The Best Air Mattresses for Camping, Travel, and Overnight Guests

Find a reliable, comfortable air mattress for hosting friends and family or taking along on outdoor adventures.

Best Overall

EnerPlex Air Mattress With Built-in Pump

See It


The Best Air Mattresses Option: Coleman SupportRest Elite Double-High Air Mattress

Coleman SupportRest Elite Double-High Air Mattress

See It

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Air Mattresses Option: Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort-Plush Air Mattress

Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort-Plush Air Mattress

See It

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Air mattresses enable you to host guests when you don’t have extra beds and make roughing it a little less rough. You still want guests to be comfortable, and you don’t want a sharp object deflating your mattress on a camping trip. That’s why we tested 10 air mattresses for 79 hours.

From themed toddler beds to beds with headboards, we slept on just about every style we could. This lineup of the best air mattresses offers something for any occasion or use, and more importantly, includes options that provide comfort and durability.

  1. BEST OVERALL: EnerPlex Air Mattress With Built-in Pump
  2. RUNNER-UP: Coleman SupportRest Elite Double-High Air Mattress
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort-Plush Air Mattress
  4. BEST FOR GUEST ROOMS: Ivation EZ-Bed Air Mattress With Frame
  5. BEST FOR CAMPING: Coleman Airbed Cot
  6. BEST FOR KIDS: Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed With Bumpers
  7. BEST WITH HEADBOARD: Intex Dura-Beam Ultra Plush Headboard Air Mattress
  8. BEST WITH PILLOW: Intex Dura-Beam Plus Deluxe Pillow Rest Air Mattress
  9. BEST DURABILITY: Intex Dura-Beam Plus Pillow Rest Air Mattress
  10. ALSO CONSIDER: King Koil Luxury Air Mattress With Built-in Pump
The Best Air Mattresses Options
Photo: Paul Rankin for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Air Mattresses

To help guide our decision-making, we reached out to a spokesperson from the American Chiropractic Association for some insight into the best features to look for in an air mattress. Robert Hayden, a chiropractor who owns a practice in Griffin, Georgia, says a selection of firmness levels, as well as self-inflating options, are must-haves. “As you are selecting an air mattress according to your level of comfort, make sure you feel supported in your back, neck, and extremities.”

We kept this advice in mind before testing began, and we researched more than 20 products from eight brands. We scoured product features and user reviews to find the most comfortable, durable, portable, and easiest-to-use inflatable beds for testing. We also wanted to include a group of mattresses that served a variety of budgets, households, and uses. To do that, we looked at products with extra features, such as headboards, cots, and even fun-shaped mattresses for kids.

After extensive research, we landed on 10 beds for our five-person team to test. We assessed comfort, durability, portability, and overall ease of use over 10 days of testing. We inflated and deflated them several times, slept on them, jumped on them, and carried them around our homes. Then we scored each mattress on each of these considerations and awarded them based on their best uses and features. There isn’t a product on this list that we wouldn’t use again.

Testing Stats

Products tested: 10

Hours spent testing: 79

Tests performed: 5

Individual testers: 5

Our Top Picks

The best air mattress models are comfortable, reliable, and convenient. With a supportive air mattress, you can bring a good night’s sleep to any overnight event, from a camping trip to hosting weekend guests. Get some quality shut-eye with one of our favorite air mattresses.

Best Overall

EnerPlex Air Mattress With Built-in Pump

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 5/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 5/5; Portability 4/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
  • Mattress height: 13, 16, and 18 inches (all sizes available in all heights)
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: Less than 2 minutes


  • Cushioned coil beams are very supportive, especially with 2 people
  • Built-in pump makes inflation and deflation super easy
  • Includes a convenient carry bag with handle for easy storage and greater portability
  • Barely loses any air after a long night’s sleep


  • Quite a strong plastic smell on first use; takes time to dissipate
  • Can be a challenge to fold it properly to get back into the storage bag

EnerPlex offers flexible purchase options, with three thicknesses for all four of the standard mattress sizes. We tested the 18-inch queen model and couldn’t find much to dislike about it. The built-in pump was very simple to operate (plug it in, twist the knob, flip the switch), and it inflated fully in just 1 minute 30 seconds. Deflation was just as simple and took the same amount of time. We especially liked the large twist knobs, which let the air fly out of there quickly.

