Last updated: August 5, 2021

Do you often have guests over for the night? Or do you often go camping? Then an air bed is very interesting for you and you should consider buying one. Air beds are very comfortable and take up very little space when they are not set up. But what are the different types and what criteria do you have to consider when buying one?

In our airbed test 2022 we present the best and most comfortable airbeds from different categories. We also give you important information and helpful tips on how to use air beds. Whether you choose an inflatable bed with a hand pump, an inflatable bed with an electric pump, an airbed as a self-inflating mattress or an airbed sofa, you will find the best airbeds on the market.




Summary

  • An airbed is a very good alternative to a conventional mattress. Since it is made of air and can also be packed up again, it is particularly suitable as a guest bed for a spontaneous visit.
  • In principle, a distinction is made between air beds with a hand pump, with an integrated electric pump, a self-inflating mattress and air bed sofas. Air beds with a hand pump as well as with an integrated electric pump are most frequently purchased by customers.
  • An airbed with a normal pump is ideal for camping or camping, as a power socket is often not available. An airbed with an integrated electric pump is more practical for home use. The air pump means the bed is quickly ready for use.

The Best Air Bed: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an airbed

How much does an inflatable bed cost?

An airbed comes in many price ranges - from the standard bed without any features to the expensive model that can cost several hundred euros. You should therefore always ask yourself in advance what you need the bed for.

If you use it as a guest bed for in-between times or for camping, you don't necessarily need to go for the premium models. An airbed that you use every day, on the other hand, should meet higher demands.

However, this also affects the price. The basic models with a hand pump usually start at around 30 euros and are thus an inexpensive alternative to a foam guest bed. Such air beds are also great for camping, as electricity for an electric pump is not available everywhere when camping.

Air beds are a great alternative to sleeping pads and offer a lot of comfort. Especially when camping, you can almost reach the comfort of your home bed. However, a long night on an airbed can mean that you have to pump it up a bit in the morning.

The models with an electric pump, which you can buy for around 50 to 70 euros, are very convenient because a pump takes care of the inflation. An airbed that inflates itself costs around 40 to 50 euros. It is especially ideal for campers because it is very light and takes up little space. An airbed sofa usually costs 45 to 70 euros and is ideal as a guest bed due to its versatility.

Type Price
Air bed with hand pump about 30 euros
Air bed with electric pump 50-70 euros
Air bed as self-inflating mattress 40-50 euros
Air bed sofa 45-70 euros

This table represents an average of all airbeds that can be found on the market. Note, however, that models in the premium range can also cost over 1,000 euros.

In summary, a good airbed to spend your night hours on will cost around 130-150 euros. They have an electric pump and guarantee excellent sleeping comfort. In addition, such beds are usually made of somewhat higher quality materials, which also guarantee a longer life.

What are the advantages of an airbed over a normal mattress?

Do you know the feeling when you have had a restless night and your uncomfortable foam mattress is to blame? Buying an airbed can remedy this and give you restful nights again.

The advantages of an airbed over a conventional mattress are briefly summarised below:

    • Air beds offer the best sleeping comfort because they adapt to the ergonomics of the body and the movements during sleep.
    • An air bed is very suitable as a guest bed because it can be folded quickly and compactly and therefore takes up little space.
    • The degree of firmness can be regulated by the level of air pressure.
    • All models can usually be covered with a fitted sheet.
    • Low maintenance, as only the bed cover needs to be washed.

How do I set up an air bed?

Setting up an airbed is quick and uncomplicated, as it only needs to be filled with air. In the case of a classic airbed without an electric pump, this usually works with a hand or foot pump.

It is noticeably faster with higher-quality air beds that have an integrated pump. The inflatable bed inflates within a few minutes without the use of muscle power.

How do I "care" for an airbed?

A big advantage of the airbed is that it requires little maintenance.

All you have to do is wash the bed cover. If you wish, you can also clean the air core with a vinyl spray. Depending on the product type, the upper foam cover of an airbed can be replaced. This has the advantage that you can replace the foam after a few years. This minimises the risk of mites.

Do I sweat on an airbed?

Many people - maybe you too - always ask themselves whether they sweat more on an airbed than on a normal mattress. However, this question is very difficult to answer because everyone sweats differently.

A base is important because otherwise the sweat can get into cracks and seams and mould can form.

