Anyone who has ever needed a bed fast can tell you that an air mattress is a handy option to have around for guests, camping or anytime a regular mattress won’t cut it.

There is no question as to how easy air mattresses are to find, move and install, but that isn’t the case when it comes to which one the best air mattress on the market is today.

What Is an Air Mattress?

An air mattress is an inflatable mattress, typically manufactured vinyl, plastic, or rubber material. When not inflated an air mattress can be easily rolled up or neatly folded and stored, which makes them an ideal choice for camping and house guests.

Air mattresses can be inflated using your own lungs via a nozzle similar to an inflatable pool toy, or via an electric, or hand powered pump connected to the same nozzle.

What makes an air mattress unique among other mattresses is its affordability. In fact, as the most affordable sleep option on the market, they are common as a practical alternative to expensive, overly firm mattresses.

Types of Air Mattresses

The two most common types of air mattresses are temporary and permanent. The difference in their purpose is obvious, but they temporary and permanent air mattresses differ in very specific and critical ways.

Temporary Air Mattress

Though all air mattresses are designed to be quick and easy to install, temporary air mattresses are designed to be even more so. Temporary air mattresses vary greatly depending on the purpose they were intended for.

A temporary air mattress designed for camping or sleeping in the car is generally on the small side, no larger than a small cot, and easily inflatable using no more than your lungs. They are also designed to be easily stowed in a backpack and as lightweight as possible.

Temporary mattresses designed for indoor use are generally more plush than outdoor air mattresses and are typically manufactured from softer, less rugged materials.

Air Beds & Permanent Air Mattresses

The design of a permanent air mattress, though still considerably easy to move and install, is more centered around providing a plush, affordable and comfortable night’s sleep than ease of installation.

Air mattresses that are designed to be permanent are generally referred to as Air Beds and feature a number of different design functions that distinguish it from an air mattress intended for temporary use.

Air beds are constructed from hard PVC plastics and vinyl materials that are more resilient to puncture. They are also designed to hold air for as long as possible and provide additional support in specific areas of the body.

The Benefits of Owning an Air Mattress

The most significant benefit to owning an air mattress is simple yet hard to beat when compared to the alternatives.

Rolling out a sleeping bag and unfolding a cot is a step up from sleeping on the ground but don’t provide much comfort if any at all.

Couch surfing can be fun, but there are classier, more comfortable ways to provide your guests with a place to sleep. An air mattress, whether designed for indoor or outdoor uses is the convenient, comfortable and affordable answer to these uncomfortable sleeping situations.

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An air mattress is the most affordable mattress option, by far. Air mattresses designed for camping and the outdoors start around $35, and shoppers would be hard pressed to find a permanent air mattress listed for more than $400.

Air mattresses are also designed to be durable. Most air mattresses are designed to be easily folded and stowed. They are manufactured from materials that are flexible, yet rugged enough to be used outdoors and resist puncture.

Even air beds that were designed for permanent indoor use are more durable than a standard mattress, not to mention far less painful to stub a toe on.

How Does An Air Mattress Affect My Sleep?

An air mattress designed for camping and temporary use, though often comfortable, are not designed to sustain a healthy sleeping habit or posture for more than a few days, if at all. Temporary air mattresses are not recommended for everyday use and can even cause back pain if repeatedly used in that manner.

An air mattress or air bed designed for indoor use, however, can do wonders for the quality of the sleep you receive every night, especially if you suffer from certain types of back pain.

Air mattresses are recommended for individuals who are generally lighter and who sleep on their side as they provide cushion of the shoulders and hips and alignment for the spine.

An air mattress may not be the ideal mattress choice for individuals who require a firm sleeping surface, or for those who share their bed with anyone else as air mattresses tend to transfer motion easily.

How to Choose The Best Air Mattress

Choosing the best air mattress comes down to the intent and personal preference. As already stated, it’s never a good idea to use a temporary air mattress over a permanent mattress as you every day sleep surface.

However, when choosing any air mattress, it’s important to consider its size when inflated and deflated. The mattresses size when deflated will determine how easy it is to store and move around which is especially important when traveling and camping.

When inflated an air mattress can quadruple in overall size, so it’s important to confirm that it will indeed fit in the desired space before attempting to inflate.

Smaller, temporary air mattresses can be easily inflated without a pump and may not include one. However, many air mattresses include a small pump to assist in inflation; this is an important feature that will determine whether inflating your air mattress is a simple task or time-consuming and tedious endeavor.

Increasing the amount of air inside the air mattress can increase the firmness of the mattress. However, some air mattresses that are designed for permanent use include a feature that allows individuals to increase the firmness of the air mattress without having to pump in more air.

The Best Air Mattresses

For an air mattress to be considered the best it must seamlessly combine comfort with ease of installation and provide a durable sleep surface that can withstand daily use.

Best For Guests – Intex Raised Downy Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump

It is becoming more and more common for the manufacturers of air mattresses to include an air pump built directly into the air mattress, thus eliminating the need to buy a cumbersome air pump.

Intex Inflatables has been designing and manufacturing inflatables long enough to be considered a leader in the inflatable industry, and every ounce of that valuable experience is evident in the Intex Raised Downy Airbed With Built-in Electric Pump.

The Intex Raised Downy Airbed With Built-in Electric Pump is generally considered the best air mattress on the market because it combines ease of installation and durability with an amount of comfort that is rarely seen in a conventional mattress, let alone an air mattress.

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Besides the convenient and powerful built-in electric pump that inflates the entire mattress in less than 5 minutes, the most significant feature of the Intex Raised Downy Airbed is its height. Fully inflated, the Intex Raised Downy Airbed stands of 22 inches tall.

