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Adjustable airbeds are a unique mattress type that allow users full control over the firmness and feel of their bed. By pumping air into or out of air chambers, sleepers can customize the bed to fit their unique needs. Most airbeds that are queen size or larger have split air chambers so that sleep partners can each choose the firmness they prefer.
Airbeds are among the most expensive mattress options on the market, so the process of selecting one can feel particularly fraught. Choosing the right airbed requires an understanding of how they work, the different features they offer, and how to maintain them over the years.
After putting the leading models through a rigorous testing and review process, we’ve identified some of the best airbed mattress choices across several categories. After introducing you to our top picks, we’ll walk you through the buying process to ensure you have the information you need to make your decision.
The Sleep Doctor's Picks
Night Air Adjustable Airbed
Best Pressure Relief
Natural Form Refresh Mattress
Firmness: Adjustable – Soft (3) to Firm (8)
Sizes: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split California King, Upperflex Queen, Upperflex King
Price Range: $2,525 – $4,625
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
- Euro-top design with latex and gel-infused memory foam layers provides breathable pressure relief
- Excellent temperature neutrality
- Compatible with an adjustable base and available in split king and split California king sizes for dual-sided customization
- People who sleep hot
- Couples with a wide gap in preferred firmness levels
- Those who want cradling pressure relief paired with responsive bounce
Manufactured by Saatva, the Solaire is a high-end airbed with a complex design and several luxury touches.
Beneath a quilted Euro-top is an ergonomically zoned layer of Talalay latex that provides targeted support and a more responsive feel than synthetic foam. Meanwhile, a layer of gel-infused memory foam provides more substantial contouring and pressure relief.
The bed’s air chambers are made from vulcanized rubber and protected from moisture by polyfoam and PVC sheeting. The bed is reinforced around the perimeter to hide the air system while also providing extra edge support.
Twin XL and full size mattresses contain one adjustable air chamber, while sizes queen and larger have two chambers and a remote control for each side of the bed. The mattress is compatible with adjustable frames and is available in a split-top version. The latter is designed for use with Saatva’s Upper-Flex Adjustable Base, which allows the head of the bed to be raised and lowered on each side.
The Solaire stands apart from the average airbed by offering 50 firmness settings. Our testing team determined that the settings range from soft (3) to firm (8), making the mattress suitable for all sleep positions and body types.
Saatva only ships to locations in the contiguous U.S., although customers in Hawaii and Alaska can contact the company for freight forwarding assistance. Deliveries to the lower 48 states include free White Glove mattress setup, as well as free mattress and foundation removal. The Solaire has a 365-night sleep trial and a limited lifetime warranty.
Featuring a slick design and an impressive array of firmness levels, the Solaire is among the most versatile mattresses we’ve tested.
Night Air Adjustable Airbed
Firmness: Adjustable – Soft (3) to Firm (8)
Sizes: Twin XL, Queen, California King
Price Range: $2,029 – $2,709
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
- Chambers can be adjusted to 100 unique firmness levels
- Foam layers create an adaptive surface to cushion the body and reduce pressure
- Cover is removable and machine-washable
- Co-sleepers with differing firmness preferences
- People with persistent shoulder, back, or hip pain
- Shoppers looking for a relatively affordable airbed
Airbeds are the most expensive type of mattress on average, with prices often exceeding the $3,000 mark. Night Air’s Adjustable Airbed is one of the most affordable airbed models we’ve tested, yet the mattress offers the same wide firmness range and reliable performance as many of its costlier competitors. Our team tested the dual-chamber 13-inch model, but you can choose from multiple profiles and designs.
The mattress offers 100 unique firmness levels, which can be programmed using the wired remotes on both sides of the bed. The dual settings allow you and your partner to customize your respective sides of the bed without disturbing the other person. The remote provides a visual display to help you understand how supportive your current firmness is. You can also add your favorite setting as a memory preset.
The Adjustable Airbed also contains a memory foam comfort layer and polyfoam transitional layer. Regardless of your chosen settings, these layers contour evenly to reduce pressure buildup and help you wake up without pain or soreness. Another notable feature is the polyester cover, which can be removed and machine washed as needed. Most competing mattresses have non-removable covers that can only be spot cleaned.
