There are certain factors that are common to buying a mattress, whether you are looking at an old coil-spring model, the latest memory foam or latex models, or if you are considering an air mattress. One of the keys is to take your time and to research your purchase before committing. Though the latter might not involve quite the investment of the other types, you need to set your expectations to the level of comfort you need and how long you hope it will last, then set your budget accordingly. Like most things, there are large differences in quality between various brands and being aware of this is important in itself. This article takes a look at who might buy an air mattress and concentrates on showing you how checking some air mattress reviews and using that information to take to the store will help you choose the right one.
What is an Air Mattress?
Many of you will have stayed as a guest at a friend’s or relative’s house and use an air mattress at some point in your lives. The one I used was a double size mattress that folded up into an average sized carrier bag when it wasn’t being used. It was inflated by a foot pump in less than five minutes and the air stayed in with a small plastic stopper. The mattress had a few ridges running vertically down it and a raised area for the head to rest with the aid of a pillow. It provided a pretty comfortable night’s sleep most times.
Since that time the technology of air beds has evolved and they are no longer just the domain of camping sites and guest rooms.
Often nowadays they will come with an electric or battery pump that can inflate the bed in 90 seconds or so. Some will be as thick as a normal mattress – 22 inches in some cases – and others will be around 8 inches thick. There are raised versions which sit as high as a normal bed and other that will sit within an air mattress frame to keep them off the ground.
Many will have a non-slip underside to them, which prevents slide on a non-carpeted floor. They will often come with a custom-designed shoulder bag that makes for easy portability.
Shape-wise they may be fairly uniform or textured to prevent too much movement of the bedding. Some may have additional features to keep the sheets in place. Others may have a raised ridge around the edges to prevent the sleeper from rolling onto the floor during the night. This feature is especially useful if you are buying for kids.
Price-wise you are looking at anything from $50 or $60 up to $200 or more. Those in the upper-range may come with more accessories, like a fleecy mattress cover for example, and will usually be designed for extra comfort and be able to support a greater weight. Most should specify a maximum weight recommendation.
Advantages of an Air Bed
Nowadays there are many variations of this theme in a wide range of sizes, shapes, thicknesses and qualities. Most are inflatable, as one of their advantages is their flexibility and ease of storage. Being able to store them away is a major boon to people living in studio or one-bedroom apartments or in a house that is full of children with little floor space. Saving valuable space is a great benefit here, as they can be tucked away in a cabinet when not in use.
People who frequently entertain guests who sleep over will get enduring use out of a well-made air mattress. They are a usually lot cheaper than a normal mattress or sofa bed, so they save money as well as space.
They are also great ideas for kids’ slumber parties. Again, pulling them out of the closet and inflating them takes very little time and a child can usually do it.
Another benefit is that because there is no “filling” to them (you are sleeping on air), there is less risk of allergic reactions to the material. Of course on top of the mattress you usually place a sheet and comforter, and you can use your normal pillows, so other than that there is really nothing to be concerned about if you are an asthma suffer or a dust mite allergy, for example.
Many air beds are waterproof – an obvious advantage if you are using it for camping. Also, of course, if the kids spill their drinks on it you are not left with too much of a sticky situation to clean up, as you might be with a normal mattress.
Finally, air mattresses allow you to control firmness, by inflating or deflating them. This makes them flexible and usually a level can be found that will be comfortable for most sleepers.
If you are Considering an Air Mattress?
First consider what you will be using it for and who will be sleeping on it.
If you’re buying it for very occasional use for kids sleeping over, then you needn’t opt for a top of the range model. Perfectly good ones are available at half the price and will do the job.
If you frequently have 2 adults using the mattress then you will need to choose a higher specification, with a higher weight capacity. You will want to make sure you get a good pump also, as otherwise it will be more hassle to be constantly inflating and deflating the bed.
If you will be using it yourselves for camping or when you visit, it may be important for you to buy one that packs easily away into a good shoulder bag, whereas if it is to be used only at home this may not be necessary.
Similarly, if you are camping you probably want your air bed raised off the ground. This is where the previously-mentioned air mattress frame comes in. These frames come in variety of designs and strengths and can be more expensive than the mattress, but it’s important not to skimp on budget for these items as you need a sturdy support structure if you are raising your bed, for obvious reasons!
Lastly on this subject, a word of warning – there are not many air mattresses that will react well to pets’ claws digging into their surface, so if you have pets then you will need to make sure they cannot access the bed when it’s inflated. Cats especially like to dig their claws into bedding. If this is likely to happen then try to find one made out of extra strong materials by reading reviews from other cat owners.
