Are you looking for an inflatable air mattress to host guests in the spare room (and the occasional sleepover)? Air mattresses – or blow-up beds – are an excellent item to have on board. They are easy to use, inflate, deflate, and are relatively compact. The trick is to choose a comfortable spot on the ground. Yes, it’s okay to be skeptical about blow-up mattresses. After all, their predecessors don’t exactly have a stellar reputation when it comes to comfort. Air mattresses in older times were almost always synonymous with a terrible night’s sleep. However, today’s technology has allowed blow-up beds to parallel traditional mattresses in terms of heights, sizes, and comfort levels.
Perhaps more importantly, blow-up mattresses have found a niche following among owners of recreational vehicles or people who frequently camp outdoors. The best blow-up dolls are durable enough to withstand harsh outdoor elements and typically don’t require a power source to quickly inflate. Power, especially if you’re camping outdoors, is a scarce resource. Plus, blow-up beds are fun. Simply ask any awestruck child who just watched a flat piece of plastic inflate itself in just a few short minutes into a snugly movable bed. The online marketplace has been flooded with blow-up beds, and it’s fairly difficult to tell the good ones from the bad.
This is why we have rounded up our choice of the top 5 best blow-up beds that are full of neat features and offer good value for money. If you’re not a big fan of giant walls of text (as informational as they are) and prefer to cut to the chase, you may want to stop now and check out our TL: DR version to save time. Our top pick for the best blow-up bed is the Dream Series Air Mattress by Sound Asleep. We chose this incredibly feature-rich blow-up bed for one simple reason. Then there is the sheer number of features that manufacturer SoundAsleep skillfully (and generously) loaded into their product while keeping prices down.
Thanks to the high capacity internal pump, this bed reaches full inflation in less than 4 minutes and stays fully inflated for several days after. Two large-sized adults can comfortably sleep on the bed without competing for space. Its slick design will go along well with most interior decors, including Scandinavian and Victorian designs. SoundAsleep’s Dream Series lineup is designed with durability in mind and made using puncture-proof PVC. The ‘extra thick’ multilayered structure allows these blow-up beds to take quite a beating, so you would have to go out of your way to make even a small dent!
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Our Top 5 Best Blow-up Beds on Amazon
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
Our Choice Item
This blow-up bed perfectly mimics a traditional mattress. For the most part, you won’t even know you’re sleeping on an air mattress. This blow-up mattress can be used on the roughest outdoor terrains thanks to its tough-as-nails multi-layered design utilizing environmentally friendly PVC. With this mattress, gone are the days when you had to wait up to 60 minutes for air beds to inflate to full size, the Dream Series uses a high-capacity internal pump to reach full inflation in less than four minutes. Perhaps more interestingly, the mattress retains its flat and firm surface for several days on end without losing its plumpness.
Moreover, the blow-up bed does a pretty good job of mimicking traditional mattresses due to its dimensions, for instance, a fully inflated Queen-sized bed measures 78” by 58” by 19”. The blow-up bed uses SoundAsleep’s ComfortCoil Technology for maximum firmness on the surface. The bottom of the bed features SureGrip technology to prevent a fully inflated bed from slipping and sliding. To achieve its high comfort levels, the bed features 40 internal coils for added support and durability to give you a well-rested sleep. Furthermore, the air mattress is backed up by a customer-friendly 1-year warranty in case something goes wrong.
This gives you the peace of mind that your investment is safe for several years to come. The customer support team can be reached on SoundAsleep’s official page. Choose a size depending on your needs. You can buy a Queen-size mattress if you’re sleeping with a partner. However, if you’re planning a camping trip with lots of friends, consider opting for the King-sized mattress.
It comes with a one-year warranty
The internal pump is at least 20% quieter than other brands
SureGrip technology bolts the bed into one spot
There isn’t enough room more than two large adults
Latest deal: SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress
King Koil Queen Air Mattress with Built-in Pump
Top Quality Item
The King Koil Air Mattress is exactly the mattress we’d want to use if we had friends over for an overnight stay. It is vastly superior to those floor-hugging thin-air beds found in most supermarkets that deflate in just a few hours. This is one of the best blow-up beds in this price bracket and for good reason. It is made using eco-friendly fully flocked PVC to withstand rough usage. What sets this air mattress apart from competing brands is its raised 20-inch height that feels deceptively similar to the comfort of traditional mattresses. If ease of use concerns you, then King Koil has you covered with their built-in pump that can be activated using separate knobs to control inflation and deflation; it’s fast, simple and over in only 2 minutes.
