SeniorsMobility is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Hospital Bed Vs. Adjustable Bed: Important Differences + How to Choose

By Maurice

Hospital Bed Vs. Adjustable Bed

Hospital beds and adjustable beds are two very distinct sets of furniture. However, they share a common feature: they both have adjustable platforms for the feet and head. The adjustable platform in both beds allows you to alter the bed parts’ angle with the floor.

Besides the adjustable features, hospital beds and adjustable beds are very different. However, to the layman, the disparity between the two may not be that apparent. This article will draw all comparisons and dispel any doubts about the differences between these two beds.

What Is a Hospital Bed?

A hospital bed is a bed for patients with side rails and a mattress base that can be raised or lowered. It has three jointed sections that allow the foot, middle, and leg to be raised by a motor or crank. This allows the users to lie in different positions for comfort or therapeutic aid.

The beds are usually designed for utility. They are made so that caregivers can operate them with ease. They are also created in such a way that it is easy to clean, making it possible for patients who do not have control of their bodies to use these beds.

Many hospital beds appear starkly, but some manufacturers make hospital beds that are pleasant in appearance. These new designs match the bedroom décor without appearing out of place.

Hospital beds also have sturdy wheels. The wheels assist with the movement of patients from one room to another. This is effective because patients are usually moved from one room to another for tests, surgery, etc.

Types of Hospital Beds

Hospital beds can be categorized into three major types. These are semi-electric, fully electric, and manual. Other types of beds are more specialized, like bariatric beds.

Manual Beds

Manual beds employ the use of hand cranks to lower and raise the head and foot of the bed and the height. The beds are economical and efficient, especially for patients who do not require to reposition frequently.

Semi-electric Beds

These are beds that use electric motors to lift and lower the bed’s head and foot sections. The adjustments are usually made by pressing buttons which are on a pendant. However, the bed’s height is manually adjusted using of a hand crank.

Fully Electric Bed

A hand pendant does all the positioning and height of a fully electric bed. The bed doesn’t need the hand crank for any adjustments unless of the unlikely event of a blackout. But most beds come with batteries that will allow continuous electric functionality even in such situations. The beds also offer cardiac chair positions, Trendelenburg, and Reverse Trendelenburg.

What Are Adjustable Beds?


An adjustable bed is a multi-hinged lying surface bed that can be adjusted to different positions. These positions can include inclination of the upper part and raising the lower part independently of each other.

The beds are typically designed with a metal or wooden outer frame that is aesthetically appealing. As a result, the adjustable beds blend better with the bedroom décor.

The adjustable beds use electric motors for adjustment. Also, high-end adjustable beds come with additions such as additional pillow articulation. This articulation allows users to adjust the neck’s support angle.

Types of Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds do not have specific categories. However, the beds are not the same across the board. Different brands design these beds in unique ways and they may vary bed frames. Each brand offers features that are unique and that affect quality and value.

It will be helpful for users to be familiar with some of the terminologies used to describe adjustable beds. These may include:

  • Wall hugging. This refers to the position of the mattress in regard to the wall.
  • Zero gravity. Refers to the transition of the bed, mimicking the feeling of weightlessness.
  • Ergonomic design. It means a manufacturer has bespoken the bed to support the human form.
  • Whisper-quiet. This means the functionality of various mechanisms is very subtle, being less loud than a person whispering.

Major Differences Between a Hospital Bed and an Adjustable Bed

Several factors can be used to distinguish between hospital beds and adjustable beds. These may include:


Hospital beds usually support single occupancy. On the other hand, adjustable beds have an array of bed sizes.


Hospital beds can raise the head and foot parts of the frame. Conversely, adjustable beds elevate these areas independent of each other.


Hospital beds’ controls can either be full electric, semi-electric, or manual. Meanwhile, adjustable beds allow users to customize positions and height with the help of electric motors.


Hospital beds are designed for utility purposes. They are easy to clean and portable. On the other hand, adjustable beds are best suited for home settings to blend with bedroom décor. The frames of adjustable beds are more decorative rather than utilitarian.

How to Choose Between a Hospital Bed and an Adjustable Bed

It will help if you ask for advice from a physician on whether to get a hospital bed or an adjustable bed before settling on one. Physicians are better placed to establish what is medically beneficial for you.

You could settle on adjustable beds if:

  • The need is majorly recreational
  • You do not require a lot of raising and lowering of the bed
  • You have the extra cash to spend on the bed since your insurance might not cover the cost

It would be best if you chose a hospital bed in case:

  • You or a loved one is suffering from a crippling condition
  • There is a lot of movement involved
  • You do not want to spend extra money on adjustable beds

Renting Vs. Buying

The choice of renting or buying a bed will be a matter of the duration you will use the bed. If the bed is used for one or two months, renting will be much cheaper. However, Renting a bed for several months will become more expensive than buying one.

You will spend around $350 on an average bed each month. Therefore, renting for seniors or long-term illnesses will not be practical.

Wrapping Up

Both hospital beds and adjustable beds assist patients in the journey of recovery. The choice of the bed goes down to your needs.

Hospital beds will be ideal for patients with mobility issues or have little control of their bodies. On the other hand, adjustable beds are aesthetically appealing and will be good for patients with no mobility issues. Also, patients who do not need to be moved around much will use the bed with ease.

Money will also be a factor when deciding your choice of bed, with adjustable beds being more appealing. Above all, make sure your journey to recovery is a comfortable one. The choice of bed will go a long way in making that realization. Get well soon.

Related articles…

Free Hospital Beds for Elderly

Free Hospital Beds for Elderly (2022): How & Where to Get a Free Hospital Bed

Benefits of Hospital Bed at Home

Benefits of Hospital Bed at Home: Pros & Cons, Alternatives and More

Best Hospital Beds for Home Use

Best Hospital Beds for Home Use (2022): 7 Top-Ranked Models & Buying Guide

High Low Hospital Beds

High Low Hospital Beds: What Are They, Prices, Pros & Cons and More!

Best Hospital Bed Mattress

Best Hospital Bed Mattress (2022): 14 Top Hospital Bed Mattress Reviews

Drive Medical Hospital Bed Assembly

Drive Medical Hospital Bed Assembly: New Owner’s Guide

2 thoughts on “Hospital Bed Vs. Adjustable Bed: Important Differences + How to Choose”

  1. Dr. Francis C. Zanger

    Thank you, Maurice, for the comparison between hospital and adjustable beds. I’m scheduled to have almost my entire spine fused next month (T-4 to the pelvis), and it’ll be a long and uncomfortable recovery. I’m also retired Navy, and your advice for vets helped, too. Keep up the good work!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top