FLOATING ON AIR
For several hundred dollars, you can buy a deluxe air mattress that's super plush, very supportive, and outfitted with a built-in pump operated by remote control. Some are even marketed as substitutes for traditional mattresses. But there are cheap air mattresses perfectly suitable for visitors, for travel, and for camping. At Cheapism.com, we set a price limit of $100 for queen-size mattresses that are comfortable, contain plenty of internal support, and are easy to set up, take down, and transport. We then sifted through scores of expert and user reviews to find the very best options for use indoors and out, including elevated airbeds rising at least 18 inches. Most come with a battery-powered or electric pump. We also assembled some less conventional options: an airbed for kids, a cot-style sleeper with a metal frame, a 4-in-1 mattress that allows multiple sleeping arrangements, an airbed with a supplemental pump to keep it inflated, and a model that exceeds our price limit but boasts unusually high praise from reviewers.
Prices and availability may vary.
INTEX PRESTIGE DOWNY AIRBED
Good Cheap Air Mattress for Camping
Est. Price: $23 | Buy it from Walmart
- Comfortable when fully inflated, reviewers say, with a soft, waterproof, flocked top.
- Handheld, battery-powered pump included.
- Easy to set up and take down.
- Durable, according to experts; should withstand rough ground.
- Supports up to 600 pounds.
- Storage box and carrying handle.
- Complaints about middle-of-the-night sagging and air leaks, even with minimal use.
- No storage bag; reviewers express concern that folding for storage may promote tiny punctures.
- Non-rechargeable pump requires C-cell batteries, an ongoing cost.
- Owners complain that there's no warranty.
Takeaway: A majority of reviewers consider the Intex Prestige Downy Airbed a good value given its bargain price and relative comfort. While many bring this 8.75-inch queen-size air mattress on camping trips, users say it serves multiple purposes, from an extra bed for kids' sleepovers to welcome relief during overnight stays in hospital sick rooms. Some users have set it up atop a cot frame, with good results. One testing site says the airbed inflates in 15 minutes — which is quite a long fill time, comparatively — and there's some grumbling among owners that the supplied pump may require replacement.
SOUNDASLEEP CAMPING SERIES
Good Camping Air Mattress with Rechargeable Pump
Est. Price: $90 | Buy it on Amazon
- Very comfortable outdoor airbed, reviewers agree.
- Solid build with interior coils; proprietary, heavy-duty PVC casing minimizes the risk of punctures from rough ground.
- Waterproof, flocked top; no-slip bottom.
- Inflates to 9 inches in about 3 minutes.
- External pump with (included) rechargeable battery; charges from an outlet or car charger.
- Carrying bag.
- Some reports concerning leaks and overnight deflation.
- On the pricier side.
Takeaway: Compared with much of the competition, the SoundAsleep Camping Series garners resounding praise for comfort, usability, and a battery that holds its charge for a good while. Campers tell of restful nights almost akin to sleeping on a real bed; some report setting up the mattress indoors in lieu of accommodating guests on lumpy couches. This model takes a smattering of the usual dings for air mattresses — namely, a loss of air — but, overall, users say it delivers above average quality, coziness, and convenience. The company cautions against relying on this camping bed for long-term daily use indoors.
ETEKCITY CAMPING AIR MATTRESS
Best Camping Air Mattress With Rechargeable Pump
Est. Price: $80 | Buy it on Amazon
- Interior column structure keeps the surface firm and flat and provides excellent support and comfort, reviewers say.
- Powerful electric pump inflates the mattress to 9 inches in 1 minute, faster than a battery-powered pump, and recharges from an outlet or car charger.
- Welded seams (unusual in this price range) guard against leaks and bulging.
- Flocked top and anti-skid bottom; extra-thick for durability outdoors.
- Supports up to 650 pounds.
- 3 extra nozzles for the pump (can be used with other inflatables).
- Carrying bags for the mattress and pump.
- Scattered reports of air leaks and deflation.
Takeaway: This portable air mattress from Etekcity claims fewer reviews than other airbeds on our list, but user reviews are more enthusiastically positive. Many sing the praises of both the mattress, which is so conducive to sleep that it's easy to forget you're on the ground, and the pump, which is so effective and easy to use (even for items besides the mattress) that you can hit the sack in mere minutes. Instructions say some stretching and a sense that air has leaked out is normal with the first setup, an advisory that seems to inoculate the mattress against complaints about leaks at the outset. And while a small number of reviewers do indeed complain about air loss, a vast majority are perfectly content with the quality and overall performance.
LIGHTSPEED OUTDOORS PVC-FREE AIR BED
Best Outdoor/Travel Air Mattress Under $100
Est. Price: $80 | Buy it on Amazon
- Extremely comfortable, reviewers say, with the feel of a regular mattress.
- Stabilization system minimizes motion transfer and bouncing and allows users to choose their preferred firmness.
- 2-part valve: inflation/deflation and firmness adjustment/topping off.
- Made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane), which is lighter, more durable, and less likely to stretch than standard PVC shells.
- At less than 6 pounds, it's lighter than many other mattresses.
