The Best Air Mattresses

Most air mattresses are pretty similar, but the very best offers easy inflation, minimal air loss, and — we dare to dream — a luxurious night’s sleep. We picked 11 popular models, consulted chiropractors and a physicist, and measured air loss overnight, before putting our REM cycles on the line to personally test the best. Our favorites offered intuitive pumps, a neat feature or two, and performed well in our overnight test, all while giving truly comfortable support that left us pleasantly surprised.

Our Picks for Best Air Mattress

Best for Indoor
Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed
The Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed is an excellent all-rounder that impressed us with its thoughtful pump and design features.
Pros
Superfast inflation
Surprising portability
No overnight air loss
Cons
Controversial pillowstop
Bold design

Why we chose it

Superfast inflation

The Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed is our top pick because its 120V built-in pump is fast — really fast. It was fully inflated in only 1:35. To put that in context, the overall fastest was a single height mattress (the SoundAsleep Camping Series) at just 1:03 but then again, that’s half the size of the Coleman. On the other hand, the runner-up double-height SoundAsleep Dream Series took more than twice as long with a top-tapping 3:41.

Surprising portability

The real game-changer with the Coleman is the second manual pump valve. It was one of only two double-height contenders with both an automatic internal pump and a manual pump valve, which means you can use it wherever you need it. While the Coleman doesn’t come with its own external pump, you can use any manual pump (we found those with internal rechargeable batteries are generally faster than those with replaceable batteries) to inflate our top pick anywhere outside your house. And we wanted to take it outside — because it’s the lightest of all our double-height air mattresses, at just 16.5 lbs, and its square carrying bag simply zips up around the mattress.

No overnight air loss

The Coleman was one of the notable few that lost no perceivable height during our overnight test. The other two were the Coleman Airbed Cot that had an elevated metal frame (which we felt protruding through the mattress), and our camping runner-up, the SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress.

Points to consider

Controversial pillowstop

We were initially skeptical about the “PillowStop” feature, a slightly raised edge meant to keep pillows from falling off. It’s not high enough to be a pillow itself, so you’ll either rest your pillow on top of it, which might give you too much lift, or find yourself scooting further down the bed, which may be a dealbreaker for taller folks.

Bold design

We found the Coleman’s bold blue and white stripes less stylish than the softer earth and water hues of most other air mattresses. If you intend to put sheets on your Coleman anyway, you can probably forget about this curious design choice, although it may still show through with lighter or thinner sheets.

Best for Outdoor
Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed
The chamber-like rechargeable pump and coil construction of the Alps is the perfect combination for fast comfort.
Pros
Long-lasting comfort
Ultra-portable
Rechargeable pump
Cons
Specific parts

Why we chose it

Long-lasting comfort

The Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed made us feel like we should definitely go camping more often. This was one of the few single-height air mattresses with coil construction, and with less air and a lower profile, we really appreciated those comfort dimples. It held air pretty well overnight, too, and the quarter inch it lost didn’t seem to make much of a difference, which is surprising given it’s only 9.5 inches tall to begin with.

Ultra-portable

Getting this baby to your drive-up destination should also be a breeze. When tightly rolled, the Alps was about half the size of a sleeping bag, and though still hefty for a hike, will take up little space for car campers. At 9.75 lbs, it was also one of the lightest products we tested. The Lightspeed was the only one lighter, at just 4 lbs, but it lost way too much air when detaching the pump.

Rechargeable pump

All of the single-height air mattress we tested had an external pump, and of all the rechargeables, the Alps’ was our favorite. We love that it comes with both a wall and car charger, but the pump itself is unusual: a sturdy cylinder about the size of a large coffee mug that locks into the Alps’ unique valve and twists to inflate/deflate. The lock keeps the pump in place so you don’t have to hover, and after fully inflating in 1:24, literally no air escaped when we disconnected it.

Points to consider

Specific parts

The only downside to the Alps’ distinct pump design is that you have to use the pump it comes with. So if you lose or break the air pump, you’ll need to contact the company directly to order a replacement (we couldn’t find it anywhere else online). And if you happen to forget it when packing for a trip, you won’t be able to borrow a fellow camper’s pump.

Others to Consider

Indoor Runner-up
SoundAsleep Dream Series
A popular indoor option, the SoundAsleep Dream provides a comfortable night’s sleep, but comes with fewer features and slower setup.
Pros
Reliable comfort
Easy storage
Cons
Short cord
Slow inflation

If you’re looking for an indoor setup and have put any thoughts of outdoor use firmly to bed, then you’ll be happy with the SoundAsleep Dream Series. Though its fairly standard features didn’t wow us, it was a solid performer and we’re confident you’ll get a good night’s sleep.

The SoundAsleep Dream’s double-height, coil construction comes with a built-in AC pump, and while it had a significantly shorter cord than a lot of the others we tested, we didn’t find this to be a huge issue. It also has a nifty little cubby hole to keep the cord tucked out of the way when the pump’s not in use. Simple storage was a breeze with the generously sized carry bag easily accommodated all 19 lbs of loosely folded mattress. Although its slow inflation time (3:41) couldn’t compete with the Coleman’s, the SoundAsleep does come in gentle ocean blue or deep burgundy color schemes, making it admittedly much more attractive.

