Last Updated: March 2017
An air mattress is a portable alternative to other types of bedding options because it is possible to use it, then deflate it, pack it into a carry bag, and store it back in the closet when it is no longer needed. If you are looking for the best air mattress in 2017 then continue reading our report below.
Homeowners often find during the holiday season that they don’t have enough guest bedrooms. They don’t want to have out-of-town friends and family forced to stay in a hotel, so the addition of a compact air mattress that is inflatable and can be laid out in the living room for guests to sleep on is an excellent alternative. With the price of a hotel room for the night, it’s certainly a cheaper option which many guests will appreciate.
For anyone who enjoys going camping but the hard tent floor leaves something to be desired, the inclusion of a low-profile air mattress that inflates in only a few minutes’ turns camping into a luxurious outdoor experience.
This type of mattress comes in several sizes from twin beds up to queen size for couples to share. Air pumps aren’t all manual foot pumps these days, with internal pumps being a pleasant improvement that takes the fuss out of setting the air bed up for the night.
Portability is also a key consideration. Raised air mattresses come with a base for a dependable nights’ sleep, while low-profile models are lighter and pack into a smaller space.
What you need to know
Many mattresses have a padded top layer to make them more comfortable to lie on even without sheets. A few even have thicker pillow top padding for the ultimate in comfort. Some have a microfiber layer for anti-bacterial protection too.
Air coils inside each chamber of the mattress provide an even level of support depending on the inflated level. Multi-chamber mattress are better than single chamber ones.
An auto-inflate feature in included in premium models that maintains the level of air inside the mattress.
Inflating or deflating an a mattress only takes 5-10 minutes, with pricier models completing the task in only 3-4 minutes. Internal air pumps are seen in the mid-range or high-end products.
The feeling of lying on an inflated mattress does feel different to lying on a boxspring or memory foam mattress. The surface of this type of mattress doesn’t respond to movement or feel quite the same during use. For a person who is quite particular about the kind of bed they can fall asleep on, even the best air mattress will take a little getting used to.
It does take 4-10 minutes to inflate most air mattresses. For someone who is impatient and wants to go to sleep right away, the wait to set up the bed for the night might be a little annoying.
While these mattresses are made from durable materials that are designed for robustness, it is always possible that the mattress could get caught on something, sustain a puncture, and then deflate. Without a repair kit to fix the issue, this would leave the user without a bed for the night.
A gradual deflation of the air mattresses overnight during use is possible. Advanced double high mattresses often have automatic inflation features to add more air gradually throughout the night using a silent process that doesn’t wake the people sleeping.
Best Air Mattresses in 2016 & 2017
*5 Star Rating: this is based on the percentage of consumers who rate the mattress 10/10.
In most situations, an air mattress is an affordable short-term bedding solution until a decision is possible on a permanent bed. This type of mattresses fits into many empty spaces and provide a level of comfort that sleeping on a hard floor never could.
Air mattresses have an adjustable inflation level which allows the user to change the comfort level when lying down on the air bed. Someone with a bad back is likely to appreciate a user controlled bed where they can adjust the firmness setting to their exact requirements rather than choosing a bed with a single firmness level throughout.
Our 3 best air mattress recommendations
Intex Pillow Rest Airbed with Built-in Pillow and Electric Pump
The Intex Pillow Rest Airbed is an 80-inch long twin size inflated bed with one end that has a pillow outline to avoid the need to bring a pillow on a camping trip. The bed itself strikes a balance between being a low profile air bed and a high-level mattress with a base. The product will fit into most tents, but it would be a good idea to check that there is enough clearance as tents that are low to the ground may be too restrictive.
The sturdiness of this waterproof bed comes across with its wave beam interior and vinyl structure providing ample rigidity to the frame when inflated. However, the product is still only intended for occasional use.
The sleeping level is 16.5-inches above the floor which is sufficiently high not to feel like one is sleeping on the ground.
The electric pump is built directly into the Intex Pillow Rest Airbed which either inflates or deflates this twin sized bed in about 3 minutes. It is also possible to use a manual or battery pump which will need a hose outlet that fits inside the dial on this bed.
