Murphy Bed Spring Mechanism vs. Piston Mechanism: What’s the Difference?

Wall Beds come in a variety of sizes and styles. When you’re looking for wall bed ideas, you should consider the look, quality, and comfort level of the mattress options you have.

We are commonly asked: “what’s the difference between a spring mechanism and piston system?” The answer is, it doesn’t really matter. You should choose your bed for the style and look that best suits your house, because the lift system is mostly hidden.

Both spring and piston lift mechanisms make wall beds easy to lift and stow away, but here is a breakdown of the differences you will see as a wall bed owner:

Murphy Bed Spring Mechanism

The original Murphy Bed patent used a heavy steel spring mechanism, which sometimes made the bed difficult to adjust because of the resistance involved.

Want to know why we call them Murphy Beds sometimes and Wall Beds others? Check out our recent blog post.

Now, though, springs make it much easier to move a wall bed. They can handle heavy loads with modern compressed steel, and they fatigue much less over time.

Because you can adjust the spring mechanism’s tension, you can change how easy it is to stow or open your wall bed. If your wall bed sags open over time, which can happen with both spring and piston lift systems, you can also adjust the tension or replace a spring easily.

Piston Wall Beds

Piston lift mechanisms are a more streamlined way to adjust your wall bed, though they are often visible in the wall bed unit. Pistons typically use gas pressure, and sometimes use air pressure, to make it easy to open or stow your wall bed.

One great feature of piston wall beds is that they often have a locking mechanism. As a safety feature, this is a convenient bonus. Locking piston lift systems will keep your wall bed shut no matter how fatigued the piston system gets.

If pistons lose their strength over time, and this is a possibility, they cannot be adjusted like spring lift systems. Pistons must be replaced entirely. The good news is that many wall bed manufacturers will guarantee their piston lift systems for life!

Are you ready to buy the best wall bed for your home? Take a look at our extensive Murphy Bed selection!

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What Happy Customers Say

  • I have had the pleasure of doing business at the Costa Mesa Wallbeds and More on two separate occasions. I was invited to visit the store by appointment which assured me Roger’s full attention and respect for my time. I was able to ask questions and see a demonstration of how to open and close the beds. We discussed what I could expect from the delivery and installation personnel. Roger was outgoing and helpful in every way. The pieces I bought are comfortable, attractive, and a great solution to space issues.

    - Carol A.
    Wallbed in a guest room
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    - Victoria K.
    Wallbed in a guest room
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    - Valli B.
    Wallbed in a guest room
  • We were so happy to find a wall bed place so close to home . from the moment I called to ask questions to the time we went and looked and bought the staff and everyone involved was wonderful. The time it took to get it and the delivery and set up was wonderful. I would do it again.

    - Sue Ellen
    Wallbed in a guest room