|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 heat retention.
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 basis.
The ratings below show how temporary-use air mattresses compare to the average conventional mattress.
|Owner satisfaction||C||Air mattresses overall have 73% owner satisfaction. Satisfaction is higher among owners using them occasionally or for a short time. Satisfaction for the many brands / models can vary considerably.|
|Affordable||a||$8-$200 depending on size / model / features with the average airbed costing about $75. Some come with air pump. Despite the low price, 20% of owners say value is poor because of durability / longevity.|
|Comfort||B-||Two-thirds of owners describe comfort, pressure point relief, and support to be 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 27% of owners (1 in 4) 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.|
|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.|
|No initial odor / off gassing||c||A significant chemical or plastic-like odor is reported by 8% of owners (1 in 13). 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 10% of owners.|
|Temperature neutral||B-||About 6% of owners (1 in 17) report sleeping cold, while virtually no owners report sleeping hot. Placing a pad or blanket on top of the bed can minimize sleeping cold.|
|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||B||Initially, the vinyl material needs to stretch with use. Break in usually occurs within a week.|
|Heavy person friendly||D+||Air mattress weight capacity tends to be around 400-500 pounds, but high weight appears to negatively affect longevity.|
|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 8-22 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 1,000+ owner experiences.
|King Koil||Sound A sleep Dream Series||InstaBed Raised with Never Flat Pump||Intex Classic Downy|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|twin, queen||twin, queen||queen||twin, full, queen|
|built-in pillow.||above average customer service.||has second pump to monitor and maintain air pressure.||pump often not included unlike other models listed here. best price at walmart.com.|
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 elevated height.
Ratings are based on 24,000+ consumer reviews of air mattresses including King Koil, Sound A Sleep and Intex brands. Data was gathered using an unbiased, accurate methodology.