Close this search box.

Air Mattress vs Memory Foam: Which's Better?

A good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle, and your choice of mattress can play a big role in this. Air mattresses and memory foam mattresses have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their comfort and support. While air mattresses are affordable and convenient, memory foam mattresses offer a luxurious feel that can help alleviate aches and pains.

Choosing between an air mattress and a memory foam mattress ultimately depends on your preferences and needs. In this article, we will take a closer look at the differences between these two types of mattresses, their benefits, and their drawbacks so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to selecting the right mattress for your needs.

Table of Contents

What is an Air Mattress?

air mattress

Air mattress is an inflatable bed made from a durable plastic material that can be filled with air. They are usually portable and are often used for camping or for temporary sleeping arrangements in homes. It provides good cushioning and support, making them comfortable to sleep on.

When the mattress is inflated, you can adjust your desired firmness level simply by adding more or less air. Unlike memory foam mattresses, air mattresses do not conform to the body’s shape as they are not made of foam. However, some models do have built-in support systems that help give a more tailored experience. Air mattresses are typically lightweight and easy to transport, so they make ideal temporary sleeping solutions or even full-time beds if needed.


  • Air mattresses are portable and easy to store
  • They are adjustable and can be customized to individual comfort levels
  • Affordable compared to traditional mattresses


  • They can be noisy and uncomfortable to sleep on
  • Prone to leaks and punctures
  • May not last as long as traditional mattresses

What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

memory foam mattress

Memory foam mattress is a type of mattress that uses viscoelastic foam to provide support and comfort. This type of foam is designed to contour to the shape of the body, providing pressure relief and improved blood circulation. It also helps reduce motion transfer between sleep partners, making it ideal for couples.

Memory foam mattresses come in a variety of sizes, firmness levels, and thicknesses, so there’s sure to be one that fits your needs. They are typically more expensive than traditional spring mattresses but offer superior comfort and durability. 


  • Memory foam conforms to your body shape, providing better support and comfort
  • It helps relieve pressure points and reduce pain
  • It is durable and can last for several years
  • It absorbs motion, so you won’t be disturbed by your partner’s movements
  • It can reduce allergens and dust mites
  • It doesn’t require flipping or rotating


  •  It may feel hot, especially for those who are prone to night sweats
  • It can have a chemical odor when new
  • It may be too soft for some people who prefer a firmer bed
  • It can be difficult to move or handle due to its weight
  • It can be more expensive than traditional mattresses

Air mattress vs. Memory Foam mattress: What's the difference?

Comfort Level

Air mattresses typically offer a firmer sleeping surface compared to memory foam mattresses, which conform to the shape of your body and relieve pressure points. Memory foam mattresses are available in different comfort levels, ranging from soft to extra firm. Soft memory foam provides superior cushioning while extra firm offers maximum support.

There are several hybrid air mattresses that combine the best of both worlds by combining air chambers with layers of premium memory foam for optimal comfort and support. These hybrid mattresses provide personalized comfort as they allow you to adjust the levels of firmness depending on your individual needs.

Body Heat Regulation

Memory foam mattresses are excellent at providing superior comfort, but they can also retain body heat more than air mattresses. This feature can be beneficial for those who tend to sleep hot or live in warm climates, but it can be uncomfortable for others who prefer a cooler sleeping surface.

Air mattresses, on the other hand, do not trap heat as much as memory foam and provide a cooler sleeping surface thanks to their superior breathability. The air chambers allow air to circulate freely throughout the mattress, helping to regulate body temperature and keep you cool at night. Additionally, some air mattresses come with adjustable firmness settings that allow you to customize your level of comfort and adjust the airflow for optimal cooling effects.


Air mattresses are more durable than memory foam mattresses, since they are built with sturdy materials and can handle heavier weights without sagging. As air mattresses do not contain foam, they also have fewer components that can break down over time and are less likely to need repairs or replacement.

Memory foam mattresses are typically softer and more comfortable but may be prone to sagging over time due to their foam construction. Additionally, memory foam mattresses usually require more frequent replacement due to wear and tear from regular use.


Generally, air mattresses have the longest lifespan, as they can last up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance. Memory foam mattresses are typically softer and more comfortable but may not last as long.

Depending on the quality of the mattress and how often it is used, a memory foam mattress can last anywhere from 6-8 years. It is important to note that both types of mattresses require regular cleaning and rotating in order to prevent sagging or premature wear. 

Pain Relief

Air mattresses tend to be less supportive and less effective at relieving pressure points than memory foam mattresses. Memory foam is better at contouring the body, providing support to areas of the body that need it most, and reducing pressure points. This makes memory foam a great choice for those suffering from chronic pain, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Memory foam mattresses are typically more breathable than air mattresses, which can help keep you cool during the night and reduce heat buildup that can cause further discomfort.

