Air Mattress Vs. Traditional Bed: Which is the One for You?
For the past few decades, we’ve known “mattress” to be the classic innerspring mattress that we’ve been sleeping on since we were little kids.
It’s the bed that you found in your grandma’s house – the bed that you’ve enjoyed sleeping on your whole life.
Indeed, nothing beats the support and comfort that you can get from a traditional bed, right?
But as the years go by, more and more new types of mattresses are being introduced.
The most popular one that we have today is the air mattress, known for its adjustability and portability.
So which one should you get – air mattress vs. traditional bed? Should you go for the tried-and-tested, or is it time to try out the new kid on the block?
Read this article to find out which one’s the best option for you.
What is a Traditional Bed?
When we talk about a traditional bed, we’re referring to an innerspring mattress, the classic mattress we’ve been using since the 19th century.
Since this is the dominant mattress in the sleep industry, any mattress that’s referred to as a traditional bed or simply “mattress” is most likely an innerspring mattress – unless advertised otherwise (as foam or air mattress).
It’s called an innerspring mattress because of how it’s constructed.
The bed features a layer of coiled metal springs at its core, sandwiched between an upper and bottom layer of foam and upholstery or any other type of padding.
Below are the different layers that you can find inside an innerspring mattress:
The Foundation (Base Layer)
This is the bottom layer of the mattress which is often made up of upholstery and wool.
The primary purpose of this layer is to provide structure to the bed and deliver support to the coil system.
The Core (Main Layer)
The core layer is the heart of the innerspring mattress, which features various coils and springs.
The number of coils and springs will vary depending on the manufacturer.
As a rule of thumb, the more springs the bed has, the better support it can give.
Today, the most popular type of spring system used for innerspring mattresses is the Marshall coil which features coils that are individually wrapped in either steel or titanium
This advanced coil technology is far superior to any other coil system as it offers better contouring properties, more pressure relief, and reduced motion transfer.
The Upholstery (Comfort Layer)
Since no way sleeping in springs will ever become comfortable, manufacturers add the comfort layer on top.
This is usually made of different foam, fibers, and upholstery.
What makes these beds unique is their spring or coil structure which provides superior support to the user.
But, unfortunately, this structure is also why it isn’t actually the most comfortable bed in the market.
To address this, most manufacturers developed hybrid mattresses that contain the innerspring’s coil core for maximum support and combine it with memory foam (or other types of high-end foam), so the user can enjoy a body-hugging comforting feel.
If there’s one thing you would get from the innerspring mattress, it would be support.
But, of course, its firm and plush will depend on the type of upholstery or padding used for its base and comfort layers.
To be honest, the traditional bed is not the most durable option that you have.
But still, it’s expected to last longer than an air mattress.
The usual life span of an innerspring mattress is around 8-15 years.
This is because the coils in the core layer will come loose due to wear and tear, which may cause bumps, dents, and lumps.
Or worse, the springs may even poke out of the comfort layer and into your body while you sleep.
- More durable (than air bed)
- Firmer support
- Excellent airflow and ventilation
- Bouncy feel (which is beneficial for getting in and out of
- bed easily and having sex)
- Reduced risk of off-gassing and other unwanted odors
- Not as comfortable as other mattresses
- Prone to dust mites and bed bugs
What is an Air Mattress?
As the name suggests, air mattress filled with air.
This bed has internal air chambers, which can be inflated and deflated by introducing or removing air using a pump.
When it comes to portability, lightweight, and versatility, nothing beats the air mattress.
The design of an air mattress is a lot simpler than that of the traditional bed.
On the inside, it has internal chambers ranging from 20 to around 100.
On the outside, an air bed is usually made up of only two types of materials – PVC and soft flocking.
The entire bed is made of PVC material for durability and waterproofness.
At the top of the sleeping surface, the soft flocking material is added for comfort and breathability.
Recently, some manufacturers have been switching from PVC to a particular type of urethane material that is less brittle and more elastic than regular PVC.
As mentioned, you need a pump to inflate the air bed, and there are many types of pumps available – electric (external and built-in) and manual.
For the ultimate convenience, go for a mattress with a built-in electric pump which you can operate using your car’s charger so you can use it wherever you go.
The design of air mattresses is all about customization and adjustability.
Therefore, you can consider this one of the most comfortable mattresses since you can adjust its firmness to suit your needs.
Since it can be inflated and deflated, you have the opportunity to choose how much air you put into the mattress.
If you want your mattress to be firm, you can inflate it to full capacity.
This can help you get the support you need if you have back, shoulder, or neck pain.
Once the pain improves and you already need a less firm sleeping surface, you can reduce its firmness by deflating it a little.
If you’ll be sharing the air bed with another person and you guys have different firmness preferences, you should opt for an air mattress with a dual air chamber, so you can both enjoy different firmness levels.
Since it’s waterproof and resistant to stains, you may think that the air mattress’s PVC material is durable.
Unfortunately, the air-filled nature of the mattress makes it prone to tears, holes, and punctures, so there’s a higher risk of leaks and damage.
Because of this, an air mattress is considered one of the least durable mattresses in the market.
- Easier to clean
- Portable, lightweight, and easy to store
- More versatile (you can use it outdoors and indoors)
- Can also be used inside a car
- More affordable
- Prone to tears, holes, and punctures
- Deflation issues
- Not as supportive and comfortable
Things to Consider When Choosing Between Air Mattress and Traditional Bed
If you haven’t decided which type of mattress you should get, let us help you come up with the right decision.
Here are some of the things you should factor in when choosing between these two mattresses:
How do you sleep? Do you sleep on your back, side, or stomach?
The sleep position is an important consideration when choosing a mattress since different sleep positions require varying firmness levels and support.
With that said, an innerspring mattress is an ideal mattress for a stomach sleeper since it can deliver the support that the shoulder and neck need.
Its bouncy feel is also an excellent option for combination sleepers.
On the other hand, both innerspring and air mattresses are suitable options for back and side sleepers.
Number of Sleepers
Are you going to sleep on the bed alone or with a partner? If you sleep with a partner, you need a mattress with excellent motion transfer properties.
Air beds can isolate and absorb motions effectively, especially those with dual chambers.
On the other hand, this can be an issue with a traditional or classic innerspring mattress.
If you have money to spare and want an innerspring mattress, invest in one with individually wrapped coils, as these offer better motion transfer.
So which should you go for: air mattress vs. traditional bed? To be honest, these beds are entirely different, and yet, it’s still challenging to choose between the two.
Our simple advice for you is this: When choosing which mattress to get, always consider your desired comfort level (innerspring if you want a bouncy feel and air mattress if you want that floating feeling), personalized needs, and budget.
By following this simple guide, you can indeed determine which of these two mattresses is the perfect fit for you.