A temporary air mattress is a great way to ensure comfort on a night away from home. For some, this means while camping or hitting the open road. For others, it’s staying in a guest room at a relative’s house. There are many purposes for air mattresses, and finding the right one is essential.
This type of mattress is often used for short-term accommodations because it is lightweight and portable. An inflatable air mattress can be set up and taken down quickly and stored away easily when not in use. A high-quality air mattress, like the ones we include in this comprehensive review, should provide ample support and comfort throughout the night. It should not leak or deflate as you sleep on it.
Users should not confuse an air mattress with an airbed. Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, an airbed is a regular mattress with an air chamber support core and comfort layers designed for nightly use. An air mattress, on the other hand, should only be used temporarily.
We’ll cover our top five picks for the best air mattresses and what makes them stand out. Then we’ll further break down what an air mattress is, how to choose one, and what to consider when shopping. This guide includes popular uses for air mattresses and helpful tips for storing and maintaining them.
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed has a built-in pump that automatically adjusts air levels throughout the night as needed to maintain the selected firmness.
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed has two internal pumps so sleepers can set the mattress to their preferred firmness level and have it maintained throughout the night.
The primary pump of the Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed inflates and deflates the bed quickly. It can be set to plush, medium, or firm. This determines the firmness by how much air fills the mattress. The secondary pump maintains air pressure throughout the night, so sleepers do not wake up on a deflated mattress. The secondary motor is relatively quiet and minimizes the likelihood of sleep disturbances.
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed has circular coils with a welded construction. This provides even support for sleepers. The PVC mattress has a flocked top that helps keep sheets from shifting.
Since the Insta-Bed is larger and heavier than a low-profile air mattress, it may not be the best choice for camping or backpacking. The internal pump is electric and must remain plugged in throughout the night for the “NeverFlat” secondary pump to fill the mattress as needed. This makes it ideal for guest bedroom accommodations and indoor use. The mattress comes with a carrying bag for easy storage.
The high profile of the air mattress makes it easier to get in and out of bed. This is beneficial for sleepers who need extra support.
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed is covered by a one-year warranty, starting from the date of purchase. This warranty protects the mattress against defects in materials and workmanship.
The SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress has a high profile, thick construction, and supportive coils that make it the ideal mattress for guest use.
The SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress has a thick, durable construction and support coils that make it comfortable for guests and in-home use. The high profile helps sleepers get in and out of bed.
The Dream Series mattress is made with eco-friendly 15-gauge PVC that is puncture-resistant. The mattress has a thick, waterproof flocked top. This protects it against wear and tear, which is beneficial for those with kids and pets.
A one-click internal pump inflates and deflates the mattress quickly. The motor is quiet for minimal disturbances. This air mattress incorporates ComfortCoil technology that reinforces the mattress and provides an even sleep surface. In the queen size, 40 individual air coils offer support for sleepers. The SureGrip bottom keeps the mattress from slipping. The Dream Series mattress has a combined weight limit of 500 pounds, which is suitable for many couples.
The SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress is available in sizes twin, twin XL, queen, and king. It is best for guest room accommodations and home use as it has an electric pump. Integrated cord storage and a carrying bag make it easy to store the mattress when it is not in use. The heavier weight and higher profile is less ideal for camping and traveling.
SoundAsleep has a reputation for top-notch customer service. The company covers the Dream Series Air Mattress with a one-year warranty.
The Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed is a versatile and durable air mattress that can be used both indoors and outdoors.
The Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed can be used outdoors or indoors, making it a versatile choice for shoppers. It features a reinforced construction with air coils for plenty of support and comfort.
The velvety top of the mattress is flocked, which can provide warmth while keeping the sheets in place. The AirTight PVC construction of the Coleman air mattress prevents leaks and ensures sleepers are supported throughout the night. Comfort Strong coils in the mattress add support for sleepers.
The Coleman SupportRest Double High Airbed can be filled with an external pump, which is sold separately. The mattress is compatible with most air pump models. Coleman recommends filling the mattress a couple of hours before bedtime. This gives the PVC a chance to stretch. Users can then top the mattress off with more air right before heading to sleep. The mattress has a double lock valve to prevent leaks.
The high profile of the SupportRest Double High Airbed helps sleepers get in and out of bed easily. The mattress is sturdy and supportive, making it an ideal choice for traveling or accommodating guests. The mattress supports up to 600 pounds and the queen size comfortably sleeps two people.
