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7 best air mattresses for indoor and outdoor use

Whether you’re planning a camping getaway or hosting guests in your home, an air mattress can be a useful tool for a good night’s sleep.
Boy reading in a red tent at evening twilight on an air mattress
Here are the best air mattresses for any occasion.Westend61 / Getty Images

Whether you’re camping, settling into a new living space or simply setting up a temporary guest bed, an air mattress can come in handy. It’s typically easy to store when not in use, and its setup time is fairly quick, making it a great choice for an easily accessible, spontaneous sleeping arrangement. But an uncomfortable or damaged air mattress can put a damper on a good night’s sleep — and you (or your guests) will likely notice immediately.

According to Bridget Chapman, senior editor at Sleepopolis, a site that tests and reviews sleep products, air mattresses have improved immensely over the years. “Nowadays, there are air mattresses that really do mimic real beds with their higher profiles and thicker, higher-quality materials,” she said. “You can even find them with built-in headboards. Some are so high-tech they have air chambers that adjust to your body movement and body pressure throughout the night.”

To help you narrow down the array of options online, we spoke to sleep experts about what to look for in an air mattress and compiled some highly rated inflatable air mattresses to meet every need.

Best air mattresses in 2022

Height, construction, comfort, size and durability all play a huge role in determining a quality air mattress, according to our experts. Though personal preference plays a role in certain things like size, price and pump type, experts told us that higher mattresses — at least 18 inches high — are generally more comfortable. With this expert guidance in mind, we made sure that all of the adult air mattresses we recommend are at least 18 inches high if they sit on the floor.

Below, we recommend air mattresses suited for everything from camping to sleepovers.

King Koil Luxury Air Mattress

The King Koil is similar in many ways to a real mattress: It has a quilted cover, raised pillow and a pillow edge to enhance comfort, according to the brand. When it comes to support and durability, our experts said it tops most other air mattresses. At 20 inches high, it’s also on the higher (and therefore more comfortable) side and has an enhanced coil technology for extra spinal support, the brand says. The air mattress is made with water-resistant materials and has a built-in pump for quick inflation.

Intex Comfort Dura Beam Airbed

If you’re only going to be whipping out your air mattress every once in a while, our experts said this option offers great quality for the price. For less than $100, this mattress has a soft flocked surface for more comfort, along with indented sides to keep sheets in place. It’s composed of several polyester fibers that promote durability and features a built-in pump for easy inflation, according to the brand. The air mattress has a weight capacity of 600 pounds, and it’s offered in three heights: 13 inches, 18 inches and 22 inches.

SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress

This 18-inch-high option is equipped with SoundAsleep’s ComfortCoil Technology — the air coils help maintain the bed’s shape throughout the night, according to the brand. It’s also water-resistant and durable enough to withstand rougher conditions, our experts said. The air mattress comes with a rechargeable external pump that can inflate the queen size in under three minutes, according to the brand, and you can charge the pump at home in advance or in the car using its USB cable. It comes in five sizes: Twin, TwinXL, Full, Queen and King.

Coleman Premium Double High SupportRest Airbed

The Coleman air mattress is one of our experts’ top choices for durability. Its coils contour to your body, offering extra support and reducing bulging on the mattress so you can stay leveled, according to the brand. It also equips a double-lock valve — the first lock provides an initial sealing point to avoid air leaking out when you remove the pump, while the second lock keeps air in when you sleep. The mattress stands at 18 inches high when inflated and comes with a zippered storage bag to ensure proper storage.

Intex Kids Travel Bed Set

Providing a protective option for kids who move around a lot while they sleep is an important factor. This Intex air mattress has raised borders on all sides to help prevent any accidental rolling, the brand says. You can separate the mattress from the frame in order to tuck in the sheets or utilize it separately. The air mattress comes with a hand pump and can be rolled up and packed away for easy portability. The brand recommends this bed for kids ages 3 to 6, or for those up to 48 inches in length.

