Air mattresses make comfortable and convenient alternatives to traditional beds. Often lightweight, simple to use, and easy to pack away when not required, they are a must-have product. They are perfect if you regularly have overnight visitors or stay away from home.
As a sleep researcher with two years of experience studying sleep, running a sleep lab, and reviewing sleep products, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of getting a good night’s sleep — no matter the circumstances.
Well-rested people experience a better mood, more energy, and enjoy their surroundings more; something we can all appreciate while traveling or staying the night away from home. Improper sleep could potentially have an impact on your guests’ social interaction or even ruin their mood for the rest of the day.
If you’ve never purchased an air mattress before or you’re just looking to upgrade to a better model, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve reviewed the top 10 air mattresses can buy in 2021 and included a handy buying guide, too!
How Much Do Air Mattresses Cost?
Air mattresses can cost anywhere from $40 to $300 depending on where you’re shopping, but the majority of customer-approved models cost just over $100. These usually come with useful features like an air pump, electric pump, or built-in pump. You’ll be grateful for this when you’re sitting back and relaxing (rather than huffing and puffing) down the road.
Benefits Of Air Mattresses
With an air mattress, you can make a comfortable bed for you or your guests in minutes. But there are many other benefits of a good air mattress.
- An air mattress is lightweight and easy to store. You can easily move it around your home or pack it in your car when necessary.
- Air mattresses allow you to customize firmness to be as comfortable as possible. If you prefer a softer mattress, fill it with less air. If you prefer a firmer mattress, fill it to capacity.
- They are extremely durable. You can expect an air mattress to last as long as a traditional mattress. Maybe even longer, depending on how often you use it. They’re also less expensive than conventional mattresses.
- If you live in a small home, an air mattress allows you to create a guest room in a hurry. Pull it out of the closet and inflate it anywhere you have some floor space.
5 Best Air Mattresses in 2021:
This top-rated air mattress is a queen size coming in at 58″ x 78″ x 19″. Featuring a raised height design and two individual internal chambers, this adjustable air mattress provides for personalized comfort, making it a great temporary bed for guests.
The 40 durable internal air coils lend this premium mattress increased firmness and support for a more refreshing sleep. It also comes with a sure-grip bottom that prevents the airbed from being pushed around if you toss and turn overnight. The waterproof flocked topper is extra thick for comfort while underneath it is puncture-resistant PVC in multiple layers for resiliency and durability.
For added convenience, this luxury air mattress is also fitted with a 1-click electrical pump that lets you fully inflate and deflate the mattress in no time. A click on the toggle is all you need to do to bring the air mattress to its full size in under 4 minutes. This is perfect if you have guests staying unexpectedly, but bear in mind it is rather noisy. You should also expect some chemical odor upon the first use, but this does dissipate fairly rapidly.
Overall, thanks to its ease of use, comfort and 1-year warranty, this is our most recommended electric inflatable mattress. However, even though this could potentially be the best air mattress for everyday use, you will still need to top up the air every other day or so if you’re using it long-term.
- Queen-size is ideal for accommodating multiple guests
- Raised height feels like a ‘real’ bed
- Separate air chambers allow you to adjust the fill to your liking
- Sure-grip bottom prevents sliding
- Inflates in less than 4 minutes
- Pump is noisy
- Chemical odor for the first few uses
At less than half the price of any other mattress we tried, the Intex Pillow Rest Raised Airbed (Queen) is quite inexpensive, but will still provide your guests with a solid surface to sleep on. This mattress is made with a built-in pillow bar and composed of thousands of high-strength polyester fibers which provide stability and support. The top is covered in a velvety material for extra comfort and the mattress has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, so two people can sleep on it. It has an internal electric pump, but can also be inflated manually with a properly-sized hand pump.
The mattress comes with easy instructions and inflates with the switch of a button. It took less than four minutes to lay out and inflate and I was able to adjust it to my desired level of firmness by turning the dial. It’s also very easy to move up and down the stairs and to different rooms because it’s only about 16 pounds; one of the lightest we tested. However, since it’s so lightweight, it also moved a lot during the night.
Deflating the Intex Pillow Rest Raised Airbed took less than four minutes and it also comes with a convenient storage bag. The air mattress fits perfectly fine in the bag when folded. Considering the price, this is the best option for occasional use; it’s very comfortable for one or two nights, just make sure you provide your guests with a couple of pillows and an extra blanket.
- Affordable price
- Easy-to-use hand pump
- Low to the ground
- Limited 90-day warranty
King is in its name for a reason. Amazon shoppers can’t say enough about this high-quality air mattress. It’s built with coils that fill with air to support your body in a comfortable-yet-firm way. The top is constructed with a thick and quilt-like material that is soft and cushioned—the exact way you’d want your mattress to be.
Close to 12,000 people have given this air mattress a 4.5-star rating because of its dependability that they say goes unmatched. These shoppers say from the easy inflation, deflation, and sleep you’ll get in between, the mattress is a win.
