Futon vs. Air Mattress — Which One Is Better?

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If you’re reading this, you’re likely confused deciding between a futon and an air mattress. But before that, let us figure out why you’re in this dilemma, to begin with. Maybe you’ve got a spare room in your home, and some guests are visiting your place for a few days, but you don’t want to spend on a typical fully-fledged bed.  You want an economical, budget-friendly solution.

In this circumstance, you’re left with two sensible alternatives: a futon and air-mattress. Both are inexpensive and practical. Said that it’s a challenge to conclude which one is better. There are no clear winners here—they both have their pros and cons, and which one will have the place in your room depends on your situation and personal preferences.

Overview: Air Mattress vs. Futon

Typically a futon is more expensive than an inflatable mattress. But, if you get a premium air mattress, you’ll get a pillow top, comfortable surface, a built-in electric pump, and a carrying bag. That said, they both share the same characteristic that has made them popular and ideal for homes with limited space.

A futon can be folded and doubled as a couch, whereas a blowup mattress can be deflated or moved around. Furthermore, both are lightweight, making them easy to move around, but an air mattress scores an extra point because you can carry it with you while going camping.

Now that we gave a short overview of a futon and an air mattress let’s get into the details.

What Is A Futon?

Foldable Futon Tatami Mattress Soft Thick Japanese Student Dormitory Mattress

Futons originally in Japan in the 1700s and the original Japanese futons had simple designs and thinly padded that unrolled onto the floor. Today’s futons have evolved tremendously to low-profile couches with intricate frames and multiple sizes. There are also multi-functional futons that can be used both as a bed and a sofa.

If you’re in the market for some of the best futons you can get your hands on without spending too much, we have some cool futons here. Check it out!

1. Cleaning & Maintenance

Owners have always complained about futons being difficult and expensive to keep clean. See, most futons don’t have removable covers as if including one with a new unit have been so expensive for the manufacturers. If your futons have spills or need cleaning, you need to wash the whole thing. If these things had removable covers, the process would have more manageable and less time-consuming. Manufacturers claim that putting removable covers on futons will make them less attractive. Therefore, it becomes evident that you’ve to sacrifice convenience for style if you want to have futons in your homes.

2. Affordability:

Regardless of the size and quality, futons have always been more expensive compared to traditional mattresses, and in this case, an air mattress.

3. Firmness Levels:

Traditionally, futons had a being a bit too firm for most sleepers, but that has changed. You can now get futons in multiple comfort levels, ranging from soft to extra firm.

4. Versatility:

Versatility has always been the selling point of futons. Futons are incredibly flexible and versatile, particularly if you live in a small room or home with limited space. Futons are also ideal for spare bedrooms, a home office, or a college dorm room. Some futons models come with an adjustable frame allowing them to be used as a couch or sofa in the daytime and flatten out to convert into a full-fledged bed at night.

5. Design:

Ever since futons were used in Japan as mattresses, futons have evolved and come a long way. No longer are futons made with a flat slab of cotton with a bland cover. Modern futons now resemble high-end sofas. The materials have changed as well. You can now buy futons made of wood and metal with various designs, colors, and finishes.

6. Futons: Pros & Cons:

Pros
  • Futons are versatile; they can be used both as a bed and folded to resemble a couch.
  • They're stylish.
  • Premium futons are durable and can last for a long time.
  • Available in a variety of sizes and frames.

 

Cons
  •  Premium futons are expensive.
  • Typically costs more than an air mattress.
  • The mattress is heavy.
  • Requires assembly.
  • Cleaning them can be a hassle sometimes.

 

If you’re looking for a good quality comfortable futon mattress for your home, we recommend you check this 8 Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress from DHP.

DHP 8 Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress
DHP 8 Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress
DHP 8 Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress
Our Score

This futon mattress from DHP will have you dreaming for days. This 8-inch independently encased coil futon mattress has been designed to provide ultimate comfort so that you can have a restful sleep all night long. Made from a base of independently encased coils that contour around your body's curves and relieves pressure points along the neck, shoulders, back, and hips. Each spring works individually so that there's no loss of motion transfer from one side to another. This futon mattress also comes in several colors.

If you're looking for a futon mattress that is both comfortable and stylish, then this DHP 8 inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress will be perfect. The high-density foam provides an exceptionally soft surface, and it comes upholstered in microfiber fabric tufting details to complement your favorite style, whether traditional or modern décor.

