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Can You Fill an Air Mattress with Water (Genius or Crazy?)

Most people are aware of the extra comfort provided by water beds compared to air ones. So, it’s natural to wonder if filling an air mattress with water is a smart trick.

The quick answer is no. It’s an absolutely terrible idea.

An air mattress inflates using the power of breath. The mattress has widely available air chambers that are pumped up with an electric or manual pump. The material of the mattress can be vinyl, cloth, or rubber.

The material of the mattress is comfortable and flexible. An air mattress is typically made of one sheet, but it can have two sheets that are sewn together into an extra layer for insulation or warmth.

A water bed mattress, also known as a hydrostatic or viscoelastic mattress, inflates using the power of fluid pressure. The mattress sits on top of a water base, which is filled with water. The water prevents the mattress from indenting under weight, unlike an air mattress.

A water bed typically has two sheets that are sewn together into an extra layer for insulation or warmth.

Waterbeds were once the height of luxury. In fact, they are still pretty popular in some parts of the world.

But have you ever thought of filling an air mattress with water? It’s a terrible idea!

In this article, we are going to see why filling an air mattress with water is an awful idea. We will also look for better solutions to make your air mattress more comfortable.

Do Not Fill Your Air Bed with Water

An air mattress is an inflatable bed. They have been used by campers, hikers and even in disaster relief for a long time.

You should never—under any circumstance—fill an air mattress with water. For a very simple reason: you are going to destroy the mattress.

Water is a lot heavier than air, so when you are done filling the mattress (if it hasn’t already broken down by then), lying on it is going to crack the mattress’ material open under water’s pressure.

You are basically creating a mattress-sized water bomb. The mattress might look fine once you’re done filling it. But try to step on it or lie on it, and you’ll see water leaking from the lower surface, making the mattress unusable.

This is especially true for vinyl air mattress. They are much more likely to break under the weight of water, resulting in an embarrassing accident when you least expect it.

Since air mattresses aren’t treated, the water inside them would rot the mattress’ material, which is awful.

Water is also problematic because air beds aren’t treated to avoid mold from forming. Mold is dangerous to us, and you don’t want to give it additional breeding ground. Water beds are treated to avoid mold from forming. But it’s unlikely your air mattress survived the water filling. This is still a point we want to stress because someone might try to fill their mattress then leave it unattended for days before using it.

If all of that wasn’t enough, consider also how uncomfortable your mattress is going to be. It’s going to be freezing. Air mattresses aren’t insulated, so water is going to freeze inside of the mattress.

Also, if you are using an electric pump, it’s probably not waterproof. So, once you’re filled up all that water into your mattress… good luck getting it out again without damaging something.

If for whatever reason this idea still sounds appealing to you or someone else in your household, we suggest getting a water bed instead.

Editor’s note: Why would you want to fill an air bed with water? Air beds are comfortable, cheap, and durable. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you absolutely must, buy a water bed to begin with.

Water Beds Are Better for Filling with Water

A waterbed is an insulated mattress filled with fluid, usually plain or treated water. The surface of the mattress has two sheets: one made of vinyl and another to cover it and insulate from icy surfaces.

The material inside is made of rubber or cloth, which is waterproof.

The fluid inside the mattress provides support under weights that are much higher than what an air mattress can handle. This means it won’t crack open if you fill it with water because designers have already considered this when they constructed your bed.

Water also provides a better insulation. The water inside the mattress doesn’t freeze that easily, so you won’t have to worry about your bed smelling like a wet dog in winter time when you use it outdoors.

Water beds are better for filling with water because they can handle more weight and don’t need electricity to be filled up or emptied again. They also provide insulation, which is very helpful if you’re planning to lie down on your bed outdoors during winter.

Waterbeds are also easier to clean because we can turn them inside out for a full wash. You should still follow the washing instructions of the manufacturer though, as this might vary depending on model and brand.

You should never fill your air mattress with water because it isn’t made for this purpose and the material will crack open if you try. It’s also unsafe to use an electric pump near or in contact with water, so filling up your bed is going to be difficult without damaging something.

How to Get the Most out of Your Air Mattress

You shouldn’t fill your air mattress with water. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your sleeping experience.

There is a reason air mattresses have been used for so long. They are reliable and offer a great sleeping experience at a cheap price.

Here’s how you can ensure a great sleeping experience.

Buy a New Air Mattress

If your mattress is old, it’s likely it’s declined. Plus, new air mattresses have gone through many improvements over the years. They are cheap and will last you a lifetime if you perform maintenance on them. You can find excellent air mattresses in many online and offline stores. Get one from a shop that offers a long refund time so you can let your body adapt to it before making a definitive decision.

Change the Bedding

A mattress by itself won’t do much to improve your sleeping experience. It will be more comfortable and you’ll sleep better if you use the right bedding: a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and one or two duvets (depending on the season). You can also get yourself some pillows; those are also very important for keeping your spine straight and keeping you from waking up with a sore back.

