One happy day Mom presented me with an air mattress. “Summer is coming!” she said. “You and your man will certainly go camping with kids, as you always do, so I bought you this excellent mattress because my precious grandkids must not sleep on that lousy sleeping pads!”
“Oh, Mom,” I said. “It is two meters across, how do we suppose to inflate it?”
“With your mouths, as we did in our time!” she said. And added: “You are such a mollycoddle!”
Well, Mom, times had changed since you were young and inflated your air mattresses with nothing but the power of your lungs. Mattresses had changed, too. This particular mattress didn’t even have a proper input to be inflated by lips. Or so it seemed.
So we had to think about an air pump.
List & Comparison of Air Mattress Pumps:
|Coleman 5999C120||~40CFM||Electric, 120V||More Information|
|Etekcity EAP1-AC||21.2CFM||Electric, 110-120 Volt||More Information|
|Intex 68638E||13.4CFM||6 C-cell Battery||More Information|
|Texsport 23115||depends on your own effort||Hand Pump||More Information|
|AIRHEAD AHP-F1||0.5L per stroke||Foot Pump||More Information|
|Coleman 2000012141||21.2CFM||Battery-operated||More Information|
|Coghlan's 0817||13.4CFM||4D Batteries||More Information|
|Drive Medical 14426||depends on your own effort||Manual Pump||More Information|
|AGPtEK air mattress pump||21.2 CFM||Electric, 110V AC/12V DC||More Information|
How to inflate an air mattress with a hand pump?
The first pump we used was a tire pump my dear husband had in the trunk. Because we already have a hand pump, so why bother to buy a new one?
Well, it took us a sheer amount of time and effort to make this monster fully inflated. Our backs were broken. We didn’t even have enough room in the tent for it. But kids were happy to sleep under the open sky on the soft mattress.
The next morning it took us almost half an hour to deflate it.
“Screw the damned thing!” said my dearest. “Rugrats can sleep on pads, as we all do.”
Two rugrats, a boy of 6 and a girl of 4, were dead against. They positively fell in love with Granny’s mattress. We were about to have a mutiny aboard our FIAT.
So we get to the nearest department store and bought ourselves the first cheap Chinese electric air pump we laid our eyes upon. We didn’t even know if it would fit, they didn’t let us check.
“Okay,” I said, “It could get worse. I just read on the Internet how to inflate mattresses with the help of a garbage bag.”
“You must be kidding me.”
“No, I don’t. See the guy doing it on YouTube?”
My darling dear looked at the screen of my smartphone, where the bulky guy waved a spacious thrash bag, filling it with the air, then pressed the neck of a sack to his mattress valve and squeezed, lying on the bag, until the air was entirely in the mattress.
Then my hubby looked at the kids, happily eating hot dogs and said: “Don’t give them an idea. They would piss their pants seeing us doing that.”
How to inflate an air mattress with an electric pump?
The model we’ve bought had a car plug-in adapter (actually, that’s why we chose it). The manual was surprisingly understandable, though its author called air mattress “cushion”. We removed the protective cup from the air input, placed the right nozzle onto the pump output, then we inserted the nozzle into the air input of the mattress, plugged the electric pump into the 12V socket and turned the thing on.
It was quite a weak pump and it took 20 minutes to inflate the mattress. But at least we didn’t have to do anything. We just sat and happily glared how the thing swells, like a yeast dough, until it was bouncing tight.
How to deflate an air mattress with an electric pump?
That was the same easy. There was an air input on top of the pump, so we only had to put the nozzle on it, insert it into the air input on the mattress, and voila, it deflated our mattress while we were dismantling the tent.
Being relieved from inflating and deflating the mattress by hands, by mouth or even by a trash bag, we started to love it. We claimed it from kids to swim on it in the sea, we slept on it with them, we took it home to serve as a children’s bed even when a schooltime began, until one day it popped from heavy use.
“Barbarians,” my Mom said. “So much for presenting you anything!”
Since that time our rugrats have grown up, I happily divorced and married anew, and alas, Mom is no longer with us. The pump was given to someone since we didn’t need it anymore.
One day I thought about going camping with my daughter, a pretty active and sporty girl, devoted rock-climber. Since I am too old for sleeping on a pad, I decided to buy myself an air mattress and an electric pump along with it.
The choice of a mattress was simple: I was interested in small dimensions, low weight. It was a simple one-person INTEX model for 14 euros. But the pump was another matter. Let’s put it this way: since those days, pumps made a progress, too.
Review of the Best Air Mattress Pumps:
Since the mattress was Intex, I typed “Intex” in the search box. And that’s what I had: a small pump for a reasonable price, very much like the one we had back then. Except it doesn’t have a Car Plug-in Adapter, one has to buy it separately. Power is 110 – 120 volt, and that/s enough for inflating not only mattresses but also airbeds, rafts, pools and so on.
There are three interchangeable nozzles, and the top air input can be used for deflating things. I may consider it as an option if I buy an adapter.
Coleman is another respected name in the world of camping and outdoor leisure activity. The price is unessentially higher, and at the same time, approximate air flow is almost twice higher. It is said that the item can work with Double Lock Valve, Boston Valve, and Pinch Valve systems, God knows what they are, but the versatility is good.