 

Technical Details

  • Style: Mattress.
  • Color: Black.
  • Size: 8"
  • Firmness Description: Plush.
  • Age Range (Description): Adult.
  • Dimensions: 54 x 54 x 8 inches.
  • Weight: 57 pounds.

 

Our Verdict

If you're looking for a futon mattress that is both comfortable and stylish, then this 8 inch Independently Encased Coil Futon Mattress from DHP may be the perfect fit. It's been designed to provide ultimate comfort so you can sleep better with no pressure points along your neck, shoulders, back, or hips—thanks to its base of independently encased coils that contour around your body's curves. You'll also get great motion transfer on each side of the bed since every spring works individually without transferring any motion from one side to another. All in all, you can't go wrong with purchasing this futon mattress if you want better sleep!

What is an Air Mattress?

Serta Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat PumpAn air mattress is what it sounds like. Also known as an inflatable or blowup bed, this is a bed that is filled with air. Air is pumped in using a built-in or a separate air pump. It’s lightweight, portable, and costs less than a typical futon. However, it has a few caveats, such as it not as comfortable and durable (can be punctured easily) as a futon.

If cheap air mattresses aren’t your thing, but you want a proper bed under $1000, we have some excellent mattresses that all cost under $1000 Check it out!

1. Cleaning & Maintenance:

Unlike futons, air beds are easy to clean. Most air mattresses have a waterproof top layer. If it is dirty or something spills over, wipe it off clean with a simple washcloth.

2. Affordability:

Air mattresses are super budget-friendly. You can get one from as low as $10 with the premium ones maxing out at a couple of hundred dollars, tops.

3. Firmness Levels:

Inflatable mattresses are soft, and because they’re filled with air, we would recommend stomach sleepers or have back pain to avoid this bed as it won’t provide adequate support to your chest or lower back.

4. Versatility:

An air mattress is incredibly versatile. Want to carry it with you for camping—just deflate it, put it into the provided carrying bag or case, and take it with you. Plus, they come in several sizes, including king and twin sizes.

5. Design:

The design and build of air mattresses are simple and utilitarian. Air mattresses are designed for portability. However, you can place an air mattress on a frame and use quality bedding to make it look and feel like a real bed.

6. Air Mattress: Pros & Cons:

Pros
  • Lightweight than a futon.
  • Easy to store. You can pack the deflated air mattress and put it inside the provided carrying bag, allowing it to store in a closet, or carry it for camping.
  • It doesn't cost much.

 

Cons
  • Air mattresses are not as comfortable as a futon or a regular mattress.
  •  An air bed provides less support.
  • It is common for air beds to have durability issues. A small puncture or a cut can render the air mattress useless.
  • Inflatable mattresses have longevity issues and have a limited shelf-life.
  • Air mattresses need to be inflated regularly as air leaks over time due to issues with deflation.
  • Some models of air mattresses with added features like smart pumps tend to be more expensive.

If you’re looking for a comfy, cozy air mattress that will fit in your home or office with ease then the InnoTruth Air Mattress with Built-in Pump Elevated Inflatable Mattress is a perfect option.

InnoTruth Air Mattress with Built-in Pump Elevated Inflatable Mattress
InnoTruth Air Mattress with Built-in Pump Elevated Inflatable Mattress
InnoTruth Air Mattress with Built-in Pump Elevated Inflatable Mattress
Our Score

This air mattress from InnoTruth is a low-cost, comfortable alternative to your expensive traditional mattress. This air bed provides support like a conventional bed and features 18-inch high rails on all four sides. This is a beneficial feature for sleepers who move around at night or change their position from time to time. This inflatable mattress is environmentally friendly, odorless, and made of soft materials with a flocked top for added comfort. The bed has a built-in n 120V air pump that can inflate this bed within 3 minutes. The airbed is made out of high-quality, durable materials that will last for years. It's perfect as both an office couch or guest bed, so they can feel right at home while you're away at work.

Technical Details

  • Size: Twin/Queen.
  • Firmness Description: Firm.
  • Material: Durable PVC, Skin-friendly Flocked.
  • Water Resistance Level: Waterproof.
  • Dimensions: 78 × 40 × 18 Inches (Twin), 80 × 60 × 18 Inches (Queen).
  • Weight: 13.85 pounds.