Do you need a full size air mattress or will a smaller one do the job?
Of course who will be using it also affects the size. For a couple of young children you will probably get the best value from a twin air mattress set. Two grown adults will prefer either a queen size air mattress or a king size air mattress set.
So when we ask the question “what is the best air mattress?” it does really depend on its intended use and its future sleepers. As always, it’s probably best to avoid the really cheap ones as they can develop holes and need repairing very quickly. The more expensive ones will generally be made of more durable materials and will stand the test of time better.
Checking the Reviews and Buying Online
You will find plenty of online reviews about air mattresses. The same applies to these as to other reviews – they are best used as guides to asking the right questions before you buy. They should not always be taken literally as marketers often use them to plant information intended to make you buy their brand as opposed to another one. Find a good site that offers balanced information and make a note of the points that will help you decide on the type you need.
If there are particular manufacturers that interest you then you can always look at their Home pages and see what other information you can find out. See what their claims are and whether they are borne out by the reviews.
The best idea is always to use the “acid test” of lying down on your chosen mattress before committing. If possible get the person who will be using it to take the test and see if they find it comfortable.
You will probably find that the main mattress manufacturers that you know and love do not make air beds. Coleman, Intex, Wenzel, Texsport, and AeroBed are some of the biggest names specializing in these items and they will normally offer a better guarantee of quality than other no-name mattresses.
Buying online may save you money. You can buy air mattresses from normal bedding supply sites or even on places like Amazon. Make sure you select a well-respected site and that warranties are provided with the products. You can usually arrange payment and delivery there and then.
Choosing the right inflatable air mattress is not something to be rushed. A poorly made one can turn into an embarrassment with guests, or worse. You should budget for one that will serve its intended purpose, so you first need to consider the build of people who will be using it as well as how often it will be used. Many variations in sizes, thicknesses, textures, pumps and accessories such as bags and frames exist amongst the various ranges, so be sure to know exactly what you are getting by doing some prior research of the products on offer.
Tempur-Pedic® memory foam mattresses were the first of their kind to come into the American market. Nowadays there are many other memory foam products that have aimed to grab a share of the market, with varying degrees of success. Many emulations of the initial form have been incorporated into ranges by manufacturers who used to only provide the innerspring mattresses and many are at cheaper prices, so we ask are Tempurpedic prices worth the extra expense?
Firstly let’s qualify “extra expense”, because there is a large range of prices associated with these mattresses and other manufacturers (like Sealy, for example) do make very expensive memory foam mattresses too, starting at $2000 for a queen size.
With Tempurpedic mattress prices we start at $1400 for a basic queen mattress going up to $6500 – so it is the top of the range that we are talking about when we mention the expense. A king size in the same range is $7200.
What do you get for $6500? Well for starters you do only get the mattress. There are optional extras, such as a mattress protector, bed frame or adjustable base that will add up to another $700 on top of the original price.
The GrandBed® model we are referring to here uses quilted dual comfort layers of their patented Tempur-HD® material (they don’t call it “memory foam” as this differentiates it from the cheaper alternatives in the market place.) It’s claimed that this material provides a superb cushion that molds to the contours of your body, while also allowing the mattress to breathe and maintain temperature control via sufficient air-flow. It returns to its initial shape after usage – something which many manufacturers of cheaper memory foam mattresses claim, but which sometimes doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.
The 15” model is made in three layers – the first being a comfort layer of 2” of Tempur-HD and a 1.2” layer of Tempur. Secondly there is a Support layer of 4” of Tempur material; the base layer is 8” of Grand Airflow System material. You can see that serious design work has gone into these models and that’s partly what you’re paying for with the higher Tempurpedic mattress prices.
This mattress is billed as the height of pampering and provides a luxurious feel – not only with the filling it uses, but also in the silk-cashmere blend of the cover and the diamond-embossed micro-suede used on the sides.
Unlike most innerspring mattresses the Tempurpedic range will not need turning to maintain a good shape. One of the problems with the cheaper mattresses is that they still experience sagging over time – a sign that the design, craftsmanship and materials are not up to par.
These mattresses are also allergen and dust-mite free – another problem that some of the poorly-made copies will not guarantee.
Coming back to the original question in the title of this article, to justify spending the Tempurpedic price on a mattress you would have to really be living in luxury and wanting to spoil yourself. However, if it lasts 20 years then work out what the mattress costs per day and it’s not at all bad! We have picked the top of the range to look at but Tempurpedic do make a lot of more reasonably-priced mattresses that will suit the comfort requirements – and the pockets – of most people looking for a quality memory foam mattress.