The 5 Best Air Mattresses of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
In this article from Real Simple, The Joint's Dr. Kevin Lees, D.C. provides his expert insights on how to select the best air mattress to maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping.
Original article published by RealSimple on April 3, 2023 on RealSimple.com
By Amina Lake Abdelrahman
If you plan on having guests stay overnight in your home, then an air mattress is an easy way to make sure they have somewhere to sleep. Even if you don’t have a dedicated guest room, an inflatable mattress can be placed on the floor of your living room and tucked away in a closet when not in use.
Even though an air mattress won’t be as comfortable as a real bed, it works well in a pinch: “Air mattresses can be a great option for a short-term solution,” says Kevin Lees, DC, director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic. “Maybe you’re just moved in and haven’t found a bed you like yet, or maybe you're visiting family or friends that do not have a spare bed. While a few nights may not be problematic, air mattresses typically are not made for long-term beds.”
To find the best air mattresses, we tested nine of the most popular models on the market. We evaluated each one for comfort, support, durability, and more by conducting a series of tests. We timed how long the air mattresses took to set up, from taking them out of the box to being fully inflated and ready to sleep on. We also considered factors like pump type, available sizes, and overall value while making this list.
Our Top Picks
BEST OVERALL AIR MATTRESS:
BEST BUDGET AIR MATTRESS:
BEST AIR MATTRESS WITH BUILT-IN PUMP:
BEST AIR MATTRESS WITH FRAME:
BEST TWIN-SIZED AIR MATTRESS:
Best Overall Air Mattress: King Koil Luxury Air Mattress
Who it’s for: People who want a comfortable air mattress with a built-in pump.
Who it isn’t for: People who are looking for a full-size air mattress.
If you’re looking for a comfortable and easy-to-use air mattress, then we recommend checking out this one from King Koil. In our evaluations, we were impressed with how thick this air mattress was. We tested the 20-inch version, but it also comes in 13- and 16-inch options for those who want a more compact air mattress. This pick earned perfect five-star ratings for its durability and ease of setup, which prove that it’s a reliable and long-lasting air mattress. (It also comes with a one-year warranty.)
The King Koil air mattress comes with a built-in pump that inflates and deflates with separate knobs. The entire setup process took seven minutes and 30 seconds (from unboxing to being able to lie on it), but that’s still only a difference of a few minutes compared to the models that took the least amount of time. As for portability, this air mattress comes with a bag that allows you to easily carry it from a storage closet to the room where you want to set it up.
Just keep in mind that this model is only available in twin, queen, and California king sizes, so those looking for a full-size bed should choose another from our list. Overall, this is our top pick because it’s a seriously impressive (and not too expensive) air mattress.
Price at time of publish: $150 for queen
- Sizes: Twin, queen, and California king
- Height: 13, 16, or 20 inches
- Pump Type: Built-in
- Weight Capacity: 350 (twin) to 600 (queen and California king) pounds
- Warranty: One year
Best Budget Air Mattress: Beautyrest Skyrise Full Raised Air Mattress with Electric Pump
Who it’s for: People who want a budget-friendly option or who only need an air mattress for occasional use.
Who it isn’t for: People looking for an air mattress with a built-in pump.
Air mattresses can often be expensive, especially those that have additional features or come in larger sizes. For a more budget-friendly option that’s also good quality, we recommend the Beautyrest Skyrise Raised Express Air Mattress. We gave this model a perfect score for its overall value, which means it’s the perfect balance of price and performance. It performed well in all of our tests, especially for support and durability. The air mattress is available in three sizes (twin, full, and queen), but keep in mind that we found the dimensions to be slightly smaller than typical mattress sizes.
The Beautyrest air mattress took the longest to set up (just over nine minutes), but that’s likely because it uses an external pump. The pump that comes with the air mattress wasn’t intuitive to use, so we really wished that it was built in. Still, we found the Beautyrest Skyrise to be a comfortable air mattress that almost felt like a regular mattress in our tests. The air mattress even has a valve that allows you to adjust the firmness by letting a small amount of air out at a time. Since people have different preferences, this feature gives everyone the opportunity to sleep as comfortably as possible.
However, the one-year limited warranty on the Beautyrest air mattress isn’t as forgiving as some of the others on this list. It fully covers defects within three months of purchase, but after that (up until a year after purchase), the brand offers a 50 percent credit towards a replacement Skyrise air mattress.
Price at time of publish: $95 for queen
- Sizes: Twin, full, and queen
- Height: 18 inches (queen)
- Pump Type: External
- Weight Capacity: 700 pounds (queen)
- Warranty: One year
Best Air Mattress With Built-In Pump: Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress With NeverFlat Pump
Who it’s for: People who are worried about their air mattress deflating in the middle of the night.
Who it isn’t for: Light sleepers who would wake up from the hum of a motor.
