Science

Best air mattresses of 2022


Updated Jun 17, 2022 2:17 PM

Your house guests and camping trips deserve better than your old, worn-out air mattress. That beat-up bag of air can leave you feeling achy and irritable, with nothing between you and your cold uncarpeted floor but a thin sheet of deflated vinyl. Modern air mattresses can help you—and any friends and family who sleep over—avoid the tragedy of sleep deprivation.

What’s more is that now is a great time to buy an air mattress, since they’ve evolved quite a bit in recent years, and the best ones are sturdier and more versatile than models made even just a few years ago. Many have built-in pumps, and a few are great for taking on camping trips. Some of the best air mattresses tuck easily into your closet or even an emergency bag in case you need them in a pinch.

How we selected the best air mattresses

There’s a wide array of air mattresses available, which range in price from the cost of a pizza to well into the hundreds. For our recommended list of five inflatable beds, we disregarded models at the extremes of the dozens we looked at. The most expensive mattresses include superfluous features that add bulk and cost; the cheapest versions are little more than glorified pool floaties that promise little more than an uncomfortable and noisy night of restless sleep. Choosing the best air mattress can be tricky. We have selected options to fit almost any needs and budget, since prices can range from as little as $10 to more than a few hundred dollars. You don’t want to pay for features you’ll never use.

We considered key features, including how the bed inflates, how adjustable it is, and what the sleeping surface is made of—not all tops are created equal. We also focused on mainly two types of air mattress models, categorized by one of two height categories:

  • Raised air mattresses: models that are 16-inches high or taller
  • Standard air mattresses: models that are 12-inches high or shorter

What to consider when buying the best air mattress

What do you need to consider when you’re looking to buy a quality air mattress? Here are some factors you’ll want to consider before making your purchase:

Price & material

By and large, most air mattresses, which have a somewhat rubbery feel to them, are actually made of plastic polymer, or PVC (polyvinyl chloride). However, some models also include a different, suede-like material (often referred to as “flocked”) on the top of the mattress, which can make the air mattress more comfortable and help keep sheets in place. And while it can be tempting to spring for a model with a long list of features, make sure you’ll actually use them before spending the cash.

Mattress type, height, dimensions, & weight

Like standard mattresses, air mattresses are available in twin, full, queen, and king sizes, although not every model comes in all four types. Most come in two thicknesses or heights: 12 inches or less (single height) or 16 inches or more (double height). Many air mattresses will also list (in their technical specifications) how heavy the product is (which can be a factor if you plan on traveling with it or using it outside, like on a camping trip).  

Built-in pump/inflation and deflation rates

Many air mattresses now come with built-in electric air pumps, which are very convenient, provided you’re near a power outlet. For instance, you might not be near an electrical socket if you plan on using your air mattress for camping. What’s nice is that many air mattress manufacturers are producing air pumps that are quieter than previous models, since some older pumps can be quite loud. Do some research to find out how quickly an air mattress with a built-in pump can inflate and then deflate. Some models state both times in their technical specifications or marketing material on their websites. Some can pump up an air mattress in just a few minutes.

Warranty & customer service

Several of the air beds we recommended come with a one-year warranty, which can be helpful if your air mattress develops a leak a few weeks after you buy it. More than a few reviews indicated they were glad the mattress they purchased had a warranty since often the company will send a replacement, free of charge. However, be sure to also check a product’s reviews for warranty problems or issues with customer service, since a bad customer service department can prevent you from receiving a replacement mattress.

Additional quick tips on buying an air mattress

  • Determine who will use the air mattress and where. Will there be one or two people sleeping on the mattress? How much does that one person or both people weigh, and can the air bed support that weight? 
  • Will it be used only indoors, only outdoors, or both indoors and outdoors?
  • Read through reviews to see if the inflatable mattress has a history of defects.
  • Study the product manual and, if it has a notice about the warranty, be sure to keep it in a safe place where you can easily find it again.
  • Once you have your inflatable mattress at home, be sure to immediately open it up, inflate it and check for leaks or other defects.

Best air mattresses: Reviews & Recommendations

Best overall: SoundAsleep Dream

Why it made the cut: A luxurious top and thick build make this one of the most comfortable air beds around.