The reason for the extra height is to house its dual chamber construction which provides an added level of support and firmness that is uncommon in a typical air mattress.

Best For Camping – Aerobed Guest Choice Air Bed

The Aerobed Guest Choice Air Bed is the only air mattress featured on the best air mattress that was specifically designed to be a guest bed. In that regard, the Aerobed is the ideal choice.

The Aerobed Guest Choice Air Bed is compact and durable making it easy to stow for long periods in a closet or a car’s trunk for spontaneous camping trips.

Included with the Aerobed is an AC pump that inflates the entire Aerobed in 60 seconds, and a release valve that deflates the Aerobed in less than 20 seconds. The entire Aerobed Guest Choice Air Bed weighs less than 15 pounds and is available in twin and queen sizes.

The Aerobed Guest Choice Air Bed is designed with an interior coil construction which provides support and comfort.

The Aerobed is a well-rounded air mattress and the only one on our list that is as compatible for outdoor use as it is indoor. It scores high on durability, ease of use, install and the amount of storage space it takes up.

However, the Aerobed scores the lowest on the list of best air mattresses because it offers only limited benefits to individuals looking for a permanent mattress.

Honorable Mention – Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed

Intex makes it on the list of the best air mattresses twice with the Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed. The Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed is special because, you guessed it, the built-in pillow incorporated into its durable yet exceptionally comfortable design.

The pillow rest included with the Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed is incredibly easy to inflate and install due to the same reliable built-in electric pump found in the Intex Raised Downy Airbed. The pump is high powered and inflates the smaller Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed in no more than 3 minutes.

The Intex Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed is ideal for campers and travelers who don’t want to sacrifice the comforts of a standard mattress for the convenience of an air mattress.

The Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed is manufactured with a 20.8-gauge waterproof top and 15-gauge vinyl beams, sides and bottom that make it incredibly durable yet provide a surface that is as comfortable as it is durable.

The Pillow Rest Inflatable Bed is also fully customizable. Should the mattress feel too soft or firm, it can easily be adjusted via the touch of a button. The pillow included with the mattress can also be inflated or deflated to the perfect firmness.

The air mattress can accommodate up to six hundred pounds of weight and comes in a spacious queen size which makes it compatible with most fitted sheets and duvet covers.

Honorable Mention – Insta-Bed Queen Raised Air Mattress with Sure Grip Bottom & Built-In Pump

The feature of the Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress that places it firmly on the list of best air mattresses is its affordability. For less than $100 sleepers can purchase one of the finest air mattresses on the market.

The Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress is constructed from durable materials that stretch over time allowing the bed to be further inflated and the firmness of the mattress to be increased.

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The Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress incorporates secureAir technology which provides its dual chamber design to keep the bed firm and fully inflated. The inflation process is completed almost immediately thanks to the Insta III technology incorporated in the built-in electric pump.

A special feature of the Insta-Bed Queen Raised Air Mattress is the incorporation of the Sure Grip bottom. The Sure Grip bottom is manufactured from a rubbery material that acts as a suction cup on the floor preventing the air mattress from sliding and shifting during the night. It also works just as effectively on carpeted floors as it does hard surfaces.

The Insta-Bed Queen Raised Air Mattress includes all of these features and amazingly costs less than $100.

Honorable Mention – SoundAsleep Dream Series

The SoundAsleep Dream Series is one of the best air mattresses on the market because includes the strongest combination of performance, warranty, comfort.

The $120 price tag doesn’t make it the most affordable air mattress around, but the overall value offered by the SoundAsleep Dream Series makes it a contender for the best air mattress available today.

The inflation of the SoundAsleep is controlled by a simple dial which allows you to fill the mattress to the desired firmness in less than 4 minutes.

The queen-size SoundAsleep stands 19 inches tall, which is the ideal height for sleepers of any size and fits most fitted sheets and duvets. The SoundAsleep Dream Series is manufactured from PVC and includes a flocked, fabric top, which, besides adding extra comfort, keeps the sheets securely in place.

The SoundAsleep Dream Series scored high on-air retention and effortlessly keeps its form throughout the night.

The SoundAsleep Dream Series isn’t the flashiest air mattress on this list, but like all quality products, what it lacks in flair it makes up for in function and overall value.

Winner: Intex Raised Downy Airbed with Built-in Electric Pump

The contestant with the most experience is generally crowned the winner in most contests of quality and dependability, and the contest for best air mattress is no exception.

The Intex Raised Downy Airbed With Built-in Electric Pump prooved why Intex is considered the industry leader for most inflatable products, including air mattresses.

The quality of sleep provided by the Intex Raised Downy Airbed is hardly discernible from that of a standard mattress and is arguably better. The Airbed is easy to use and inflates in no time at all which makes it perfect for in-home use and the outdoors.

The most impressive aspect of the Intex Raised Downy Airbed, however, is how high it scores as a mattress for everyday use.

It is not often than an Airbed can combine the convenience, durability, and range of use of a temporary air mattress with the comfortable form and function of a permanent air mattress.

The Intex Raised Downy Airbed is not only as comfortable as a quality traditional mattress, but its 22-inch height also provides the same dependable, secure feeling that comes with sleeping high above the floor.

An air mattress is hard to beat when it comes to convenience, and they can be awfully comfortable for a night or two, but it isn’t often that an air mattress is selected for use as an everyday mattress.

The Intex Raised Downy Airbed is the best air mattress because it can hardly be discerned from a traditional mattress when outfitted with bedding. It is one of the few air mattresses that won’t cause more discomfort the more it’s used, and at the end of the day isn’t that the most important feature of any mattress?

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