Best Air Mattresses

If you think about drifting off to sleep in a luxurious bed, the image that comes to mind probably doesn’t involve an air mattress. In fact, for many people, the opposite may be true, and the idea of sleeping on a temporary air mattress may bring feelings of dread.

But an air mattress doesn’t have to be uncomfortable of inconvenient. While it’s true that air mattresses can’t offer all the features of a normal mattress, this doesn’t mean that you’re relegated to an awful night’s sleep on one. In fact, over the past several years, the quality of air mattresses has increased, and they are now easier to use and more comfortable than ever.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to our picks for the top 5 best air mattresses. We’ll cover the main uses of an air mattress, the key things to look for when shopping for one, and tips for maintaining them in the best condition possible.

Our Top 5 Air Mattresses

The table below offers a quick list and breakdown of our top picks for the best air mattresses.

Brand Model Sizes Pump Type Weight Max Price
Dream Series Twin / Queen Integrated electric 300 Twin / 500 Queen $95 Twin / $120 Queen
Raised Air Mattress with Insta III Pump Twin / Queen Integrated electric 350 Twin / 500 Queen $100 Twin / $120 Queen
Luxury Raised Twin / Queen Integrated electric 300 Twin / 600 Queen $95 Twin / $120 Queen
Plush High Rise Twin, Full, Queen, King Integrated electric Not listed $100 - $150
Deluxe Pillow Rest Raised Twin / Queen Integrated electric 300 Twin / 600 Queen $26 Twin / $42 Queen

What Are the Uses of an Air Mattress?

When you’re shopping for an air mattress, you shouldn’t be looking for an everyday mattress. Instead, its use should be more temporary such as in some of the situations described below. It is helpful to think about how you’re most likely to use your air mattress because, as we outline in the following sections, this can directly affect the air mattress that may be most appropriate for you.

Household Guests

Unless you have a lot of space in your home or have very frequent visitors, it often doesn’t make sense to keep a whole room equipped with a bed just for guests. Because they can easily be packed away in a closet, an air mattress can let you accommodate guests with more comfort than just offering up a couch or the floor.

If your air mattress will mostly be used for hosting guests, consider these factors when shopping:

  • Comfort: try to provide the best sleeping experience possible for your guests. You’d want the same when you stay with friends or family, so definitely prioritize comfort.
  • Size: make sure that you know the dimensions of the area where you plan to set the air mattress up. The air mattress should fit easily and have some room to spare around it. Remember that your guests will need space for their personal items and enough room to safely get in and out of bed. When in doubt, measure because buying the wrong size could make for a frustrating experience for you and your guests.
  • Height: a taller air mattress is much easier to get in and out of and typically offers a better experience for your guests.
  • Who Are Your Guests?: if you expect that most of the people who will stay with you are couples, then a twin airbed won’t cut it. Look for a full or a queen airbed, presuming that you have enough space to inflate it in your home.

Camping

Some people associate camping with the roughest sleeping conditions, but it doesn’t have to be that way. An air mattress can be a dramatic improvement over a sleeping bag or pad pressed right up against the ground.

If you’re looking for a camping air mattress, you want to account for some specific priorities.

  • Size: if it won’t fit in your tent, you’re going to have problems, and the worst time to find this out is when you’re at your campsite. Measure first before buying, and then test your tent with the air mattress inside before you hit the road for your camping trip.
  • Height: some tents, like dome tents, are built to be taller and may be able to accommodate an air mattress that has more height. However, other types of tents may not provide enough room to have an air mattress that is high off the ground. Again, measure and test this before you take it camping.
  • Compressed size: if you’ve ever loaded up the car for a camping trip, you know that space in the car almost always seems to run out faster than you expect. For this reason, having an air mattress that packs down to a small size can help avoid headaches when you’re getting set to go on a camping trip.
  • Rugged exterior: an air mattress for camping should have a thick exterior that ideally has been reinforced along the bottom. If a twig or rock would easily cause the mattress to be punctured, it’s not a good fit for camping.
  • Pump style: either look for an air mattress that can be inflated by a battery-operated or manual pump or remember that you’ll need a power adapter for the cigarette lighter in your car so that you can plug in your normal pump.

