Buyer’s Guide: Air Mattresses
Give guests a great sleeping experience at a price that won’t keep you up nights!
We’ve all got friends and relatives. But we don’t all have the benefit of a guest room for when they visit. Thus, the air mattress business was born.
Fortunately, these blow-up beds have advanced quite a bit from the flimsy models you’d inflate with a bicycle pump—or by mouth until you were dizzy.
Seemingly without fail, air mattresses of old deflated in the middle of the night, and the poor soul sleeping on them would wake up on the floor, cranky and achy.
Today’s top models are less likely to leak, and the best air mattress options are designed with internal baffles that lend superior support.
We’ve outlined exactly what to look for in a comfortable, convenient air mattress, so you’ll be prepared for the next time your college buddy or in-laws come to town, or the next time you go on a camping trip. Read on to find the air mattress that’s a dream come true for whatever you need it for.
Raised air mattresses, up to three times higher than the standard 8-inch mattress height, make it easier on the knees and the back when getting in and out of bed. Experts recommend a mattress height of 18 inches as the ideal and most comfortable height for most adults.
No one wants to spend a lot of time filling or emptying an air mattress, so choose one with a quick-inflate pump that will get it to optimal firmness in a few minutes. Internal electric air pumps offer fastest inflation, but they’re only suitable for in-home use. If you want a mattress for camping, buy one with a battery operated pump (take plenty of extra batteries) or a manual pump. “Always on” electric pumps can sense a pressure drop and add air as needed to keep the mattress firm. Manual pumps, meanwhile, are operated either by foot or hand.
You get what you pay for with air mattresses, but only up to a point. Inexpensive, no-frills air mattresses may not stand up to frequent use. But with the most expensive air mattresses, you’re often paying for extra features that are nice to have but not strictly necessary—portable frames, remote control pump operation, foam toppers and more.
A word on warranties.
A one-year limited warranty is standard with the purchase of better air mattresses, but manufacturers warn that using their product as a regular bed will void its warranty. Most makers only guarantee against factory defects of the mattress and the pump.
Best Air Mattresses
We’ve rounded up the top models based on the criteria above as well as reviews from consumers and experts alike so that you don’t have to lose a single night’s sleep when shopping for the best air mattress.
BEST OVERALL: SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
With a thick, flocked sleeping surface and ComfortCoil technology that distributes air evenly throughout, the SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress wins out against its competition, not least because of its stability and minimal sagging. Even better, the high-capacity internal electric pump of the SoundAsleeep inflates the mattress in just four minutes, and the 19-pound mattress comes with its own storage bag included. Buy now.
BEST FOR COUPLES: AeroBed One-Touch Comfort Air Mattress
The AeroBed One-Touch Comfort Air Mattress inflates to a lofty 17 inches high in just two minutes, while the Whoosh® valve makes deflation just as quick the next morning. The internal electric pump has a control wand that lets the sleeper, or sleepers, add air pressure without getting out of bed, while a patented stability base increases firmness. Offering a generous 60-inch by 78-inch surface and accommodating up to 600 pounds, the 22-pound Aerobed comes not only with its own stow bag, but also with a two-year limited warranty. Buy now.
BEST FOR CAMPING: Coleman Airbed Cot
While the Coleman Airbed Cot mattress is only eight inches high when fully inflated, the included portable cot raises the bed to 22 inches, keeping the sleeper suspended off the ground, while also making it easy to get in and out of the bed. In addition, the Coleman boasts stable, supportive ComfortStrong Coil construction and features an Airtight® system guaranteed by the manufacturer not to leak. At 45 inches wide and 74 inches long, with a weight capacity of 300 pounds, the cot (with machine-washable mattresses cover) collapses for easy storage in its own bag and is backed by a one-year limited warranty. Amazon.