Can You Put an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame? How To Do It Safely

It is not a good idea to put an air mattress on a bed frame due to the risk of damaging and deflating it. The wood or metal slats, the two popular materials used in bed frames, may puncture it, causing it to lose air over time.

However, if you must use a bed frame with your air mattress, you can consider using a solid platform or a box bed. Also, you can use some plywood over the slats to prevent direct contact and damage.

Air mattresses are, on most occasions, used as a backup for a makeshift bed. However, if you decide to make it your main mattress, read on and learn more about the appropriate bed frame.

Can You Put an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame?

There are many reasons people prefer air mattresses over other options. Some include their ability to release back pains and prevent injuries like decubitus ulcers. However, this mattress type is not a popular choice and is often used to make makeshift beds.

That doesn’t mean they are not used since most doctors prescribe them to patients with various conditions. Also, their flexibility makes them popular among campers.

However, if you’re using the air mattress as your everyday option, you may consider using a bed frame. The sad news is that a regular bed frame may not be compatible.

But why? Here are various reasons why a bed frame is not preferable when using an air mattress.

  • Risk of damage

Damage is the major reason experts discourage putting an air mattress in a bed frame. The frame edges and the slats may puncture the air mattress, causing it to deflate. A punctured mattress requires replacement which means buying another one.

  • Interference with comfort

Bed slats are between 2.0 and 3.0 inches which may be too wide for less dense air mattresses. Unlike memory foam or hybrid mattresses, the user may feel the slats through the mattress. If you intend to lie down comfortably, the slats may interfere with that plan.

  • Shorter lifespan

The polyvinyl chloride material used on most air mattresses is durable but less so if not taken care of. The slats and bed frame may cause uneven wear on the mattress, which reduces its lifespan.

  • Too high bed

Some air mattresses are denser, and if added to the bed frame, the overall height may become too high. The ideal length of most beds and mattresses and the frame should be between 18 and 30 inches. If more, it may become uncomfortable to sit or get on, especially if the user is old.

How to Use an Air Mattress on a Bed Frame

Despite the strong points against using a bed frame, there’re ways to do it safely. These ways include improving the bed frame with various alternatives. These alternatives include;

  1. Use plywood

If you already have a bed frame with slats, you can use plywood to minimize the chances of damage. Prepare plywood to fit the bed frame enough to cover all the slats and set it on them. Avoid any splinted edges on the plywood that may poke and damage the mattress.

  • Use a Sleeping Pad

A foam sleeping pad is another cheap way that allows you to use an air mattress on a bed frame. The foam pad provides protection for the air mattress from punctures while also adding more warmth.

  • Use a solid platform as a mattress foundation.

If you’ve not yet shopped for the bed frame, shop for a solid platform frame instead of slats. This solid platform provides an even distribution of mattress weight, just like when the mattress is set on the floor.

  • Use a Foam Mat

A foam mat’s size can be customized, which allows it to fit any bed frame and mattress. The thickness of the mattress also varies, which also allows you to choose the one ideal for your situation.

  • Use a box spring

A box spring consists of a wooden or steel frame box with springs. You can use the box spring as a mattress foundation because it’s softer than a solid platform and plywood alternatives. However, the box spring is noisier and less durable than the other two.

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Pros and Cons of Using a Bed Frame with an Air Mattress

Now that you know how you can safely use the bed frame with your air mattress, you should run the advantages and disadvantages. The pros and cons of using a bed frame with an air mattress include the following.


  1. Better Height: If the bed frame and the mattress height are ideal, they can provide better sitting. To achieve this, you may need to use a custom-made bed frame.
  2. No Dust Interference: Sleeping on the floor may allow dust to get on your mattress and affect you. With a bed frame, dust cannot interfere with your sleep and cause health problems like rhinitis reaction.
  3. Additional Comfort: If you opted for a spring box as the alternative bed frame, you can benefit from the spring’s firmness. The extra firmness can also make you more comfortable.


  1. Damage risk: If you use the wrong bed frame, you may damage the mattress over time, costing you replacement money.
  2. Risk of Falling: If the mattress is thick and inflated to the fullest, the person may slip and fall on the floor while sleeping.  

Alternative Solutions for Using an Air Mattress

Alternative Solutions for Using an Air Mattress

If, after learning the pros and cons, you determine the air mattress is not worth the trouble, you can consider other solutions. These alternative solutions include

  1. Use a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam is a popular type of mattress and is well known for its ability to distribute body weight. Unlike air mattresses, it can go with most bed frames, including those fitted with slats.

  • Use a Hybrid mattress

Hybrid mattresses are among the pricier options but provide better comfort because of the multiple layers. This type is also compatible with most bed frames, which saves you the trouble of finding a suitable one.

  • Consider Custom Made Frames

If you opted for a bed frame because of the low mattress height, you can opt for a custom frame. A custom bed frame should fit the mattress just right and be at an ideal height. However, remember to use solid and even mattress support to minimize damage risk.

  • Use a Rug

A rug can be a cheap alternative if dust is the reason you consider a bed frame. The frame should ensure the mattress stays clean and dust doesn’t get to you when sleeping.


Though air mattresses have many merits, their compatibility with bed frames is among their weaknesses. To be specific, bed frames that contain slats as the mattress support. As you now know, these bed frames can puncture or decrease the lifespan of the air mattress.

However, if you use either of the suggested alternatives in the article, you may be able to enjoy your air mattress. Also, if it comes to replacing it altogether, you can consider the few suggestions above.

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Rene C. Evans

Hi, I'm Rene C. Evans author and owner of this website. Though this website is not related to manufacturing company of mattresses but I extensively studying, and analyzing mattresses and inform you solutions regarding mattress problem that will help you to take rest properly.

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