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    We Put Our Backs On The Line To Find The Very Best Air Mattresses

    All you need are mints for the pillows.

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    If you’re tight on space and want the flexibility to turn any room into a guest room, an air mattress is a must. That’s why — for the sake of incoming friends, family, and randoms — we put our backs on the line and tested 12 inflatable air mattresses to find the best for your abode, taking into consideration things like comfort, durability, air retention, inflation/deflation time, storability, and overall value.


    We can’t say it was the most comfortable experience, but we can say it was worth it. For the purpose of this review, we tested only queen-size air mattresses with built-in pumps, which allow for a more convenient setup and one less thing to manage. We also only looked at beds at least 17 inches tall (categorized as “double-height”), which you should get if you’d like to give your guests, at the least, the semblance of sleeping on a real bed (it’s the thought that counts).

    So what makes a good air mattress? Good question. Just about every air mattress is overrun by reviews that complain about leaks or discomfort, so it’s all about managing expectations. An air mattress should be relatively comfortable and stable, so ideally you’re looking for one that reliably holds air. Even still, sleeping on an air mattress ain’t an overnight at the Ritz, so expect most air beds to require a nightly top-up to maintain firmness. Other plusses: minimal squeaking; thick, durable materials; a quiet(ish) pump. And a good warranty and friendly customer service never hurt.

    All that said, we’d gladly have any mattresses below in our homes. Whether you’re hosting guests or need a temporary sleep solution for yourself (no shade — just bein’ real), here are the best air mattresses we tested, at three different price points.

    Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed


    The last thing any good host wants is for their guests to feel like an afterthought, and after spending a couple nights each on five budget inflatables, we gotta say, a cheap air mattress can do just that. If you’re looking to drop the bare minimum to get your guest suite up and running, you should, at the very least, buy an air mattress that won’t make your temporary roomie wishing you offered the floor instead.

    That’s where the Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed comes in. This inexpensive number (which frequently goes on sale, we might add) delivers in terms of materials and support, plus its 22-inch height (taller than most air mattresses) means it’s easier to climb in and out of bed. This actually made a couple of our testers look forward to lazing out, and the mattress — much like our expectations for it — never deflated in a serious way.


    With a flick of a switch, the Comfort Plush inflates to fully firm in about five minutes, which is quite slow when compared to our $$ and $$$ picks, but totally tolerable. Like most air mattresses, the built-in pump doesn’t have an auto-shutoff feature, so setup and breakdown will need your full attention. But the Comfort Plush’s motor is the quietest in this price range, so it’ll keep the noise disturbance to a minimum.

    The five-minute inflation/deflation time makes more sense once you see the Comfort Plush in action. There’s just more mattress to inflate — this thing is yuge. It sits high off the floor, much like a conventional bed, which is great for older guests and really anyone who might have trouble getting on and off a bed that’s too low to the ground (#adulting). We found all air mattresses are off by 2 or 3 inches from their advertised size, but of all the budget options we tested, the Comfort Plush was the closest in terms of genuine queen sizing at 60 inches wide by 79 inches long (standard queen-size beds measure 60” x 80”). If you’re looking for something smaller, it’s also available in an 18-inch-tall twin size model.


    Air mattresses are designed to hold air in one of two ways: coils or beams. Coil construction uses a collection of cylinders that stretch up and down the bed, much like a traditional mattress, while beam construction is marked by strips that run vertical or horizontal. The jury is still out on which design is more comfortable (we’re talking about air mattresses, after all, and the differences are almost imperceptible), but our testers agreed that if there’s one thing you should avoid, it’s beam air mattresses with seams that run from head to toe.

    The Simmons BeautyRest Hi-Loft Air Mattress, for example, wasn’t as stable as the Comfort Plush in our sleep trials, with one tester almost tipping the whole thing over by rolling too far to one side. The Comfort Plush, on the other hand, sat tight. Not only does positioning the beams crossways provide a flat, supportive sleeping surface, it also makes the air mattress less susceptible to side-to-side wobbling — great for couples, even better for solo sleepers.


