Modern airbed mattresses offer sleepers customizable firmness levels for “perfect fit” support and comfort, but choosing the right one for your needs (and budget) can be difficult. The pressure to pick the right airbed is even greater than with other mattresses thanks to the higher price-point of most airbeds, and because the number and variety of features offered can be confusing.
To help our readers choose the right airbed mattress, we’ve tested out a wide range of competitors to create our list of the best airbeds on the market. While no mattress is perfect for everybody, the three choices here cover a spectrum of different requirements and price-points.
All airbeds have inflatable air chamber support cores, allowing owners to inflate or deflate them to create their ideal firmness level. Depending on the model, additional features may include dual-firmness settings for couples, push-button technology, sleep-tracking integration, or other innovations
Our Top Picks
Sleep Number c2
Firmness: Adjustable, Soft (3) to Firm (7)
Pressure Point Relief: 4/5
Sleeps Cool: 3/5
Motion Isolation: 4/5
Edge Support: 3/5
Ease of Movement: 3/5
- Ergonomically zoned air chambers for improved support and spinal alignment
- Dual-firmness option allows couples to adjust firmness for each side of the bed
- Technology features include position-detecting automatic adjustments and smart home integration
- Customers searching for an airbed with luxury bells and whistles
- Couples whose firmness needs differ significantly
- Combination sleepers who struggle to find the perfect firmness level
Built by Responsive Surface Technology (ReST), the ReST bed has a higher price-point that reflects its luxury features and the innovative technology used in its design. For shoppers with an ample budget, the ReST may well be the airbed you’ve been searching for.
Like all airbeds, the ReST’s primary feature is its air-chamber support core. In this mattress, the chambers are encased in foam and topped by a layer of high-density polyfoam. For its comfort system, the ReST uses two layers of gel memory foam to improve pressure relief and overall comfort.
However, the ReST’s technological aspects are what really set it apart. Couples will appreciate the dual-firmness option, which allows for different settings on each side. With the push of a button, sleepers can also choose among three modes: automatic (which stays on the selected firmness level all night), auto-position (which detects changes in position and adjusts the firmness accordingly), and manual (which allows sleepers to adjust each of the five ergonomically zoned air chambers).
Owners can access their sleep data through a smartphone app, and the ReST is able to integrate with smart-home systems in order to make preparing for sleep even easier.
Firmness: Adjustable, Soft (2) to Firm (8)
Pressure Point Relief: 4/5
Sleeps Cool: 5/5
Motion Isolation: 3/5
Edge Support: 4/5
Ease of Movement: 3/5
- Gel memory foam and Talalay latex provide temperature-neutral pressure relief
- Dual-firmness options
- A wide range of sizes, including Split models and ‘Upper Flex’ models for adjustable frames
- Couples with differing firmness requirements
- People who sleep tend to sleep hot
- Customers who appreciate the use of organic cotton and natural latex
One of the most popular airbeds on the market, the Saatva Solaire offers excellent performance and some luxury touches at an only slightly above-average price-point.
While their air chamber support cores tend to draw more attention than more traditional features, a high-quality airbed should also feature well-designed covers and comfort layers. The Solaire easily reaches this standard, beginning with its quilted, organic cotton cover.
In order to provide temperature-neutral pressure relief, the Solaire also uses layers of gel memory foam and natural Talalay latex for a comfort system with a balanced feel. The latex layer is particularly welcome, as it offers a cool sleep and is ergonomically zoned for comfort and support.
The Solaire’s vulcanized air chambers use a box-baffle design, which minimizes sagging for both the sleep surface and the perimeter of the mattress. It is also surrounded by an edge enclosure to improve edge support and overall durability. Dual firmness is available for couples with different requirements, and all bed adjustments are made through an easy-to-use remote.
At 13.5 inches tall, the Solaire has a higher profile than many of its competitors. While this may be a drawback for people with mobility concerns, the extra height is reflected mostly in the mattress’s extra-thick comfort system.
Sleep Number c2
Firmness: Medium Firm (6) to Firm (7)
Pressure Point Relief: 3/5
Sleeps Cool: 3/5
Motion Isolation: 2/5
Edge Support: 3/5
Ease of Movement: 3/5
- Dual firmness adjustability for couples
- Gel-infused polyfoam comfort layer for cool, balanced pressure relief
- Sleep tracking capabilities through Sleep Number’s SleepIQ app
- People who prefer medium firm or firm mattresses
- Sleepers who are interested in sleep tracking
- Customers with a lower budge
While thinner and less adjustable than some of its competitors, the Sleep Number C2’s exceptionally low price-point and overall quality make it an excellent find for airbed enthusiasts on a tight budget.
Beneath its soft, rayon-blend cover, the C2 offers a single 2-inch comfort layer of gel-infused polyfoam. Although this layer will not offer the same cradling sensation as thicker polyfoam or memory foam comfort systems, it still offers fairly temperature-neutral pressure relief across a wide range of weights and sleep styles.
The C2’s support core consists of dual air chambers, which allow owners to customize firmness on both sides of the bed. Our testing shows that the C2’s firmness range is medium firm to firm, which is less comprehensive than more expensive models. However, these firmness options are comfortable and supportive for a wide range of sleepers, meaning that the C2 is still able to offer wide suitability.
Despite some drawbacks, the C2 still provides Sleep Number performance at an unbeatable price. The bed is also integrated with the SleepIQ sleep-tracking app, making it easier than ever for you to know exactly how you sleep and what you can do to ensure an even more refreshing sleep experience.
What is an Airbed?