A Stand-In Mattress

There are times when it’s just not feasible to have a regular mattress available. If you’ve decided to move to a new town or are waiting for your furniture to be delivered to a new home, your mattress may be in transit and unavailable. In these cases, you may have to spend a series of nights on an air mattress until your permanent bed arrives.

When buying an air mattress for this kind of temporary use, keep these considerations in mind:

  • Availability: to work in a pinch, an airbed has to be available. This means that it’s either available in a store or for rapid shipping in time that you can use it during the interim period while you wait for your regular bed.
  • Comfort: make sure your stand-in mattress offers enough comfort for you to rest. If you’re moving, you’ve got enough on your mind. You don’t need to be sleep deprived or waking up with aches and pains.
  • Convenient pump: when you sleep on an air mattress for several days or more in a row, it’s normal for it to lose some air. You’ll likely need to top off the air every night before bed, so a pump that makes this easy (such as a built-in pump) can be extremely helpful.
  • Size and height: if there’s room for it to fit in the room where you will use it, a larger airbed and one with more height can add both physical and mental comfort. The difference between waking up on a twin airbed just inches off the ground and a queen that’s over a foot tall can dramatically change how you perceive this temporary sleeping situation and thus your mood.

What Are the Key Considerations When Buying an Air Mattress?

As a general principle, the design of air mattresses is much simpler than traditional mattresses. There are fewer types of materials that are used, and there is a lot more commonality between brands and models. This doesn’t mean, however, that all air mattresses are created equal. To help select the best air mattress that you can, consider these factors when considering your options.

  • Pump Style: integrated pumps, which are built into the air mattress itself, have become much more common and are extremely convenient. Not only do they eliminate the risk of the pump accidentally going missing, but they simplify the process of inflating and deflating the bed. These built-in pumps are almost always electric which gets rid of the problem of having to have the right kinds of batteries to operate a battery-operated pump. With an integrated pump, you usually just plug it in, and within a matter of minutes, your mattress is ready. Adding extra air or deflating the mattress is a breeze as well.
  • Mattress Height: raised profiles have become increasingly common for airbeds. This is a matter of comfort as the taller air chamber makes it much easier to get onto and off of the airbed. Additionally, having a thicker air mattress also gives more heft to the mattress, making it feel more comfortable to most users. Unless you are limited by space considerations, we advise only buying air mattresses with a raised height level, generally of 15” or more.
  • Durability: if an air mattress has thin exterior walls, it is vulnerable to punctures or rips that can make the mattress unusable. While the overall level of durability in air mattresses has increased in recent years, look for one that has strong reviews from verified customers who can speak to its durability over multiple uses. Ideally, also look for thicker materials in the exterior, especially on the bottom of the air mattress.
  • Air Retention: it’s normal for air mattresses to lose a bit of air during the night. But on a good air mattress, you shouldn’t really notice this, and it definitely shouldn’t affect your sleep. A priority in choosing an air mattress is finding one that does not leak much air over the course of one or more nights.
  • Storage: while most of the focus on an air mattress is on what it’s like when it’s inflated, it’s also important to consider what it’s like when it’s put away. If the mattress takes up a ton of space or is extremely heavy or unwieldy, it can make it inconvenient to store or to take out and put away. This is one downside to a raised height air mattress; because they have more total material, they tend to require more storage room. If you have limited storage space or a storage area that’s harder to get to (such as a basement), then look for an air mattress with a smaller profile when deflated.
  • Materials: some airbeds are made with latex or vinyl that may cause allergy problems in a small subset of customers. If you have a strong preference for or aversion to a particular type of materials, make sure that you look closely at the specifications of the airbed.
  • Warranty: airbeds don’t typically come with extended warranties of any kind. But you can still look for some protection for your purchase in the form of a 1-year limited warranty and/or a short-term return policy.

How Can You Best Use and Maintain an Air Mattress?

After you’ve bought an airbed, there are some things that you can do to make the most of your purchase in terms of the performance and longevity of your air mattress.