The EnerPlex includes a drawstring carry bag, but users may need to take a course in origami to learn how to fold the mattress for it to fit back into the bag properly. It’s certainly snug in there, and if not folded correctly, it’s nearly impossible to get it back inside. Storage aside, once inflated, this bed was among the most comfortable that we tested. The plush quilted top and cushioned supporting coil beams made this feel more like a real mattress.

There was little movement transfer when two people were on the bed—quite impressive for an air mattress. Most importantly, the 18-inch-thick mattress also provided a stable and comfortable night’s sleep, maintaining its firmness even overnight.

Get the EnerPlex air mattress at Amazon or Walmart.


Coleman SupportRest Elite Double-High Air Mattress

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability: 5/5; Deflation and Storage 5/5; Portability 5/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Queen
  • Mattress height: 18 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 3 minutes


  • Lightning fast to set up and deflate, taking less than the advertised 3 minutes for each
  • Thoughtful design with comfortable velvet-feel top and raised edge to keeps pillows in place
  • Pliable material makes it easy to roll up and store in the enclosed bag
  • Surprisingly comfortable for an air mattress


  • Strong chemical smell at first, but this dissipates pretty quickly

Only slightly less comfortable than our best overall pick, the Coleman deserved all the high marks we gave it. It was a cinch to set up, inflating in less than the advertised 3 minutes. Once it was set up, we really appreciated its velvetlike top, not only for its softness, but because it appeared to add to the durability of this mattress, even as one of our large dogs jumped on and off a few times. Our canine friend didn’t inflict any damage to the puncture-resistant top.

We also liked the raised edges, which prevented any pillow slippage during overnight testing, and we appreciated the ease of adjusting firmness, which was simply a matter of adding or releasing air. Better still, this durable mattress didn’t lose any air overnight, providing greater comfort.

Deflating it was a breeze as well. Once again we plugged it in, opened the Double-Lock valve to allow for the air to escape, turned it on, and within 3 minutes, it was completely deflated and ready for storage. We rolled it up tightly and were able to easily work it back into its storage bag. The only downside to this mattress we could find was the slight odor after unpacking. However, it dissipated after only a few minutes.

Overall, we give this air mattress high marks for durability, comfort, and especially ease of use.

Get the Coleman SupportRest air mattress at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort-Plush Air Mattress

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 4.5/5; Portability 5/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, full, queen
  • Mattress height: 13, 18, and 22 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 2 to 3 minutes


  • Offers supportive, cradling comfort that’s neither too firm nor too soft
  • Durable flocked top provides some puncture resistance for busy households
  • Full size inflates in less than 3 minutes; deflates in less than 3 minutes
  • Includes valve for manual pump when electric inflation is not an option


  • Included carry bag is slightly undersized for the mattress, making it less convenient to pack up

The Intex Durabeam Deluxe Comfort-Plush is a lightweight, fast-inflating air mattress that offers cozy, comfortable support in mere minutes at a great price. This durable bed is available in twin, full, and queen sizes and can support up to 300 pounds for the single bed, and up to 600 pounds for the full and queen. It includes a built-in pump as well as a valve for manual pumps if needed.

This mattress is a step up from the Plus series (see product 9) and in testing, we noticed the difference. While both of these Intex product lines offered incredibly easy setup and great inflation and deflation times, durability, and stability, the Deluxe line was noticeably more comfortable. It provided more cushioned support than the Plus series bed that we tested, and we found it easier to find that sweet spot than we did with the Plus series.

Like the Plus series, the Deluxe was simple to set up. With clear markings on the inflation dial, we barely glanced at the printed directions because it was all so intuitive. It also easily withstood our durability and stability tests, though it did move a bit more than the Plus model during our “leap tests.” It felt so durable, in fact, that we even walked on it a few times and dropped a 30-pound hand weight made of metal and hard plastic on it.

We couldn’t find much to dislike about this comfy air mattress except for the slightly small carry bag. We had to squeeze the Dura-Beam Deluxe in, but this is a minor quibble for such an overall great product at a very reasonable price.

Get the Intex Deluxe Comfort-Plush air mattress at Amazon, The Home Depot (twin, full), Wayfair, or Intex (full, queen).

