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Mattress Ratings > Air Bed Reviews

unbiased Airbed Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons

Based on 2,406 Owner Experiences Gathered From 541 Sources

May 4, 2016

This page rates regular-use airbeds, not temporary-use airbeds.

What You Need To Know

THE GOOD: Airbeds provide adjustable support / firmness for both sides. Conforming ability and back-pain relief tend to be above average. Longevity is 30% greater than that of other mattress types.

THE BAD: Main owner complaints include difficulty of (initial) use, breakdowns / malfunctions, air loss, price, noise, and less-than-generous warranty coverage. Assembly is often required. Availability in smaller markets can be poor.

THE BEDS: Airbeds use air for main support, not springs or foam. The comfort layer can consist of regular foam, fiber, memory foam, latex or a combination thereof. Firmness / support can be adjusted by adding or removing air from the mattress using an electric pump.

THE COMPETITION: See how airbed mattresses compare to other bed types.

Video Summary of Airbed Research

Airbed Ratings: Overall as a Group

The ratings below show how airbeds overall compare to other mattress types as evaluated by 2,400+ owners. For information on specific brands, see the following section. Owner experience data was collected using an unbiased, accurate methodology.

Owner satisfaction B- Airbeds overall have 78% owner satisfaction. They rate slightly lower than both memory foam and latex beds but significantly higher than spring beds overall. Low-priced airbed models tend to rate somewhat worse than mid- and high-priced models due mainly to excessive firmness. The various airbed brands rate fairly similar.
Durability C- Given the mechanical nature of airbeds, various problems can arise such as air 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 bed part 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 (8-year+ lifespan on average) because they can be repaired by owners themselves with parts sent from the manufacturer. This is an advantage largely unique to airbeds; if a bed of another type (such as spring or foam) develops a problem the entire bed often needs to be replaced.
Affordable D Prices are $500-$4000+ 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.
Conforming ability B The ability of an airbed to contour and mold to one's body and to distribute a person's weight equally is often better than that of a spring mattress. But it is somewhat inferior to that of foam.
Support A- Due to the ability to adjust firmness / support, the beds have support potential that is superior to that of other bed types.
Edge support C+ A mattress with good edge support keeps one from falling off the bed when sleeping or sitting close to the edge. Many airbed brands use an "edge to edge" design that provides such support. Most Sleep Number models, however, use foam side walls for edge support which can deteriorate with use and age.
Adjustment of firmness / support a- Mattress firmness / support can be adjusted by adding or removing air. Models with dual chambers have separate adjustment for each side, giving each person their own comfort level. 35%+ of airbed owners say adjustability is a strong advantage. About 6% are disappointed with adjustment because the range is too limited or because it affects only support, not firmness.
Ease of (initial) use d A main downside of adjustability is that finding a personally suitable setting can require time and experimentation, say up to 20% of owners. About 6% report an inability to ever find a suitable setting.
Stability of firmness / support d Firmness / support settings may automatically fluctuate in either direction depending on temperature, barometric pressure, weight and sleep position. About 9% of owners report this to be annoying.
Less (back) pain b+ Pain relief, especially back pain relief, is reported by 20%+ of owners. 10% of owners, however, complain that the bed causes pain for various reasons. (See mattresses & pain relief for general analysis.)
Short break in period B Airbeds – especially those with thinner comfort layers – typically have a shorter-than-average break-in period.
Motion isolation b- Models with two air chambers tend to have above average motion isolation. In other words, they localize the effects of a person's movement so as to minimize disturbance to the person's partner.
Easy to move on / get up off 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 a "middle problem" (see next entry) or thick comfort layers may offer some resistance to movement.
No "middle problem" c- A significant number of owners report that their airbed can sag / slope where the two air chambers meet – causing a sleeper to roll or slide toward / away from the middle. Or owners may report a middle hump or valley. These problems tend to be most noticeable when the firmness setting of the two sides is very different from one another or when both sides use a very low or very high firmness setting. Sleep Number has significantly more complaints on this issue than other airbed brands.
No initial odor / off gassing C+ About 6% of airbed consumers report an initial odor which usually lasts no more than a few weeks but can persist longer in some cases. The odor appears to come from the rubber air chambers and in some cases the foam used in the comfort layer.
No sleeping hot or cold C+ About 6% of owners report that their airbed traps heat. Models with thick comfort layers have the most complaints on this issue. About 4% of owners report that their airbed sleeps cold especially in winter months. These owners usually have a model with a thin comfort layer which results in sleeping almost directly on the air chamber.
Back sleep suitable A- Airbeds tend to be best suited for back sleepers.
Side sleep suitable b- Side sleepers may be dissatisfied with models that lack significant padding or softness as this can place pressure on hips and shoulders.
Front sleep suitable b An excessively soft adjustment setting may result in a stomach sleeper bowing in which can result in back discomfort or pain.
No noise D+ Airbeds produce a rustling, crunching, or squeaking noise when moved on, say about 7% of owners. And while air pump operation has generally become markedly quieter in recent years, pump noise is still a complaint for about 6% of owners. Learn more.
Ready to use D- Airbeds require at least some assembly which can take 15 minutes to two hours depending on several factors. Assembly by the delivery crew may be available for a fee. Other mattress types, with the exception of waterbeds, do not require assembly.
Good for sex, spooning, cuddling c- Most owners say their airbed is acceptable on this issue. Some airbeds (especially most Sleep Number models) 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 uncomfortable. (See the mattresses and sex comparison.)
Easy to handle, lift, move B Since the beds consist of air to a large extent, they tend to be lighter than the average mattress. This for many owners is an advantage as it makes the beds relatively easy to lift and handle. But owners who equate quality with heaviness regard airbeds' low weight as a negative.
No rotating / flipping b- The air chamber(s) do not need to be flipped and or rotated. But the comfort layer(s) and any foam components may benefit from being rotated / flipped occasionally to avoid uneven wear / compression.
Stays put / together D+ The fact that airbeds are comparatively lightweight and modular (consist of separate components) means they are not as stable and integrated as conventional mattresses. This means they are more likely to move on their base and need occasional component adjustment.
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 replacement part costs. Other mattress types often have superior warranty coverage. (See mattress warranties: what you should know.)
Availability at mattress retailers c- There are many Sleep Number stores across the United States. In general, however, airbeds are not widely available. Finding airbeds in mattress stores, especially in smaller markets, is often difficult.

