Whether you’re going on a camping trip or planning for overnight guests, having an air mattress provides a quick and easy option for temporary bedding. Air mattresses get a bad rap for being uncomfortable and for deflating during the night, but they aren’t all bad. In fact, some of the best air mattresses are just as comfortable as a traditional mattress.
While there are certainly some worthwhile options for air mattresses out there, there are just as many that aren’t worth your time or money. We’ve taken the time to research the market, bringing you a short-list of the best air mattresses out there.
What is an Air Mattress?
An air mattress, also known as a blow-up bed, is a type of inflatable mattress. These mattresses are typically made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or a textile-reinforced urethane plastic. Because they are inflatable, these mattresses store easily after folding or rolling and can be inflated with a manual or electric pump. Air mattresses are great for camping or for temporary bedding.
Air Mattress Reviews
No air mattress is perfect but some of them come pretty close. A high-quality air mattress delivers a comfortable night of sleep without deflating and it is both easy to set up and takedown.
Here are our top picks for the best air mattresses:
This luxury air mattress takes all the hassle out of setup and takedown. With a built-in pump, this queen air mattress inflates in around 90 seconds without you having to lift a finger. Simply press a button on the pump for quick inflation or deflation. In addition to having a built-in pump, this air mattress from Englander is one of the only microfiber air mattresses on the market. Microfiber is 20% more puncture- and abrasion-resistant and offers 30% more tensile strength.
Made with ultra-durable materials, the Englander Queen Air Mattress is a solid investment. For convenience, it comes with a heavy-duty carry bag which can also be used to store the mattress when not in use. Numerous customers comment that the bed is surprisingly lightweight and comfortable enough that it feels like a regular mattress. Some customers noticed a “new” smell the first time they inflated the mattress, but it faded quickly.
To ensure optimal comfort with this air mattress, Englander recommends filling the mattress completely for the first use and topping it off with air after 24 hours. The mattress features welded seams for durability, but the microfiber material may stretch to some degree after inflation.Buy at Amazon
When it comes to all-night comfort, the height of your air mattress really makes a difference. This EZ Inflate mattress measures a full 16 inches high and is constructed with 21 interior air coils for support. You’ll also enjoy the durability that comes with puncture-resistant PVC materials and the comfort of a soft, triple-layered top material. This queen air mattress holds up to 600 pounds.
The EZ Inflate air mattress is uniquely designed to maximize sleeping space. This queen-size inflatable mattress offers a full 60-b-8-inch sleeping space, not inclusive of the rounded edges. Interior coil beam technology provides a firm, supportive sleeping surface and the built-in pump makes it easy to inflate and deflate the mattress in just a few minutes.
Customers love the convenience of the built-in pump and found the flocked material lining the top of the mattress was soft, quiet, and comfortable. The flocked material also helps prevent sheets and bedding from sliding off the mattress.Buy at Amazon
Available in both twin size and queen size, this air mattress features a high-powered, built-in electric pump which makes setup and takedown a breeze. The queen size air mattress inflates in under 5 minutes and deflates quickly with the touch of a button. The mattress stands 18 inches off the floor, offering plenty of support for a comfortable night’s sleep while the indented sides keep sheets and bedding from slipping off the mattress.
In addition to the convenience of the built-in pump, this Inex Airbed is designed with Dura-Beam technology, making it 15% lighter but 35% more supportive than a traditional air mattress. This model features a plush dual air pillowtop system to give you the feel of a traditional mattress with puncture- and abrasion-resistant construction. The unique edge construction maximizes sleeping space and stability while the flocked materials reduce noise.
Customers found the Inex Airbed surprisingly stable and supportive for an air mattress. They also appreciated the included tote bag for easy storage.Buy at Amazon
Designed for indoor and outdoor use, this Serta air mattress is available in twin size and queen size. When fully inflated, the mattress stands 18 inches tall, enabling the internal system of 35 circular coils to deliver optimal support all night long. This mattress includes both vertical and horizontal reinforcements for superior support while the soft-touch flocked top improves comfort. The 18-inch height also makes it easier for you to get into and out of the bed.
The Serta Raised Air Mattress is designed as much for convenience as for comfort. The internal AC NeverFlat pump system makes it easy to inflate and deflate the mattress, plus you can customize the level of firmness to one of three settings according to your preference: plush, medium, or firm. This mattress folds flat for easy storage and comes with a duffel bag and it is surprisingly lightweight as well.
