Home Improvement Magazine

Air Mattress Pros and Cons: Should I Buy an Air Mattress

By Richard Morse @insidebedroom

"Should I buy an air mattress?" How often have people wondered about that? What are the air mattress pros and cons? Why should you even be considering an air mattress when there are latex foam, memory foam and bouncy innerspring mattresses available for you? Here are some of the pros and cons of air mattresses to help you decide whether or not an air mattress is your best choice.

Air Mattress Pros and Cons: Should I Buy an Air Mattress

Table of Contents

Why Should I Buy an Air Mattress?

Why not? You may as well ask yourself why you should buy a foam mattress or a spring mattress. The purpose of a mattress is twofold: to provide with a comfortable sleeping surface and to support your body correctly while you are sleeping. So how will an air mattress meet these two requirements, and how will it also meet all the other requirements you may have?

Here are some air mattress pros and cons, which should answer most of your questions. I will follow these up with some of the frequently asked questions I have received that should answer several more. So - Should I buy an air mattress? Continue reading and the answer should come to you:

Air Mattress Pros: Positives of Buying an Air Mattress

If you purchase a foam or innerspring mattress, you are stuck with the level of hardness you chose when you ordered. If you find your mattress is too firm or too soft you have only three options:

  • Change the mattress - this can be expensive, although the vendor will likely do so for a charge.
  • Buy a mattress topper - this option costs money and is usually more successful when using a soft topper on top of a hard mattress. A firm topper does not always cure too soft of a mattress.
  • Put up with it - Just accept the fact you have made a bad choice and live with it.

That last option is not a very good solution, particularly if you have a back condition, or suffer pain in your hips, shoulders or any other pressure point. Mattress toppers can solve the problem, but perhaps they may not - and it still costs you more than you may have budgeted for your mattress. Put up with it? Why take the chance when there is a better solution!

If you have an air mattress - or air bed they are often called - you can set the level of hardness that suits you best. You can make it harder by pumping more air in - or softer by releasing some. You can even change the firmness of your bed to suit single sleepers or two of you! Two people require more pressure than singles, and this is an issue that regular mattresses cannot handle.

People who suffer back pain, or have arthritis or painful joints for some other reason, sleep best on a mattress that is hard enough to support them, but not so hard that it fails to yield where their pressure points (hips, knees, buttocks, shoulders, etc.) are in contact with the mattress.

Many arthritis sufferers buy an air mattress because they can adjust its firmness any time they need to. This is a definite air mattress pro for those who need a firmer or softer adjustment made to their mattress while in bed. If you feel pain during the night then you can change the hardness or softness of your mattress as explained below.

If you need a softer mattress, then you have two options with an air mattress. This is one of the useful air mattress benefits that most people find very useful. You can:

  • Cut back on the air pressure within the mattress, or
  • Pump the mattress up to the good firm level that suits you.

You can do this while you are in bed, and are able to assess the benefit that the changes in air pressure are giving you. You could also use a soft topper for comfort. You will then get the benefit of an air mattress along with the comfort you need when lying on a hard mattress core.

Most foam and spring mattresses tend to lose support after a few years. Springs can lose their spring and foam can just sag under the continual pressure over the years. You don't get this problem with an air mattress. When it starts to feel soft, simply pump more air into it! There are no springs to fail and no foam to break down and lose its support.

Memory foam mattresses tend to heat you up while sleeping - unless it is a gel foam. Even latex foams can hold some of your body heat through the night. An air mattress does not have this problem, and if you prefer to sleep cool throughout the night, an air mattress allows you to do this.

    Gassing and Biological Contamination

Mattresses manufactured using synthetic foams can emit a chemical odor, particularly when new. Most innerspring and pocketed spring mattresses also contain foam as a padding - same thing happens! Air mattresses are odor free. They are made using PVC which is odorless and does not outgas. They also do not offer a good home for bed bugs or dust mites.

    Couples Sharing and Movement Separation

One of the advertised benefits of memory foam mattresses is that they provide a good separation of movement between partners. If one person moves in the bed, it has minimal effect on their partner - unlike spring beds! It is possible to purchase air mattresses with two separate chambers. If your partner moves about on the bed it has minimal effect on you, because his or her chamber is inflated to their preference, and any movement they make is constricted to their part of the bed.

Air Mattress Pros and Cons: Should I Buy an Air Mattress

Should I Buy an Air Mattress if I travel about a lot? Of course, you should - if you want to take your bed with you. One beauty of an air mattress or air bed is that you can lay it on a floor - or any base. You could even lay it on the water - though not recommended for sleeping through the night. You could inflate it on Palm Beach and wake up a day later in Sydney!

The point here is that you can take your mattress with you wherever you go. Simply inflate it with an electric or hand pump when its bedtime! You will get a comfortable sleep anywhere you lay your bed. Among air mattress pros and cons, it should be mentioned that this is a very convenient solution when unexpected guests have to stay overnight.

Air mattresses are healthy for adults and children. There are no chemical emissions and PVC beds do not harbor bedbugs or dust kites and other allergens. I will make note of this issue again later -air mattresses are not bouncy castles! But your kids are sure to think they are!

Air Mattress Cons: Negative Aspects of Air Mattresses

Not everything in air bed garden is rosy! Air mattresses have some issues that those that use them sometimes ignore - largely because they love the concept of air mattresses and a bit of inconvenience is worth paying. Saying that, the inconvenience is

Just like any pneumatically controlled item, air mattresses are subject to punctures and leaks. Although a puncture of the vinyl surface itself is possible, it is relatively rare. You have to have a needle or other sharp object forced into the cover to create a puncture.

Most leaks occur at the seams, whether these are round the perimeter or in the body of the mattress. It is possible to repair such punctures, and they do not usually signify the end of the life of your air mattress. So punctures and leaks are not necessarily a game changer in whether or not you choose an air mattress for your bed - but you should be aware of them.

This is not a genuine issue with air mattresses, but it can help improve your comfort. Air mattresses come with either one side flocked or both sides flocked. If you have the option, then it is worth it to go for both sides. This provides a more comfortable surface each side of the mattress - so it is truly 'flippable' rather than just 'rotatable.'

Miscellaneous Issues

  1. Pump Noise: Some pumps are quite noisy, and you may not to want to use them during the night. This is particularly true if there are sleeping children in the room. But is this a real problem for most people?
  2. Warranties: The warranty period for air mattresses can be short. Most offer only a one-year warranty for air mattresses. But what's involved in a repair? You can repair a puncture in an air mattress with a cycle repair kit!

So: Should I Buy an Air Mattress?

If you have back pain or issues with other pressure points while you are sleeping then an air mattress is less of an expensive solution than a memory foam mattress. If you need a mattress to travel with, than an air mattress is your best option. You can pack it and travel with it, then inflate it when needed. An electric pump will inflate your mattress rapidly, but it may also be wise to travel with a hand pump!

Check over all the above air mattress pros and cons, and then decide: should I buy an air mattress? If you have reached the stage of considering it, then the correct answer is likely yes. Get it wrong, then you have an air bed for vacations, camping, fishing or even for your kids camping out in the backyard. Air mattresses work good when laid on the ground - or your carpet!

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