Airbed Brands: Ratings and Comparison

The table below rates and compares many of the more popular airbed mattress brands (in alphabetical order). Select a brand for complete ratings. 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 Satis- faction (Sample)            
81% (43) 81% (185) 82% (37) 78% (132) 82% (244) 77% (1702) 77% (52)
$1150- $3000 $1380- $5700
$1550- $3000 $600- $2800
$450- $3400 $500- $5700 $2700- $4300
Distinctive Advantage Or Trait            
up to six air chambers original airbed company generous return policy at Sams Club popular at Amazon domi- nates airbed market minimal assembly
In Business Since            
1977 1981 2001 1975 2012 1987 1992
SLTD Company Rating            
B- B- B- B B- C- C
In Stores and or Online            
online, some stores online, some stores online online, some stores online stores, online stores, online
several especially nightair beds.com various smaller retailers & comfort aire.com habitat furnish
Sams Club and others personal
bed.com, Amazon
Sleep Number stores / online several retailers
Return Policy Length / Fee            
Can vary by retailer but 90 days, must keep 30 days / no fee at nightair beds.com 100 days, must keep 30 days / no fee 365 days / $75 fee 90+ days / no fee (Sam's) 120 days, must keep 45 days / fee on some models. No returns at Amazon 100 days, must keep 30 days / shipping fee Often 90 days / fee may apply
usually 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 25 yr, 3 yr non prorated 25 yr, 2 yr non prorated 10 yr, 5 yr on pumps, hoses, remotes
-- Ind. sub- sidiary of Select Comfort. Prices valid with coupon code provided at website. -- -- Over 400 stores. Com- petes mainly with Sleep Number m7.

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About Our Unbiased Air Bed Ratings and Research

Ratings are based on 2,400+ 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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