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If you're hosting a full house or you're otherwise tight on space, an air mattress turns any room into a guest room.
Made of a durable vinyl and ranging in price from $25 to several hundred, air mattresses are generally available in two heights: single-height mattresses, between 9 and 11 inches high, and double-height mattresses, ranging from 17 to 21 inches.
Below, you'll find reviews of the best and worst single- and double-height air mattresses, based on our latest tests. CR members can also access our air mattress ratings.
To evaluate air mattresses, we look at a variety of convenience factors: the inflation and deflation rates, weight, and how much storage space an air mattress requires. We also look for deflection, or how much the surface sags. If the mattress doesn’t deflect all that much, it means weight is being evenly distributed over the surface of the mattress, making it easier to get in and out.
As you shop, keep in mind the pros and cons of each type.
”Single-height air mattresses often don’t have an electric pump, but that makes them great for the outdoors,” says Larry Ciufo, the CR project leader who oversees air mattress testing. “Double-height mattresses often have an electric pump—and they can be heavy at 15 to 21 pounds. They’re great for guests because most can be fully inflated in a matter of minutes.”
Double-heights are a bit easier to get in and out of since they’re taller, and might offer slightly more comfort since you’re not as close to the floor.
To be clear, we don’t test air mattresses the same way we test standard mattresses. If you’re in the market for a full-fledged guest bed, check out our full mattress ratings, covering innerspring, foam, and adjustable air mattresses.
Best Double-Height Air Mattresses
Double-height air mattresses are great as a makeshift guest bed. Many have a fuzzy vinyl side, making it less likely for your guests to slide across the mattress at night, and they often come with an electric air pump that makes getting the bed inflated less of a chore.
Best Single-Height Air Mattresses
Many single-height air mattresses don’t come with pumps. They’re great for camping trips or for folks who don’t have a ton of storage for a bigger air mattress.
And One Air Mattress to Avoid
Tips for Buying a Mattress
Tossing and turning all night? Maybe it’s time for a new mattress. On the 'Consumer 101' TV show, CR expert Chris Regan shares tips on what to look for when mattress shopping.
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