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.