What really makes this air mattress stand out is the NeverFlat pump system which includes the primary pump for easy inflation and deflation but also includes a secondary pump. This pump monitors and silently maintains air pressure at the desired setting. This air mattress is covered by a 2 year warranty.Buy at Amazon
Available in twin size and queen size, this InnoTruth Air Mattress offers an array of unique features. In addition to being crafted from durable PVC material with a soft flocked top, this air mattress is designed to be odor-free. Standing 18 inches off the ground when fully inflated, this mattress delivers superior support for up to 300 pounds and it sleeps quieter than a standard air mattress. When fully deflated and folded, the air mattress measures roughly 13.4×12.9×7.3 inches for easy storage.
In addition to being durably constructed, the InnoTruth Air Mattress is easy to use. Choose from two convenient inflation methods, a manual air pump or a 120V built-in air pump. Using the built-in pump, you can fully inflate the air mattress in just 3 minutes. When it is not in use, simply store the folded air mattress in the included waterproof storage bag.Buy at Amazon
Going camping doesn’t have to mean sleeping on the cold, hard ground, especially with this Active Era Luxury Camping Mattress. Generously sized for a single sleeper, this air mattress delivers enhanced support through the use of Wave Beam Technology. Eight wave-shaped chambers inside the mattress provide whole-body support while the soft, waterproof surface ensures durability and comfort.
This Active Era camping mattress takes sleeping on an air mattress to a new level. Not only is it made from multi-layered materials for enhanced durability, but it offers two convenient options for inflation. Quickly inflate your air mattress anywhere, anytime with the included USB portable pump (power pack not included) or go low-tech with the built-in foot pump. The foot pump is perfect for topping up the mattress with air or adjusting the firmness level to your preference.Buy at Amazon
How to Choose an Air Mattress
While all air mattresses serve a similar function, they are not all created equal. The materials from which the mattress is made, the type of stitching used to construct it, even the internal structure of the air mattress all make a big difference when it comes to comfort. When shopping for an air mattress, there are a number of things you need to be looking for to make sure you don’t waste your money.
Here are some things to look for when shopping for an air mattress:
- Material – Look for an air mattress made from thick, sturdy material but consider the material on the top and bottom of the mattress. Suede-like material is generally best for comfort and it will help keep the mattress from sliding on hardwood floors.
- Pump – Air mattresses generally come with some kind of pump, though you should be sure to do your research to make sure you don’t need to buy one separately. Pump options for air mattresses include manual pumps, battery-operated pumps, and internal pumps.
- Inflation Time – No one wants to spend an hour inflating an air mattress, so look for a model that inflates (and deflates) within a few minutes. This is usually listed on the packaging.
- Height – Think about what you’re planning to use the air mattress for. Low-profile air mattresses are easier to roll up and carry for camping but high-profile air mattresses (at least 18 inches high) are generally more comfortable.
- Support – Inexpensive air mattresses (typically camping air mattresses) may consist of a single air chamber, but this design is not ideal for larger air mattresses. The most supportive air mattresses have both vertical and horizontal chambers then help distribute your weight more evenly to prevent compression and leakage.
Air mattresses offer an inexpensive alternative to buying an entire bed set – they’re also great for camping. While air mattresses are more affordable than traditional mattresses anyway, you want to avoid skimping when it comes to cost. A cheaply made air mattress will deflate more quickly and won’t last as long as one that is durably constructed from high-quality materials.
Tips for Inflating an Air Mattress
We’ve all had the nightmare experience of sleeping on an air mattress just to wake in the middle of the night to find it’s deflated around you. No air mattress is completely airtight, so you should expect to lose a little bit of air when you lie down and throughout the course of the night. That being said, a high-quality air mattress has tight seams and a sturdy plug to minimize overnight deflation.
Though no air mattress is perfect, there are a few things you can do to make sure the mattress is fully inflated before you lie down to sleep. Here are some tips for inflating and air mattress using different methods to ensure a comfortable night of sleep:
- External Pump
Most modern air mattresses come with a pump, either battery operated or a manual pump. Some of the luxury models even come with an internal pump that does all the work for you. If you’re using an external pump, all you need to do is insert the nozzle of the pump into the inlet valve and start pumping.
