BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details
Expert Shopper Bed & Bath

Everything you need to know about choosing the perfect air mattress

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Whether heading on a camping trip, putting up guests or creating more sleeping space for a kids' slumber party, air mattresses are useful to have. However, some are better suited to certain functions than others.

You'll find a range of factors to consider, such as the size and height of the mattress and how it inflates. This is everything you need to know about choosing the perfect air mattress.

Shop this article: Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort Plush Air Mattress SeriesEnglander Air Mattress and SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

Air mattress size

Air mattresses are available in most of the same sizes as standard mattresses. Twin, full and queen sizes are the most common, while king air mattresses are less widely available. It's extremely rare to find air mattresses in less popular sizes, such as twin XL and California king.

Generally, a twin mattress is fine for one child or small adult to sleep on, but a single adult will be more comfortable on a full mattress. Although a full air mattress can technically sleep two adults, they'll be more comfortable on a queen or king mattress.

Air mattress height

Air mattresses come in a range of heights, but you can put them in two rough categories: single-height and double-height.

  • Single-height air mattresses: These air mattresses are generally between 8 and 12 inches high. They pack down smaller than double-height versions, so they're great for camping. They're also good for sleepovers or single-night use, but they aren't as comfortable as taller mattresses for extended stays.
  • Double-height air mattresses: They can range anywhere from 13 to 24 inches, though 18 inches is a common height. Since these mattresses are higher off the ground, they're more comfortable to get on and off. They also tend to be more supportive in general.

What else to look for in an air mattress

These are some other features to consider when choosing your new air bed.

  • Air beams: Air beams are channels inside the air mattress that help make it supportive all over. Without decent air beams, an air bed simply sags in the center. Some manufacturers make the beams out of proprietary fibers, rather than polyvinyl chloride, for a blend of comfort and support.
  • Built-in pump: Double-height air beds often come with a built-in pump, making them quick and easy to inflate at home. However, if you intend to take your mattress camping, make sure you can bypass the built-in pump and use a battery-powered pump or manual pump instead.
  • Raised head: Some mattresses are slightly raised at one end, providing head and neck support in lieu of using pillows. This is great for campers who want to pack as light as possible.
  • Flocking: The flocking on the top of an air mattress gives it a softer sleeping surface if you want to go without sheets. It also helps keep sheets in place, if used, and keeps them from making a squeaking sound when they rub against the mattress.
  • Storage bag: A storage bag gives you somewhere to stash safely your mattress while it's not in use. While you don't want a bag that's too big to store, if it's too small, it can be tricky to get the deflated mattress back inside.

Best air mattresses

Intex Dura Beam Deluxe Raised Pillow Air Mattress

Not only does this king size mattress provide plenty of sleeping space for two adults, it has a raised end that can be used as a pillow. The Fiber-Tech interior air beams provide firm support with enough give to let users have a comfortable sleep.

Intex Dura-Beam Deluxe Comfort Plush Air Mattress Series

You get plenty of options with this air mattress, including heights ranging from 13 to 22 inches and a choice of twin, full or queen sizes. It has comfortable and supportive Fiber-Tech air beams and a built-in pump for quick and easy inflation.

Intex 18-Inch Pillow Top Air Mattress with Electric Pump and Headboard

The inclusion of a built-in headboard makes this a great choice for longer stays since sleepers don't need to deal with the annoyance of their pillow slipping off the end. It has a soft pillow top and a built-in pump.

Englander Air Mattress

This luxury double-height air mattress comes in twin, queen and California king sizes, and it measures 20 inches high. It has super soft flocking and a built-in pump that inflates the bed in less than two minutes.

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

Thanks to the quality air beams, referred to as "Comfort Coil Technology," this mattress is comfortable and supportive, giving users a surprisingly good sleep. It comes in a choice of five sizes and has a built-in pump that provides speedy inflation.

Sealy 16-Inch Queen Air Bed

Measuring 16 inches high, this queen air mattress is a comfortable choice for two adults to sleep on. The built-in pump inflates the bed in just four minutes, and the flocked sleeping surface and built-in pillow rest are nice touches.

EnerPlex Air Mattress with Built-in Pump

You have a choice of 13-inch, 16-inch and 18-inch heights and twin, full, queen or king sizes with this air mattress. The cushioned internal air beam coils are supportive enough to rival a standard mattress, and the built-in pump inflates it quickly and easily.

EnerPlex Never-Leak Camping Series Air Mattress

This 9-inch air mattress is a perfect choice for camping or occasional home use, for instance, when kids have a friend sleep over. It is available in twin or queen sizes and comes with a high-speed battery-powered pump for easy inflation wherever you are.

Serta Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat Pump

The built-in Never Flat pump stays plugged in all night, topping up the mattress with more air when needed, so you'll never wake up mere inches from the floor. This mattress comes in twin or queen sizes and has a handy firmness selection.

Beautyrest Comfort Plus 18-Inch Anti-Microbial Air Mattress with Pump

Thanks to its cooling top and pocketed air flow, this mattress helps keep sleepers feeling comfortably cool all night. It has quality air coils that reduce motion transfer and a built-in pump for fast and straightforward inflation.

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Share this post: