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For people with reduced strength or mobility, getting in and out of bed can be challenging or even dangerous. Bed rails are used to make transitioning to and from your bed safe and easier. They’re also helpful for changing sleeping positions and for providing standing support during the night.

Insurance companies don’t classify bed rails as durable medical equipment, unlike hospital beds used in the home. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to buy one, but health insurance plans, including Medicare, don’t typically pay for bed rails meant for use in the home.

Luckily, bed rails are fairly affordable. Let’s take a look.

Bed rails for adults fall into two categories: hospital bed rails and portable bed rails.

Hospital bed rails are not sold as stand-alone equipment. They come attached to a hospital or medical bed that is purchased for at-home use.

Portable bed rails, like the ones on this list, are sold separately from the bed they will be used on. There are several styles of portable bed rails you may wish to consider:

  • L-shaped bed rails with two legs
  • L-shaped legless bed rails
  • fold-down bed rails
  • dual bed rails that provide safety on both sides of the bed
  • crossbar bed rails with multiple handholds

For people with limited mobility, bed rails are used to provide additional support and make the living environment safer. Safety was our primary focus when selecting products to feature.

We chose bed rails made from steel alloy and other strong materials that have higher weight capacities.

The products on this list come from transparent manufacturers that have solid reputations for producing high-quality products. We didn’t include bed rails from manufacturers with poor ratings from the Better Business Bureau.

We read scores of reviews on multiple websites and didn’t include any bed rails that got more negative reviews than positive ones.

Pricing guide

For the items on this list, we’ve indicated price as follows:

  • $ = under $100
  • $$ = $100–$150
  • $$$ = over $150

Easiest for long-term use

Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail

  • Price: $$
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: 25″L x 26″W x 22″H
  • Sizes available: one size, compatible with twin- to California king-sized mattresses
  • Pros: no tools required for assembly, safety strap and storage pouch included
  • Cons: can be heavy to lift and install

This bed rail adjusts from 26 to 34 to 42 inches. It can be used to prevent nighttime falls and to provide support for people getting in and out of bed. A safety strap that extends around the bed frame helps keep it in place.

Its adaptability and size make this bed rail a viable choice for long-term use. The support rail can be folded down when not in use, so it won’t get in the way when making the bed or changing sheets.

It has a storage pouch that can be used to hold eyeglasses, books, and other bedtime essentials.

It can be used on most standard and platform beds. It can also accommodate mattress widths from 12 to 16 inches.

If you have a very soft mattress or adjustable bed, this bed rail won’t fit safely. Assembly involves the use of an Allen wrench with bolts.

Best for short-term recuperation

OasisSpace Bed Rail

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21″L x 45″W x 38″H
  • Sizes available: one size
  • Pros: padded grip bar, anti-slip construction, lightweight and easy to move
  • Cons: not appropriate for low beds or mattresses

This lightweight, adjustable bed rail is designed for people who need a grip bar to get in and out of bed. It can also be used to support changing positions while in bed. The grip bar is padded for comfort and is anti-slip.

Users mention that this bed rail is beneficial during recuperative periods, such as after surgery or during stroke recovery. It may also enhance mobility and ease of movement during late-stage pregnancy.

It’s supported by a stabilizing bar that sits sturdily under the mattress, and two legs that have extra-large suction cups. This bed rail is designed for use on wooden or bare floors. Some users recommend removing the cups if you have carpeting.

This bed rail can’t be used on low beds under 12 inches or with mattresses under 5 inches in height.

Best for visual safety

LumaRail Bed Assist Rail

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21″L x 3.5″W x 17.5″H
  • Sizes available: one size
  • Pros: includes motion-sensor light, lightweight
  • Cons: may not be appropriate to use on carpeting and area rugs

This bed rail is a similar design as the OasisSpace rail on our list, but the LumaRail includes extra safety features and has a higher listed weight capacity.

This bed rail has an LED motion-sensor nightlight that activates when someone passes it, such as when getting out of bed. It also has glow-safe locating strips on the handlebar for easy access and added safety.