Specs

  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.-500 lbs. depending on size
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King
  • Pump: Built-in

Pros

  • Inflates in under 4 minutes
  • Thick, waterproof, flocked top
  • Queen air mattress is 19 inches in height
  • Available in a variety of sizes

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than many other air mattresses
  • Bulky at 24 pounds
  • Requires breaking in to maintain maximum inflation

We were impressed with both the quality of the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress (and its construction) and its feature set. On top, it’s made with 15-gauge material and has a multi-layered flocked top (which has a suede-like feel to the material) for a comfortable sleeping surface. Even under a sheet, that texture makes a big difference compared to bare vinyl. 

The bottom of this mattress has a series of rubbery grips to prevent unwanted sliding. Also, the mattress relies on an internal coil-like structure to maintain its shape throughout the night. 

Overall, this air mattress provides a very easy setup process. Turn the one-click toggle on the side of the mattress to either quickly inflate or deflate it. What’s also nice is that the company says the pump was designed to be 20 percent quieter than competing pumps. But the pump is still powerful—it fully inflates the bed in 4 minutes. 

The SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress is available in five sizes—Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, and King. Each model supports up to 500 lbs. (combined weight), except the Twin and Twin XL, which supports up to 300 lbs. (combined weight). All sizes are 18 inches in height, except the Queen, which is 19 inches. The mattress itself weighs a little over 24 lbs. and comes with a nylon carry bag, which allows you to easily and safely store or transport the deflated air mattress.

Best for camping: Coleman EasyStay 4-N-1

Why it made the cut: Its modular design allows you to sleep on various widths and thicknesses.

Specs

  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.
  • Available sizes: Can be used as two Twins, King, or double-high Twin
  • Pump: Not included

Pros

  • Can be used in different configurations
  • Strong construction—for indoors or outdoors
  • Compact when not in use: Fold, roll, and store
  • Relatively inexpensive

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a pump for inflating or deflating the mattress
  • Difficult to adjust firmness

In some ways, the Coleman EasyStay 4-N-1 is like a convertible laptop in that you can change its configuration. You can set it up as two separate Twin beds (with an 8-inch height). Push both together and use them as one King-size bed (with an 8-inch height). Or, position the two beds on top of each other and use them as a double-high twin bed (with a 16-inch height), for extra inflated support. The versatility allows this air mattress to fit in practically any tent, from thimble-like abodes to camping mansions.

The inflation system includes a Double Lock valve to help keep the mattress inflated and firm, making it less likely to sag. However, some users have mentioned that it’s difficult to adjust the firmness of the mattress; for example, because of how the valve is made, it’s difficult to release only a small amount of air to make the air mattress softer. So, be aware as you’re blowing it up.

When you’re not using the EasyStay, it has an integrated “Wrap ‘N’ Roll” storage system: All you need to do is fold, roll, and store the air bed for easy storage. However, it’s important to note that this air mattress is not sold with a pump. So, you’ll need to buy one separately.

Best self-inflating: Lazery Sleep

Why it made the cut: Adjusting the amount of air inside the bed is dead simple thanks to a remote.

Specs

  • Weight limit: 500 lbs.
  • Available sizes: Twin, Queen
  • Pump: Built-in

Pros

  • Comes with a remote control to quickly dial in the firmness of the air mattress
  • Built-in pump
  • Includes a carry bag

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive than many other air mattresses
  • Wire on remote control is too short
  • Some user reviews claim various defects—from slow leaks to non-functional pumps 

The mattress comes with a built-in pump (which claims to be 20 percent quieter than the competition), and can fully inflate in 4 minutes. It’s available in two sizes: The Twin size has a height of 18 inches and the Queen size has a height of 19 inches. Each model supports up to 500 pounds and comes with a carry bag. Also, it comes with a Sure-Grip bottom, which prevents the bed from unwanted sliding, and has an extra-thick, waterproof, flocked top, which makes it extra comfortable. The company also says the material is puncture-resistant and very durable.  

One of the downsides of most air beds is that they’re difficult to adjust exactly how firm or soft the mattress is. You can try letting a little air out of the mattress to make it softer or adding more air to make it firm, but that process is rather imprecise. However, the Lazery Sleep air mattress provides an easy way to quickly change how firm or soft your mattress is: It comes with a wired remote control with 7 settings—from Plush up to Extra Firm. Simply dial in the desired setting and the inflatable bed will adjust to that firmness. The Lazery Sleep comes with the company’s ComfortCoil Technology, which has 40 top air coils, which the company says provides “added comfort to both single sleepers and couples.”

