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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 Beautyrest Silver EverFirm Air Mattress is a durable model that’s suitable for guest accommodations and in-home use. The mattress is available in a queen size, and is made from puncture-resistant vinyl.
Its EverFirm technology lets you pick between soft, medium, and firm settings. The mattress has a primary pump that inflates and deflates it quickly, along with a second pump for automatic adjustments. This auxiliary pump is engineered to quietly maintain the selected firmness of the mattress.
The EverFirm Air Mattress has a coil-in-coil design that is intended to contour to the shape of the body and relieve pressure. The mattress has a reinforced perimeter for added edge support and stability. This, combined with its 18-inch profile, makes it easier to get in and out of bed.
The mattress supports up to 750 pounds and includes a carrying bag. Beautyrest offers a 1-year limited warranty and free shipping within the contiguous U.S.
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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.
Sleepers with chronic back pain typically need a surface that supports the lower back and proper spinal alignment, which can be difficult to find in an air mattress. Beautyrest designed its Lumbar Lux Air Mattress with these concerns in mind.
The Lumbar Lux Air Mattress has a zoned system that’s intended to provide sleepers with increased back support. Horizontal air pockets run across the middle of the mattress to help keep the surface of the mattress even. The mattress has a raised perimeter designed to help with overall stability and offer added support for those who sleep near the edge of the bed.
The mattress has an 18-inch profile and is made from puncture-resistant vinyl. The Lumbar Lux features a built-in pump that quickly inflates and deflates the air mattress. Beautyrest offers this mattress in a queen size and includes a carrying case for storage. The mattress’ pillow-top contours to the shape of the body for additional pressure relief.
The Beautyrest Silver Lumbar Lux Air Mattress is covered by a 1-year warranty and ships free within the contiguous U.S.
Best for Indoor/Outdoor
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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.
Best for Camping
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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 air mattress is available in a queen size, and it can support up to 700 pounds. The raised pillow-top reinforces the perimeter of the mattress for increased edge support.
The Realtree EDGE Outdoor Pillow Top Air Mattress ships for free within the contiguous U.S. It’s also backed with a 1-year warranty.
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.
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