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Mattress Ratings > Air Bed Reviews

unbiased Airbed Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons

Based on 2,057 Actual Owner Experiences

March 24, 2014
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This page rates permanent-use air beds, not temporary-use air beds.

What You Need To Know

THE GOOD: Airbeds provide personalized, adjustable support which tends to result in above average comfort and pain relief. Longevity / lifespan overall is good. Initial off gassing odor and heat retention tend to be limited.

THE BAD: Unlike other bed types, airbeds are mechanical which means that more can conceivably go wrong with them. Warranty coverage is below average. Their operation is not silent due to air pump noise. Assembly is required. Airbed availability in smaller markets can be poor.

THE BEDS: Airbeds use air for main support as opposed to springs or foam. The comfort layer can consist of fiberfill, regular foam, memory foam, latex or a combination thereof. Firmness and support can be adjusted by adding / removing air from the mattress using an electric pump. Each side of the bed can have its own independent adjustment.

THE COMPETITION: See how airbed mattresses compare to other bed types in the mattress type comparison.

Video Summary of Airbed Research

Airbed Ratings: Overall as a Group

The ratings below are based on 2,050+ consumer reviews of permanent-use airbeds. The data was gathered using an unbiased, accurate methodology. For ratings on specific brands, see the section following this one.

Owner satisfaction B- Airbeds overall have 78% owner satisfaction. (78 out of 100 based on 2057 reviews.) Airbeds rate slightly lower than both memory foam and latex beds, but significantly better than innerspring beds overall. Low-priced airbed models tend to rate somewhat worse than mid- and high-priced models often due to excessive firmness. The various airbed brands rate fairly similar.
Durability C Given the mechanical nature of airbeds, various problems can arise, such as leaks and pump / controller problems. These problems and others, however, can be fixed (see next entry). 25%+ of owners report the need to replace at least one part of the bed over the course of ownership. Problems involving an inability to maintain air pressure may make the bed uncomfortable or unusable until the problem is repaired.
Longevity B+ Airbeds often have good longevity (9-year life span on average) because they can be repaired by the owners themselves with parts sent from the manufacturer. This is an advantage largely unique to airbeds; if a bed of another type (such as innerspring or memory foam) develops a problem the entire bed often needs to be replaced. In addition, air support – unlike innerspring or foam support – does not sag or lose resiliency with use and age.
Affordability D+ Prices are $450-$7,000 depending on model and size. Thickness, comfort layer material, and technology level mostly determine price. In addition to initial cost, at least 25% of owners will at least partially pay for replacement parts at some point during ownership.
Less pain / pressure points b+ The air chambers' ability to contour to one's body minimizes pressure points, provides support and reduces pain, especially back pain, for at least 20% of owners. 10% of owners, however, complain that the bed causes pain for various reasons. (See mattresses & pain relief for general analysis.)
Adjustability of firmness / support a- Firmness / support can be adjusted by adding or reducing air to the mattress. Models with dual chambers have separate adjustment for each side, giving each person their own comfort level. 30%+ of airbed owners say adjustability is a strong advantage. 6%, however, are disappointed with adjustment because the range is too limited or because it affects only support, not firmness.
Ease of use d A main downside of adjustability is that finding a personally suitable setting can require significant time and experimentation, say up to 20% of owners. About 6% report an inability to ever find a suitable setting.
Motion isolation b- Models with two air chambers tend to have above average motion isolation, that is, they localize a person's movement so that another person is not disturbed much by it.
Easy to move on b Increasing the firmness can make it easy for a person to move around on the bed and get up off of it. Models, however, with thick pillow tops, especially those with high-density memory foam, may offer some resistance to movement.
Even and unobstructed sleep surface, i.e., no "middle problem" c- A significant number of airbed owners report that their bed can sag and or slope where the two air chambers meet – causing a sleeper to roll or slide toward / away from the middle. Or owners may report a hump or valley in the middle. These problems tend to be most noticeable when the firmness setting of the two air chambers is very different. The Sleep Number bed has significantly more complaints on this issue than other airbed brands.
No initial odor / off gassing b- About 5% of airbed consumers report an initial off gassing / odor problem. Models with memory foam or synthetic latex generally have the most complaints on this issue.
No sleeping hot or cold b- About 5% of airbed owners report that their bed acts as a heat trap. Models with memory foam or latex generally have the most complaints on this issue. About 2% of owners report that their airbed sleeps cold. These owners usually have a model with a thin comfort layer which results in the owner sleeping almost directly on the air chamber.
Back sleep suitable b+ Airbeds are likely best suited for back sleepers.
Side sleep suitable b- Side sleepers, owner experience data suggests, may prefer models with significant padding to minimize pressure points, as opposed to cheaper, less padded models.
Stomach sleep suitable b There are few complaints regarding suitability for stomach sleepers.
No noise d Airbeds are the noisiest type of bed because of the air pump operation. Excessive air pump noise is a complaint for at least 8% of owners. Learn more.
Ready to use F Airbeds require at least some assembly which can take 15 minutes to two hours depending on several factors. Other mattress types, with the exception of waterbeds, do not require assembly.
No rotating / flipping b+ The core of the beds does not need to be flipped and or rotated to avoid sagging and loss of support. However, the comfort layers of airbeds may benefit from being rotated / flipped occasionally to avoid uneven wear / compression.
Good for sex, spooning, cuddling c+ Most owners say their airbed is ok for romance. Some airbeds (especially Sleep Number Bed) may have a noticeable trench / intrusion / slope or some other problem in the middle where the two air chambers meet. Being intimate, say couples, on or near this area may be difficult and uncomfortable. (See the mattresses and sex comparison for how airbeds compare to other mattress types.)
Lightweight c+ Since the mattresses consist of air to a significant degree, they tend to be no heavier than the average mattress. This for many owners is an advantage, but owners who equate quality with heavy weight may be disappointed with airbeds.
Warranties d+ Most airbed warranties are 10-25 years in length, but usually only the first few years are non-prorated. This means that after the first few years, owners will often need to pay 20%+ of repair costs. Other mattress types often have superior warranty coverage. (See mattress warranties: what you should know.)
Reputation of airbed manufacturers / retailers B Airbed manufacturers as a group have an above-average reputation. The "B" rating is an average based on a combination of factors including product ratings by owners, years in business, customer service, warranty, product specification transparency, marketing accuracy and truthfulness, Better Business Bureau ratings and stability of ratings, number of BBB complaints / business size ratio.

