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How To Inflate An Air Bed 2023? [Inflate Self Or With A Pump]

By: Susie
Updated On: September 26, 2023

Camping trips and unexpected guests are two reasons why having an air bed can be a lifesaver. However, you might wonder how to inflate an air bed. Because, let's face it, these convenient bed alternatives don't come with an instruction manual attached. But don’t worry, I'm here to help you out!

The good news is that inflating an air bed does not require technical expertise or special tools. With the right knowledge, you can accomplish it within minutes.

Whether your air bed comes with a built-in pump or requires an external one - or even if all else fails, a manual approach - by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what to do; keep reading!

How To Inflate An Air Bed?

Inflating an air bed is simple. Start by unfolding your air bed and locating its valve. Open the valve, attach the pump, and start inflating the bed. The inflation time will vary depending on the type of pump you're using and the size of your air bed.

After inflation, close the valve tightly to prevent air from escaping. Adjust firmness by adding or releasing air through the valve before use.

Open the Valve Cover

First, you must locate the air valve on your mattress. It's generally situated on the side or at one end of your air bed. Once you find it, you can remove the valve cover. To do this, twist or unscrew it depending on its particular design.

While continuing the process, ensure your immediate area is free from sharp objects that could damage the bed. This first step is crucial as it sets the pace for subsequent steps in inflating your air bed.

Insert the Pump

Next up, it’s time to grab your pump. Depending on your air bed model, the pump may be built into some mattresses or separately provided.

If you're dealing with an external pump, connect it to the valve by inserting its nozzle securely into place - no half-measures here! You’ll want a tight fit to prevent air leakage during inflation.

Please remember, if you're using an electrical pump, ensure it's fully charged or connected to a power source. If it's a battery-operated pump, be sure those batteries are ready.

For the Automatic Pump, Switch It On

Once everything is in place and secure, drumroll, Hit that 'On' switch! Now, please sit back and let technology do its thing while witnessing your flat piece of plastic transform beautifully into a plush sleeping surface.

If there are options for firmness available on your automatic pump (like 'soft,' 'medium', or 'firm'), dial-up exactly what floats your boat here.

Your guests' comfort could rely heavily on this part, so there is no harm in spending some extra time getting this just right.

For Manual Pump, Begin Pumping

Alright, so you've got a manual pump in front of you instead of an automatic one? No worries at all! You can still achieve the same results with old-fashioned elbow grease. Connect your manual pump to the air bed's valve, ensuring a snug fit, and let the workout begin!

Hands-on pumping can be fulfilling as it provides the control that an automatic pump might lack. You can decide when to stop inflating your air bed by judging how firm it feels.

Screw The Latch Back On

Once your air bed feels good to go under your hands (or body), it's time to disconnect the pump from the valve, but don’t rush this step. Firstly, be sure to pull out the nozzle gently to avoid causing any harm to both - nozzle or valve.

Immediately after pulling out the pump's nozzle, cover up that open valve! Quick - before any of that precious air escapes! Screw or snap shut (depending on its design) swiftly yet securely.

Your air bed is locked and loaded now for use. Whether accommodating guests or embarking on a camping journey, you've sorted this part brilliantly.

To ensure maximum comfort throughout use, occasionally check if more air needs to be topped up or released- and then twist open or secure shut that valve respectively! It’s as easy as A-B-C once you’ve done it a few times.

Also Read: How To Fix An Air Bed Keeps Losing Air Or Deflates 2023

How to Self-inflate an Air Mattress

How to Self-inflate an Air Mattress

Self-inflating air mattresses are convenient because they usually come equipped with a built-in pump system, eliminating the need to inflate the bed manually.

Ensure that your mattress is unfolding and that the valve is open. This action triggers its self-inflation process as it starts pulling in air and gradually begins to take shape. Ensure you closely monitor it to prevent over-inflation, which can lead to unnecessary damage.

If No Pump, Use a Hair Dryer

Now, let’s assume your airbed didn't come with a pump or you've misplaced yours - not to worry! Did you know a common household appliance like your hair dryer can be an efficient inflator? Here’s how:

  • Ensure depowering: Before beginning, clean out all traces of dust and loose hair from the hairdryer to avoid pumping them into your mattress.
  • Cool mode setting: Always use your hairdryer in cool mode. The hot setting could potentially damage your mattress.
  • Align nozzle openings: Carefully align the hairdryer's nozzle with the opening of the airbed's valve.
  • Power it up: Switch on your hairdryer and watch your mattress fill up once everything is lined up.

Keep a close watch on inflation progress because, unlike pumps, hair dryers don’t automatically shut off when optimal firmness is reached.

Utilize a Vacuum Cleaner

Alternatively, if a hair dryer isn’t available, or you want an even quicker solution - how about using a vacuum cleaner?