Basically, it can be said that PVC, latex or velvet-covered surfaces can absorb sweat. For people who sweat a lot, an air bed is therefore not so suitable. They should choose a normal bed with a mattress.

For people with normal perspiration, a pad, for example made of molton, or a fitted sheet made of cotton should be pulled over the airbed. You can already find these in many supermarkets and of course online. More expensive models usually consist of an air-sprung sleeping system. Here, the air core is surrounded by a cover made of cold or visco foam. These covers can simply be put in the washing machine.

Can I repair an airbed?

Buyers often ask whether it is possible to repair an airbed. However, an airbed can only be repaired to a limited extent. Of course, it always depends on the damage.

Damage to the valve or the pump is sometimes very difficult to repair and is often associated with high costs. A small hole, as you know it from a bicycle tyre, can usually be repaired very easily and quickly.

Small repair kits are often included with the purchased airbeds. These can be used to make a repair. If they are not included in the delivery, you can buy such patch sets on Amazon for little money. If you have problems with this or are not sure, you can alternatively hire a craftsman to do it for you.

How high should the air pressure in the airbed be?

The question of the optimal air pressure in the bed is not easy to answer, because several factors play an important role here. In principle, however, it can be said that the weight of the person and the desired degree of hardness are ultimately decisive.

The air pressure in an air bed should normally be between 0.03 and 0.04 bar (30 to 40 millibars). The higher the pressure in the bed, the harder the airbed. So if you prefer to sleep on a slightly harder surface, just pump in some more air. Good quality guest beds or self-inflating mattresses can easily withstand 120 to 130 kg for one person.

Is an airbed suitable for long-term use?

Many people use air beds temporarily for their guests, for moving house or when camping. But what about if you want to use an airbed for permanent use?

The comfort of air beds has improved considerably in recent years due to further developments. But whether an airbed is suitable for long-term use is something you have to test yourself. Some people feel very comfortable in the air bed, others get unpleasant tensions after a few weeks.

The good thing about air beds is that you can easily adjust the firmness yourself. You simply pump in a little more air or deflate a little and the lying comfort changes for you. For an airbed that is used permanently, we recommend a minimum height of 40 cm. This height makes it easier to get up every day and you are not so close to the floor. Height-adjustable headboards can also improve the sleeping experience.

If you are looking for a comfortable bed for your home, a box spring bed might be more suitable for you.

Decision: What types of airbed are there and which one is right for you?

The question of the right airbed is often quite complex and should be thoroughly considered. We present the most important types and help you find the right inflatable bed. Basically, we can distinguish between four different types of air beds

  • Inflatable bed with hand pump
  • Inflatable bed with electric pump
  • Airbed as self-inflating mattress
  • Airbed sofa

How does an airbed with a foot or hand pump work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

With an air bed with a pump, the bed is inflated with the help of a hand or foot pump. Depending on the size of the bed, this can take between ten and twelve minutes.

The biggest advantage of such a model is that the air bed can be used anywhere. After all, it may happen that there is no power socket available. Therefore, this model is particularly suitable for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and adventuring. Furthermore, you can use the external pump for other devices such as air mattresses, inflatable boats and water toys.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Perfect for outdoor activities
  • Doesn't need power for pump
  • Can be used for other devices
Disadvantages
  • Inconvenient for larger beds
  • Can lose pump

As the pump is not integrated into the bed, you may lose the pump. In addition, pumping up larger beds can be very tiring, as it can take up to 15 minutes. The only side effect is that you save the costs for the gym. In our test, the Intex "68950" air bed performed best. In most cases, you can't go far wrong with this air bed if you're looking for a bed with a normal pump.

How does an airbed with an electric pump work and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

In an airbed with an electric pump, the mattress is inflated with the help of an integrated pump.

This type of air bed is a good alternative, especially for people who like to lie on their backs or find it more practical for the mattress to inflate itself. This model has the advantage that you can use it within a few minutes (usually two to three minutes).

Often there is also a deflation function integrated in the pump. Many higher quality mattresses also have a function that automatically adjusts the firmness level when some air has escaped after a longer period of time.

Advantages
  • Quickly ready for use
  • Practical, as no effort is necessary
  • Automatically regulate the firmness of the mattress
Disadvantages
  • More expensive than a model with a hand pump
  • Location-dependent
  • Requires electricity at all times

The biggest disadvantage of this type of model is that you always need a power socket nearby. This makes this type of airbed more suitable for use at home than on the road.