Get an Air Pump

Having the right accessories is just as important as having quality bedding. If your mattress doesn’t have its own pump—or if it does but breaks down over time (which happens more often than not)—you can buy yourself one of those handy air pumps. They are pretty cheap, and will help you inflate your mattress more easily than blowing it up manually with your mouth (which is also tiring).

Warning: leave no electric pump unattended while in use! Make sure there’s no risk of liquid getting into its motor or other parts before using it to inflate your air bed, and never plug an outdoor pump into a power source that isn’t properly grounded.

Go for a Good Mattress Protector

Many people will tell you that going for a waterproof mattress is the best way to keep your bedding clean and dry, but they’re wrong. Protectors are much more effective at doing this task because they adapt better to your body’s movements while sleeping. They also provide an additional layer of comfort, so it won’t bother you when you move around at night.

Also Read: Best Waterproof Mattress Protector to Save You from Wet Accidents

Keep Your Mattress away from Sun and Humidity

Sunlight, high humidity levels and other elements can damage air mattresses (and most fabrics). If possible, keep them out of direct sunlight; if not, make sure they’re covered with a waterproof protector before putting any bedding on top of them.

Turn Your Mattress Regularly

This will help ensure the air inside remains evenly distributed, and make sure it doesn’t start leaking from some parts or becoming unusually bloated in others. You should also regularly check for any punctures that might have appeared during use; if you’re lucky enough to discover them early on, repair them with a patch kit.

Regularly Clean Your Mattress

You should do this once every two months, depending on the use you give it—the more often you sleep in it and move around, the faster dust accumulates inside! Vacuum cleaners work well to clean air mattresses; just be gentle and not to puncture them with the vacuum’s beater bar.

If you use your mattress mostly for indoor sleeping, consider adding an electric blanket or a heating pad on top of it if there’s risk of cold. It will work just like any other electric blanket and keep your bed warm while in use. But remember: never leave such appliances unattended, and make sure you’ve removed your bedding before plugging it in.

Inflate Your Mattress Indoors

This will keep the surrounding air inside warmer (which is good for avoiding cold) and prevent dust from getting into the mattress’ valves or other parts. Also, remember to deflate it before moving around too much, as doing so might damage it.

Cover Your Mattress

Put a cover over your mattress if you plan on storing it for over two weeks at a time. Air mattresses are best stored lying flat, but never in direct sunlight or too close to any source of heat (as this will cause the air inside to expand and break them). If possible, place them in a cool, dry place where they won’t be exposed to dust or humidity.

Before Storing the Mattress Away…

Always keep your mattress clean and free of any liquid spills before storing it away for over two weeks at a time. If you cannot do so, the liquid will expand with time as it absorbs more air from the surrounding atmosphere, and might cause your mattress to burst.

If you’re using the air bed outdoors, place a waterproof cover over it before closing it up for storage or transport. You can also purchase one of those handy inflatable pillows that double as covers when inflated properly; just make sure not to leave them unattended while still open! Also remember that you should never sit on an air mattress outdoors; the weight of your body might damage it.

Editor’s note: Don’t forget to clean your air bed when using it outdoors. Dust and dirt will accumulate much more quickly in such places, so give it a proper vacuuming (especially if you’ve used sand or mud) before storing it away for more than a few days.

Doing all of this will improve your sleeping experience. Plus, it is much more sustainable than filling the mattress with water.


Filling an air mattress with water is foolish. All that’s going to do is ruin the mattress for good. There’s a reason water beds are much more expensive than air mattresses. They need additional treatment to work properly.

Water is going to ruin the air mattress. That’s just a fact of life. But there are advantages to picking an air mattress.

Air mattresses are much more durable than water ones. Imagine the frame of a water bed just filled with water! If that isn’t fragile, I don’t know what is. Think about how much strength it would take to lie on it. The frame might be strong enough to handle this for a while, but eventually it’s going to wear down. One day you’re lying in bed and BOOM! You can hear the panel collapse as your entire body weight collapses on it.

Air mattresses don’t usually have this problem because they do not require liquid to fill them up and hold their shape. The liquid inside a water mattress will expand as time goes by and absorb more air from the atmosphere, which will cause it to rupture if not taken care of properly.

An air mattress is much more sustainable than a water bed, because you can use it for many years without needing to replace it or refill the liquid inside. They require much less maintenance.

Another advantage of air mattresses is that they are much easier to inflate than water ones, so you don’t have to worry about tools or pumps. All it takes is a little breath of air and your bed will be ready for use! And if the mattress leaks over time due to wear and tear, there’s no need to refill them with anything, since all that’s inside an air mattress is air.

Water beds need to be taken care of and refilled every so often. They also take a long time to inflate and deflate since you’ll have to use an electric pump for this purpose. So, it’s much more practical and sustainable to pick out an air mattress over a water one.

Ultimately, there is no better mattress. There is the best mattress for you and your situation.

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