What is an Inflatable Mattress?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2019
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An inflatable mattress is also called an air bed or inflatable bed. Inflatable beds usually inflate with a hand held hair dryer or air pump. They are used for houseguests or for camping. Inflatable mattresses are usually lower to the floor than regular beds. Inflatable mattresses are available in children's sizes all the way up to queen-sized.

Queen-sized inflatable beds are ideal for a couple and may work well as a guest bed. Many people don't have a queen-sized bed in their guest room, den or basement so it can be handy to have an inflatable mattress stored in a closet to use for extra sleeping space during the holidays or vacations. If space is more limited, the next option in air beds is the double or full size which can still be used for a couple in most cases.

Deluxe styles of inflatable mattresses may feature a back rest. Others include a switch to increase or decrease the air fill. The twin-sized inflatable mattress is meant to fit one adult or older child. Smaller inflatable beds for children and inflatable cribs for babies are also available today. These can be especially convenient for travel.


Accessories for inflatable mattresses include inflatable pillows, air pumps and mattress covers. Mattress covers are often desirable as they can be removed for washing. They also add extra warmth and padding, especially on inflatable beds that don't have a flocked topping. A flocked topping is a soft layer of a velvet-textured material added to the inflatable mattress. This flocked covering may help eliminate the heat and discomfort associated with sleeping on vinyl or plastic mattresses. Many air mattresses also feature tunnel-like sections that fill with air to create extra comfort and support.

An inflatable mattress can make camping much more comfortable. Inflatable beds don't take up much room when deflated so are usually quite easy to take along with other camping gear. Plus, a sleeping bag can go right on top of the inflatable mattress so there's no need to fuss with making the air bed up with sheets in the tent, camper or cabin. Quality inflatable mattresses may cost up to about $150 or $200 U.S. dollars (USD), depending on the features and size.


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Post 4

My friend actually sleeps on an inflatable mattress year around. He says it's very comfortable.

Post 3

@ddljohn-- I've never had issues like that and my inflatable mattress was not too expensive but it was not too cheap either. But I don't use it very frequently, it's just for guests to use when they come to visit, so that's probably why.

Of course the durability of the mattress will vary and I do think that the higher the price, the better the inflatable mattress will be. But most people don't want to pay a lot for an inflatable mattress since it's not going to be used everyday.

As for the mattress deflating every night, that's a common occurrence and happens with all inflatable mattresses because of the pressure and weight of someone lying on it. But if the mattress has a built-in pump, it is much easier to inflate it regularly so that it is firm again.

Post 2

I used to have a cheap inflatable mattress during college days. It was very poor in quality and deflated only after a few weeks of use. I found a small hole on the side and then tried to fix it. It actually worked, I used some cement glue and a piece of paper tape. The mattress lasted for another few months, only to deflate once again. I eventually gave up and threw it away.

I also disliked that I had to re-inflate it every night because it would always deflate a little bit overnight, even when there was no hole in the mattress.

My suggestion to anyone shopping for an inflatable mattress is to get a good quality one. Otherwise, it won't last.

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