Prices and model availability for the Night Air Adjustable Airbed vary by seller. If you order through Amazon, your purchase comes with Night Air’s 100-night sleep trial. The mattress is further backed by a 20-year warranty against various defects.
While the Night Air Adjustable Airbed is still a significant financial investment, it offers the same versatility and performance as many competing airbeds at a much more accessible price. A range of 100 firmness levels helps ensure most people can find a comfortable setting regardless of their body type or preferred sleep position.
Best Pressure Relief
Natural Form Refresh Mattress
Firmness: Medium (5) to Firm (8)
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, Olympic Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Price Range: $2,499 – $5,279
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
- Up to 84 adjustable air zones for exceptional support
- Layer of high-resilience polyfoam for responsive pressure relief
- Adjustable via dials on both sides of the mattress
- People who require advanced spine support
- Sleepers prone to pressure points who prefer a medium to firm feel
- Customers looking for an easily maintained modular design
While the Refresh Mattress from Natural Form is lower-tech than some of its competitors, it has a unique design meant to provide customers with exceptional support and pressure relief. By twisting a dial on either side of the mattress, users can adjust the Refresh for a medium (5) to firm (8) feel.
Proprietary Pressure-Free air pods on each side of the bed are designed to support heavier areas like the midsection while relieving pressure points elsewhere. The core is wrapped in polyfoam for added durability, which also works to improve the bed’s edge support and hide the air adjustment system.
The Refresh features a highly pressure-relieving comfort layer of high-resilience polyfoam. Since this particular polyfoam is adaptive, it contours closely to the body to create a supportive cradle. However, it is also more responsive than memory foam, making the Refresh easier to move on than most memory foam mattresses.
The removable merino wool cover is breathable and wicks away moisture, although the Refresh does sleep warmer than some other airbeds. Customers concerned about repairing their airbed will appreciate the Refresh’s modular design, which makes it easy to swap out components.
The Refresh earned superb marks from side sleepers on our testing team over 130 pounds and back sleepers under 230 pounds. Some side sleepers under 130 pounds commented that they preferred a wider firmness range, since even when positioned at the lowest setting it felt a little too firm for their tastes.
Natural Form offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S., with additional shipping fees for orders to Alaska and Hawaii. White Glove delivery is available for an additional fee for residents in the contiguous states. The Refresh comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year limited warranty.
Combining breathable merino wool, a polyfoam comfort layer that prioritizes pressure relief, and a versatile air pod support core, the Refresh Mattress conceals innovative airbed technology beneath a simple user interface.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team, which has decades of combined experience in the sleep product industry, personally researches and tests the products we feature at TheSleepDoctor.com. To avoid bias and deliver the reliable, accurate information our readers need, all mattresses undergo a rigorous and carefully structured testing process with sleepers who have different sleep position preferences and a diverse range of body types.
What Is an Airbed Mattress?
Instead of using a traditional support core, such as coils or polyfoam, airbeds support sleepers with air-filled chambers. Air can be pumped in or out of the chambers to adjust the bed’s firmness and feel, allowing sleepers to customize the bed to their needs with the touch of a button.
How Are Airbed Mattresses Constructed?
The unique part of an airbed mattress is its support core. Multiple air-filled chambers, usually made from vulcanized rubber or another durable material, are connected to an air pump that is either outside the mattress or integrated into it. Adjusting the amount of air in the chambers is usually done with a remote control, though some use buttons or dials on the bed and some also offer a smartphone app.
Like traditional mattresses, airbeds also have comfort layers to prevent sleepers from sinking against the air chambers. The bed may also have reinforced foam or coils to provide edge support. Airbed mattresses can also be taken apart to access parts that need repair, so assembly is usually required when your new airbed arrives.
How Long Do Airbeds Last?
Airbed mattresses typically last about eight years, compared to the average lifespan of six to eight years for traditional mattresses. A high-quality, well-maintained airbed may last 10 years or more. However, the mechanical parts inside an airbed may need replacing before the bed itself does.
Given that it may require repairs, anyone buying an airbed should look closely at the warranty terms. Airbed warranties typically span 10 to 25 years while also being partially prorated. This means that repairs are usually free for an initial period, often around 10 years, but after this period owners are required to pay part of the cost of replacement parts, as well as transportation fees. The longer you own your bed, the more you’ll generally pay for repairs and replacement parts.
How Much Do Airbeds Cost?
