Updated February 16, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

The 9 Best Single Air Beds

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This wiki has been updated 21 times since it was first published in April of 2016. Air mattresses can serve as temporary sleeping arrangements for guests, a comfortable place to rest when camping and, with some designs, even as a viable alternative to a standard bed. There's a variety of inflatable single models available with varying thicknesses, baffle configurations, pump setups, and compatible frames. They range from inexpensive and simple to costly and long-lasting. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best single air bed on Amazon.

9. SoundAsleep Dream

8. Coleman Quick Bed

7. AeroBed Comfort Lock

6. Coleman EasyStay

5. Ivation EZ-Bed

4. ETekCity Upgraded

3. Coleman Combo

2. EnerPlex Never-Leak

1. Intex Comfort Plush

Editor's Notes

February 13, 2020:

If you're looking for something that will keep you comfortable for months, check out the Intex Comfort Plush, SoundAsleep Dream, or, if you can afford it, the AeroBed Comfort Lock. These double-high models resemble actual beds more closely than many others, and in the case of the AeroBed, there's actually an inflatable headboard that makes the unit that much more comfortable. If you'll be using it for a long time, we'd also recommend outfitting it with a good mattress topper -- a 2- or 3-inch memory foam one works well in our experience.

The Coleman Quick Bed, EnerPlex Never-Leak, and ETekCity Upgraded are all pretty simple. The Coleman doesn't include a pump, but it's also quite a bit less expensive than the others, which do. The EnerPlex is especially interesting due to its wide baffle design which appears to make it a little more consistently supportive than most. The Coleman EasyStay is quite similar to a camping pad but not quite as small or light as a backpacking mattress, so it's great for tossing in the car for a trip to the woods. It's particularly great on top of a camping cot.

We also want to highlight a couple that come with durable frames to hold them off the ground. The Ivation EZ-Bed is quite expensive, but also very easy to set up; just open the case and turn it on and it expands as it inflates itself, so all you have to do is position it properly in the room. The Coleman Combo requires a touch more setup, but not much, and it provides plenty of storage space underneath, which helps to keep spare rooms and tents organized.

The Benefits Of Having An Air Bed

Plus, your room may be so small that you barely even have space for a couch.

While you may not be willing to swap out your regular bed for an air bed, you should consider adding one to your home. These portable, flexible items come in handy often. First of all, if you travel a lot with your family, then you need all the tools possible to help you save money on those trips. Many hotels charge for rollaways, but you can easily pack an air bed and give everyone somewhere comfortable to sleep at no extra charge. Air beds are great for extended camping trips, too. While a quality sleeping bag over a camping pad can suffice for a few nights, if you're setting up camp for a while, you'll want something that resembles your actual bed.

The second benefit of air beds is their adjustability. Most air beds allow you to adjust the firmness. Research has shown that no one level of firmness is perfect for everyone. The best firmness for you depends on the position in which you sleep; your back, neck, and shoulder health; and other conditions like arthritis and sleep apnea. When you sleep in a standard bed, you're pretty much stuck with the firmness of that mattress. When you sleep in an air bed, you can adjust the firmness every night, depending on your needs.

Finally, air beds, when deflated, take up very little space. If you have a small apartment and your living room doubles as your bedroom, an air bed can give you the illusion of more space. When you wake up in the morning, you can simply deflate it and put it in your closet. This is much better than opening and closing a fold-out couch every day. Plus, your room may be so small that you barely even have space for a couch.

The History Of Air Beds

Air beds were originally conceived out of a nautical need — steamships wanted a more space-efficient alternative to the hair-filled mattresses they'd been using. Being able to deflate air beds and stow them away while the crew members were awake was quite helpful. It didn't hurt that they could also use them as floatation devices in the event of an accident on the high seas.There is some debate over who invented the original air mattress, though. Many people maintain that the Pneumatic Mattress & Cushion Company in Reading, Massachusetts was responsible for the first air mattress, in 1899.

There are anecdotes about a man who tried inflating intestines purchased from the butcher with air, tying them at the ends, and forming cushions out of them.

So, from where does this debate spring? Well, a Gold Rush pioneer named Margaret A. Frink wrote of a version of an air bed in 1850. In the book Best Of Covered Wagon Women, she describes an India-rubber mattress that "could be filled with either air or water." But Frink wasn't the only one making use of inflatable beds. In 1853, just a few years after Frink made her trip to California, a man named John Scott filed a patent for an item that much resembles the Sleep Number bed that's so popular today. His patent details a bed with an exterior just as cozy as a regular one, but built around an air bubble.

Even long before mattress companies or pioneer women created rubber air mattresses, a 16th-century upholsterer took a stab at them. A French man named William Dejardin made a bed from waxed canvas that was filled with air. Unfortunately, while this material may have worked fine for some of Dejardin's other projects, it was not designed to sustain high air pressure and burst rather quickly. Regardless of who invented the first official air bed, people have always had a desire to sleep on air. There are anecdotes about a man who tried inflating intestines purchased from the butcher with air, tying them at the ends, and forming cushions out of them. Fortunately for us, today, the air mattress has come a long way from animal insides.

What To Look For In A Single Air Bed

There are three main features to look for in an air bed: convenience, comfort, and durability. Let's start with convenience. Look for an air bed that inflates and deflates in seconds. When you're ready to hit the hay at night, you don't want to wait a half hour for your bed to inflate. Likewise, if checkout time from the motel is 11 a.m. and it's now 10:55, you don't want your slowly deflating air bed to be the reason you pay a late checkout fee. Your air bed should also fold or roll up into a small size, so it won't take up too much space in your suitcase, camping backpack, or car.

As for durability, it's very important that your air bed is made from puncture-resistant material.

Now let's discuss comfort. You love your partner, but you don't want to share your air mattress with him or her. It's not that you're selfish. Many sleeping habit polls find that couples are choosing to sleep separately. If that's you, then get an air bed that can double as a twin or king bed. These models typically feature two single beds stacked on top of one another that can be separated and put beside each other to form a larger air bed. Some air beds have built-in pillows, too, so you won't be in a bind if you forget to pack your regular one.

As for durability, it's very important that your air bed is made from puncture-resistant material. You don't want to wake up in the middle of the night to find you're sleeping on the floor because you accidentally set up your air bed on a safety pin. You may want to consider an air bed with an automatic pump that puts just the right amount of air inside, too. If you accidentally over inflate your bed, you run the risk of popping it or stretching it over time, as well.

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Christopher Thomas
Last updated on February 16, 2020 by Christopher Thomas

Building PCs, remodeling, and cooking since he was young, quasi-renowned trumpeter Christopher Thomas traveled the USA performing at and organizing shows from an early age. His work experiences led him to open a catering company, eventually becoming a sous chef in several fine LA restaurants. He enjoys all sorts of barely necessary gadgets, specialty computing, cutting-edge video games, and modern social policy. He has given talks on debunking pseudoscience, the Dunning-Kruger effect, culinary technique, and traveling. After two decades of product and market research, Chris has a keen sense of what people want to know and how to explain it clearly. He delights in parsing complex subjects for anyone who will listen -- because teaching is the best way to ensure that you understand things yourself.

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