Embark Air Mattress Review – We Compared It to Top-tier Beds
It’s been a while since we looked at Embark portfolio. We do like the brand because it brought something new to the market – a splash of color in a sea of grays and tans.
However, there is a good reason for the delay with update. There’s been a lot going on in the market, and we’ve seen many new arrivals, so we had our hands full with testing those.
We finally got some time to update this guide and, more importantly, see how they compare to products that are dominating the market today – both for home and outdoor use.
Embark air mattresses – top 3 picks
& all ratings
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Embark Queen airbed with pump – tan
If you already owned a aproduct from the brand, this model will be a surprise for you. Our guess is that this model is an attempt from the company to “bite” into the mainstream chunk of the market – the part that used to be dominated solely by industry giants like Coleman, Serta or Intex.
This “main” chunk of the market is competitive like never before. And that’s not a cliché, its fact – with the arrival of a few new companies like SoundAsleep with their Dream Series model and a few other “youngsters” in the industry, it all changed.
We’re mentioning it because we want to put into perspective the fact that Embark is having a hard time competing. We’ll illustrate that by comparing the quality ratings of this model with a product that’s closest to it in terms of design, size, intended use and price point – Intex Durabeam.
Ratings comparison – Embark vs. Intex Plush:
- Air retention 69% 69%
- Comfort 85% 85%
- Durability 65% 65%
- User satisfaction 63% 63%
- Value for money 78% 78%
- Air retention 87% 87%
- Comfort 88% 88%
- Durability 84% 84%
- User satisfaction 86% 86%
- Value for money 94% 94%
Bottom line – the brand is supposed to be a choice for those looking to spend as little as possible. That’s not the case with this model – the price ranges we’ve seen are close to some vastly superior products, our main pick among them being the above mentioned Intex Durabeam.
Left to right, top to bottom, the Intex Plush is the superior choice – especially when it comes to value for money.
Embark air mattress review –
It’s a given that people looking at this brand want a budget-friendly solution, but there is a difference between a cheap and a product that provides value for money.
That’s why we’ll compare this model to a product that’s in its price range and currently highest-rated overall – SoundAsleep Dream Series.
Main PROs & CONs:
- Fast inflation and deflation
- Modern, colorful design
- Solid weight distribution – meaning that it’s comfortable when inflated (the downside here is that the bed tends to lose air and this cause sinking to the middle)
- Packs compactly and comes with a handy carry bag
- Too many issues with the air retention and pinholes developing
- The air loss issue goes beyond pinholes – even with following all the instructions (inflating it and allowing it to stretch before use) we saw significant air loss
- Handling the valve – we had to use pliers to loosen it up the first time we inflated the bed
- Quality of the plastic parts is sub-par – that ties into the valve issue. Since the plastic is not sturdy enough, it tends to bend out of shape, making the valve feel as if it was stuck
Ratings comparison – Embark vs. SoundAsleep:
- Air retention 68% 68%
- Comfort 84% 84%
- Durability 63% 63%
- User satisfaction 61% 61%
- Value for money 75% 75%
- Air retention 92% 92%
- Comfort 92% 92%
- Durability 94% 94%
- User satisfaction 91% 91%
- Value for money 92% 92%
Bottom line – as we said, if you are looking at this inflatable, you are probably looking for something on the cheaper side.
If it were us, in spite of the fact that we love the vivid blue flocked top, we’d spend our money on something that’s likely to last, like the mentioned Dream Series.
Embark air mattress review – twin, low, with separate pump
The green flocked top is appealing. We know, we keep coming back to the color – because with our years in the industry we’re always on the lookout for some interesting new designs.
Having said that, being green and an eye-candy will not interfere with us taking an objective look at what this eye-candy has to offer…beyond being green and affordable.
The most efficient way to do that is to compare it to an airbed that’s similar in design, features and falls into the price range. Not surprisingly (since the company has been dominating the few main niches of the market) our top pick here is the Camping Series by SoundAsleep.