This bed rail can be adjusted to fit high or low beds and mattresses but is intended for mattresses that are at least 12 inches high. An adjustable stabilizing bar and anchor strap hold it securely under any sized bed, from twin to king. The double legs come with nonslip foot grips.

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Best for travel

Stander Bed Rail Advantage Traveler

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: 400 pounds
  • Dimensions: 21″L x 17″W x 22″H
  • Sizes available: one size compatible with twin- to California king-sized mattresses
  • Pros: padded ergonomic handles, organizer pouch included
  • Cons: may not be durable enough for long-term at-home use

This compact bed rail weighs less than 7 pounds and folds in half, so it’s a more compact option and is portable for storage or travel.

Even though it’s small, it has a weight capacity of 400 pounds, and it’s designed to work with mattress heights ranging from 10 to 16 inches.

The ergonomic handle is padded and easy to grip.

It also comes with an organizer pouch.

Best for standing support

Health Craft Smart-Rail

  • Price: $$$
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: not published
  • Sizes available: one size with adjustable length
  • Pros: swing gate supports rising, supports position changes in bed
  • Cons: some users report a gap between the mattress and the railing

This bed rail has two support positions. It uses the company’s pivot-and-lock technology to open and close. When open, it swings out, making it easy to stand up and get out of bed. When closed, it can help people ease into bed comfortably. It also provides support for changing positions in bed.

It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds. A wide gripping surface helps maximize leverage, for added support.

It’s height-adjustable to fit most beds and mattress heights.

Best for fall prevention

Drive Adjustable Length Bed Rail

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: not designed to bear weight
  • Dimensions: 35.5″L x 25″W x 2.5″H
  • Sizes available: one size with adjustable length
  • Pros: provides fall protection for both sides of the bed
  • Cons: heavy in weight, arms and legs may get stuck in the open loops

These full-length bed rails are meant to prevent falls. They adjust from 37 to 57 inches in length.

A spring-loaded release mechanism allows for easy height adjustment. They feature a 1-inch bar made from a steel alloy and use a crossbar construction that provides multiple handholds.

For comfort and added protection, many users of this product recommend the manufacturer’s bumper pads.

At 27 pounds, they’re significantly heavier than the other bed rails on this list. Before purchasing, make sure you’re able to install or have help installing.

These bed rails are excellent for preventing falls, but may not be appropriate for people with limited dexterity or mental confusion. The looped ends create a lovely design, but can pose a threat to people who may get their arms or legs stuck inside.

Easiest to adjust

Able Life Bedside Extend-a-Rail

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: 20″L x 20″W x 18″H
  • Sizes available: one size with adjustable length
  • Pros: one button length adjustment, includes standing support handle
  • Cons: only good for mattresses up to 15″ high; manufacturer does not accept returns or issue refunds

These bedrails are compact in size and less obtrusive in design than some other bed rails. They extend to 30″ with the touch of a button and can be adjusted for length from an inclined position.

These bed rails install between the mattress and box spring. They’re secured to the bed with a safety strap. Many users say they’re sturdy and easy to install.

Best budget option

Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bed Assist Rail

  • Price: $
  • Weight capacity: 300 pounds
  • Dimensions: 42.91″L x 19.69″W x 33.86″H
  • Sizes available: one size
  • Pros: tool-free assembly, slip-resistant foam handles
  • Cons: won’t fit California king-sized beds

This budget-priced, height-adjustable bed rail has a turn-knob extension feature so it can be used on twin- to king-sized beds. A side, slip-resistant grab bar provides support and stability during transitions.

Users say it’s easy to assemble and very sturdy. It won’t move or slide, even if you put your full weight on it.

Before purchasing bed rails, speak with a doctor. They can help determine whether bed rails are an appropriate choice for you or someone close to you and provide recommendations.

Bed rails may not be suitable for everyone. People with memory loss, confusion, involuntary or uncontrollable movements, or with very limited strength may not be able to use the bed rails properly and could injure themselves when getting in and out of bed.