The product can hold one person who weighs up to 300 pounds. It comes in an attractive bag with carry straps on either side.
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress with ComfortCoil Technology & Internal High Capacity Pump
The SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress is a queen size, 79-inch long raised double height mattress. The bed itself is 19-inches off the ground and stays in the same position using their patented SureGrip bottom surface.
This mattress uses its ComfortCoil technology via 40 internal air coils across a dual chamber construction to provide consistent support and durability over time.
The flocked top is waterproof and comfortable to lie on without sheets. However, adding fitted sheets to the bed setup is easily done too. The material used throughout the Dream Series Air Mattress is puncture-resistant through its multi-layered structure.
The simple 1-click Ez pump is internally located and capable of quietly completing the inflation / deflation process is less than 4 minutes. Should any air escape over time, it is a simple matter to top up the mattress with a bit more air.
The product is able to hold one or two people with a combined weight of 500 pounds. A convenient nylon carry bag is included with this model to keep it dust-free and makes the mattress easy to transport.
The mattress comes with a one-year guarantee.
Serta Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump
The Serta Raised Air Mattress is a raised bed with their patented neverFLAT automatic air pump system that is capable of maintaining the level of inflation overnight. The inflation / deflation process takes approximately 4 minutes.
The model actually has two internal pumps. The primary air pump acts to either inflate or deflate the mattress to the user required inflated level. The secondary air pump regulates the inflated level and kicks into action when air escapes from the mattress, adding additional air to maintain the same air pressure inside throughout the night.
An auto shutoff feature avoids overinflating the mattress and damaging it by closing down the air pump when the bed is fully inflated. The shutoff feature also works when deflating the mattress to stop the air extraction process when it is complete.
The model comes in a Queen (in one of two colors), Twin, and a Queen Pillow Top Bed with an additional layer of comfortable padding which removes the need for a sleeping bag.
The raised level is 18-inches off the ground. The sleeping support is created using 35 circular air coils that provides a consistent sleeping experience. The flocked top on the main model is soft and padded for comfort.
It is best to inflate this type of mattress the first time and then leave it for one hour before use. Following the one hour waiting period, it is usually necessary to add more air to a previously fully inflated bed because the durable material stretches gradually following first use of the product.
A carry bag is included to pack the mattress up and either store it for later or ready for transport.
Table of contents
- What is an Air Mattress
- What makes Air Mattresses different?
- Things to Consider
- Best Air Mattress Brands
- Air Mattress Reviews
What is an Air Mattress?
An air mattress is an inflatable bed that is usable in a variety of locations and situations. It uses either an internal or external air pump powered by a battery, electricity or a foot pump to push air into the mattress to inflate it. Typically, the inflation process takes 5-10 minutes’ maximum.
What makes Air Mattresses different?
An air mattress is different to other types of mattress because it is portable and able to be deflated and packed away out of sight whenever it is not needed. The space saving nature of this type of product is useful in homes with limited rooms or floor space like apartments or smaller homes.
The amount of air used to inflate the mattress is user controllable which is useful for anyone who prefers to adjust the firmness of their mattress personally.
These mattresses are one of the most affordable temporary bedding solutions.
Things to consider
Air mattresses are available in a variety of widths and heights. One option is a raised (otherwise known as “double high”) type. The raised mattress is a different height depending on the manufacturer and the model, with a height of 18-22-inches being fairly commonplace.
The raised air mattresses or air bed type will have its own platform, which elevates the user above the floor at a similar height to that of a regular boxspring bed or memory foam bed. For this reason, the raised mattress has a similar appearance and is a comfortable purchase for many people interested in the benefits of this mattress. Many products of this type come with a built-in air pump and a control system, which may or may not have an automatic inflate function. One negative to raised mattresses is that they are less portable than the low profile ones, which are more of a simple mattress, less of an air bed, in design.
Thickness: Low profile
Low profile air mattresses are the thinner, lighter variety. These types of mattress lack the added base, making them far more like the air beds that one might have seen in a camping environment. The mattress lies directly on the floor – often with a non-slip underside material included in the construction to help the product stay in position – and is therefore a little more suitable for tent camping.