But the defining feature of this air mattress is that it’s hard to destroy thanks to durable puncture-resistant layers on the outside. The manufacturers know full well how easy it is for accidental punctures to wreck air mattresses, this is why all their mattresses include patch kits to fully cover up accidental holes – this is the perfect fail-safe mechanism. When it comes to King Koil, comfort is a top priority, which is why they bring you their Enhanced Coil technology for a sound night’s sleep. The air-filled coils naturally support the body and keep your spine properly aligned during sleep. Perhaps more impressive is the ability to control the bed’s firmness to your preferred levels using the separate inflation and deflation valves. All these features are neatly backed up by a solid 1-year warranty.
Adjustable firmness levels thanks to separate inflation and deflation valves
Can support weights up to 600 lbs
Approved and certified by the International Chiropractors Association
Available in only three sizes
Latest Deal: King Koil Queen Air Mattress with Built-in Pump
Coleman Camping Cot
Best Value Item
It’s impossible not to be impressed by Coleman’s camping cot. Its durable ComfortStrong coil construction offers an impressive combination of spinal support for a good night’s sleep. The 600-pound weight limit is well beyond what most blow-up mattresses offer and the quality of materials used to manufacture should increase the bed’s lifespan for many years if used sensibly. Two steel frame supports are used to ensure the air mattress doesn’t crumble under excessive weight. Coleman’s air mattress is all about increasing functionality. This is achieved in part thanks to its 2 side tables that easily pop out to help you keep drinks and other accessories close to you. The included pump makes it easy to inflate and deflate the mattress and stays in that position for several days. Thanks to Coleman’s ingenious Airtight System, the mattress remains airtight because it is puncture-proof.
The mattress provides enough room for tall people (6 ft 2 in. max). Furthermore, the mattress is well suited for outdoor use due to its multi-layered padding. Carrying the air mattress is easy since it folds neatly into its carry bag for travel and storage. Considering all these features, Coleman’s air mattress is surprisingly inexpensive and competes with many traditional mattresses. Overall, this should be on your priority list of air mattresses if you plan on taking a trip with family and friends. The one year warranty should protect your investment for a long time.
The whole mattress can be folded into the carry bag
Tables on either side of the bed to keep personal items close to you
Durability for use in rugged terrains
Supports up to 600 lbs of weight
Only two sizes available for purchase
Latest Deal: Coleman Camping Cot
Twin Air Mattress by Air Expect
Air Expect’s Twin Air Mattress has a convenient setup that helps you save time when inflating. It features an elevated design that allows you to be 18 inches off the ground when fully inflated. Most blow-up beds receive bad rep for easily slipping and skidding off the surface, this is a problem that Air Expect solves using an anti-skid base they call “Secure Grip.This allows the bed to stay locked in position regardless of your movement at night. We liked the customizability of the twin mattress since you can fit all standard Twin Size fitted sheets perfectly. When you’re done using the bed for the day, simply deflate it and roll it up into a compact space for easy storage and transportation. The electric pump requires 120V AC to quickly inflate and deflate the bed, taking at least 5 minutes to reach full size.
You don’t have to worry about the clutter since the wires can be stored away from the bed. A two-year warranty inspires confidence in the bed, giving you complete peace of mind during purchase. Air Expect skillfully prioritizes ease of use thanks to a simple knob that can go one way to inflate and the other to deflate. Due to thick padding and layers of PVC material, the air mattress is designed for rustic camping on harsh surfaces. Although it is difficult for you to accidentally poke holes in the mattress, you can repair the damage using 6 self-adhesive repair patches.
Height makes it easy to move in and out of bed
The firmness of the mattress is evenly spread throughout for maximum comfort
Can use fitted sheets
The mattress weighs a lot
Latest deal: Twin Air Mattress by Air Expect
Englander First Ever Microfiber Queen Air Mattress
It’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep and feel relaxed if your mattress feels uncomfortable. This is why most users prefer buying bedsheets made using microfibers to repel stain. Englander is one of the first manufacturers that use microfiber on their air mattresses. This protects your bed from damage, puncture, abrasion, and is up to 30% stronger than traditional mattresses. Turns out, microfiber is naturally good at heat regulation, so you won’t be waking up feeling hot or cold. Englander includes a carrying bag to store their air mattress, and it’s also ideal for easy transport. It can be stored in your garage or closet. The weight for the mattress is surprisingly only 17 pounds, and this makes it convenient for camping outdoors. Inflating and deflating the air mattress is easy thanks to a powerful built-in pump that allows the unit to reach full size in only 2 minutes.
The reinforced coil beam construction of the air mattress offers a good level of comfort and stability. Making things easier is the microfiber exterior which helps you enter into a state of deep slumber. You won’t even know that you’re sleeping on a blow-up bag. The mattress is designed for rough use outdoors and is fully waterproof. Depending on which size you select, the air mattress provides support for weights between 300 lbs to 600 lbs. You can buy the bed in three different sizes, Twin, Queen and ‘California King’ for a range of options. To top it all off, you will get a 5-year warranty to protect your investment.
Super soft microfiber exterior
Only 17 pounds in weight
The motor pump makes a loud noise
Latest deal: Englander First Ever Microfiber Queen Air Mattress
The Best Blow-up Beds Buyers Guide
Considerations for Blow-up Beds
All air mattresses are not created equal, which in this case is more than welcome. The more options you have, the merrier. Since there are so many products out there, it helps to do your due research before committing to a blow-up bed.
Air mattresses have come a long way since they were just a tiny layer of air that barely kept your body off the ground. Today there many types of air mattresses, each with their pros and cons. Figuring out which one to buy depends on your preferences. There are three main types of air mattresses; i) raised mattresses, ii) convertible air beds, and iii) self-inflatable mattresses.
It is easy to transition in and out of raised mattresses than a bed that is closer to the ground. Raised mattresses perfectly mimic traditional mattresses once they are fully inflated, and they are more comfortable as well. Convertible air beds can also serve as a place to sit when you are not laying down to sleep. Self-inflatable beds have built-in pumps which make it easy to inflate and deflate the unit in a matter of minutes. Some models fuse the three types of mattresses into one product.
Thickness and Comfort Level
The comfort level offered by a good blow-up mattress is going to be directly related to the thickness. Thicker mattresses are more comfortable than thinner variants since there will be more air for isolation throughout the night. The only problem is that air mattresses inevitably lose some of their inflation after a few hours, and the isolation, more or less, decreases.
The more air you lose, the closer you reach the ground. It is not uncommon for people to sleep in a comfortable state only to wake up close to the ground due to a partially inflated mattress. If comfort is something you don’t like compromising, try buying air mattresses made using memory foam. For obvious reasons, the memory foam mattress will be more expensive, but the higher comfort levels will be well worth the extra cost.
Like traditional beds, most blow-up beds are available in different sizes including Twin, Queen, and King. Choose a size that ultimately fits your needs. Full and Twin sized beds are excellent options for outdoor users. There is no need to spend extra money on a large blow-up bed unless you have a family. Besides, the bigger your bed, the harder it is to fit under a tent. If you have a partner with you or need sleeping space for two people, your best bet would be to invest in the Queen size. It is big enough for two large adults but offers less space than King sizes.
Depending on what breed of feline or canine you have, your pet will probably have razor-sharp fangs and nails that can easily make short work of even the most durable air mattresses. Look for products that are not easy to puncture from various claws and sharp objects. Most companies use heavy-duty material such as eco-friendly PVC to reinforce the blow-up bed. This not only prevents damage to the surface of the blow-up bed but also increases its life span. Since you will be running into puncture issues fairly often, it is a good idea to invest in a product that boasts of at least a 1-year warranty.
