Air mattress repair kit – 5 kits testes over 10 months – March ’17 update 30

testing-vinyl-airbed-patch-kitsWe haven’t updated the guide on top choices among air mattress repair kits in about 6 months, and for good reason, we’ve been working on something special to present.

We tested the TOP 5 best-rated (according to Amazon ratings) vinyl patch kits over a period of 6 months to see how well they behave and what you can expect if you are trying to fix your air mattress – we present the results below.
 

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Here’s exactly what we did in the “study”

We tested these 5 vinyl kits: Tear-Aid Type B, Coghlan’s 8800, Boxer vinyl adhesive, Blue Magic and Airhead Ahrk-1.

The testing:

  • we punctured a Fox airbed (which is one of the most durable beds out there) and made 50 pinholes
  • we used each adhesive on 10 leaks (so that the test is statistically accurate)
  • waited for a day and then burdened the mattress with weights to its listed capacity
  • sealed the parts around the patches with plastic freezer bags and industrial-strength Gorilla tape (so that we can see if a leak re-develops)
  • we made notes on the re-occurring leaks after 1,2,3…10 months

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The results are in the table below

kit11
kit21
kit31
kit4
kit5a1
 
Patch Kit
 
 
Tear-Aid
Type B

 
 
Coghlan's
8880

 
 
Boxer
Adhesives

 
 
Blue
Magic

 
 
AIRHEAD
AHRK-1

 
 
Months
into
testing

 
 
 
Number of reoccurring leaks after X months

1
0
2
1
0
1
2
0
2
1
0
1
3
0
2
2
2
1
4
2
5
3
4
3
5
4
5
5
4
5
6
5
6
5
4
5
7
5
8
5
7
5
8
7
8
8
8
6
9
7
10
9
10
10
10
8
/
9
/
/

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Commentary of the results

Don’t kill the messenger, but a leaking air mattress is hard to fix long-term, that’s the simple conclusion.

The overall success rate of the repair is a pitiful 6 % – only the Tear-aid and the Boxer had respectively 2 and 1 leak that didn’t redevelop. The rest of the kits are sitting low with a 0% success rate over 10 months.

 

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Choices you have

The obvious choice would be getting an air mattress that doesn’t develop leaks in the first place (we’ll show stats on that in a minute). 

The other two choices are trying to fix your inflatables despite the chances or, if your airbed is still under warranty, make sure that the company honors their word and replace your airbed.

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THE airbed with the lowest reported leak %

We keep tabs on over 200 air mattress models and the two beds below are the two models with lowest % of reported air leaks.

THE FIRST BED is the best air mattress overall – the SoundAsleep Dream Series. According to our data, it has by far the lowest reported leak percentage of 0.78% within 1 year of purchase.

 

This means that 1 in 128 beds will develop a leak within 1 year,

which is how long its warranty lasts.

lowest-air-leaks 
 
 

Click here to read what owners
of the SoundAsleep
are saying about
it on Amazon >>>

 

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THE budget solution

THE SECOND BED is the best budget solution on the market – it’s by far the best “cheap” air mattress.

It’s current ratings are 86/100 with a solid 9/10 in the category of “air retention” – Intex Comfort Plush Durabeam.

Reported leak % is 2.12 which means that 1 in 47 beds will develop a a leak within 1 Year.

There’s nothing even close to it in its price range.

second-best-kit-by-leaks 
 
 

See what owners
of the Intex Plush
are saying
about it on Amazon here >>>

airbed-information-icon

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Reference info

Air mattress repair & patch kits – why the low success rate

chemical structure of air mattress patch and repair kitsThe short answer is – the chemical structure and surface finish of PVC.

Here’s a slightly longer answer to why vinyl patch and repair kits don’t work so well on airbeds

The kind of vinyl used in airbed contain oils that react with the adhesives found. The peak of this chemical reaction is 3-4 months after application.

If you go back to the table, you’ll notice a spike in re-occurring leaks just around that time frame.