“This air mattress is fantastic,” wrote one five-star reviewer. “I’ve been sleeping on it every night for 10 months … I actually wake up pain free when sleeping on this mattress. I can’t say the same when I travel and stay in hotel beds. It has been my best purchase over the last year. You won’t be disappointed.”
- Suitable for tall people
- Quick inflation
- Larger size is more expensive
The Coleman SupportRest Elite Double High Airbed with Built-in Pump is also a great air mattress—it’s a little cheaper and just as comfortable as the SoundAsleep, and it comes with a built-in pump, an 18-inch height profile, a flocked PVC top, and a one-year warranty. But the motor was a bit louder than the SoundAsleep’s, and out of the box it had a stronger plastic odor than other mattresses, so we think it’s probably worth spending the extra $20 to $30 (depending on size) for our main pick.
The Coleman does inflate in half the time it takes the SoundAsleep (a negligible difference of a minute or so), and it also stays firm throughout the night. It’s the only air mattress we recommend that has a quick-release valve to help the air escape faster when it’s time to pack it up (unlike the SoundAsleep, which can be deflated only by using the pump). It’s still a good idea to use the pump to get as much air out as possible, for more compact storage.
And the Coleman doesn’t have a cubby to store the power cord, which the SoundAsleep does. Coleman seems to have similarly good customer service—we reached out via webchat and were helped within minutes. To redeem the warranty, the company simply requires you to send photos of the damage and a copy of the receipt.
- Multiple size offerings
- Dual-pump prevents sagging
- No coils for added support
In love with the great outdoors? This camping cot from Coleman is one of the top air beds for camping.
Coming complete with a battery-operated pump, this camping air bed is a great choice for weekend adventures. The inner air coil construction supports your body for a comfortable night’s sleep, while the leak-proof design and stitched-in cover ensure that it stays secure and fully-inflated until morning.
With a steel frame strong enough to support heavier sleepers of up to 600lbs, you can sleep easy knowing this camp bed won’t buckle overnight. The built-in cup holders are perfect for storing a bottle of beer or your morning coffee, while the fold-up design makes for simple storage.
All in all, the Coleman Camping Cot is a fantastic choice when sleeping under the stars, but it does have a few drawbacks. It is a little heavy when carried over long distances and the battery-operated pump can painfully slow in inflating the mattress. The camping cot is also rather squeaky, especially when you’re a restless sleeper.
- Inner air coil construction for great support
- Leak-proof stitching
- Built-in cup holders
- Battery-operated pump
- Fold-up design for easy storage
- Quite heavy to transport
- Pump is slow to inflate
What to Look for in Air Mattresses
- Size: You’ll want to think carefully about the size of your mattress in terms of its dimensions and height. If your kids will be using it, a twin will probably suffice. However, adults and couples will likely prefer a full or queen-size mattress.
- Duration of use: Is your mattress going to be used for just a few nights, or is someone planning to sleep on it for an extended period of time? Some air mattresses tend to deflate slowly after a few uses, while others stay inflated for much longer, making them a better option for long-term use.
- Inflation method: Most of today’s air mattresses have pumps to inflate them, which saves you the trouble of having to blow them up manually. However, check whether the mattress you’re considering needs to be plugged into an outlet or if it has a battery-powered pump; the latter is an essential feature if you plan to take it out into the wilderness.
How we picked and tested
We’ve been testing air mattresses since 2014, and after reading user reviews and assessing our own experiences sleeping on them, we settled on the elements that make an air mattress good for home use:
- A built-in electric pump: These pumps allow for the fastest and fullest inflation and deflation, and an attached pump means you don’t have to store (and locate) an extra item.
- A relatively comfortable sleeping surface: An air mattress will never be as comfortable as a real mattress, but it should be able to hold air and not noticeably deflate during the night; it’s normal to need to “top up” the mattress before each subsequent night’s sleep.
- Good customer service and a decent warranty: Air mattresses are not durable items. Most are made from thick vinyl, but we’ve found that it’s almost impossible to entirely prevent tears or leaks. Wirecutter deputy editor Christine Cyr Clisset says she’s had at least four air mattresses die on her in the past five years.
- A reasonable price: A cheap air mattress (less than $60 for a queen) will usually lack an adequate warranty and reliable customer service, and will have lower user ratings, too.
Q. Can I use an air mattress as a permanent bed?
A. Air mattresses aren’t usually designed for everyday use. If you sleep on it every night, durability issues will likely arise after a few months. It’s best to use an air mattress one to two times a week.
Q. How do I store an air mattress?
A. When you’re finished using your mattress, deflate it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure all the air is out of it, as it’s more prone to damage while inflated. Fold the long sides of the mattress in toward the middle. Then either fold it in half or quarters or roll it up. Place it in its box or storage bag before stashing it in a closet or on a shelf. If you can’t find the box or bag, wrap it in a towel to protect it.
Q. How do I clean an air mattress?
A. First, make sure the pump is unplugged. Remove any sheets and other bedding, then run a handheld or hose vacuum over the mattress to remove crumbs, dirt, and debris. Dampen a soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the mattress. Leave the mattress out to dry for four to five hours before folding it up for storage.