Air mattresses offer a great temporary bedding situation, and the best ones compromise the least amount of comfort while achieving the added convenience of an extra bed at a moment’s notice. While not designed for extended everyday use, air mattresses should be durable and comparable in comfort to a traditional mattress. They’re perfect for visiting relatives, last-minute overnight guests, housing transitions, and even camping.
When thinking about what makes an ideal air mattress, we focused on the core feature of an internal pump. Not only does it make inflation and deflation super easy, but having it built into the mattress itself means there’s no need to worry about keeping track of multiple parts. Looking at the array of products available, we found that the air mattresses that rise to the top all meet similar standards of design and durability. That said, learning more about the details can help with deciding on the right purchase.
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress with ComfortCoil Technology & Internal High Capacity Pump
- The inside of the mattress is reinforced with “air coils” designed to help maintain the shape and avoid a sagging middle. This technology is also meant to better align the spine for side sleepers.
- Both the top and the bottom of the mattress are reinforced for durability. The top is made of puncture-resistant eco-friendly PVC underneath a waterproof layer of flocked velvet-like coating. The bottom of the mattress has a grip surface to prevent unwanted sliding.
- Of all the air mattresses that we reviewed, this one is available in the most size options. In addition to Twin and Queen (everything we reviewed comes in these sizes) this product also comes in Twin XL and King.
- Because it is designed for indoor use rather than camping outdoors, it needs to be plugged into wall to use the built-in pump. No external pumps can be used to inflate the mattress.
A dependable air mattress with a built-in pump that inflates—or deflates—in minutes. At 19 inches tall, this mattress features a ‘double height’ over standard inflatable beds, providing a closer experience to sleeping on a traditional mattress.
King Koil Air Mattress with Built-in Pump
- This air mattress has a built-in pillow and a soft flocked top, which means that it can be used comfortably in a pinch, even without bedsheets or pillows—just add a blanket or comforter.
- When used with bedsheets, the additional flocking on the sides keep bedsheets more securely in place.
- This mattress has an additional valve that can be used for inflating with an external pump. This option makes it versatile for situations where there isn’t an electrical outlet available.
- For those looking for a larger size, this is the only product we reviewed that comes in a California King.
- This air mattress doesn’t come in Twin XL or King size.
This is another excellent option that has very similar features to the leading products on the market, including internal support coils, a grip bottom, flocked top, and double height. On top of that, it’s available in the largest size (California King), and comes in the sleek color options of black or beige.
Intex Dura-Beam Standard Series Pillow Rest Raised Airbed
- While it’s not as tall as other air mattresses on our list, it’s height of 16.5 inches still sets it apart from standard inflatable beds.
- It includes a built-in raised pillow and flocked top.
- There’s also the option to use an external pump.
- Good for the price-conscious buyer. It would also work well for those who are looking for an air mattress to use every once in awhile.
- Some people report size discrepancies with standard bed sizing.
This air mattress offers a comparable sleeping experience to some of the leading products we reviewed, but at a bargain price. Like those options, this lower-cost alternative is constructed with an internal contour support system and has additional features for comfort. It also comes with a soft carrying/storage bag.
Active Era Premium Air Mattress with Built-in Electric Pump & Raised Pillow
- It has a built-in raised pillow for head and neck support.
- It comes with a drawstring carry bag with single shoulder strap. It’s also a few pounds lighter than our top picks, which helps with portability.
- In addition to the internal electric pump, there’s an external valve to use if there’s no access to electricity, such as when camping or on the go.
- A comparably affordable option for those who want all the same features as more expensive air mattresses.
- The height of the air mattress seems to have some inconsistencies across seller and manufacturer listings.
For those looking for something with a mid-range price tag that still comes with the bells and whistles, this is a terrific choice. This mattress is equipped with the leading qualities we look for in a comfortable and convenient air mattress: internal reinforcement, double-height, flocked top, and cord storage—a step up from the cheapest options while still pricing significantly below the top brands..
