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Consumer Reports: Best air mattress for holiday guests

Posted at 8:22 AM, Dec 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-21 10:24:21-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Anchal Jain loves entertaining family and friends, especially during the holidays. Her air mattress makes it convenient, comfortable and relatively inexpensive for her to accommodate extra guests.

"So… why spend $3,000 on a bed when you can make due with $30-50? I think this is one of my best purchases and I would recommend this to anyone," says Jain.

Consumer Reports says Jain is on to something. Its latest tests of air mattresses found you don't have to sacrifice comfort to get a good night's sleep. Testers looked at both double and single height air mattresses. An important distinction you'll want to consider.

"Double height mattresses tend to cost a little bit more but they're easier to get out of compared to single height mattresses," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Haniya Rae.

Testers weigh, measure, inflate and deflate both types of mattresses. Then they get down to what's really important: Otherwise known at Consumer Reports as the "deflection test". Testers place a weighted disc on the air mattress then measure how much the mattress sinks. The more it sinks, the less support you have. Mattresses with a small amount of deflection provide the most support. CR found not all double height mattresses deliver. The $120 King Koil sank almost six inches!

"Not only is the King Koil the most expensive mattress that we tested, it sank the most on our deflection tests," says Rae. "It also is the heaviest mattress so if you're trying to move it around your house it can be a little inconvenient."

In the end, the Simmons BeautyRest double height air mattress for $68 is CR's top-rated mattress. If a single height mattress will do, consider a Coleman for $27! It performs well and stores easily.

Another word of advice from CR: You want to buy an air mattress that comes with a pump so you're not scrambling at the last minute when guests come over trying to blow it up yourself.