Best Airbed for the UK in 2019
It’s a matter of convenience.
A bed is one of the largest pieces of furniture in your home, and when you need an extra one only once in a while, an airbed is a great way to have your cake and eat it too.
Bring it out when company arrives, and then stow it afterward, freeing up more space for other uses.
An airbed is also great for bringing that extra bit of luxury to a camping trip and can easily turn a tent into a bedroom in the woods.
But not all airbeds are created equal. Even more importantly, they are not all created for the same purpose.
Top 3 Best-Sellers
- Integrated easy-to-use electric pump for full Inflation and firmness in 3 minutes (mains powered)
- Built-in raised pillow provides head and neck support with bed-like comfort for a great night's...
- Blow up bed fitted with 35 structured air-coils for maximum support and durability
- Flocked surface for a sound night’s sleep
- Rapid inflation/deflation screw valve
- Double air bed takes 160 seconds to inflate
- Single airbed ideal for camping trips or festivals - quick and easy to inflate using hand or mains...
- Durable pre tested vinyl for a reliable and comfortable air mattress
- Coil beam construction with a comfortable flocked surface - provides an unrivalled sleeping...
Active Premium Airbed
A decent-looking, hard-wearing bed with good support.
This airbed by Active Era is big enough for two people to sleep on… if they don’t mind snuggling up a bit.
It’s a small king or a large queen, but it’s deep, so king-size sheets fit reasonably well, though not perfectly. We found this one a bit tall for use in most tents. Unless you’re using quite a large one, this airbed will really dominate the space.
The structure includes 35 structured air coils inside the mattress, which means there are air-filled pillars inside, adding extra support across the whole of the bed for more support.
Despite the presence of chambers, they’ve managed to keep the weight to a very reasonable 5kg. For short hikes into a favourite spot, an argument can be made for hauling a bed like this one along: A little extra effort in exchange for the extra comfort once there.
Remember though, airbeds don’t provide nearly as much heat insulation as one would think. They’ll lift you above the roots and stones of the ground, but you’ll need to have something under you to keep the heat in.
The top surface is 15-gauge, puncture resistant material and the package includes a repair kit for any mishaps that overcome the thickness of construction.
The top is flocked, as well, so although it is waterproof, it doesn’t feel like slippery plastic. It’s more of a fuzzy surface, which not only feels better when the bed is bare, but helps hold the sheets (or sleeping bags) in place once the linens are on.
The so-called pillow feature is just a raised area at one end of the bed. We didn’t find it very suitable as a pillow. It does keep an actual pillow from sliding off of the top too easily, which is nice, but in using it this way you position yourself closer to the bottom of the bed, making it effectively shorter. Taller people will need to use the pillow area, or may have their feet dangling.
The pump is easy to use and, though it’s a bit noisy, it only takes a little while to fill the bed, so it’s not a big problem. There is a valve for alternate manual or car-powered pump use as well. That said, this would be a difficult bed to fill without a source of power, as it has a high interior volume and requires substantial pressure.
The bed looks reasonably good. It’s not showy, but it doesn’t look like a pool toy; it fits the look of an indoor bed suitable for temporary use. It’s light too, so if you’re carrying it into a more remote campsite, it will save you some effort. Remember though, you’ll need to carry it in your own bag, as it doesn’t come with one.
Intex Deluxe Airbed
A solid, comfortable, and good-looking airbed for indoor use.
The Deluxe Pillow Rest Raised Airbed by Intex is a single-sized bed with a built-in pump and a bag for storage and transport.
This bed has a heavy duty structure and a chunky pump, so it weighs in at 6.5kg – quite heavy for a single, and not what you’d want to take along with you on a hike. It’s durable though, supporting up to 135kg, and it uses puncture resistant material.
The top surface of this bed is textured, and flocked to avoid that plastic feel. It is waterproof and grips linens well once dressed. The built-in pillow feature can do the trick in a pinch, or if you’re camping and don’t want to bring along a separate one.
The mattress inflates in about two minutes using the electric pump, but there is no automatic shut-off, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it and stop it when it reaches the desired firmness. The bed can be filled with an auxiliary pump if electrical power is not available, or if you’re filling it from a pump powered by your car. For a single, it does have a lot of interior volume, so it will take substantial time and effort to pump it up manually.
The bed’s design is fine, if a bit plain, and would look the part of a temporary indoor bed for company, or a bit of posh comfort when camping.
