you spend a small fortune…
…let’s go over some of the questions you might have about buying an adjustable bed.
Can I use any mattress with an adjustable bed?
My advice would be to buy an adjustable base that comes with a mattress or buy a mattress which calls itself an ‘adjustable bed mattress’. I wouldn’t attempt to use a mattress you’ve already got on a new adjustable base.
The gist of what I’ve read is that adjustable beds need mattresses with a lot more bendability (I may have made that word up). So, you will find some pocket spring mattresses, memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses which work with adjustable beds, but that doesn’t mean any old mattress will do the job. If you’re deciding which you want, here’s a quick summary:
- Memory foam offers great support, it’s good for people with allergies and it is hard wearing. On the downside, it can make you feel hot and some people don’t like the sinking feeling.
- Latex is a good natural alternative but it is expensive (Dunlopillo is probably the market leader and gets outstanding reviews from customers on TrustPilot).
- Pocket spring mattresses are the best sellers and are what most of us are used to
- Open coil mattresses/’traditional’ mattresses are old-fashioned rubbish (in my opinion) and should only be offered to your dog or a relative you are hoping won’t visit for long. The exception would be if your number one priority with a mattress is that it can be recycled after. Unfortunately, we only manage to recycle about one quarter of mattress materials in the UK (2022 figure from the National Bed Federation). Open coil springs are much easier to recycle than pocket spring mattresses because it is a case of removing one huge connected chain of springs rather than hundreds or thousands of mini springs from fabric cases.
Which are the best adjustable beds?
The most expensive adjustable beds tend to have:
- several possible sleeping positions. Cheaper adjustable beds just lift up your head, whilst more expensive ones have more options. Take a look at what the bed can do rather than wasting your money on features you’ll never use.
- built in massagers (bit of a gimmick but oooooh yeaaahhh).
- two separate halves. Ideally a couple would want two singles stuck together otherwise you’ll have to agree about when to lift and lower. If you don’t share a bed you can get a double which lifts the whole thing
- a fancy mattress to accompany the frame. I wouldn’t spend your money on an amazing adjustable frame and then use a rubbish mattress on top. It’s a bit like buying a really nice pair of shoes and then wearing them with a nasty pair of itchy socks.
Prices are correct at the time of writing.