How to Choose the Best Air Mattress for Long Term Use

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 17 minLast updated on March 9, 2023

If you’re hosting guests often, you know how it feels when you run out of sleeping spots and need to let them sleep on the floor or even send them home in the middle of the night.

I’ve been there, but then, I’ve found a solution — buy an air mattress!

It’s a quick and effective way to offer your guests comfortable sleep. Moreover, some modern blow-up mattresses are so great you can even use them as a permanent sleeping spot!

Is It Okay to Sleep on an Air Mattress Every Night?

Many people are skeptical when I say they should try using an inflatable bed instead of a lumpy sofa in the living room or a cheap foam mattress.

The main concern is valid: 

An inflatable bed doesn’t look that supportive compared to standard beds, and some people are worried about adverse health outcomes.

But here’s the thing:

You can use an airbed every day for long periods of time. For example, if you are renovating your bedroom or you’ve recently moved to a new house and are adding the furniture gradually. 

If you sleep on an inflatable mattress daily for a couple of months, it won’t wreck your health. (1) Still, for more prolonged use, getting a regular mattress could be a better idea, as it will be more cradling and durable. 

A quick note: while many air mattresses are comfortable and can be used daily, they still might not work for everyone. For example, people with sharp pressure points or painful joints may not receive the needed pressure relief when sleeping on an air mattress (due to lack of conforming). Therefore, an air mattress is not ideal for such sleepers, even as a temporary solution.

Benefits of Air Mattresses

benefits of air mattresses

If you’re now a bit uncertain whether you should use an airbed every day for a long period of time, let me tell you a few reasons why a good air mattress for everyday use is a worthy purchase:

  • You will be able to regulate the firmness level. Almost all inflatable beds today come with a built-in pump, so you can easily inflate and deflate them in minutes, to find your desired comfort layer. Some pumps also allow for automatic reinflation during the night to keep your mattress uniform.
  • You get a portable and compact bed. The blow-up bed takes little space when deflated and folded. This allows for easy storage and makes the mattress portable, which means you can take it to your friend’s house or on a camping trip.
  • You can save some bucks. Air mattresses are extremely budget-friendly. It’s hard to find a high-end inflatable mattress that costs more than 350 bucks, while standard beds in this price category might not be of the best quality.
  • An air mattress allows flexibility. You can use the mattress indoors or outdoors, making it perfect for camping trips, overnight guests, or even as an extra bed in your home.
  • An air mattress is also a great option for people with allergies or asthma. Unlike traditional mattresses, which can trap allergens and dust mites, air mattresses can be easily cleaned and sanitized. This makes them a great choice for people with sensitivities to allergens.
  • Air mattresses are also incredibly comfortable. They conform to the body's contours, providing support and pressure relief where needed. This makes them a great choice for people with back pain or other medical conditions that require a softer sleeping surface.
  • No storage problem. You can easily eliminate storage problems when using an air mattress. All you need is a storage bag that can be easily tucked away when not in use.
  • Air mattresses are easy to maintain. All you need to do is regularly clean and sanitize the mattress surface. You can do this by using a disinfectant spray or a wet cloth. If the mattress needs a more serious cleaning, you can use a mild detergent and water. Be sure to rinse the mattress thoroughly afterward.

Overall, an air mattress is a great investment for anyone who wants a comfortable and convenient sleeping surface. They are easy to set up, easy to maintain, and offer a variety of benefits that traditional mattresses simply cannot match.

The average lifespan of an inflatable bed — assuming you plan to use it actively — is about 3-5 years, which is long enough for the money. Air mattresses might be a good investment for people with a nomadic or minimalist lifestyle.

Types of Airbeds to Choose From and Their Features

Basically, there are two main air mattress types on today’s market. 

Let me tell you more about each.

Low-Risers (Single Height)

Low-riser airbeds are 6 to 12 inches high and usually cheaper. They are made of thinner materials and may not suit heavy sleepers or people with mobility concerns (due to the low height). But if you need a sleeping spot for an average adult/kid — or something incredibly compact to use during camping — then a low-riser might be your choice.