Ratings comparison – Embark vs. Camping Series:
- Air retention 66% 66%
- Comfort 80% 80%
- Durability 67% 67%
- User satisfaction 60% 60%
- Value for money 75% 75%
- Air retention 95% 95%
- Comfort 93% 93%
- Durability 94% 94%
- User satisfaction 93% 93%
- Value for money 95% 95%
Bottom line – once more, the Embark gets the short end of the stick. The gap in ratings between the two “similar” models is far too big for us to recommend this product over the Camping Series.
You can compare the prices and what users are saying about the two products in the links below.
Embark Queen airbed with pump – the options
Since the last time we published an update to this guide, the questions we received were mostly about how and where to get an Embark Queen airbed with pump.
So, we did our thing and dug through every corner of the web and online retailers, and we came up short.
We’re not sure what’s going on with the brand, but their products are not as widely available as the last time we updated this guide.
Amazon carries only a few models (all listed above), and we stumbled upon too many pages on the Target website saying that a specific product in not available anymore.
Not for people on the heavier side
As we mentioned, the brand was always the option for people of average build that are looking to save money on the purchase.
One of the testers we used to test the Embark Twin is on the heavier side. When we sent the inflatable out to him, he reported air leaks within the first few days.
We didn’t take the issue at face value because we know that the initial period of stretching can last up to a few days and, in that period, you can’t really say if the bed has a structural issue or if the vinyl is still stretching.
But the issues continued and the bed was unusable after a month. And it wasn’t just about the loss of air, one of the outer seams burst. If you know airbed you know that there’s no repairing an outer seam pop.
So, we sent another one to the same tester
The same thing happened, this time within two months. He reported the same air loss issues before one of the seams popped.
This meant one thing – the first test wasn’t a coincidence and there is an issue.
This points to to a real issue
We see this kind of structural issues in models with a beam-based internal design. With beams, the weight distribution is sub-par, which in turn puts more stress both on the inner and the outer seams.
We didn’t expect this to happen with this brand because the internal chambers are not beams but air-coils, which are supposed to be superior.
Our conclusion from the whole process is that the issue is with either the vinyl itself or the binding of the seams. Whatever the case, we weren’t impressed…nor were our testers.
Manufacturing of Embark
The brand is made in China, and that’s not news to us. Also, it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Just last year, we sent one of our staff members, Ivan on a little road trip to China. The purpose of the trip was to visit the locations that we know airbed companies were outsourcing to, their manufacturing and quality assurance practices.
It’s fair to say that we were impressed. It won’t be in our lifetime that the label “Made in China” loses its negative connotations, but what we’ve seen in the field made us lose ours prejudice forever.
It was professional efficient and, most importantly, the products were thoroughly tested before leaving the manufacturing line.
It’s not whether you outsource to China; it’s about what specific facility you outsource to. We can’t pinpoint where exactly Embark is outsourcing to, but the results we’ve seen in this update aren’t impressive, to say the least.
We hope we have better thing to report back the next time we look into Embark inflatable beds, which will probably be in 6-8 months.
Is the Embark air mattress recycleable? Is it made from PVC plastic?
Like most, the company makes their inflatable from PVC. We could not find the details about the recycling question, so I’ll address that purely on experience. “Virgin” vinyl or PVC is more expensive that the recycled and that’s why (along with the environmental concerns) most companies go with recycled.
If you want to avoid PVC alltogether, you might want to take a look at the LightSpeed Outdoors (primarily for outdoor use) or Ecolite by Aerobed – you can see it on Amazon here.
Finally, yes, pretty much all PVC is recyclable…the difference between PVC used for other products and inflatables is that the later must meet strict safety guidelines, primarily in terms of off-gassing.
I hope this helps.
