Why get an air mattress? Sure, they seem dated, they certainly aren’t as comfortable as a real mattress, and you might sleep in constant fear of puncturing it. However, despite all of the downsides, there’s no denying one important truth: air mattresses are fun. Just ask any awestruck five year old who’s just finished watching a flat bundle of plastic inflate in minutes into a comfortable and movable bed, and they will thrillingly let you know how fun an inflatable mattress can be.
These aren’t designed to be permanent sleep solutions, after all. Airbeds exist to fill a gap in your sleep needs. You might use them to go camping. Your children will use them for sleepovers. Or perhaps you might inflate one just to have a fun and lazy movie day in style with the kids. If you think of them more as accessories, you’ll be surprised at just how much enjoyment you and your family will get once you bring these fun beds into your lives.
The only real question is which specific type you should bring home. There are so many available, and not all air beds are created equal. How do you tell the difference between strong, reliable and weaker ones? Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. The staff at the Sleep Judge have done all of the hard work for you. We’ve tried all the inflatable beds out there. The good ones, the bad ones and the ugly ones, and we’ve compiled a list of our favorites into one place. Below these recommendations, we’ve also provided a buyers guide to help you when you’re ready to make a purchase.
By the end of this article, you should be something of an expert on all the various types of inflatable mattresses. All you need to do is keep your eyes glued to this page and scroll away. Everything that you could possibly want to know is about to be revealed!
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SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump
Insta-Bed EZ Queen Air Mattress with Never Flat
King Koil Luxury Raised Airbed
Intex Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump
Our Pick for the Top 5 Best Air Beds
Below you’ll find what we consider to be the best top 5 picks for your money. These have been extensively reviewed and are very popular among consumers. Our top pick and all round winner is the SoundAsleep Dream Series. Here’s a video review if you want to dive straight into it. Otherwise, keep scrolling to read out about all of our top contenders!
1. SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
- One-click pump design is convenient
- Easy to inflate and deflate
- Excellent customer service
- Maintains shape
- Air loss is minimal
- Able to adjust firmness
- Holds up to 500 pounds
- 19 inch thickness makes it easy to get in and out of
- “Sure Grip” bottom prevents slipping
- Waterproof top
- Flocked design keeps bedding in place
- Material is puncture-resistant
- Convenient storage bag
- Power cord storage space on the front of the product
- Not well-suited for camping (they have a camping model for this)
- Can’t use a hand pump to fill it up
- Works best with deep fitted, non standard sheets
The SoundAsleep Dream Series is the highest rated air bed on the market and has earned its title for a reason. This product is constantly praised for its comfort, durability and ease of use.
The 40 coil flat sleeping surface provides excellent edge and inner support as well as a comfort level hard to match in the air bed world. The soft waterproof top of the mattress has been compared by consumers to sleeping on a pillow top. Inflation and deflation is nice and quick with the internal pump that comes with the mattress. The sure grip bottom keeps the mattress in place on the floor, which is a great feature for in-home use. While this version is best for the indoors, the people at SoundAsleep also provide a camping version that comes with a rechargeable battery pump for those long hikes in the woods. Worth keeping in mind if you plan on taking your air bed out into the wilderness.
With a capacity of 500 lbs and multiple layers of puncture-proof material, the SoundAsleep airbed has no issue holding the average couples weight. It’s hard to find anything to complain about; this is quite simply one of the finest on the market.
2. Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump
- Never-flat pump ensures you won’t end up on the floor
- 35 circular coils for extra comfort
- Strong durability
- Needs constant power supply to stay inflated through the night
Insta-bed is a very popular and well-known brand that takes pride in creating beds that are more comfortable than their competitors. They have created a special technology in order to ensure that their products are comfortable enough to induce sleep in each and every customer. Many people consider Insta-bed to be a favorite because of the high quality products that they produce. We are inclined to agree.
The Insta Raised Bed With Never Flat Pump is a prime example of this company’s high quality. This bed is approximately the same height as regular beds and its dimensions are 80″ x 60″ x 19″ for an inflated queen size. If you are looking for a bed that will not only provide you with comfort and convenience, but with durability as well, then you may seriously want to consider purchasing this air bed. The Insta Raised Bed is great for camping, however, you will need a larger tent if you purchase the queen size air bed. Instead of sleeping in an uncomfortable sleeping bag where you will be practically sleep on the ground, why not try this comfy air bed instead? Most customers who purchase this air bed absolutely love it.
Many air beds or mattresses are notorious for deflating prematurely. You may be lying on it and notice the bed slowly flattening. Fortunately this bed and its never flat pump is dependable and will never deflate unless you deflate it first. This bed will hold strong for you throughout a full night’s sleep.
