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
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.