6 Inflatable Mattresses Reviewed

Slate’s back with another Average Jane review of a common product: the inflatable mattress, which always seems to become a worthy topic this time of year when people are visiting. The top two mattresses—both with built-in electric pumps—are a $50 model from Wal-Mart that’s a surprising 24-inches tall when inflated, and an amazing $260 AeroBed that looks like a box spring and mattress.

Of all the models tested, the $40 Coleman 4-in-1 QuickBed scored the worst: “The only upside to the Coleman Quickbed is that it’s lightweight and easy to store. That means it won’t take up much room in my trash can.”

“Sleeping Around” [Slate]
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. Parting says:

    I have an AeroBed and it’s a perfect bed for guests, family, when they visit.

    Also it’s a very comfortable travel bed. We had it for 4 years and counting. So it was a good investment.

  2. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    I have three cats. Not an option, darn it.

  3. theycallmetak says:

    I am actually sleeping on the lower rated Aerobed as we’re going through a renovation. If that thing is put on a box spring and frame I’d use it all year. It’s more comfortable than my regular old queen size.

  4. emilymarion333 says:

    I just bought a Coleman one last weekend for family coming next week – I think I might return it now and get a better once since I have not opened it!

  5. Underpants Gnome says:

    As an owner of another coleman mattress, I can relate to that review. I think fishnets hold air better than that mattress. By morning it feels more like a hammock. I’d return it and ask for my money back if it weren’t a free gift from one of those credit card rewards programs.

  6. CaliforniaCajun says:

    My last AeroBed brand mattress must have been subcontracted out to Coleman – we had an opposite experience. After about fifteen uses, the AeroBed started to separate at the seams. We tried ShoeGoo, but it didn’t stick to the AeroBed’s vinyl material. Really disappointed in that expensive, heavy mattress.

    We bought a Coleman or Wal-Mart brand mattress at Wal-Mart, and it’s going on three years old without a problem. unfortunately, it doesn’t have the A/C powered blower that the AeroBed did.

  7. bohemian says:

    They should send AeroBed’s to Gitmo to torture detainees.
    We got stuck sleeping on one when we went to go visit relatives. They just bought it but it lost air every night and would need to be reinflated. It also wicked cold up from the floor and we woke up freezing every morning. I think I would have stayed warmer sleeping on the floor. We both had horrible backaches after sleeping on that thing.

  8. goodkitty says:

    I remember my last aerobed experience now too, and the cold was definitely a big problem. I ended up just getting a couple large fleece throws and using them underneath the bedsheets, which helped somewhat. I’ve had two coleman mattresses and both of them self-destructed in about 2 months, due to the (iron-on?) seams simply disintegrating.

    Still, I think if given the choice between an aerobed and a paper-thin futon or sofa-bed, I would go for the aerobed.

  9. Dilbitz says:

    I have a “sport” Aerobed-whatever that means. I’ve only used it a couple of times, but I like it much better than the sofa bed. It has that new “rubber” smell, though. I’m hoping the smell will eventually go away. It’s like sleeping on a balloon.

  10. coreyander says:

    I’ve been using Coleman inflatable beds for a while and I think that this review is really an aberration. First of all, they reviewed the weirdest model – the 4-in-1. Who the hell gets a mattress with a zipper?

    I’ve been using the inflatable queen size (around $35) with a Coleman electric pump (around $20) for guests and it is definitely a good balance of economy and comfort. I also use the same model for camping trips and get a better night’s sleep than I do on most conventional mattresses.

  11. maztec says:

    My experience is about 1 in 10 Coleman mattresses work great. The rest simply do not hold air. The manufacturing process has really lousy QA.

  12. diggtatorship says:

    I have to echo what Coreyander said… I’ve been through 4 different brands of airbeds (courtesy of walmart’s return policies) in the last year, and by far the most comfortable and rugged has been the Coleman that I finally settled on. In addition to that, it’s also the only one that stores easily as it has a built-in carrying bag and handle.

    Granted that I haven’t spent $150 on an aerobed, but the $35 Coleman used with a compact electric pump (which I just happened to already own) works like a charm and doesn’t consume my whole closet.

  13. NoLongerInUse says:

    My wife and I bought the Coleman queen size that I think Coreyander and Diggtatorship got. We also bought the pump. It was easy to set up and pack up, and our guest slept on it for a week, comfortably. We did have to charge it up a couple times over the week, but there was never an issue with the guest sleeping ‘through’ to the floor.