How to Inflate an Airbed

Written by nicole schmoll
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How to Inflate an Airbed
Airbeds can provide comfortable alternatives to traditional mattresses in temporary sleeping situations. (bed image by Kirsten Alexander from

When you're in need of a temporary sleeping situation, an airbed is a pleasant alternative to sleeping on the floor or in a sleeping bag. Like rafts or other inflatable devices, such as children's pools and flotation devices, airbeds inflate with air that is pumped into the mattress by a hand-operated or battery-powered pump.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Airbed
  • Electric or hand pump

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  1. 1

    Remove the airbed from its packaging and unroll it so that it lays flat on the floor. Position the deflated airbed near an electrical socket and in the room or space where you intend to use it.

  2. 2

    Locate the airbed's valve. All airbeds have valves that protrude from the mattress and are made to accommodate a stem from an air pump. The valve is the spot on the airbed where inflation will occur.

  3. 3

    Inflate the air bed with a hand-powered or electrical air pump. If the pump is electrical, it will have an electrical cord attached to it on one end while the other end of the pump will contain a spout that connects into the airbed's valve. Connect the spout into the airbed valve, plug the pump into the outlet and turn the power switch on. You will hear a battery begin and should be able to see the airbed begin to inflate. If your pump is hand-powered, it will have a spout on one end and a lever on the other that you must compress with your hand or foot. Connect the spout into the airbed valve and begin compressing air into the airbed by pressing down on the lever with your hand or foot. You should see the airbed begin to fill with air within a few minutes. A twin-size mattress should fill with an electrical pump in about 10 minutes or double that for a hand pump.

  4. 4

    Inflate the airbed until you hear a hissing sound. When you hear air begin to release from the airbed's valve and the airbed itself looks quite full with no give in the seams, you have filled the airbed to capacity and need to turn off the electrical pump or stop compressing air into it with your hand or foot. Remove the pump's spout from the airbed valve and shut the valve by pressing its cover into the valve hole. It is normal for a slight amount of air to release during this process. Press the protruding valve into the airbed.

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