Adjustable Bed Base Buying Guide

Updated January 2, 2023

Adjustable base inside a teal bed frame with a Stearns & Foster mattress in a styled room

Buying an adjustable base may seem overwhelming, with so many options, so we've created a buying guide for you. Keep reading for information on adjustable bed bases, we answered all the most frequently asked questions!

What’s an adjustable bed base?

An adjustable base is a type of movable foundation for your mattress that offers multiple positions. It’s usually operated with a remote, and you can adjust the sections of your bed to the angle of your liking. Some have only two sections, while some have as many as six, allowing even more custom support.

Adjustable beds come with a range of features, depending on the model. Many include massage capabilities, pre-programmed positions, and much more.

People may also call an adjustable bed base a power base, adjustable frame, or adjustable bed. You may also think of a hospital bed since they have many of the same functionalities. The main difference between the two is that a hospital bed can adjust up and down to be closer or further from the floor and will generally also have a railing system on the sides.

Is an adjustable base worth it?

Buying one is an investment, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, so weighing the pros and cons of an adjustable base is important. If you have a health condition or trouble sleeping, it could be highly beneficial to you. Sleep is very important for your health, so maximizing your sleep time can result in much better days. 

There isn’t much of a downside to having an adjustable base. Many of them can fit right into your bed frame if you want to keep the look you have. Warranties protect you from mechanical failures. However, their heavy weight can make them somewhat difficult to move around.

It’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of an adjustable base are worth the price. One important factor is whether you have a mattress that’s compatible or the means to buy a new one.

Adjustable Base Benefits

So, if you’re wondering why you should get an adjustable base, these are the main reasons. The biggest benefit of an adjustable base is its ability to help with health issues. Elevating your upper body can help with conditions like acid reflux, sleep apnea, lower back pain, and arthritis. This is because it promotes circulation and easier breathing. Sleepers who use an adjustable base can comfortably sleep in any sleeping position.

You can find the most comfortable position when you’re able to customize it. It’ll help you fall asleep faster and get better rest when you’re not tossing and turning. Certain positions can help different problems. For example, elevating your head opens your airways and creates an anti-snore position. If you have a partner, this will make them very happy!

Being able to change the position of your bed also makes it more useful in other situations, like watching tv, reading, or lounging. You can, in a sense, turn your bed into a couch. This makes it a great solution for people who have to spend a lot of time in bed, possibly due to an injury, pregnancy, or illness.

  • Reduces swelling

  • Promotes circulation

  • Better back support

  • Easier breathing

  • Reduces snoring

  • Massage and relaxation

  • Comfortable positions

  • Helps with certain health issues

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Adjustable Base Features

Tempur-Pedic adjustable base in a white room

Each adjustable base has its own set of features, so it differs between models. Some of the most popular features are included in most adjustable beds: head and foot elevation, massage, and a programmable remote. Some come with an app, so you can control your bed from your phone. 

One very cool feature to note is the Ergo Extend’s Automatic Snore Response. It automatically elevates your head to an optimized position when it hears snoring. This is very useful if you don’t always like to fall asleep in that position, but you don’t want to bother your partner or suffer the side effects of snoring.

Here’s a list including many (but not all) of the features that could be included with an adjustable base:

  • Wireless remote control or app, sometimes programmable with custom positions
  • Programmable positions, like the Zero Gravity position which elevates your head and feet, making you feel weightless
  • Automatic Snore Response
  • Flat button
  • Lumbar support
  • Anti-slip bar to keep the mattress in place
  • Under-bed lighting
  • USB ports
  • Massage features
  • Split options that allow partners to customize their side of the bed
  • Head elevation
  • Foot elevation
  • Voice control
  • Headboard compatibility
  • Platform bed compatibility
  • Smart home compatibility
Remote for an adjustable base on a blue mattress cover.

What’s the best adjustable base for me?

Every year we rank our adjustable bases and put our list out for you to see. Different adjustable bases work for different needs, so we’ve specified what they are best for. Check out the Best Adjustable Bases of 2022.

