Buying Guide to Air Bed

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6 Things to Know Before You Buy

No extra bedroom. No pull-out couch. What to do when guests come to town? Offer up an air mattress, of course! Before you choose one blindly, peruse our list of must-knows. Your guests will thank you.

Fact #1: Use

Are you using it for the occasional overnight guest? Or to raise the height of your bed? If it's the latter, look for an air mattress pillow top. It's a higher quality product that usually comes with reinforced edges, meaning it will last through repeated use.

For those who plan on using an air bed to make that weekend sojourn into the woods bearable, look for one made of PVC or nylon. It won't feel as plush as one made from vulcanized rubber, but it's less likely to puncture. Look for a mattress that has a thick base, textured bottom and is waterproof.

Fact #2: Size

Air Beds come in standard mattress sizes -- twin, full, queen and king. Unless you plan on solely using the mattress for children, it's probably best to purchase one that is full-size or larger. Many adults don't enjoy sleeping on a twin bed.

Fact #3: Thickness

The thicker the air mattress, the more comfortable it is to sleep on, and the less likely your guests are to sink into the floor. Go for something with a good width.

Fact #4: Pump Included

We know you may pride yourself on the fact that you blew up every balloon at your daughter's last birthday party, but there's no way you can blow up an air mattress by yourself. Make things easy and purchase a bed that comes with an additional air pump. Or look for one that has a built-in pump that operates with the simple push of a button.

Fact #5: Storage

Trying to stuff an air bed back into its box (or into a cabinet for that matter) is totally impossible. Invest in an air bed that comes with a storage bag. You won't regret it.

Fact #6: Extras

Today's blow-up mattresses come with all kinds of extras. Here are some you may want to consider:

Flocked Surface. This add-on provides extra warmth.

Coil Beam or Reinforced Construction. You'll get a little more back support with this style of air bed.

Adjustable. Yes, even a simple air bed can be adjusted to fit your needs. Some even come with a remote so you can adjust the firmness while you're lying in bed. Now that's convenience.

Two-Layers. This style of air bed mimics a mattress and box spring set to give you double the support.