These smaller mattresses are easy to inflate or deflate when packing up to make a move. Their simpler design means they roll up into a bag or tube and fit into the back of a car or slide into a backpack.
Pumps are either part of the internal machinery in air mattresses or they are external. The external types are either mains powered, battery powered, or there is a manual foot pump provided to force air into the mattress to inflate it.These types of mattresses with external air pumps are a little more expensive in many cases. External air pumps take up more space when traveling and when mistakenly leaving one behind, it will be necessary to buy a compatible replacement to use the air bed again. Internal pumps are the way to go wherever possible.
Pump: Built in, or External
Air mattresses with internal or built-in pumps are the best option, because they’re easier to use and no parts to lose. The comfort level is adjustable using the external controls which lets the user set the firmness from soft to firm by using the knob/dial. When using either battery power or electricity, the pump pushes air into the mattress faster which speeds up the fully inflated time when compared to using a foot pump.
Depending on the air mattress model, many come with a carry bag to pack the product away either when it is not needed or to take on the road. The cheaper models may lack a bag, which is helpful to own to keep the mattress clean when in the back of the truck or rolling around in the trunk.
Best Air Mattress Brands
Intex has been in business for over 4 decades. The company started with inflatable beach balls and later moved on to mini swimming pools, personal spas, and air mattresses. Their TwinComfort-Plush and DuraBeam air beds, both raised and low profile, lead the way in design and comfort. Several patent registrations have been submitted for their DuraBeam and PVC air bed technologies.
SoundAsleep from Somnio aims to provide the world’s most comfortable air mattresses. Their SureGrip bottom prevents the mattress from sliding across the floor during use. The Dream series using their Comfort Coil technology has a box spring construction and soft top flocking for durability. Available in both double and twin mattress sizes, their raised level mattresses are designed for occasional use, not regular use which would degrade the surface too quickly. Their queen sized low profile camping air mattresses with a rechargeable external pump are another excellent products in their range.
Serta is an award-winning bed manufacturer with a Women’s Choice award under its belt. Both designed and manufactured in the USA, the company is one of the leaders in the bed market. Their range of beds and mattresses include air, boxspring, memory foam, and hybrid models. Popular ranges with Serta include their Perfect Sleeper, iComfort, and Sertapedic models. Their air mattresses feature a neverFLAT pump system (under patent) with an auto-inflate feature and an internal dual pump system. Their mattresses are considerably more affordable than their main mattress range.
Insta-Bed manufacture air beds in Queen, Full, and Twin sizes. Their neverFLAT technology uses custom settings to manage inflation levels with a silent secondary pump that adds more air to the mattress when it is deflating. The automatic inflate feature avoids waking up to a flat air mattress. There is also the option to automatically deflate the mattress during the night for anyone who likes to wake up closer to the ground, but go to sleep at a raised level.
Coleman originated in the early 1900s with gas lamps and later became a specialist in outdoor equipment. The company now makes camping tents, stoves, chairs, cots, air mattresses, and much more. Their mattress range includes double high raised queen-sized inflatable models, quilted top layers, and inflatables with a choice of an internal pump or an external one for quickly inflating the mattress at night ready for sleep time. Coleman also have a complete range of sleeping bags to make sleeping on an air bed while camping a cozy experience.
Lazery Sleep make a single air mattress / air bed with a raised position and waterproof flock top surface. Their internal pump is patented with a fast inflate / deflate feature and 7 settings. Their ComfortCoil Technology uses 40 air coils to provide even support across all areas of their mattresses.
The SimplyGlobo company is behind the SimplySleeper brand. The company began life in 2009 and since 2013 has been in the Inc Magazine 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the USA. Within their air mattress range is a queen size model with an internal pump and a smaller camping air bed for kids. Both low profile and raised mattresses are part of their range making it easy to select a suitable product. Some models have an external electric air pump whereas others feature internal pumps.
FiNeWaY make air beds with a raised profile featuring double layers for greater stability. The internal air pumps provide self-contained inflate / deflate functionality. There is a manual button control for deflating their air mattresses regardless of whether there is an electrical supply available at the time. The FiNeWaY products are priced at economy levels for budget conscious consumers.