It is this chemical reaction that cause the bond to become weaker and, over-time, start leaking again. Some of the companies (like Tear Aid), are adding chemicals to the surface of their airbed repair kits to try and prevent that reaction.

We’ve seen how well that’s working out in the results of our research.

In the rest of the guide we’ll go over some tips on using an air mattress so that you don’t need an airbed patch kit in the first place:
  • what are the different uses – this is actually just an introduction, so if you are in a hurry you can just skip that
  • what is the reason behind the air mattress loosing air – a leakage or a drop in temperature
  • what are the causes of leakage and how you can spot the puncture should you decide to try and fix it
  • if you choose to do it yourself – these will be the tools and items that you will need
  • what are the best repair kits – this are the ones that I was most satisfied with and found to be the most efficient – I have included pros and cons and best use for each
  • and finally a FAQ section to speed things up and offer a quick answer to the most common questions you might have when thinking of repairing your leaking mattress

Using an air mattress

Air mattresses are some of the most important inventions of the last hundred years or so. Really, they can be used for so many things and in so many situations that you won’t believe it.

Outdoors

For example, when you go camping and you want to sleep in comfort, an air mattress or two might save the day.

After all, not everyone is equipped to handle the wilderness with nothing more than a blanket and some dry food. Some like to enjoy nature in style.

Before you go thinking that air mattresses are too much effort to lug around in some national park somewhere, remember that the better quality ones are rather small when not inflated and that they come with travel cases and all sorts of travel – friendly accessories.

Indoors

Insta-Bed Raised Air Mattress with Never Flat PumpOf course, talking time off to enjoy living in the woods is not the only moment when an air mattress comes in handy.

Let’s say that you have a modest two bedrooms, two bathrooms, one level house and too many relatives coming over for Thanksgiving. Where do you put everyone?

You could relocate your children to their friends’ houses, but you still don’t have enough beds, couches or settees to offer an excellent sleeping experience.

This is where the mattresses come into play: just pull out a couple of them, have everyone help inflate them and let the guests choose wherever they want to sleep in your overcrowded house.

If you prefer a sleeping pad to a bulky air mattress, you can find our guide on best sleeping air pads here.

Does your mattress leak or is it just a temperature change?

But what is going on when your air mattress doesn’t feel as comfortable as it used to? Well, the answer is rather simple: the mattress is leaking air. Or, in the most fortunate cases, there was a sudden temperature change, which led to a serious modification of the air pressure inside the mattress in relation to the air pressure on the exterior.

This imbalance can make the mattress feel less firm and even somewhat knotty. However, the most common reason for the air mattress suddenly losing firmness is the fact that it is leaking air, which is not all that hard to determine: if you hear a low, but constant hissing sound, compressed air is leaving your mattress when it shouldn’t.

PS. The bed in the image is an Insta, you can see the full review of the Insta Raised with a Never-flat pump here.

Causes of leakage and how to find the puncture

Obviously, once you decide what is making your mattress deflate, you must take some measures to fix this. If we’re talking about a temperature change, the solution is obvious: try using the tools that come with the mattress and pump some more air inside it, until it is as firm as you want it to be.

However, if your mattress is leaking air, the problem gets a lot more complicated, because the only way to repair it is to find the leak and patch it up. This is where it gets really tricky, because the puncture is usually very small, caused by a pet or by your children playing around on the mattress and poking it with pens or crayons. To better understand everything we’re talking about here, you can consult our guide on what are air mattresses made of.

Inflating the mattress without fixing the leak is useless, therefore you must take the time to find the annoying rupture:

  • Take the off the bedding and move it to an area of the house that is large enough that you can turn and flip over the rather large mattress.
  • Fill the mattress with as much air as you can, without it seeming to burst at the seams. Use the air pump that came with the mattress or your own lungs to inflate it, not an air compressor.
  • Once it is fully inflated, start listening and look very carefully. The air makes a persistent, if low, hissing sound. You might not see the leak, but you’re going to hear it or feel it, if you slowly move your hand on the surface of the mattress.
  • To make sure you got it right, pour some soapy water on the incriminated area and watch to see if the soap starts to form bubbles. If it does, you got yourself a winner. That is the leak. Hopefully, there is only one in the entire mattress.

