We previously tested five mattresses from brands including SoundAsleep, Intex, and Coleman. In 2019, we retested our previous picks, the SoundAsleep and the Coleman SupportRest, and added two new contenders: the King Koil Air Mattress with Built-in Pump and the AeroBed Air Mattress with One-Touch Comfort Pump.
The SoundAsleep comes with a one-year warranty. If your mattress springs a leak, the inner inflation coils fail, or the pump breaks within the first year, SoundAsleep will either repair or replace your mattress. When we called SoundAsleep to ask about its warranty, a representative said you may simply have to send a photo of your mattress or mail the item back, depending on the nature of the defect. In most cases, SoundAsleep told us, the customer would not be responsible for shipping charges. We had a similar, although less friendly, customer service experience with Coleman, which requested images of the mattress and a receipt.
Before you use your mattress for the first time, stretch it out over a 48-hour period by fully inflating it and continuing to top it up periodically. This process will help the material adjust, something you should do before you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night on top of a partially expanded mattress. Also, to prevent the feeling of air leaks at night, avoid temperature fluctuations, which can change the air density and lead to the illusion of a mattress deflating.
The various manufacturers of the mattresses we tested all told us not to store air mattresses in areas with high temperature fluctuations or humidity, because such conditions can stress the materials. That means you should probably think twice about storing your air mattress in a basement or garage. Ideally, you should store a mattress in a dry, cool location, either in a sturdy container or the provided storage bag. According to SoundAsleep, you can clean your air mattress with water and a mild soap solution and let it air-dry. Note too that the PVC material of the mattress might stretch slightly after you first inflate it, so you might need to top the mattress up with air about an hour after you fill it.
When you do find the leak, note the area with a marker and then deflate the mattress. Clean the area with a simple all-purpose cleaner and a lint-free rag before applying the sealant and patch kit over the affected area. You can usually find patch kits at your local outdoor store or get kits like these online.
We tested the Insta-Bed Raised Mattress with NeverFlat Pump, which we found to be pretty much identical to the SoundAsleep, but with a different pump system. Instead of a simple inflate and deflate pump, the Insta-Bed automatically inflates to preset fill levels: plush, medium, and firm. We think the presets may be nice for some people, but others will want the ability to customize an exact firmness level. The Insta-Bed also has a secondary NeverFlat pump, which kicks on if the mattress loses air during the night, to refill it to your desired firmness setting. In standby mode, the pump makes a subtle buzzing noise, which our tester found annoying (although you can unplug the pump). The extra pump also means extra seams, creating another potential area for leakage.
And we eliminated another half-dozen mattresses because they were too expensive, had unnecessary extra features (like a frame, a bed skirt, or a remote control), or lacked a warranty or customer service number.
If your air mattress feels too firm or unsupportive, adding a mattress topper or a foam insert, or stuffing a thick comforter under your bottom sheet, will help. These additions also help insulate your body from heat loss. You may prefer a tall or high-walled mattress, which is easier to get in and out of.
Before first use, stretch out your mattress by inflating it to its full capacity and continuing to top it up periodically for 48 hours. Maintain steady ambient temperatures throughout the night; temperature fluctuations can change the density of the air inside your mattress. Avoid sitting on it for too long or putting too much focused pressure on one spot of the mattress while using it.
A large hole or puncture is obvious to the eye and requires a simple vinyl patch kit, one of which is usually provided with your air mattress. A slow leak, which typically occurs along the seams of the mattress, is harder to find. Press on the mattress and listen closely for air escaping, or pass your hand a few inches from the seam as you apply pressure, feeling for airflow. When you discover the leak, mark the area with a marker and deflate the mattress. Then clean the area with an all-purpose cleaner and a lint-free rag before applying the sealant and patch kit. See our full advice for more information.
Lexie Sachs (she/her) is the executive director of the Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she researches, tests and reports on fabric-based products ranging from sheets, mattresses and towels to bras, fitness apparel and other clothing. She also evaluates luggage, rain gear, disposable paper goods and baby products. Lexie has more than 15 years of experience in the textiles industry and a degree in fiber science from Cornell University. Prior to joining GH in 2013, she worked in merchandising and product development in the fashion and home industries.
Grace Wu (she/her) is a product reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she evaluates fabric-based products using specialized equipment and consumer tester data. Prior to starting at Good Housekeeping in 2022, she earned a master of engineering in materials science and engineering and a bachelor of science in fiber science from Cornell University. While earning her degrees, Grace worked in research laboratories for smart textiles and nanotechnology and held internships at Open Style Lab and Rent the Runway.
With its one-click internal pump, the SoundAsleep air mattress fully inflates in under 4 minutes. The double-height raised bed has a dual chamber construction and 40 internal air coils to keep it stable and firm while you sleep.
This air mattress has all the bells and whistles: double height, built-in electric pump with automatic shut-off, and a remote control for adjustability. It also has the premium price tag to go with it.
Made by trusted sleep-gear company, Serta, this air mattress has a lot going for it. But the feature that really sets it apart is a built-in dual air pump system. One pump inflates and deflates the mattress, while the other continuously monitors and silently maintains your preferred air pressure during the night. The mattress has 35 circular coils for extra support and is lightweight enough to easily tote from room to room.
To help you make the right purchase, we looked into bestselling air mattresses and analyzed them for features like sturdiness, quality, comfort and ease of use. We only included products with an average rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars, plus we sifted through dozens of reviews to find potential pros and cons of each pick. We also asked our colleagues for their recommendations; the Serta Air Mattress With Never Flat Pump is backed by Cory Baldwin, our executive director of commerce content and strategy.
I'm the executive strategy editor at Forbes Vetted and a functional nutritionist. In between geeking out over SEO and obsessing over products, from mattresses to treadmills to every kitchen gadget I can get my hands on, I've written more than a dozen books and cookbooks and created over 1,000 original recipes.
Air mattresses are rather heavy and bulky. Are you sure you want to use up part of your precious luggage allowance on that? Also, be aware that the electric pumps on the American versions will not work on the French electrical system--even with a converter. We tried it and fried our pump the very first time. We had to blow it up by mouth. Having just come back from a lengthy evening in the bars, my partner referred to the ordeal as "the breathalyzer from Hell".
We will be going to Ikea shortly after I get there but I don't think they have anything that would work there that's inexpensive. As it is most Queen mattresses are like $50.00 or more, each and I need two. I was thinking of fitting both of them in a suitcase for a total of 50lbs
You can look at the web site or the store in Redmond for "Cascade Design" self inflating air mattresses ( No need to blow up or to use any electical devise to inflate!) They are backpacking ones so they do not weight very much but you would want to bring them back home because of the cost! And the kids can surely use them here!
BHV ( Bazar Hotel de Ville) is the name of a department store near the Hotel de Ville ( Paris Marie --Mayor's Office). I do not know if they would still have the items this time of year but they do carry many things.
I read your question with interest as we are also bringing an air mattress from the US with us. I thought I could use a converter with it and was dismayed to read that this did not work. Can you explain what you meant be charging the air mattress before you go?
There have been other discussions about this -- and although Robin's situation is understandable, I cannot fathom why anyone with a bad back would scrimp on the hotel cost and then go to the cost and considerable hassle of dragging an air mattress around, or much worse, trying to buy one in paris. It is no longer beach season, so te offerings will be as meagre as in any northern US city.
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