Best for Guest Rooms

Ivation EZ-Bed Air Mattress With Frame

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 5/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 5/5; Portability 5/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
  • Mattress height: 9 inches; 22 (twin) and 24 (full, queen, and king) inches tall on frame
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 1 minute 20 seconds for tested queen


  • Automatically stops inflating once it reaches desired firmness
  • Users can move the dial to their preferred firmness level
  • Very easy setup; mattress unfolds itself during inflation
  • Mattress is on frame, making it great for more of a real-bed feel and for rougher surfaces
  • Folds down into a very small and mobile unit on wheels; great for storage


  • Highest firmness setting feels softer than expected
  • Inflated sides tend to curl up when not in use, allowing legs to raise from floor

The EZ-Bed is an all-around impressive option for anyone looking for more of an elevated version of an air mattress (literally). With a 24-inch height for the larger sizes, this bed offers more of the look and feel of a real bed, making it ideal for outfitting with complete linens in a cozy guest room. It also comes in a very smart-looking and compact roller case, which unzips smoothly to reveal the folded metal legs and mattress with its own built-in pump with auto inflation and deflation.

During testing, we found the setup to be super easy. Once rolled into place and unzipped, we simply plugged it in and set the dial to a preferred firmness level, then watched it auto inflate and unfold itself to reveal a raised air mattress, with the pump shutting off automatically. It took just 1 minute 20 seconds to reach the maximum “extra-firm” setting, and watching it unfold and expand its legs on its own certainly added to the wow factor. After giving it around 6 hours to stretch, we noticed a slight change in the firmness with around a 1-inch loss of the original 9-inch height. We turned on the auto pump and brought it back to the desired level in just a few seconds, readying it for sleeping, but in the morning we did notice another 1-inch loss to the thickness.

That said, the EZ-Bed’s built-in metal legs felt sturdy during sleep and provided more of a real-bed experience compared to standard air mattresses. We did find, however, that the inflated mattress had a sort of U shape to it, with the sides slightly turned up and its metal legs not touching the ground when not in use. As soon as we lay down, though, the legs went back down to provide a flat surface that didn’t move at all when rolling or shifting around.

For its comfort, excellent portability, compact size, and automated features, this option makes a notable upgrade for those looking to offer their guests a more impressive air mattress experience, provided they are willing to pay the elevated price tag.

Get the Ivation air mattress at Amazon, Lowe’s (full), The Home Depot (full), Walmart (full), or Target.

Best for Camping

Coleman Airbed Cot

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 4/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability 4/5; Deflation and Storage 4/5; Portability 5/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, queen
  • Mattress height: 8 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 3 minutes


  • Total assembly time is just 5 minutes
  • Air mattress zips into a soft attached cover to create 1 cohesive unit
  • Included carry bag has plenty of space for the frame, mattress, side table, and pump
  • Steel-frame construction supports up to 300 to 600 pounds yet can’t be felt through the 8-inch mattress


  • Does not come with the 4 required D batteries for pump operation
  • Frame legs don’t lock, and cot collapses if legs aren’t fully open when setting up

While the Coleman air mattress is only 8 inches high when fully inflated, its included portable cot raises the full height of the bed to just over 22 inches—keeping sleepers comfortably off the ground and making it easier for those with mobility issues to get in and out of bed. The mattress zips securely into an attached cover to create a barrier between the user and the plastic Airbed as well as prevent the mattress from sliding off the cot during sleep. The included pump makes for super-quick inflation and helps speed deflation for speedier campsite breakdowns—just remember to bring four D batteries for its operation before heading out into nature.

At 74 inches, this cot isn’t long enough for users over 6 feet, but its width of 40 inches and weight capacity of 300 pounds (twin) or 600 pounds (queen) can accommodate many. The frame and table collapse for easy portability and storage, and with the mattress, bag, and pump, the entire setup weighs just under 30 pounds. The carry bag has a reinforced molded base, which allows it to stand vertically without effort—a unique feature for bagged camping-type equipment.

In testing, we appreciated the useful attachable side table with cup holder, which was big enough at 12 inches square to keep a water, headlamp, and phone within easy and convenient reach.

Get the Coleman Airbed air mattress at Amazon, The Home Depot (queen), Walmart (twin, queen), Target, or Coleman (twin, queen).