Airbed Brands: Ratings and Comparison

The table below rates and compares many of the more popular air bed mattress brands / models (in alphabetical order). Click on a mattress for a full ratings report based on actual consumer experiences. In addition, many of the following mattresses can be compared in more detail in the mattress comparison.

Boyd Comfort-
aire
Habitat Furnish-
ings
Innomax Personal Comfort Sleep Number Tempur-
Pedic Choice
Owner Satisfaction (Sample)            
82% (24) 83% (192) 85% (24) 77% (166) 100% (3) 78% (1642) 81% (16)
Prices            
$600 - $2650 $700 - $5150
$1300 - $3000 $600 - $2500
$525 - $4800 $450 - $5050 $2650 - $4100
Distinctive Advantage Or Trait            
up to six air chambers original air bed company generous return policy value potential FDA registered mfg facility dominates airbed market minimal assembly
SLTD Rating            
B B B+ B NA B B+
BBB Rating            
A- A A A+ A- A+ A+
In Business Since            
1977 1981 2001 1975 1973 1987 1992
In Stores and or Online            
online, some stores online, some stores online online, some stores online stores, online stores, online
Retailers            
several especially nightair beds.com various smaller retailers & comfort aire.com habitat furnish
ings.com
Sams Club, others personal
comfort
bed.com
Sleep Number stores / online many retailers
Return Policy Length / Fee            
can vary by retailer 100 days / none 365 days / $75 90+ days / none (Sam's) 120 days / none* 100 days / shipping fee can vary by retailer
Warranty            
20 yr, 2 yr non prorated 25 yr, 2-4 yr non prorated 20 yr, 3 yr non prorated 10-25 yr, 2 yr non prorated 20 yr, 3 yr non prorated 25 yr, 2 yr non prorated 10 yr, 5 yr on pumps, hoses, remotes
Comment            
-- owned by Sleep Number made by Water Mattress, Inc. -- 25% fee if returned within 45 days over 400 stores new model as of 2013

* Policy does not apply to all models.

Our mattress research has appeared in –

About Our Unbiased Air Bed Ratings and Research

Our ratings are based on 2,050+ consumer reviews of permanent-use air beds, especially reviews for the Sleep Number / Select Comfort bed. The data was collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.

We receive NO compensation of any kind from any company, organization or individual to affect in any way or degree our mattress research or its findings.

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