What is an airbed as a self-inflating mattress?

The self-inflating airbed is ideal for camping enthusiasts and people who like to spend the night in nature.

Such a mattress is extremely light and therefore you can take it with you everywhere. Thanks to the special filling, the mattress inflates on its own as soon as you open the plastic part. In addition, many of these mattresses come with special carrying bags that make transport easier.

Advantages
  • Very light
  • Inflates by itself
  • Designed for camping lovers
Disadvantages
  • Not very thick
  • Therefore not excellent sleeping comfort

The comparison winner in this category is the Intex "Classic Blue King" airbed. Unfortunately, this type of mattress is not very thick (usually about 10 cm high). As a result, it does not offer excellent comfort because the foam air filling is not that thick .

What is an airbed sofa?

More and more often you can find airbed sofas in households.

These are versatile due to their multifunctionality and are super suitable for guest rooms, for travelling or at home. On the one hand, you can use it as a couch in the living room, on the other hand, it is perfect as a guest bed.

Such a divan can also be folded up easily and compactly when you no longer need it. P.S.: Many of these models do not have an integrated pump. That is why it is sometimes quite exhausting to inflate an airbed sofa.

Advantages
  • Multifunctional
  • Can be used as a bed and divan
Disadvantages
  • Inflates with hand pump

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate air beds

In the following, we would like to show you how you can evaluate and compare different air beds. In summary, the following criteria are important:

  • Size
  • Composition/Material
  • Pump
  • Valve
  • Water-repellent
  • Carrying bag

In the following paragraphs we would like to make your decision easier and show you which relevant criteria you have to consider when buying an inflatable bed.

Size

Before you buy an airbed, you must first ask yourself who is going to use the inflatable bed. You also need to consider how much space you have in your home. Even if you buy an airbed, it does not mean that the bed will take up less space. To be on the safe side, measure the space where you want to put the bed.

Air beds are mainly used for camping. Despite the comfort and freedom of movement, there is one problem: tents are often relatively small and air beds take up a lot of space. Consequently, you will have to buy a larger tent, which in turn will be expensive.

There are now many sizes on the market for you to choose from. In the standard sizes of single and double beds, there are many different variations that can be smaller or larger.

A "French bed", often with a width of 152 cm, is suitable for you if you need a slightly larger bed or do not have space for a wide double bed. There are also slightly smaller beds that are specially designed for children and are often raised so that the child cannot fall off the airbed.

Quality / Material

The most commonly sold airbeds are mainly made of some of the following plastics

  • Latex
  • PVC
  • Vinyl

For airbeds, you should especially make sure that the outer shell is made of a sturdy vinyl soff that will not tear quickly. In addition, the top should be made of a flocked layer so that the surface is nice and soft.

The outer covers of cheaper models often contain harmful softeners that can cause skin irritations or similar. Therefore, you should read the manufacturer's description or the packaging label carefully or ask your local dealer for advice. Finally, make sure that the seams and glued areas are clean and precise so that they do not break open.

Constant inflating, folding and collapsing puts constant stress on the seams. We therefore advise you to inform yourself thoroughly beforehand and also to take customer reviews seriously.

Pump

Another important criterion is the presence of the right pump. A distinction is made between the following types:

  • Model without accessories
  • Airbed with hand / foot pump
  • Model with integrated electric pump

Airbed without pump

Often the cheaper models do not contain a pump, which can prove to be very inconvenient. To inflate your airbed, we suggest you use an ordinary bicycle pump or similar. Sometimes, however, ordinary bicycle pumps may not have the right attachment to inflate your bed. Then you are forced to buy an additional attachment so that the bicycle pump fits the valve of the inflatable bed.

Model with hand or foot pump

Models with such pumps usually fit easily into the valve of the airbed.

Model with electric pump

Airbeds with an electric pump are very practical and can be set up within a few minutes. Here too, you should ask yourself what you want to use your airbed for. Models with an integrated pump are not necessarily suitable for camping in nature, as a power source is required.

For outdoor activities, it is therefore advisable to choose a model without an electric pump.

Valves

As you already know, there are airbeds with or without pumps. Airbeds that do not have an electric pump have to be laboriously inflated by hand.

Before you buy an airbed, make sure that the valves are precisely manufactured and absolutely airtight. They are a weak point of the airbed, and it often does not pay to repair them.

