The 5 Best Alternating Pressure Mattresses [Ranked]
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Medical air pressure mattresses help to provide automatically alternating pressure engineered to prevent, treat and manage the formation of pressure ulcers.
Keep in mind that these cannot replace the manual movement of patients to prevent bed sores- it is a useful complement to best medical practices regarding bedsore prevention.
They are typically designed with robust air bubbles, commonly numbering well over 100, to provide stability, support and weight displacement.
The Vive Alternating Pressure Mattress Is a great option- it ships with an electric pump that is under warranty for a year, which lets you adjust the pressure to help you or a loved one regulate airflow that will provide you the best quality sleep possible.
These alternating pressure mattresses are pain-relieving aids that can help to treat pressure spots, general body soreness areas, as well as pressure ulcers- and the Vive can support users up to 300 pounds.
Our Top Pick: The Vive Alternating Pressure Mattress
The Vive is 36" wide by 78" long and once it is inflated is about 3" thick.
The average hospital bed itself is generally around 36" x 80", which means that this Vive alternating pressure mattress is a great fit for in-home hospital beds.
If you don't have a hospital bed, a twin mattress that measures 38" x 75" would be a pretty good fit as an alternative.
If you don't have a hospital bed, and are using this alternating pressure mattress on a regular bed, to good idea to get a yoga mat beneath the pressure mattress to prevent it from slipping.
Let's take a look at five of the best-selling alternating pressure mattress is available on the market today.
|Alternating Pressure Mattresses||Our Rating||Price|
|The Drive Medical Med Aire Alternating Pressure Pump and Pad System Review||4.6||$|
|The Vive Alternating Pressure Mattress||4.5||$|
|The Lumex Alternating Pressure Pad Mattress System||4.2||$$|
|The Masonair Alternating Pressure Mattress System||4.4||$$|
|The Invacare microAIR Alternating Pressure Mattress Review||3.7||$$$$|
The 5 Best Alternating Pressure Mattresses
The 130 bubble-cell, adjustable hardness Med Aire pressure pad is an effective and well-designed option that comes with its own repair kit. Its users love that it is great at inflating and deflating its bubble cells every five minutes to provide relief from, and prevention of, pressure sores, but also note that when it is fully inflated it can be difficult for the user to get off the bed unattended due to the added height.
The Med Aire bubble pad measures 78” x 36” x 2.5” and can easily be fitted onto a bed with special hooks. This cushioned mattress is a solid option if you are looking for a cheap and comfortable pressure pad.
The general consensus of users of the the Med Aire bubble mattress system is that it is cheaper than most memory foam options, and so quiet that it is barely noticed. Its inflating and deflating cells helped one user to recover from a complicated Stage 3 pressure sore. One user is critical of the time it takes for the pressure mattress to inflate, while another advises to be gentle with the on/off switch, but adds that this does not seem to be too much of an issue.
A feature that one reviewer rates highly is that the cord from the pump is really long, so users are not limited to placing the bed near a wall or socket.
The variable pressure, heavy duty vinyl Vive pressure pad is a good option that, with its electric pump, is easy to set up and use. Its users like that it is great at fitting on an in-home hospitable bed or normal mattress, but also note that it can slip around a little. The Vive inflatable mattress comes with a 90-day warranty and a year-long warranty for the electric pump.
This bubble pad is a good option if you are looking for a pressure-reducing mattress that easily fits into your day-to-day life.
One reviewer who purchased the Vive pressure pad says that the device’s subtle noise and the easy way they can pack it up and set it up again when traveling and staying in hotels means that it is a convenient option. The consensus view is that it is effective in preventing stress sores, alternating pressure every six minutes.
One user suggests placing a yoga mat underneath to prevent slippage, and most others add that it’s imperative to continue to manually turn the patient to avoid sores, as well as using the Vive inflatable pad. There are, however, some reviewers who complain that the pressure mattress is stiff and uncomfortable, though for most its value for money makes the greater impression.