Best for Kids

Hiccapop Inflatable Toddler Travel Bed With Bumpers

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 4/5; Comfort 3/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 4/5; Portability 4/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Toddler
  • Mattress height: 3 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 8 minutes


  • Thoughtful design is easy to set up, take down, and move
  • Safety bumpers ensure kids won’t roll off during sleep
  • Durable polyvinyl chloride construction that’s free of phthalates and lead
  • Great option for daily use as a transition bed or as an extra bed when traveling


  • Manufacturer lists inflation time as 30 seconds, but it takes about 8 minutes
  • 2.63 inches shorter and 1.25 inches narrower than a traditional toddler bed

This toddler travel bed comes in two pieces: an inflatable frame featuring tall, sloped safety bumpers on all four sides and a 3-inch-thick mattress that fits snugly inside. The inflatable bumpers aren’t just a safety feature—we found that they added to the comfort of the bed by functioning as a sort of headboard and footboard. Without a toddler on the testing team, one of our brave team members slept on this little mattress. She said that she “slept peacefully for almost the entire night.”

We think it’s a great option as a transition bed for kids 18 months or older even though it is slightly smaller than a traditional toddler bed. Toddler beds measure 51.63 inches long by 27.25 inches wide; this bed measures 49 inches long by 26 inches wide. Despite the slightly smaller size, this comfortable little bed is also great for any kind of sleepover, whether it’s for a weekend at the grandparents’ or for an extra bed in a hotel room. The lightweight bed weighs just 8 pounds and is easy to move when inflated (via an attached handle) or deflated (in its included bag).

Get the Hiccapop air mattress at Amazon, Walmart, or Hiccapop.

Best with Headboard

Intex Dura-Beam Ultra Plush Headboard Air Mattress

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 4/5; Portability 3/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Queen
  • Mattress height: 18 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 5 minutes


  • Headboard enables lounging and prevents pillows from falling off
  • Tall 18-inch height makes it easy to get in and out of, especially for those with limited mobility
  • Adjustable firmness allows users to find the most comfortable inflation level


  • Headboard is attached at 90-degree angle, which can feel a bit rigid to lean against
  • At just over 27 pounds, this is a less portable option than many other air mattresses

This queen-size air mattress from Intex is deluxe! It includes a built-in inflatable headboard that adds to its comfort and makes it feel more like a traditional bed. Its 18-inch height makes it easier to get in and out of while its 600-pound capacity enables it to accommodate a wide range of users. This Intex headboard air mattress features an adjustable knob that inflates and adjusts air pressure to desired firmness. The manufacturer lists inflation time as 5 minutes, but we doubled that and gave it a full 10 minutes to get the corners nice and full.

We really liked that the headboard made it feel more like a real bed and prevented that annoying gap that can appear between the air mattress and the wall. However, the solid 90-degree angle between the headboard and mattress felt a little stiff to sit up against without using a second pillow to soften the angle. Despite that minor inconvenience, we found that both the mattress’s ultra-plush top and headboard helped ensure a more restful sleep.

Get the Intex headboard air mattress at Amazon, The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, or Bed Bath & Beyond.

Best with Pillow

Intex Dura-Beam Plus Deluxe Pillow Rest Air Mattress

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 3/5; Portability 3/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, queen
  • Mattress height: 16.5 Inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 2.25 and 3.25 minutes


  • Minimal air loss overnight
  • Built-in pump is easy to use; simply plug in and turn the dial to inflate and deflate
  • Fiber-tech surface is soft enough to sleep on; can be used with or without a sheet


  • Thick material makes it hard to fold back down once used

The Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Pillow Rest Air Mattress offers a convenient extra bed with the added comfort of a built-in pillow. Available in twin and queen sizes, this mattress provides durability and comfort, made of PVC and Fiber-Tech materials with a flocked top to keep users comfortable and sheets in place. It also has all-around edge support to provide greater comfort and stability.

Like the other Intex mattresses on this list, we found it incredibly easy to set up. We unfolded the 16.5-inch-thick mattress, plugged in the built-in air pump, turned the pump’s dial to the Inflate setting, and the queen-size mattress fully inflated on its own in just 3.25 minutes, as advertised. Once it was inflated, we liked that the built-in pillow provided enough comfort that we did not need actual pillows. Overnight, we found this mattress to be extremely comfortable—it did not lose any of its shape and support.

Takedown and storage were also quite easy. We just turned the dial to deflate and watched the mattress compress in less than 5 minutes. Then we packed up the pump cord into the onboard cord storage compartment, folded it up, which was a bit of a challenge due to the thick material, and put it back in its bag. Thanks to its durability and portability, this Intex air mattress is a great temporary bed option for virtually any need.

