If your air mattress doesn’t have a built-in pump, or include an external pump with your purchase, then you’d have to seek out a suitable air mattress pump.

In this article, I’ll be going through the most important points you need to consider when choosing an external air pump for your air bed. If you already know what to look for, then you can jump straight to our Top 7 Best Air Mattress Pump Comparison Chart.



Proper air beds often take a specific type of pump, since their air valves can sometimes differ from the types seen on other inflatable products.

However, many air pumps have several universal nozzles that will fit air beds with standard air valves.

There are several different types of air mattress pumps, and your choice will heavily depend on which one is the most convenient for you.

Let’s begin to take a look at the most commonly used air pumps.


Air Pump Types

I’ve broken down each type of air pump below, to highlight the most important factors of each one.

Hand & Foot Air Pumps

  • Uses manual labor is required when using a hand air pump to inflate your air bed.
  • Takes longer to inflate compared to electric air pumps.
  • Quieter than electric air pumps.
  • They’re generally quite inexpensive.
  • Larger or dual-action models will pump more air and speed up inflation.

AC Air Pump

  • Requires an AC socket to work.
  • Can be powerful and will inflate your air mattress quicker than other methods.
  • However, it can be quite loud.

DC Air Pump

  • Requires a DC socket to work, such as cigarette lighter sockets found in cars and motorboats.
  • They’re not as powerful as an AC pump, therefore will take longer to inflate your air bed.
  • Also, can be pretty darn loud.

Battery Powered Air Pump

  • Powered by either D-Cell batteries, or a built-in rechargeable battery (that requires an AC socket to charge).
  • Usually just as powerful as a DC pump, if not more.
  • Yes, expect noise once again.



If the brand of your air mattress also produces air pumps, which is a highly likely scenario, then it makes sense to purchase the same brand of air pump.

This way, you know for sure that it will be compatible with your air bed, regardless of the model of air pump, and it also ensures that the air pump nozzle perfectly fits the air mattress valve, eliminating disconnections and air loss.


Cord Length

If you’re going to go for an AC or DC powered air pump, always remember to check that the cord length is long enough for your needs.

They usually range from around 6 – 9 feet, which is still short, but should be adequate in most situations. However, you may want a longer cord length in camping situations for better convenience, if you’re running power from a vehicle.


Inflation & Deflation Option

Always make sure that the air mattress pump you choose also has a deflation option. The last thing you want is to spend a lot of your time trying to push all the air out of your air bed. Fortunately, most air pumps will already have this as an option.


Valve Fittings

air mattress pump

Air mattress pump with three universal nozzles.

As I mentioned earlier, you won’t have to worry about whether your air mattress pump will be compatible with your air bed, providing that they’re both the same brand. If your air bed is manufactured by Coleman, then get a Coleman pump.

In terms of other air pumps, it’s always better to go for a model that has several universal valve nozzles. If your air bed has a standard air valve, then it will fit, as well as fit other inflatable products such as beach balls and inflatable boats.


Noise Level

If the noise level is a high concern for you, then I would suggest you get a manual hand or foot air pump, since electric pumps are generally quite noisy. Their noise level can be comparable to a handheld vacuum cleaner or a hair dryer.

If you’re pumping the air bed outdoors or during the day time, then the noise level shouldn’t be much of a concern. It only poses a problem if you’re indoors and decide to pump your air bed at unreasonable hours of the night.


Final Thoughts

Most air mattress pumps are relatively inexpensive and simple enough, which should make your decision a bit easier. I hope this article has given you a better idea of what considerations you should make when making your purchase.

There are a wide range of air mattress pumps to choose from, and most of them are not very good. With the help of my researchers, I’ve narrowed down the list to 7 of what we consider to be the best performing models, and displayed them side-by-side in a comparison chart here.