In the past decade, both the quality and the quantity of air mattresses has increased significantly. While these products aren’t designed to replace your normal mattress, they can be extremely useful to have on hand. Whether for use by guests, to take camping, or to use nightly for a temporary period, air mattresses can deliver a solid night’s sleep.
Air mattresses have different pumps, thickness levels, heights, sizes, weight capacities, and price points. The construction of the mattress can have a tremendous impact on its comfort and durability. The air bed that is best for you depends in large part on how you plan to use it and which features are of the highest priority for you.
We strongly recommend air mattresses with built-in electric pumps and that have a raised profile. In almost any use case, these deliver the simplest experience for inflating and deflating the mattress while also providing the highest level of comfort. Below you’ll find a table with our recommendations along with details about how to identify the best air bed for your situation.
Our Top-5 Picks
|SoundAsleep Dream Series||WonderSleep Classic Series||Intex Deluxe Pillow Rest||Insta-Bed EZ Raised||King Koil Luxury Raised|
|Available Sizes||Twin, Queen||Twin, Queen||Twin, Queen||Queen||Twin, Queen|
|Pump Type||Internal, Plug-in||Internal, Plug-in||Internal, Plug-in||Internal, Plug-in||Internal, Plug-in|
|Weight Capacity||300 lbs (twin), 500 lbs (queen||250 lbs (twin), 500 lbs (queen)||300 lbs (twin), 600 (queen)||500 lbs||300 lbs (twin), 600 lbs (queen|
How Will You Use Your Air Mattress?
Unlike standard mattresses, air mattresses aren’t designed to be used day in and day out for an extended period of time. Instead, they are most effective when put to use in specific situations.
Depending on the size of your home or apartment, it may not be feasible or sensible to keep a regular mattress around just for guests. An air mattress, which can easily stow-away when not in use, offers an excellent alternative.
When you’re looking for an air mattress for guests, there are a few priorities to keep in mind. The first is comfort. While guests may not have the highest of expectations if you’re putting them up, you still want to provide the nicest and most restful experience that you can. Friends or family will certainly appreciate added comfort and may also really be thankful for an air mattress with a raised profile as it makes getting in and out of bed much easier.
Another important consideration is the size of the air mattress. In determining this, think about the room where you’re going to put the air mattress. If a Queen-size air mattress will take up every square inch of available space, it may not be workable since your guests will likely also need some additional space in the room (for their suitcase, for example). You also will want to think about whether you are likely to be hosting single guests or couples. If you’re expecting to host couples, you will want to opt for a Queen mattress if there’s a place to comfortably fit it.
Temporary Everyday Use
Situations can come up in life when you may find that you need to log a handful of nights in a row on an air mattress. For example, if you’re moving to a new city or a new home and have to wait for your bed and bedroom set to get shipped or delivered. Air mattresses aren’t long-term solutions in these cases, but they can bide time until a long-term solution is found.
If you’re shopping for an air mattress for temporary everyday use, you’ll first want to make sure that the air mattress can be delivered or acquired in time to use it when you need it. Beyond that, an air mattress with a higher profile can offer a greater sense of normalcy despite the circumstances. An air mattress with an easy-to-use pump is also helpful since you’ll likely need to add a little bit of air at least every few days if you’re sleeping on it every night.
Depending on how long you plan to sleep on this temporary air mattress, price is also likely to be an important factor. The longer you plan to use it, the more you’ll want to be ready to invest in quality.
If you’re used to sleeping on the cold, hard ground or with lightweight and uncomfortable sleeping pads when camping, an air mattress can be a game-changer. Air mattresses are a huge step up in terms of comfort and can help you wake up in your tent feeling refreshed rather than groggy and sore.
When you’re buying an air mattress for camping, a few factors should be high priorities. The first is the size. You need to know that the mattress fits in your tent, so look closely at the dimensions of your tent and the mattress. The second factor is the height of the mattress. If your tent has low clearance, make sure not to pick the tallest air mattress. Third, think about the packed weight and size. Space is often at a premium when you pack for camping, so an air mattress that is bulky when deflated may take up space needed for other gear. Lastly, an air mattress with a tougher exterior is usually preferable as it reduces the risk of a stick or rock popping the mattress. Also remember that if you buy a mattress with an electric pump, you’ll need an adapter for your car’s cigarette lighter to use to inflate the mattress.
What to Consider When Buying an Air Mattress
Buying an air mattress doesn’t come with quite as many considerations as buying a traditional mattress, but there are still some important things to think through. These are the key factors to evaluate as you start shopping:
- Pump Type: as we’ve mentioned, we are big fans of electric built-in or integrated pumps. These pumps inflate and deflate the mattress quickly and effortlessly. External pumps can be easily lost or misplaced, which then makes it impossible to inflate the mattress. Battery-operated pumps are also less reliable and require you to carry a whole set of backup batteries. And hand- or foot-operated pumps are difficult to use, slow to inflate the mattress, often lost or misplaced, and space inefficient.
- Mattress Profile: when we talk about the profile, we’re referring to the height of the mattress. In the past, most air beds were only a few inches off the ground, but now, all of the top air mattresses have raised profiles. This style creates a more comfortable base of air while also making it much easier to get into and out of bed.