Our Verdict

If you are looking for a low-cost, comfortable mattress option that will provide support comparable to your expensive traditional mattress, this air bed from InnoTruth is a perfect choice. This inflatable airbed has 18" high rails on all four sides, which helps keep sleepers in place and provides safety during the night. The bed also features soft materials with a flocked top for added comfort. With one press of an electric button, this bed inflates within 3 minutes thanks to its built-in 120V pump. Overall, a high-quality, durable, and comfortable air mattress for anyone.

FAQs (Frequently Asking Question)

Why are futons so expensive?

Futons, like other home furnishings and appliances, can be pricey. You’ll notice that many of the best brands charge a premium for their goods due to high-quality materials and production costs. Furthermore, futon frames are made from different materials (metal, wood) and additional accessories such as futon covers, mattress covers, etc., contributing to skyrocketing prices. We recommend customers buy only good quality futons. Therefore, branded futons of decent quality and materials like latex, memory foam, innerspring, and pocket coils can get expensive.

Are futons better than mattresses?

A futon is a great solution for people who prefer to sleep on the floor. However, we won’t advise to anybody with chronic back pain. If you have back pain or some other kind of chronic issue, a more traditional mattress will probably work better because they conform and adjust to your body while being softer.

What are the disadvantages of adjustable air mattress beds?

Several studies have shown that air mattresses are not good for people with back problems because they lack support and proper spinal alignment. While air mattresses provide more support than blow-up beds or futons, they still don’t offer the same protection and safety precautions as traditional beds do. For people who suffer from back pain, the best option is to get a standard bed with a high-quality mattress.

Anytime you buy something inflatable, you need to be aware that the floor or surface you place it on needs to support its weight and can’t have any rough areas that might puncture it. For example, people sometimes put air mattresses in their bedrooms and find out too late that they don’t have enough padding under the carpet and that their beds slide around during the night.

Air mattresses aren’t recommended for those with breathing problems such as asthma because they emit low levels of ozone gas, damaging sensitive lung tissue and making their symptoms worse.

Another disadvantage to air mattresses is that they can be quite difficult to inflate unless you choose a model with an electric pump. Another problem is that if you live somewhere warm all year long or are prone to night sweats, your mattress will likely get damp from trapped moisture.  As a result, you’ll wake up with a cold and clammy body and develop respiratory problems.

If your child uses an inflatable bed on his own for the first time, he’s likely to lose it or get himself stuck in some way that makes him cry. This can also be harmful when children get trapped between two mattresses or under them during sleep because air mattresses aren’t nearly as protective as standard box springs are.

Are futons healthy to sleep on?

Futons are used like any regular mattress. No evidence shows sleeping on one regularly would affect your health negatively. As long as you have the right type of futon that provides adequate support and cushioning­, there should not be anything stopping you from sleeping on them every night.

Are futons better for your back?

The best futons for back pain should provide adequate support and proper alignment of the spine, regardless you sleep on your side, stomach, or back. This helps avoid muscle soreness when you wake up in the morning.

Can you put an air mattress on a futon?

Yes, you can. Since futons are usually pretty low to the ground, having an air mattress on top will make it easier for people to sit down. Not only that, but because they’re stacked together, this can double up as a comfortable place to sleep and add height too.

Are futons good for everyday use?

The futon is a traditional Japanese bed design. It’s used as regular, everyday sleeping material, just like a mattress. If you are considering sleeping on a futon regularly, make sure to have enough cushioning to support your body comfortably. Nothing suggests that this will be bad for your health if it’s used as regular bedding like any other mattress.

Conclusion

As we mentioned in the title, there is no clear winner when choosing a futon and an air mattress. It all boils down to your exact situation and what works best for you. If you’ve got a spare room with limited space and want something that serves a dual-purpose like a sofa and a bed, then I highly recommend you go for a futon. If you’ve visiting guests or family members once in a while but don’t have a spare room and need to make a bed for them in whatever limited space you’ve in your living room, I suggest you go for an air mattress.

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Jennifer R. Heller

Jennifer is the Sleeping products expert and merchandise testers. She features a vast selection of experiences to effort from when creating the standard information our visitors come to seek out. She handles the daily operations of the site, and you'll also see her in plenty of reviews, from mattresses to travel pillow and bed pillow reviews. She's adamant about sleep health and knows just how important it's to our well-being. Jenifer reports, writes, and edits sleep health and sleep industry news on her site. She will be found reading or traveling when she gets leaser time.

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