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When friends or relatives call and you need beds to put everyone up for the night, inflatable mattresses can offer a great alternative to lugging heavy old mattresses up from the basement. Deflated, air mattresses take up very little room and can easily stow in a closet. Plug them in and in less than five minutes you can have a lovely queen-size mattress ready for sheets and blankets. If you’ve already started to look for an inflatable queen, you’ve probably already run into a bevy of choices. To help you find the right mattress for a great night’s sleep, here are a few key considerations to mull over before you buy.

Extra Thick

Thanks to a textured “SureGrip” bottom material, this product won’t slip and slide on the floor. SoundAsleep

Not all inflatable mattresses are created equal. Some inflate to lofty heights (22 inches), which makes them closer to a regular bed height and easier to get in and out of. True, queen-size specifications are 60×80 inches, so make sure the mattress you choose is at or very close to those specs. Also pay attention to weight ratings. 600 pounds is a good minimum to shoot for.

Quick Inflation

Inflating fully in under five minutes means you’re never standing around waiting to hit the hay. Intex

While it may not matter to most folks, some mattresses inflate faster than others. Most will inflate in under five minutes, but some break the four-minute inflation time barrier for ultra-fast setups. Look for models that feature a secondary pump that will silently keep the mattress inflated overnight. A switch that allows you to toggle between inflation and deflation is also nice to have for easy setups and take-downs.

Comfy Design

This product’s built-in padding simulates a cushy surface for your head. Intex

Look for an air mattress made with puncture and water-resistant materials. Some mattresses have indentations along the sides, which is great to keep fitted sheets from crawling up. A plush top to keep sheets from slipping is also nice to have; just make sure there is a non-slip bottom to your mattress, so it stays put. Some models may actually work both indoors and in the tent on camping trips. All you need is an AC power inverter that runs off a 12V cigarette lighter to inflate one.

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