  • Find suitable attachments: Dig into that box of vacuum cleaner attachments and look for an appropriate one, ideally something narrower at one end.
  • Attach securely: Securely fix this attachment onto the vacuum cleaner's hose.
  • Position against valve: Position it snugly against the mattress valve, and make sure the nozzle fits well for efficient inflation.
  • Switch on and inflate: Flip on your vacuum cleaner and inflate away!

You can fill your air mattress quickly and efficiently by utilizing the 'Blowing' mode (often present in most vacuum cleaners).

Keep an eye on the inflation. Turn off your vacuum once the desired firmness is achieved. You're ready to bunk down for a great night’s sleep!

Employ a Bike or Tire Pump

It's possible that you might not have an electrical pump handy, particularly if you're out camping or on the road. In such cases, don't fret; your bike or tire pump could be your savior:

  • Adapter fitting: You may need an adapter to fit the narrower mouth of these pumps to your air bed valve.
  • Start pumping manually: Air into your mattress once the adapter and pump are securely attached. This could involve good physical exertion, so keep pace yourself.
  • Monitor inflation level: Consistently check for the preferred firmness and stop when reached.

Use a Garbage Bag for Inflation

You might find this surprising, but yes! A garbage bag can also help inflate your air bed:

  • Open the Bag: Pick up a large-sized garbage bag and open it wide.
  • Collect Air: Swiftly wave it around to fill it with air.
  • Secure and Push Air into Mattress: Close the opening around the mattress valve once full. Then, gradually press down on the bag to push accumulated air into your mattress via its valve.
  • Repeat: Continue this process until desired firmness is achieved.

A household garbage bag can thus be resourceful in inflating your makeshift bed!

As a Last Resort, Inflate with Your Breath

If everything else fails and you’re faced with no other option — well, then it’s down to some good old lung power. Here’s how you do it:

  • Position Yourself: Kneel next to your deflated mattress' air valve.
  • Deep Breaths: Take deep breaths and exhale them forcefully into the valve opening.
  • Mind Your Pace: Gauge your pace so as not to feel light-headed from overexertion.
  • Repeat: Keep inhaling and exhaling till you reach your desired air bed firmness.

Inflating a mattress with breath could take quite some time and energy! Also, it's worth mentioning that moisture from your breath might lead to mildew inside the mattress over time.

Also Read: Air Bed Alternatives 2023 [These 14 Things Replace Air Beds]

Deflating the Air Mattress

Deflating the Air Mattress

Time to pack up? Now comes the phase where we undo all our inflation work - deflating your air mattress.

Deflation might sound like a straightforward thing, but properly deflating an air bed extends its lifespan and secures its durability.

Our three-step guide will allow you to swiftly and effectively let the air out of that mattress when it’s finally time to fold it away.

Unscrew the Valve Cover

The first step to deflate your mattress is similar to how you started inflating it. To begin, find the valve cap on your mattress and unscrew it.

Depending on the design of your mattress, it might have more than one valve, so make sure you’ve got all of them open before starting deflation.

Loosening the valve cover will allow air to start escaping immediately from your mattress. If time isn't an issue, you might prefer letting nature run its course here, allowing it to deflate slowly.

If you’re keen on saving those precious minutes or in a hurry, we'll need more elbow grease or technology assistance.

Fold or Roll Mattress

If pro-active deflation is your approach, folding or rolling up the air bed can expedite this process. Start by folding this humongous piece in half lengthwise while pressing down with your hands (or sitting) on the bed. If that's not getting things done as quickly as you'd like, roll over it like a pin!

Remember: our aim isn't just releasing trapped air but also compacting for storage conveniently later on too. Ensure nothing stuck underneath can damage it when rolling it up, though.

Use Vacuum for Fast Deflating

Sometimes, even manual methods are too slow for our fast-paced world, and that’s where a simple household appliance like a vacuum cleaner can be a game changer. Vacuum cleaners can double as incredibly effective deflators for your air bed in no time.

Connect the vacuum’s hose to the open valve on your mattress (you might need some duct tape to secure a perfect seal); switch it into reverse mode or its ‘blow’ setting, and let it suck all that remaining air out.

Is Air Beds worth it?

Yes or no both, air beds are worth investing in if you opt for a high-quality one. They offer adjustable firmness levels, which can cater to various sleep preferences.

Remember that poorly constructed air beds may provide inadequate support, potentially leading to back pains and disrupted sleep.

Substantial air beds can also lead to discomfort. Therefore, the key is looking for an air bed that offers support and comfort to ensure a good night's sleep.

Safety Precautions during Inflation

Safety Precautions during Inflation

When it comes to inflating your air bed, safety is paramount. While it might seem straightforward, various aspects demand attention and must not be overlooked to ensure efficient and safe use of your inflatable bed.

