Whether you’re expecting overnight guests, upgrading to glamping, or simply looking for an inexpensive option to save you in a pinch, you want an air mattress to be comfortable and convenient. Air mattresses are cheaper and more portable than traditional mattresses, and with all the luxuries of modern design, they’re becoming an increasingly common alternative.
Naturally, our first question when thinking about air mattresses was, “How do we find the most comfortable option?” While an air mattress is unlikely to offer the same level of comfort as a traditional mattress with all those inner springs and layers upon layers of memory foam, you can still expect a good night’s sleep. Thankfully, the industry has come a long way from the low-profile overnighters that squeaked all night and deflated by sunrise. We’re talking coil construction (think “comfort dimples”), soft fabric tops, automatic pumps, and heights to rival even a standard mattress. With almost all high-end air mattresses designed to these same plush standards, the differences among them really come down to the smaller features, like versatile pump options and raised pillow rests.
We love the Coleman SupportRest Elite PillowStop Double High Airbed for not only meeting our newly inflated expectations for design, but also offering flexibility with its dual pumps that accommodate both indoor and outdoor use. Luxury at home and on the road? We’re sold. Its internal motor pump provided lightning-fast inflation indoors, while the external pump valve gives the option to take the same level of comfort on the go (take note, glampers). It also lost the least amount of air (and no perceivable height) in our overnight air-loss test. If you want a lush air mattress you can easily use both indoors and out, the Coleman is for you.
The SoundAsleep Dream Series Mattress is a solid runner-up for an indoor mattress. The only reason it comes in second to the Coleman is that its built-in AC pump limits it to indoor use only unless your camping site has an appropriate power source. Otherwise, it offers the same great coil construction and deluxe double height as our top pick. We weren’t too impressed with how it maintained air overnight, but it’s wildly popular and we’re confident recommending it if you’re looking for a guest bed.
If you need a smaller, more lightweight outdoor option we recommend the Alps Mountaineering Rechargeable Air Bed. It was one of the few single-height mattresses we found with coil construction, which makes even more of a difference when there’s less air to go around, and it was surprisingly comfortable given its low profile. The Alps really impressed us with its ultra-convenient locking pump system — you can inflate it hands-free in any position with total control and without any escaping air blasts when you disconnect. It was also one of the lightest, most compact models we looked at, making it ideal for outbound adventurers.
The SoundAsleep Camping Series Air Mattress is our pick if you’re looking for beam construction. Although coil construction was preferred among our testers and experts, the SoundAsleep Camping performed well in our comfort testing and did offer a unique experience for side sleepers, who liked the graduated support of the horizontal ridges. It was the fastest to inflate, lost no height overnight, and has an easy pump valve that allows you to adjust the air fill with the touch of a finger.