If you’re in the market for a new air mattress and you’ve never bought one before, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the number of options, features and brands that you have to choose from. Even if you’re replacing an old air mattress, you might have some trouble narrowing down your options.
To make the decision-making process a little easier, we’ve compiled this handy buyer’s guide and some reviews of our favorite air mattresses. This guide will help you get a handle on the terminology and the many options available to you.
Top 7 Comparison Table
|Brand & Model||Height||Mattress Sizes||Pump Type||Rating||Price|
|SoundAsleep – Dream Series||Raised||Queen||Built-In||5 / 5||$$$|
|Serta – neverFlat||Raised||Twin / Queen||Built-In||4 / 5||$$$|
|ALPS Mountaineering – Rechargeable||Low||Twin / Queen||External||4 / 5||$$$|
|Insta-Bed – neverFlat||Raised||Twin / Queen||Built-In||4 / 5||$$|
|Coleman – Air Bed||Raised||Queen||Built-In||4 / 5||$$|
|AeroBed – Classic||Low||Twin / Queen||External||4 / 5||$|
|Intex – Pillow Rest||Raised||Twin||Built-In||4 / 5||$|
Air mattresses are also known as sleeping pads or air beds, and they are simply blow-up PVC mattresses that use air for support instead of springs, latex or memory foam. They may be raised, low profile, or used with a stand. You’ll see different options for inflating these, but in most cases you will use an electric pump for this purpose. Air mattresses rate higher for customer satisfaction than innerspring beds, but a bit lower than memory foam and latex. Some people like air beds because it is so easy to adjust the comfort level, which is a bonus if you have back pain. Some air beds allow you to customize different firmness levels on each side of the bed, which is a great feature if you and your partner have different needs.
Air mattresses are available in all sizes from twin up to king size. They are much more portable than heavy memory foam or innerspring mattresses, so you can even travel with them, which is another of their selling points. You can also leave them inflated and use them as permanent beds, or you can use them as guest beds and pack them away when they’re not in use. A sleeping pad can fit into your tent easily, so you can camp in comfort. These beds are so affordable and flexible that it’s not hard to see why they have become so popular in countries all over the world.
It’s important to know how and where you plan to use your air mattress before you purchase.
Permanent “main bed”
Air mattresses are portable, but that doesn’t mean you have to travel with them. You can even buy one to use in your bedroom as your permanent bed. Air beds of this type usually cost more than sleeping pads and low-profile beds for guests, and you can get them in queen or king size. Some models include a raised platform, or you can place one on a separate stand.
Temporary “guest bed”
You may want a smaller queen or twin bed that you can store when not in use, whether you plan to travel with it or have your house guests use it when they visit. Air beds are compact and flexible, so you can offer your guests a comfortable place to sleep without needing to make space for a permanent bed. These days you can find a perfect guest bed of this type for less than 50 dollars. These are easy to pack into a closet when you don’t need them, and they can last for decades.
In your car or SUV
If you’ve ever been stuck sleeping in your car, you know it’s not the most comfortable situation. But if you want to save money on accommodation when you’re traveling, an air mattress is a good way to get a comfortable night’s sleep even in your car. You can buy them with customized stands or with inflatable feet that fit into the back foot wells and support the mattress’s edges after you inflate them fully. The tight fit makes optimal use of the available space, and the mattress is sufficient to ensure a comfortable sleep.
Camping or backpacking
This is one of the more obvious reasons for buying an air mattress. In the old days many people made do with just a sleeping bag; these days there are affordable and comfortable sleeping pads or camping pads available. A twin air bed fits easily into a tent and you can roll it up in the morning and pack it into your backpack or trunk.
When it’s time to choose the best air mattress for you, there are many different factors to take into account. Many manufacturers, including Coleman, Intex and Serta among many others, have models on the market. There are also options such as low profile or raised height to consider. You have to think about pump types as well – would you prefer a manual external foot pump, or an automatic electric built-in pump? Find out all of the advantages and disadvantages of these different options before you make your decision, and compare different brands and price ranges too. We have selected air bed reviews and provided this buyer’s guide to help make your decision process a little easier.
Thickness – Raised
An air bed may come in a variety of thicknesses or heights, with the most common one being raised. These mattresses are about the same height as a traditional bed. This type of bed is simply an air mattress attached to a platform to give sleepers the sense of being in a “normal” bed. Raised beds are also easier to get into and out of. The only drawback is that the platform takes up space, making it less convenient to store when not in use.
Thickness – Low Profile
These beds are thinner and come with no attached base, making them a little less expensive as well as more compact. They are great for camping because they are easy to deflate, roll up and store in your pack or car. If you’re looking for something truly compact, sleeping pads are the best choice for camping as they’re even thinner and lighter than the usual low profile mattress.