This begins right from the inflation to the usage and deflation stages. Here are the guidelines that pave the way for safe inflation and subsequent usage:

  • Ensure Your Inflation Space is Clear: Before beginning the inflation process, check around to ensure no sharp objects could potentially puncture your air mattress. Be especially mindful about clearing any clutter that could consequently lead to accidents.
  • Fasten the Inflation Valve Firmly: Once you've inflated the mattress, ensure you've securely fastened the inflation valve. Leaving it loose might result in gradual air loss, leading to an uncomfortable sleep experience.
  • Use Appropriate Pump: Stick with a pump supplied by your manufacturer or a compatible one as listed in the product's manual. Trying an incompatible pump may damage the valve fitting or impede proper inflation.
  • Avoid Over-Inflation: Over-inflating your mattress presents risks such as bursting under pressure or decreased lifespan of your air bed over time due to undue stress on its materials.
  • Inspect for Any Leaks: Conduct an initial leak test after successful inflation. Fill up your bathtub with water and submerge areas of suspicion. Bubbles indicate a leak that needs prompt action.
  • Caution against Fire Hazards: Never inflate or place inflated mattresses near open flames or heat sources like radiators or heaters. The material used for air beds is not typically heat-resistant and can present a serious fire hazard if not attended carefully.
  • Avoid Excessive Pressure: Keep sharp objects away from your inflated bed, whether accidentally placed. At the same time, you sleep or feel extreme pressure caused by jumping on it or placing heavy items on top while storing.
  • Placement is Crucial: Place your air bed on as level ground as possible. Not only does this prevent an uneven sleeping surface, but it also minimizes the risks of tilting or rolling off in sleep. Always ensure it's a clean, flat surface to avoid potential damage.
  • Follow Manufacturer Guidelines: Every model comes with specific guidelines from the manufacturer to maintain the integrity of your air bed. Adhering to these can make air bed usage safe, hassle-free, and rewarding.
  • Supervision During Inflation: If you have children around, adult supervision is a must during inflation and deflation environments. If not handled correctly, there's always a risk of injury or accidents with pumps.

Each precaution you take will ensure you get the most out of your air bed while maintaining safety standards and protecting its longevity for many nights of great sleep.

Types and Lifespan of Air Beds

Types and Lifespan of Air Beds

Navigating the wide world of air beds can seem daunting, given the specter of choices available. In addition to size, other factors such as portability, comfort level, and durability should be considered before purchasing an air bed.

Understanding the different types and lifespans of air beds that exist will serve to streamline your buying process. With this in mind, let's dive into helping you identify which choices matches your specific needs and how long you should expect your air bed to last.


Size isn't the only variable when choosing an air bed; the type also makes a difference in comfort, ease of use, and durability.

  • Double-Height – These are essentially two air mattresses stacked on each other. Double-height air beds provide a sense of luxury and ease because they mimic the elevation levels common with regular beds.
  • Self-Inflating – For those looking for ultimate convenience, self-inflating air beds are where it’s at! These essentials remove all manual labor from inflating because they inflate automatically once let out of their packaging or when their valve is opened.
  • Convertible Air Beds – The ultimate in versatility! Convertible air beds offer you not just one but multiple solutions. Likely configured as sofas by day that convert into full-size mattresses by night or vice-versa, depending on the model.

Each type has pros and cons; weigh these against your specific needs - convenience, space considerations, or guest usage frequency - before deciding.


With annual progress in technology comes longer-lasting products. If routinely maintained and cared for properly, a good quality air bed can potentially last five years or more.

Inflating and deflating the mattresses correctly, avoiding over-inflation, staying clear of sharp objects, and storing the bed in a safe and dry place when not in use - are all key elements to increasing the lifespan of your air bed.

FAQs about inflating air bed

Why is my air bed losing air?

Air beds can lose air due to small leaks or changes in temperature, so it's good to check for any signs of damage regularly.

What's the quickest way to inflate an air bed?

An electric air pump is typically the fastest way to inflate your air bed.

Can I use a hairdryer to inflate my air bed?

Yes, but ensure it’s set on cool as heat might damage your mattress; it’s not as efficient as a pump but can serve as a last-resort solution.

How firm should an inflated air bed be?

The firmness depends solely on your comfort level, but avoid overinflation, which can cause damage.

Do I need to fully deflate my air bed before storing it?

Yes, fully deflating the mattress before storage helps maintain its lifespan and prevents potential damage.


As we wrap up this all-in-one guide on inflating an air bed, it's key to remember that knowledge of your air bed type and proper care extends its lifespan.

Whether it's for camping, having guests over, or just for a comfortable night under the stars in your backyard, knowing how to inflate your air bed properly is essential.

While doing this, don't forget to take safety precautions and ensure optimal firmness for comfort. Here's to many restful nights on your perfectly inflated air bed!

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