In order to find the best air mattress, you can read consumer reviews or industry research reports. But, you should also consider your individual needs. There are several kinds of air-filled mattresses on the market. There are those designed for camping or backpacking, those designed to serve as temporary bedding for guests and those designed for permanent use.Your first paragraph …

There is a small amount of overlap, such as the designs created primarily for use by college students housed in dorm rooms. You might think of those as semi-permanent bedding solutions. They may start to leak over time, as do the temporary beds and those designed for camping, but they are designed to be used nightly without rupturing.

The type designed for camping is not sturdy enough to be used more than a night or two in a row. In some cases, they will leak after a single night of use.

There is some overlap between the designs used for camping and the type used as guest bedding in the home. While the guest beds are too large for a backpacker to carry around, they work perfectly well for a night or two in a tent at a drive-up campsite.

For guest bedding and camping, there are two types. Most people feel that the best air mattresses for guest bedding are the “raised” type. They are usually double the thickness, which brings your guests up off the floor. It makes it a little easier for older folks to get in and out of bed. The single thickness mattresses are perfectly fine for kids.

The raised beds may include a base with a textured surface to prevent slipping. This further increases the safety for older individuals.

strawberry on mattressThe best air mattress for you is the one that includes the features you need at a price you can afford. Photo: Fluer Suijten

If you are looking for a permanent sleeping solution, you should be aware that even the best air mattresses can leak and they are somewhat noisy. When completely inflated, they are about as firm as a standard mattress, but the plastic makes noise as you move around during the night.

On hard wood floors, the guest beds tend to squeak. If you have pets that sleep with you, be prepared to be bounced about as they move around.

The permanent solutions are not usually referred to as air mattresses. Air bed sleep system is the common term. They are more like traditional mattresses, but the coils are not composed of steel springs. They are composed of air-filled plastics.

For temporary bedding, it is convenient when the manufacturer includes a storage bag. That way you can roll the bed up and put it in a closet when it is time to store it.

The pumps are separate units in most cases and are easy to lose. Once you have lost the pump, the mattress is worthless.

The best air mattresses, in my opinion, are those that have a built-in pump that operates on either electric or battery power. There is no risk of losing the pump and the mattresses inflate quickly. There are several brands that include this feature.

The “Sleep Number Beds” were the first to include the air-filled plastic coils rather than the steel coils. Now there are several brands on the market. They are meant to replace your current bedding. Most people find they are more comfortable, as the firmness is adjustable.

The best air mattress for you is the one that includes the features you need at a price you can afford.

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