Air Mattresses: Everything You Need to Know

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Air mattresses offer a great sleeping solution for people who are looking for a portable bed, which is easy to pack and set up, in cases of camping or sleepovers. They usually come with a variety of customization options, like firmness levels and built-in pillows, to fit your sleeping preferences no matter what those preferences may be.

ait mattress

What Is An Air Mattress?

Air Mattresses are lightweight and inflatable mattresses, which are frequently used as a temporary sleeping solution while you’re camping, or on a sleepover, due to their portability and practicality as it’s easy to move and carry around when it’s deflated.

How Does Air Mattress Work?

The exterior of the air mattress is regularly made of plastic or vinyl, which gets inflated with air via an internal or external pump.

The pumped air provides sufficient support for sleepers while maintaining its softness and adaptability, also many air mattresses have the option of adjusting their firmness according to various sleeping preferences.

Air Mattress Construction

Air mattresses are constructed from two layers a top layer, and a base layer.

The top layer is usually made of material such as cotton or polyester, some air mattresses even have a top layer made of latex or memory foam to provide a softer and more supportive surface, this top layer can be quilted for added comfort.

air mattress

The base layer is the bottom part of the mattress, and it’s the part that is responsible for supporting the entire construction of the mattress and holding its shape, it’s usually made from PVC or TPU.

Types Of Air Mattresses

Raised Air Mattresses

Raised air mattresses are characterized by being the thickest type of air mattresses, as they have the same thickness as traditional mattresses.

Raised air mattresses are also called “Double High”, as they are more than 10 inches thick, and it’s a great choice for anyone who’s looking for an air mattress that feels similar to traditional mattresses.

Self-inflating Air Mattresses

Self-inflating air mattresses will save you more time and effort, as it has an interior pump that inflates the mattress automatically, it usually has a remote control or a knob that turns on the pump, this type of mattress can be fully inflated in around 5 minutes.

hands pressing self-inflating air mattress

Manually Inflatable Air Mattresses

Some people find manually inflatable air mattresses much more practical because, unlike self-inflating mattresses, it doesn’t need to be plugged into a power outlet to be inflated, which makes them more portable.

You do need an external pump to fully inflate this mattress, but it’s a better choice for people who use their air mattresses while they’re camping and don’t have any source of power nearby, it’s also more budget-friendly than the self-inflating air mattress.

Pros of Air Mattresses

Affordability

Air mattresses are one of the most budget-friendly mattresses in the market, which makes them a great option for anyone on a budget and looking for a quality mattress, the price range of air mattresses is typically between $100 and $300, meanwhile, other types of mattresses cost more than $500.

Customizability

One of the most unique features of air mattresses is that they can be customized in many different ways.

There are many shape options and sizes to choose from, and you can also customize the level of firmness and the density of your mattress.

You can also choose between types such as self-inflating, manual inflating, and raised air mattresses to fit your sleeping preferences.

Portability

Air mattresses are lightweight and portable, which makes them very easy to carry and move around, that’s why they are a great choice for camping vacations or overnight visitors.

Easy Maintenance

Air mattresses are usually made from materials such as vinyl, plastic, and rubber, which are much easier to clean with just water and soap, they also dry out very quickly, so it’s much easier to maintain than other types of mattresses.

Ease of Storage

Air mattresses could be deflated and folded, so it won’t take much storage, whether you’re packing it in a bag, or storing it at your house, you’ll always be able to fit it.

Cons of Air Mattresses

Time-consuming

Inflating the mattress can be a very tiresome and time-consuming process, especially in manually inflatable air mattresses, also deflating the mattress might take the same amount of time, which might be an issue for some people, however, self-inflating air mattresses offers a sufficient solution to that issue.

Not as Comfortable

Air mattresses offer a decent level of comfort. Still, not as much as hybrid, innerspring, or all-foam mattresses made from materials such as latex, memory foam, polyfoam, and so on, as other types of mattresses provide better pressure reliving and support, that’s why it’s not recommended for long-term use.

Comparatively Less Durable

Air mattresses are prone to be punctured, which will deflate the mattress over time, however, you can avoid this issue by getting an air mattress with high-quality material, but keep in mind that a high-end air mattress comes with a higher price tag.

Cool to Touch

The surface of air mattresses is usually made from plastic or vinyl, and both of these materials transmit the temperature quickly, this will make the mattress feel cold in cold weather and hot in warm weather.