- Durability: lack of durability has historically been a major problem for air mattresses. While it is still uncommon for these to last 5 years or more with any kind of frequent use, some models are much more reliable than others. Air beds with very thin materials are more susceptible to pops or rips that can ruin your night, and air beds with poorly designed pumps also tend to suffer durability issues.
- Leaking: all air mattresses leak at least some air during the night; however, on a good air mattress, this won’t be perceptible over the course of one night. On a bad air mattress, you’ll find the mattress sagging or giving out overnight. Avoiding these leak-prone air mattresses is a huge priority.
- Weight: the nature of an air mattress is that you’ll often have to stow it away and then take it out again when you need to use it. If it’s a heavy air mattress, this can be frustrating, especially if your storage is in an attic or basement where it’s harder to access.
- Materials: some people may have specific preferences about the materials used in making the air mattress. For example, if someone has an allergy to a material like latex, they’ll want to make sure to avoid products using that material. In addition, customers with a strong preference for eco-friendly type materials will want to look for specialty air beds.
- Storage: the packed size of the air mattress is another issue. Because they have more material, raised air mattresses typically consume more storage space. Depending on how much space you have, the packed size can be a big factor. You’ll also want to make sure to pick an air mattress with a bag or case for storage.
- Warranty: It’s rare to find any kind of long-term warranty for an air mattress; however, we suggest looking for either a 1-year warranty and/or for a company with a solid return policy and customer service reputation.
Top Air Mattress Reviews
Previously, we listed our best air beds, and this section provides additional detail for why these choices made the cut.
SoundAsleep Dream Series
This air mattress gets great reviews from users and independent testers based on its easy-to-use integrated pump that inflates the mattress rapidly and lets you effortlessly adjust the inflation level. Users find that this mattress limits air leaks during the night, which means you get more consistent support. The SoundAsleep air bed also offers a comfortable sleeping surface, a puncture-resistant cover, and a solid height profile. It’s not the cheapest option, but it comes with a warranty from a company that has cultivated a good reputation for customer service in case you have any problems with the air bed.
WonderSleep Classic Series
This airbed from WonderSleep includes a fast-acting and simple-to-operate built-in pump. It also has a manual air valve that allows you to make quick adjustments to the air level even if the mattress isn’t plugged in, which is a nice bonus for people who plan to use this mattress for camping. It has a solid reputation for holding air through the night and comes with a 1-year warranty. It has a tall profile — an inch taller than the SoundAsleep — that most customers find makes the mattress easy to get in and out of.
Intex Deluxe Pillow Rest
Intex produces a number of different air mattresses, and this option scores well for its performance and value. With both Twin and Queen models available for under $50, this represents the most budget-friendly option on our list. It also has an integrated pump that inflates and deflates the mattress quickly. It has a weight capacity of 300 pounds for the Twin and 600 for the Queen, which is as high as any other model on our list. It is over 16” tall, so it’s still easy to get into, but it’s a bit lighter and easier to store than some slightly taller air beds.
Insta-Bed EZ Raised
This mattress has two main features that differentiate it from other options presented here. The first is that the air bed has a secondary pump that the company calls the NeverFLAT pump. This pump works automatically to help regulate the amount of the air in the bed to meet your preference. Second, it has a built-in stand, which means that the mattress itself is elevated off of the ground, enhancing stability and reducing the risk of puncture. The biggest downside is that this mattress costs over $300, which makes it far more expensive than most other options.
King Koil Luxury Raised
King Koil has a 100+ year history in the mattress industry, and the company backs this air mattress with a 1-year satisfaction guarantee. It has a built-in pump that can inflate the mattress in under 4 minutes, and the mattress does not have serious issues reported with leaks or punctures. The mattress profile is 20 inches, so it facilitates a more natural feel for getting in and out of bed. It is able to accommodate a weight of 300 pounds in the Twin size and 600 pounds in the Queen size.
Tips for Using and Repairing Your Air Mattress
Once you’ve chosen an air mattress, the next steps are to use it and maintain it properly. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your air bed.
- Inflate it properly: with an integrated pump, it’s easy to add air, so don’t try to inflate the mattress to the max from the get-go. Overinflation can damage the material. In addition, many air mattresses come with instructions for the first inflation; make sure to read these instructions and follow them carefully.
- Don’t abuse the mattress: air beds aren’t designed for heavy use. This includes having sex on the mattress, jumping on the mattress, or sitting for any extended period on the edge of the bed. Avoiding this kind of impact can extend the life of the air bed.
- Don’t abuse the motor: while it’s tempting to turn on the motor and walk away, make sure not to forget about it entirely. If the motor runs continuously for too long (usually more than 5-10 minutes), it may burn out.
- Keep pets away: pets may want to jump up and cuddle with you, but their claws and their weight (especially for big dogs) can puncture or otherwise damage your air mattress.
- Identify any leaks promptly: if you notice that the air bed isn’t holding its air through the night, don’t wait to look for a leak. A leak can usually be identified by a light hissing noise, especially if you push lightly on the mattress. If you find the leak, repairing it quickly prevents it from getting worse and becoming harder to repair later.
- Keep your patch kit: every air mattress should be delivered with a patch kit. This usually includes an alcohol swab and the actual patch. Keep both of these as they allow you to clean the mattress so that you can effectively apply the patch. Make sure to carefully follow repair instructions so that you get the repair right on the first try.