Best for guests: Coleman QuickBed Airbed

Why it made the cut: It’s basic, light, and packs down small so it’s easy to store.

Specs

  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.-600 lbs.
  • Available sizes: Twin, Full, Queen
  • Pump: Not included

Pros

  • Cheaper than most air mattresses in its class
  • AirTight system, with a Double Lock valve, prevents sagging

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a pump
  • Relatively thin
  • Hard to customize inflation level

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on an air mattress, the Coleman QuickBed is surprisingly capable for its price. Although it can’t “transform” into different beds, this Coleman shares a lot of features with its brand sibling, the Coleman EasyStay. It offers Coleman’s AirTight system, which includes a Double Lock valve that the company says helps keep the mattress inflated and firm, and less likely to sag. Between surprise weekend visits from the in-laws and last-minute middle school sleepovers, this air mattress is ready to provide any guest with a solid night’s sleep.

Also, like the EasyStay, the Coleman QuickBed can be used both outdoors and indoors and rolls up easily for storage. However, like the EasyStay, the QuickBed also lacks an air pump. So, you’ll need to buy one separately to inflate and deflate the mattress. It supports up to 300 lbs., has a height of 8 inches, and has a soft plush top, which allows for a more comfortable sleep. It also weighs just 5.5 pounds so it’s more portable than some of its competition.

Best budget: Intex Comfort Dura-Beam

Why it made the cut: It offers multiple size and thickness options, and flexible inflation methods.

Specs

  • Weight limit: 300 lbs.-600 lbs.
  • Available sizes: Twin, Queen
  • Pump: Built-in

Pros

  • Less expensive than comparable models in its class
  • Takes only 4 minutes to inflate
  • Electric or manual pump
  • Queen available in three different heights
  • Indented sides (for keeping fitted sheets in place)

Cons

  • Available in just two sizes

The Intex Comfort Dura-Beam air mattress has a soft flocked surface, for extra comfort. Grooves in the sides of the mattress keep your fitted sheets in place. Inside, the mattress has thousands of high-strength polyester fibers, making it durable and very stable. 

We recommended the Queen-sized Intex air mattress, which is 18 inches high. But there are several other models available. That’s the sweet spot for comfort and easy inflation. The Intex’s Queen-size model comes in three heights—Elevated (22 inches), Elevated (18 inches), which we recommend, or Mid Rise (13 inches). They all support up to 600 lbs. The Twin-size model comes in two heights—Elevated (18 inches) or Mid Rise (13 inches)—and supports 300 lbs. (combined weight). 

The Intex comes with a carrying bag, which allows you to easily and safely store or transport the deflated air mattress. There’s also a convenient compartment on the air mattress to store the electric cord so it won’t drag or flop around. To set it up and put it away, you just push the On button to turn on the 120-volt pump. You turn the knob just under the button in order to either inflate or deflate the mattress. But it’s all very nicely labeled and clear.

FAQs

Q: Do all air mattresses come with an air pump?

These days, more expensive models almost always include an electric built-in pump, but cheaper air mattresses may not. If your air mattress doesn’t come with one, you’ll need to buy it separately. But check to see that your new electric air pump will fit the air mattress you’re buying.

Q: Is it OK to sleep on an air mattress every night?

Although some air mattresses are quite sturdy and are made to last for years, many experts recommend not sleeping on an air mattress every night for long periods of time. One reason is that many air mattresses won’t provide as much support as a traditional mattress.  

Q: Why are air mattresses more uncomfortable than regular mattresses?

Because air mattresses are filled with air, you’ll often find that the mattress will slowly get cooler during the night as the temperature drops, unlike a regular mattress. But you can use a thermal mattress topper made for an air mattress so that you don’t feel the cold coming from your air mattress.

Q: Should you deflate an air mattress every day?

Although there is no set recommended amount of time for keeping an air mattress inflated, constantly deflating and re-inflating an air mattress can put unnecessary tension on the seams, affecting its longevity. However, inflated air mattresses are more prone to damage by animals and children. Use your discretion.

Final thoughts on the best air mattresses

You might think any old air mattress will do until you spend a night sinking into an uncomfortable vinyl sack that leaves you sore and tired in the morning. Putting in a little legwork to pick the best air mattress for your needs will pay off in the long run, and a model like the SoundSleep Dream will suit most any nap or night’s needs. Your hips and brain will thank you.



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