Outdoor Runner-up
SoundAsleep Camping Series
The SoundAsleep Camping Series has beam construction and offers the fastest inflation and an innovative air valve.
Pros
Inflation speed
Air pump flap
Cons
Beam construction
Tougher to store

The SoundAsleep Camping Series is our only pick with beam construction, and while testers noted that the horizontal beams felt a bit more intrusive than coils, it was still pretty comfortable. Side sleepers in particular liked the way the ridges pushed up to offer support along their whole side, although if you sleep on your back or front, you may find this bumpy height applies unwanted pressure. At 14 lbs, the SoundAsleep Camping feels surprisingly light, but even with our tightest fold was close to the size of an adult sleeping bag.

The SoundAsleep Camping’s powerful rechargeable pump finished inflating in an outstanding 1:03, a blessing for a late-night camp setup. The pump was less convenient than the Alps’ as we had to hold it in place, but this is pretty standard for external pumps. We did like the cleverly engineered flap that automatically covered the opening to limit escaping air as we removed the pump. This also made adjusting the mattress a snap, as you simply unscrew the cap and push the same flap to release air.

Other to Consider
Insta-Bed Raised Queen w/ neverFLAT Pump
A comfortable air mattress with a convenient auto-off switch, although we couldn't verify the Insta-Bed's neverFLAT technology.
Pros
Automatic shut-off
Minimal air loss
Cons
Misleading neverFLAT technology
Large and heavy

A reliable indoor choice is the double-height Insta-Bed Raised Queen w/ neverFLAT Pump. We liked the Insta-Bed’s automatic shut-off feature that eliminates the risk of over inflating and makes an already convenient automatic inflation feel even easier.

We weren’t all that impressed with the neverFLAT technology, though, which claims to inflate and maintain preset plush, medium, and firm airfill. Try as we might, we couldn’t feel any difference and with only a handful of inflation seconds between them, we remain skeptical. But the Insta-Bed was just as comfortable as our top pick and runner-up and lost a minimal quarter inch overnight (much better than the Serta that boasts the same neverFLAT pump but lost over an inch). At 22.3 lbs, the Insta-Bed is noticeably heavier than all our other picks and we had a harder time folding it to fit in its carry bag.

Guide to Air Mattresses

Consider your usage before buying.

Before you purchase an air mattress, it’s important to think about how you’ll be using it. An air mattress for camping or backpacking is different to one for long-term indoor use or houseguests. Pump type, height, and portability will all depend on your plans for your mattress. The frequency of your use could determine how much you’ll want to invest in a mattress, too.

Top your mattress up every day.

Slow leaks over time can happen in a number of ways: from the seams, from the pump intake/output, and even through the pores of the PVC itself. If you’re sleeping on an air mattress for more than one night, manufacturers recommend topping it up with about 10 seconds of air.

“For optimal comfort, inflate the mattress to a level firm enough that your pressure points (shoulders, hip bones, etc.) sink into the mattress just enough that your spine does not form an arch. Your entire body should feel supported and you shouldn’t feel pressure on your vertebrae.”
Dr. James Devine
chiropractor

Add a mattress topper for ultimate comfort.

Both chiropractors we spoke to recommend investing in a mattress topper for extra padding and temperature control. “The materials air mattresses are made with don’t breathe the way cloth mattresses do, so you can find yourself being uncomfortably hot in the summer and cold in the winter,” explains Dr. Devine. “A cotton mattress pad will insulate you from the heat or cold (depending on the season) of sleeping on an air mattress.”

Air Mattress FAQ

Can you patch an air mattress?

Yes! Punctures in an air mattress are quite common, and often the reason for replacement. But whether there was a rock under the tent or the cat got spooked by your houseguest, you don’t have to purchase a brand-new air mattress — most mattresses even come with their own patch. The simplest way to repair: Clean the area around the hole, and then use PVC glue and a patch to seal it. If the glue isn’t sticking to a flocked top, you can lightly sand it down before gluing. Some patches even come with an adhesive back so you can skip the glue. Either way, it’s best to wait a day before inflating the mattress again, to really let the patch seal. You can purchase all these items separately, or buy an air mattress repair kit.

Is it bad to sleep on an air mattress every night?

It’s not uncommon to choose an air mattress for your nightly snooze — especially when transitioning homes or living in a small space like a dorm room. But know that manufacturers discourage this kind of use. Most air mattresses come with a one- or two-year warranty, but manufacturers warn that everyday use for more than a month or two will degrade the mattress and almost certainly void the warranty.

How much weight can an air mattress hold?

Depending on the size and quality of your air mattress, most can hold up to 600 lbs. Smaller single-height twin mattresses may max out at 300 lbs. Most of our top picks range from 500-600 lbs weight limits. If you need a product that can hold more weight, consider a sleeping cot.

The Best Air Mattress: Summed Up

Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed
SoundAsleep Dream Series
Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed
SoundAsleep Camping Series
Insta-Bed Raised Queen w/ neverFLAT Pump
Best Indoor Indoor Runner-up Best Outdoor Outdoor Runner-up Other to consider
Size options Queen Twin, Queen Twin, Queen Twin, Queen Twin, Full, Queen
Product weight 16 lbs. 19 lbs. 9 lbs. 14 lbs. 22 lbs.
Inflation time 1 min 35 sec 3 min 41 sec 1 min 24 sec 1 min 3 sec 2 min 45 sec
Overnight height loss 0 in .75 in .25 in 0 in .25 in