Inflation and Deflation
Inflating an air mattress manually seems to be a fun process… until the novelty wears off. Then, it becomes a difficult and harrowing chore. Older air mattresses relied on the use of foot or hand pumps to fully inflate the bed. This also left a lot of room for user error since it is easy to blow-up the ‘blow-up’ mattress when you exceed its peak capacity.
The most significant advantage of modern air mattresses is the inclusion of an automatic pump. This neat little inflates and deflates your mattress with the push of a button (of course in some cases it requires a connection to an electrical socket). Furthermore, an automatic pump gradually adds air into your bed to compensate for the gradual (and inevitable) loss of air.
Ability to Hold Air
Holding air is what most blow-up mattresses are designed for. The best blow-up beds can retain their height, firmness, and plumpness for many days on end. The more air you lose, the closer you are to the ground. This becomes particularly concerning if you are sleeping in a cold environment, during camping. It is not uncommon for nighttime temperatures to suddenly plummet, which makes it all the more important to stay above ground. The best thing you can do is to look for quality products that have the structural integrity to retain air for as long as possible.
With time, even the best blow-up beds will take lots of punishment. The last thing you need is a ruptured air mattress that couldn’t even last a single night. This is why you should buy products from a reliable company that offers warranty protection of some kind. You don’t want to lose your money if something goes wrong. Remember, the more features an air mattress has, such as side tables, motors, and batteries, the more important it becomes to secure a warranty.
Tips to Use and Repair the Air Mattress
Never overinflate the air mattress. As a general rule of thumb, you should fill blow-up beds to 90% capacity and then deflate after three hours. Keep doing this repeatedly before filling the bed up to capacity. The idea is to get the plastic used to expansion before your weight comes crashing down on the bed. Once the bed becomes a little ‘worn out’, you can now use it.
The telltale signs that your bed is leaking include hissing noises and excessive loss of air. Most air beds come with self-adhesive repair patches to fix leaks. Spray the mattress with soap and water solution. If you see spot any bubbles, that’s your leak. Do not overburden the mattress beyond its maximum capacity. If it is designed for 300 lbs, don’t place more than 300 lbs on it. If at all possible, keep the blow-up bed away from cats and dogs. While it is tempting to use these beds as a trampoline, for obvious reasons – don’t. Avoid using sharp objects.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Should I Fill Up My Blow-Up Bed?
The only time you should fill up your blow-up bed is when you’re getting ready to use it. While you don’t need the bed to stay inflated forever, it should retain its height and firmness for the duration of the night at least. If you find that some air has leaked over a few hours, go ahead and fill up some more air.
Why Do Air Beds Lose Air?
It is common for air beds to lose air. This is a problem that plagues even the best models online. It isn’t normal, however, to lose a significant amount in short bursts. Try to look for any signs of leakage and use a self-adhesive repair patch to fix the bed. In most cases, the cap on your blow-up bed’s air valve is loose and needs tightening. Make sure to securely fasten the cap before using the bed.
How Can I Deflate the Blow-up Bed?
It is inconvenient to have blow-up beds fully inflated when you no longer need it and are running out of space. In most cases, your air bed comes with an air pump with a deflate setting. This is a handy option when you’re traveling and need to transport the bed in a small bag. Deflating the air mattress should be as simple as loosening the cap on the air valve to help the air escape.
How Do I Maintain My Air Bed?
Once you have deflated the air mattress, simply store it in its included bag. Keep the bag in a safe place where it will stay protected from excessive cold and heat. You should keep sharp objects as far away from your air beds as possible otherwise they can puncture the air mattress and ruin it. This can become a problem if you don’t have self-adhesive repair patches.
How Can I Make the Air Mattress Feel Softer?
If you want to make your blow-up bed even more comfortable, consider buying a topper to relieve pressure and increase the distance between you and the ground. The topper should retain heat and reduce and minimize your exposure to the circulating air.
Head of Content at Sleepedia
Lauren is Sleepedia's Head of Content and is a certified sleep therapist who loves her sleep. Lauren helps people to get back to those deep, dream-filled nights they once had by helping to identify problems with their routine and sleep setup. Whether it's a mattress or pillow, Lauren researches the best products in the industry to provide you with an in-depth review of everything you need to know to encourage your buying decision.