Air mattress frames – 6 top-rated for home and camping – 2017 update

by | add-ons, air mattress

Over the past few months we’ve received about two dozen of questions on the topic of choosing an air mattress frame.

We finally got some time to address the issue and give you some pointers on choosing right.

First things first, choose the type of frame you’re looking for (home or camping) by clicking one of the two buttons below.

air mattress on frame

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A good air mattress frame for home use
will meet 3  criteria:

  1. The top surface will be as flat and smooth
  2. The slats will not be too far apart – if they are, the airbed will protrude through under the weight. It’;s likely that you, the sleeper won’t even notice it before one of the inner chambers bursts or it starts loosing air.
  3. No pressure points or “cockles” – this might be OK for your classic innerspring or foam mattress, but not an inflatable one

On another note, some inflatables are better suited for mounting on a frame than others, but more on that in a minute. Let us first take a look at our top picks.

Air mattress frames for home – 4 top-rated

#1 – Stella metal platform

If storage space is not a big deal for you, Stella is just right – it ticks all the boxes we mentioned above and more. It is also the most stylish frame that still meets our criteria.

The most important factor here are the wider and thicker slates with smooth top coating. The former will prevent the pressure points from forming and the later will minimize the risk of a piece of wood making a pinhole in your inflatable.

It comes in all the sizes you might need for an inflatable: Twin, Full, Queen and King.

It’s also the most stylish product on the list the beams are matte brushed gold or black, and will give your a space some extra pizzazz.

stella frame for air mattress
  • Design and stability 95%
  • Safe to use with an airbed 94%
  • Durability and longevity 93%
  • User satisfaction 92%
  • Value for money 94%

Bottom line

The Stella ticks all the boxes we mentioned for using it with an airbed.

 

It’s the most stylish deign among our top picks and has an impressive user satisfaction of 92 %.

 

If you are OK with the low profile (9 inches), it’s the obvious choice.

#2 – PragmaBed Quad-fold foundation

Frames with steel bars (instead of slats) are closer to each other which offers better weight distribution thus lowering the risk of pressure points.

Having said that, the bars are also not as broad as wooden slats and. The best practice with any base of this type is to use some kind of a protective layer between the top surface and the bed (ideally a piece of plywood, but a tarp or even cardboard can do the trick).

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Product details:

Material construction

  • Coating the finish of the PragmaBed is powdered to be resistant to bed bugs and dust mites
  • Height of the legs is approximately 13 inches
  • Weight of specific sizes
  • Twin measures 75 x 38 x 14 inches and weighs about 27 lbs
  • Twin XL are 78 x 39 x 14 when folded and the structure weighs 27.6 pound
  • Full-sized weighs close to 44 pounds and the dimensions are 75 x 40 x 14 “
  • Queen – 47.6 pounds in weight / 80 x 60 x 14 “
  • King weighs approximately 55 pounds and it measures 8 inches in length and 76 in white, similar to the queen it’s 14 inches high
  • California King – dimensions 84 x 72 x 14 in, approximately 54 lbs in weight

Assembly

One of the best parts about the PragmaBed numbers  is the fact that they don’t require any tools to assemble they are designed to unfold and securely lock into place in under 10 minutes however the full security you might need a wrench and screwdriver for the nuts and bolts.

Best practice

Although there are no sharp edges on the top, an air mattress is still made of vinyl and it can develop a leak with prolonged use. The best practice here is to use a piece of plywood or even cardboard as a protective layer between the top surface and the bottom of the air bed.

pragmabed steel frame for airbed
  • Design and stability 88%
  • Safe to use with an airbed 87%
  • Durability and longevity 90%
  • User satisfaction 92%
  • Value for money 93%

Bottom line

The steel bars of the PragmaBed are solid and close enough to offer proper support for an inflatable.

It is however, like with all metal frames, adviseable to use some kind of protective layer between the base and the inflatable.

#3 – DHP Maven Platform

If you want something a more stylish look, the DHP upholstered with metal sides and center beam might be your choice.

It comes with wooden slats. They’re not as wide and thick as those used for the Stella, but the good part is that they are secured into place on both ends using sturdy fabric. That adds stability to the structure and it protects the air beds from potential damage caused by the edges of the slats.

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Assembly and design

From what we’ve seen in user experiences with this platform it’s pretty easy to assemble. The company does offer expert assembly but it’s our opinion that it’s not really worth it because it costs more than the platform itself. It will work with most spaces because it comes in both white and black.

dhp maven platform for inflatables
  • Design and stability 88%
  • Safe to use with an airbed 90%
  • Durability and longevity 92%
  • User satisfaction 86%
  • Value for money 88%

Bottom line

If you prefer this lock the good news is that despite in spite of the luxuries look this frame is actually pretty affordable.

It cost about 15-20 % more than the Stella and 30 to 50% more than the naked steel of the PragmaBed.

#4 – Zinus 14 Inch SmartBase

The Zinus 14 inch smart base mattress foundations by far the most popular and most budget friendly. It comes in pretty much all sizes from narrow Twin to California King

There are 3 available styles: the standard, deluxe and, the one we would recommend for an airbed, the bed skirt style.

As we mentioned, with most frames we listed (apart from the Stella) you’d have to add some sort of a protective layer between the top surface and the airbed.