Tools and items you will need for a DIY kit if you decide to repair your airbed

Fixing the leak can be done by yourself, with materials you have around the house, if it is small enough to do it yourself, or with the help of special repair kits, either delivered with the mattress when you bought it or that you can buy of the Internet or at your local store. If you want to do it by your lonesome and not spend the extra dollar, you should have some of the following things around:

  • Something made of thick plastic, like a tarp or a high quality shower curtain.
  • A pair of scissors.
  • Glue of some kind.

Now, if the leak is located on the textile part of the mattress, you can’t just apply a piece of plastic and glue it into place. You need to sand down the fluffy part of the material until it reaches the plastic beneath it. Therefore, you have to have some sort of sandpaper around.

The glue needs to be able to keep two pieces of plastic or of vinyl together, so it better not come from your children’s kindergarten kit.

Try the kind of glue that you can get at a convenience store or at your local supermarket. Also, duct tape is not recommended for fixing leaks in your mattress, as convenient as that might be.

The glue on the tape is not designed to hold plastic materials in place for long and it will, eventually, dry out and fall off.

Air mattress repair kits we looked into

What happens when your own attempts at fixing your air mattress fail or you just don’t know how to go about it?

The answer is a professional repair kit. Of course, there are so many of them out there and not all of them are the best quality for their price range. Here is a look at a few of the more popular repair kits on the market:

Vinyl Waterbed Air Mattress Repair KitVinyl Waterbed & Air Mattress Repair Kit: it is fairly cheap, a peg over ten dollars and it contains a tube of professional quality glue and about 21 square inches of vinyl for patching the mattress. The instructions are simple: find the leak, cut a piece of the vinyl that comes in the kit and glue it on the mattress to stop the air leaving the mattress. However, does this kit work on the part of your mattress that has textile material? Some users say yes, others say no. It’s mostly hit and miss in this case. Also, the glue doesn’t seem to perform as well for all the buyers, some choosing common house glue over the one from the kit.

Tear-AidTear – Aid type B: this repair kit can be used only on the vinyl parts of your air mattress, so if the leak is on the textile area, you’re out of luck. For under ten dollars, you get an instant adhesive and a patch that won’t pull off when stretched. According to the manufacturers, this repair kit stops tears from spreading throughout the material. Also, it won’t lead to discoloration over time and, more importantly, they glue is solid, not liquid, so it won’t run all over the place when you use it. On the downside, the process of using the Tear – Aid is rather complicated, requiring a thorough cleaning of the area before applying the glue and the vinyl patch, which won’t stick to your air mattress otherwise. However, customers have reported and we’ve seen it in testing that even after cleaning the problem area multiple times, the glue won’t work properly.

 

No Heat Liquid Leather Vinyl Repair KNo Heat! Liquid Leather & air mattress repair and patch kit: no heat kits are all the rage right now on the market of air mattress repairs, because the less heat you use around a vinyl – covered object, the less likely it is to melt or deform easily. However, the heat should be substituted with an excellent adhesive, preferably one that works fairly fast and that holds two pieces of vinyl together rather well. Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t do that. The adhesive is really weak and the patches that it comes with are too small for them to be truly useful. On the plus side, you can pick and choose from a lot of colors of patches, which is always a good thing. Of course, if you need to fix a tear that is bigger than a couple of inches, you should consider ordering more than one patch, even if it’s in the color you need.