Coleman covers the SupportRest Double High Airbed with a one-year limited warranty. This protects the mattress in the event of any defects in materials or workmanship.
The Intex Classic Downy Airbed is an affordable choice with a low profile and compact storage ideal for campers and travelers.
The Intex Classic Downy Airbed is affordable and durable, which makes it ideal for camping. The mattress inflates and deflates quickly and is lightweight and compact. It includes a carry bag for travel and storage.
The Classic Downy Airbed has a flocked, waterproof top that helps keep sheets in place. The mattress is made of durable PVC with 14-gauge vinyl beams. These beams offer consistent support for sleepers. The 15-gauge bottom of the mattress is sturdy. The vinyl construction is easy to clean, an added benefit for those who have kids and pets and those who plan to use the mattress on camping trips.
The Classic Downy Airbed does not include a pump, so that must be purchased separately. The two-in-one valve of the air mattress has extra-wide openings that fit larger pump nozzles. Users can add or release air to adjust the firmness of the mattress.
The 8.75-inch profile of the Classic Downy Airbed is not as easy to get in and out of when compared to a higher profile bed. However, the low profile is ideal for camping in tents and cars.
The Classic Downy mattress has a 600 pound weight capacity. Intex does not offer any warranty coverage for the Classic Downy Airbed, though it is not an expensive mattress to replace.
The SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress is an outdoor camping mattress with an ultra-thick construction and waterproof top.
The SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress is ideal for outdoor use. The durable construction can withstand camping, backpacking, and hiking. It comes with a carrying bag for travel and storage.
The Camping Series Air Mattress is fabricated with extra-thick, eco-friendly PVC. The mattress has a waterproof flocked top, which can help insulate the mattress and keep sheets in place. The multi-layer construction of the mattress is puncture-resistant. This is beneficial for campers on rough terrain. The SureGrip bottom keeps the mattress from slipping on most surfaces.
In addition to its durable, puncture-resistant construction, the SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress incorporates ComfortCoil technology and I-Beam air coils. This ensures sleepers are evenly supported throughout the night.
An external, battery-powered pump is included with the mattress. The battery is rechargeable so users can charge it before traveling or with a car charger. The Camping Series Air Mattress inflates and deflates within three minutes. The mattress has a 500 pound weight limit, which is suitable for single use and many couples.
The SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress is available in sizes twin and queen. SoundAsleep protects the mattress with a one-year limited warranty. The company has a long-standing reputation of positive customer service experiences.
A temporary air mattress is inflatable and portable. This type of mattress is typically made with vinyl or similar materials. It can be used in place of a regular mattress for certain scenarios, but is not intended for extended use.
Air mattresses are often used on camping and road trips. The mattress can be deflated, rolled or folded, and stored in a carrying bag for easy transport. Most air mattresses weigh between 10 and 20 pounds, meaning they can be packed and carried on hiking or backpacking trips. An air mattress can also be used indoors as guest accommodations or as a temporary bed for those who have moved or are waiting for a new mattress to arrive.
How is an Air Mattress Different from an Airbed?
An air mattress is different from an airbed in several key ways. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to understand the distinction when shopping.
An air mattress should only be used occasionally or for short-term situations. It is not constructed for everyday use. These types of mattresses are more affordable, and are typically made with PVC. They can be easily stored when not in use.
An airbed, on the other hand, is a standard mattress designed for nightly use. It has an air chamber support core, which is often made of vulcanized rubber for added durability. The air chamber is usually controlled by a remote or smartphone app and can be filled or deflated to adjust the overall firmness of the mattress. An airbed may have more than one air chamber so that each side of the mattress can be individually adjusted. It has a comfort system like most regular mattresses, which may include memory foam, polyfoam, or latex. Airbeds are significantly more expensive.
How is an Air Mattress Constructed?
An air mattress often has a simple construction, with a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) exterior. This material can be thick and durable to prevent punctures or leaks in the mattress. However, there are health and environmental concerns with PVC. Eco-friendly PVC typically refers to PVC that is non-chlorinated. Alternatives to PVC include rubber, plastic, and thermoplastic urethane.
The surface of an air mattress is typically flocked. This gives it a textured feel that helps keep sheets in place. This can provide additional insulation. Some surfaces are also waterproof, which is beneficial for air mattress owners who often use their mattresses for camping.
How is an Air Mattress Inflated?