    While it’s common for an air mattress to have a fuzzy, flocked top, the Comfort Plush goes a step further than most by extending the fuzzy fabric all around the sides, which Intex claims makes it more puncture-resistant. We’ll add it also does wonders for ensuring sheets stay put. The all-sided, suede-like coating also just looks and feels fancy, and makes the Comfort Plush more inviting than a mattress with plastic sides.

    Yes, there are many, many budget air mattresses out there — including even cheaper options from Intex — but we think the Comfort Plush line is the brand’s best yet. If anything, it’ll ensure your guests will actually want to visit again (you do want them to come back, right?). For an air mattress that offers comfort, stability, and value, our money is on Intex.

    Get it from Amazon for $45.

    Coleman SupportRest Elite Airbed

    If you’re looking to upgrade your accommodations game, we recommend the Coleman SupportRest Elite Airbed. It’s a dependable blow-up bed that provides 18 inches of height, a powerful internal pump with a speedy inflation time of under two minutes (the quickest we tested), and a patterned, soft-flocked top — nothing overly extravagant, just a sturdy mattress that’ll get the job done at a solid price point.

    Of course, any air mattress you buy won’t be perfect, and the SupportRest Elite is no exception. First, the built-in air pump was definitely the loudest we tested. Depending on your living situation, this could be negligible or a deal breaker, especially if your abode suffers from thin walls or if you’ve got neighbors in close proximity. But then again, what you get in return is a super-duper-fast setup.

    A couple other quibbles: A slightly too-small storage bag with a weak zipper. You may find it better to store the mattress away in a large tote bag; you’d be surprised at how small it can pack down. And finally, there’s no cubbyhole for the power cord to go into when not in use, which actually didn’t bother us because cords never neatly fit into those little slots anyway.

    If you can’t overlook these complaints and you’re OK with spending more, our runner-up in this price range, the SoundAsleep Dream Series — the standard, less fancy (but still kinda fancy) version of our $$$ pick — will treat your company right. It’s legit one of the best-rated air mattresses on the internet, and for good reason. But truth be told, our backs had a hard time telling the difference between the two, and that’s exactly why we’re comfortable recommending the Coleman. At the end of the day (literally), it’s just as accommodating, and you can typically find it $20 to $50 cheaper than the SoundAsleep Dream Series.

    Another thing about the Coleman that had our testers nodding in approval is a second manual air valve, which no other air mattress we tested offered. This add-on comes in handy if the built-in pump malfunctions outside of the warranty (you’re covered for one year) or if you ever want to use the mattress outside the confines of your home. In the unfortunate event of the built-in pump breaking — which could very well happen, because air mattresses — you can just buy a separate handheld pump and make it work.

    It should be noted that although Coleman claims this air bed is for indoor and outdoor use, we don’t necessarily recommend this thing for trips in the great outdoors. Weighing in at 17 pounds, the queen-size SupportRest Elite might be lighter and easier to transport than most double-height air mattresses, but towing it along for camping is rather extra. If you’re looking for something to take into the wild, get yourself a camp pad. That said, many reviews we saw attested to the bed holding up well during use outside, so don’t let us stop you.

    At 18 inches tall when fully inflated, the SupportRest Elite provides just enough height to get in and out of bed without a fuss. It also has a “PillowStop” feature: a raised lip at the head of the bed supposedly meant to help pillows from falling off (it won’t). But overall, the mattress is quite stable, with air coils that help maintain firmness, and this is one of the only a few beds our testers didn’t feel like they needed to top up with air every night.

    When it comes to durability, the PVC material feels more durable to others we tested in this price range, which included options from brands like King Koil and Serta. And while it won’t win any design awards, we commend Coleman for the interesting decision to throw a pattern on the top. Sure, you’ll be putting sheets on it anyway, but it’s certainly different.

