Whether it’s permanent or for travel, we all love air mattresses. They’re convenient and easy to store without sacrificing the soft comfort of a traditional mattress. You can buy them in all sorts of sizes and for all the different kinds of ventures in everyday life. It’s like a portable bed!
Older air mattresses arrived with an external manual pump where you would first open a valve, insert the tube, then begin pumping up the mattress like you would with a balloon. It’s a true workout! Especially for larger mattresses, this method can grow tedious quickly.
Luckily, this old method of inflating air mattresses has largely been replaced by new technology: air mattresses with a built-in pump. These mattresses don’t have any external equipment. You simply need to plug in the cord to a power source, press the on switch, and with that one press of a finger your mattress will begin to inflate itself immediately. In just a few minutes, you have a fully inflated bed beside you that can also be deflated and carried in a tiny bag or storage case.
This electric pump– a built-in method of inflating air mattresses– isn’t the only thing that you need to look for when you’re shopping for an air mattress with a built-in pump. Each brand and mattress are different, and these differences play into the feel and durability of your purchase.
How Does an Air Mattress With a Built-In Pump Work?
Having a better understanding of the technology behind air beds is crucial to operating your mattress correctly. A built in pump is a surprisingly small mechanism that sits behind the valve opening in your air mattress. It can either use battery power or have a cord that connects to a power source, so the type of power used for your mattress is up to you when you are searching for the right product. An electronic air pump can be found in a variety of other applications like balls/toys, ventilation in aquariums, vacuum cleaners, and a bike pump.
An electric air pump also usually has some sort of gauge that measures pressure and stops inflating when the object is fully inflated. Inside of the pump there are multiple parts, some being impeller blades, vanes designs, and diaphragms. These work together to create an internal vacuum that ‘sucks’ air out of the atmosphere. The air is pressurized and forced into chambers to where it needs to go.
How to Inflate an Air Mattress With a Built-In Pump
Using your air mattress for the first time may feel intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy. Firstly, locate the air valve. It is usually on one of the sides along the length of the mattress. First remove the cap, then twist it slowly to open it. This will allow air to travel inside and ‘unlock’ the pump.
Take note of whether your mattress uses a cable power source or batteries. If it uses batteries, find the correct type of battery and place it into the mattress’s battery slot. If it uses a cable, plug it into the nearest electrical outlet.
Now the magic starts. Find the on/off switch, which is usually next to the valve. Simply switch it on, the built-in pump will start doing its job. Now all you need to do is wait until the mattress is fully inflated. Some mattresses have an automatic pressure indicator and will stop inflating when the mattress is full. Others don’t, so when the mattress is done, turn the switch to off. Now screw the valve closed and place the protective cap back on, check for any holes that could cause the mattress to lose air, and you’re done! You can put a bedding on the mattress now if you wish.
Types of Air Beds
There are actually multiple types of air mattresses or air beds. The three main types include raised, adjustable, and self-inflating.
Self-inflating Air Mattress
Self-inflating mattresses are the ones discussed in this article– they feature an electric pump rather than a hand pump and are quickly replacing traditional manual only mattresses because they are much more convenient. The only concern is that they are more expensive than manual air beds.
Adjustable/Convertible Air Mattress
If you have back pain or get aches after sleeping in a new bed, an adjustable air mattress may be a good investment. This is a special type of addition to the average air mattress– it has a remote control that can adjust firmness settings on the mattress so you can sleep more comfortably.
Raised Air Mattress
All of the mattresses featured in this article are raised air mattresses. It simply means that they are taller than the standard 10 inch mattress so that you feel like you are higher above the ground, which is more comfortable. It is also easier to get onto and has a similar feel to sleeping on a normal bed because it isn’t as close to the ground as sleeping with a traditional mattress directly on the floor.
Top Air Mattresses With Built-In Pumps
Below are some of the best air mattresses with built-in pumps in terms of durability, convenience, comfort, price, and customer reviews.
SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress: Comfort Coil Technology & Internal High Capacity Pump: Best Overall Air Mattress
This air mattress is available in five bed sizes, twin, twin xl, full, queen, king. The special Comfort Coil and SoundAsleep technology features a non-slip surface and 21 internal air coils that support the bed and ensure it stays flat. It has a patented, one click internal pump that can inflate and deflate the mattress in one click, and the company states that this built-in pump inflates the mattress in just three minutes.
The material includes eco-friendly PVC that’s thick and waterproof, as well as puncture-proof. Prices start at $114.95 for twin and go up to $174.95 for king. The product includes the mattress with the built-in pump as well as a carry bag for easy, convenient storage. All sizes are 18 inches tall, and the mattress is perfect for camping or everyday use. The patented ‘SureGrip’ bottom ensures the mattress stays in the position you place it in so it doesn’t slide around while you sleep. Additionally, the company promises a one year warranty on all of their products.
EnerPlex Air Mattress 13 Inch Double Height Inflatable Bed with Built-in Dual Pump: Best Pump
This Amazon’s Choice air mattress is available in not just three different sizes, but also three different height choices. You can choose from twin, queen, or king, as well as 13, 16, or 18 inches tall. Prices start at $84.99 for a 13 inch tall twin mattress and go up to $149.99 for an 18 inch tall king mattress.
