Air Mattress Buying Guide

Air mattresses are convenient to use in many situations, including camping and as emergency beds for extra guests. They are compact when deflated for storage or travel and most are sturdy enough to withstand a great deal of wear and tear. High-end air mattresses offer alternatives to standard bedding.

Air Mattress Components

Today’s temporary and portable air mattresses boast newer materials and easier inflation options. The type of material will vary, but typically includes velour, nylon, or vinyl. They are durable under most conditions, and a large number of them are puncture resistant.

1. Surface flocking in an Air Mattress

This increases comfort; velour or any surface with a grip will keep pads, sheets, and sleeping bags in place, eliminating slippage.

2. Air Mattress Interiors

These are also called bladders, may be comprised of urethane or PVC. Urethane can be combustible, while PVC does not support flames. Bladder depth should be no less than seven inches to provide proper support without dropping at pressure points. The interior construction will range from single- to multi-chambered models.

3. Pumps for Air Mattresses

These are operated by hand, foot, electric, or battery power, and are easy to use. Some have remote control options. Pumps are available as a part of the air mattress package, as a separate purchase, or as a unit built into the air mattress.

Styles and Features of Air Mattresses

Temporary and long-term use air mattresses boast a wide variety of basic and extended features. Size ranges are twin, standard, queen, and king. Child-sized mattresses are also available with raised edges for safety.

Low-end air mattresses are plastic and offer no amenities. Heavier-duty mattresses of all sizes are designed for longer-term use. As a better grade comes with a higher price, more expensive air mattresses will offer options that include:

  • Additional padding and/or foam, usually of higher quality
  • The sturdy and soft railing around the edge
  • Attached inflatable pillows
  • Pumping mechanisms
  • I-beam or wave beam technology.

Other factors to consider include:

  • Total weight capacity
  • Inflation/deflation times
  • Range of comfort adjustments.

Carrying cases and repair kits may also be essential, depending on use.

Air Mattress Benefits

The prime benefit of most air mattresses is portability and convenience. They can be put into service quickly for extra guests, are useful as extra bedding when camping, or even as a quick fix for first-time apartment dwellers.

Raised air mattresses, with their multiple inflatable platforms, approximate the height of a bed. These are useful as a temporary replacement for standard mattresses. Platform height varies, and the layers, which represent box spring and mattress units, inflate with separate pumping systems.

Multiple-zone air mattresses are in the premium category and many are popular as permanent alternatives. They can be dual-zoned with adjustment capabilities for each vertical half, or with additional chambers for various horizontal and vertical adjustments.

Health claims include relief from back, neck, and hip discomfort; post-surgical support; and allergen reduction.

  • Helps promote natural spinal alignment. When resting on air, your body is gently supported by cushions of air that contour to body weight and provide even weight distribution, thus assisting your spine to keep a more natural alignment. On too firm a mattress, there can be too much resistance on the body to allow for natural spinal curvature. Too soft a mattress offers little support and allows for sinking, thus exaggerating or creating unnatural curves of the spine. The air support sleep system, however, provides even support for body weight, helping your spine to keep its natural alignment.
  • Helps improve the quality of your sleep. With proper support for your comfort level, you sleep better, waking refreshed and full of energy.
  • Helps provide proper levels of support at any age. As we age, our bodies change in weight and size; therefore, different levels of support are necessary to provide a comfortable and restful night’s sleep. The infinite adjustability of an airbed allows for the many varying degrees of firmness required by our bodies as they change with age. Whether you grow in stature or shrink a bit, lose weight or gain, an air support sleep system helps provide the correct support your body needs for the “rest of your life.”
  • Helps meet the differing sleep requirements of each partner. No two people sleep alike. Most sleeping partners have varying sleep needs for a comfortable night’s sleep. The dual-adjustability of the two chambers of a dual air support sleep system make it possible for both sleepers’ needs to be controlled independently, so neither partner will have to compromise on a restful night’s sleep. Air adjusts perfectly to your exact body shape and size … no matter what! Now you can enjoy comfort and support that’s as “individual as you are,” even when sharing the bed with a partner. “Personalize your sleep” with the infinite, dual-adjustability of air!
  • May help reduce back pain. Airbeds provide the firm support suggested by many doctors and chiropractors, but with a softer, more comfortable surface. A person with chronic back pain may notice an immediate effect on an airbed, because as the level of air in the mattress is adjusted, his or her back pain can also increase or decrease. The infinite adjustability of air allows a sleeper to find the level of support that is most comfortable for their aching back, and this level can be adjusted instantly with the push of a button.
  • Helps to soothe aching muscles, improve circulation, and reduce stress. Gently and evenly supporting your entire body, air support sleep helps to reduce tension and stress and relax muscles and helps promote better circulation. By reducing pressure points that can occur in the denser, heavier areas of the body such as the head, shoulders, back, and hips, proper circulation may be promoted. With easier and better blood flow through the bodies’ vessels in these areas, nightly roll-overs are reduced, and a sounder, more restful night’s sleep may be possible.
  • Helps ease discomfort from bedsores and burns. Hospitals often use airbeds for bedridden patients. The proper support and even weight distribution provided by air greatly reduce the pressure points that can occur with a conventional mattress, enhancing circulation, helping to relieve pain, and promoting rapid healing.
  • Reduced pressure points. Independent studies by the University of London have concluded that “tossing and turning” at night is directly related to pressure points on the body. Pressure points, measured in mmHg, are areas where pressure is exerted against the body due to resistance from a mattress, and they are one of the main reasons why people experience less-than-satisfying sleep. This same study revealed that of 8 sleep surfaces tested, the airbed provided the most even support, resulting in the lowest level of pressure points.
  • Dual controlled infinite adjustability. Dual hand-held controls (on dual-chamber air systems) allow each sleeper to infinitely adjust the firmness of his or her side of the bed to whatever level is most comfortable, without affecting their sleeping partner. With the push of a button, you can go from feather-soft to orthopedic-firm whenever you want! (Single chamber systems feature a single control.)
  • Helps to relax aching muscles and relieve spinal tension. With today’s active and busy lifestyles, aching muscles are all too common. These sore muscles need to rest at night, so they can rejuvenate. The perfect, even support of an airbed assists your spine in assuming its natural position, thus soothing your muscles and allowing them the freedom to relax while you sleep since they no longer have to work to maintain proper spinal alignment.
  • With a DUAL air system, your comfort levels and body movements no longer affect your sleeping partner. With a dual air chamber design airbed, both sleeping partners have the ability to individually control the firmness or softness on their side of the bed without affecting the comfort of the other. No longer does one partner have to compromise to the comfort of the other. With a dual air system, each of the air chambers in the bed is, in a sense, an independent mattress; therefore, when one person moves, gets up, or rolls over, this motion is not transferred to the other side of the bed. Both partners may have a more comfortable night’s sleep.
  • Adjustable firmness for sitting or sleeping. As many people not only sleep in bed, but also read, watch television, drink, etc., the ability to individually and instantly adjust the firmness of the airbed with the push of a button helps allow for comfort and proper support in any position.
  • Helps eliminate the “sinking” feeling. Because an Air Support Sleep System helps provide perfect, even support for the body, the “sinking/hammocking” feeling often experienced by other types of mattresses is virtually eliminated. Short of walking on the moon, air suspension sleep is as close as you can come to floating on air!

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