What Should I Consider When Buying an Air Mattress?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2019
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Many people purchase an air mattress as auxiliary bedding for overnight guests, while others use an air mattress for additional comfort on camping trips. Whatever the reason, buying an air mattress requires some comparison shopping and an inventory of all the specific features one might desire in the ideal model.

One important element to consider before buying an air mattress is the inflation method. Larger air mattresses require substantial amounts of air for maximum comfort, which means the user must spend time and effort on inflation. The cheapest air mattress models on the market may require the owner to use his or her own lung power as the inflation source. If blowing into a smaller air mattress is not a problem, at least look for a model with a one-way inflation valve. This is a specially designed valve which contains a flap to trap air in the mattress. If you have to squeeze the valve in order to blow air into it, the air mattress probably has a one-way valve assembly. Without one, some of the air blown into the mattress may escape between breaths, turning the task into a real chore.


Better air mattress systems feature a manual or electric air pump for easier inflation. One such manual pump looks like a set of spring-loaded bellows. The user steps on the bellows repeatedly until the air mattress is completely inflated. High end air mattresses intended for guest bedding often uses an electric air pump to inflate the unit rapidly.

Another consideration before buying an air mattress is construction and durability. Plastics used for air mattress construction can appear thin but prove surprisingly strong. What is more important to consider is the quality of the welds which hold the mattress together. This information may be found on the box as a positive feature of the air mattress model. Inferior models are most likely to fail along the seam lines. Some air mattress models use thicker plastic (similar to the reinforced vinyl of an exercise ball), along with a softer fabric coating for comfort. Repair kits should be available for whatever model is purchased. Small punctures and seam leaks can be patched.

An air mattress should be easily storable and cleanable. Some high end models allow users to select the level of firmness. One consideration for hosts is the availability of clean linens for guests. Most air mattress models use the same dimensions as standard beds- twin, double, queen, king. Those who plan on using these mattresses as guest bedding may need to invest in fitted sheets and comforters. Those on a budget may want to select air mattress sizes which correspond to existing linens and accessories.


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Post 2

There are many good air mattresses at camping stores and athletic stores, but these are usually really costly. I would shop around to other stores first, to see if you can find equivalent products for less.

Post 1

One of my friends purchased an air mattress at Target about a year ago. It was around 25 dollars and even had its own pump which worked automatically; It seemed to me like quite a good investment.

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