- Storage bag and battery-operated pump included.
- Scattered reports of overnight air loss and leaking at the seams, especially after long periods in storage.
- A few muted complaints about the pump and valve: Connecting is a bit tricky at first; the pump requires four D batteries and some say it's a bit weak.
- A little thinner than our other picks, at 7.1 inches, and a few inches narrower than the typical queen-size mattress.
Takeaway: A vast majority of reviewers are pretty bullish on this PVC-free air mattress from small, California-based company Lightspeed Outdoors. Owners reserve particular praise for the TPU shell, which lacks the chemical smell often associated with PVC casings and better retains the desired degree of firmness. It also provides what might pass for the luxury feel of a real mattress while camping in a tent or RV, according to reviews. Thanks to the dual Boston valve, users can easily adjust the amount of air to their preference (with no worry about air escaping). Reviewers say this mattress accommodates two adults with ease — though seniors may have difficulty getting up from this airbed, due to the lower rise.
INTEX DURA-BEAM COMFORT-PLUSH ELEVATED AIRBED
Good Cheap 22" Air Mattress With Built-in Pump
Est. Price: $53 | Buy it on Amazon
- Generally comfortable and easy to set up, reviewers say.
- Testers at BestReviews rank it among their top 5 air mattress picks.
- Horizontal air chambers across the top; high-strength polyester fiber beams for added firmness and stability.
- Integrated pump; inflates to 22 inches in less than 5 minutes.
- Waterproof plush top.
- Holds up to 600 pounds.
- Complaints about short lifespan: deflation, leaks, split seams.
- Requires refilling before each use, reviewers say.
- Feels wobbly, with the center higher than sides, some users report.
- Short 90-day warranty.
Takeaway: Both expert and user reviews of the Intex Comfort Plush air mattress say it's well suited for occasional use, like when guests stay over or the kids just want to have fun. Many laud the comfort of this high-rise air mattress so long as it stays inflated evenly, which users admit can be tricky to ensure, although the built-in pump adds convenience. With feedback from nearly 9,000 reviewers on Amazon — more than half of whom award it a 5-star rating — it's safe to call this 22-inch Intex air mattress a consumer favorite, despite complaints from some owners regarding limited longevity. For the appealingly low price, many buyers say they've happily picked up more than one, either for use in different rooms or to replace one that gave out. There's an 18-inch version available for $49 (buy it on Amazon), but the $4 difference between these two mattresses buys 4 extra inches of height and added comfort.
COLEMAN SUPPORTREST DOUBLE HIGH AIRBED
Best Air Mattress Under $100 Overall
Est. Price: $70 | Buy it on Amazon
- Designed for indoor or outdoor use.
- Lauded by users and experts for comfort and stability.
- With a dual-seal valve to guard against leaks, this mattress holds air very well, most reviewers say.
- Inflates to a cozy 18 inches.
- Plush top for extra cushioning; reinforced construction for support.
- Accommodates up to 600 pounds.
- Wrap-and-roll system for storage.
- Scattered complaints about slow leaks and overnight deflation.
- No pump (Coleman airbed pumps recommended).
Takeaway: The Coleman SupportRest Double High does double duty as a home air mattress or an outdoor airbed for camping. It also happens to be unusually comfortable and stable, according to users and experts. In testing by Wirecutter, an otherwise identical version with a built-in pump bested all but one other, much more expensive mattress. Granted, there's lots of discussion in reviews about the mattress stretching and needing a boost before bedtime, but product details explain this as normal due to factors such as air naturally expanding and contracting with temperature changes, weight on the surface, and the physical qualities of the PVC shell. Even with some reports of leaks and near total loss of air, the overall performance, versatility, and price make this Coleman air mattress worthy of consideration.
SOUNDASLEEP DREAM SERIES
Bonus: Best Air Mattress for Home Under $150
Est. Price: $120 | Buy it on Amazon
- Extremely comfortable, according to hordes of users, with no loss of air overnight.
- Highly regarded by expert reviewers.
- Built-in pump inflates the mattress to 19 inches in 4 minutes.
- Dual chamber with proprietary air coil construction keeps the surface flat, provides stability, and maintains the mattress' shape.
- Thick, waterproof flocked top and grippy bottom; puncture resistant shell.
- Carrying bag.
- Customer service is praised for very attentive support.
- Reports of air leaks in a small percentage of reviews.
- Dimensions are a bit smaller than a true queen size.
Takeaway: With unusually glowing reviews for this product category (including positive feedback from more than 12,400 reviewers on Amazon) and an appearance at the top of many expert roundups, this SoundAsleep air mattress seems like a dream option. The price is above our $100 cap, but shoppers who have the luxury of expanding their budget will get their money's worth. Users laud the comfort and quality. Some say they sleep longer on this air mattress than a regular mattress, because the aches and pains they sometimes feel don't surface. The casing proves resilient, even against cat claws, one review notes. It supports 500 pounds and rarely needs a top-off after the first night or two, as the PVC naturally loosens up. This airbed is designed for indoor use only and the company cautions against relying on it as a long-term substitute for a traditional bed.