If you’ve ever slept on an air mattress that lost air throughout the night, then you’ll appreciate that the Insta-Bed is specifically designed to prevent that from happening. The Never Flat technology uses two built-in pumps: one that inflates and deflates and another that monitors air pressure. The latter will automatically add air to the mattress whenever it detects deflation. In our tests, it took less than five minutes to set up, and almost all of that time was while it was inflating. Keep in mind that you’ll still hear the motor once it’s done inflating due to the second pump, but we found that it’s quiet enough to sleep through as long as you don’t mind a little white noise.
The Insta-Bed air mattress is only available in queen size, which is 18 inches high while inflated, according to our measurements. We appreciate the extra height, which makes it easy to get in and out of the bed. We were also very impressed by the support and durability of this model, which has some edge support and didn’t sink at all after being weighed down overnight. But as for comfort, we just wished the top was a bit plusher. It’s also worth noting that you can choose from three firmness settings to find what’s most comfortable for you.
We like that the Insta-Bed air mattress comes with a patch kit, which is a nice addition if you encounter any punctures or rips after regular use. It comes with a one-year warranty in case of any defects (not regular wear and tear or damage), and you can file a claim online.
Price at time of publish: $130 for queen
- Sizes: Queen
- Height: 18 inches
- Pump Type: Built-in
- Weight Capacity: 500 pounds
- Warranty: One year
Best Air Mattress With Frame: Ivation EZ-Bed Air Mattress with Frame & Rolling Case
Who it’s for: People who would rather sleep farther from the floor.
Who it isn’t for: People who don’t have storage space near the setup spot.
Air mattresses typically sit very low to the ground, which can potentially make your guests feel uncomfortable if they don’t like being so close to the floor. But since the Ivation EZ-Bed air mattress comes with its own bed frame, it looks and feels more like a real bed—especially when placed in a guest room. In our tests, we found that this model was comfortable, well-designed, and overall a pretty good value. It’s the most expensive air mattress on our list, but its features and quality make it worth the splurge.
Even though it might seem like setting this air mattress up would be complicated due to the frame, the process is actually so easy that it earned a perfect score in our testing. It has a built-in pump and the frame automatically extends when you start inflating, so it doesn’t require any extra effort than the other air mattresses on this list. All you have to do is unzip the case and choose a firmness level—within minutes, you’ll have a bed set up for your guests.
One downside of the Ivation EZ-Bed air mattress is that it’s pretty heavy and bulky, which would make it difficult to carry up and down stairs. For that reason, we suggest keeping it on the same floor that you’d use it. The case has wheels and a handle (like a rolling duffel bag) so you’re able to move it to another room on the same floor.
Price at time of publish: $360 for queen
- Sizes: Twin, full, queen, and king
- Height: 24 inches with frame (queen)
- Pump Type: Built-in
- Weight Capacity: 300 (twin) to 600 (king) pounds
- Warranty: One year
Best Twin-Sized Air MattressIntex Dura-Beam Standard Series Deluxe Pillow Rest Raised Airbed
Who it’s for: People who need a small but comfortable air mattress for kids.
Who it isn’t for: People who want an air mattress with a longer warranty.
If you need a smaller bed for kids, we recommend the Intex Dura-Beam Plus Deluxe Pillow Rest Air Mattress. Based on our testing, we think this twin-size air mattress is ideal for homes with children. It has a built-in pillow rest along the top edge, so you don’t have to scramble for too many extra pillows when your child has a friend staying over. It also has a built-in electric pump, which the brand claims can inflate the bed in about two minutes (although it’s worth noting that the entire setup process took us six minutes—still pretty quick).
Despite its smaller size, this air mattress has a generous 300-pound weight limit. Plus, it sits 16.5 inches off the ground, so little ones won’t have to sleep too low on the floor. The included duffel bag helps with portability and storage, so you can easily bring it along on overnight trips and pull it out from the closet for last-minute sleepovers.
One thing to keep in mind is that this air mattress has a shorter warranty period than the rest of our picks—180 days compared to one year for the others on this list.
Price at time of publish: $70 for twin
- Sizes: Twin
- Height: 16.5 inches
- Pump Type: Built-in
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Warranty: 180 days
The King Koil Air Mattress is our top pick because it’s durable, comfortable, and easy to set up. It even comes with a built-in pump that inflates and deflates with separate knobs. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, we recommend the Beautyrest Skyrise Raised Express Air Mattress because it’s less expensive but still pretty comfortable—and it earned a perfect score for its overall value.
Our Testing Process
To find the best air mattresses, we tested nine different models in our product testing lab. For each one, we timed how long it took to fully set up and scored from one to five based on its design, portability, comfort, effectiveness, durability, and overall value. Our tests included leaping on the air mattresses to judge their stability and leaving weights on them overnight to see how much they deflate.
