Best Air Mattress is supported by readers. We may earn a commission when you buy with our links.

Air Mattress vs Futon (Incl. Helpful Tips)

About Us

We take sleep very seriously. Our guides and reviews are carefully curated in order to help consumers make well informed purchasing decisions Read more ⇒

Written By

Table of Contents

Air Mattress Vs. Futon: Get the Lowdown Here 

Are you looking for a bed for your guest room or master’s bedroom that would fit your tight budget?

If yes, the best options in the market are a Japanese futon and an air mattress.

While the prices of these two options will fit your budget, choosing between them will be challenging because they have different features and pros and cons. 

With that said, which should you get: air mattress vs. futon? Kindly check out this comparison article to find out!

Air Mattress Vs. Japanese Futon: Which Is the Best Option for You?

If you’re ready to discover the differences, pros, and cons of these budget-friendly mattress options, let’s get started!

What is an Air Mattress? 

An air mattress is also called an air bed or blow-up mattress, and it is precisely what its names sound like.

The air mattress is a type of bed filled with air and can be inflated and deflated for ease of storage and portability. 


The air bed is usually made up of two materials – PVC material and flocking material.

The main body of the mattress is made of PVC material.

The sleeping surface is PVC with a soft flocking cover for your ultimate comfort.

The flocking material also makes the PVC body a lot more skin-friendly and breathable. 

When choosing an air mattress, you must opt for a puncture-proof PVC material as it’s a lot more durable and resistant to tears and holes. 

To make the most out of your purchase, go for an air bed with welded seams, as this can promote better stability and durability. 

To blow up the bed, you would need a high-quality pump.

Air mattress pumps come in three different types: external pump, built-in pump, and built-in dual-valve pump. 

The most affordable air mattresses usually come with an external pump, while the higher-end beds have built-in pumps. 

The most expensive mattresses feature a built-in dual-valve system which features a second pump designed to detect air loss and add air to the mattress as needed.

This is to prevent air loss and keep the mattress fully inflated throughout the night. 

Air mattress pumps are also categorized based on the energy source – manual or electrical.

Between the two, electric pumps are most convenient, but of course, you need to make sure that there will be an electric source in the places where you plan to use it.

For the ultimate convenience, choose a mattress with a pump that you can operate using a car charger. 


Since they are filled with air, air mattresses are not exactly the firmest mattress you’ll find in the market. 

The good thing about air mattresses is they can provide you with different firmness level options.

The more air is introduced into the bed, the firmer it gets, so if you want a soft sleeping surface, you can choose not to inflate it fully. 

Ease of Cleaning 

The texture of the air bed’s PVC mattress makes it one of the easiest beds to clean.

All you need to do is wipe it down with a simple washcloth. 

This flocked surface is often waterproof, so if something spills on the bed, the liquid will just stay on top so you can dab, wipe, or blot it quickly. 


With its waterproof surface, adjustable levels of firmness, and portability, air beds are known for being the most versatile mattress in the market.

Because of these features, you can use it almost anywhere – outdoors, indoors, and even in your car!


  • More versatile since you can use it for indoors and outdoors
  • More affordable
  • Highly portable since you can inflate and deflate it easily 


What is a Japanese Futon?

Japanese futon originated in Japan during the 17th century.

Initially, these were just thinly padded mattresses designed to be floor mattresses – no frames or platforms. 

But what used to be simple and practical has now become more complicated and intricate.

For example, in the 1970s, frames were added to futons, so you can now use them in two ways—bed or sofa. 


When it comes to design, futons provide you with the most options as these come in different shapes, designs, and sizes.

The frame designs range from metals in different colors to woods.

You can also choose from a wide range of designs—from modern to minimalistic to chic, and many more.

Because of this, futons are easier to incorporate in any room, no matter the theme of your interior design. 

More than the aesthetics, futon is preferred by many over the air mattress when it comes to durability since it usually has foam filling, which isn’t prone to tears, punctures, and holes. 

It’s also a lot more functional and is easier to use than the air mattress as you only need to set it up once and use it for a longer time – no inflating or deflating is needed!


If you’re looking for a firm bed, the futon is the one that will give you exactly what you need—all thanks to its foam filling.

Before, the common complaint is futons are too firm.

They recently made changes to its design and materials to provide the users with multiple comfort levels ranging from soft to extra firm. 

However, please note that you can’t get all these options in just one bed (unlike air beds), so you have to decide how firm you want the futon to be before making the purchase. 

Ease of Cleaning

Unfortunately, cleaning a futon isn’t as easy and simple as cleaning an air mattress.

If you want to keep your futon clean, here are some of the steps you need to take:

  • Sun-dry the futon at least once a month to kill germs and bacteria and get rid of unwanted scents.
  • Vacuum its surface weekly.
  • To get rid of stains and spills, wash it thoroughly or, better yet, bring it to a dry cleaner. 

If you want to make the maintenance a little bit easier, choose a futon with a removable cover so that you can clean the cover regularly and deep clean the foam at least once or twice a year. 


As mentioned, the addition of a frame makes the futon dual-function.

When you choose one with an adjustable mattress, you can use it as a sofa or a bed. 

Because of this, it will be perfect for almost all types of rooms in your home—the living room, guest room, and even the master’s bedroom!


  • Provides a more comfortable sleeping surface
  • More stylish and will complement your interiors quite well
  • It offers more support due to its firmer surface


  • A bit more expensive
  • Not as versatile as an airbed since you can’t use it outdoors
  • Not portable

Things to Consider When Choosing Between Air Mattress and Futon

If you still aren’t sure which of the two is the right choice for you, here are some of the other factors that you need to consider: 

Sleep Position

To ensure that you’ll get the right level of support you need while sleeping, you have to consider your sleep position. 

If you’re a stomach sleeper, the firmer surface of the futon will be more beneficial for you as it can deliver enough support to your shoulders. 

For back and side sleepers, any option will do. 


If you wish to enjoy the comfort that a traditional bed can provide without the high price tag, the futon is the best choice for you as it’s made of foam and comes with a frame. 

Personal Needs

Your personal needs are the most critical consideration of all.

This is why you must ask yourself this question: What do you need in a mattress? 

Are you looking for a permanent piece of furniture that you can use for longer? If yes, you need a futon.

Do you need something more practical, versatile, and comfortable? Then, go for an air mattress. 


How much is your budget? If you can spare around $100 or more, you can purchase a futon, while an air bed is recommended if you have a budget range of $50-$100

Frequently Asked Questions

Which one is better for camping?

It would be the air bed – hands down!

Not only is this portable (since you can simply deflate and inflate it), it will also provide you with a much firmer and more comfortable sleeping surface on camping grounds.

But please take note that air beds are fragile and prone to punctures and holes, so you need to be very careful in choosing a spot where you will inflate it. 

How can I make futon or air bed more comfortable?

The amount of comfort you can enjoy on either an air bed or a futon will depend mainly on the type of bedding that you will choose to use. 

With that said, the best way to make your bed more supportive is to use soft sheets and supportive pillows.

You can also use a mattress topper if you find the bed too firm or too low. 

In Summary 

So which won the battle: air mattress vs. futon? To be honest, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this one. 

Understanding the differences between these two mattresses is essential. 

But if you wish to determine the best mattress for you, you need to consider four critical factors – personal needs, comfort, sleep position, and price. 


5/5 - (4 votes)