Futon vs Air Mattress: A Detailed Comparison

Choosing a new bed for the guestroom or even the master bedroom can be challenging, especially if you are bootstrapped. 

But thankfully, there are two budget options you can opt for, an air mattress or a futon.

But, futon vs air mattress debate is not an easy one to settle. Both have its own benefits and drawbacks.

And that’s why your troubles don’t end here; you have to choose between the two, and many find this difficult. But don’t fret; on this piece, we offer you the ultimate help in choosing between an air mattress and a futon. 

Futon vs Air Mattress
Futon vs Air Mattress: An End to the Debate

Let’s start with the most basic question.

Futon Vs Air Mattress (What is the difference)

Futons come closest in offering the comfort of a regular bed. If you buy a bit expensive futon, you will get inspiring a wrapped in memory foam or cotton. 

However, air mattresses are made from vinyl and have a covering made from velvet-based material.

What is a futon? 

Futons initially originated in Japan in the 1700s. Japanese futons feature a simple design; these are thinly padded and unroll easily on the floor.

However, modern futons have significantly evolved. These can be compared to low-profile couches and has intricate work, available in multiple sizes. Besides, multifunctional futons can also be used as both a bed and sofa. 

What is a futon

Features of Futons

Price point

Futons are highly affordable and budget-friendly than traditional beds. However, these are not as inexpensive as air mattresses. You can expect to pay $100 for a standard futon, whereas a good quality air mattress will cost you around $10. Having said that, futons are more comfortable than air beds. 

Most futons are cotton beds and are easy to clean. If there are any spots or stains on the cover, you can easily unzip it, and machine wash it. However, spot cleaning is always recommended.


Futons are famous for their shapes and sizes, and there are multiple variations. Thus, many people prefer these to decorate the guest rooms.

If you don’t have the budget or space to install the metal frames, you can always have a futon installed that closely resembles a fancy couch and doubles as a bed! Incorporating futons in the bedroom is relatively easy, but you might pay a bit extra for the look you are trying to create.


Besides design and comfort, the firmness variety of the futons makes it a popular choice. You can choose between soft, medium, or extra firm futons.

However, the choice will depend on your preferred sleeping position. If you are a back sleeper, you will want something to support your spine well. This is one thing air mattresses often fail to do.

Futon Pros and Cons


  • Extremely versatile, it can be used as both beds and folded to resemble a couch.
  • Available in multiple sizes and variety.
  • Premium quality and durable.
  • Stylish looks.


  • Quality futons are a bit expensive.
  • Cleaning is challenging.
  • Assembly required.
  • Often heavy.

What is an Air mattress

Air mattresses are often known as blow-up or inflatable beds, and they are literally so.

Filled with air, these beds are lightweight, portable, and inexpensive. But should you be getting this? Let’s find out.

What is an Air mattress

Features of Air Mattresses


Obviously, an air mattress is more budget-friendly than a futon. You only have to spend around $50 for a full-size air bed. However, the price point cannot be the only deciding factor between a futon and an air bed. But, if you are looking to have an air bed irrespective of the price advantage, buying one with a frame should give you better comfort. 


Unlike futons, air beds don’t have different firmness levels; however, when inflating the unit, you can alter the firmness. The more you blow, the firmer the bed gets, as a rule of thumb. This makes air beds ideal for those with back pains. If you feel the bed is losing firmness, add some more air. However, blowing up an air bed in the middle of the night is easier said than done.


When it comes to air mattresses, you only get the option of stellar design when you purchase one with a frame. Generally, air beds come in solid colors like tan or blue. Of course, you can add some edge to it with some fun sheets or comforters. But at the end of the day, it’s simply a mattress on the floor.


You can carry an air bed with you, and that’s the extent of versatility when it comes to air mattresses. However, they are available in multiple sizes. If you are taking it out camping, ensure there is an outlet close by, or you have to inflate the unit manually, and you surely don’t want that!

Pros and cons of air mattresses


  • It can be deflated and stored anywhere.
  • The unit is not expensive.
  • Lightweight.


  • It is not highly durable.
  • Air beds are not as comfortable as futons.
  • These provide less support.

Futon vs Air Mattress: Other considerations

After having a clear picture of the two options, your choice should be clear based on your needs. However, there are a few other points that you should consider. 


There is not much you can do about the sizes when it comes to futons. However, air mattresses are available in multiple sizes and shapes.

Though some air beds come with a frame, most of them are vinyl air beds. That means you can deflate them easily and store them away. Though futons also come in many size options, they are standalone furniture that needs sufficient space.

Comfort level

If you want bed-like comfort, then a futon with a frame and sturdy springs is your best bet. However, such a comfort level will come for a price. On the other hand, air beds don’t offer that kind of comfort, and many find it hard to sleep or sit on them for prolonged periods since the air mattresses don’t have coils.

Comparison table

FutonsAir beds
A bit challenging to cleanRelatively easy to clean
These are difficult to movePortable and easy to carry
A bit expensiveAffordable
Pumps or noisy power machines not requiredRequires pump to blow up

Even though we have highlighted the basic difference between the two, there’s always a chance for some more questions. Thus we have handpicked a few FAQs for you to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How to make a futon or air bed more comfortable?

The choice of bedding will determine your comfort level. The first step is to get a soft and comfortable sheet along with well-supported pillows. However, if you think the sleeping surface is too soft and lacks support, getting a mattress topper or a pad will be ideal. 

Many people have combined a mattress with a futon for added comfort, and the results have been promising.

2. Futon vs. air bed, which is ideal for camping? 

Air beds are the best choice for camping. While futons are comfortable, they are heavy to carry, even the thin ones. Besides, since these are hard to clean, taking them on a camping trip may not be a good decision. 


So which is the best in this debate of futon vs air mattress?

The answer depends on your requirements! If you are looking for a unit to replace your bed and want something urban and contemporary, a futon is your bed choice. However, if you are looking for a quick solution to take out camping or to spread for the night for sudden guests, air mattresses are your best bet

So, go ahead and make a choice!

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