Tear - Aid Repair 3Tear – Aid Repair 3 inch x 5 foot Patch Kit: one of the newer kits on the market, this version of the classical Tear – Aid kit is leaps and bounds ahead of the old one. It works faster, has one of the strongest glues on sale today and the patches are of extraordinary quality. Also, they are transparent, unlike other patches out there, which can ruin the aspect of an air mattress. Very thin, but durable and solid, the Tear – Aid Repair patches are made of a special kind of vinyl, one that doesn’t come apart at the seams when exposed to heat, doesn’t deteriorate when it comes in contact with UV light and doesn’t tear under pressure. However, it doesn’t come with larger patches than the standard ones.

Sevylor Repair PatchSevylor airbed Repair Patch: very simple to use and rather cheap, being a little over ten dollars, this repair kit is very popular for its quick – and – easy solutions to urgent problems. It comes with three patches of a standard dimension, which are coated on one side with a pressure triggered – adhesive. The patches are transparent, they go on really fast and the adhesive tries to a perfectly smooth finish in a couple of minutes. The area needs to be cleaned with some sanitary alcohol or with a mild soap, but that is not uncommon when repairing a vinyl mattress. However, the patches are rather small, being only about three inches over three inches and the glue tends to dry if exposed to sudden changes in temperature.

Therm-a-Rest universal repair kitTherm-a-Rest universal repair kit: it’s a classic repair kit, useful only for owners of a Therm – a – Rest mattress. It contains two type A patches, made of vinyl, an alcohol cleaning wipe and two pouches of adhesive that needs heating before working. On the plus side, once the patches are in place and if all the steps are followed correctly, it’s unlikely that the mattress will leak air again from that same spot. On the downside, the repair process is rather complicated and it requires a certain technique that not everybody has. Also, you cannot pick and choose a certain color of patch or a certain dimension.

Thermarest Permanent Home Repair KitTherm-a-Rest permanent home repair kit: works both on smaller and larger tears and it has round patches that you can customize to your hearts’ desire. It only has three colors that you can choose from, but that doesn’t seem to be problem for most users. What is interesting about this kit is the fact that it doesn’t use hot glue, but rather a wet kind of adhesive, which can hold up pretty well for long periods of time if not exposed to extreme conditions. The downside to this wet glue is the fact that it takes up to four hours to set to a completely budge – free finish. If the mattress is moved or used during that time, chances are that the patch won’t be perfectly glued on and it could fall of at any time.

 

FAQ about air mattress repair and patch kits:

1. How to patch an air mattress?

It usually depends on what kind of mattress you have and if the manufacturer already included a repair kit with the mattress you purchased. If you have one, use it according to the instructions. If not, buy one that you can afford or just create one out of materials that you have around the house. You only need some pieces of vinyl, a pair of scissors and some heavy – duty glue.

2. How do I choose the correct air mattress?

Well, you need to take into consideration what you are going to use it for. If you want to just have it around the house for when guests arrive in exceeding numbers, than a terribly expensive one is just a waste of money. However, if you are the more outdoorsy type and you intend to take the mattress with you when you go camping, you might want to invest in a more costly one than something like the Intex Classic Downy for camping.

3. How do I know the mattress is leaking?

There are cases in which there is no way you will hear your mattress leaking air. For example, if the puncture is in a really hard to access place, covered in layers of vinyl, but somehow still readily available to a sharp object, there are chances that you won’t be able to hear the air leaving the mattress. However, you will see it deflate rather quickly. If you do hear the leak, then you’re in luck. It’s easy to fix a rupture when you know where it is.

4. What quick fixes could I try if I don’t have an airbed patch kit?

You have no repair kits around, but your mattress is leaking air like crazy and you need to do something about it. Take a piece of duct tape, cut it to size and just put it on the rupture. It’s not going to hold for long and it won’t withstand pressure, but it will hold your mattress inflated for some time.

5. Hot glue vs. normal glue?

A lot of the classical air mattress repair kits contain hot glue, which is glue that does its job only when heated at high temperatures. It usually sets in a couple of minutes, once it cools. Normally, the hot glue kits are known for being the most reliable ones, though not the easiest to use. Normal glue has been introduced in kits more recently and it requires more time to set, from about half an hour to about four hours, but it does do the job splendidly.