What to Consider when Buying an Air Mattress

Material Quality and Durability:

  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride): this is a commonly used material in air mattresses. It is a waterproof and long-lasting synthetic plastic material, it’s easy to clean and maintain and more affordable than other types of mattresses.
  • TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane): TPU is a kind of durable, waterproof synthetic material that resembles rubber. Although TPU air mattresses are often more costly than PVC ones, they are also more relaxing and cushioning.
  • Textile Materials: Materials such as nylon, polyester, or cotton are also used to make air mattresses. These materials are typically used to create the top comfort layer of mattresses.

Size:

There are several different sizes of air mattresses, including twin, full, queen, and king.

Twin-size air mattresses are usually the smallest and are designed for one person, while full and queen-size air mattresses are excellent for two people, and king-size air mattresses are built for more than two people.

Keep in mind that the dimensions of each size air mattress might vary depending on the brand and model.

Weight Limit:

To get optimal comfort, you must determine whether an air mattress fits your body type or not.

If you’re under 130 pounds then you can get a a thin and soft air mattress, if you’re weight is average between 130 and 230 pounds, an air mattress that is medium-firm will do. If you weigh more than 230 pounds, go for a firm air mattress that is thicker than 10 inches.

Budget and Pricing:

Air mattresses come in a range of prices, so you should be able to find one that suits your needs.

Basic air mattresses, which cost between $20 to $50, are affordable solutions. They are straightforward and quick to inflate and deflate, meanwhile, if you go one step further, there are the mid-range choices, which usually vary from $50 to $150, including air mattresses with raised edges, adjustable firmness settings, and built-in pumps.

Air mattresses with cutting-edge technologies like wireless remote controls, built-in air pumps, and automated inflation are available if you want to go all out and purchase high-end models. These mattresses usually cost $150 to $300 or more.

Who Should Consider Buying an Air Mattress

  • If you’re looking for a temporary sleeping arrangement.
  • If you’re looking for a portable and fairly light mattress.
  • If you want a soft mattress with adjustable firmness.
  • If you’re looking for a budget-friendly mattress.

Who Should Avoid Buying an Air Mattress

  • If you experience joint or back pain.
  • If you are sensitive to noise.
  • If you have allergies or chemical insensitivity.
  • If you want a long-term, permanent sleeping solution.
  • If you are trying to find a mattress that can withstand heavy use.

FAQ

Is it healthy to sleep on an air mattress?

As long as the air mattress is well-made and offers sufficient comfort and support, sleeping on one can be beneficial to one's health. If it’s too soft or not supportive it could cause back discomfort and poor sleep quality.

Is an air mattress good for bed sores?

Studies show that custom-inflated or deflated air mattresses are a good way to avoid bed sores, especially the alternating pressure air mattress, as it provides relief to all parts of the body every few minutes throughout every 24 hours.

Is it okay to sleep on an air mattress daily?

It's not advisable to sleep on an air mattress every night. While air mattresses offer a soft surface for sleeping, they don't support the spine as well as a conventional mattress does, so it’s better to only be used on a short-term basis.

How Long Does An Air Mattress Last?

With proper use and care, you can keep it in good condition for more than five years. The best way to extend the life of your mattress is to avoid any chance of punctures.

What not to do with an air mattress?

Always keep your air mattress fully inflated while you’re using it, keep it away from water and fire, and don’t use flammable substances like aerosol as the mattress might explode.

Also, keep it away from sharp objects and never walk or jump on an air mattress.

What is the difference between an air mattress and an inflatable mattress?

An inflatable air mattress can be quite light and portable but will still need to be inflated and deflated. Although an air mattress or air bed is a bit bigger and heavier for lengthy walks, it can be a cozy choice for campers in trucks.

Should I deflate my air mattress after every use?

Only deflate your mattress when you’re going to store it because Re-inflating your mattress every night places it under unnecessary pressure, and it might start showing signs of wear over time, it might even explode.

Should I put something under my air mattress?

You could put under your air mattress tarps, blankets, and even Dri-Dek or foam when camping. These materials might aid in improving circulation or just shielding the surface of your air mattress from possible punctures.

Conclusion

Air mattresses are a great temporary sleeping solution, in the case of camping or sleepovers, as they offer portability, affordability, and customizability, however, they are less reliable, temporary, time-consuming, and have no temperature-regulating feature, in comparison to other mattress types.

Dom Abraham

Dom Abraham

As the lead content writer at Sleepiverse. Dom pours his heart into writing mattress reviews, bedding product reviews, and medically-reviewed health articles. Dom is from Portugal and likes to spend his free time writing on the beach as it gives him a sense of comfort. Aside from writing mattress reviews in front of the soothing beach view, Dom likes to experiment with new amazing food ideas.