It has also adapters for each type of valve. And it has a handle of a sort, which makes carrying it easier. People use it not only for inflating things, but I have also seen a picture of a guy using it as a bellows on a makeshift forge. It is pretty powerful for such a small thing.
But it is quite noisy and one can not feed it from the 12V socket, you could damage your converter and your car fuse. Thus, not an option for me. But for anyone else, it looks pretty sound.
It is by half more expensive than the previous two, but still a bestseller, maybe, for a reason. It does what the Intex pump does, but the manual says it can be only used indoors and must be turned off after 10 minutes of work, to prevent overheating. So, definitely not for me.
This thing interested me a lot because it can work on batteries. For a person intended to go outdoors, it is a great option. It is weaker than any aforementioned model, but since my mattress is small, it’s OK. And it’s great because I won’t depend on my daughter’s boyfriend and his car.
Hmm, but the absence of other charging options bothers me a little. I’ll browse further in case I find something better, but if not, I will return to this option.
OK, since I value my independence so much, maybe I should turn to my own resources? Yes, my first experience with them was quite unpleasant, but maybe our pump was just bad?
OK, the item is quite big, and I don’t really like it. Though it is light. And it has a large volume, which will fasten the work. People say it’s durable, but… Well, I still don’t like the idea of handwork. How about footwork?
It looks nice and promises much. You don’t need batteries or plug-ins. You don’t need to bend your back. You just stay and press the pump with your foot, until the job is done. It is flat and light, so it will easily fit into my backpack.
Three adapters for different kinds of valves are here alright, and the hose is 54” long. 0,5 liters per stroke makes like… 400 strokes to inflate my mattress, which sounds… well, not so good. Let’s admit it: I am lazy.
I don’t mind walking the mountains all day, but inflate and deflate a mattress after that – I would avoid it if I could. Must be great for people with kayaks and towables. But I still look for something better.
The word ‘rechargeable”, that was what drew my attention to the item. It is cordless, compatible with my valves and other kinds of valves, like double-lock and Boston, and even pinch valves. It has a rechargeable plug-in transformer which is just great.
It is small, it weighs less than a pound and people say more than two beds of double size can be inflated or deflated in one charge. They mention even the bigger items, like floating islands. But it takes more than 8 hours to charge and it doesn’t have a 12V adapter.
Moreover, it cannot work when plugged in (which suits me alright, but maybe unhandy for the people who would buy it for the domestic use). And it is quite loud (again, I am totally OK with that, since I go camping, but people who would use this home might find that uncomfortable).
Let’s see what this thingie can do. Huh, batteries are not included, that’s why the price is so low. It works with Polaroid D Batteries, easily accessible, which is good, but a pack of them (12 pieces) costs more than the thing itself.
Maximum PSI pressure rate: 0.42, which is OK for me. Fits with most inflatables’ valves, good. One set of batteries (4 pieces) can inflate one full queen air mattress 5 times at least, more than enough for me, because my mattress is way smaller. Weighs 13.4 ounces, which is good, too. I really like it.
Besides, they have a rechargeable version, which is better than the previous. Well, let’s consider some other options before making a final choice.
I swore to myself not even look again at the manual pumps, but this one seemed special to me. It’s only 12 x 3 x 3 inches and weighs 0.96 ounces. I can strap it onto my backpack and forget it exists until the time comes to inflate my mattress.
But when I looked at the price, I said “no”. For that price, I would not buy a thing that makes me do all the work. I’d better pay more and have the thing that does all the work for me.
It has both a car power adapter and a home power adapter but is not rechargeable, which is not good. Mostly it does what every pump does. They advertise it like something ve-e-ery special, though it is not.
It has 3 interchangeable nozzles, like any decent pump, but they boast them like it’s the only pump in the world to have them. And it cannot be used unplugged which makes it a poor choice for outdoor activity. I only considered it because of the car power adapter which makes it possible to use in a camp.
But still, having your mattress inflated near the car, you have to carry it to the tent, and sometimes it is not a short way. And again, it is OK for me, because my mattress is comparatively small, but those big queen sized double deckers are definitely not the things to carry around. It’s nothing but the average pump, which is not bad at all, just not for me.
So, which air mattress pump is the best?
Well, there is no such thing as the objectively best pump. Every customer has their own purposes, and it is for them to decide which pump serves those purposes the best. I can only tell what is best for me and my purposes, and at the end of the day, it is Coghlan’s Electric Air Pump. It meets my every demand: small, light, works on batteries and thrives long enough. And the price was important, too.
But other people may have other demands. A person that works in a fitness-center and inflates fitness balls every day, is totally OK with a cheap plugged-in pump, as well as the family that only needs it to inflate airbeds and pools. But a person who wants to inflate a huge raft in the wilderness would gladly pay $50 for a powerful rechargeable unit. So, make your choice in accordance with your needs, and that would be the best. I wish you to spend a good time either in the house pool or outdoors, having fun with your inflatables blown by your pumps.
As for me, I will wait for my order from Amazon, pack it into my backpack along with the tent and the mattress, and join my baby girl’s company to spend a week in The Tatras. Hope 12 batteries will do and the pump will come in good repair, for God knows I would hate to inflate that mattress with my mouth.
Oh, I forgot. A thrash bag is still an option!