The Insta Raised bed is also good for those with back and joint problems because the bed actually conforms to the shape of the body and provides adequate cushioning, which can prevent the joint and muscle pain that may occur when sleeping on lower quality air and regular beds.
3. Insta-Bed EZ Queen Air Mattress with Never Flat
- Self Inflating and Deflating
- Secondary pump keeps it inflated quietly
- Excellent motion transfer
- A little on the heavy side (50+lbs)
- A little on the pricey side, but worth the investment
The InstaBed EZ is one of the best that you’ll ever sleep on. It’s self-inflating and deflating. It folds up compactly enough to be stored in a duffle bag while still offering surprising comfort when fully inflated. Within seconds, you can watch it grow from a folded piece of plastic to a fully developed airbed that will provide a comfortable night’s rest with minimal motion transfer from sleeping partners (a major bonus that most airbeds don’t offer!).
It’s possible adjust the firmness of the mattress to be more plush, medium or firm. This really helps when you’re in need of specific back support. Most inflatable mattresses have one major issue, which is noise. However, the NeverFlat pump – which is located inside the bed and inflates throughout the night – is virtually silent. It makes hardly any noise at all, and this is beyond impressive. It also has a 500lb weight capacity, which is far more than enough for two adults.
This is one of the finest air beds that you’ll ever sleep on. The only potential downside is that it is recommended for residential use, ideally as a guest bed. Don’t expect to sleep luxuriously on this during camping trips, as this is an indoor mattress only. Other than that, the InstaBed EZ is one of the finest on the market.
4. King Koil Luxury Raised Airbed
- Height makes it easy to transition in and out of bed
- Firmness customization capability adds to comfort
- Fitted sheets stay in place
- Carrying bag is compact and convenient
- Not well-suited for rustic camping
- Product is heavy
It’s impossible not to be impressed by the King Koil Luxury Raised Airbed. The coil-beam construction offers an impressive combination of comfort and spinal support. The 600-pound weight limit is well beyond what most options can offer, and the quality of its materials should provide enough durability to last for years if properly taken care of.
If you’re looking for an inflatable bed to use on camping trips and have a compatible manual pump, this air bed is practically puncture proof. It’s well-suited for outdoor use, though it would be ideal to have an outlet nearby, if possible. This strong, yet comfortable air bed is easily one of the best on the market and well-deserving of your consideration – it truly does it all.
5. Intex Dura-Beam Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump
- Affordable luxury
- 600-lb. weight capacity
- Flocked, waterproof top
- Thick vinyl
- Tight seams
- Included built-in electric pump
- Very little odor
- Inflates quickly
- Standard queen-sized sheets don’t fit well
- A bit of air loss after one night’s use
This queen-sized airbed has an almost regular bed height at 22 inches. The bed also inflates quickly because it includes a built-in electric pump, so no one’s going to wear themselves out with a manual pump. Just turn on that electric pump and kick back until your air bed is ready for further relaxation. From the thick vinyl to the waterproofed flocking on top of the airbed, its impressive features makes it perfect for you or your guests to relax on. While intended for indoor use, you could easily take this camping and sleep like kings or queens – you’ll just need a tent big enough to accommodate it.
This air bed is quick and easy to inflate thanks to the built-in electric pump, and you can inflate it to suit your comfort level. The thick vinyl offers durability and the soft flocking on top of the bed eliminates the need for sheets. There isn’t much to dislike about this airbed. It’s convenient, comfortable and affordable. The only downside is the lack of warranty, so perhaps it’s worth purchasing from a reputable source that offers a generous return policy. If anything goes wrong, you’ll be responsible for all repairs and replacement.
Buying Guide: Best Types of Air Beds for Your Needs
All blow-up beds are not created equal, which in this case is good, since variety is indeed the spice of life. But it’s also bad because you may end up with an airbed that will go wrong. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on airbed technology. There are various types and specs to consider when making the air bed purchase plunge, so here is a list of the types of air beds you are bound to encounter.
Best Air Beds For Guests
A raised inflatable mattress is perhaps the closest type to resembling a normal bed. They often have multiple air chambers that result in a more durable bed. As its name implies, they’re also higher off the ground than a low-raised blow up mattress. Once inflated, they tend to hold more firmly so you won’t have a rocky, uncomfortable sleeping experience.
Convertible air beds are typically two twin beds, which can be either separated or combined to form one large bed. Their versatility is ideal for meeting the needs of varying guests. If one weekend finds you entertaining your married friends from college, then combining the bed becomes ideal. If another weekend calls for entertaining several of your buddies, then separation into two twins becomes readily available. Having a convertible is typically cheaper than purchasing two twin beds, and it always allows for adjustment to meet your guests’ needs.