    The bottom line? It’s hard to find a reason to spend nearly three digits for an air mattress, but the Coleman SupportRest Elite provides everything you should get for the price: a powerful motorized pump, a comfortable sleeping surface that won’t sag overnight (even if you’re a tosser and a turner), and a sturdy construction that should last you a couple of years, if not more.

    Get it from Amazon for $75.

    SoundAsleep CloudNine Series Air Mattress

    Ask the almighty Google machine for the “best inflatable mattress,” and you’ll find the SoundAsleep Dream Series air mattress tops most lists. It’s a wonderful temporary sleep solution that has over 10K five-star reviews on Amazon: a feat unheard of in a product category rife with discontent. And while we 100% agree, the Dream Series is not one of our top picks — but it’s close.

    If you believe your guests are worth the splurge, we recommend the CloudNine Series, a more swanky SoundAsleep model that deserves your attention for two reasons: a two-pump system that monitors and maintains air pressure for guaranteed all-night support, and an auto-shutoff feature with three automated comfort settings (plush, medium, and firm).

    In the words of one well-rested tester, the CloudNine is “worthy of a mint on the pillow.”

    Never a thing to be perfectly comfortable, an air mattress, at the very least, should not be so sensitive that each and every little move hinders a peaceful snooze. All air mattresses, some more than others, will pucker and bounce with every toss and turn, but the CloudNine impressed us with its very stable sleeping surface, thanks in large part to the beam construction that runs the width of the mattress. The squeaks are bearable, and the movements of someone on one side of the mattress shouldn’t significantly bother a bedmate.

    Fully blown up, the queen size measures 58 inches wide and 79 inches long (just below standard), and has a 19-inch height, which makes it easier for guests of all ages to comfortably get in and out of bed. The PVC material is the thickest plastic we tested, a detail confirmed by the CloudNine’s only downside: It’s slightly more difficult to roll up and fold into a compact shape. Luckily, it comes with a drawstring tote bag that has more than enough room so you won’t be struggling to stuff it back into storage. The upside, of course, is a much more durable and assumably more puncture-resistant air mattress.

    But where the CloudNine really earns its keep is in its resourceful pump system, which makes life easier for both hosts and guests. It’s an auto-shutoff pump where you can choose from preset comfort levels: plush, medium, and firm. In our testing, the presets were comfortable and distinctive, and each and every one of our testers loved the fact that you can just set it and forget it.

    The best part? The CloudNine houses a secondary pump that monitors air pressure to make sure it stays that way all night. If the mattress starts to sag, the secondary pump quietly kicks in to prevent deflation. In other words: It’s a loving, doting air mattress that puts in overtime to make your guests as comfortable as possible.

    The CloudNine’s dual-pump system is the same technology we love about our $$$ runner-up: Frontgate’s Sleep and Store EZ Bed, an air mattress that’s set on a steel frame with wheels. It’s a cot-meets-air-mattress hybrid that’s perfect for VIVs (Very Important Visitors — not a thing), but priced too high for us to recommend widely. Make no mistake, it’s impressive, but at $300+ full price, many testers rightly said they’d rather buy a futon or something similar. And, as many reviews point out, if the EZ Bed were ever to spring a leak, you’re left with something of a rolling anvil that would be a pain to throw out or recycle (it weighs 48 pounds!).

    This is why the CloudNine is a better investment. It’ll give your guests essentially the same level comfort, it’s easier to store, and it’s backed by a better warranty (one year). Plus, it’s hard to ignore that SoundAsleep is basically the standard-bearer in the air mattress game: It’s got the most positive reviews out of any air mattress company, and hands down the most responsive customer service you’ll find in the industry.

    If you’re looking for the very best, you can’t go wrong with the CloudNine. And if you’re looking to spend a little less, the Dream Series is more than worthy for your guest quarters. Whatever you choose, SoundAsleep mattresses certainly live up to their name, and they’re worth every dollar.

    Get it from Amazon for $200.