air mattress
Bedroom Design

What Is an Air Mattress? What You Need To Know (Costs, Care + More)

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    Last Updated
    January 13, 2023
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    What Are Air Mattresses And How Do You Use Them?

    I don’t know if the expression “like sleeping on air” really inspired the air mattress or not, but I like to think that someone, somewhere, heard that and thought, Eureka!

    The idea of an air mattress is simple: have a container you fill with air, plug it up, and sleep on it. In theory, that just about sums up what an air mattress does, but there’s a lot more that goes into this simple sleeping solution.

    What is an Air Mattress Made of?

    An air mattress is usually made of polyvinyl chloride, which is more commonly known as PVC. Don’t worry; it’s considerably more comfortable than a common PVC pipe. More recently, air mattresses have been manufactured and made out of rubber or a special type of urethane plastic, which is a more elastic material and less brittle than regular plastic.

    What Goes into an Air Mattress?

    The answer to this one is simple: air. But how the air gets in to the air mattress varies.

    Thankfully, you’re not going to have to get an air pump and really tire yourself out before bed trying to fill an air mattress. You can do that, but there are other, easier ways to get an air mattress ready to use.

    How to Inflate an Air Mattress:

    • Use an air compressor. Put the air compressor hose in the hole of the air mattress, flip the switch, and wait for the mattress to fill up. You can often find airbed attachments to make this process easier.
    • Use an electric pump. If you’re not going camping and have access to electricity, you can plug in an electric pump and connect it to your air mattress. It will fill up on its own. Electric pumps can be loud, though, and many people don’t like the noise.
    • Use an air mattress with a pump. Some air mattresses have built-in pumps. These are easy to use, and usually only involve unscrewing a cap and pressing an “inflate” button.
    • Try a home remedy. If you don’t want to spend money on a pump, there are other options. You can find many video tutorials online for using a hair dryer to blow up a mattress, or even using a garbage bag to fill one. These will take more work and time, however. But think of how impressed your friends will be when you use a garbage bag.

    What Types of Air Mattresses Are Available?

    Just like regular beds, air mattresses are available in all different sizes, including a twin, full, queen and king.

    Depending on the brand, the air mattress might have some unique features. Some mattresses are double high, which can be as high as 25 inches; if you’re afraid of spiders and other creepy-crawlies on the floor, this might be ideal.

    Other mattresses have technology to make the bed more comfortable. For example, with a touch of a button, some mattresses like Sleep Number will inflate or deflate slightly to make the bed harder or softer to match the needs of your body. Some mattresses have built-in pillows.

    Camping Air Mattresses

    Because air mattresses are portable and easy to set up, they’re ideal for camping. Since they come in various sizes, they can fit inside many types of tents, and make camping considerably more comfortable, as opposed to sleeping on the ground.

    Some air mattresses also fit inside of truck beds, which can be ideal for watching a starry sky or for staying away from bugs on the ground while camping.

    How can I Repair an Air Mattress?

    Air mattresses are prone to getting holes, which lets air escape and makes the mattress deflate. Air mattress repair kits are available, and usually come with some sort of rubber cement to help patch the hole.

    Many people also use guerilla tape or other types of adhesives to patch holes in air mattresses. Cloth patches are also available.

    How Much Does an Air Mattress Cost?

    The price of an air mattress varies based on the size, brand, extra features, pump options, and other variables. Prices can range from under $50 to over $450.

    Not all air mattresses are sold with built-in pumps. Separate pumps are usually between $10 and $20, though many are more expensive depending on the complexity of the pump and the type of pump. Hand pumps are usually cheaper, whereas electric pumps cost more.

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