Sable Inflatable Bed
A solid, comfortable, and good-looking airbed for indoor use.
This queen sized inflatable bed by Sable features a built-in pump and good support.
The interior features a coil beam construction that spreads the support evenly across the surface of the bed, preventing low spots or corner-lifting. The surface is textured, and waterproof. It can support a maximum weight of 300kg.
The integrated, high-powered pump fills the bed in three to five minutes, and it folds away into a relatively small size, suitable for storage in the corner of a closet, or even a drawer. There is an auxiliary port as well, for filling using a foot- or car-powered pump when no mains power is available. The integrated pump also deflates the bed, making take-down faster and ensuring a smaller size when folded afterwards.
It comes with a repair kit and a bag for storage and transport, but it is really an indoor item. We found it far too heavy to carry on a hike, and even when camping next to the car, the extra weight of the pump and cables were an extra bit of bother. This is a bed that is most at home… at home.
This is a good-looking bed. It’s heavy, but the upside is that it sits and moves more like a solid piece of furniture once inflated. The tan colour gives it a clean, fresh appearance and the patterns and edge ridge caused by the interior support construction actually give it the look of a regular mattress – minus the box spring or frame.
Etekcity Upgraded Airbed
A good airbed with all of the necessary features – but a bit heavy.
This queen/double airbed by Etekcity actually measures similar to king airbeds in the same class, and so should be considered as in the same category: small king or large queen.
It includes a multi-layer flocking on the upper surface and is puncture-resistant throughout. It supports up to 295kg. The weight of the mattress itself is a little over 9kg, making it one of the heavier beds in this class. If it is for home use only, that’s a small negative, but this isn’t the bed to lug along if you’re walking more than a few metres into a campsite.
This bed includes a patch kit and storage/transport bag.
The built in electric pump inflates (or deflates) the bed in less than 5 minutes. There is also an auxiliary valve to allow for alternate filling methods when camping. The cords fit into a built-in storage compartment to keep the area clutter-free and prevent tripping.
The colour of the top surface is warm and inviting and is set off nicely by the white side panels. Because the clocked area is dark, and the lighter area is non-porous and smooth, it doesn’t pick up dirt and stains much when used in the outdoors.
This is a great-looking, reasonably-priced option with all of the needed features.
This plush airbed by Intex takes the care most companies apply to the top surface, and wraps it around the whole of the bed.
This not only gives a better feel to the bed as a whole, but it helps fitted sheets to stay in place during the night. It also gives the bed a higher-quality appearance overall.
Unfortunately, it makes the bed as a whole more susceptible to stains and dirt-collecting when used in outdoor environments. It would take a lot of special effort to keep this bed looking reasonably clean on a camping trip.
The bed uses a Dura-Beam system to ensure support and comfort during use. The materials are durable under normal circumstances, and leaks are rare. It does not come with a patch kit, but bicycle patch kits should work.
The pump is integrated and inflates the bed in about 3.5 minutes. An auxiliary pump can be inserted through the centre dial of the main pump for car or manual filling while camping. Like the other larger beds of this type though, manually filling it will take a lot of time, and it will be difficult to reach the pressure needed for the same comfort you’ll experience when it’s filled properly at home.
This bed comes with a carry bag and shoulder strap.
A low-profile, light option, with good style.
This bed is a lower option that might not suit those with limited mobility – but it will be easier to fit in a tent for camping.
The top surface is flocked vinyl and includes a raised pillow section. Though not as comfortable as a regular pillow, it does serve to keep a pillow from slipping off over the top end of the bed during the night.
For shorter people, it serves as a headrest in this way. Taller people will need the full length of the bed and will need to combine this feature with a thin regular pillow to be comfortable.
The interior construction includes coil beams which improve stability and support. The lower profile of this bed also increases the feeling of stability, though it does feel more like sleeping ‘on the floor’ than the higher beds. Obviously the advantage of this in a camping situation is that you retain use of more headroom in a tent. Ribs structures along the sides help to eliminate roll-off.
The built-in pump fills the bed in about four minutes and can also be used to deflate it. There are a puncture repair kit and a travel bag included.
The bed is low-profile, which looks good, but it is clearly an air mattress and does not feel like a substantial piece of furniture when inflated – which some of the larger models do. That said, the style is good, the colours fit a modern décor. Would I go camping with a mattress that included a white, flocked top with indentations? Absolutely not. It would collect all manner of crumbs and bits and dust, and would show every small stain or brush of dirt. Not conducive to the purpose of comfort and luxury it should bring to a camping trip.
