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Why Afloat Is Not Your Parents’ Waterbed

Jan 29th 2020

Waterbeds, Way Back When

Waterbeds made their big debut in 1968, following the infamous summer of love.

It was a time when your parents (or grandparents) wore flowers in their hair, celebrated free love, and may or may not have dabbled in psychedelics.

It was also the time when waterbeds became a social phenomenon.

Given this cultural context, it may not come as a surprise that waterbeds began to earn a reputation that had little to do with sleeping.

Waterbeds were marketed as “pleasure pits” and served as a centerpiece for social events and dating scenes. Waterbed displays in retail stores became unique gathering spaces for singles, and hotels even began to install them in honeymoon suites.

Celebrities like Hugh Hefner further glamorized the waterbed by showing off his very own Tasmanian-Opossum-covered-waterbed (yes, really).

Needless to say, waterbeds were THE grooviest mattresses on the market, and for quite some time. Just ask your parents.

What Waterbeds Were Like

Essentially, free-floating waterbeds were huge vinyl bags of water that required heavy wooden frames to contain the materials and provide structure.

And although they were a novelty, waterbeds brought innovation to the mattress industry. In fact, the free-floating mattress style was so popular that its unique form is still what comes to mind for most people when they think of waterbeds.

While they came to represent fun and freedom in the bedroom, the waterbed’s original promise was to provide a contoured experience that could alleviate joint pressure.

However, along with that promise came two-thousand pounds of sloshing, leaks, and some unfortunate connotations.

How Afloat Reimagined the Waterbed

A lot has changed since 1968, which is why the makers of Afloat set out to reimagine the waterbed in a way that will once again change the way a generation sleeps. 

Here’s how:


With modern materials, the Afloat mattress is incredibly durable, featuring an impermeable vinyl liner that is both puncture-resistant and hypo-allergenic. We also added a removable, machine-washable stretch-knit cover to keep your mattress as fresh and clean as the day you bought it. Finally, the Afloat waterbed weighs about 30% less than traditional waterbeds without sacrificing flotation comfort.

Body Contouring

Original waterbeds were the ultimate body-contouring mattresses. Afloat sought to preserve this natural and comforting effect while updating it with new materials that instantly conform to the shape of your body, no matter what position you’re in. No ordinary mattress achieves Afloat’s level of body conformity, not even the original waterbeds.


We left the clunky wooden bed frames in the past and introduced two new types of foundations for Afloat mattresses that belong in the twenty-first century. The Traditional Foundation provides the look of the traditional “box spring” foundation that is commonly used under most types of mattresses. The Space Saver Foundation provides more of a free-floating mattress appearance by eliminating the look of the traditional foundation. The open space below the Afloat mattress offers easy access to storage space that boasts about the same as the number of cubic feet that’s found in a typical 3’ wide x 2’ deep hall closet.


For those who prefer a little more firmness, Afloat designed a detached and removable layer of memory foam for extra support. Like most memory foam mattress toppers, it is not sewn into the cover or glued to the mattress interior. And, by making it free-floating, we eliminated a “hammocking” effect that would interfere with body conformity and prevent removal/replacement of the memory foam.

Wave Suppression

The Afloat mattress incorporates an internal support material that greatly reduces the waves and sloshing that was a standard experience of older generation waterbeds. This minimizes disturbances if sleeping with a partner and, more importantly, provides a more stable night of sleep.

Temperature Control

New and improved temperature controls make Afloat mattresses feel oh, so good. This new design maximizes the temperature transmittal between you and the water within one degree of your preferred temperature, thereby delivering the precise sleeping environment that your body needs. And if that doesn’t make you feel warm inside, the Afloat comes with improved insulation that can reduce energy costs by as much as 50% compared to an old hard-side.

100 Night Guarantee

Afloat is so confident that you will love this new generation of waterbeds that we include a 100 Night Guarantee with every purchase. We know you’ll be comfortable with your purchase in every way possible, but we also know it takes time. You may not be able to tell just how much Afloat will improve your sleep by laying on it for a few minutes in a store; It might take up to a month for your body to fully adjust to proper support. Afloat’s risk-free guarantee allows you to truly experience what a waterbed has to offer in the comfort of your own home.

Just for Fun

Watch this hilarious Saturday Night Live skit for a reminder of what it was like during the good old days of your parents’ waterbed.

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