Buying Guide for Air Mattresses
Why buy an air mattress?
Air mattresses are great because they allow you to get restful sleep when you cannot use your regular bed. When visiting family or friends, camping, moving, or renovating your bedroom, having an air mattress can save your back from sleeping on the floor or a lumpy couch. Air mattresses are convenient for camping since they’re much lighter and easier to pack than camping cots and can deflate and re-inflate as needed. They can be rolled up and folded into carrying bags for more convenient transportation or storage when deflated. With the proper tools, inflating them won’t take more than a few minutes.
What should you look for in an air mattress?
- Comfort: Naturally, you will want your air mattress to be comfortable so that you can have a restful sleep when using it. How the air mattress distributes weight will be the primary factor for comfort. Other factors include construction, padding, and whether the air mattress stays inflated overnight; some models tend to slowly deflate overnight, and you don’t want to wake up flat on the ground, defeating the whole point of buying an air mattress in the first place.
- Durability: Many budget air mattresses can be quite comfortable but are easily punctured and rendered useless. Thus, durability is a key necessity for outdoor spaces like tents, campers, or campsites. Air mattresses with waterproof or water-and mold-resistant qualities will greatly aid their durability and extend their service life, especially if you plan to use them for camping.
- Setup: If an air mattress can’t be quickly and easily set up, it’ll cause you more trouble than it’s worth. Thankfully, many modern air mattresses can be inflated or deflated in minutes, requiring minimal upkeep, even with extended use. Modern models will almost without fail come with their own pumps, usually built-in ones that inflate them extra quickly. Double-check and make sure the pump doesn’t require an outlet to work if you plan to take your air mattress camping quite often—unless you have a generator that will be compatible with it. Otherwise, you’ll need to invest in a portable air pump that can operate without one at your campsite or in the wilderness.
What are some other factors to look for in an air mattress?
Like regular mattresses, they’re available in double, twin, queen, and even king mattress sizes. Opt for a queen or king-sized air mattress if you want more than one person to sleep on it at a time, while a double or twin will be more suitable for a single person (unless they’re 6 feet tall or above). Alternatively, some couples like to push two twin air mattresses up next to each other so they don’t feel each other shift in the night as often.
Also, consider the thickness and firmness of the air mattress. Thicker air mattresses are less likely to fully deflate overnight and allow you or your guests to sleep on a more elevated surface—closer to a real bed, but they’ll also take up more storage space. They’re often ranked on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the softest possible air mattress and 10 being the firmest. Firmer air mattresses are usually preferable to softer ones, as they’re less likely to sag. However, children and adults under 150 pounds can get away with sleeping on softer air mattresses without issue. Some models also have a dial setting that allows you to adjust your comfort and firmness level.
Our Picks for the Best Air Mattresses
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
This air mattress features a one-click pump and thick, comfortable flocking.
Pros: This is the perfect model if you’re after an extra-tall, extra-thick air mattress. Odds are you won’t even feel like you’re sleeping on the ground. The thick flocking on the top of the air mattress is very comfortable, which helps to encourage a restful night’s sleep. The mattress will not slide around, even if you toss and turn in the night, thanks to its SureGrip bottom. It’s also totally waterproof. The one-click pump will inflate it in minutes. A nice range of sizes is available: twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king sizes, all with high-weight capacities. Even the twin bed can support up to 300 pounds.
Cons: This air mattress is expensive, so it’s not the best option for those looking for a budget-friendly option. And as is often the case with many air mattresses, this model can be squeaky when you toss, turn, or move around on it.
Bottom Line: This quintessential air mattress checks all the boxes to make it a top choice. Waterproof, tall, and thick with a nice weight capacity, it’ll keep you naturally elevated off the ground for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
Coleman Quickbed Airbed
This air mattress is made out of antimicrobial material to help prevent mold and mildew from growing on it.
Pros: An air mattress resistant to molding is a worthwhile investment, especially if you plan to mainly use it for camping or outdoors. This air mattress is resistant to mildew, fungus, and even odors, so you’ll have little to worry about, even if it gets damp on your trip. The ComfortStrong coils provide greater firmness and support than most air mattresses offer, while the top is soft and velvety to add some extra comfort even without a mattress pad. The double-locked valve features a dual seal that offers superior protection against leaks.