Best Air Mattress For Everyday Use
Inflatable mattresses can now be purchased with accompanying frames, which are usually metal and portable. These frames allow for the mattress to be off the ground, an ideal feature for indoor use of the air bed so that the cold of the basement floor doesn’t transfer to the mattress. Along with frames, they can also come equipped with rails. Rails are typically attached to the mattress and are made of foam.
Avoid air beds with a thin foam rail, but look for blow up mattresses with a sturdy thick foam rail. A rail allows for a better sleeping experience as it aids in preventing you from falling or slipping out of the bed during your sleep. If you want a good inflatable mattress with a frame to get in and out of bed easier, look no further than the Coleman QueenCot Airbed.
Air beds with internal pumps are the only way to go if you are planning on using it everyday. While manual pumps can work and are fairly quiet, if you want to save time it’s best to consider an external electric pump or purchasing a mattress with a pump included.
If you’re out camping and will be inflating multiple beds, consider using one external electric pump to reduce cost. If you’re crafty and don’t want to buy a pump specifically for your air bed, you can always bring a vacuum cleaner. However, if you plan on using a single mattress for all your portable bed needs, then consider purchasing one with a built-in pump. Try to purchase a pump that’s easy to use and is built to function at a high output. Noise with a pump is always inevitable, but if you can find one that’s a little more quiet, you could purchase one of these to avoid disrupting your neighbors.
Recommendation: We recommend the Insta Raised Air Bed as it has a never flat pump feature that will prevent you from having to constantly turn the pump on in the middle of the night. This by far is the major reason why this is the best inflatable bed for every day use. Read our full review here.
In addition to internal pumps, some airbeds also come equipped with remote controls. A remote control allows you to adjust the amount of air and the level of the mattress while you are using it. This is useful for finding the perfect amount of air, without having to climb out of bed and start fiddling with a pump in the middle of the night.
Best Air Mattresses For Camping
These are the two types we recommend specifically for the outdoors. Each allow for easy packing and are lightweight so you can move around easier if you’re backpacking and hiking. For more camping options, check out our review of the best camping air mattresses.
For those backpackers who need to pack light, the low-profile self inflatable air mattresses are the way to go, and the Stansport is an excellent choice.
For a cheaper inflatable mattress and smaller option for the kids, look no further than a low-raised airbed. Intex has a considerable amount of these to choose from at an affordable cost. Framed air mattresses are popular with campers to elevate themselves off the ground. Metal frames are portable and easy to set up. However, if you don’t want to sully the great outdoors experience, you can stay closer to the ground with your traditional air bed. They’re cheap but come without a pump, so you’ll be tiring your mouth and lungs to inflate it. However, as mentioned above, there are external pumps that can run off an electric outlet or be powered by your car, and they make the traditional air bed a not-so-unflattering option.
There are also Truck-Bedz air mattresses, which are made for those who want to sleep in the back of their pickup trucks, SUV’s or mini-vans. These mattresses come in different shapes and sizes and fit a number of vehicle types. Having said this, the best camping air bed for light packers and those that like to “rough it”, would be the slim, light and self-inflating kinds. Heavy-duty air beds are also available, and these are built to endure the craggy, uneven surfaces of the earth – certain to give you a rich and full camping experience.
Other Types of Air Beds
Memory Foam Air Mattresses
An air bed can be made from a number of materials, with the most popular being the standard latex or comforting memory foam. Memory foam in a blow up mattress is similar to memory foam in a regular bed, and it’s designed to adjust to the ridges and contours of your body to give you the most comfortable sleep possible. This option will be more expensive, but it also makes for one of the most comfortable air beds you can buy, and we all need the best sleep we can get. It should go without saying that memory foam is a huge upgrade from your standard low-raised air bed. While the standard options might save you in the short-term, consider investing in the mattress with the accompanying feature that best suits your lifestyle and needs. They typically come in sizes of Twin, Twin XL, Full, or Queen, with King also being available, but very rare.
Tips for Use and Repair
If you don’t have a pump and have blown up several air beds in one sitting using only your lungs, you know how red in the face and out of breath it can make you. Here’s a clever trick to save you time and energy.
Probably the most annoying thing is attempting to keep the bed full of air, as even the best on the market are bound to deflate given frequent use over time. Some things you can do to keep the mattress inflated throughout its use are:
- Be careful to never over-inflate the air bed. It’s always tempting to make it as firm as possible, but too much air can lead to rips and leaks.