It really comes down to personal preference. An adjustable base can help with a lot of different things, so choose the one that is right for you. If you like to read in bed without needing a pillow you should look for one with a head tilt. If you like a massage, this feature is not available in all bases, so be sure to choose one that offers it.

For detailed information on individual models, read our adjustable base reviews.

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Split king adjustable base, each side is positioned differently.

Adjustable Base FAQs

We’ve gathered quick answers to the most frequently asked questions on adjustable bed bases.

1. Can you use an adjustable base with any bed frame?

Adjustable bases will fit within most bed frames, but you’ll want to check the measurements to be sure. You’ll also have to remove any slats or support rails if the frame has those.

2. Can you use an adjustable base with any mattress?

Most mattresses, yes. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that every model will, some mattress types just don't flex or bend as well as others. While manufacturers are working to ensure that all of their mattresses will work with an adjustable foundation, the firmer models tend to not work so well. The best mattresses for adjustable bases are typically memory mattresses  Watch our video about this topic for additional information: Is my mattress adjustable base friendly?

3. Can you put an adjustable base on a platform bed?

Yes, you can take the legs off your adjustable base and place them directly on the platform bed. You can often place an adjustable foundation within a bed frame, or you can use brackets to add a headboard and/or footboard.

4. Do adjustable bases ruin mattresses?

If you use a mattress that’s adjustable base compatible, it will not be damaged. However, if you use a mattress that is not meant for use with an adjustable frame, then it may ruin the mattress.

5. Do you need a box spring with an adjustable base?

No, the adjustable base provides a foundation of support for your mattress. There is no need for a box spring with an adjustable bed.

6. What is a divided king adjustable base?

Two twin-sized adjustable bases come together to form a divided king, where you can adjust each side separately.

7. What is the difference between a divided and a split adjustable base?

A split king base is split down the middle from top to bottom and can function independently or as a paired unit and usually can lift at the head and foot. A divided king base is split down the middle from side to side and is designed to only lift the entire bed at the head or foot portion only. 

Read our Divided King vs. Split King article for more details.

8. Can you attach a headboard to an adjustable base?

Many adjustable bases can connect to a headboard or will fit right into your bedroom setup.  We will let you know right on the item page if the adjustable base can connect to a headboard and whether it will fit into your bed frame.

9. How do you assemble an adjustable base?

Many of our adjustable bases actually come pre-assembled. However, some will require minor assembly. There will be detailed instructions included with the base if assembly is required.

10. What are the best sheets for an adjustable base?

Due to the nature of an adjustable base, finding sheets that will work with one can be difficult.  We recommend sheets that are guaranteed to stay on your bed, like DreamFit.

11. What is a wall hugger and how does it help me?

The wall-hugging feature, sometimes called extended recline, is a feature included with some adjustable bases that move the mattress toward the headboard's wall while the head is being raised to help keep a person's upper half closer to the end table or nightstand next to their bed.

12. What if I have a warranty claim for my adjustable base?

If you have a warranty claim on your adjustable base, please reach out to us.  If we can't help you we will put you into contact with the correct party to assist you.

13. I need a manual for my adjustable base, how do I get one?

Generally, you can find a PDF on the item page of the adjustable base.  One should be included with the base when it is delivered too.  If your base is no longer sold, reach out to us or the manufacturer and we can surely help.

14. What is the maximum weight allowed on my adjustable base?

The maximum weight allowed on an adjustable base will vary from one to the next.  We will call this information out on the item page of all the bases that we offer.

Still Need Help?

If you still have questions or would like expert help in selecting an adjustable base, please contact us. You can reach our team at 800-455-1052. Click below to shop or best adjustable bed bases. 

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About the Author, Juliana Huhta, Mattress Expert

Juliana Huhta, Mattress ExpertJuliana has spent several years in the mattress industry, writing about and reviewing mattresses. She has a deep understanding of how mattresses work for different people and affect sleep.

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