Inflate the blow-up mattress until it is firm enough to hold your weight. Remove the nozzle and quickly seal the valve. If you struggle a bit and lose too much air, reinflate the mattress and try again.
- Vacuum Cleaner
If your mattress doesn’t come with a pump, you can try using a household vacuum cleaner or wet/dry vacuum instead. First and foremost, make sure the vacuum is clean – remove the dirt bag or container and run it for 15 to 20 seconds to clear any debris from the hose.
Next, attach the vacuum hose to the inflation valve – you may need to use one of the smaller attachments that came with the vacuum or make some adjustments with tape to create an airtight seal. From there, turn the vacuum on to exhaust mode so it pushes out air instead of vacuuming it and let it inflate your mattress.
In a pinch, a hairdryer can be used to inflate an air mattress, though it may take longer than either of the above two methods. The first thing you need to do is find a way to seal the connection between the mouth of the hairdryer and the inflation valve. If you have no other options, you can try making a cone out of heavy paper, wrapping one end around the hairdryer, and inserting the other into the valve.
Once you’ve created your connection, turn the hairdryer on – just make sure to keep it on the coolest setting possible. Blowing hot air into your air mattress could damage it. If your hairdryer starts to heat up, turn it off for a few minutes and let it cool down before resuming.
- Plastic Bag
If you don’t have a battery-operated pump, a manual pump, or any electricity to run a pump for your air mattress, there’s still an option. It’s a little unconventional and may be time-consuming, but you can use a plastic bag to inflate your air mattress.
Start by unrolling your air mattress so it’s nice and flat. Next, take a large plastic bag (like a garbage bag) and hold the mouth open while swinging it through the air to collect air in the bag. Gather the mouth of the bag to seal it then fit it over the mattress’ inlet valve, holding it as tight as you can with your hands or using a rubber band. Then, squeeze the air from the bag into the air mattress and repeat as needed.
How to Fix a Leaky Air Mattress
If you suspect your air mattress has a leak, you’ll want to locate it and plug it up. The easiest way to locate a slow leak in an air mattress is to fill a spray bottle with water and dish soap then spray it around the exterior of the air mattress when it is fully inflated. Take a close look at the seams and sides of the mattress, looking for bubbles that form from the escaping of air. If you don’t see anything right away, try putting a little pressure on the mattress to force air out of the leak.
Once you’ve located the leak, mark it with a marker so you can find it later then fully deflate the air mattress. Give it a good scrub, focusing particularly on the area around the leak, so your patch will hold. Check the original packaging the air mattress came in to see if it comes with a patch kit. If it does, follow the instructions that come with the kit to install it.
If your air mattress didn’t come with a patch kit, you can make your own using a piece of shower curtain or similar material. Cut the material large enough to cover the leak entirely with an extra inch on all sides. Use acetone to degrease the surface of the air mattress around the leak then apply the patch using superglue. Hold it down tight (or place something heavy on top of it) for several minutes or overnight to be safe. For very small leaks or puncture holes, you may be able to simply apply the superglue directly to the hole in several layers.
While an air mattress might not be your first choice of bedding, it’s better than sleeping on the floor and some air mattresses are surprisingly comfortable. If you’re in the market for temporary bedding, the air mattresses we’ve reviewed above are all worthy of your consideration.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use an air mattress as a regular bed?
Air mattresses provide temporary bedding that has the added benefit of being portable. You can certainly sleep on an air mattress as your primary bedding option, but it isn’t recommended that you use an air mattress on a traditional bedframe.
How long can an air mattress last?
A traditional mattress generally lasts 8 to 10 years with proper care and the same can be said for an air mattress. The thing to remember is that air mattresses are generally used for temporary bedding – heavy use may reduce the lifespan of the mattress.
Is an air mattress good for back pain?
If you suffer from back pain, you need a mattress that provides support to keep your spine in proper alignment without being too hard. Air mattresses offer the benefit of customizable firmness determined by how much you inflate them. They may not offer the same degree of pressure relief as a traditional mattress, but some people with back pain find them comfortable.
Why does my air mattress keep deflating?
The trouble with air mattresses is that they tend to go flat over time. Even if your air mattress doesn’t have any holes in it, you may find that it slowly deflates simply due to temperature and the pressure you put on it. No air mattress is completely airtight, so you should expect to lose some air when you use it.