Motion Isolation

Memory foam mattresses are far superior to air mattresses. This is because of the dense material used in memory foam, which absorbs and distributes movement across its surface. Air mattresses, on the other hand, tend to be less effective at isolating movement since they are filled with air that can easily be displaced by a person’s body weight.

Memory foam also provides a more stable sleeping surface since it does not shift or move as easily as air when pressure is applied. This makes memory foam ideal for couples who share a bed, as one partner will not wake up from the other’s movements during the night.


Noise can be a major issue when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Air mattresses are generally noisier than memory foam mattresses due to the sound of air rushing through the mattress when you move around.

Noise can be a major issue when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep. Air mattresses are generally noisier than memory foam mattresses due to the sound of air rushing through the mattress when you move around.


Air mattresses tend to be the more affordable option and are often available for less than $100. Memory foam mattresses are generally more expensive but can range from several hundred dollars to a few thousand depending on quality and size. When looking at memory foam mattresses, it’s important to note that the higher the density of the foam, the more durable and comfortable it will be. Additionally, you should look for mold-resistant materials as these can help prevent mildew build up over time.

Although air mattresses may initially appear to be cheaper in price, they require regular replacement due to their shorter lifespan compared to a memory foam mattress.


When it comes to upkeep, both air mattresses and memory foam mattresses require regular cleaning and maintenance. For air mattresses, this involves keeping the mattress inflated and checking for leaks regularly. If a leak is found, it can be patched with repair kits available at most stores. Additionally, air mattresses should be vacuumed periodically to remove dust and debris that can build up over time. Memory foam mattresses are slightly easier to maintain as they don’t require inflation or patching.

Memory foam also need to be vacuumed regularly and spot-cleaned with a mild detergent when necessary. Meanwhile, memory foam can become lumpy over time so you may need to rotate or flip the mattress occasionally in order to keep it comfortable.

Personal Preference

Some people may prefer the feeling of sleeping on an air mattress while others may prefer the comfort and support of memory foam. Air mattresses provide a bouncy surface that many find comfortable or even enjoyable. Memory foam mattresses tend to provide more contouring and cushioning that many find more supportive.

Each type of mattress offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to take some time to consider your individual needs before making a choice. It’s also a good idea to test out different types in store if possible before making your final decision.

Intended Use

Air mattresses are typically more suitable for temporary solutions such as camping trips or impromptu sleepovers, while memory foam mattresses are better suited for more long-term, everyday use. An air mattress can provide the necessary comfort and support on an occasional basis, but they may quickly lose their firmness over time if not regularly topped off with air.

Memory foam mattresses offer excellent contouring features that help to evenly distribute body weight and reduce pressure points during sleep. This makes them ideal for those who need extra cushioning and support for chronic pain issues. Additionally, memory foam mattresses tend to be more durable than air mattresses, making them perfect for any extended period of use.

Flexibility/Bed Settings

Air mattresses typically offer adjustable firmness, allowing you to customize your comfort level by adding more or fewer air chambers. Memory foam mattresses offer a range of different densities, providing the flexibility of selecting a softer or firmer mattress.

Some mattresses can be adjusted for different body weights, creating a more individualized sleep experience. Certain air and memory foam beds also feature adjustable bases, allowing you to customize the angle at which you sleep. 

Sleep Position

If you are a side sleeper, a memory foam mattress is ideal as it contours to your body and supports the natural curvature of your spine. This can help reduce pressure points and provide superior comfort. For back sleepers, an air mattress may be more suitable as it provides even support all over the body without putting too much pressure on any one area.

Stomach sleepers should opt for a medium-firm mattress that offers enough cushioning to provide comfort while still supporting the torso and hips. Ultimately, the best mattress will depend on individual needs and preferences.


Air mattresses are more susceptible to sagging due to their lightweight construction and lack of support. Memory foam mattresses are less prone to sagging since they are denser and firmer than air mattresses, providing better support over time.

Investing in a mattress with superior quality materials such as high-density memory foam can help prevent sagging and provide many years of comfortable sleep. Additionally, using a mattress protector can also provide extra protection against dirt, spills, dust mites, and other allergens that can contribute to sagging over time.


Every time you change your bedding, you should clean your memory foam mattress. If nothing else, use a vacuum cleaner to eliminate debris like dead skin. Avoid using harsh chemicals on stains and odors. Instead, use natural ingredients like vinegar or mild detergents.

If everything else fails, you can think about buying a new mattress and covering it with a waterproof mattress protector.

Author: Jessica

Jessica is a lover of both life and gardening. She loves to share his passion for both on social media. He often posts about his latest gardening projects, as well as tips and tricks for others who might be interested in starting their own gardens. She also frequently posts about the different aspects of his life that he enjoys, from spending time with friends and family to exploring new places.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.