The built-in pump on this mattress is so powerful that it fully inflates the product in just two minutes. You can use a portable battery pack to power the mattress if you’re on a go, or an adapter cable if you prefer. It contains two valves, one for inflation and one for deflation. The product itself is puncture-proof and made of durable PVC. This material prevents any slipping, leaking, or holes, and is waterproof. The inner construction of the mattress has sturdy coil beams to hold up the product and is good for spine alignment, and you get a carrying case to stow it away in a small spot when not in use.
King Koil Luxury Air Mattress With Built-in High Speed Pump: Best Pillow
The King Koil air bed is available in twin, queen, and California King, as well as three height options: 13, 16, and 20 inches. It has a fully flocked, soft flocking layer plus a luxurious built in pillow that is perfect for traveling (no one wants to carry around a large, unwieldy pillow in their suitcase!) For a luxurious feel and non-slip surface, the mattress features a suede outer layer.
By purchasing, you receive a guaranteed one year warranty by the manufacturer. It has a built-in pump that inflates quickly, as well as a patch kit just in case of a puncture emergency. The coil technology keeps the mattress straight and flat, making King Koil the only manufacturer endorsed by the International Chiropractors Association since it helps with spine alignment! Below the flocked top, the mattress is made of durable PVC that inflates in two minutes. Prices begin at $99.95 for a 13 inch twin mattress and go up to $179.95 for a twenty inch California king mattress.
The Intex Dura-Beam air mattress has one of the most customization options. It arrives in two colors, blue or gray, three sizes (twin, full, or queen), and three height options (13, 18, and 22 inches). The surface is covered in soft flocking, and the high-power internal pump inflates the mattress in three to four minutes. The pump both inflates and deflates the mattress. It features raised edge support and horizontal support beams to prevent dipping, and is made of a plastic material.
If you ever don’t have access to an electric power source, this mattress also has the option to be inflated with a manual hand pump, which is perfect for camping if you forget batteries. It also arrives with a one year limited warranty and storage bag, and holds up to 300 pounds.
What are Air Mattresses Made Of?
Ever heard of PVC pipes? Your house’s plumbing may use this material. It’s totally leak-proof and durable. Guess what– PVC is also used for air mattresses, so its guaranteed to be puncture proof too. The PVC used in air mattresses is just softer than the PVC used in pipes.
PVC is a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride. It is cheap and widespread, waterproof, and has many uses. However, it has phthalates and a specific plastic-y odor that can cause allergies in some people. There is some scientific controversy on whether or not the phthalates in PVC are potentially harmful. Phthalates have been banned in some products, but for PVC, it makes it bendable and is necessary for air mattresses.
If you are concerned about PVC, there are a few alternatives, but they are more expensive and more difficult to come across. Urethane is one alternative, and tends to be softer than PVC. Thermos plastic urethane is a safe option– it doesn’t contain any phthalates, is extremely durable, and has no odor. However, this is the most expensive material available.
Maintaining Your Air Mattress
The first step to maintaining your air mattress is cleaning. Not cleaning your air mattress can lead to mold and odors. You should strive to clean your mattress after every use. To avoid stains, be sure to put on a full bedding set with a fitted sheet over the mattress to protect it from direct contact with your skin’s oils or dirt. If you use your mattress in a tent, you can start by using a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt from the creases of the surface of the mattress. Try not to scrub it because that will lodge any dirt further into the mattress.
Check your mattress regularly for any mold; moisture can cause this. If you smell any odor that isn’t the PVC, your mattress may be at risk of growing mold. Sprinkling baking soda on the mattress can help get rid of any odor. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes, then vacuum it off.
To clean, simply use a gentle soap and wet cloth and clean the surface the gently. To dry, leave it to air dry, and if you are concerned about mold, do the baking soda step after drying. When it comes to storage, you’ll want to make sure you keep your mattress in a dry and ventilated area to prevent mold.
The second part of maintaining your mattress is fixing any leaks or holes. Don’t panic if your mattress looks deflated. Temperature changes and time can cause it to lose air. Inflate it again and see if it deflates quickly to confirm. Locating the leak, if there is one, can be difficult, so be sure to check around the entire mattress. Mark and clean the area when you find it. Most air mattresses come with patch kits, so this is where these will come in handy. But if you don’t have one, don’t fret– there are several other ways you can make a patch. You can get a patch kit for bike tires, make a patch from shower liner, fill in the seam with hot glue, or cut up a t shirt and use glue to make a makeshift patch. Ideally, you should use an air mattress patch kit.
Rundown of What to Look For in an Air Mattress With a Built-In Pump
Purchasing your first air mattress with an internal pump shouldn’t be done on a whim. There’s many factors to consider. First, take note of the different kinds of materials available: do you want PVC or urethane? PVC is cheaper and more widely available, but it does contain phthalates and can cause allergies. Urethane is more durable and thermal urethane doesn’t have phthalates, but it is more expensive.
Be sure to search for products with a warranty. All four products in the list featured in this article have some sort of warranty, most a one-year warranty. This shows the brand is trustworthy.
Consider the type of air mattress you want– raised, adjustable/convertible, self-inflating, or a combination? You can also customize the height and size of your air mattress when purchasing, so take measurements of your room if you need to.
Convenience: a good air mattress will conveniently inflate and deflate within a matter of minutes, as well as arrive with a carrying case/bag and patch kit. With all of these tools, you can bring your mattress anywhere easily. Overall, searching for the best mattress doesn’t have to be difficult when you know exactly what to look for.