Is an Adjustable Bed Frame Right for You?

A motorized frame can give you, and your mattress, a lift

Adjustable bed GettyImages-533240110

No longer relegated to hospital rooms, adjustable beds, also known as power beds and power bases, have migrated to residential bedrooms.

Several mattress companies—from mattress-in-a-box brands such as Casper to well-established manufacturers like Sealy—sell flexible frames, with prices ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Manufacturers tout adjustable bed frames as an improvement over traditional bed frames because a motorized frame lets you raise and lower the head and foot of the mattress to your heart’s content. (The frames are powered by a small electric motor.)

Some of the latest adjustable beds are even integrated with smart-home technology such as voice assistance, sleep monitoring, USB ports, programmable lighting, speakers, and more, making your bed the hub of your sleeping quarters.

“As more and more homes become smart homes, smart integrations are expected in almost every home appliance on the market,” says Lisa Tan, the chief marketing officer of Reverie, which makes mattresses and adjustable bed frames. “Power beds are no exception, offering technology integrations like underbed night-lights, app-controlled remotes, and voice-command control.”

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While the number of adjustable beds out there is still relatively small, it’s on the rise: About 9 percent of U.S. consumers currently own an adjustable bed frame, according to the International Sleep Products Association trade group, and sales increased 200 percent from 2011 to 2015.

“Manufacturers are putting more of these adjustable beds on furniture store floors and are marketing these frames like crazy, making claims that they give better lumbar support and digestive aid,” says Claudette Ennis, a CR market analyst who oversees the mattress market.

Flexible foam mattresses work with these adjustable frames, but some innerspring mattresses are compatible as well, especially hybrid innerspring beds that use a combination of coils and foam.

Consumer Reports hasn’t yet tested adjustable bed frames, but our ratings of more than 150 innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses indicate which are compatible with an adjustable bed frame. Check the Features & Specs tab in our mattress ratings.

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What’s Your Sleep Style?

Adjustable bed frames might prove to be a comfy choice if you like to sit in bed and watch TV before drifting off to sleep, or if you enjoy surfing the web on your laptop. It’s almost like having a couch in the bedroom.

But if you’re considering an adjustable bed for health reasons, be aware that while some manufacturers claim that an adjustable bed frame can help alleviate back pain, doctors say that’s debatable.

“Adjustable beds may have some benefit for patients with back, neck, and other spine problems but are certainly not necessary,” says Jay Khanna, a vice chair and professor of orthopedic surgery and biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in back surgery.

“The vast majority of patients with conditions of the spine will do well and have optimal support from a typical flat mattress,” Khanna says. “They tend to prefer and benefit most from mattresses that are a bit more firm and supportive than average.”

If you do decide to switch to an adjustable bed, remember that our top-rated innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses all work with adjustable bed frames, so you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for convenience.

Keep in mind that some manufacturers indicate that their mattresses work only with their proprietary bed frames, so it’s best to check for compatibility before you take the plunge.

Home Content Creator Haniya Rae

Haniya Rae

I​’m interested in the intersection between design and technology​—whether for ​drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications like The Atlantic, PC Magazine, and Popular Science, and now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@haniyarae).