If you like to play host to friends or relatives but don't have the room (or money) for a full sofa-bed or futon, then an airbed might be just what you need. Whether you want to spend £10 or closer to £300, there are options to suit every budget and some of them might even give your guests a better night's sleep than they get at home.
Milestone Camping Flocked Airbed
If you're on a really tight budget, this classic blow-up mattress offers the best bang-for-buck when it comes to putting up guests. Despite the low price, it gets good feedback for comfort and durability from reviewers on Amazon, with one writing: "For it's price, this blow up bed has been fantastic. Easy to blow up, easy to let down and always comes in handy if someone needs to sleep over." You'll need a pump of some sort (or a good set of lungs) and the mattress will be more bouncy than some, but these basic mattresses are particularly well-suited to children's lighter body weight.
Bestway is one of the biggest suppliers of airbeds at the budget end of the market, and their products are well-regarded by consumers. Despite its low price, this airbed includes many of the same features as more-expensive rivals – including a built-in pump which is claimed to inflate it in less than three minutes and a flocked surface for comfort and to stop bedclothes slipping off. It also has hollow internal beams to offer support and comfort, preventing the "bouncy castle" effect of some cheap airbeds.
Therm-a-Rest Base Camp
If you just have a single guest to cater for and you'd like something that you could also use for camping trips, a self-inflating mattress might be your best bet. US firm Therm-a-Rest invented this category of airbed, which have a lower profile than conventional airbeds but which many users feel are more comfortable and supportive. This is achieved by a dense foam padding, interspersed with hollow cells – which fill with air when the valve is opened. This model is bulkier than some similar offerings, making it ideal for vehicle-based camping and home use.
Intex Unisex Queen Deluxe
Intex are another of the big names in home airbeds, and this is one of the company's most-popular models and has a pump built in. Featuring beamed construction for support and a soft suede-like finish, it also has a raised "pillow" at one end – which experienced airbed users will know is invaluable in stopping your pillows falling off the edge. One Amazon reviewer wrote: "Excellent quality and the most comfortable mattress other than my bed, that I've ever slept on."
AeroBed Ultra Divan
If you really want to make your guests feel at home, AeroBed's products are probably the closest thing you can get to a real bed – as you'd expect at the premium price. An all-in-one mattress and divan with a built-in pump, this product has a four-layer construction which offers a level of support unrivalled by other airbeds. It also has an anti-microbial treatment and it can deflate in just one minute, before rolling up into a surprisingly small storage bag. One reviewer wrote: "We could not ask for a more comfortable bed. It makes an extremely restful night's sleep. Guests will definitely be spoilt."