Best for Added Height
Etekcity Air Mattress with Built-in Pump
- While there’s no built-in pillow like a few of the other products on our list, it does have slightly raised edges to help sleepers from rolling off.
- Like some of the other selections, it features a non-slip bottom and an additional valve that supports external pumps.
- The added height is a nice feature to help make getting on and off the air mattress closer to what it’s like sleeping in a real bed, as opposed to inflatable beds that are low to the floor. This can be especially helpful for people whose height or other physical needs would make a lower mattress more difficult or uncomfortable to use.
- Given the extra height, it’s slightly heavier than the other options we reviewed.
With many double-high air mattresses measuring 18-19 inches tall, this air mattress offers even more height. In addition, this product is like all the others on this list with its quick, automatic inflation via an electric pump, a flocked top, and reinforced internal support.
How We Picked
When browsing the market we found a set of qualities that is pretty standard among high performing air mattresses. These include internal reinforcements, grip bottom, flocked tops, cord storage and carrying bag.
Each air mattress has its own particular technology to help with stability and shape, whether it’s air coils or fiber beams. These designs offer a supportive surface all across the mattress, helping to prevent slouching in the center.
A flocked top is another pretty standard design feature. It provides a velvet-like texture that helps with temperature, comfort, and keeping sheets in place. This material is layered on top of puncture-resistant PVC to create a mattress top that is both sturdy and soft to the touch.
We opted to highlight air mattresses that were double-high, or close to it, rather than the low-to-the-ground options that are more like sleeping pads. While those options have their own virtues, such as being more lightweight and therefore easier to carry around (useful for outdoor activities or frequent traveling), when we searched for built-in pumps, most products we found were double-height air mattresses most suitable for indoor home use. The benefit of added height is that it provides an experience closer to that of using a traditional bed.
Everything we reviewed is available in Twin and Queen sizes. Our top picks have additional sizes available. Twin size is good for single sleepers; Queen-size and up can sleep a pair or one person who wants extra room. For people looking specifically for a King or California King, we’ve included one selection for each of those options.
Air mattresses with all the bells and whistles are, naturally, on the higher end of the price range, so we also included several products at different price intervals for those who aren’t looking to make an expensive purchase. In our search, we found bargain options, with low price being the main priority, as well as products we think of as great value options, which offer the most features at a bit of a higher cost (though still much cheaper than the top prices).
An air mattress can be a minor or major purchase, depending on your budget, the product price, and the importance and timing of the situation it’s needed for. With that in mind, we put together a few questions that may be useful to think about to guide your decision.
- How many people will be sleeping on the air mattress?
This will determine one of the main considerations: size. Twin-sized mattresses are good for one person, while a larger size can accommodate a couple or a small family. A Twin XL is a good idea for a single sleeper who is taller. If the air mattress is meant to act as a spare bed for a variety of guests, the answer may vary depending on the situation. In that case, a larger size allows for the most versatility.
- Do you want the option to use the air mattress outdoors?
All the products on our list have built-in pumps that can be used by plugging into a power outlet, but not all of them have the option to be inflated using another type of pump. It’s important to keep this in mind for situations such as camping or when an air mattress will be used in some other area that doesn’t have access to an electrical socket. When looking for an air mattress with an additional valve, it’s also a good idea to double check the valve’s particular compatibility with external pumps.
- Is customer service support an important consideration, particularly for more expensive purchases?
If deciding on the right air mattress is a significant purchase for you, it’s advisable to think about what kind of customer service support you want. Manufacturers that have this service in place may be able to help with detailed questions, concerns, defects, and warranties, which can be quite helpful for those committed to getting the perfect air mattress for their particular needs.
A good night’s sleep should be an option even when a person isn’t sleeping in their normal bed. Whether it’s buying one for guests or for personal use, breaking down the pros and cons of the leading products can help sort through which air mattress best aligns with any given situation.