Whether you love to go camping or you are hosting overnight guests, and an air mattress is something that you are going to find very useful. An air mattress is an excellent, quick and convenient sleeping solution for when you need to have an extra bed on hand. When they are deflated, they are extremely portable and can be easily packed in the trunk of a car or stowed away in a closet. When you need an extra sleeping surface, just pull out the air mattress, inflate it and in a matter of seconds, you have a comfortable and supportive bed – which sure beats a cold, hard floor or ground.

While air mattresses are definitely convenient, there are a lot of options to choose from, which can make finding the best air mattress to fit your specific needs a bit of a challenge. To help you on your quest to find the most convenient and the most comfortable air mattress, we have done all of the legwork for you and assembled this handy buyer’s guide, which is full of valuable information that will make finding the best air mattress for your specific dreams a much easier task.

Types of Air Mattresses

There are two different types of air mattresses that are differentiated based on the thickness they reach when they are inflated, and they include:

Both types can either come with either an external or an internal pump, the mechanism that is used to inflate the air bed.

Raised Air Mattress

If you are looking for an air mattress that mimics a traditional mattress, a raised air mattress is a good option for you. When inflated, a raised air mattress is approximately the same height as a standard mattress that is situated on a bed frame. This type of air mattress has its own built-in platform that it stands on. The added height keeps you up and off of the floor, like a standard bed, providing a more natural sleeping experience. The height also makes it easier to get in and out of the bed. On the downside, raised air mattresses tend to have the highest price tag, and because they have more height, they are bulkier when they are deflated, which can make them more difficult to transport and store.

Low Profile Air Mattress

A low profile air mattress is essentially the same size as a standard mattress when it is not supported by a bed frame or a platform. The lower profile makes these mattresses easier to transport and store because there is less material, making them ideal to use as a sleeping surface while camping. Because they are smaller, they also usually cost less than raised air mattresses. On the downside, a low profile air mattress keeps you closer to the ground, which some may not find comfortable. The lower height also makes this type of air mattress more difficult to get in and out of.

External Pump

As you probably guessed, these air beds require external pumps to inflate them. The pumps that are used to inflate them pump can vary; they can either be manually powered by a foot or a hand, or they can be powered by batteries or mains. Air mattress with external pump tend to be less expensive than air mattresses with an internal pump, which is a plus; however, on the downside, you have to purchase the pump to inflate it, and, if you lose any of the components of the external pump, you will need to purchase a new one.

Internal Air Pump

If you are looking for the easiest operation, then an internal air pump is the way to go. These types of air mattresses have the pump built right into them; simply unroll it, push a button or turn a knob and the air mattress instantly blows up without having to worry about attaching an additional pump. In addition to being easy to inflate, you can also adjust the firmness of an air mattress that has a build in air pump; the more inflated, the firmer, and the less inflated, the softer. The downside of an air mattress with an internal air pump is that they tend to cost more than external air pump mattresses.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Air Mattress

There are a number of factors that you should take into consideration before purchasing an air mattress. After conducting extensive research, we feel that considering the following factors will help you choose the best air mattress for your specific needs.

The Size

Like standard mattresses, air mattresses come in an array of sizes, including twin, full, queen and king. Before you purchase an air mattress, consider what size will best suit your needs.

Your Use

How do you intend on using the air mattress? This will not only impact the type of air mattress that you choose, but it will also impact the size. If you are going to be using it as an extra sleeping surface in your home for a couple, raised air mattress in a full, queen or king size would likely be a better option than a twin sized low profile mattress. However, if you are going to be using your air mattress to serve as a sleeping surface for only one person on a camping trip, then a twin size low profile air mattress will likely be a better option.

The Material

All air mattresses are made of sturdy manufactured materials; however, some are made with higher quality materials that offer more advantages. For example, if you are going to be using your air mattress for camping, you may want to consider getting one that is constructed out of a waterproof material.

Ease of Use

Of course, you don’t want to struggle with inflating your air mattress, no matter where you intend on using it. That said, ease of use can mean different things for different people. For example, if you are going to be using it indoors or in an area that has access to a mains power supply, an air mattress that features an internal mains power supplied pump may be the most convenient option for you. However, if you are going to be using your mattress in the great outdoors or any other space where you don’t have direct access to mains power, a bed that has an external pump and can be inflated with a battery-powered or manually powered pump will be easier for you to use.

