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Air Mattress vs Folding Mattress (Incl. Helpful Tips)

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Air Mattress vs Folding Mattress – Which Is Best?

It can be hard making the right choice between an air mattress or folding mattress, and the right choice depends on several different factors.

In this guide, we will help you make the best choice to suit your budget, needs, and comfort.  

Air mattresses are a great option for convenience, they’re quick to inflate, cost-effective, and make for ideal camping beds due to their portability once deflated.

Also known as an air bed or inflatable mattress, they are versatile and many come with built-in pumps for easy fast inflation.

However, in the long term, they may not be the best option for daily use with the need to keep them regularly inflated, and often the very short warranties will leave you out-of-pocket when the time comes that issues arise.

An alternative option is folding mattresses.

These work well as a compact and space-saving solution where space is at a premium such as apartments.

Having the ability to fold your bed out of the way can be a great way to save on space, without the compromise of an uncomfortable night’s sleep.

They also make for a great option in guest rooms for children where you may not need a full-sized bed available at all times and would rather have the floor space clear for toys, books, and games.

If you make sure to invest in good quality foam then these beds can last for years making them a cost-effective temporary bed solution.

Air Mattresses – An In-Depth Look

More commonly used for camping, an air mattress can also be a fantastic option if you’re looking for comfort in several settings, but also need the option of packing them away out of sight.

They are typically made from PVC or rubber and when deflated can be folded and wrapped to create a small space-saving sleep option.

Let’s go into more depth about this versatile blowup bed option.

Medical Benefits

Believe it or not, air mattresses also sport a range of great medical benefits as well as ease and convenience.

Due to the pressure relief reported by many users, these mattresses offer improved blood circulation which is often why they are used so commonly in hospital settings. 

The ability to alternate pressure points means users can find the most comfortable position far easier than they would with a traditional mattress and this prevents any nasty soreness or even bed sores from developing. 

If you are considering a new mattress with the aim of needing some medical features, then your best option is to go for a medically produced air mattress.

These types of mattresses will feature many great benefits such as better comfort, high hospital standards, and the option of programmable pumps to give you the perfect mattress to suit your comfort and care needs.

Customizable Firmness

Another great benefit of these mattresses, especially when being used in the long term is the ability to customize their firmness.

By adding more air you give a firmer finish to the mattress, but if you are looking for a softer, plusher feel to your mattress all you do is add less air when you are blowing it up.

This makes them a fantastic option if you regularly have different guests as we all know everyone enjoys a different sleep surface when it comes to getting a great night of sleep.

Most full-size or larger air mattresses also feature two separate inner compartments meaning you can blow up each side to your liking, this means no more arguments about how soft or hard you’d like your mattress to be!


Over time a traditional mattress no matter how good it is or expensive for that matter will form obvious dents and dips that can be a telltale sign of where they’ve been used.

To avoid the hard task of having to flip and turn a heavy mattress to prevent this problem from occurring, air mattresses do not sag on the surface like your conventional spring or memory foam competitors.

All it takes is adding more air if it gets too flat for your liking which makes for a much quicker and easier job.

Ease of Use and Accessibility

Air mattresses make a great functional option, simple to put up, and also have multipurpose functions – I think that every home should have one. 

They can be found for as little as $30 online or you can even splash out and spend a little more for a fancier option with more benefits. 

They can be inflated in approximately 2-5 minutes based on size and are not heavy if they need to be lifted or moved meaning almost anyone will be able to use these mattresses without discomfort or any difficulty. 

They also can be folded up into a small bag and hidden away much easier than a folding mattress due to the reduction in their size once deflated.

Here are some other ways your air mattress can be used, besides in the bedroom:

  • Camping trips – Regular camper? These mattresses can be used as a sofa, bed, or even just a dry outdoor seating spot when the ground is wet.
  • Kids activities – Instead of sitting on the floor to play with toys, kids can benefit from great comfort and extra fun at playtime using an air mattress to sit on.
  • Road trips – Need a comfy spot to nap in during a long road trip? Many people opt to place an air mattress in the back of their car to create a safe, easy-to-deflate option to catch up on rest.

