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Home / Best Mattress / Best Temporary Air Mattress

Best Temporary Air Mattress

Keith Cushner

Written by

Keith Cushner, Sleep Product Expert

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Following some recent tests, we've updated this page to include the Beautyrest Skyrise Air Mattress as our best overall pick, and the Beautyrest Posture Lux Air Mattress as our most supportive pick.

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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 Best Temporary Air Mattresses

Product Details

Beautyrest Skyrise Air Mattress

Best Overall

Beautyrest Skyrise Air Mattress

Beautyrest Skyrise Air Mattress
Sizes: Queen
Warranty: 1 Year, Limited
Who it's best for:
  • People who often sink too much when lying on air mattresses
  • Those whose firmness preferences vary from night to night
  • Car campers with spacious tents
Highlights:
  • Innovative design incorporates a coil system for sturdy support
  • Puncture-resistant vinyl should hold up nicely over time
  • Adjustable comfort control lets you adjust the firmness
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Beautyrest mattresses

The Skyrise Air Mattress from Beautyrest is a standout in its class. Unlike most competing air mattresses, the Skyrise contains an offset coil support system. The coils provide excellent overall reinforcement, so you won’t need to worry about sinking too much while you sleep, and also make the surface bouncy and easy to move across. The Skyrise has a weight capacity of 700 pounds, ensuring most people can share it with a partner.

The exterior is composed of puncture-resistant vinyl to prevent leaks. Flocked velvet covers the top panel to prevent you and your bedding from slipping across the surface while you sleep. Adjustable comfort controls also enable you to change how firm or soft the mattress feels — a feature that’s particularly handy for combination sleepers who switch between positions at night.

Inflating and deflating the mattress takes mere seconds. Your purchase includes a second adapter for inflating pillows and other belongings. The Skyrise is a great addition to any guest room or rental property. You can also bring the mattress along when you car camp, provided the tent you use is high enough to accommodate the 18-inch profile.

The Skyrise’s sticker price is very reasonable given its slew of bonus features and long expected lifespan, and the mattress comes with a carrying bag for convenient travel. Shipping costs and return options vary by seller. If you place your order through Mattress Firm, standard delivery is free of charge and your sleep trial spans 120 nights in length. The mattress is further backed by a 1-year warranty.

Thomasville Sensation 15” Air Mattress

Best Value

Thomasville Sensation 15” Air Mattress

Thomasville Sensation 15” Air Mattress
Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen
Warranty: 1 Year, Limited
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • Shoppers looking for a variety of sizes
  • Those planning on traveling
Highlights:
  • Available in three sizes
  • Competitively priced
  • Adjusts from soft to firm
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Thomasville mattresses

Shoppers looking for a budget-friendly temporary air mattress may want to consider the Thomasville Sensation Air Mattress. The mattress has a competitive price-point and durable construction. The Sensation Air Mattress features puncture-resistant vinyl and is engineered to support up to 700 pounds.

Many air mattresses are available in one standard size. However, Thomasville offers the Sensation Air Mattress in twin, full, and queen sizes, all of which have a 15-inch profile. The high-profile combined with the mattress’ raised design offers sleepers a supportive edge when getting in and out of bed.

The air mattress has an offset coil-in-coil structure that’s designed to provide pressure relief. The included electric pump inflates the air mattress quickly, and its one-touch control lets you choose between a soft and firm surface. The top of the mattress is a flocked fabric that helps hold sheets in place.

The mattress includes a carrying bag that is suitable for travel. Thomasville backs the Sensation Air Mattress with a 1-year limited warranty. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S.

Beautyrest Posture Lux Air Mattress

Most Supportive

Beautyrest Posture Lux Air Mattress

Beautyrest Posture Lux Air Mattress
Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen
Warranty: 3 Years, Limited
Who it's best for:
  • Those who need extra support when camping or sleeping in a guest room
  • People who want a sleep surface they can customize for firmness
  • Shoppers who want to invest in a long-lasting air mattress
Highlights:
  • Durable design includes rip-resistant vinyl and offset coil support core
  • Adjustable firmness to accommodate different sleep positions
  • Hands-free pump enables quick and easy inflation
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Beautyrest mattresses

Beautyrest’s Posture Lux provides above-average support compared to other temporary air mattresses. This is largely due to offset coils that serve as the support system, pushing back against your weight and reinforcing heavier areas of your body. The coils also give the surface some noticeable bounce, so you should be able to move across the mattress with relative ease. The Posture Lux has a weight capacity of 700 pounds.

Puncture-resistant vinyl protects the exterior and reduces the risk of rips and tears that can permanently damage the mattress. Flocked velvet on the top surface provides traction to prevent you, your partner, and your bedding from slipping off during the night. Another cool feature is the adjustable firmness. If the mattress still feels too soft for your liking, you can change the surface to a firmer feel that doesn’t sink as much. The hands-free pump allows you to inflate and deflate in a matter of seconds.

At 15 inches thick, the Posture Lux is fairly tall and may require a tent with a vaulted ceiling if you plan to bring it car camping. The sticker price is very reasonable, and your order will include a carrying bag. Shipping and return policies vary by seller. If you reside in the contiguous U.S. and purchase the mattress through Mattress Firm, you’ll receive free ground shipping and a sleep trial that runs for 120 nights. Beautyrest further backs the Posture Lux with a 3-year warranty against structural defects.

Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed

Best for Indoor/Outdoor

Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed

Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed
Sizes: Queen
Warranty: 1 Year, Limited
Who it's best for:
  • Those who want a high profile mattress
  • Shoppers looking for guest bedroom accommodations
  • Sleepers who want more control over the firmness of the mattress
  • Those who prefer a mattress with a built-in pump
Highlights:
  • Built-in pump
  • Automatically adjusts air levels throughout the night
  • High-profile design
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Insta-Bed mattresses

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.

RealTree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress

Best for Camping

RealTree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress

RealTree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress
Sizes: Queen
Warranty: 1 Year, Limited
Who it's best for:
  • Camping and outdoor enthusiasts
  • Value-minded shoppers
  • Sleepers who need additional pressure relief
Highlights:
  • PolyFusion fabric adds durability
  • Horizontal air channels engineered for pressure relief
  • Hands-free pump included
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on RealTree EDGE mattresses

The RealTree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress is constructed with PolyFusion fabric, which is engineered to withstand pressure and resist stretching and leaking over time. This makes it particularly suitable for camping trips and outdoor use.

This air mattress has a 13-inch profile and comes with a carrying bag for travel and storage. Its three-zone back support system is designed to provide lumbar support and pressure point relief. The Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress includes an electric pump and one-touch button that allows you to switch between soft and firm settings.

The RealTree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress is available as a queen mattress, and it can support up to 700 pounds. The raised pillow-top reinforces the perimeter of the mattress for increased edge support.

This mattress ships for free within the contiguous U.S. It’s also backed with a 1-year warranty.

What is a Temporary Air Mattress?


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.

How to Choose a Temporary Air Mattress

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.

What to Look For in a Temporary Air Mattress

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.

  • Comfort: An air mattress is not the same as a regular mattress and if often lacks features like comfort layers. That said, an air mattress can still be comfortable. The firmness of the mattress can be adjusted by inflating or deflating it to the user’s comfort preference. Some air mattresses include air coils for more consistent support. A mattress topper can further customize the feel of an air mattress. Some air mattresses may sacrifice comfort features for a lightweight and ultra-portable construction that is better for backpacking and hiking.
  • Pump Type: Pumps can either be internal or external, and electric or battery-powered. Electric pumps must be plugged in and are better suited for in-home use, including guest bedroom accommodations. Those who are headed outdoors should opt for a battery-powered pump, as this ensures the air mattress can be filled even when an electrical outlet is not available.
  • Height: A standard air mattress has a height of 10 inches or less. This lower profile makes it difficult for some to get in and out of bed. However, it inflates and deflates quickly. It is also lighter than a high profile air mattress, making it easier to camp or travel with. A raised or double high air mattress has a profile higher than 10 inches, and some are 18 to 20 inches thick. This height makes it easier to get in and out of bed, but it does take longer to inflate. These heavier mattresses are often preferred for indoor use.
  • Weight Capacity: Most air mattresses have a weight capacity of at least 250 pounds. Some have a weight capacity of 400 to 600 pounds, which is better for those sharing the bed. Couples should note the combined weight capacity of the mattress. Each mattress is different, so be sure to check the specifications prior to purchasing.
  • Price: Air mattresses often cost less than $150. Budget shoppers will be able to find air mattresses that cost less than $50. This makes them a cheap mattress option that can be replaced every couple of years as needed. Some air mattresses have a complex construction or are made with heavy-duty materials that affect the overall price. Air mattresses with comfort layers, raised profiles, and built-in electric pumps are often more expensive.
  • Durability: While a regular mattress has an expected lifespan of six to eight years with nightly use, an air mattress will last a couple years at most. Air mattresses are more likely to leak at the seams, or be easily punctured. Some have a more durable construction that resists leaks and punctures, but they are still not designed for long-term usage.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of materials used affect the lifespan and overall durability of an air mattress. Thicker PVC is more likely to resist punctures, especially in the outdoors. A well-sealed mattress prevents air leaks and a flocked top can add comfort and waterproofing. A non-slip bottom helps keep the air mattress in place. Investing in an air mattress made with quality materials ensures consistent support. Users will need to replace the air mattress less often.
  • Ease of Transport: How important ease of transport is will depend on the primary use for the air mattress. Those placing the air mattress in one room in the house, such as the guest bedroom, will find this is less of a concern as the air mattress stays put. This means the air mattress can be heavier or bulkier without issue. Those planning to camp or road trip with the air mattress will want something more compact and lightweight. An air mattress that is easy to roll up and store in a bag will be beneficial for traveling.
  • Air Retention: Ideally, users will fill an air mattress to their preferred firmness level and have it be maintained throughout the night. PVC is prone to stretching, so air mattresses can feel softer over time. Cold air also causes air to condense. If the mattress has slow leaks or a faulty seal, air will seep out and the mattress will deflate. Some mattresses, like the Insta-Bed Raised Air Bed, have an internal pump that monitors and fills the mattress if it begins to lose air.
  • Noise: An air mattress may produce noise when bearing weight, often as a squeaking noise when weight is shifted on the mattress. PVC is not always silent, which can cause sleep disturbances for some. A mattress topper can help minimize noise from the air mattress itself. Another consideration for noise is the air mattress pump. Some have louder motors when inflating the mattress, while others are quiet.

Typical Uses for a Temporary Air Mattress

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.

Guests

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.

Camping

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.

Temporary Mattress

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.

Road Trips

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.

Last Things to Consider With a Temporary Air Mattress

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.

Care and Maintenance

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.

Pets and Kids

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.

Warranty

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.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Keith Cushner

Sleep Product Expert

Keith is a sleep product expert with nearly a decade of experience researching, developing, and testing sleep products.