Bed rails can enhance quality of life for older adults and people with certain health conditions, including:

The bed rails you choose must be able to withstand the weight of the person using them. Only buy products made from solid and sturdy materials like steel.

Some caregivers who purchase bed rails also use monitoring systems with cameras to keep an eye on someone recovering from an illness or with certain health conditions. Talk with a doctor to see if that is a good option for your needs.

Keep these safety tips in mind

  • Bed rails should never be used to restrain an adult.
  • Bed rails may be dangerous for people with dementia, memory loss, or confusion, or those who night panic.

Other tips

Bed rails can be attached to most traditional types of bed frames. There are several different types to choose from. Some extend for the length of the bed, so it’s difficult to roll out. Others are shorter and designed specifically to provide stability while getting in and out of bed.

Depending on your bedroom setup and individual needs and habits, bed rails can be installed on one side of the bed or both sides.

Bed rails can help older adults remain independent and live at home comfortably, but they don’t take the place of supervision.

Once you get your bed rails home

Even the best product must be assembled and installed correctly.

To avoid the potential for injury, check bed rails daily for loosening, slippage, or gaps that might cause entanglement or the rail to shift.

Hospital beds are an alternative to bed rails. There are several types, including manual, semi-electric, and electric models.

  • manual hospital beds: utilize hand cranks to adjust the height, foot, and head of the bed
  • semi-electric hospital beds: utilize a button-operated electric motor to adjust the head and foot of the bed. Bed height is adjusted with a hand crank.
  • electric hospital beds: utilize a button-operated electric motor to adjust the head, foot, and height of the bed

Many hospital beds come with bed rails attached, but some do not. Some bed rails are specifically designed to fit onto hospital beds that don’t already have them.

Hospital beds can typically be adjusted for height, sitting, and reclining. Many can also be adjusted for leg and feet elevation.

If a doctor prescribes a hospital bed, insurance companies, including Medicare, may pay for it. Hospital beds are also available to rent and purchase through stores that sell durable medical equipment.

Who should use a bed rail?

People with dementia who may get confused, as well as people with certain health conditions, are at risk of falling at night. Bed rails can provide added safety for anyone who might fall out of bed. Bed rails that include hand grasps are also beneficial for people with reduced mobility or upper body strength.

Are there dangers associated with bed rails?

Yes. According to the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, bed rails can pose a risk of strangulation, asphyxiation, and other injuries to elderly adults. It is important to weigh the risks versus the benefits before using bed rails. Talking to a healthcare professional can also help you make an appropriate decision for you or your loved one about using bed rails.

Are bed rails easy to remove?

Ease of installation and disassembly varies between bed rail models. Some are lightweight and slip out from under the mattress easily. Others require more effort, including the lifting of the mattress, which may also be heavy. When purchasing, make sure to take note of the bed rail’s weight and the installation and disassembly instructions.

Are bed rails covered by insurance?

No, not usually. Detachable bed rails designed for use at home with a conventional bed are not covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare. The exception to this is bed rails designed for use with a hospital bed. If you already have a hospitable bed but it doesn’t have bed rails, Medicare and other insurance plans may cover their purchase. Check with your insurer to be sure.

How high should bed rails be?

Optimum bed rail height will be determined by the height of your mattress. If the bed rail will be used for hoisting support, make sure the handles are easily within reach of the user.

Bed rails can be used in the home to prevent nighttime falls. They can also provide additional stability when getting in and out of bed.

Bed rails are valuable for many people during recuperative periods, such as after surgery. They can also provide independence for older adults living at home.

Bed rails are not a good choice for everyone. Before purchasing, speak with a doctor about whether bed rails are right for you or someone close to you.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive health professional who specializes in health and wellness content. She has spent much of the last two decades educating people about infertility and family building options. Whelan is a science nerd, and her heroes span the gamut from Temple Grandin to her wonderful mom. She shares her life in Brooklyn, NY with her all-grown-up, fascinating children and their wacky shelter dogs. Follow her on Twitter.