An air mattress is inflated with a pump. This pump can be internal or external and powered with a battery or electrical outlet. Internal pumps are built into the mattress. An integrated pump system means users do not have to worry about misplacing the pump. An external pump attaches to the valve of the air mattress to fill it. Storing the pump with the mattress ensures it will not be misplaced.
When shopping for a temporary air mattress, there are many factors to consider. Each person has unique needs and preferences. Understanding what those needs are will help shoppers narrow down their options.
There are also a variety of uses for air mattresses, and the primary purpose will often determine which air mattress is the best fit. Some air mattresses are better for indoor use, while others are designed with travel and the outdoors in mind.
In addition to considering individual needs, the following factors are the top things to look for when purchasing an air mattress. Companies can use misleading words and phrases to market air mattresses, so shoppers should focus instead on the construction of the air mattress itself. Certain features like the pump type, height, and weight capacity of the mattress will determine if it meets the shopper’s needs. A high-quality air mattress should retain air and provide a comfortable night’s rest.
Generally, an air mattress is not intended for nightly use. However, it suits a variety of uses that are often centered around scenarios in which a normal mattress cannot or should not be used. This includes traveling, camping, hosting guests, and going on road trips. We’ll break down each of these uses here.
For those who are not expecting frequent guests, an air mattress can serve as a “permanent” guest bed. This is an affordable way to furnish an extra room for occasional guests. An air mattress will also be beneficial for those who have an overflow of guests, especially during the holidays. An air mattress can be used at night and easily stored away during the day, freeing up the room for other uses.
Shoppers looking for an air mattress for guests may want to invest in one with a raised profile, as this feels more like a standard bed. It is also easy to get in and out of. An air mattress that is easy to adjust will allow guests to choose their preferred firmness level.
Rather than sleeping on the ground or a thin pad, sleeping on an air mattress while camping gives users additional comfort. The air mattress should fit comfortably in the tent, so shoppers will need to take measurements beforehand. Most opt for a twin or full size air mattress, though larger tents can accommodate a queen size.
An air mattress for camping should have a thick construction that resists punctures. A waterproof mattress will withstand the elements. Additionally, the air mattress should be easy to transport between locations. Make sure the pump is battery-powered and charged before heading outdoors.
Those who are moving into a new home or remodeling their current one may need an air mattress. When arriving at a new home before the movers, an air mattress will suffice in the interim. It is easy to pack in the car and bring along to the new location. Remodeling occasionally restricts access to the bedroom. An air mattress can be inflated in any other room in the house and used while remodeling is taking place.
Similar to those shopping for a guest bedroom air mattress, shoppers may want to look for an air mattress with a higher profile and additional comfort features. If the mattress is being used in the home, it can have an electric pump.
Those who take road trips often keep an air mattress in the back of the car. This allows for flexibility while traveling, as drivers can sleep in the car as needed. An air mattress is also an affordable option for recreational vehicles, or RVs. Some do not use an RV often enough to justify an expensive, standard mattress and opt for an air mattress instead.
An air mattress that is compact and easy to pack is ideal for traveling. A battery-powered pump ensures users can inflate the mattress on the road.
An air mattress is not the same as a regular mattress. There are additional considerations to keep in mind to protect the air mattress and extend its lifespan.
Taking proper care of an air mattress ensures it can be reused. Don’t overfill the air mattress, as this can put undue pressure on the seams and lead to leaks. That said, underfilling the mattress may cause uneven wear.
Before setting up the air mattress, pay attention to the sleep surface and surrounding area. If outdoors, there may be sticks or sharp rocks that could puncture the mattress and should be removed.
Clean the air mattress as needed and allow it to dry before storing. Store the mattress properly by rolling or carefully folding it and protecting it with a carrying bag. If you plan to store it for a long time, be sure to inflate it periodically or before taking a trip to check for leaks.
An air mattress is less durable than a regular one, so additional care should be taken around pets and children. For kids, it is important to limit rough-housing and establish the bed as just for sleeping. Jumping on the bed puts pressure on the seams and can lead to holes and leaking in the mattress.
If pets are sleeping on the mattress, watch for biting or chewing. Long nails can puncture the mattress and cause leaks.
For both pets and kids, a durable mattress with a thick construction is best. A waterproof cover can prevent spills from damaging the mattress.
While regular mattresses often have 10- to 25-year warranties, an air mattress warranty is either much shorter or non-existent. Most offer coverage for one year, but some warranties overtly state that the mattress is not for nightly use. Check the guidelines for eligibility requirements to ensure the air mattress is protected against defects in materials and manufacturing.