Adjustable Air Mattress — How to Find the Best Air Mattress

The adjustable air mattress is designed to give you control over firmness levels. With state-of-the-art sealed air chambers attached to a solid foundation, digital remote control inflators, and luxurious toppers, padding and fabrics, this mattress is very far removed from the cheap air beds we used to get for camping and kid’s sleepover nights!

But how do you know which is the best for you?

You will only know through trying it out. The best bed will feel better as you learn to fine tune it. Some sleepers report that switching from a regular innerspring to an adjustable air mattress took some getting used to, but eventually it felt wonderful. Others adapted to it relatively quickly. And then, as is the case with every type of mattress, some just never did get used to it.

Advantages of an Adjustable Air Mattress

Customizable air mattresses offer these advantages:

  • Adjustable support — we’ve covered this already, but this is especially important for couples who prefer entirely different firmness levels. With a double-chamber model, you can each select whatever your personal comfort level happens to be.
  • Air-based support and comfort — eliminates pressure points that cause restless tossing and turning. Some people with back and neck pain find that air support gives them relief and better sleep.
  • Durable and long lasting — the best air mattress will last a long time, as there are no moving parts to wear out, no springs to weaken, nothing to sag.
  • Portability — can be deflated and easily moved from one room to another or across the country.


The main disadvantage is that the air-type of support just doesn’t work for some people. Air is not resilient like latex foam or steel springs, so when you sink into it, it will bulge into other areas, such as the curve of your spine or the sides of the mattress. Now some people like how air support feels… and others don’t… it’s that simple!

Expensive or Cheap Air Bed?

Any research of air-based beds will quickly reveal that there are two very different classes of air mattresses, and the difference in price is quite dramatic as well.

The best known high-end adjustable air mattress is the Select Comfort Sleep Number bed. This bed is designed as a long-term solution, a permanent substitute for any other type of bed. It comes with every accessory a bed could provide, such as choice of topper (including pillowtop style) and fabrics, and its thickness can rival the most luxurious innerspring mattress. Prices can go as high as $3000.

The cheap air mattress should not be dismissed entirely, however. They too have gotten better in many ways, more like regular beds than the camping inflatables of yesterday. Some of them feature nice padding and fabric coverings, and may be used quite comfortably as temporary beds or longer-term for young people who can’t afford or don’t wish to be burdened with a heavy bed to move around.

Prices for good cheap air mattresses can be as low as $150-$200. It is not wise to go below that, for then you get into the camping category, with less support and cheaper materials. Avoid plastic or vinyl casings if you are going to sleep indoors, because the outgassing of toxic chemicals can be quite severe. At the very least, leave it outside in the open air a few days.

The difference between the two types of air-based beds is starting to blur a little, as some hybrids have come to market–these are mattresses that have air chambers and individual remotes for controlling the air pressure on each side of the bed. They lack the high-end features of the expensive beds, but still can provide decent support.

There are also many more versions of the high-end adjustable beds than before, with many competitors vying for a place in this market. As some of these brands seem to lean toward hard-sell tactics, it is best to use caution when you begin your comparison shopping of these mattresses.

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