Air mattress • April 02, 2017

The Best
Air Mattress
For 2017

Top Rated Icon

Top Rated

Camping Icon

Camping

Guests Icon

Guests

Best Value Icon

Value

Advertiser Disclosure

No matter the situation, today's air mattresses will have you or your guests sleeping comfortably and waking up rested. Whether you’re off on a camping adventure, entertaining overnight guests or simply looking to upgrade, we’ve got air bed recommendations to suit your needs.

We reviewed several popular air beds commonly available on Amazon - focusing solely on queen sized models. Through our selection criteria we whittled them down to bring you our picks for the best air mattress of 2017.

SoundAsleep Dream Series
SoundAsleep Dream Series
90
% Recommended
Available Sizes
Twin, Queen
Recommendation
Best for 2017
Best for 2017
Price Range
$95 - $180
Pump Type
Built-In
SoundAsleep Dream Series
90
% Recommended
Check Price
Lightspeed Outdoors Air Bed
Lightspeed Outdoors Air Bed
85
% Recommended
Available Sizes
Queen
Recommendation
Best for camping
Best for camping
Price Range
$70 - $80
Pump Type
Battery Pump
Lightspeed Outdoors Air Bed
85
% Recommended
Check Price
Intex Comfort Plush Elevated
Intex Comfort Plush Elevated
84
% Recommended
Available Sizes
Twin, Full, Queen
Recommendation
Best value
Best value
Price Range
$40 - $80
Pump Type
Built-in
Intex Comfort Plush Elevated
84
% Recommended
Check Price
Insta-Bed Raised
Insta-Bed Raised
83
% Recommended
Available Sizes
Twin, Queen
Recommendation
A good buy
A good buy
Price Range
$70 - $190
Pump Type
Built-In
Insta-Bed Raised
83
% Recommended
Check Price

There are a number of different air mattress brands and models on the market - too many to feasibly evaluate. For this comparison, we selected the most popular air mattress models commonly available from Amazon. 

Each model had minimum of 500 reviews and with consistency in mind, we looked only at the queen-sized mattresses. Though all we’re available in smaller sizes.

Pairing consumer insights with our own experiences sleeping on air mattresses, we decided on a few fundamental tenants of a good air mattress.

Comfort

Above all else comfort is king. Hands down, it’s the most important consideration when buying a air mattress. After reading customer reviews, the number one complaint was an ‘uncomfortable night’s sleep.’ The typical cause of which was a flat air mattress that had deflated during the night. All air mattresses leak air, but over the course of a night sleep it should up firm and not need a top-up.

The standard height of queen sized bed is around 18 inches high. In keeping with this, the most comfortable air mattresses we’d experienced we’re raised off ground - making it nice an easy to climb in and out of them.

Built-in pump

A built-in electric pump. What an invention. These pumps make it easy to inflate and deflate the mattress within a few minutes. And by being fixed to the wall of the mattress you avoid the hassle of storing (and finding) a seperate pump. Not all pumps are built-in, but for obvious reason.

Manual air bed pump

A plug-in electric pump doesn’t serve you much use when you’re out in the wilderness. Rechargeable battery powered pumps are perfect for camping adventures away from power sockets.  Hassle-free, they offer a compact alternative to clunky and tiresome manual inflation pumps.  All of the air mattress models in this comparison include a plug-in or rechargeable air pump.

Reasonable pricing

After a quick glance of the market, two price brackets emerged, under $50 and under $120. Cheap air mattresses (under $50) often lacked a decent warranty and we’re generally rated lower by users. For expensive air mattresses, those priced over $120, you see diminishing returns in comfort and quality. They’re no more comfortable or durable than their lower priced alternatives.

Quality is paramount, but it many situations affordability trumps. We recognize that there are two different groups of buyers, those who choose the best, and those who go with the cheapest. We provide recommendations for each.

Our market analysis

Of the original air mattresses identified, we whittled down our selection to 13 models by applying the above criteria.

Our evaluation method was simple: we compiled existing research data with user ratings to create a meta-rating for each air mattress model.

Lab test data from authority blogs provided performance metrics on inflation times and air leakage. While blind testing from lab and consumer tests set our comfort benchmark. In addition we examined 30,738 buyer reviews from Amazon, Walmart and sporting retailers. We noted general sentiment, common complaints, and the distribution of one-star and five-star reviews.

