What is an Inflatable Bed?

R. Kayne

An inflatable bed is a portable air mattress that either comes with a built-in air compressor or requires an external compressor to be purchased separately. The compressor fills and empties the bed in mere seconds with a press of a button. Firmness is adjustable by increasing or decreasing the volume of air. These comfortable, affordable and portable beds are great for company, sleepovers or for tent camping, and are easily stored when deflated.

Most inflatable and air mattresses are not designed to hold up under daily, long-term use.
Most inflatable and air mattresses are not designed to hold up under daily, long-term use.

Inflatable beds are available in many sizes to fit every need. Categories include child airbeds, twin beds, full beds and queen beds. A child-sized inflatable bed is shorter and narrower than a twin, with an "air bumper" surrounding an inset mattress to keep a restless child from rolling out. Some childbeds are rated to support up to 200 pounds, allowing for a little rough housing and bouncing.

For some individuals, an inflatable bed may not provide sufficient neck support.
For some individuals, an inflatable bed may not provide sufficient neck support.

A twin-sized inflatable bed accommodates a single adult perfectly when room and storage is paramount. A twin airbed might be kept on hand for emergencies or unexpected situations that call for a friend or family member to spend the night. Offering an inflatable bed can make the party feel more welcomed and you can put the air mattress in a private location, such as an out-of-the-way den or office. Twin airbeds are also ideal for tent camping, sleeping in the shell of a truck, or even in the back of a sports utility vehicle.

If a family member or friend stays more often, a full-sized airbed is larger than a twin bed, but smaller than a queen. This bed will afford a little more freedom than a twin.

Queen-sized airbeds are great for couples, and some models come with a double air mattress that resembles the standard "box spring" under the main mattress. These mattresses are a little more elegant and can be warmer because the top mattress is not lying on the floor. Some queen models come with a frame to raise the bed entirely off the floor.

You can dress up an inflatable bed with standard sheets, pillows, blankets and comforters to make guests feel at home. Twin sheets will work on child-sized airbeds with a little tucking.

As with other products, quality counts and so does convenience. A quality inflatable bed will not lose air over short stretches of time, such as a few days or even a few weeks; and beds with a built-in compressor eliminate the need for an external air pump, making the bed that much more convenient.

It can be enlightening to read reviews from people who have purchased airbeds to get an idea of the models that win the most praise. Many online vendors allow customers to leave feedback so this information is readily available. Prices range from under $100 US Dollars to over $200, depending on size, quality and features.

Inflatable beds seldom provide the same level of comfort as a regular mattress.
Inflatable beds seldom provide the same level of comfort as a regular mattress.

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Discussion Comments


I was using an inflatable bed mattress when I went to visit my brother. I stayed there for one month and used this bed the whole time. It was surprisingly very comfy. The funny part is that the mattress got a hole in it while I was there, probably from something sharp on the floor. It would deflate within five minutes if I laid on it.

Well thanks to my engineer brother, he fixed it and I continued using it for the remainder of my visit. All he did was apply some rubber cement on the puncture, let it dry for a little bit (maybe like 30 seconds) and then cover with a small piece of masking tape and make sure it sticks and dries for a while.

Who would have thought?! I would have thrown that bed away! It would have been waste of a perfectly fine inflatable bed otherwise.


I like my air mattress, it's great for guests and family members that stay over for a couple of days.

The only nuisance might be that it sort of looses air after a couple of nights and needs to be pumped with air again. We don't deflate it if the guest is there more than one day, so it might have to be pumped with air couple of times during the stay. And I have to do this during the day because the external compressor is pretty noisy!

I also don't like traveling with it because of the compressor. The bed itself is super light and doesn't take up too much space, but the compressor is heavy. So flying with it is not easy.

I probably need a newer air mattress with a built in air compressor. Are those lighter than the external ones?


As a student that doesn't have family in the U.S., the inflatable bed had sort of become my best friend during college! There were so many times that I had to stay with friends in between semesters or during vacations because I couldn't stay on campus. My inflatable bed was really cheap too, something like $20 dollars but lasted me a really long time.

The best part about it is that you can store it anywhere, and I really appreciated that. It's quite comfortable too!

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