Bestway makes affordable products for the consumer market. Their air beds are designed to be fast to inflate, easy to deflate, and suitable for transporting in the supplied carry bag. Their air mattress / air bed models tend to be budget priced and therefore do not include auto inflate features. Nonetheless, for price conscious consumers needing a quick fix bedding solution or an affordable air bed for tent camping, their inflatable products are worth a look.
Air Mattress Reviews
Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress Review
The Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress is an air bed that sits 18-inches off the ground which is useful for people who have bad backs and find getting into or out of bed a challenge. There are two internal pumps with this product; the first one inflates / deflates the mattress within 4 minutes, while the secondary pump is used to maintain the same firmness overnight via the neverFLAT pump monitoring system.
The queen size model uses 35 circular coils to provide a balanced experience when lying on the bed. The airtight seal and the welding used with this product ensure long-term durability. There are several sizes and models available including two queen size (one with headboard), one full size, one twin, and a queen pillow top model too.
A carry bag is supplied to store or transport the mattress when it has been fully deflated.
Coleman Premium Air Mattress Review
The Coleman Premium Double High SupportRest is designed with comfort in mind. There is a choice of three top patterns (Grey/Grid, Grey/Stripe or White) with a suede feel finish for that touch of luxury. The 18-inch raised mattress is designed only for indoor use and so it would not be suitable for camping and other purposes. However, it is ideal for use in a spare bedroom or set up in an area with free space for a few days while guests are staying over.
The electric pump is built into the unit which controls the inflation level. The mattress is airtight because of its double lock value system. Depending on the location, ambient temperature and humidity in the room, the air needs to be topped up periodically.
A storage bag is supplied so the mattress can be packed away and zipped up to keep it dust-free.
Lazery Sleep Air Mattress Review
The Lazery Sleep Air Mattress Airbed is a colorful queen or twin sized inflated bedding solution. The 19-inch double-height raised position is easy to access for taller people. The mattress uses a dual chamber design. To avoid slippage, the bottom is fitted with Lazery’s Sure-Grip material. The thick flocked top feels soft on the skin, with the remainder of the bed made from a puncture-resistant, multi-layered material for waterproofing and durability.
Inflating the mattress is a 1-click process and deflating it after use is just as simple. The LED controller manages the air pump easily. Internal air coils delivery consistent support across the entire surface of the mattress.
Packing down the mattress for storage or transportation is easily done with it rolling up nicely. A carry bag is also provided to help keep the mattress clean.
SimplySleeper SS-47T Ultra Tough Air Mattress Review
The SimplySleeper SS-47T is made from a Durmothane Polyester Laminate Material to provide more durability than other twin mattresses. The material surface is microfiber which has a soft, comfy feel to it. The fabric breathes well, resists punctures, and avoids the PVC over stretching. There are actually three layers of material used to avoid punctures occurring, but the product also thoughtfully comes with 2 free patches to complete repairs.
The twin mattress includes its own electric pump made as a single piece which is a patented design. This mattress automatically inflates within only two minutes without needing to be configured to do so. A control switch is also provided to adjust the inflation settings. The product lacks an auto-shutoff feature to stop the inflate / deflate process, however there is an outlet valve that is capable of releasing excess air. The twin mattress supports a body weight of up to 400 pounds.
Aerobed Inflatable Air Mattress Review
The Aerobed high raised double sized air bed mattress is rather plush with a solid base and a bulging inflated mattress area that feels heavenly. The two tone neutral color scheme is bound to fit any room or location without sticking out like a sore thumb. The construction of the air bed uses external stability where re-enforced materials provide an 14-inch high frame that acts as a brace for the overall sturdiness of the bed once inflated. An internal 120-volt pump plugs into a 3-pin electrical socket powered an inflation process that only takes 3-4 minutes.
The inflated mattress does fit into a number of different outdoor tents when away camping. One needs to check that the tent is both wide and tall enough to accommodate the mattress with enough head room and walking space around it once it’s fully inflated.
A storage bag is also provided to pack away this double air bed when it is no longer needed.
Bestway Double Flocked Air Mattress Review
The Bestway Double flocked air bed is an 8.5-inch high, low-profile air mattress provided in a deep royal blue color. A separate Sidewinder AC air pump is included which can pump up this air bed in about 3 minutes.