Get the Intex Dura-Beam Plus Deluxe Pillow Rest air mattress at Amazon, The Home Depot (twin, queen), Walmart (queen), or Intex (twin, queen).

Best Durability

Intex Dura-Beam Plus Pillow Rest Air Mattress

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 3/5; Durability 5/5; Deflation and Storage 5/5; Portability 5/5

Product Spec

  • Available sizes: Twin, queen
  • Mattress height: 16.5 inches; pillow height: 18 inches
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 2.25 to 3.25 minutes


  • Raised pillow adds comfort and eliminates the need for extra pillows
  • Support ring keeps the mattress in place even amid extra movement
  • Light weight makes it easy to carry anywhere and store
  • Clearly labeled built-in air pump makes for quick and easy setup
  • Includes valve for manual pump when electric inflation is not an option


  • Short sleeping surface, only about 68 inches, making it unsuitable for taller people
  • Does not contour the body for more comfortable support

The Intex Dura-Beam Plus packs a lot of great features into one air mattress. It boasts a built-in electric pump, a valve for a manual pump, a flocked top, a bottom ring for stability, and a raised pillow. It comes in twin and queen sizes, supporting up to 300 pounds and 600 pounds, respectively.

In testing, we appreciated the mattress’s easy setup, durability, stability, and portability, but overall it was just moderately comfortable. Setup took less than 3 minutes, with most of that for inflating our twin-size test model. The built-in pump is clearly labeled for fast, intuitive use, and the power cord fits neatly into a small compartment next to the inflation dial. Once inflated, it held onto its air and firmness, even after stretching for 8 hours, and then again after sleeping on it. This sturdy mattress also barely budged 2 inches when we took a few reserved leaps on it, and its surface easily bounced back even after having more than 205 pounds of hand weights on it.

For sleeping, we found it difficult to get to an ideal firmness; it was generally either too firm or not quite supportive enough. The sleeping surface was also disappointingly much shorter than the full length of the bed (75 inches) by about 7 inches; the bed’s bulges on either end account for the longer total length. However, we did really like the raised pillow.

Still, this durable air mattress is tough to beat and very easy to take just about anywhere, thanks to its light weight and less than 3-minute deflation time.

Get the Intex Dura-Beam Plus Pillow Rest at Amazon, The Home Depot (twin, queen), Walmart, or Intex (queen).

Also Consider

King Koil Luxury Air Mattress With Built-in Pump

See It

Our Ratings: Setup 5/5; Comfort 4/5; Durability 4/5; Deflation and Storage 4/5; Portability 3/5

Product Specs

  • Available sizes: Twin, full, queen, California king
  • Mattress height: 13, 16, and 20 inches (all sizes available in all heights)
  • Pump included: Yes
  • Inflation time: 1.5 minutes to 2.5 minutes


  • Constructed of heavy-duty material that helps it stay inflated all through the night
  • Flocked surface and pillow top provide comfort and support while resting
  • Built-in pump inflates the unit within 1.5 minutes (as advertised)
  • Includes a thorough instruction manual, 2 repair patches, and durable storage bag


  • Edge support does not provide a lot of support compared to the coiled surface
  • Pump overheats at 5 minutes and automatically shuts off; must cool down before reuse

This comfortable mattress from King Koil (which also manufactures traditional mattresses) features an enhanced air coil system to maintain the mattress’s shape and firmness. It also has a few more added luxuries: edge support, a pillow top, a flocked top, and a built-in air pump.

As advertised, inflating and deflating this mattress took just around a minute and a half, approximately 1 minute and 35 seconds to inflate and nearly the same time to deflate (1 minute and 41 seconds). We also liked the mattress’s 5-foot power cord, which allowed us to place the mattress where we needed to more freely, rather than right next to an outlet. In overnight testing, this air mattress performed well, maintaining its air pressure while individual coils contoured and provided support to the hips, shoulders, and back.

While we liked this mattress overall, it did have a couple of drawbacks. Specifically, the edge support of the mattress did not have as much inflation as the coiled surface, which made it awkward to try to get off the mattress. Plus, the manufacturer states that the pump may temporarily stop working and generate heat if turned on for more than 5 minutes, after which users have to wait for it to cool down to use again. However, we can see why a pump that operates as quickly as this one does would also overheat quickly.