Livivo Inflatable Airbed
A good bed for a small couple, or large single. It’s light to carry and is comfortable.
This double airbed mattress by Livivo features a double-layer base for stability around the edges, and a flocked top surface for comfort and to keep the sheets in place. Double fitted sheets cover and stay in place quite well.
Customers who liked this product swear by it, but there were a significant amount of people reporting leaks upon delivery and within the first few nights of use, so there could be some quality assurance issues at the manufacturer level.
The pump is integrated and both inflates and deflates the bed in about 3 minutes. There is also an auxiliary fitting for alternate pumps when camping. The pump does not shut off automatically when the mattress in fully inflated, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it and do so manually.
It also comes with a storage and transport bag, but you’ll need to deflate and fold it very carefully to get it to fit properly.
The colours are good, the cream shows well against the gloss black of the sides and the colours seem to hold up well to continued use and wear. It will be fine indoors, but the problem with taking it camping is the light colour of the top, in combination with the flocking and indentations.
In an outdoors situation, the sides of the bed will look fine, but the top fills with pebbles and crumbs and bits of whatever your clothing picks up during hikes or sitting around a fire. Dirt shows easily on it and the flocking makes it more difficult to wipe off. It can be sprayed clean once back home, but will look dirty during the camping trip itself.
A solid, comfortable bed, but with some air loss issues – and no pump.
The Airbed Maxi Comfort by Coleman is designed for camping, but functions well indoors as well. Regular king-sized sheets fit it fairly well.
It’s made of hard-wearing material and supports up to 295kg of tired camper, though a significant number of users report overnight loss of pressure and decrease in comfort. The top is flocked and includes a ridge along the edge which helps to prevent roll-off or deep compression under pressure.
This bed does not come with a pump, but is engineered to work with a variety of electric or hand pump systems. It generally inflates or deflates in about five minutes. It deflates down to the size of a bedroom pillow. The weight is about the same as some similar-sized airbeds, but remember that this does not include a pump, so it is actually one of the heavier options. That may be due to greater durability or thickness of materials, but you’ll need to decide if the extra weight is worth it for the way you use the product.
It looks the part of a camping bed, but if you are hoping that an airbed will increase insulation under you, think again. Whereas a vacuum can prevent transfer of heat, air under pressure does not, and so you will still want to include insulation beneath you if you are using this in cool conditions. It also has a light-coloured, flocked top with indentations, which means that it will show dirt and anything else that falls onto it for the duration of your trip. A darker top would look better, for longer in the outdoors.
A lower-cost bed for occasional, light, indoor use.
This airbed by Bestway has a flocked sleeping surface and stable, PVC construction. It uses an I-beam 2-chamber construction to prevent one occupant from bouncing the other around when shifting during sleep. This feature works really well.
There are concerns surrounding the durability of the material, with several users reporting easy punctures or leaks around the valves causing deflation during the night. It’s not designed for outdoor use, and the extra wear of transporting it and setting it up on uneven or jagged terrain might be too much to ask of it.
The bed includes a built-in pillow, with the usual pros and cons that come with that type of design. For shorter people, it’s all pro, but taller people may find it limits available space and forces the use of it as a pillow.
The pump both is integrated and inflates or deflates the mattress in about 5 minutes. Auxiliary filling methods can also be used. A handy storage or transport bag is also included, as is a patch kit.
The bed looks fine, though it does bow up at the head and foot a little, causing a concave sleeping surface which some will find uncomfortable.
UK Hobbystore Single Airbed
A light-weight, versatile option designed with the hiker/camper in mind.
This airbed is low-profile, lightweight item designed for hiking and camping, but suitable for occasional indoor use as well.
The top surface is flocked and textured for support, and the low height (22cm) means that it will be suitable for tents that curve inward sharply from ground level and have limited head space. It can support up to 295kg.
It will suffice for occasional home use as an extra bed, but has some limitations. It is quite low, so those with limited mobility will find getting on and off of the bed difficult. It is also very low to the floor, which some find uncomfortable indoors, especially in carpeted rooms. It is also a single-compartment construction, so there may be some bouncing if more than one person is using it at a time.