Folding Mattresses Ultimate Guide

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy an air mattress you could always opt for a folding mattress.

They offer a comfortable night’s sleep too.

They are easily set up, compact, and can be quickly placed into storage when not needed.

If you are looking for an option for more regular use they can prove to be more comfortable than some low cost air mattresses.


Many brands of folding mattresses now come with the option of converting it into a sofa just by folding upwards.

This makes them amazing for spare rooms where you may benefit from having the extra space available but don’t just want to leave the room without seating. 

If your folding mattress is going to be a more permanent fixture in your home, but you could still benefit from the option of creating more space you can opt for a spring bed fixture to have your fold-up mattress fixed to the wall.


With more variety available than your typical air mattress, you can choose more specific options such as filling and mattress type for your fold-up.

You can get some as cheap as $50 or make a real investment in comfort up to $1000. 

From foam to innerspring, there is an option for everyone looking for an easy fold-away bed option.

Even when folded up, you don’t need to worry about these mattresses getting sunken in or misshapen like a traditional mattress would, meaning they can be stored for long periods between uses without any concerns.

Ease of Use and Accessibility

These mattresses also make for a great universal option, easy to fold out and place back without any strain.

They can also be folded up in several ways meaning they are great for impromptu sleepovers. 

They can also be handy for traveling, meaning you can have a reliable and comfortable night’s sleep without worrying about awful motel mattresses leaving you waking up feeling sore and miserable.

The collapsible design of these mattresses also means you can fold them 2 sometimes 3 times to create more space and make for easier maneuvers. 

The only drawback is that they will take up far more room in your vehicle than an air mattress. 

Here are some other great uses for your folding mattress:

  • Great for kids – being so close to the floor a folding mattress provides a comfortable and safe option for small children wanting to draw, read or play on the floor without worrying too much about cold hard flooring being uncomfortable. 
  • Sleepovers – does your child or maybe a family member like to regularly have sleepovers? These beds are a great way to quickly adapt any room into a bedroom space for them to rest comfortably without having to worry too much about fussing with pumps or tools.


Air mattresses and folding mattresses are both great options for easily accessible beds you can pack away quickly and take with you on the go.

But some are better suited to certain tasks than others.

If you’re looking for a great travel mattress then you may find an air mattress is easier to transport with you than a fold-up, due to its amazing ability to deflate into a fraction of its original size, without taking up too much space in your luggage or vehicle.

For more fitted and long-term options you may prefer the idea of a fold-away bed.

Many people don’t even notice the fact these beds are there when folded against a wall, or even as a sofa.

Having this versatility means you can pick an option that will work great in any space.

Folding mattresses tend to hold up better over long periods of use due to their shape and the materials they are made from, whereas inflatable air mattresses can often have issues with loss of air, stretching material, and size.


To settle the debate of Air Mattresses VS Folding Mattresses, both options have so many different variations that there’s bound to be a choice to suit any space or needs that you have.

Remember to opt for a mattress that will work best for your specific situation and take into consideration how frequently you plan on using this mattress, as you want to invest in quality if it is going to be used more regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is More Comfortable Than an Air Mattress?

Although each person has their individual preference, generally foam sleeping pads are the best affordable and practical alternative to an air mattress due to being lighter, easier to pack up and the option to travel with them is much easier.

Are Fold-up Beds Good?

The quality of fold-up beds makes them a great option for temporary or primary sleeping spaces.

They are great for accommodating guests too and make for a great additional comfortable space in your home in case you end up with unexpected visitors staying.

Can You Sleep on an Air Mattress Permanently?

Air mattresses used to be preferred as a short-term or occasional answer to additional sleeping space due to their lack of strong support for your body.

But there are many options out there that offer the same support as a traditional mattress at a fraction of the cost. 

How Can I Make an Air Mattress Look Like a Real Bed?

Applying your usual furnishings such as linen, bedding, mattress toppers, and pillows can make your air mattress look much more realistic and homely.

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