Overall, we found the King Koil to be a reliable, comfortable pick with great total-body support.

Get the King Koil air mattress at Amazon, Walmart, or King Koil.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing an Air Mattress

Whether you’re gearing up for a camping trip or prepping for a visit from the in-laws, an air mattress is a convenient item to have on hand. When choosing the best air mattress for your needs, consider its size, weight limit, materials, and comfort. Also decide if you want any extra comfort and ease-of-use features, like built-in pillows, self-inflating pumps, or “never-flat” options.


Air mattresses are available in common mattress sizes, from toddler to twin to California king. Shoppers will want to consider the best size for their intended use, the number and frequency of house guests, and their available storage space. A twin-size mattress may be suitable for a quick camping trip while a queen-size mattress may better suit a guest room.

Keep in mind, however, that the actual sleeping surface of an air mattress may vary from the dimensions of the air mattress. Air mattresses sometimes bulge out from the head, foot, and sides, creating longer, wider mattress dimensions, but that extra space is not actually usable for sleeping. Taller users and those who intend to share an air mattress may want to look for one that has sides nearly perpendicular to the top. In this type of design, the mattress dimensions and sleeping surface are nearly the same, so buyers don’t have to guess the size of the sleeping surface.

Mattress thickness is another important feature to consider. Air beds can range from thin 3-inch-thick pads for camping to thick 22-inch mattresses for a guest bedroom. A thinner mattress tends to be more portable, affordable, and quicker to inflate. Thick mattresses offer better cushioning and are easier to get up from, but they often come with a larger price tag and are bulkier and heavier to inflate and store.


Portability is an important feature to consider in an air mattress, especially for travel or outdoor use. Some air mattresses deflate to the size of a water bottle and fit into a small bag, making it simple to take on weekend trips and stow away when finished. Also, shoppers will want to consider weight and how much they’re willing to carry up and down a flight of stairs, on a camping trip, or elsewhere. Air mattresses can weigh anywhere between 5 and 50 pounds.

Even if portability isn’t a priority, packable options are generally more compact and easier to store. Plus, a designated storage bag protects the deflated mattress from coming in contact with any messy or sharp items while in storage.


Air mattresses are commonly made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or reinforced urethane plastic or rubber. These durable materials are made to be puncture-resistant to prevent damage from pokes and jabs. A puncture-resistant build is especially important for camping and outdoor use. For these activities, make sure to pick a camping air mattress and not an indoor model. Of course, puncture resistance does not guarantee that a rip or tear won’t happen. For that reason, many air mattress brands also include patches, so users can quickly repair the mattress and continue to sleep on it.

Beyond the mattress material, also consider the mattress surface, both on top and bottom. Flocked air mattresses have a soft, velvety finish on top. This textured surface is more comfortable when bed sheets aren’t close by, like while camping, and can also help keep the best bed sheets on when used at home. Nonslip bottoms can prevent the mattress from sliding around.

Inflation Method

The best air mattress options are usually easy to inflate and deflate, although some will take a bit more work than others. Inflation methods include manual pumps, electric pumps, and self-inflating or “never-flat” pumps. An air mattress can include a built-in air pump or require an external pump.

Using a manual hand or foot pump takes the most time and effort, but these mattresses are often cost-friendly. They’re also an excellent choice for camping when users might not have a power source. Electric pumps can inflate a mattress in a matter of minutes but will need a power source, like batteries or an AC outlet.

A relatively recent innovation in air mattress design is automatic “smart” or “never-flat” pumps. These pump systems have sensors that monitor the air pressure inside the mattress. If the air pressure drops, the pump will adjust the air pressure as needed to maintain the mattress’s firmness. These smart pumps come at a higher cost but will help a mattress hold firm for a full night’s rest.

Comfort and Support

A saggy air mattress is uncomfortable at best and can cause back pain at worst. A supportive air mattress maintains an even firmness and does not wobble or sag with every move. A firm mattress top is even more important when sleeping with a partner. When shopping for larger mattresses for two, look for a model with minimal motion transfer.

Quality air mattresses often include features like strategically designed air chambers, vertical air coils, or a firm mattress top to maintain the mattress shape and offer back support. Check out both the inner and edge support. Active sleepers may prefer a mattress with a raised edge so they don’t roll off during the night.

Some air mattress models also include adjustable firmness levels to add to support and comfort. A pillow top or flocked mattress top can offer a soft surface to sleep on.