SERTA RAISED AIR MATTRESS
Bonus: Airbed With NeverFlat Pump
Est. Price: $122 | Buy it on Amazon
- Feels oh-so close to a real mattress, reviews say; comfortable enough for daily use.
- Underlying layer with circular coils to provide support and create an even surface.
- Built-in pump inflates the airbed to 18 inches in less than 4 minutes and shuts off automatically.
- Patented secondary pump works silently during sleep to keep the mattress fully inflated, with a dial to customize for comfort (plush, medium, firm).
- Puncture- and water-resistant flocked top; grippy, no-slip bottom.
- Carrying bag.
- 2-year warranty exceeds the norm.
- Complaints about air leaks and a few split seams.
- Lower weight limit of 350 pounds.
Takeaway: Sitting just beyond our $100 price range, the Serta Raised Air Mattress with NeverFlat pump may be worth the stretch. For the most part, reviewers say this model lives up to its marketing claims, refilling itself with air during sleep sessions to maintain the preferred comfort level and keep users far above the floor. Many report using the air mattress for weeks or months at a time. It does, however, garner the usual array of negative comments concerning leaks, particularly near the comfort-control panel and pumps. And very light sleepers may find the constant pump action somewhat disconcerting. This model sells for slightly less under the Insta-Bed moniker, but buyers who forego the big brand name also get a reduced warranty — one year vs. two.
COLEMAN AIRBED COT
Bonus: Air Mattress With Cot
Est. Price: $115 | Buy it from Walmart
- Comfortable, sturdy, and stable; ensures a good night's sleep under the stars, in a tent, or in a home, users say.
- 8.5-inch mattress with coil support sits on a steel frame for a total height of 22 inches.
- Integrated cover attached to the frame keeps the mattress in place.
- 2 side tables with drink holders attached to the frame.
- Battery-powered pump included.
- Packs up into a rolling storage case.
- Holds up to 600 pounds.
- Some reports of air leaks and deflation; a few reviewers consider the seams flimsy.
- With the mattress and cot folded together, the product is rather large and heavy to transport.
- Pump requires four D batteries.
Takeaway: As one reviewer writes, this Coleman cot air mattress turns camping into glamping. No more sleeping close to the ground (or floor, as the case may be). Users say this setup is more comfortable than a traditional air mattress, whether indoors or out. The frame and mattress weigh a combined 42 pounds, a bit much for some users to put up and take down single-handedly but very easy with two. A smattering of complaints pop up about air loss, but what seems like a leak may actually be stretching of the PVC shell. This is normal for the first outing or two, and most reviews say the mattress holds air tight after the first few uses. If the mattress ever gives out entirely, just substitute another air mattress of the same size atop the frame. Some users reserve the battery pump for outdoor use and revert to a faster electric pump indoors.
COLEMAN EASYSTAY 4-N-1
Bonus: Double Stack Air Mattress
Est. Price: $45 | Buy it on Amazon
- Can be used as two separate twin beds, a king-size bed, or a double-high air mattress.
- Coil construction for support and comfort; each mattress segment inflates to 8 inches.
- Patented wrap/roll storage system built in.
- Individual mattresses support up to 300 pounds.
- Some complaints about leaking, bulging, and poor quality.
- No pump (Coleman airbed pumps recommended).
Takeaway: The versatility and bargain price make this Coleman 4-in-1 air mattress an easy buy for many consumers. Owners say the option to separate or stack the two mattresses comes in handy when trying to fit the bedding inside a tent. When laid side-by-side, the individual mattresses can be adjusted to each user's taste, and motion doesn't disturb both sleepers, making for a more restful co-sleeping arrangement. On the downside, there are some who say this product doesn't quite live up to the Coleman name and question the quality of the brand's current offerings. We saw several reports of one of the mattresses springing a leak or developing an air bubble while the other held firm.
AEROBED AIR MATTRESS FOR KIDS
Bonus: Best Air Mattress for Children
Est. Price: $57 | Buy it from Coleman
- 50-by-25-inch mattress with wide, raised edges to keep kids from rolling off.
- Electric auto-start pump inflates the mattress to 4 inches in 60 seconds.
- Six vertical air chambers for support; deflation valve also adjusts firmness.
- Holds up to 300 pounds.
- Washable, decorative fleece pad/sheet included.
- Very lightweight, at just under 1 pound; carrying bag included.
- Scattered complaints about air leaks, especially at seams, and deflation within a few hours.
- Reviews occasionally mention annoying motion-related squeaking.
Takeaway: Kids are happy to sleep on this child-size air mattress, reviewers report, and some even "fight" for the opportunity. With a larger sleeping surface than portable cribs and a compact storage design meant for easy transport, the AeroBed Air Mattress for Kids wins over many adults, too. Families pack it along on vacation, grandparents keep one (or more) stored in the closet, and grown-ups don't fret about little ones rolling off onto the floor, thanks to the raised bumpers. Although AeroBed (part of the Coleman family) markets the mattress for children ages 4 and up, many reviews talk about putting toddlers to sleep within its cushy confines.