High-Risers (Double Height)

High-riser air mattresses can go up to 20 inches high and even further. They are great for those who want their mattress to resemble the actual bed. 

Just 5-10 inches more in the mattress height might create a drastic difference in comfort. High-risers can accommodate couples, heavy sleepers, and older people without any discomfort. They tend to be more durable because of the thicker and more heavy-duty materials used.

Some inflatable beds are sold with a folding metal bed frame, which allows them to feel like a fully fledged bed. These models might be more expensive, but they can look cozier in a room and feel more comfortable.

Tips on Making the Most of Your Airbed

Now, let me tell you one thing:

Even a quality airbed for everyday use needs proper maintenance so that it can serve you for longer.

And I’ve got some tips you can use to prolong the lifespan of your blow-up bed.

  • Use bedding. The top flocked layer might feel very plush, but it also wears out more quickly due to the constant contact with your body and friction. The best way to protect the top and maintain the fresh look of your inflatable bed is to use it with sheets. Plus, a nice bedding set will make it look more like a standard bed.
  • Keep pets away. Even the most durable materials cannot withstand the claws and teeth of your beloved pup or kitten. So, it’s better not to allow pets on the airbed at all, and store it in a place where they won’t be able to get close.
  • Deflate and re-inflate your mattress every 3-4 days. It’s mandatory if you plan to use your inflatable mattress actively. The thing is, the mattress walls might stretch because of the resistance to your body weight, causing the mattress to lose its shape very quickly. So, deflating it regularly will allow the materials to restore their elasticity.
  • Don’t over-inflate the mattress. For the same reason, do not inflate your mattress fully, especially on your first night. Instead, inflate it to about 90%. This will prevent ruptures (2).

You can add a thin memory foam topper over your mattress if you feel like you need more sinkage. Put it under the sheet to increase the comforting properties of your mattress — and enjoy sweeter dreams.

Important Things to Consider Before Purchasing An Air Mattress for Long Term Use

Finally, I want to share a list of the main things you need to pay your attention to while shopping if you want to find a perfect inflatable bed that will suit your needs.

Important Things to Consider Before Purchasing An Air Mattress

Height and comfort level

The height of an air mattress is important when considering the type of air mattress to buy. A Comfortable air mattress height of 13" will provide good support when getting on it or off it. Thicker air mattresses provide more comfort than the thin ones. Even if there is a scenario where the mattress deflates a bit, you can still be assured of comfort with the thicker air mattresses than the thin ones.

Some air mattresses come with thick pads or memory foam. So, while the air sustains the form of the air mattress, you can still get comfort from the memory foam you are sleeping on.


Every mattress type comes in different sizes. Air mattress sizes usually range from twin sizes to king sizes while the most common mattress size being the queen size. Choosing a mattress size usually depends on the core purpose for which you are getting the air mattress.

It will be better to opt for a full size or twin size mattress if you intend to use the mattress for camping and other outdoor activities. A queen size or king size is perfect for indoor use as long as you have the room space for it.

Quality of the Materials

Most inflatable beds are made of PVC film of different thicknesses. Some manufacturers use several layers of this material in the weakest points — such as the bottom, top layer, seams, and around the valves — thereby making their mattresses more durable. If you don’t like the idea of PVC, you can go with PVC-free models made of a fabric called TPU (3).

Another feature to look out for in choosing the best air mattress for long term use is the quality of the materials with which it was made. The quality of the material will determine things like longevity of the air mattress and comfort. 

Also, individuals should look out for certifications that confirm that standard manufacturing procedures and health standards have been adhered too.

Air holding capacity

Air mattresses are judged by their ability to hold air for an extended duration. No one wants a scenario where you wake up on a deflated bed. 

Night time comes with a cooler temperature than the day time and this reflects on the environment and floor. Air in air mattresses is bound to compress overnight. This is a phenomenon that little can be done about so it's important to get the air mattress that has the highest capacity to hold air.

Supportive System

Air mattresses come with a supportive system that is either made of air coils or a supportive beam. The difference in these supportive systems is part of the considerations when choosing the best air mattress for long term use. 