Hayden also has some expert advice for different sleeping positions on an air mattress. He suggests side sleeping with the use of a body pillow to help take weight off the spine and pelvis. “Adjust the air pressure so that you can sleep on your side comfortably without undue pressure on the shoulder, hip, and knees.”

Weight Capacity

An air mattress’s weight capacity varies widely depending on its size and design. Weight capacity can range from 200 to 700 pounds.

Since they’re built for one person, single mattresses tend to have a lower weight capacity at around 200 to 300 pounds. Larger mattresses intended for two people will have a higher weight capacity that’s more than 300 pounds. When choosing the ideal weight capacity, it’s best to leave a bit of wiggle room to guarantee that the mattress will offer full support without drooping.

Additional Features

A quality air mattress can include a range of features that add to comfort and ease of use. Extra features can include built-in headboards, USB ports, washable covers, and included sleeping cots.

  • Headboard: A built-in headboard can make an air mattress look and feel more like a regular bed. The headboard can help prevent bed pillows from sliding off the top of the mattress during the night.
  • USB ports: A built-in USB port means guests can keep their phone charger and devices within close reach.
  • Washable covers: A soft flocked or pillow-top cover is a lovely idea—until a spill happens. To keep the air mattress protected, some mattresses include a washable cover or topper. Mattress protectors and mattress toppers can also be purchased separately.
  • Sleeping cots: Sleeping or camping cots are similar to portable bed frames. They can offer some support and also lift the air mattress off the ground, making it easier to get in and out of the bed and helping to keep campers warm.


With a quality air mattress, you’ll always have a comfortable extra bed at a moment’s notice. Since there are so many options, you may have a few lingering questions. Read on for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about buying and using a new air mattress.

Q. Can you use an air mattress as a regular bed?

Air mattresses are generally best for short-term use. Most air mattresses won’t provide the consistent support and temperature regulation benefits of a traditional mattress.

Q. What is the best air mattress for everyday use?

While you shouldn’t use an air mattress every day for the reasons mentioned above, we found the EnerPlex air mattress to be extremely comfortable for an air mattress. Its plush, quilted top; cushioned supporting coil beams; and lack of motion transfer made it feel more like a real mattress.

Q. What is the best air mattress for camping?

The Coleman Airbed air mattress also makes a great camping option for those who prefer their mattress off the ground, both for comfort and to protect the mattress from damage from an uneven, unpredictable ground surface.

Q. How long does an air mattress last if used every day?

Air mattresses aren’t meant for everyday use, and daily use will cause extra wear and tear on an air mattress, increasing the risk of punctures or stretching. With proper care, a frequently used air mattress can still last a few years. With infrequent use, like the occasional overnight guest, a high-quality air mattress can last more than a decade.

Why Trust Bob Vila 

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Meet the Testers

As an editor at, Beth Cranston designs the testing guidelines and rubrics for the product reviews team, having developed more than 300 rubrics. She has been a writer and editor for over a decade, with a focus on all things home since 2017, covering everything from kitchen design ideas to electrical plans.

An editor and copy editor for over 20 years and the lead copy editor at, Becky Helzer works closely with the writers and editors on the product reviews team. Her goal is to ensure content is error-free, accurate, easy to understand, and above all, useful to readers. She enjoys the process of testing products from a consumer’s perspective and providing honest feedback.

Michelle Larson is an assistant editor at, where she spends her days providing structure for product reviews and asking questions about commas. She’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years in the fields of health, business, and the home. Because she’d rather spend a little more upfront than buy any product twice, she strongly believes in the power of research and reviews for finding quality items that are meant to last.

Alexandra Mantella is a Commerce Content update editor at where her primary role is ensuring Buyer’s Guide content and products are well researched, up-to-date, and reliable. She has been working for the Bob Vila team for over 2.5 years with over 6 years of prior experience in UX (user experience), magazine editorial, and brand review content, all of which she leverages to ensure that every guide produced is useful and engaging to readers.

Paul Rankin is a Scotland native now living in New York City. He started writing for 3 years ago, focusing on buyer’s guides for the full range of tools, furniture, DIY supplies, and home and garden products that the Bob Vila team reviews. He has also worked in the translation and localization industry for the past 10 years.

Additional research provided by Glenda Taylor and Jasmine Harding. 

Glenda Taylor Avatar

Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries.