Air mattresses can be life savers in a wide variety of different scenarios. Let’s say that you’re about to throw a party and you want to invite lots of friends over to enjoy some drinks and some board games. Where are they going to stay?
If they have to find their own accommodation, then they’ll have to spend money and they might not be able to come. And even if they can come and stay in a hotel, it will still bring the night to an end sooner than necessary and will involve a cold, sobering walk to their accommodation.
Sure, you could get people to sleep on the floor, or on the couch… but it’s hardly ideal!
You could buy a regular bed yes, but most of us only have space for one or two beds in our homes maximum. Futons are a good idea, but these too take up a lot of space and are rather cumbersome to set up.
And what about when you want to go and visit friends? What if they don’t have accommodation for you?
All these situations can be solved by an air bed. You can easily store an air bed in a cupboard or behind the sofa when not in use, but when it is needed, you can simply inflate it and provide a sleeping experience second only to a real bed.
Better yet, you can also throw those air beds into the trunk of your car and take them with you the next time you’re invited to a friend’s. Or you can throw them into a rucksack if you’re going hiking even!
Some air beds will also provide you with in-built electric pumps. These can quickly inflate the mattress for you and prevent you from having to spend hours on a foot pump. A range of other features are also common, from cup holders and stands, to folding frames that you can stand your mattress on top of.
The best air mattress then can find a ton of uses in your home and help you to quickly expand the maximum capacity of your home as the situation demands, or to take your own comfortable sleeping arrangements with you on the road.
But of course there is no single air mattress that is going to offer all of these benefits. And then there’s the fact that some mattresses are simply better made than others.
The key to getting the best air bed, is to know precisely what it is that you will be using it for and then how to find a bed that will meet your criteria. That’s what this guide is for: this is your complete guide to finding the best air mattress for you.
When you start looking for air beds, the best place to start is by knowing precisely what you are going to be using it for. While some air beds are very versatile and can adapt to a range of situations, most will still have more ideal use-case scenarios and are going to particularly lend themselves to a particular situation.
For example, the best air bed for camping is not likely to be the best air bed for hosting your parents when they come to stay. The cheapest air bed is also not likely to be the most comfortable air bed.
Find out which inflatable bed is your match.
Knowing the scenario then is going to help you to know which features and specifications to look for and even where to buy air mattresses for the best results. A hiking or camping store for example is not going to be the best place to find a mattress that offers maximum comfort and doubles up as a sofa! That said, Amazon is one of the best places to find air mattresses of all kinds, as we will see.
A camping air bed for instance is going to be one that doesn’t include an electric pump. Electric pumps are great features when it comes to hosting guests because they save time blowing up the bed, but they aren’t so good when camping because they add to the total weight of the package and they also require a power outlet. This is not going to be particularly useful when you’re on the road!
Likewise, a camping air bed should offer you particular durability. These are going to be strewn onto uneven terrain, thrown into backpacks and more, so they need to be able to stand up to the punishment. Finally, a camping air bed will also be particularly portable.
On the other hand, if you are looking for an air bed that can replace your need for a futon and that you can use in order to host guests, then you will likely want to get something considerably taller (which will prevent the sleeper from feeling items on the ground) and something with additional features such as a remote or side tables for holding drinks etc.
This will then likely be more expensive though and be less easy to store. So if you are a student and you’re looking for somewhere that your guests can sleep during parties etc., it might actually make more sense to get something more akin to a camping air bed, as that way you’ll be able to store it more easily and won’t be spending as much – and a drunken student is hardly going to mind whether their bed is the comfiest thing in the world.
You need to consider durability and longevity (which greatly impacts on value for money) and you also need to consider the amount of space you have on your ground.
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best air mattress options in each category.
One group that is likely to find themselves needing to sleep on the move a lot, is truckers. If you often find yourself heading out on long journeys in your truck, then you may often find yourself sleeping in said truck. You might have a cabin for this over the cabin but if not, then you’ll need another solution.
One such solution is to use an air mattress which you can place in the back and then use to sleep on as though you were taking your very own bed with you on the road. In this case, this is an air mattress designed specifically for truckers and that is designed to compensate for wheel arches as a result.
It has a portable DC air pump that will work on the road and perfect inflated dimensions for fitting into the back. Note that there are several options to fit different sizes of truck and you should be able to find the best fit for your specific vehicle by following the links on the Amazon store page. The high grade PVC construction will ensure durability and longevity, while the comfort coil system should help to spread your weight so you don’t end up sleeping against the cold hard truck floor.
Right now, this air bed is slightly under $100 on Amazon, which is great value if it’s going to give you more comfortable nights on the road for years to come. This is a perfect example of just how versatile air mattresses are and just how handy they are to use in a wide range of different specific scenarios.
Sometimes, letting your guests sleep on the floor just isn’t going to cut it! In that scenario, the Coleman Airbed Cot - Queen comes highly recommended.
This is somewhere between a futon and an air mattress and works by providing a folding metal frame and an inflatable mattress. That makes this perhaps the best air mattress for luxury, as your guests won't be right against the floor and will be able to climb into bed as usual. It also means that other things can be stowed underneath and it means that the bed can be placed on harder floor without that impacting on the comfort.
This also means that the bed can be used outdoors and the listing actually has a photo of a couple using it in a tent! More likely though, this will be the option you keep for when guests like your parents, or perhaps a business partner come round. When you’re trying to impress, this makes a much better impression than a camping mattress! And the cup holders on either side are a nice added bonus…
Of course you might be wondering why you wouldn’t just get a futon. The answer is that a futon provides you with a folding mechanism and a mattress or sofa cushions which don’t fold down flat. This option is superior as the frame can fold down even smaller, without having to worry about a cumbersome mattress in the way!
Okay, so LUCID 4 Inch Folding Mattress - Twin Size is not an air mattress but it is a good alternative to one, as a highly comfortable temporary bed. The mattress is made from foam and has a folding design that allows it to be used in a large variety of different ways.
At its full size, it will measure 54”x75”x4”, while the folded dimensions will be closer to 26.75”x54”x12”. It is light and while it can be stowed away more easily than a larger bed, it is not as compact as a true airbed.
This folding bed is made up of three parts that can be stacked on top of each other or laid out flat across the ground. One of the most interesting configurations is the option to make it into a sofa shape, which can help you to host guests too. Conversely, when laid out completely flat, it will allow you to use it as a floor mat for a range of activities.
The LUCID 4 comes in multiple sizes. The full size version is around $150 and offers great value for money and a lot of versatility for people who would rather not use a traditional air bed. There are several smaller and larger sizes also for those who need them.
When you consider all these aspects, you have a mattress that is actually highly versatile and that can be used in a wide range of different scenarios. This can be your place to sit while watching TV, it can be something fun for you to sit on when you’re on the ground playing party games or it can be a bed for multiple people at a range of heights.
If you’re a camper, a hiker, a mountaineer or anyone else who enjoys heading out into the wilderness for adventures, then you should consider the ALPS Mountaineering Recheargeable Air Bed. This is an excellent product for people who want comfort on the move and one that offers a fair number of advantages over the leading competition.
One great feature for instance, is the rechargeable pump. Just because you’re hiking doesn’t mean you want to spend a long time pumping a bed manually and nor does it mean you’ll have space to bring an additional pump!
The ALPS provides you with an electric pump, meaning that the inflating and deflating processes are handled on your behalf. What’s more though, is that they don’t need a power outlet, seeing as the pump is ‘rechargeable’. This is of course what is meant by a ‘rechargeable air bed’.
The bed is relatively slimline and thin when placed on the ground, without a huge amount of lift. This ensures that it stays light and portable, which is ideal for throwing into a backpack. The product gets around this being a problem though by using fabric on the bottom and sides that is 17% thicker than most other beds of its kind. The top is 10% thicker too and offers a particularly velvety and soft surface.
The manufacturers claim that this bed can provide as good a night’s sleep as you would get in your regular bed. We don’t know about that but it’s still shockingly comfortable considering the size, the weight and price!
Looking for something a little cheaper? Then this Intex air mattress might just be the one for you! At just under $25, this really is a steal and yet you will still be getting a mattress from a reputable brand and that has very positive reviews on Amazon.
It’s also not without its additional features and benefits. This is a Queen for starters, meaning that two people can sleep a lot more comfortably than they can on a twin. The bed is also waterproof, which is a very nice bonus if you are thinking of taking it outside or perhaps letting a young child sleep on it.
A hand pump is also included, as are two inflatable pillows. Those inflatable pillows also make this a good choice for people who are travelling and thus perhaps do not have room for regular pillows – but in all other scenarios you’ll probably want to use the pillows or cushions around your house as inflatable pillows are not famously comfortable!
Of course you get what you pay for to an extent. This bed is low to the ground and probably won’t last as long as some of the more expensive models. But for the price, it offers pretty much everything you could want!
If we were looking for a bed that could serve as a permanent fixture in your home in its inflated form, then we would choose the Lazery Sleep Air Mattress Airbed with Built-In Electric 7 Settings Remote LED Pump.
That’s because this bed is the one that comes closest to being as comfortable as a regular bed. It is very thick and uses lots of smart construction with multiple different chambers. Better yet, is that it includes a remote control that can be used to operate the electric pump.
This will let you easily inflate and deflate the different sections, choosing from 7 inflation settings. It also means that even if the bed should deflate a little during the night, you will only need to operate the remote to get it back to full thickness.
If you only have a small flat, then the Lightspeed Outdoors 2 Person Air Bed is going to be a great choice for you. As the name conveys, this is an air bed that is very quick and easy to inflate and that doesn’t give a lot of clearance off of the ground.
This is a good thing in this case though, as it means less material for folding. That allows you to fold it into an even smaller space, which is ideal if you don’t have much room to keep it around the house or if you want to bring it with you on a trip.
Another advantage of this bed is that it doesn’t take up too much space at 79x55x6.25 when inflated. It’s about the smallest you can get while still comfortably fitting two people, which is ideal for small apartments.
Choosing the best all-rounder is a hard feat, as we’ve already seen that the best air bed is always going to depend on your intended usage. With that said though, the Coleman 4-in-1 comes with so many features at a low price. that it definitely deserves a mention. If you want an air bed and don’t have any particular scenario in mind, then this option is going to be ideal in a wide range of different situations.
This is essentially two air beds that attach together and can then be laid out to lie next to each other, or on top of each other. When on top, this forms one very tall and very comfortable place to sleep. Alternatively, when next to each other, you have a wide Queen bed that will be ideal for couples.
Finally, if you detach the connection, then you can turn this into two completely separate beds that can provide a place for two people to sleep who are friends rather than partners.
The bed itself is well made and comfortable. Coleman is a well-known brand and this features many of their impressive extras like their AirTight system, year warranty and ‘wrap and roll’ for very easily assembly and disassembly.
As you can see, there is an air bed to suit nearly every situation. Hopefully, this selection will have given you some good ideas as to the best type of air bed for your own particular situation and even if you don’t end up choosing one of these, perhaps it will have helped to open your mind to the different options and possibilities.
It’s all about finding the best balance of features for your particular budget, use-case scenario and guests. Ask yourself what kind of situation you’re going to be using the air bed in and then find the best one for the job.
Of course it also pays to look for an Intex mattress or Coleman air mattress etc. as buying from known brands will ensure better quality. Read reviews, shop around and you should find a great product to make your life that much easier!