Comfort and reliability are good traits in both indoor and camping air mattresses. However, we felt the needs/wants of the user in each situation differed greatly when it came to features like air pumps, mattress height, materials and weight.

To address this, we segmented the selection into two groups. Air mattresses intended for; (a) home use (indoor) and (b) camping.  

For both groups, we evaluated each model’s price-to-value ratio.

Pricing vs. value analysis of indoor air mattresses:
Pricing vs. Value Analysis of Indoor Air Beds

Air mattresses furthest to the right have a higher meta-rating than those to the left. And blow up beds closer to the bottom are more affordable. 

The sweet spot is the lower right quadrant. Air mattresses within this zone have the highest meta-ratings and also cost less than comparable alternatives. 

Any air bed that appears in the upper left quadrant should be avoided as this area tends to represent low quality and high prices. While, blow up mattresses in the lower left quadrant are again presumably lower in quality but cheaper.

PRICING VS. VALUE ANALYSIS OF CAMPING AIR MATTRESSES
Pricing vs. Value Analysis of Inflatable Beds for Camping

Pairing the matrix data with the specific feature sets we settled one four air mattress recommendations: the SoundAsleep Dream Series, the Insta-bed Raised, the Intex Comfort Plush (for small budgets) and the LightSpeed PVC-free air bed for camping.

It's difficult to find an air mattress that provides the comfort of your traditional mattress with the versatility of an air bed. 

When looking for an blow up mattress to use in your home, it is easy to fall in the trap of looking for quality at the lowest possible price. This usually, not always, yields disappointment.

SoundAsleep recognizes the challenges you face when shopping for an air mattress for guests and use around the home. The result is the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress. Your house guests can now sleep in the comfort of a traditional mattress - without sacrificing the convenience that comes with an air bed. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at why this SoundAsleep model is so popular.

SoundAsleep dream series review

First off, it's built to a true queen size so that an individual or couple can comfortably fit and sleep on it. The dimensions work out to be 78” x 58” x 19” inflated.

Of importance to note is the height at 19”. When looking for an air bed, height is often overlooked. This height provides the sleeper with a sense of security. Sub-consciously or consciously, it's like they're sleeping on a traditional bed. 

What is ComfortCoil Technology? Each Dream Series air mattress is made with 40 individual air coils. This provides the sleeper with a uniform flat surface. Ever try to get a good night’s rest on an uneven air bed? 

Perhaps your house guest, or guests, have a preference for the bed’s firmness. Are they stuck with how firm it is once inflated? 

No. The SoundAsleep inflatable mattress comes with an EZ Pump. Why is this important? 

SoundAsleep Built-in Pump

The EZ Pump is designed so that the user can adjust the firmness level of the bed to their preference. And you can rest easy knowing that this blow up bed can hold up to 500 pounds.

Let’s go back to the EZ Pump for a moment, as it has other features as well. It's distracting to everyone in the home (and probably the neighbors) when inflating an air mattress sounds like an airplane preparing for takeoff. This pump is 20% quieter than the competition. Additionally, you will be able to inflate the mattress in 4 minutes, and deflation takes the same amount of time. 

Geez, I got another leak in my air bed. Now, I have to find the hole and patch it, what a hassle when I have guests over... SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattresses are constructed using durable 15 gauge material. Additionally, the top is flocked and multi-layered keeping the bed’s shape and firmness consistent through the night.

SoundAsleep Dream Series Cover Bag

To sum up about the materials, this bed will provide the user with a comfortable night’s sleep without the hassle of sagging and air loss. The top is also waterproof and has a soft feel to it. 

When an air mattress is inflated and on a hard, flat surface, it can have a propensity to slide around. With the SureGrip bottom, your SoundAsleep air bed will stay put overnight.

Lastly, if for some unforeseen reason you have to contact their customer support team, we have found that they empathize with whatever difficulty you are having and are eager to help.

Drawbacks

We did discover some weak points to the SoundAsleep air bed. If you will be using this mattress in a cold weather climate, you may find that it is cool/cold to the touch at first.

In our research, we found that some people prefer a longer power cord than the one that is provided. Finally, this air bed is designed for home use, so it is not for camping/outdoors purposes.

Our verdict

There is little to complain about with this blow up mattress. Performing at the top of it's class across every comfort, inflation, air holding and pricing analysis measure.

It's rare to find an air bed so popular and well reviewed as this SoundAsleep model. Its price is in line with the competition, if not cheaper than some less quality air mattresses. The customer service is unparalleled, and the air bed exceeds our expectations in comfort, quality, and convenience. 

With no reservations, the SoundAsleep Dream Series is our pick of bunch.

Have you ever had to lug an air mattress that was designed for home use on a camping trip? Argh. 

They can be bulky, carrying that over-sized bag to the campsite. Then, you have to inflate it, only to realize once you get the tent up that you do not have access to a wall outlet.

Drop these frustrations from your camping getaways. These are times when you are suppose to relax and enjoy nature. Not stress out over your blow up mattress.

Lightspeed Outdoors has you in mind with their 2 person 'PVC-free' air bed.

Let's take an in-depth look at why this air mattress is the right fit for your camping and travel needs. 

Our Lightspeed Outdoors review

Why is it important to take into consideration this model being free of PVC? Some people have heightened sensitivity to certain chemicals. Some believe that PVC emits toxins. While we, who are conducting this review, are not doctors, we feel as if it is necessary to address this concern that some people have.

Lightspeed Outdoors has taken these concerns into consideration. This air mattress is constructed from high-grade polyester oxford. This polyester is laminated with TPU, which is thermoplastic polyurethane. The result of this design is an air bed that is free of PVC and phthalate. 

Also, there is another benefit to this feature. PVC has a tendency to stretch.

What is common with air mattresses constructed of PVC is when it is inflated, especially the first couple of times, the PVC stretches. Often resulting in you having to “top up” the mattress with extra air during the night.

With TPU and polyester oxford construction, the only need for a “top up” may occur during its first use (which is common with all air mattresses).

LightSpeed Outdoors Folded Up Air Bed

Additionally, this material is durable and resistant.  Enabling the owner to enjoy extended use free of unnecessary punctures and abrasions.

Couples can get a good night's rest free of movements and shifts in the mattress. Lightspeed Outdoors air beds include a patented stabilizer system. For example, if one person weighs 150 pounds and the other weighs 200 pounds, the weight will be evenly distributed across the mattress. The result? A comfortable night for both sleepers.

If you have certain preferences on bed firmness, the battery-operated pump and boston valve can be adjusted to suit.

LightSpeed Outdoors Cover Bag

You will also find this mattress to be lightweight. The lightest of all the air mattresses we reviewed. When camping, we know how beneficial this is. Oh, and it also packs up smallest too.

Drawbacks

The weak points with this air mattress include the extra weight that needs to be carried with the air pump batteries. This mattress is designed specifically for outdoors/camping use, so it is not for home use. 

Finally, we have found that you may need to get a foam mattress to place on top when camping in colder weather.

Our verdict

For the avid outdoors enthusiast who loves to camp, finding a reliable and durable air mattress can be frustrating. Once you get to your destination, unpack, and get your tent up the last thing you need is a faulty air bed.

For camping and travel, we love the Lightspeed Outdoors air bed.

The mattress itself is made of lightweight TPU material. For people who are sensitive to certain chemicals, or health conscious, this mattress meets their needs as it is free of PVC and phthalate. 

If you are looking for a comfortable air mattress for camping, we are certain this Lightspeed model will meet your expectations.

The only drawbacks that we can see is the necessity for batteries, as they can be heavy in a backpack. But, the alternative is a manual pump which, depending on your view, could be worse. Additionally, if you are camping in colder weather, it may be necessary to place a foam mattress on top to keep warm.

The loss of air in an air mattress may be the most common complaint that consumers have with air beds. It's so frustrating, for the person trying to get a night’s rest. And let’s be honest, it's embarrassing for the host.

Insta-bed has developed the patented neverFLAT pump system for this reason.

There is a primary pump for inflation and deflation, which takes 4 minutes each way. The second pump there to monitor, and quietly inflate, your Insta-bed while you sleep. 

They recognize that some air loss is inevitable. Building in a fail safe so the sleeper will not wake up in the middle of the night to a deflated mattress.

The primary pump has automatic shut off features which prevent motor burnout while inflating and deflating. Additionally, there are 3 firmness settings - plush, medium, or firm. Simply choose your desired firmness and the Insta-bed will inflate to this setting.

Insta-Bed NeverFlat Pump

Better yet, once your bed has reached the desired level, the secondary silent pump will maintain that firmness all through the night.

