How to make an air mattress more comfortable?

by air mattress tips

When it comes to the balance between comfort and convenience, no portable bed comes close to an air mattress.

You can keep it deflated and stored on most days and inflate it for overnight guests or camping trips.

Still, even the best air mattress needs a little “help” to feel just right – after all, each person has their own needs and preferences.

If you want to make your air mattress more comfortable, here’s what you can do and what you shoudn’t do.

air mattress with topper and sheets for comfort

9 easy ways to make an air mattress more comfortable

1. Use a mattress topper

Is the rubbery feeling of an air bed keeping you awake?

A little extra cushion makes it feel like you’re sleeping on an actual bed, and can also help if the mattress seems a bit too hard or too soft. If you don’t have a topper on hand, a foam pad or egg crate layer will do just fine. You can see our guide on best mattress toppers and pads here.

If your problem is that the airbed is getting too hot, you’ll want to look at cooling mattress pads.

2. An easier solution – get an airbed that already comes with a topper

If you’re like most of us at the office and hate buying new things for the thing you just bought (which is exactly what you’ll need to do make an air mattress more comfortable), you’ll probably be interested in airbed that already come with a memory foam or gel topper like some Fox airbeds.

It’s a one-stop-chop and makes the whole process so much easier.

You can see our top pick among memory foam air mattresses here.

making an air mattress more comfortable by using a foam topper

3. Use sheets, blankets and covers

Since air heats up and cools down much faster than solids, your air mattress will react to temperature changes before you can say Jack Robinson.

This is especially true when camping. Placing fitted bed sheets and covers on your mattress goes a long way in insulating you from unwanted temperature changes and making your air mattress more comfortable.

A spritz of linen spray on the covers won’t hurt either.

4. An easier solution – get a model that comes with a topper and skirt

Again, there’s a simpler solution. Some of the models made today already come with a topper and a “skirt” that covers all the plastic parts.

Not only are these more appealing to the eye, but they eliminate the hassle of adding bedding, sheets & toppers.

airbed with topper and side skirt

Our pick here is the Sky Blue with a bamboo-based topper and a side skirt.

5. Make sure it doesn’t slide or move

Use it on a soft surface. Some floors, like hardwood, tend to make annoying squeaking noises when it rubs against the air bed’s vinyl or plastic bottom. A carpet or even just a blanket under the bed will keep it from sliding and slipping.

If you happen to have a spare one lying around, a box spring, bed cot, or stand elevates the mattress and makes it easier for you to get in and out of bed, especially if you have bad knees.

Elevating the air bed protects its underside while keeping it from squeaking and sliding. It also keeps the bed from getting cold when the floor gets chilly, thus allowing for a more comfortable slumber on an airbed.


6. An easy solution – get an airbed with a “sure-grip” bottom

Once again, technology to the rescue – some of the modern airbeds are made using what’ know in the industry as a “sure-grip’ bottom.

The best part is – the two airbeds we mentioned above (Fox and Sky Blue) both use sure-grip materials for the bottom. No sliding, no moving, just a peaceful slumber.

7. Choose one with a headboard or improvise

A headboard keeps pillows from rolling off the air bed in the middle of the night. It also makes it easier to sit up for some late night reading. Unless your air mattress happens to have one already, you can improvise by pulling the bed up against a wall, a couch, or a cabinet.

comfortable air bed with headboard

If you prefer to own one that already comes with a headboard we recommend Aerobed Opti-comfort Queen air mattress with headboard – you can see it here.

8 . Make sure it doesn’t leak

People who wake up on the wrong side of the air bed usually complain of back or neck aches. Most of the time, it’s a result of the airbed loosing air without any visible hole and you (or worse, your guests) waking up to a half-deflated lump of vinyl.

You can always inflate the bed a few hours before going to sleep and just place something heavy on top  to see if it looses air.

9. An easier solution

Voted most comfortable air bed 26 months in a row – Serta Never Flat PillowTop

Today, you have the option to go with models that will never let you or your guests down by deflating. These airbeds are more comfortable because they come with a “smart” or a “never-flat” pump.

What’s a smart pump?

A smart or NeverFlat pump is a small secondary pump that stays plugged in and silently adds air if its sensors detect a pressure drop inside the airbed. It sounds high-end (and it is) but the good news is that there are models out there that cost the same as a regular inflatable.

Our pick here is the Serta Never-Flat Raised – here’s why:

  • It features a never flat pump, so you’ll never have the problems of a deflated airbed again
  • It comes with a fitted foam-pillow top – so there’s no need for toppers  or add-ons
  • The bottom is sure-grip, so it doesn’t slide or move

It’s also been voted the most comfortable air mattress in our user polls over and over again for the past two years.

You can see the full review of Serta Never Flat Here

making an air mattress more comfortable by using a pillow top cover

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  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.