Pumps come in two types, internal or external. External pumps can be powered either by foot, by batteries or by connecting to mains power. Air beds that use external pumps usually cost a bit less than those with internal pumps. A possible drawback is losing your external pump and having to replace it. These days, external pumps are less and less easy to find, which is a good reason to go with a built-in pump.
Internal, or Built-In Pump
These beds give you the peace of mind of never having to worry about misplacing adaptors or losing the pump itself. They also allow you to easily customize your comfort levels to your choice of firm, soft or medium. This type of pump uses battery or electric power, so it is much quicker to inflate than a foot pump. Because they are so popular, models that use built-in pumps are easier to find on websites and in showrooms than the external pump models.
Reviews of Air Mattresses
SoundAsleep: Dream Series
This queen size raised air bed measures 58 x 78 x 19 inches. Because of its height and 2 separate adjustable inner chambers, this air bed is highly suitable to use indoors as a guest bed, temporary or permanent bed. The one-click built-in pump allows you to deflate and inflate the mattress very quickly; you can fully inflate the mattress in less than 4 minutes. This is our favorite model and the favorite of many according to surveys of verified owners. It’s loaded with features, well made, and the price is right too. It’s hard to go wrong with this air bed.
Serta – neverFLAT
This Serta air mattress we’ve chosen to include is the eighteen inch raised version from the worlds #1 mattress company. This extremely popular model is available in 2 sizes whiche are queen (80″ x 60″) and twin (74″ x 39″), and is packed with too many features to list. There are 2 built-in pumps with neverFLAT technology, one maintains the pressure while you sleep for added safety and comfort, the other is to inflate or deflate. The Serta probably is the best air mattress in its class if you are after a bed that is from a household name you can trust.
ALPS Mountaineering: Rechargeable
Of the low profile beds, our favorite is this model from the highly regarded ALPS Mountaineering range of rechargeable models. This one comes both in queen and twin size, and is suitable for use either outdoors or indoors. It weighs just 8 ½ pounds, comes with its own carrying bag, and is small enough to fit inside most tents, making it perfect for camping. However, it is also luxurious and elegant enough for use in the home. A rechargeable external pump is included with this mattress, including a wall charger and car charger, allowing you to inflate it quickly no matter where you are. This is a mattress to brag about, and we recommend it highly.
This model is from another popular line, and you can get it either in twin or queen size. Like the SoundAsleep this is also a raised air bed, so it’s easy to get in or out of. The powerful but almost silent built-in AC pump lets you inflate and deflate very rapidly, and adjusting the comfort level to firm, plush or medium is also a breeze. Once you’ve added sheets to this bed, nobody would ever guess that this wasn’t a 500 dollar innerspring bed. This is a low-priced air bed that has everything you’re looking for.
Coleman – Air Bed
Everyone should experience a Coleman air mattress in their life at least once. This cheap inflatable alternative to traditional mattresses at its best, from their QuickBed range, the latest raised queen size has 35 coils for stability and support and a soft suede top for comfort. The Coleman, unlike the Serta neverFlat, has only one 120v built in electric pump. It is transportable easily with a lightweight design (17 lbs) in the included zipped carry bag, and perfect for guests because of its compact storage size.
This model is also available in twin and queen, but is a low profile mattress like the model from ALPS Mountaineering. It’s very light and compact, making it perfect camping bed or home guest bed that can be stored when you’re not using it. It comes with an external pump, which is of good quality and can inflate the mattress fully in less than 5 minutes. This bed is sturdy, well made, comfortable and low-priced. What’s not to like about that?
Intex: Pillow Rest
This twin size air bed is light, compact and comes from a top manufacturer, all of which make it a popular choice with consumers. At 17 ½ inches tall it’s higher than most , and has the added comfort and convenience of built-in pillows. The internal pump is surprisingly powerful for such an inexpensive and small air bed. It only takes 3 minutes to fully inflate this mattress. If your budget is tight and you’re just looking for something basic that works, this is the air bed for you.
It’s never easy to pick a winner out of the top five reviews, but this time we decided to share our two top choices.
When it comes to comfort, quality of construction, affordability and back support, the SoundAsleep bed was rated most highly by owners. We concur and gave this bed a rating of 4.9 out of 5. The only reason it didn’t get a 5 is because it needs a mains electricity source in order to inflate it, so it isn’t suitable for camping in most cases. But it is perfect for using indoors.
The ALPS Mountaineering Rechargeable bed is very popular too. It has all the advantages of the SoundAsleep, with the added perk of being suitable for outdoor use as well. You can inflate it with the car charger (supplied) or just from your wall socket. That’s why we also gave it 4.9. It misses out on a 5 star rating because it doesn’t come in smaller sizes as do most sleeping pads.
Whatever you’re looking for in an air mattress, there’s something out there that will suit you perfectly. What we call advantages or disadvantages may not apply to your situation at all, but we hope that this guide gives you a better understanding of what factors to look for when you shop for your new air mattress.