How to Shop for Air Mattresses Like a Pro
One of the most important things to consider when shopping for an air mattress is size. They typically come in standard mattress sizes (twin, full, queen, and king), but not all brands make air mattresses in every size. Sizes like twin XL and California king are harder to come by, but they do exist. Many of the air mattresses we tested were slightly smaller than we expected, but regular bedding of the same size should still fit.
You’ll also want to consider the height of an air mattress. The models on our list range from 13 to 20 inches, with our best overall pick—the King Koil Air Mattress—coming in three different heights. Thin air mattresses will be more lightweight and easier to store and carry. Taller air mattresses often feel more comfortable and supportive, and their height allows them to better resemble a real bed. However, extra-thick models might need deep-pocket sheets to prevent the corners of the sheets from rolling off.
You’ll also want to take note of the pump type. Many of the best air mattresses have a built-in pump so you don’t have to keep track of additional pieces. Some of the more affordable models—like the Beautyrest Skyrise Raised Express Air Mattress on our list—come with external pumps, which are still relatively easy to use as long as you don’t misplace them.
Make sure to double-check the weight capacity before buying an air mattress, especially if you’re going to have two people sleep on it. The suggested weight limits of our picks range from 300 to 700 pounds, and they can also vary depending on the size—for example, a twin mattress won’t be able to hold as much as a king.
Many air mattresses come with some type of warranty that protects you from manufacturer’s defects. Most of our top picks have a standard one-year warranty, but keep in mind that these warranties don’t typically cover rips and tears that would occur with regular use.
More Air Mattresses to Consider
Coleman GuestRest Double High Air Mattress: This Coleman air mattress is priced well based on how it performs, but it lacks certain features that would make it stand out, like firmness settings and a pump that automatically shuts off. We also wish the storage bag had a handle so it’d be easier to carry.
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress With ComfortCoil Technology: The SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress earned perfect scores for its comfort, durability, and portability. Even though it’s quite comfortable to sleep on, we wish that it inflated faster in our testing—and we also noticed that it had a slight smell.
Questions You Might Ask
What should I do if my air mattress has a tear?
If you notice that your air mattress has a leak, you should check the manual to see if it has suggestions on how to fix your specific model. Some air mattresses come with patch kits that allow you to repair any holes or tears at home. If the problem persists, you can contact the manufacturer to see if the damage is covered under warranty.
How do I make an air mattress feel more like a real bed?
One way to make an air mattress feel more like a real bed is by choosing a model that’s extra high or comes with a frame. Kevin Lees, DC, director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic, also suggests adding a mattress topper for extra support: “While this probably won’t match the support from a regular innerspring or memory foam mattress, it may help in the meantime,” he says. You can also add comfortable sheets, a cooling blanket, and a nice pillow to make your guests feel at home.
Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t sleep on air mattresses regularly. “Air mattresses should not be a permanent solution to a sleeping problem,” says Lees. “With consistent use, a person can develop inflammation, pain, and loss of sleep which all may affect your quality of life. But used for a short-term solution, they are usually cost effective and convenient.”
Is it better to sleep on an air mattress or a couch?
Sleeping on the couch might sound more comfortable at first, but if you have a choice, we suggest sleeping on an air mattress. “While a couch may also work in a pinch, opting for an air mattress may be the better option,” says Lees. “Couches usually are pretty soft and do not provide [enough] support while also not allowing you to choose your preferred sleeping position. Most of us move a little throughout the night, and couches do not provide the space to move much without waking and repositioning.”
Take Our Word For It
This article was written by Amina Lake Abdelrahman, a commerce editor for Real Simple with five years of experience writing and editing home product reviews. To come up with this list, we tested nine air mattresses in our product testing lab, where we evaluated each model for ease of setup, support, durability, and more. Amina also received expert insight from Kevin Lees, DC, director of chiropractic operations at The Joint Chiropractic.
What Is Real Simple Selects?
Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn’t an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.
About The Joint Chiropractic
The Joint Corp. revolutionized access to chiropractic care when it introduced its retail health care business model in 2010. Today, it is the nation’s largest operator, manager and franchisor of chiropractic clinics through The Joint Chiropractic network. The company is making quality care convenient and affordable, while eliminating the need for insurance, for millions of patients seeking pain relief and ongoing wellness. With 800+ locations nationwide and nearly 11 million patient visits annually, The Joint Chiropractic is a key leader in the chiropractic industry. Ranked number one on Forbes’ 2022 America’s Best Small Companies list, number three on Fortune’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies list and consistently named to Franchise Times “Top 400+ Franchises” and Entrepreneur’s “Franchise 500®” lists, The Joint Chiropractic is an innovative force, where healthcare meets retail. For more information, visit www.thejoint.com.
The Joint Corp. is a franchisor of clinics and an operator of clinics in certain states. In Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, The Joint Corp. and its franchisees provide management services to affiliated professional chiropractic practices.
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