Luno Air Mattress 2.0

If you’re camping, the Luno Air Mattress 2.0 is designed to fit comfortably inside multiple vehicle types, including Subarus, Toyotas and Jeeps, according to the brand. It’s made with two joined air chambers that can accommodate up to two campers. The double air chambers can be controlled separately, which means you can adjust the firmness level of each side individually to cater to each camper’s comfort level. The brand says the included electric air pump inflates the mattress in two minutes and deflates just as quickly, allowing you to compactly roll it up for portability.

Coleman Camping Cot

Another top option for the great outdoors is the Coleman Camping Cot, which combines the features of a typical camping cot with an air mattress. This cot not only features a steel frame that comfortably elevates it off the ground and supports up to 300 pounds, but it also folds up compactly to fit inside a trunk or a storage area. The air mattress itself fits nicely inside the included zipper sheet and, like other Coleman air mattresses, equips a ComfortStrong coil system and a double lock valve for an airtight construction, according to the brand. The camping cot also comes with an external battery-operated pump to take camping or on road trips.

How to shop for an air mattress

Sleeping on an air mattress doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice support or comfort — placing your mattress on a platform or utilizing a comfortable pillow, for example, can elevate the bedding experience, according to Dr. W. Christopher Winter, president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine.

Winter recommended testing out the air mattress first, if possible. “I find the online reviews of the products to be pretty helpful,” he added. “If the mattress is going to be something you or someone else is going to sleep on frequently, don't skimp [and] keep the receipt — many people can't tell how a mattress is going to ultimately work out for several weeks of use.”

Our experts also advise checking a company’s warranty offer, as longer warranty periods indicate the company’s confidence in the product.

Depending on how you plan to use your air mattress, experts recommended a few main features to look at when shopping.

Height and construction

Air mattresses are usually offered in two general heights: standard elevation (single height) and raised elevation (double height). A single height air mattress ranges between approximately 9 and 11 inches tall, while a double-height mattress is usually above 18 inches high. Typically, the higher the bed, the more comfortable it’ll be and the easier it will be to get on and off. However, a shorter air mattress will usually be easier to inflate and less of a hassle to store away.

In terms of material, most air mattresses are made of PVC (plastic material) or thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). They can also have other components, like additional waterproofing or layers of foam to aid warmth.

Some components, like waterproof material, can retain heat unintentionally, and they can also squeak or make noise when a sleeper moves around. Board-certified psychiatrist and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Alex Dimitriu suggested looking for an air mattress with a more breathable or cooling material (like a cooling gel) between the sleeper and the plastic part of the mattress “so you can cool down and not sweat during the night.” If you can’t find an air mattress with a cooling layer built in, you can also invest in a cooling mattress topper, especially for hot summer nights outdoors.

Type of pump

Air mattresses will usually require one of two types of pumps: an internal (electric) pump that you can plug into the wall, or an external pump that is usually either manual or battery-operated. A built-in pump is a great option if you don’t want to pack or store a separate item, and it can inflate an air mattress in minutes. A manual or battery-operated pump, meanwhile, is usually separate from the mattress and is ideal for inflating outdoors when an outlet isn’t available.

Type of sleeper

Believe it or not, how you sleep ultimately affects how comfortable an air mattress will be for you. “It’s important to note if you are a back sleeper or a side sleeper,” said Dimitriu. He said side or stomach sleepers do better on softer mattresses, while back sleepers do well on stiffer mattresses.

“The stiffness of the mattress will determine how much your body sinks in and where the pressure points will be,” said Dimitriu, adding that a side sleeper on a stiff mattress “will notice discomfort in the shoulder and hip on a stiff mattress.” Because air is compressible, air mattresses will generally be on the softer side.


Finding a comfortable good-quality air mattress can be an investment. While air mattresses typically range anywhere from $15 to $600 if they are intended for camping, but air mattresses that are made to last and be used more regularly can run into the thousands. “That being said, I’ve seen — and used — plenty of great ones that fall within the $100 to $200 range,” said Chapman.

Contrary to what most people would think, however, a hefty price tag doesn’t always mean it’s going to be super comfortable, she said. Other factors that contribute to the overall cost: height, materials, thickness, size and durability. It also depends on whether it has a built-in electric pump, or a pump at all.

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