Internally, the coil beam design provides consistent firmness once inflated. The basic material of the mattress is vinyl, with a comfortable flocked surface on one side.
A carry bag is provided to pack up the deflated mattress ready for its next trip.
SimplySleeper SS-58RF Air Mattress Review
The SimplySleeper SS-58RF Raised 18-inch Full sized air mattress inflates to its full height within about 2-3 minutes making it one of the fastest in its class. The integrated electric pump includes a thermostat to monitor its heat level and automatically turns off when it is getting too hot. Once inflated, the valve system locks air inside using a patented force system via a pressure relief switch which responds to fine adjustments.
The I-Beam coil internal design delivers a consistent firmness and support across the entire surface. There are four chambers that are inflated separately and help to distribute the pressure more evenly within each internal airtight container. The mattress construction material is thicker than with budget mattresses and includes a robust 8.5-inch gusset. Fitted sheets go well with this mattress with it making a suitable bed for a couple with a maximum carrying weight limit of 500 pounds.
The one-year warranty provides buyer assurance. A toughened carry bag is provided to make it easier for the mattress to be used in a variety of situations and locations.
Q: How long does it take to inflate the air mattresses?
A: The time to fully inflate any mattress depends on how powerful the air pump is and the size of the mattress area that needs inflating. Many queen size mattresses take only 4-5 minutes to inflate. The pumps commonly need recharging between uses.
Q: How long does it take to deflate the air mattresses?
A: Air mattresses take 5-10 minutes to deflate for twin or queen size mattresses with larger beds in the high end of the range.
Q: Does it matter if the air pump is internal or external?
A: The internal air pumps with their own control system on the exterior of the air mattress are often easier to manage. External air pumps are portable and pack away into a carry bag easily for trips.
Q: How comfortable is an air mattress?
A: Many air mattresses come with flocked top that’s often waterproof. The flocked top provides a layered comfort suitable for a fitted sheet to be laid over it or a sleeping bag when away camping.
Q: Are air mattresses a good idea for stayovers?
A: When not having a spare bedroom for guests, an air mattress with a pump is an ideal alternative sleeping arrangement that can be setup in the living room in a matter of minutes.
Q: Does an air mattress come with a pillow?
A: Some mattress models come with a raised header in the shape of a pillow.
Q: What prevents me from falling out of either side of the air mattress?
A: Some air mattresses and air beds have a slightly curved, raised design at either side of the mattress to prevent rolling over the edge. If you are concerned about this issue, then these will be the models to look at closely.
Q: Can an air mattress be used as a permanent bed?
A: In most cases, this type of mattress is not designed to be used as a permanent bedding solution in the home. Each manufacturer will be able to clarify what amount of use is sensible with their inflated bed products. In most cases, these types of mattresses are intended for occasional use for putting up guests and to make camping more comfortable.
Q: Are raised or double high air mattresses better than the low profile ones?
A: The raised or double high air mattresses are ideal for use as air beds for temporary use. For anyone with a bad back who needs more support from a deeper base, a raised bed is going to provide more support while offering some control over firmness level by adjusting the inflation levels. With low profile, slimmer mattresses, these are best suited for either camping or for overnight sleeping in the lounge rather than for prolonged use.
Q: For portability, are air mattresses the best option?
A: Air mattresses are the most portable sleeping solution while providing comfort in a variety of situations.
Related Consumer Guides
If you are interested in reading more about shopping for a mattress, please be sure to check out our other consumer guides which I have highlighted below.
- Our guide to the best Air Mattresses available
- Suffer from back pain? Read our guide to the best mattresses for back pain
- Do you have a baby? Make sure they sleep in comfort with our best crib mattress guide
- Find out how Latex mattresses compare to others
- Find out how Memory Foam Mattress compare to others
- Find out how Pillow Top Mattress compare to others
- Be sure to protect your new mattress with the best mattress protectors
- Are you a side sleeper? Read our guide to the best mattresses for side sleepers
- Find out how Spring Mattresses compare to others
- Get some extra comfort out of your mattress with our guide to the best mattress toppers
- Find out which mattress is the best with our mattress reviews