I will never, ever get another Embark air mattress! Bought my first one, the raised queen mattress, Target on January 13th, 2019. Took it home and inflated it. This one took 4 hours to inflate! Finally got it inflated, and let it settle for a few hours. I use it to sleep on because of my bad back. After a month, I woke up one morning flat down on the floor on the mattress. It has developed a tear in the flocked top in one of the circular seams on the top and completely deflated. I tried using the repair patch that came with it, but of course those don’t work on the flocked top, only the vinyl sides and bottom. Had to go a few days sleeping on the floor until I was able to get to Target to exchange it. Since I couldn’t find my receipt, and since I needed a bed to sleep in, I was only able to exchange it for another exact mattress. There was only one on the shelf left, so I did the exchange. Got the second one home and inflated it. The second one lasted … yep … you got it … one month. Woke up this morning flat on the floor on a once again deflated mattress! Found the leak, patched it to see if I can buy a few days until I get to the store to once again exchange this second mattress for this time, a different brand. I kept my receipt this time. I’m done with this piece of crap brand that only lasts one month! The mattress was $45 and had to buy the pump separately at $25. I should have just stuck with the Coleman brand. I thought it was just me having a string of bad luck with them. Glad to see you’ve found the same issues with them. Both times, the seams on top of the flocked part are pulling apart. The one today was harder to find because it was a smaller hole. The first one it was a lot easier to find since it was bigger. Hoping Target won’t give me a hard time when I exchange it. 😡
I can feel you anger coming through the screen :/ …and its perfectly understandable. Its cases like yours that made us stress and compare it to the better rated products like the Dream Series by Sound Asleep…products that stood the test of time and have very low on-arrival issues and are, in our opinion, better value for your buck.
Let us know how the return process went at Target and we’ll add your experience in the next update.
We used this bed for our grandson who weighs less than 40 pounds. It worked well for our purposes. However, when it came to deflate it, we COULD NOT unscrew the valve cap (grey) to deflate it. Used WD40 to maybe lubricate it so it would unscrew a little easier. Need help.
That should never be the case with any inflatable, let alone what is a a brand like Embark. There is a slight chance that when you screwed the cap on you it got caught stuck in an awkward position. I mean, using WD-40 (smart thinking from you btw) is kind of an overkill. Now that you got it off, is it any easier to work? If not, it definitely qualifies as something worth nothing the company/seller about.
If you got it online, contact the seller through the retailer page (like Amazon). Over the last couple of years, the competition grew fierce and most of the customer service departments are eager to please and you might get a new bed. If you got it at a store (like Target) their policies will apply. If none of that works, at least they could look at the valve and recommend a replacement.
I wish I could help more, but we don’t make any of these, we just test/analyze them, but what you’re describing is definitely not to just be ignored.
I hope this helps a bit,
I am done with these Embark air mattresses! They will be fine for a little while then will start loosing air out of the blue….and it is impossible to find a leak or hole. Waist of money, and Target is horrible at excepting returns of these!!! Very disappointed with this product! With all the leaking issues these mattresses have you’d think the company would get it and make a better product!!
Hi, it sounds frustrating. Did you go through more than one. If yes, it would be interesting to hear how long they lasted to add to our stats.
My embark air mattress developed a hole I only had it for a week.
Sorry to hear that. As you can see in the comparisons above, we’ve made some recommendations of products similar to those coming from Embark but with higher ratings in reliability.
My Embark Air mattress deflates during the night. I have used it twice with my daughter. The instructions say to inflate several times in order to stretch the mattress material, So we shall see. The mattress did not come with true nozzles it says are supposed to be included. How do I contact Embark to order nozzles? IT does not even seem as if you need them. Just hold the air pump up to the mattress and it inflates.
It’s been a while since we last updated our analysis of the Embark so we’re not sure we have the freshest info on their current practices. Anyway, if you don’t need extra nozzles to inflate it, then that part is not a big deal. The part about it loosing air will be more important. We’re currently gathering more data for an updated look at the quality and practices of the company so please let us know about your experience when you have a moment – did the leak go away after the adjustment period of the vinyl?
My air mattress did not come with a patch . I have a hole in my mattress.
Can you please clarify? I’m not sure if what you said means that the Embark product was faulty on arrival or started leaking and there was no patch included. Thanks