Cons: Unlike most models, this air mattress doesn’t come with its carrying bag included. You may want to hang onto the box and wrappings or buy your own. You’ll have to buy your pump separately, too.
Bottom Line: When it comes to resisting mold, mildew, and the like, this air mattress is hard to beat, especially for its price point. This makes it an especially ideal camping air mattress, and you won’t have to worry about it growing fungus or mold if you keep it in storage for long periods.
hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed with Safety Bumpers
This smaller air mattress is designed specifically for toddlers and young children.
Pros: This model is worth considering if you’re after a child-friendly air mattress for your little one. It’s designed to fit toddlers and younger children and supports up to 310 pounds. Even more notable are its built-in side bumpers, which keep your child from rolling off the mattress as they sleep. The price is nice, quite a bit less expensive than a full-sized air mattress for adults, and it comes with a carrying bag and a small portable air pump to increase its value further. Its smaller size and carrying bag make it extremely portable, perfect for camping or a sleepover at a friend’s house.
Cons: This air mattress isn’t the sturdiest model; if your little one jumps around or roughhouse on it, it’ll likely develop a leak or holes. It’s also quite firm, which isn’t a drawback per se but may not be suitable for all children’s sleeping preferences. The size of this air mattress also means that it’s a bit too short to fit taller or older kids.
Bottom Line: Buying your child an air mattress provides them with a comfortable and familiar sleeping space that’s just their size, increasing their comfort and sense of security while away from home. If you want to provide this for your toddler, this air mattress is a great option.
Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Airbed
If you want a taller, thicker air mattress for extra comfort, this ultra-tall model will be right up your alley.
Pros: This is a comfortable and elevated mattress that, at 22 inches in height, is perfect for those who like to be higher off the ground, providing a more bed-like sleeping experience. The flocked top provides a soft and cozy sleeping surface, while the internal electric pump makes inflating and deflating the bed quick and easy. It even has adjustable firmness, so you can customize it. It can support up to two average-sized adults and fits standard sheets perfectly. It also comes with a carrying bag for easy storage.
Cons: A common complaint is that the provided storage bag isn’t very durable and can tear easily. Additionally, the mattress itself is relatively heavy and bulky. Lastly, you may notice changes in firmness as you sleep and thus need to re-inflate the mattress periodically.
Bottom Line: If you don’t want to feel like you’re laying right on the ground or struggle to stand up from shorter air mattresses, you’ll love this 22-inch thick model. While it may not be the most portable option, it’s a great choice for anyone needing a comfortable, easy-to-use airbed.
Onirii Inflatable Car Air Mattress Bed
This unique, specialty air mattress was designed to fit in the backseat of cars and other vehicles.
Pros: If you’re a car camper, this air mattress is for you. This uniquely shaped air mattress is designed to fit in the backseat of a car, though it’s certainly not limited to these spaces. There’s an SUV version that is better suited to larger trucks and SUVs instead of standard-sized cars. It’s fully waterproof and has two regular pillows and a travel-style neck pillow. Quite a range of other useful accessories come included with your purchase: an air pump, a gas nozzle, a repair pad, a carrying bag, an eye mask, and earplugs. And you get all of this for one nice, low price.
Cons: Be sure to measure the backseat dimensions of your car to ensure that this air mattress will fit it properly, as it won’t be the right size for all vehicles. It’s also too small to comfortably fit two grown adults unless they’re both on the smaller or shorter side.
Bottom Line: You may never have thought of the backseat of your car as a suitable place to put an air mattress, but this model will have you reconsidering this line of thinking. You’ll be able to stretch out on it and gaze up at the stars, lie in comfort at the drive-in, and much, much more.
Air mattresses are handy items in your household, even if you don’t travel or have guests often. You don’t always know when a spare bed might come in handy or when you’ll be invited to a spur-of-the-moment getaway, so it’s best to be prepared.