Folding Bed Vs Air Mattress: Side By Side Comparison

If you’re a little short on space in your home or looking for a way to host guests comfortably over the night, then a temporary sleeping option is just what the doctor ordered. It’s either that or sharing your own bed with your guests. Alternatively, you could set them up on the couch, but no one likes fighting with cushion all night long.

So, what do you do when you can’t help being a great host? Get the best portable sleeping options that are also incredibly cheap. I’m talking about air mattresses or folding beds. But how do you know which is right for you? This segment pits two of the best temporary sleeping options to see which one comes out on top.

Folding Bed vs Air Mattress

Air Mattress

If you’re looking for maximum space savings in your home, then it makes total sense to invest in an air mattress. I mean, they’re light, portable and can be stored out of sight when not in use. Apart from virtually taking zero floor space when deflated, air mattresses are also smaller and less expensive compared to conventional spring or latex mattresses.

Inflatable mattresses offer the most flexibility and versatility out of almost all other sleeping options. Unlike folding beds, an air mattress can be taken backpacking, hiking, and camping trips where you need a couple of beds. Whether you need a mattress for trips or a more permanent setting, here are all the pros and cons of air mattresses to consider.


Ultimate portability

When it comes to portability, air beds have the competition beat by a clean mile. See, air beds don’t have bulky frames or rigid materials like folding beds. Once deflated, they can be compressed and fit in a pretty small bag. So if space saving is you main concern, then air mattresses will do great.

Custom firmness

One of the key benefits of air mattresses especially when used as the main bed is that it allows users to set custom firmness in order to make the air bed more comfortable for themselves. By adjusting the air pressure, you can set it as soft or as firm as you like. This is a bonus for guests since everyone prefers a different sleeping surface.

No sagging

As is the trend with most other mattresses, the surface tends to give way slowly after years of use. This creates a crater like effect where the person sleeps and is usually a sure sign of a pending replacement. With air mattresses, all you have to do is inflate to eliminate any sagging.

Low price

It’s a well known fact that a decent air mattress only costs a fraction of what memory foam or spring mattresses goes for. So if you’re also working on a budget, this is a great option.


  • Shorter warranties – Generally, air mattresses tend to carry shorter warranties than latex or spring mattresses. So if the PVC structure or air pump gives out, the repairs might be on your dime.
  • Pump replacements – And speaking of pumps, the mechanical nature and reliance on built in pumps makes it highly susceptible to malfunctions and breakdowns. These pumps are also noisy at times, especially when inflating.

Folding Beds

If sleeping space is usually a problem only when you have guests or visitors over, then folding beds might be the solution. While they aren’t as portable as air mattresses, they definitely offer more comfort and are closer to the real thing. So, what makes these beds worth it?


Extremely durable

Unlike air mattresses that only have PVC frames, folding beds come with durable, hardy steel frames that are built to handle a lot of weight. This makes them the better option if the bed wil be seeing a lot of use.

Better quality sleep

Most folding beds come with very soft foam mattresses whose durability won’t go down as a result of frequent, regular folding and unfolding. Combine the mattress with the fact that most folding beds have sprung slatted bases and you have more support and comfort than with a air mattress.

Easily movable

While they definitely won’t fit in a bag like air beds, folding beds often come with castors and wheels at the bottom. This allows for easy rolling and transportation within the house.


  • Compared to air mattresses, air beds occupy a relatively larger space since they just fold up in half.
  • Folding beds usually involve a difficult assembly process

Read also: Who invented folding bed?

The Verdict

As we’ve seen, both folding beds and air mattresses come with their own benefits and demerits. While air mattresses are the kings of portability and versatility, folding beds also stand out with their unrivalled durability and comfort levels that guarantee better quality sleep.

In the end, it’s all about looking at your available space, budget, and other requirements such as how often the bed will be used. These will help you settle on the most suitable option for your particular situation.

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