Using the Air Mattress

  • Proper inflation: when you inflate your air mattress, don’t try to fully max it out with air. If it inflates too much, too soon, then the materials can become overstretched and damaged. Before the very first inflation, read over the included instructions for any specific guidance about adding air. Following the manufacturer instructions from the start can increase the lifespan and durability of your airbed.
  • Tread lightly: an air mattress isn’t a trampoline, so don’t let your kids jump on it. It’s also not built to be heavy-duty, so it’s unwise to have sex on your airbed or to spend much time sitting on its edges. This advice applies to people and to pets whose claws can inadvertently rupture the cover of the airbed.
  • Protect the motor: even though an internal pump can run without you watching over it, the motor can get damaged if it runs for too long without a break. Keep an eye on the motor while it’s inflating, and if the motor is running but the bed isn’t inflating, stop after a few minutes instead of just letting the motor run and run.

Repairing Your Air Mattress

  • Find the leak: if your airbed is losing a significant amount of air at night, there’s probably a leak. The only way to solve this problem is to find the leak and fix it. In a quiet room, listen for a quiet hissing when you press on the mattress as this can direct you to the leak.
  • Patch it up: when you get your air mattress, you’ll find that it comes with a patch kit. It might be tempting to cast this aside, but keep it with the air mattress at all times. The patch kit will have an alcohol swab and a patch. The swab helps the patch adhere to the mattress if you need to make a repair. For best results, follow any manufacturer instructions about properly installing a patch.

What Are the Best Air Mattresses?

For quick reference, we provided a table at the top of this guide listing our top temporary air mattresses. But we know that many customers want to know more, so in this section we’ll elaborate on each of our choices.

SoundASleep Dream Series

The SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress is a favorite among customers looking for a mid-range option. This bed includes an integrated pump that simplifies inflation and deflation including making small adjustments. The mattress gets good reviews from customers with regard to its performance with regard to leaks and comfort.

Its cover is resistant to punctures, and it has a raised height for your convenience. SoundAsleep has gotten good marks for its service and also provides a short warranty to support the airbed. Even though it isn’t the lowest-cost option, the SoundAsleep is an excellent choice for people who want a simple and reliable air mattress.

Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Insta III Pump

Insta-Bed manufactures a number of air mattresses that generally have a solid reputation for quality and durability relative to the competition. This model, which features the Insta III integrated pump, inflates in 4 minutes. This pump is also quieter than many comparable models, which can go a long way if you’re inflating this mattress at night in a busy home or apartment building.

It measures 15” in height and is available as a Twin or Queen, although the Queen is currently not in stock. It comes with a 1-year warranty and is available for $100 in the Twin size or $120 as a Queen. Note that while the Twin has a 350 pound weight capacity, the Queen weight capacity is 500 pounds.

King Koil Luxury Raised

King Koil is a company that makes many different bedding products including traditional mattresses. With over 100 years in the business, they are a reliable name and one that many customers trust. For that reason, this airbed’s 1-year satisfaction guarantee offers extra comfort to people opting for this model.

In terms of specifications, the King Koil Luxury Raised airbed inflates in under 4 minutes with its integrated pump. It is 20 inches tall, which increases its storage size but also makes it more comfortable to get in and out of. Its Queen size has a capacity of 600 pounds, which is more than many competitors that can only handle up to 500 pounds in the Queen size.

Fox Air Beds Plush High Rise

One excellent feature of the Fox Airbeds Plush High Rise product line is that air mattresses are available in Twin, Full, Queen, and King sizes. Many airbeds are only offered in Twin and Queen, so for people with specific size needs, these extra options can be extremely helpful.

All of these models include a plug-in, built-in pump, but the mattresses are also inflatable with external pumps. Every model has a height of at least 18”, and some are even taller, giving more comfort when using this mattress.

It has a durable vinyl cover, but it should be noted that the company does not list a specific weight capacity for each size. If you have concerns about weight limits, we encourage you to contact Fox Airbeds directly before buying.

Intex Deluxe Pillow Rest Raised

The Intex Deluxe Pillow Rest Raised air mattress is our value pick among the top airbeds. In Queen size, this air mattress can be purchased online for under $50, which makes it a great choice for budget shoppers or people who don’t expect to use it regularly.

Despite its low cost, it still has solid features including a built-in pump that inflates the mattress in an average of 3 minutes. The Twin is 16.5” tall, and the Queen is 18.5” tall, and each includes a built-in pillow. The mattress also has a thicker gauge material near the edges to improve durability and edge support.

Given its price tag, you shouldn’t expect a luxury airbed from this model, but it can certainly fit the bill for infrequent use at a friendly price.

*Prices without discount/promo applied.
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