Our Insta-bed review

This queen sized inflatable mattress measures at 80" x 60" x 18" fully inflated. The height is of particular importance, as this raised height provides the sleeper with an added sense of security. It gives the feel of a traditional mattress. Not to mention you can sit on the side of it and put on your shoes.

Insta-Bed Carry Bag

35 circular coils provide support and keep the beds shape and firmness in place overnight. There are also horizontal and vertical reinforcements to assist.

Drawbacks

As with everything in life, there are drawbacks to the best of anything.

What we found with the Insta-bed is a few weaknesses, starting with the possibility of needing a foam mattress. The raised portions can cause discomfort for some people, and the foam can help alleviate this. 

There are scattered reports of leaks developing around the pumps after 3-6 months use. 

Finally, some customers report an odor when the mattress is first used. Bear in mind that the Insta-bed is designed for indoor use only. 

Our verdict

The Insta-bed is recommended for those who want a reliable and comfortable air bed for their house guests - at more affordable price.

The two pump design is genius. The primary inflates and deflates in 4 minutes. While the secondary pump quietly keeps the air mattress at one of the three chosen firmness settings.

The disadvantages that we discovered with the Insta-bed do not outweigh all of its features and benefits. 

With a meta-rating of 4.1/5 this air mattress is a good pick.

For those of us who are shopping for an air mattress on a budget, the choices available to you can be overwhelming.

Let’s look at a common set of circumstances. You move into a new home, and do not have a spare bed for your guests to sleep in. Yet, you do not want them to have to stay in a hotel.

Coupling your frustration, your sibling, who will be spending the weekend soon, has a bad back. So, this sibling needs a raised bed to comfortably get in and out of.

You begin browsing through Amazon for an air mattress. Most of the ones you see in your price range, once inflated, sit low to the ground. Sure, there are air beds available on the market that sit high, but they're too expensive for your budget.

You're looking for a good, but affordable air mattress.

Thankfully, you don’t have to look any further. Intex has recognized the need for an affordable, raised inflatable mattress.

In fact, Intex dominate the low priced inflatable bed market. Being the only brand worth considering in this price bracket.

Out of the four Intex models we considered, the Comfort Plush was  the highest rated.

Our Intex comfort plush review

The Intex Comfort Plush, once inflated, measures at 60” x 18” x 80”. The 18” height will make it easy for someone with back, knee, or leg difficulties to get in and out of the air bed.

This Intex model comes with a built-in electric pump for easy inflation. Many times, when shopping for an cheap blow up mattress, manufacturers do not include an electric air pump. They opt to go with a manual pump.

The pump that is included with this model inflates the mattress in approximately 4 minutes.

Intex Comfort Plush Built-in Pump

The top of the inflatable mattress is flocked and waterproof. You will also find a dual air pillow-top system, providing additional comfort. A nice touch for any air mattress is the indented sides, these help keep the sheets from sliding through the night. 

The Dura-Beam Series of air beds use a unique support system to reduce sagging, thereby increasing back support. The Fiber-Tech construction provides strength, which in turn equates to more support.

Drawbacks

Some of the drawbacks that have been reported include a sagging on the edges when sitting on this air bed. 

Additionally, this air bed does need (per customer feedback) to be re-inflated occasionally. Numerous couples have tried to sleep on the mattress and found it to be space confined. 

Lastly, there are observations of people placing a memory foam mattress on top of it for added comfort.  

Our verdict

Common sense says that “we get what we pay for”, and many times this adage holds true. 

Couple laying on Intex Comfort Plush

In the case of the Intex Comfort Plush air mattress, this might not be the case. 

Yes, it's not the best on the market. And yes it not the cheapest either (only by a few dollars). But when it comes to affordability, it's our pick for best value blow up mattress out there.

For the single adult who is on a budget, and expecting guests, this air mattress is what you need.

What you will sacrifice minor inconveniences, be it the need to re-inflate occasionally or the sagging, will be made up by price savings.

All things considered, this air mattress is a good value for the budget oriented shopper.

A Quick Recap
Model Sizes Best for...
SoundAsleep Dream Series Twin, Queen All Rounder
Lightspeed Outdoors Queen Camping
Insta-Bed Raised Twin, Queen Guests
Intex Comfort Plush Twin, Full, Queen Value