Consumer Reports

Air Mattress Options When The Relatives Arrive

Testing mattresses before you buy

Extra friends and family at home are what make the holidays the holidays. But sometimes those guests can also leave your house feeling cramped, especially when it comes to sleeping arrangements.

That’s where air mattresses come in! Consumer Reports just tested several air mattresses from names like Aerobed, Coleman, Insta Bed and King Koil and has some recommendations, buying advice, plus one mattress that might leave you feeling a little “deflated.”

Consumer Reports says 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. 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 6 inches! Not only is the King Koil the most expensive mattress that CR tested, it sank the most in the deflection tests. 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. And if a single height mattress will do consider the Coleman for $27 dollars! 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.

Consumer Reports says you might want to keep pets like cats and dogs and anything sharp or pointed away from the air mattress. In its tests it took very little force to puncture a hole in any of the air mattresses.

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