The latex-free, easy to clean Lumex inflating mattress is a high-quality option that alternates pressure in the bubbles at five-minute intervals. Its users like that it is a highly durable product, but also note that it has a strong vinyl odor. The Lumex pressure overlay has an illuminated on/off switch and is flame retardant.
This bubble pad is a good option if you are looking for a high quality but bargain answer to bed sores.
The consensus from users of the Lumex inflatable pad is that it is extremely well-priced, and works just as well at relieving pressure ulcers as more expensive models. Many users also comment on its sturdiness, noting that it will last for years rather than months.
One thing that a user does not like is the strong smell of vinyl but advises that the odor fades after a couple of weeks. A reviewer who also bought the Lumex pressure pad likes its versatility: the mattress works with standard APP pumps as well as with the one it is issued with.
The 20- bladder, alternating cell-depth Masonair pressure mattress is an effective and well-designed option that has a CPR feature for rapid deflation. Its users value its bed sore-reducing low air loss and alternating pressure therapies but also note that it can take some time to set up.
The Masonair bubble pad comes with an 8” control dial so users can regulate pressure levels. This inflating mattress is a solid option if you are looking for an efficient pad to ease pressure ulcers.
Reviewers who purchased the Masonair pressure pad like the antibacterial material the mattress is made from, and they note the pump is very quiet. A piece of advice from one user is that the Masonair bubble pad can take 30 minutes to inflate in the initial set up, but the same user also says that the pad does adjust well to the patient’s weight.
One thing reviewers do like is that once the Masonair pressure mattress is up and running, users do not need to make any adjustments on the alternating mode.
With a lockout button to prevent tampering and CPR release pump for swift deflation, the Invacare pressure pad is a bad option that is difficult to use. Its users like that it is great at preventing bottoming of deflated cells on bed springs with its cushion base, but also note that with no cell pressure indicators, it is impossible to know if the cells have reached the desired pressure.
A system of solenoid valves means that the cells stay inflated even if the power goes out, and the Invacare air cell mattress can be rolled up for convenient storage and transport. This bubble pad is a poor option if you are looking for a user-friendly inflating mattress.
One reviewer who purchased the Invacare pressure mattress says that the cells produce an unpleasant clicking sound when deflating. The same user finds the instruction manual incomprehensible and is irritated to have to double press the button for maximum inflation, as the pump goes through the cycle twice.
The reviewer notes that an LCD display screen would improve the Invacare air mattress. Another displeased reviewer says that with two separate Invacare bubble pads, half of the cells permanently deflated. Other reviewers say that the pressure pad is extremely comfortable and a good choice for patients weighing 300lbs or more.
How They work
If you are looking for an alternating pressure mattress, you might be shopping for an elderly relative that is in hospice, or perhaps someone you know has undergone a surgical procedure that is keeping them bedbound for a significant period of time.
(For more information about sleep and aging, check out this post from Mattress Advisor).
Alternating pressure mattresses are a great way to help prevent and manage bedsores and other pressure-related ulcers and pains- but as we have previously mentioned they are not a replacement for the manual movement of bed-bound individuals.
Generally, they are pretty easy to set up, will inflate in under five minutes, are powered by a quiet-running motor with quality rubber tubing. You might need to purchase an extension cord if you don't have an outlet located near the foot of the bed.
One individual that we have surveyed writes that they use their alternating pressure mattress to sleep at night- they have an aggressive form of cancer that has caused spine and rib metastasis and their alternating pressure mattress has been able to help decrease the pressure and stress along their spine helping them to sleep better at night.
They also say that although many of the medical pressure mattresses are commonly used with hospital beds, they also work very well with regular beds, although some people find unique ways to secure the pressure mattress to the bed if it doesn't come with ways to secure it.
Another advantage to a medical pressure mattress is that they are pretty portable- so if you or a loved one need to travel, you can roll it up and use it during a hotel stay or during family visits.
For family members that are dealing with a relative that is entering the final stages of life, an alternating pressure mattress can be a smart way of providing them comfort and pain relief.
If you're looking for a quality pressure mattress to help manage and relieve bedsores for the elderly, disabled or generally bed-bound individual, read our reviews on this page and reference our comparison table to get a sense of the best options on the market today.