An air mattress is an
inflatable s are the most common type of inflatable. An inflatable is an object that can be inflated with a gas, usually with air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents ...

mattress A mattress is a large, usually rectangular pad for supporting a lying A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who ...

or sleeping pad. Due to its buoyancy, it is also often used as a water toy or flotation device, and in some countries, including the
, is called a lilo ("Li-lo" being a specific
trademark A trademark (also written trade mark or trade-mark) is a type of intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also r ...

) or a Readybed.

For sleeping

An air mattress, also known as an airbed or a blow-up bed, is an inflatable mattress made of
polyvinyl chloride Polyvinyl chloride (colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in ...
(PVC) or textile-reinforced urethane plastic or rubber. The deflated mattress can be compacted and carried or stored in a small form. They are inflated by blowing into a
valve A valve is a device or natural object that regulates, directs or controls the flow of a fluid (gases, liquids, fluidized solids, or slurries A slurry composed of glass beads in silicone oil flowing down an inclined plane A slurry is a mix ...

, either with a manual or an electric pump. Some are automatically inflated when a valve is opened, up to a certain pressure with additional inflation manually or by pump. Air mattresses are used for camping, temporary or full-time home use, and may be optimized to combine several uses (e.g., camping and guest use) while others are single purpose. Air mattresses may have customized shapes, for example, wheel cutouts for use in the cargo area of a
pickup truck A pickup truck or pickup is a light-duty truck Light truck or light-duty truck is a US classification for truck mining truck A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and con ...

pickup truck
s or
SUV A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification Governments and private organizations have developed car classification schemes that are used for various purposes including regulation, description, and categorization of car A c ...
. Sleeping pads are lightweight, reduced-size and reduced-thickness air mattresses intended for camping and
backpacking Backpacking may refer to: * Backpacking (travel), low-cost, independent, international travel * Backpacking (hiking), trekking and camping overnight in the wilderness * Ultralight backpacking, a style of wilderness backpacking with an emphasis on c ...
, and may feature a layer of foam insulation under the air chambers. Higher quality air chambers use vulcanized rubber, covered in canvas or of polyurethane with a cloth shell or tick(ing). Permanent air beds will look almost like conventional beds with the exception of having a hose (one air chamber) or hoses (two air chambers) coming out of the head of the bed. These hoses will be connected to an air inflation device, with two outlet valves, that will have a
remote control In electronics Electronics comprises the physics, engineering, technology and applications that deal with the emission, flow and control of electrons in vacuum and matter. It uses active devices to control electron flow by amplifier, ampl ...

remote control
(s) so that each person can adjust the firmness of his or her side to his/her own exact needs. The firmness can be adjusted up or down, with the simple push of a button, on the remote(s). A USA government safety agency has warned against letting infants sleep on air mattresses, because they can be too soft and suffocate smaller children (especially those below the age of 8 months) within folds or while entrapped between the mattress and the bed base. Additionally there have been several recent governmental studies and regulations enacted due to the poisonous nature of the phthalate
plasticizer A plasticizer ( UK: plasticiser) is a substance that is added to a material to make it softer and more flexible, to increase its plasticity Plasticity may refer to: Science * Plasticity (physics), in engineering and physics, the propensity of ...
s contained within most PVC vinyl air beds and other soft vinyl products. The European Union has made similar efforts to prevent the use of vinyl materials in toys and bedding.

Air beds

Larger, more elaborate air mattresses (known as "air beds" in
British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage and is employed by a populatio ...
speaking locations) have come on the market in recent years that are intended for guest use or as permanent beds in the bedroom. Bed sizes for temporary air beds range from twin to king size, but few guest bed manufacturers offer king size as most guest air beds are sold outside the United States where king-size mattresses are not standard. Most permanent air beds use easy-to-find conventional sheets and bedding. California King (or Western King) sheets and bedding may be more difficult to find as this size was originally conceived for the
waterbed A waterbed, water mattress, or flotation mattress is a bed or mattress filled with water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless ch ...
industry. Raised guest or temporary beds are typically raised off the ground to keep users away from the floor and offer a more traditional mattress experience. Though 'raised' air beds are off the ground, they are not designed for full-time use, as the base of the bed is an air chamber and not a solid foundation.

Health benefits

Air mattresses can also improve the quality of life (and potentially provide some measure of relief) for people who suffer with back pain. Having the ability to adjust the firmness of a mattress to accommodate different body shapes, sizes, and weights, can be a factor in the healing process. Air mattresses are sometimes used to protect bedridden people from
pressure sore Pressure ulcers, also known as pressure sores or bed sores, are localised damage to the skin and/or underlying tissue that usually occur over a bony prominence as a result of usually long-term pressure, or pressure in combination with shear Sh ...
s, which can create life-threatening ulcers. Additionally, air mattresses manufactured without the use of materials that may release
VOCs Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are organic chemicals , CH4; is among the simplest organic compounds. In chemistry, organic compounds are generally any chemical compounds that contain carbon-hydrogen chemical bond, bonds. Due to carbon's abilit ...
or other toxic compounds from the manufacturing process (which can exacerbate
allergies Allergies, also known as allergic diseases, are a number of conditions caused by hypersensitivity Hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction or intolerance) refers to undesirable reactions produced by the normal immune system, ...

in children or other sensitive individuals) are available.

For recreation

As a water toy

The term air mattress may also refer to a certain inflatable
swimming pool A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, paddling pool, or simply pool, is a structure designed to hold water to enable Human swimming, swimming or other leisure activities. Pools can be built into the ground (in-ground pools) or built ...

swimming pool
or beach
toy A toy is an item that is used primarily by children though may also be marketed to adults under certain circumstances. Playing with toys can be an enjoyable means of training young children for life experiences. Different materials like wood, ...

, which has an air-sac "pillow" and several (usually four or five) tubes running its length. Also called a "lilo" (UK, AUS, NZ), "pool air mat", "air mat", "pool lounge", or "float(ing) mat(tress)", it is used to recline on the water surface. The Li-Lo trademark for a rubberised material products was registered in UK on 19 Apr 1944 and in the USA on 25 Sep 1947 by P. B. Cow and Co Ltd. An inflatable air mattress for recreational use was advertised as one of the Li-Lo brand of products at the British Industries Fair in London 1949. Although it bears some resemblance to an air mattress, it is typically not built as strongly and may not reliably stay inflated all night long, making it impractical for use as a bed.


Permanent use adjustable-firmness "airbeds" became popular particularly after market leader Select Comfort began a major marketing campaign around 2001. The original airbed was manufactured by Comfortaire in 1981, which was later purchased by Select Comfort, in January 2013 for $15.5m. Select Comfort announced on March 30, 2017 that they were ceasing all third party retail sales, of the Comfortaire Line of products, essentially shutting down the Comfortaire Brand. Other manufacturers include Boyd Specialty, InnoMax, and American National. Less expensive airbeds used for camping or guests include the Aerobed, sold by
Jarden Jarden was an American consumer products company. Formed by the spin out of Ball Corporation Ball Corporation is an American company headquartered in Westminster, Colorado. It is best known for its early production of glass Mason jar, jars, lid ...
subsidiary The Coleman Company.

See also

* List of inflatable manufactured goods


External links

* * {{Authority control Beds Camping equipment
Mattress A mattress is a large, usually rectangular pad for supporting a lying A lie is an assertion that is believed to be false, typically used with the purpose of deceiving someone. The practice of communicating lies is called lying. A person who ...
Mattresses Water toys