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Assembly and design

Assembly from what we’ve seen the assembly is pretty simple and most people don’t use to add the extra cost of expert assembly, especially having in mind and that the cost is much higher than the frame itself. The height of the frames 14 inches who to give us plenty of storage space.

zinus 14 inch frame
  • Design and stability 88%
  • Safe to use with an airbed 89%
  • Durability and longevity 93%
  • User satisfaction 94%
  • Value for money 95%

Bottom line

The skirt of this Zinus (not shown in the image) is not only a tasteful touch that covers the steel frame (which is not a joy to look at) but also lowers the risk of damaging your inflatable.

Air mattress frame for camping

For camping purposes, there’s no better option than the frame that comes with the Coleman Cot airbed.

This frame is light, foldable, portable and packs small enough to fit into a trunk. On top of that, the airbed is included and it includes pull-out side tables with cup holders.

The whole structure packs into its own carry bag with wheels and sturdy handle.

The cover is slip-in, meaning that the inflatable bed is secured into place with a zipper but can be taken out and used separately.

Last but not least, the combo is a big money-saver.

coleman camping frame packed carry case

Runner-up – KingCamp Oversized

The KingCamp is a solid option if you prefer to use the bed you already own.
the oversized dimensions (84.6 x 55) will fit comfortably fit all bed sizes.

The thick, sturdy fabric (12000d Oxford) easily accomodates up to 550 lbs of weight.

The foldable frame for camping packs down to 45.3 x 11.8 x 11.8 ” and weighs 33.5 pounds.

Similar to the Coleman above, it packs into a wheeled carry bag that comes included.

carry case of the king camp frame
dimensions of kingcamp folding camping air mattress frame

Reference info on air mattress bed frames

We’ve covered most the things to think about when choosing and air mattress bed frame. We might just add that, if you’re looking for a model that you’ll can carry on trips, you’ll want one that’s:

What kind of airbed works best mounted on a frame

This part of the guide will only be relevant for you if you are replacing your bed is an option or if you want to learn whether your existing inflatable is suitable.

Chambers over beams

There are two types of inflatables in terms of inner design – chambers and beams, and the former pairs with a frame much better.

If you own one with a beamed design and you plan is to use it with a metal-bar base, the risk of damage is lower if you choose a platform with bars that don’t “run” in the same direction as the bars. The bad news is that most of them do.

 

Let’s explain that more precisely thrrough examples

 

Top-to-bottom beams

Most lower-end Intex airbeds have beams that run top to bottom, the same direction as the metal bases we looked at (image below).

intex airbed vertical beams

In this scenario, the bottom is more likely to protrude between the bars, thus putting extra stress on the inner seams and increasing the risk of one of the walls separating the beams will give in.

 

Side-to-side beams

That risk is somewhat lowered if the beams are side-to-side, like in the Simply Sleeper 47-T (below).

ss 47t airbed horizontal beams

 

Whatever the case, if you’re working with beams and a metal base, it’s smart to have something in place that will stabilize the structure (like ply wood).

 

Chambers

If the inflatable is chambered (like the Aerobed Classic below) they will distribute weight better and, lower the chances of the mattress protruding between the bars and, in turn, significantly decrease the likelihood of air leaks developing.

arerobed classic low chambers

Materials – durability and sliding

Airbeds that are most suitable for being mounted on a frame will meet these criteria:

  • The material of the bottom in not plain vinyl – flocked or rubberized (sure-grip) bottom will not slide. If you are not familiar with the term, a sure-grip bottom is nothing fancy and it’s actually common in most better models made today (a good example of that is the SoundAsleep Dream Series).
  • Low-profile – this one is just common sense but let it be mentioned nonetheless. A raised model mounted on a frame is not a great idea, for obvious reasons.
  • Ideally you’ll want to go with an airbed that’s made of a strengthened material with a matte finish (the Simply Sleeper 47-T we mentioned above is a perfect example)

The alternative – an airbed with its own frame

If you want the comfort of sleeping on airbed raised above the floor and don’t want to deal with frames, the simplest solution is getting one that comes with one of its own.

These models are called EZ beds and our top pick here is Insta EZ NeverFlat.

Here’s why:

  • The structure is designed to be on a frame from the get-go
  • The pump is “smart” (that’s what the NeverFlat in the name refers to. This means that there’s no risk of waking up on a deflated mattress – the pump includes a pressure sensor and quietly ads air through the night if it registers a change in pressure.
  • No assembly required – these are plug-and-play. You just turn on the pump and it automatically unfolds and locks into place with zero action required on your part. It’s actually fun to watch it set up.
  • It deflates and packs into a portable case. A nice plus if you want to pack it away during the day (takes less than 4 minutes) or bring it along on trips.

Final thoughts

We did our best to cover all scenarios and make this guide as detailed as possible and, for most people who already own an airbed, it might seem overly complicated. So, let’s simplify the options you have.

If you reached this page, chances are that you are looking for a frame for the air mattress that’s in your home right now. If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with the first frame we mentioned – the Stella.

It’s only frame with a sturdy construction that will feel like a regular mattress paired with an inflatable rather than feeling “wobbly” and sliding. So, if you don’t want to overthink it or hassle with adding plywood and whatnot, it’s our recommendation to go with the Stella frame.

For camping, the Coleman Cot & KingCamp have no real competition in all aspects that matter…weight, portability, comfort.