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Permanent, adjustable air mattresses offer customized firmness and a long life span

The major selling point of permanent, adjustable air mattresses is that they offer customizable firmness, which users set using an electric pump. With many models, firmness can be adjusted for each side of the bed, which makes these mattresses popular with partners who want different levels of comfort and body support. The adjustable firmness that permanent air mattresses provide can be especially helpful to pregnant women, because they can adjust the firmness to various body points, or to make it easier to move on or climb out of the bed.

Best adjustable air mattress

Sleep Number
Sleep Number

While permanent air mattresses have mechanical parts that can break, they tend to be very durable overall, and those mechanical parts can be easily replaced, which will lengthen the life of the mattress. Permanent air mattresses should not be confused with the temporary air mattresses that are often used as an emergency guest bed or for camping, we cover that type of air mattress in a separate report.

Among air mattresses intended for everyday use, the most well-known brand, the Sleep Number (Est. $1,000 and up) line also earns high ratings in professional tests, in expert roundups and from owners. It gets an owner-satisfaction rating of 78 percent on, based on more than 1,665 user comments. In professional tests, Sleep Number beds earn very good ratings for side sleepers, excellent ratings for back sleepers, and overall top ratings for durability. The Sleep Number brand is also one of the top-rated mattress brands overall.

Owners praise the comfort and adjustability of Sleep Number mattresses, and quite a few note that their new mattress has relieved pain and/or improved sleep quality. Many also say that buying a Sleep Number bed has resolved partner quibbles over what type of bed to buy, or the necessity of buying a soft bed and adding a board or padding to one side to increase firmness, or vice versa.

We did see some complaints that the bed slopes either up or down in the middle between the two air chambers, making it uncomfortable and unsuitable for sex, although this issue is covered by the 25-year warranty and customer service is reported as good. Mechanical failures are also occasionally reported, and some users find that the supposedly "whisper quiet" pump is too loud, although we find that noise complaints can be highly subjective.

In general, owners are very satisfied with their Sleep Number Beds and they get fairly high ratings on user review sites. Many find them very comfortable, and say it's great to be able to adjust the bed, not only to suit each partner, but also to accommodate how your body happens to be feeling that day. A few who like very firm beds say the Sleep Number mattress doesn't provide enough support.

The Comfortaire (Est. $1,000 and up) is another well-rated adjustable air mattress. It's not included in professional testing, but does earn high ratings at; garnering an overall customer satisfaction rating of 83 percent, based on almost 200 user comments. The line features adjustable air chambers that are topped with premium materials, such as gel-infused memory foam and latex.

Owners praise Comfortaire's comfort, durability, firmness and long warranty, and many find that it relieves pain. On the downside, at least one in four have experienced an air leak or other mechanical failure, although such problems can easily be repaired or addressed with replacement parts and are covered under warranty.

Comfortaire mattresses don't get as many user reviews as Sleep Number beds, but those we saw are highly positive. Owners praise the line's comfort and adjustability, and they say the company's customer service department is very responsive. Sleep Number and Comfortaire mattresses both come with a 25-year warranty.

Elsewhere in this report:

Best Mattresses | Best Innerspring Mattresses | Best Memory Foam Mattresses | Best Latex and Organic Mattresses | Mattresses for Back Pain | Buying Guide | Our Sources

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