Most airbeds cost between $2,000 and $2,400 for a queen size model, though budget models can sell for as low as $1,500 and luxury airbeds can cost well over $5,000. This price range makes airbeds the most expensive category of mattress.
Some airbed manufacturers offer optional luxury features for an additional fee. These can include zoned support chambers, memory settings for easier adjustment, and heating components for cold weather.
What Is the Difference Between Adjustable Airbeds and Inflatable Air Mattresses?
While airbeds are comparable to ordinary mattresses in most ways and are intended for daily use, inflatable air mattresses are meant for temporary use, such as when camping.
Airbeds have advanced, adjustable air-based support as well as comfort systems comparable to standard mattresses. Inflatable air mattresses, on the other hand, offer minimal support and have few, if any, comfort features. Letting out air doesn’t make them feel softer, just less supportive.
Accordingly, there is a significant gap in pricing. Airbeds are among the most expensive mattresses available, while inflatable air mattresses have an average cost of around $100.
Why Should You Sleep on an Airbed Mattress?
Although they tend to be expensive, airbeds can be well worth the price for some sleepers.
Couples with different mattress preferences can sometimes struggle to find a bed that suits them both. Airbeds with two adjustment zones allow each person to choose the firmness and feel that works best.
Since sleep position is a key factor in choosing a mattress, combination sleepers sometimes have to sacrifice comfort in one position to ensure support in another. An airbed is easy to adjust according to how you want to sleep on any given night.
Customers Unsure of What They Need
Buying a mattress requires an understanding of what you need from a bed, including the ideal firmness for your weight and preferred sleeping position. If you’ve had trouble finding the right mattress for you, an adjustable airbed allows you to try a range of firmness options.
Airbeds can be a practical purchase, but they can also be fun. The range of options and the ability to customize your bed at home can be particularly appealing for tech-savvy individuals.
What Does It Feel Like to Sleep on an Airbed Mattress?
In most cases, sleeping on an airbed feels a lot like sleeping on a high-quality standard mattress. However, airbeds have a variety of features that can impact how they feel.
- Variable comfort layers: Airbeds have comfort layers above the air chambers to provide cushioning and pressure relief. The materials used in these layers, such as responsive latex or conforming memory foam, play a major role in how it feels to sleep on a given airbed.
- Adjustable firmness and support: Adjustable airbeds allow you to customize their firmness level with the touch of a button. Adding more air to the bed’s chambers causes it to be firmer, while letting air out provides a softer feel. The air chambers are designed to provide support regardless of the firmness level, and firmness can often be customized for each side of the mattress.
- Temperature neutrality: While airbeds excel in many performance categories, temperature neutrality isn’t necessarily their strong suit. Those with thick comfort layers tend to sleep warm, while models with a thin comfort system don’t provide enough of a buffer from the cool air chambers. Airbed designs that are the best at regulating temperature include substantial comfort layers with features designed for temperature control, such as open-cell foams or cooling gel infusions.
- Luxury features: High-end airbeds can have a wide range of luxury features that either come standard or are available for an extra fee. These features can vary dramatically from one bed to the next, encompassing everything from sleep tracking technology to heating and cooling systems for the pumped air.
Choosing the Right Firmness Level
While buying a standard mattress requires you to have an idea of what firmness level suits you, an airbed allows you to try different options at home. However, there are some guidelines to consider when adjusting your airbed’s firmness.
Your body type plays a major role in the firmness you should choose. People who weigh under 130 pounds usually prefer soft beds, while those over 230 pounds generally fare better with a firmer feel.
Besides your weight and build, you should also take your preferred sleep position into account when choosing a firmness level. Side sleepers often prefer a soft mattress to allow for more pressure relief at the hips and shoulders. Back sleepers typically enjoy a balanced feel with strong lumbar support, while stomach sleepers generally need a firmer mattress to prevent their midsection from sinking too far into the bed’s surface.
You’ll Have to Tinker With the Firmness Settings Occasionally
While adjustable airbeds are generally easy to use, their firmness settings aren’t a set-it-and-forget-it system. Natural changes in barometric pressure and room temperature can affect the air pressure in the bed’s chambers and require minor firmness adjustments. You may also want to change your bed’s firmness for other reasons, such as fluctuations in your weight or a change in sleeping position.