Best Air Mattress – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

Getting the best air mattress depends on several factors, from the quality of parts used to the warranty and overall value. Researching information on the numerous options available can also be time consuming and confusing for first-time shoppers. In this guide, we cover the most important aspects of choosing the best air mattress and compare leading brands and manufacturers to highlight differences within the industry.

How to Choose the Best Air Mattress

Before beginning the shopping process, it is a good idea to become familiar with the various parts and features used in air mattresses as they differ significantly from other types of beds. These components include the air chambers, air pumps, hand controls, chamber support system, and topper layers.

Air Chambers

Air chambers are the component which contains the air and provides the core support in the mattress. These can be made of varying gauges of vinyl or rubber, in single or multi-chamber designs, and with our without baffling. Vulcanized rubber chambers are considered the strongest, with 24 gauge and up being ideal for durability. Some brands may also have fabric or fiber coverings to improve durability. Single chamber designs (one bladder for the entire bed) are often cheapest, but may be more likely to create the “hammocking” effect when used with low pressures and require couples to share preferences. Dual-chamber designs come in some queen and king air beds and allow couples to customize their side. More advanced models may also use three independent chambers for head, foot and lumbar regions to improve support and customizability (six in dual models). Baffling further helps to balance air pressure and improve the consistency of support.

Air Pumps

The air pumps are what controls the pressure, or firmness, of the air mattress. These can be either manual or digital, and will have different technical features depending on the brand. Some pump types can be quite noisy, so this may be something to check. Pumps may also differ on their ability to maintain set air pressures and in long-term reliability, making it an important consideration when comparing warranties.

Hand Controls

The hand controls connect to the air pump for convenient pressure adjustments. Most modern air beds meant for daily mattress use will have  hand controls, though some older or more basic models may need to be adjusted using the actual pump. Controls for air mattresses are almost always hard-wired to the pump, so they don’t need batteries and won’t get lost. However, the cord can be both unsightly for some. One aspect to compare with controls is the range of comfort settings. A greater number of settings can mean more precise control over firmness, and some may have convenient buttons for memory settings or automatic chamber filling.

Chamber Support System

The air chamber bladder(s) are contained within a mattress shell in an air bed mattress, and how they are supported can have some effect on comfort and quality. Most often, the mattresses will have foam rails along the perimeter of the chambers to provide structure and edge support. Cheaper, less-durable foams will break down quicker, decreasing total support in the mattress. With dual-chamber models, some brands may also use foam rails between the chambers, which can create the effect of a “bar” in the middle of the mattress which couples may dislike.

Topper Layers

Above the air chambers, mattresses will have varying layers of foams and fiber to provide added comfort. When you are comparing beds within the same line, often the only difference will be the topper layers Many will have an egg-crate-type foam right above the chambers and beneath the cover. Toppers may be plush-top (very little padding), pillow-top (fiber-filled or quilt foam padding), and may also contain memory foam or latex. Standard foams and fiber batting are likely to break down fairly quick (as with spring pillow-top beds), while higher quality memory foam and latex layers are more resilient. Memory foam can be a great option for pain and pressure relief, while latex offers a more firm and resilient feel.

Comparison of Air Mattress Brands

To provide a sample comparison, we looked at four leading brands of air mattress beds. Boyd, Comfortaire and Innomax have been producing air beds for several years, while Tempur-Choice is a brand new line from memory foam mattress giant Tempurpedic. We researched each brand for information on the factors of most interest to shoppers, and  compiled our findings below for easy analysis.

Boyd Night Air

Comfortaire

Innomax

Tempur-Choice

Air Chambers

Vinyl or 26-gauge Rubber; 1-6 chambers

24-gauge Latex or Urethane; 1-2 chambers

25-gauge Vulcanized Latex; 1-2 chambers

Polyurethane; 3-6 chambers

Air Pumps

Manual, Digital

Manual, Digital

Manual, Digital

Digital

Noise Level

Low

Low-Moderate

Low-Moderate

Low

Hand Controls

Wired

Wired

Wired

Wired

Comfort Settings

Up to 100

65-100

Up to 50

120

Support Systems

HD perimeter support foam

1.6 lb perimeter support foam

HD perimeter support foam

? perimeter support foam & center foam

Topper Options

Foam, silk, quilt, memory foam, latex

Foam, quilt, memory foam, latex

Foam, quilt, memory foam, latex

Foam, memory foam

Warranty

20 yrs (2 full)

25 yrs (2-4 full)

20-25 yrs (3-5 full)

25 yrs (5 full)

Returns

90 days

100 days

Depends on Retailer

90 days

Price Range

$599-1999

$849-4049

$699-2999

$3199-3699

Owner Satisfaction

4.0 / 5

4.1 / 5

3.9 / 5

3.8 / 5

For air chambers, Boyd’s lower-end models use vinyl with one or two chambers, while the medium and higher end models use 26-gauge rubber with tri-chamber designs. Innomax air beds have 25-gauge vulcanized rubber bladders with one or two chambers. Comfortaire’s low and medium end models use 24 gauge latex rubber, while the higher end models use urethane bladders, with one or two chambers. Tempur-Choice has limited information available, but was said to use polyurethane air chambers with a tri-dimensional design.

Across the brands, most have both manual and digital air pump options with varying power aspects. Comfortaire and Innomax were more likely to receive complaints of noise, however there are limited reviews of Tempur-Choice available for comparison. All use wired controls and most have LED/LCD options, with Tempur Choice offering the highest number of settings.

Comfortaire is the only brand to provide density information for their perimeter support rails, though Boyd and Innomax both say they use HD foam (usually between 1.6-2.5 lb). We could not find any information on density for Tempurpedic’s foam rails. Tempur-Choice is also the only brand in the comparison that uses center support foam between dual chamber models. With the exception of Tempur-Choice, which only comes with memory foam, the brands all have a range of pillow top options.

Warranty ranges were similar, but Innomax and Tempur-Choice offer the longest periods of full and prorated coverage. Comfortaire has the longest return period of 100 days, followed by 90 days for Boyd and Tempur-Choice. Innomax’s trial period appeared to depend on the retailer, with most offering 30 days. Between all of the lines owner reviews appeared quite similar with Boyd and Comfortaire slightly higher. Tempur-Choice reviews are quite limited due to the newness of the product, but the few samples we could find varied considerably.

In terms of pricing, Boyd and Innomax lines seem to offer the best value ranges, with Comfortaire and Tempur-Choice costing considerably more. Both Innomax and Boyd use rubber bladders with quality above industry standard and have a range of pump and topper options to suit different preferences. The Innomax warranty is somewhat stronger than Boyd’s, although Boyd offers a longer trial period. Boyd reviews are more plentiful online and are slightly higher than Innomax reviews. While people seem to like Boyd’s comfort and quietness, Innomax’s quality and service seems to excel. Since both brands are available from several retailers, pricing is fairly competitive and considerably less than the national brands.

Getting the best air mattress can involve considerable research between learning about the different components and digging up facts on different brands. The most important aspects to consider when shopping are the quality and construction of the air chambers, pumps, and controls, the mattress support system, and the quality of the topper layers. In addition to these core components, getting the best air mattress also involves comparing value in terms of relative price and warranties as demonstrated in our brand comparison. Learning about the mattress type, looking at a variety of brands and contrasting the features with your personal preferences and budget can all help you come away with the best air mattress.

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