The following air beds are PVC-free (polyvinyl chloride-free) and are made of safer plastics that have less odor and are better tolerated by the chemically sensitive.
TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) is a PVC-free plastic. Higher grades do not contain plasticizers like phthalates. It’s abrasion-resistant, light, durable, and less prone to stretching or ballooning than PVC. Chemically sensitive folks may need to offgas TPU outside for a number of days, depending on individual sensitivities. Just don’t leave it in the sun for too long as it can degrade. It’s certainly preferred to PVC (polyvinyl chloride) for sensitive folks (PVC air beds also contain plasticizers like phthalates).
Polyester is laminated onto TPU air beds to give a soft but non-slippery texture to the bed. Polyester is extremely low in offgassing and may need to be aired out before use by extremely sensitive folks.
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1. BeyondHOME Odorless TPU Air Mattress
The BeyondHOME Air Mattress is made of a TPU plastic core and a polyester fabric top layer. It is PVC-Free and they say it is odorless.
- Proposition 65 warning – Yes
- Features: Vertical coil column structure inside. This mattress is simple to inflate and deflate with a built-in pump.
- Size: Queen
- Thickness: 15, 18 or 22 inches
Reviews: Reviews say it is odorless, firm, and holds air well. Durable material won’t be easily punctured. Downside is that if the built-in pump stops working you can no longer use it (though the company will replace it if it’s within their warranty time).
2. Intex Comfort Dura-Beam Polyester Airbed
This Intex airbed is made of polyester and one of my most chemically sensitive friends really likes this one.
- Proposition 65 warning – No
- Features: Horizontal air chambers inside with a pillow top-like design. Built-in 120V pump will inflate and deflate the airbed with the switch of a button.
- Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King
- Thickness: 13, 18 and 22 inches
Reviews: Apart from the thumbs up from an extremely sensitive friend, other reviews say there is no weird smell and it’s firm. The twin size is unstable and uncomfortable compared to the queen says one reviewer. Downside: Some say it didn’t hold air for long (while some reviews say it did).
3. Lightspeed Outdoors Deluxe 2-Person TPU Air Bed
My first camping air bed since becoming chemically sensitive was the Lightspeed air mattress made of polyester Oxford fabric laminated with TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). It’s PVC-free and phthalate-free. Many other chemically sensitive folks have recommended it. In my opinion, when I was still highly sensitive, it offgassed quickly (with 2 days in the sun. Though don’t leave it in the sun for too long as it can degrade). It’s good quality but not the most comfortable air bed for my back.
It’s no longer officially made and sold by Lightspeed but it’s still available through many other sellers.
- Proposition 65 warning – Yes, but they wouldn’t say what for because it’s discontinued.
- Features: Independent connectors between the top and bottom layers help evenly distribute weight. Included a battery-operated pump and built-in Boston valve.
- Size: 79 x 55 inches (close to a Full sized mattress, smaller than a queen)
- Thickness: 7 inches.
Reviews: Lasts a long time before it gives out – many reviewers have used it for years, not smelly, holds air well. Downside is that this is more of a camping-style airbed and is not as comfortable as some other options.
Alternative: I ended up buying the Therma-Rest Mondo King XXL camping mat which I personally found to be much more comfortable than this air mattress. The Mondo King does have some polyurethane foam in it. It also is air-filled. The outer material is polyester and when I was highly sensitive I had to air it out for a couple of weeks before use.
4. The Alps Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed
The Alps Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed is very similar in style and materials to the Lightspeed option above. It’s made from TPU coated in polyester fabric and is a camping-style air mattress. It’s PVC-free.
- Proposition 65 warning – Yes
- Features: Built-in coil system distributes weight. Included battery-operated pump.
- Size: 56 x 80 inches (Almost a queen)
- Thickness: 6 inches.
Reviews: Holds air well for long periods of time, is comfortable, doesn’t smell. Downsides: One person said it leaked.
Similar: The Kelty Kush Queen Air Bed is similar to the above two in materials and style. And it’s the same size as the Alps.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.