The Price

The price of the air mattress should also be a factor that you take into consideration before you start shopping. These beds can range in price from under $100 to upwards of $200 or more. Generally speaking, raised air mattresses with internal pumps are the most expensive. Also, the larger the bed and the more features it boasts, the more expensive it is going to be.

Air Mattress Features

The simplest air mattresses are nothing more than a piece of material that can be inflated to create an air-filled sleeping surface; however, air mattresses can offer a lot more than that. There are several features available that can improve the comfort level of the air mattress and make it more enjoyable to use. As was previously mentioned, the more features the air mattress offers, the more expensive it will tend to be. In order to find the best air mattress for your specific needs, it’s wise to have an understanding of the different types of features that are available.

Plush Covering

For a truly comfortable sleeping surface, look for an air mattress that has a plush material attached directly to its surface. Usually made of microfiber, this plush material makes the mattress extra soft under your skin, thus making it more comfortable to sleep on.

Air Chambers 

For added support, consider an air mattress that is constructed with air chambers. Several air chambers inside the mattress provide better support and a more restful sleep than a mattress that only contains a single air chamber. These chambers also minimize the bouncing feeling that can be experienced when someone moves on the mattress.

Built-In Lights

Some air mattresses are constructed with LED lights. When the bed is inflated and the lights are illuminated, they serve as a nightlight for whoever is sleeping on the bed. So, if someone has to get up in the middle of the night, the built-in LED lights will provide just enough light to illuminate the way.

USB Ports

Yes, some air mattresses even boast USB ports. This is a particularly handy feature if you want to charge your MP3 player, your smartphone or any other USB powered electronic device.

A Carry Case

If you want to make storing your air mattress as easy and convenient as possible, look for one that comes complete with a carry case. When the bed is deflated and not in use, it can be rolled up and tucked right into the carry case, not only making it easy to store but also protecting it from damage.

Built-In Bed Skirt

If you want your air mattress to have a more visually appealing look than a vinyl base, then look for one that features a built-in bed skirt. The skirt is attached directly to the mattress so that when it is inflated, the vinyl bottom is hidden, which makes the bed look more like a natural piece of furniture than an inflatable bed.

Best Air Mattress Brands

There are literally dozens of manufacturers that produce air mattresses, which can make finding the manufacturers who produce the best air mattresses a challenge. To help you, we weeded through all of the different brands out there, conducted extensive research and tested out several different air beds ourselves. After our thorough assessment, we have concluded that the following air mattress brands are the best of the best.


This company produces some of the highest quality air mattresses on the market. Constructed of high-quality vinyl and topped with hypoallergenic bamboo mattress covers, AirMattress.com inflatable mattresses offer supreme comfort. In addition to being exceptionally comfortable, we also liked that this company offered various sizes, had internal air pumps and mattresses that were extremely easy to inflate, and that they featured built-in bed skirts.

Sound Asleep

A division of Somnio, Inc, Sound Asleep is a small family owned business that is based in New Jersey. All of the inflatable beds that are produced by Sound Asleep feature Sure-Grip bottoms, which prevents the mattresses from slipping and sliding. The materials they use are puncture resistant, which means that you never have to worry about having a hole popped into the mattress and losing air while you are sleeping.


Coleman has been one of the leading names in the camping industry for more than 100 years. This company produces a wide range of camping products, including air mattresses. Coleman air mattresses boast their trademark Airtight System and Double Lock Valve technologies, which makes their mattresses extremely comfortable and durable.


Intex is another highly regarded manufacturer of recreation equipment, including air mattresses. Their inflatable beds are constructed of the highest quality, most scientifically advanced materials, which makes them extremely durable and able to withstand even the harshest elements and excessive wear and tear. Intex air mattresses are extremely easy to inflate and deflate, and they also offer a wide range of features and mattress sizes, which means that you can find an air mattress that will suit your needs, whatever they may be when you choose Intex.