Crowd-fund Kangaroo Court #4: Is Balluga the ultimate bed?

Multiple inflating spheres promise ultimate comfort plus intense massage. Oh and it's got lights and fans built in too. And a thing for snoring. And an app.

Finding it difficult sleeping at night? Maybe you're not getting the right sort of support. Or perhaps your bed is too hot or cold. Maybe you need a massage before dozing off. Possibly you just have too much money and need to spend £3,000 of it on a bed. Or maybe it's simply guilt at all your terrible crimes.

This week, Crowd-fund Kangaroo Court is looking at a 'smart bed' that can address every single one of those issues, apart from the last one. We've crunched the numbers, tried out the tech, now we can let YOU know whether your crowd-funding money would be wisely spent on it. Wake up and pay attention.

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So what's going on here?

Well, as you can see, the lady is dialling up her partner's 'firmness', but he's pretending to be asleep.

We've all been there, right girls? But seriously, what is the Balluga 'smart bed'?

Developed by the undeniably smooth Joe Katan, Balluga is a disruptor. It's disrupting the bed industry. Does the bed industry need disrupting? We shall see.

Balluga does a lot of things, as it happens, but the core functionality is its use of multiple inflatable spheres, instead of your standard springs, foam padding, horse hair and whatever else it is that normally goes in mattresses.

This cutaway image gives you the general idea.


These spheres can inflate and deflate beneath your body offering optimum support, so you sleep better. As you move, the support moves with you, and the desired level of softness and firmness can be controlled via the app shown in the main image, with multiple user presets available.

Does that affect the entire bed?

Only if there's only you in it. Otherwise, your partner gets to decide their own optimum support via their own app. It's pretty great, and I can confirm that the effect is extremely comfortable. I can't confirm that it helps you sleep better, cos I only got to use it for about 10 minutes, at lunchtime, and there were about 57 Balluga representatives in the room looking at me do so, which ain't actually all that relaxing.

But still, as you can see, I'm putting a brave face on it.


That's me trying out the massage feature, which rapidly inflates and deflates the spheres to give an effect not unlike lying on a very large and comfortable washing machine during spin cycle. It is intense and, I gotta say, the most fun I've had while vibrating for some time.

Any other cunning features?

Yup. Fans in the bed base can blow hot or cold air up through the mattress to acheive your optimum temperature.

An anti-snoring feature, which I didn't try, will even gently move your head when it detects the sound of your elephantine snoring. The idea being that most nocturnal noise is caused by a partial blockage of your airway, and softly manipulating your head should clear it before the snoring wakes your partner/next-door neighbours.

There's also multi-coloured LED lighting to play with - you could even use red tones to soothe you to sleep and blue ones for morning energisation if you want to be a techno hippy about it. Or just use it for reading.

Oh, and the app controls all this, and can then provide stats on how well you've slept.

That just sounds like a lot of stuff to potentially go wrong, to me…

Yeah, if there's a concern here, it's that too much has been packed in.

You know what people are like, especially in the UK; they're likely to think, "This bed is going to over-inflate, explode, electrocute me, and then snap my neck with over-enthusiastic application of the anti-snoring tech."

Now look, I'm not saying they'd be right to think that, but you know they will. People are idiots. Other people I mean. Not us; we're cool.

Any other reservations?

For a device that's specifically about being the ultimate in restful sleep, this thing is currently f**king loud. With the fans on and the air compressor adjusting the bed's firmness, we're talking a sound considerably louder than most people could put up with.

However we are assured the finished bed will be "near silent".

Also, to be fair, once the bed has reached optimum inflation and air temperature under your carcass, it shouldn't need to do much more once you've nodded off. The idea being that it's so comfortable that you end up moving around less in your sleep.

What's the cost of this next-gen sleep tech?

You can put down as little $100 to get updates and 'special offers' down the line. If you want to dive straight in, early-bird pricing goes from $1,499 (£1,050) including shipping for a small double Balluga mattress, up to $3,299 (£2,330) for a mattress AND fan-festooned bed base of gargantuan, 'Californian King-size' dimensions.

That's not cheap, but to be honest, it's also not all that expensive for the luxury bed market. You can easily pay more than that just for a high-end standard mattress or (admittedly more ornate) luxe bed. Obviously, if you generally bed-shop at Ikea, trot on. Orconversely, if you feel Balluga is simply too cheap, you can pay $5,000 (£3,530) and get your bed custom made, including 'an engraved plaque with your name and Balluga's inventor's signature.' Mmm-mm.

They say:

'Balluga creates your ideal sleeping conditions to provide you with your best night's sleep, every night.'

T3 says:

This bed's got balls. Now whack up my firmness and vibrate me, baby.


Okay, so Balluga is a great idea and we can't deny it's very comfortable.

Are punters ready for a bed this tech- and feature-packed, though? Frankly, we doubt it… But then the beauty of crowd-funding is that both Balluga and us will find out for sure, one way or the other, within the next 30 days.

It goes live on Kickstarter later today (March 23).

Duncan Bell

Duncan is the former lifestyle editor of T3 and has been writing about tech for almost 15 years. He has covered everything from smartphones to headphones, TV to AC and air fryers to the movies of James Bond and obscure anime. His current brief is everything to do with the home and kitchen, which is good because he is an excellent cook, if he says so himself. He also covers cycling and ebikes – like over-using italics, this is another passion of his. In his long and varied lifestyle-tech career he is one of the few people to have been a fitness editor despite being unfit and a cars editor for not one but two websites, despite being unable to drive. He also has about 400 vacuum cleaners, and is possibly the UK's leading expert on cordless vacuum cleaners, despite being decidedly messy. A cricket fan for over 30 years, he also recently become T3's cricket editor, writing about how to stream obscure T20 tournaments, and turning out some typically no-nonsense opinions on the world's top teams and players.

Before T3, Duncan was a music and film reviewer, worked for a magazine about gambling that employed a surprisingly large number of convicted criminals, and then a magazine called Bizarre that was essentially like a cross between Reddit and DeviantArt, before the invention of the internet. There was also a lengthy period where he essentially wrote all of T3 magazine every month for about 3 years. 

A broadcaster, raconteur and public speaker, Duncan used to be on telly loads, but an unfortunate incident put a stop to that, so he now largely contents himself with telling people, "I used to be on the TV, you know."