Mattresses with air coils have vertical air chambers. Inflating air mattresses with this supportive system gives a uniform surface structure and less sagging at the edges. On the other hand, air beams in air mattresses have horizontal air chambers that helps the mattress better sustain weight while being uniform.

Pump Type

Air mattresses require air pumps to work. Different air mattress products also come with different pump types. While built in pumps are more common now in air mattresses, we still have air mattresses that use external pumps.  You can either pump your air mattress manually or electrically. 

For convenience, many people prefer pumping their air mattress electrically and this can also be battery powered or plugged into a power source. So, depending on what's convenient, you can either opt for the battery powered air pump or the plug in air pump. Individuals can also opt for manual pumping when the need arises.

Ease of use

We all want something we can easily use no matter the luxury it offers. Air mattresses are usually associated with mobility and it's only normal to want a product that won’t give me issues when I'm trying to set it up or pack it up. Also, individual level of exposure to the type of product can affect the ease at which you use the product.


Price is a major factor when it comes to purchasing anything. Even when we are on a tight budget, we still want value for what we are paying and air mattresses are no exception. As someone looking to get an air mattress, you should check for the best value per cost product out there. 

It won't take much of a guess to know that the extra cost expended on an air mattress will tell in the quality of what is being purchased. It is always better to spend the extra cost and get a long-lasting, multi-purpose air mattress that you will enjoy. 


Warranties indicate the trust manufacturers have in their product. It is good to always check the warranty period on an air mattress before purchasing. The warranty can give you a glimpse of how long lasting you expect the product to be. However, shoppers need to remember that air mattresses usually don’t have impressive warranties. The most common coverage is 1-2 years.


What is an air mattress?

An air mattress is a mattress made of vinyl that should be filled with air to inflate.

How to make an air mattress more comfortable?

You can try deflating it a little to adjust the firmness level or put a mattress topper on top for extra cushioning.

How does a self-inflating air mattress work?

Self-inflating mattresses have built-in pumps that either work on batteries or can be connected to the power outlet. A pump would deliver the air into the mattress through a special valve, thus making the mattress inflate on its own.

How much does an air mattress weigh?

Depending on the size, air mattresses weigh around 15-20 pounds when fully deflated.

What to do with your old air mattress?

You can recycle your old air mattress. Contact your local waste facility or recycling center to make sure they can recycle PVC.

Is Sleeping on an Air Mattress Bad for You?

Sleeping on an air mattress long-term isn’t bad for you if you don’t struggle with back pain or have fluctuating temperatures in your bedroom. Air mattresses may not have the support or cradling factor necessary if you have back pain or a sensitive spine. Their lack of insulation can also cause you to feel cold if the mattress is directly sitting on a cold floor. However, this can be mitigated with a memory foam topper for extra comfort, and a rug under the mattress for better insulation.

Are Air Mattresses Good for Your Back?

Air mattresses are not ideal for your back in the long term, especially if you struggle with back pain, as they are not known for their supportive qualities. If you have a sensitive spine or previous back pain issues, sleeping on an air mattress for a long time may result in stiffness or soreness upon waking up.

Where Can You Buy an Air Mattress?

You can buy an air mattress either at a home and hardware store, camping store, or online. While shopping in-store allows you to check the packaging (and on occasion, test a floor model), shopping online gives you more options at your fingertips, and reviews from others to help you make a well-informed decision.


You might be doing a renovation and looking for something to sleep on every day until you’re ready to buy a new mattress, or you just might not be willing to invest in a regular bed — whatever the case, an inflatable bed can be a solution.



  1. Air mattress, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from
  2. Liza Hollis (2018, April 20). Do's & Don'ts for Air Mattresses. Retrieved from
  3. Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) Plastic. Retrieved from

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  1. Great review.
    Sometimes I can be a bit sloppy and lazy with making my bed. Your pointer on using beddings such as sheets above the surface of the air mattress to protect it from damage has really hit home.
    I hope that we’ll be mange to comfortably use our new pick for the longest time possible.
    Thanks for the read.

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