Water-repellent

You have probably asked yourself whether airbeds are waterproof. On holiday you may have seensomeone with a simple air bed in the pool.

Basically, it can be said that most models from the best-known manufacturers use rubber or latex-like materials that are water-repellent. Especially the standard models from Intex can be used as an air mattress for the pool.

Alternatively, there are models with a flocked, velvety top. These absorb water - due to their surface. Such beds should not be used too often in the water, otherwise the cover could suffer and become worn. More expensive models, where the air core is surrounded by a foam cover with a cotton cover, are not waterproof.

Carrying bags

As nice as an airbed is, it can be uncomfortable if it takes up a lot of space in your home. If you are going to use the airbed as a guest bed, it would be extremely useful if you can store it somewhere where it won't get dirty.

One point that you should not forget is the existence of a practical carrying bag. This can be very practical, especially for campers or adventurers who are travelling with little luggage. Usually, most models come with bags included. But to be on the safe side, always check the packaging.

Before buying, think about how often the bed will be used and who will use it. It is especially advisable to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the models in the different price ranges. These considerations will determine whether you need a cheaper or a more expensive model.

Weight

Airbeds are available from approx. 2 kg. Depending on the size, you can also find airbeds that weigh up to 8 kg. For trips and camping, you should look for a lighter airbed. For permanent use at home, the weight doesn't really matter. However, an airbed with a heavier weight may last longer because it is more robust.

Height

Depending on what you want to use the airbed for, a different height is advantageous.

Airbeds start at around 20 cm high. These are ideal for your camping trip, for example. The mattress should not be too high for a standard tent. But there are also extra-high airbeds. Intex, for example, makes one of the highest airbeds.

At 56 cm, it is also much more comfortable for long-term use. So you can get out of it just like a normal bed. It is also easier for older people if the bed is a little higher.

Facts worth knowing about air beds

What is the difference between an airbed and a waterbed?

The only major difference between the two bed systems is the material with which the mattress is filled - air or water.

It is up to you which bed you choose. For one person, it is important to be able to fold the air bed because he or she has little space in the home. Another person, on the other hand, likes the design of an air bed. Finally, the price can also be an important criterion for the purchase. In principle, air beds are somewhat cheaper than water beds.

Air bed or air mattress?

Opinions on whether an inflatable bed is an air bed or an air mattress vary widely on the internet. There are discussions in numerous forums about what an air bed actually is.

But the fact is: an air mattress in the narrower sense is a mattress that everyone knows from holidays. It is usually made of PVC or some other natural or synthetic rubber and has a hollow space.

An airbed does much more than a conventional air mattress: it is made of much higher quality materials and is designed to provide a pleasant level of comfort.

Air beds from simple comfort to luxury

There is now a wide range of different models for you to choose from as a customer. The following table summarises the most important models:

Type Description
Airbed small (children) smaller model especially suitable for small children, with external pump, very light, 152 x 87 x 25 cm
Airbed Single For one person, also as guest bed, flocked lying surface, electric pump, 191 x 97 x 46 cm
Airbed Double / king size For two persons, extra space, 191 x 130 x 46 cm
Airbed Comfort three air cores, electric pump, adjustable headboard
Airbed Queen five air cores, electric pump, adjustable headboard
Airbed Comfort Queen 7 air cores, adjustable headboard, sleeping comfort at the highest level

Air bed to prevent back pain/herniated disc?

Due to its air cores, the air mattress does not exert any pressure on your body while you are lying on the bed. This relieves your body so that the muscles in your back can relax.

Note that your airbed can also make your pain worse. Especially if you need a hard mattress. It's a good idea to check with your doctor first.

When should I buy a new airbed?

In principle, the quality of your air mattress is crucial for the lifespan of your airbed. Therefore, it is worthwhile to buy a somewhat more expensive model. Basically, an airbed from the mid-price segment should last around 10 to 15 years.

However, it is also possible that the airbed will be damaged prematurely due to improper use or insufficient care. For this reason, the more expensive models often come with a manufacturer's guarantee of up to five to ten years, during which a free replacement service for the air cores or other parts is guaranteed.

Can you inflate an airbed without an air pump?

Yes, this is really possible. You simply take a bag and catch the air with it. Then you hold it up to the valve and push it into your airbed. This is much easier and more energy-saving than inflating your airbed with your mouth.

Image source: 47512770/ unsplash.com

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