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Mattress Ratings > Air Bed Reviews

unbiased Airbed Reviews, Ratings & Comparisons

Based on 2,395 Owner Experiences Gathered From 541 Sources

October 4, 2016

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

What You Need To Know

THE GOOD: Airbeds provide instant comfort adjustment, including separate adjustment for each sleeper. They perform above-average overall for support potential, conforming ability, and back-pain relief. Longevity is 30% greater than that of other mattress types.

THE BAD: Main owner complaints include difficulty of (initial) use, breakdowns / malfunctions, price and long-term costs, air loss, and noise. 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, memory foam, latex or a combination thereof. Comfort 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 2,350+ 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 77% owner satisfaction. They rate slightly lower than both memory foam and latex beds but significantly higher than innerspring beds. Low-priced airbed models tend to rate somewhat worse than those mid- and high-priced due mainly to minimal padding / 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 spring or foam mattress develops a problem then the entire bed often needs to be replaced or shipped away for repair.
Initial price D+ $500-$4000+ depending on model and size, with the average queen costing about $2250. Thickness, comfort layer material, technology level, and brand name mostly determine price.
Long-term cost D In addition to initial cost, 25%+ of owners will at least partially pay for replacement parts one or more time during ownership. These parts can add up to hundreds of dollars if not more.
Adjustment of firmness / support a- Firmness / support can be adjusted by adding or removing air. Dual chamber models have separate adjustment for each side, providing individualized comfort. Some brands offer models with up to six chambers to provide separate adjustment for shoulders, lumbar and legs. At least 35% of airbeds owners say adjustability is a strong advantage of the beds. 6% are disappointed with it because the range is too limited or they say it affects only support, not firmness.
Stability of firmness / support d Comfort settings may automatically fluctuate in either direction depending on temperature, barometric pressure, weight and sleep position. About 10% of owners report this to be annoying.
General support A- Due to their adjustment ability, the beds have support potential that tends to be superior to that of other bed types. Airbeds with six air chambers are likely capable of providing the highest degree of support.
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 25% of owners. About 6% report an inability to ever find a suitable setting. Six-chamber models likely require more time and experimentation than 2-chamber.
Conforming ability B- An airbed's ability to contour to the curves of one's body and to distribute weight equally is often better than that of an innerspring mattress. But it is somewhat inferior to that of memory foam.
Less (back) pain potential A- Pain relief, especially back pain relief, is reported by 20%+ of airbed owners – a rate that is at least as good as those of other mattress types. 10% of owners say their airbed causes pain for various reasons. (See mattresses & pain relief for general analysis.)
Motion isolation b- Models with at least 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 another person.
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 memory foam comfort layer may offer 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 comfort setting of the two sides is very different from one another or when both sides use a very low or very high setting. Sleep Number has significantly more complaints on this issue than other airbed brands.
Edge support C+ Effective edge support keeps a person from falling off the bed when sleeping or sitting close to the mattress 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 time and wear.
No initial odor / off gassing C+ About 6% of airbed owners report an initial odor which usually lasts no more than a few weeks but can persist longer in some cases. The odor likely comes from the rubber air chambers and any foam used in the comfort layer. (See mattress off gassing for general analysis.)
No sleeping hot C About 6% of owners report that their airbed traps heat to an extent that undermines sleep. Models with thick comfort layers have the most complaints. (See mattress heat retention for general analysis.)
No sleeping cold d+ Like waterbeds, airbeds may sleep cold. About 4% of owners report the problem especially in winter months. These owners usually have a model that has little if any comfort layer which results in sleeping almost directly on the air chamber.
Back sleep suitable B+ Airbeds tend to be best suited for back sleepers.
Side sleep suitable b- Side sleepers may be dissatisfied with models that lack a significant comfort layer as this can place pressure on hips and shoulders. And an incorrect adjustment setting – either too firm or too soft – may place one's spine into an unnatural, uncomfortable position.
Stomach 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 topper needed C Cheaper models – those with little or no comfort layer – have an above average need for a topper to soften the mattress.
No noise D+ Airbeds produce a rustling, crunching, or squeaking noise when moved on, say 7% of owners. And while air pump operation has generally become quieter in recent years, pump noise is still a complaint for about 6% of owners. (See mattress noise for general analysis.)
Ready to use D- Airbeds often 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.
Short break in period B- Airbeds – especially those with thinner comfort layers – typically have a shorter-than-average break-in period.
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 entire mattress does not need to be flipped or rotated. But the comfort layer and any foam components may benefit from being rotated / flipped two or three times a year to avoid uneven wear.
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 2-3 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
Owner Satis- faction (Sample)          
81% (43) 81% (185) 82% (37) 78% (132) 82% (244) 77% (1702)
$1150- $3000 $1380- $5700
$1550- $3000 $600- $2800
$450- $3400 $500- $5700
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
In Business Since          
1977 1981 2001 1975 2012 1987
SLTD Company Rating          
B- B- B- B B- C+
In Stores and or Online          
online, some stores online, some stores online online, some 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
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 / $99 fee 90+ days, must keep 30 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 / ship fee
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
-- Ind. sub- sidiary of Select Comfort. Prices valid with coupon code provided at website. -- -- Over 400 stores.

About Our Unbiased Air Bed Ratings and Research

Ratings are based on 2,350+ 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.

Our mattress research has appeared in –

At Amazon: Airbed

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