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|This page reviews air mattresses for temporary use, not those for regular use.|
THE GOOD: Often well suited for short-term, limited use • storable • lightweight • generally affordable • adjustable firmness • little or no break-in period.
THE BAD: Durability and longevity often fair at best • fast air loss possible • high maintenance • non elevated models difficult to get up off.
THE MATTRESSES: Air mattresses are made of vinyl and often have a flocked top for warmth. A hand-powered or electric air pump is used for inflation. The mattresses are designed mainly for guest use, sleep overs, travel, and camping.
THE COMPETITION: See the mattress price comparison for ratings on other low-priced mattresses that are often used on a temporary / occasional / light basis.
The ratings – based on 25,000+ consumer reviews – show how temporary-use air mattresses compare to the average mattress.
|Owner satisfaction||C||Air mattresses overall have 73% owner satisfaction. Owners who use them occasionally or for a short time tend to be more satisfied than owners who use them regularly or for an extended time. There can be variation in owner satisfaction among the many brands / models.|
|Comfort||B-||About 75% of owners describe comfort as good or better. The rest say their mattress is uncomfortable due to an inability to hold air or due to excessive firmness. Some owners add a topper to improve comfort.|
|Durability / longevity||d||About 25% of owners report durability / longevity problems, mainly air leaks resulting from punctures, splitting seams, and or valve problems. Air mattresses have a lifespan on average of no more than one year with regular use. With occasional use, 1-4 years.|
|Affordable||a||$8-$185 depending on size / model / features. Some come with an air pump, others do not. Despite the low price, 20% of owners say value is average or worse because of poor durability / longevity.|
|Easy to get on and off||D||Getting on and up off a standard elevation air mattress placed on the floor can be difficult. Height tends to range 8 to 22 inches.|
|Heavy person friendly||C-||Most air mattresses have a weight capacity of around 300 pounds.|
|No initial odor / off gassing||c+||A significant chemical or plastic-like odor is reported by 8% of owners. The odor can last for several days or even weeks in some cases and can make sleeping on the bed unpleasant during this time.|
|No noise||C-||Moving on the bed may produce some noise, say about 9% of owners.|
|Temperature neutral||C||About 6% of owners report sleeping cold, while virtually no owners report sleeping hot.|
|Adjustable firmness||B||Firmness can be adjusted by adding / removing air. However, filling to maximum firmness may increase risk of developing air leaks.|
|Fast break in||A-||Unlike most conventional mattresses, air mattresses require little if any break-in period.|
|Couple friendly||D+||Air mattresses are generally not well suited for couples. The movement of one person will often disturb another person on the bed with an up and down motion.|
|Easy to maintain||D-||The need to regularly add air is often required as the mattresses tend to lose a significant amount of air daily.|
|Easy to move, lift, handle||a||Air mattresses typically weigh 8-20 lbs making them easy to transport carry and store, unlike conventional mattresses.|
|Warranties||d-||Warranties tend to range from no warranty to one year. Successfully filing a claim is often difficult.|
The table below compares air mattresses that have 77% or higher owner satisfaction based on a sample of 1000+ owner experiences.
|AeroBed Inflatable Bed for Kids||Sound A sleep Dream Series||InstaBed Raised with Never Flat Pump||Intex Pillow Rest with Built-in Electric Pump||Intex Classic Downy|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|93% (1018)||91% (11,075)||82% (4449)||80% (5069)||77% (4278)|
|50 by 25 inches||twin, queen||twin, queen||twin, queen||twin, full, queen|
|has 4" surround safety cushion.||above average customer service.||has 2nd pump to monitor and maintain air pressure.||built-in pillow.||pump often not included unlike other models listed here.|
Standard elevation air mattresses are 10 inches or lower in height, while raised air mattresses are over 10 inches high.
Raised have the advantage of being more like a conventional bed in terms of height which makes getting on and up off of the bed easier. Raised have the disadvantage of being up to three times more expensive than standard elevation. Raised can also be somewhat wobbly and lack stability due to their height.
Ratings are based on 25,000+ consumer reviews of air mattresses including Aerobed, Sound A Sleep and Intex brands.
Data was gathered using an unbiased, accurate methodology.
– About 25% of temporary-use air mattress owners report quality issues, mainly air leaks from punctures, splitting seams, or valve problems. Air leaks usually cause the mattress to be unusable.
– Air mattresses tend to have little or no warranty protection.
– Most owners say their air mattress is easy to use at least initially because inflating and deflating is simple and fast.
– The mattresses are often considered high maintenance as air must be added on a regular basis.
– About 75% of owners describe comfort as good or better. The rest say the bed is uncomfortable mainly due to an inability to hold air or due to excessive firmness.
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