If you’re going to use it as camping equipment, however, those limitations become benefits. The low height means that it takes up less room in a tent. The single-compartment construction reduces materials, which reduces the overall weight. If you plan to carry your airbed in a hike, or into a campground away from your car, the 3.17kg weight of this unit (not including pump) is attractive.
It comes with an external electric pump that can plug into mains or into the cigarette lighter of your car. It also includes a universal valve for use with a foot pump if electricity is not available.
How To Choose Your NEW Airbed
Here we’ll share a few things to consider when choosing an airbed, and then go through some contenders for our top choice.
The key design feature for modern indoor airbeds (and air mattresses) is stability of the sleeping surface. This is achieved in a number of ways.
The easiest way to gain a little sleep-surface stability is to include flocking on the upper surface, and nearly all airbeds now do this.
Flocking creates a plush, suede-like surface that not only cuts down on that sticky, unbreathable feeling of old-fashioned airbeds, but also keeps the sheets in place, preventing them from sliding out from beneath you as you move in your sleep.
The more difficult way to achieve greater stability, but by far the most effective from a structural standpoint, is to include chambers within the mattress that segregate areas of pressure. This allows one person to sit down on the bed without bouncing another off of the other side. It also goes a long way toward making the sleeping surface feel like a regular bed: solid, heavy and structurally sound.
Of course, when using airbeds as camping accessories, features that add weight or bulk are often sacrificed to allow for easier carrying and packing. A stable surface might not be as important to a camper, whereas the ability to power the pump using electricity from a car might be seen as a necessity.
This is by far the greatest concern when it comes to airbeds, and with good reason. The number one complaint of nearly all airbeds is leakage and loss of pressure during the night.
This problem is sometimes due to user error, such as not properly closing a valve after filling the bed, but is often a result of manufacturer’s defects. It is cheaper in most cases to accept returns of faulty beds than to pay for robust quality control in the factory, and so the consumer often pays the price – especially for lower-cost items.
Durability takes on a different meaning in the great outdoors, too. There may be rough ground under a tent, perhaps even branches or sharp stones. Removing those discomforts from your back means inflicting them upon your airbed. Can it stand up to the pressure?
Aside from the basic air chamber that you sleep on, there are other features that you may want to have, depending on how you plan to use the bed.
A pump that can inflate the bed is a must, and if it can also deflate it, you’ll wind up with a smaller package to store, and with a lot less effort. Integrated (built-in) pumps are the most convenient for home use, though they are also difficult to have repaired or replaced. A broken pump usually means a new bed is necessary. If you plan to use the bed away from a source of electricity, then a built-in pump becomes a lot of extra (and useless) weight to carry.
Some beds come with chambers to stow the electrical cable, which is a nice way to keep clutter to a minimum – usually an issue when company is over. If you’re using one of these airbeds in a camping situation, it’s also nice not to have to worry about cables lying around the tent or hanging off of the end of the airbed.
Built-in pillows are a love-me-or-hate-me feature, with some enjoying the convenience and others finding them less comfortable than standard pillows. At home you’ll have other pillows on hand, but if you’re camping you might sacrifice a bit of comfort in exchange for not having to pack or carry an extra item.
A storage or carrying case is also a nice feature, as it is unlikely you’ll have the bed out all of the time. A bag that stores in a small space, out of the way, is a nice perk.
As far as style goes, there is a lot of variation of colour and even company graphics printed on the sides, but when it comes down to it, this is an item you will have covered up most of the time. We don’t want it to look soiled, or worn, or overly ugly when exposed, but we also don’t need to make a fashion statement with it. Save that for the linens.
When used with a sleeping bag though, the bed will be exposed to view and to an environment that is not nearly as clean as your home.
Dirt, ash, and the dust of the trail may find its way into your tent and it is nice to have a bed that can camouflage a bit of the rustic charm that comes with the great outdoors.
Weight and Dimensions
Especially if you’re planning on carrying an airbed on a camping trip, the weight of it is an issue. A few metres from the car is one thing, but if you’re doing any amount of hiking into your campsite, and an airbed is still a necessity for you, then you’ll want to choose the lightest one you can – the lesser of evils.
Also make sure that your airbed fits your tent. The obvious dimensions are the length and width, but remember that most tent walls slope inward, so the higher the airbed is, the more floor space it will need in excess of its actual footprint on the tent floor. You’ll also want to avoid being too close to the top of the tent; room to get in and out of the tent, and to sit up, at least, is a minimum.
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