An airbed is a mattress with an air chamber support core, allowing owners to adjust their bed’s firmness level for ideal support and comfort. The average price tends to be significantly higher than many other types of mattress due to the technology used in the adjustment mechanism, though budget-priced options are available.
Higher-end airbeds tend to have a wider firmness range, as well as features like sleep tracking, the ability to adjust each side of the bed separately, and even automatic firmness adjustment based on sleep position. (These features, particularly dual firmness adjustment, can also be found in some lower-priced models.)
When buying an air mattress, it is crucial to consider both its technological features as well as its overall construction. As with other mattresses, an airbed’s comfort system plays a large part in its overall feel. Comfort system design varies widely among airbeds, and models are available with everything from thin polyfoam to thick latex and memory foam layers.
These comfort layers can have an effect on the bed’s subjective firmness, so – although airbeds have adjustable firmness – it’s still important to consider whether you want to feel as though you’re sleeping ‘on’ or ‘in’ your bed.
No single airbed is perfect for every sleeper. By choosing one with your specific needs and preferences in mind, you’re far more likely to find the right fit for you. Thankfully, most airbed manufacturers offer at-home sleep trials to ensure you’ve made the right choice before committing.
How Do Airbeds Work?
Most mattresses have a support core of either high-density polyfoam, pocketed steel coils, or a traditional innerspring. Airbeds differ significantly from these designs, as their support core always includes – or consists of – air chambers that can be inflated or deflated to adjust the bed’s overall firmness.
Most airbeds are controlled using a remote or a smartphone app. Electric air pumps, which are usually hidden in the mattress itself, work to add or remove air to achieve specific firmness levels. While some pumps are audible during adjustment, the process is quick and easy enough that this should not bother most people.
Queen or king-size airbeds tend to offer firmness controls for each side of the bed. This is achieved through a minimum of two air chambers, though some higher-end models offer multiple ergonomically-zoned chambers on each side for pinpoint customization.
Setting up a new airbed can be complex, but many manufacturers offer White Glove delivery to simplify the process. Whether it is free with purchase or requires an additional fee, White Glove delivery indicates a team will arrive with your new mattress in order to set it up to your liking and explain the bed’s controls. Old mattress removal is often included in this service.
What’s the Difference Between an Air Mattress and an Airbed?
Although they sound very similar, air mattresses and airbeds are not the same thing. Air mattresses are generally among the least expensive of mattress options, and are usually intended for temporary use before being deflated and stored.
Airbeds, on the other hand, tend to be some of the most expensive mattresses on the market, and are intended for everyday use. They can not be deflated, nor can they be stored. Unlike air mattresses, airbeds are designed with structural support and comfort systems, and require support with an appropriate bed frame.
While some air mattresses feature automatic inflation technology, this is meant to expedite the set-up process. In airbeds, the air chambers are always filled, and the inflation and deflation mechanisms are designed to adjust firmness levels rather than fully deflate the mattress.
Overall, air mattresses are far less comfortable than airbeds and are best used as a temporary or guest bed, rather than as a primary mattress. Airbeds, on the other hand, are likely to offer comfort and support for many years.
How Much Does an Airbed Cost?
Although there are outliers, airbeds tend to be more expensive than other types of mattresses. The average cost of an airbed is over $2,200, which is slightly above the average prices of hybrid or latex models, and significantly more than innerspring or all-foam beds.
This high price is understandable, given the technology used to make airbeds fully adjustable. Wear-resistant air chambers, an electric pump, air hoses, and user interfaces are all required by even budget-priced airbeds. Many manufacturers also include other technological features, which are more commonly available among the higher-end models but can also be found across the price spectrum.
As with more common types of mattresses, the cost of an airbed is also dependent on other design choices. For example, airbeds with latex or thick memory foam comfort layers tend to be more expensive than those with thinner layers made of less expensive materials. The bed’s overall thickness also plays a role, and thicker mattresses with more material in the comfort system tend to have a higher price-point than thinner airbeds.
When cared for and supported properly, many airbeds have a lifespan of over eight years. However, their electronic components can sometimes begin to show their age and require repair before this point.
The majority of manufacturers offer warranties covering these issues, but customers should carefully read the policy before making a purchase. While airbed warranties tend to last many years, some prorated warranties will only fully cover the repair or replacement within the first few years of ownership. After this point, owners may be responsible for a portion of the repair or replacement cost.
How Can I Make Sure I’m Getting the Best Deal on an Airbed?
Finding a great deal on an airbed can be difficult, but a combination of choosing the right mattress, waiting for seasonal sales, and utilizing online discounts can ensure you find a new bed that suits both your needs and your budget.
To begin with, more expensive airbeds are not always better. If you’re mostly interested in an airbed’s firmness adjustment capabilities, extras like sleep tracking or automatic adjustment may result in a higher price but no additional satisfaction. However, budget-priced airbeds may not offer the same kind of adjustment as their higher-priced competitors, so it’s still critical to learn about a mattress before making your purchase.
Seasonal sales are some of the most popular times to buy a new mattress, and airbeds are no different. From President’s Day to Cyber Monday, there are several major sale holidays in the mattress industry. These sales often offer some of the lowest prices available, though the exact discounts may differ dramatically from sale to sale depending on which mattresses the manufacturer is most interested in promoting.
Online coupon codes and exclusive discounts are also excellent ways of saving money on a new airbed. While these cannot usually be combined with sale prices, they often offer significant savings on their own. Coupon codes are usually offered directly by the manufacturer, either on-site or through its official mailing list, while exclusive discounts can be found through many mattress review sites.