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Mattress Ratings > Air Bed Reviews
Based on 2,148 Actual Owner Experiences
|This page rates permanent-use air beds, not temporary-use air beds.|
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 usually 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.
The ratings below are based on 2,140+ 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. ( ) Airbeds rate slightly lower than both memory foam and latex beds, but significantly higher 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 lifespan 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. Also, air support – unlike innerspring or foam support – does not sag or lose resiliency with use and age.|
|Affordable||D||Prices are $450-$5,000+ 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 partly pay for replacement parts at some point during ownership.|
|Less pain / pressure points||b+||The air chambers' ability to contour and conform 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. 35%+ of airbed owners say adjustability is a strong advantage. However, 6% 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 their partner is not disturbed much by it.|
|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 thick pillow tops, especially those with high-density memory foam, may offer some resistance to movement.|
|Even and unob- structed 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.|
|Edge support||C+||A mattress with good edge support keeps you 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, undermining support.|
|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 overall 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 air chamber(s) do not need to be flipped and or rotated. The comfort layer(s) 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 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 for how airbeds compare to other bed types.)|
|Lightweight||c+||Since the mattresses consist of air to a large extent, they tend to be lighter or no heavier than the average mattress. This for many owners is an advantage, but owners who equate quality with heavy weight may be disappointed.|
|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 as widely available as most other bed types. Finding airbeds at mattress showrooms, especially in smaller markets, is often difficult.|
The table below rates and compares many of the more popular air bed mattress brands / models (in alphabetical order). Select a mattress below for full ratings based on consumer experiences. Also, many of the following mattresses can be compared in more detail in the mattress comparison.
|Innomax||Personal Comfort||Sleep Number||Tempur-
|Owner Satis- faction (Sample)|
|81% (27)||83% (193)||77% (42)||85% (27)||78% (151)||80% (30)||78% (1648)||81% (24)|
|$600 - $2500||$1030 - $6710
||$1900 - $4400||$1300 - $3000||$600 - $3000
||$450 - $5000||$450 - $5050||$2700 - $4100|
|Distinctive Advantage Or Trait|
|up to six air chambers||original air bed company||self adjusting, no pumps||generous return policy||value potential||FDA regist- ered mfg facility||dominates airbed market||minimal assembly|
|SLTD Company Rating|
|In Business Since|
|In Stores and or Online|
|online, some stores||online, some stores||stores, online||online||online, some stores||online||stores, online||stores, online|
|several especially nightair beds.com||various smaller retailers & comfort aire.com||several retailers||habitat furnish
|Sams Club, others||personal
|Sleep Number stores / online||many retailers|
|Return Policy Length / Fee|
|can vary by retailer||100 days / no fee / must keep 30 days||can vary by retailer||365 days / $75 fee||90+ days / no fee (Sam's)||120 days / no fee on most models / must keep 45 days||100 days / shipping fee||can vary by retailer|
|20 yr, 2 yr non prorated||25 yr, 2-4 yr non prorated||25 yr, 15 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|
|6 chamber models currently not avail until early 2015||owned by Sleep Number||made by Simmons; new model||made by Water Mattress, Inc.||--||refurb- ished, dis- counted models sold at amazon||over 400 stores||new model as of 2013|
Our ratings are based on 2,140+ 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.
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