- Inflate the mattress up to 90 percent capacity when you first use it, wait three hours then deflate. Repeat this process, then fill it up to capacity. Why do this? You want to get the plastic used to expansion before you actually place your body on the mattress. Once the fibers of the plastic become worn in a little, then it will be ideal for first time use.
- Make a constant effort to check for leaks. Listen for hissing noises and always look to the valve to ensure it’s sealed correctly. Use soap and water solution to spray the mattress down to look for bubbles. Once a leak is found, then prepare to fix it with either patches or adhesive.
- Don’t overload the mattress. Airbeds aren’t made to support multiple sleeping bodies. Look on the box and packaging to find out the weight limits of your product.
- Keep away from dogs and cats. Even if they don’t bite, one misaligned paw step can leave a scratch and subsequent hole.
- Remember your inflatable mattress is for sleeping and not for play. Don’t wrestle or jump on the mattress. It’s definitely tempting, particularly for the kids, but say no.
- Avoid using sharp objects in or near the mattress. Pens, pencils and knives can all leave the tiniest holes that can be hard to locate later.
In the event of a leak or hole, repair is doable with the right tools. Repair kits sometimes come with your purchase, but if not they can be found at camping stores or big box retailers. While repair will vary depending on the kit and supplies at hand, below are some quick instructions of how to patch an air mattress:
- To repair, firstly you need to have located your leak.
- After discovery, deflate the air bed.
- After deflation, apply a sealant.
- After sealant has been applied, wait five minutes.
- Repeat step four twice for a second and third coating.
- You are now essentially done. You may choose to place a repair patch on your now-sealed leak spot, but this is at your discretion.
Purchasing an air mattress should never be a spontaneous endeavor, but should be one where you invest serious thought. There are many types and different brands, so the only way to determine what’s best for you is to do your research and make some comparisons. You don’t want to just grab any air bed and accept the consequences, take the time to find the right one to suit your needs. While an inflatable mattress can be a godsend to a person who’s constantly traveling or on the go, it can also be a nightmare if you purchase one that doesn’t fit your intended purpose. Hopefully this guide has provided you with everything you’ll need to ensure you bring home the air mattress that you and your family deserve. If you think we’ve left anything out of this guide, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and have an opportunity to update our top 5 picks.
June 4, 2021: Product #5 Sleep Restoration Air Mattress has been removed due to product unavailability. 1 year manufacturer guarantee has been added to our fourth product, the King Koi Luxury Raised AirBed as per Amazon listing. Added Recent Updates and Additional Resources sections.
- Best Full Mattresses
- Best Air Mattress with a Built-in Pump
- The Best Air Mattress Pump
- RV Mattress Sizes, Types, and Places To Buy Them
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose an air mattress?
From the onset, think of how and where you intend to use it. Camping, or as an extra sleep space when company arrives? What about the weight of the sleeper/s? Will you always have access to electricity for the built-in pump models, or do you want the option to hand pump, if needed? How rugged does the mattress cover need to be, and is being waterproof an important feature? How long do you need it to be inflated? One night, a weekend, a week? How well does it hold its air? These are the many questions you should ask yourself when deciding on the best air bed to suit you.
What is the best air mattress with a built-in pump?
We’d recommend the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress, and here’s why. Not only is it super durable and waterproof, it features a 40-coil flat sleep surface for superior edge support and an almost pillow-top comfort. Inflating and deflating are quick and easy (though no hand pump option) and it’s one of the few air mattresses that actually offers a more rugged “camping version” with a rechargeable battery-operated pump. It can hold up to 500 pounds with minimal air loss and at 19-inches in depth, it’s almost like climbing into your own bed.
What is the most durable air mattress?
Unlike the comfier latex versions that are designed for home use, the most rugged air mattress will be made from high grade synthetics or thick vinyl to prevent punctures and tears. A budget-friendly option is the Intex Classic Downy Airbed, made from waterproof vinyl and featuring a soft, flocking upper. For a little more, you can splurge on the SoundAsleep Dream Series made with puncture-resistant synthetics and built-in, battery powered air pump.
How long should an air mattress last?
A good quality air mattress should last between 10 and 15 years, with proper maintenance and storage.
Can you sleep on an air mattress every night?
Yes, today’s designs are comfortable enough to use every day and offer a number of great features and handy conveniences. One of the best designs we’ve seen is the Instabed EZ Bed air mattress which includes their NeverFlat pump. It monitors air pressure on a continual basis and inflates as needed. It also allows you to customize the firmness levels between plush, medium and firm. A sturdy metal frame makes it look and feel more like a standard bed.