I swear by this self-inflating air mattress with a built-in base — it feels like a real bed for my guests and folds away compactly

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I was recently reminded you can never have too many beds after my son’s college friends visited during a school break. Luckily, they didn’t mind sleeping on couches and in sleeping bags on the floor. But when my mother-in-law needed to recuperate on the first floor of our house after surgery, I knew I needed to find a solution to our mattress shortage. So it was no surprise a press release for an inflatable mattress called the EZ Bed caught my eye when it popped up in my inbox. I loved the fact it self-inflated with a simple turn of a dial, that it came in a nice-looking canvas holder (on wheels, so easy to tote), and that, unlike other of the best air mattresses, it sat on a bed frame. Since testing, I completely agree with my husband when he says, “Whoever created this bed was an engineering genius.”

Ahead, the inside scoop on a mattress that’s just as much fun to inflate as it is to sleep on.

My kids will tell you I’m one of the least handy people they know, so the thought of assembling a bed made me anxious. I began the task by watching a how-to video and clearing an 8-foot space for the 63″ queen-sized bed on my basement floor. What happened next left me stunned: I assembled the bed from start to finish in less than three minutes! I simply unzipped both ends of the case, plugged the 8’6″ power cord into an outlet, and turned the knob on the control panel to “inflate.” That was it.

I then became an observer, watching as the eight caterpillar-like metal legs rolled their way onto the ground and as the mattress blew up like a popover in a muffin pan, the final part of the set-up.

When it was time to put the mattress away, I simply turned the knob to “deflate” and watched as the legs and mattress folded in and onto themselves. I did have to jump in to push the legs together like an accordion once the deflation had ceased. Final steps included sticking the power cord into the designated holder and zipping both sides of the case closed. Tip: It’s helpful if you have an extra pair of hands and turn the case on its side when zipping the ends closed.

You’re not going to fool anyone into thinking they’re sleeping on a deluxe mattress — let’s be real here, this bed is basically a large inflatable raft. However, when my husband was battling the flu, I made my way down to our basement and slept on the EZ bed, finding it to be surprisingly comfortable. I wasn’t a fan of its tubular wavy surface, so I grabbed a mattress pad my daughter used in her college dorm and placed it on top, which gave it the feel of a “real” mattress. It’s easy to get in and out of the bed because it is only two feet off the ground. That night, I pushed the mattress against the wall and created a headboard with large throw pillows, making it easy to work on my computer.

As for the bedding, my queen-sized sheets were a bit loose around the mattress, but the company sells its own custom sheet set that includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet with a 14″ deep pocket, and an attached dust ruffle to disguise the metal legs. I didn’t expect a lot in terms of motion isolation, given the mattress is made of PVC. But I ran a simple test — putting a cup filled with water in the middle of the mattress and having my 160-pound husband sit down hard on its side — and was pleasantly surprised the cup didn’t tip over. When my mother-in-law slept on the bed with our dog, she said she didn’t feel any movement from our often active Shih Tzu.

With most air mattresses, you get a bed that sits on the floor. This one comes with a self-deploying frame, providing a solid and secure base for the mattress. The mattress itself is eight inches thick, but together with the frame, the queen-size bed sits 24″ off the ground, making it easy to get in and out. The self-inflating built-in pump makes it so there’s no work on the user’s part, and it includes an automatic shut-off, so there’s no risk of the bed overinflating. Another advantage to this air mattress: it has four easy-to-use firmness settings — plush, medium, firm and extra firm. Other air mattresses come with a bag for storage — this queen size arrives in a smart-looking 32″ x 15″ x 22″ canvas tote with a handle and wheels for easy portability.

The model I tested was designed for Grandin Road. However, there are other versions of the EZ Bed on the market, including a king-sized option sold under the brand Ivation. According to Grandin Road’s merchant Ashley Alexander, this particular EZ Bed has an exclusive I-beam coil structure. “This means it contains an air-filled coil system shaped like a capital letter ‘I’ to provide better stability and support and to help distribute weight more evenly like a traditional mattress,” she says.

The instructions note the PVC may stretch during initial use, and the air inside may expand and contract with varying temperatures, leading to reduced pressure. I put it to the test by inflating and deflating the mattress five times over five days. Each morning, I noticed a little air had escaped, an issue with air mattresses in general. Given it takes only a few seconds to reinflate, I didn’t consider the loss of air a big deal. Unlike some air mattresses, there’s no edge support — if you feel the need for a border (e.g., if small children will be sleeping on the mattress), you can create an edge by tucking a few inexpensive pool noodles under the fitted sheet.

Although this bed is billed as “puncture-resistant,” some reviewers found their mattresses were susceptible to pinholes. A repair kit and instructions on how to clean the area and apply the self-adhesive patch are included, but some reviewers complained the patch and its adhesive weren’t strong enough to fix leaks. (One commenter made her own patch by cutting a square from an old bicycle inner tube and applying it with an ample dose of Elmer’s Craft Bond Ultra Stix All, all of which she claimed solved her problem.) Other purchasers dealing with pinholes within the one-year warranty period noted they had no problems replacing the bed (there’s a 90-day return window if you’re not happy with your purchase for any reason).

The mattress part isn’t sold separately from the frame, so if it’s out of warranty and you run into problems, you’ll have to purchase a whole new bed. In terms of cost, this bed is pricier than most other air mattresses, but with a built-in frame, you’re not asking guests to sleep on the floor.

The good news is a simple wipe-down with a disinfectant spray and a microfiber cloth will do the trick when keeping the EZ Mattress clean. “Just be sure the PVC is bone dry before putting the bed away,” says ecomaids cleaning consultant Melissa Homer. “If there’s any type of memory foam or quilting on top, you’ll need to switch strategies and sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the surface and let sit for fifteen minutes before vacuuming.” Homer shares some people make the mistake of leaving the sheets on their air mattresses while storing. “Sheets are there to protect your mattress from sweat and body oils. If you leave them on during storage, you’ll risk mold and odors.”

Consider the following options if you’re looking for a more affordable inflatable bed.

If you need a particular size for a specific space, the SoundAsleep Dream Series Air Mattress is rated as our best air mattress overall and available in seven sizes, from twin to California king. An internal pump makes inflation and deflation easy, while a skid-resistant flocked top keeps sheets in place.

If you’re looking for a comfort top, the King Koil Luxury Air Mattress Queen has an extra thick waterproof quilt top to support and keep bedding in place. Bonus: the built-in pillow. For a well-priced, budget option, the EnerPlex Air Mattress is available in 13″, 16″, and 18″ heights and includes an impressive two-year warranty and a compact storage bag.

This comfortable, portable, and easy-to-store bed is ideal if you’re short a guest room, looking for a temporary sleep setup (e.g., in a dorm, hotel room, or vacation rental), or need to reduce pressure on your body after an injury or surgery. Although the sturdy frame can hold an impressive amount of weight (up to 300 pounds on the twin, 450 pounds on the queen), given the bed’s mechanics and potential for punctures, this may not be something you want to sleep on every night. Of course, for short-term needs, it’s one of the easiest and most luxurious temporary mattresses I am aware of.

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