If you have further questions please add them in the comments below and I will answer each and every one of them, this way we can actually grow the FAQ section and cover more issues.

James

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James Menta

Camping Gear Reviewer at BestAirMattressGuide.com
Three things you need to know about James - he holds a degree in Materials Technology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he is a zealot for the great outdoors and he can never find his glasses.       In brief intermissions between looking for his glasses, he is the Editor-in-chief of BestAirMattressGuide.com.

30 thoughts on “Air mattress repair kit – 5 kits testes over 10 months – March ’17 update

  1. Reply Frank coluccio Feb 6,2017 2:36 am

    I seem to have just the opposite type of problem: I can’t remove about a third of the air when attempting to decompress the mattress, as though the Kr became compartmentlized. Its driving me nuts. Nowhere on the web can i find anything resembling this problem. Please suggest a solution. Thanks.

    Frank Coluccio

    • Reply James Mar 13,2017 7:32 pm

      Hey Frank,

      It’s not uncommon not to be able all the air out so, don’t worry, you’re not alone in your problem. The solution is pretty simple – just get a pump that works both ways – inflating and deflating. It will suck the air out in a minute. You can see our guide on best airbed pumps here.

      Most of these pumps fit any airbed valve, but if you tell me which bed you have or send a picture of the valve, I could make a precise recommendation of the pump to get…just so there’s no confusion about the fit of the nozzles and the valve.

      I hope this helps

  2. Reply Tasmin Ray Jan 30,2017 3:23 pm

    Hello,
    I’ve got a tear where 3 seams meet on my bed. Because of the ridged shape of the seam it is very difficult to put a patch on and I’m not use what to do. Any suggestions?

    • Reply James Mar 13,2017 7:39 pm

      Hi Tasmin,

      I’m afraid I don’t have any good news to bear. A tear at the seam is difficult to patch, we did tests on that by combining liquid adhesives and tapes and the leaks come back. In your situation, with a a tear in a area where three seems join, I’d have to say that a long term solution is not very probable.

      If you attach a picture of the tear, I might be able to give some advice that would be more helpful.

  3. Reply T. Moser Nov 27,2015 7:47 pm

    James,

    I have a insta bed and there is a small hole but it is on the top fabric part. What product is best to use on this area?

    • Reply James Dec 18,2015 9:47 am

      Hi T,

      The flocking is tricky in terms of preparing the surface (the tiny fibers of the velveteen surface can’t be there in order for the patch to stick). II would still use the products listed above instead of a regular crazy glue, but would pay more attention to the preparation of the surface than the patch kit.

      Here is a video that you might find helpful – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sZWMVrBAQY

      Let us know how it works out

  4. Reply TJ the DJ Nov 18,2015 11:49 pm

    I used a self adhesive RUBBER bike tire repair kit on an small pinhole leak at a weld joint in an airbed mattress (had a flocking on the outside that I sanded off near the hole. After patching I put the patch in a clamp for 24hrs before reinflating) this worked well for about a year but eventually the rubber and glue begin to breakdown to form slimy sticky goop. This is apparently the natural decay process of real rubber and unavoidable. I plan to remove the patch, clean the area with alcohol and then apply a VINYL patch with the appropriate glue. Hopefully this will not break down and last a lot longer than a year.

    • Reply James Dec 18,2015 10:29 am

      Hey guys,

      That should do the trick, but make sure that you do a thorough preparation, especially if the leak is at the flocked area. It makes as much of a difference as choosing the right kit.

      Good luck with that

  5. Reply Jenny jasso Oct 21,2015 6:17 am

    Hello I have a serta queen air mattress on the top felt my 8 month old decided to stick his fingers and hand into a tiny hole it had making it a 2 inch hole . I fixed it with a piece of a pool that had popped and was already garbage. I got a sevylor air seal vinyl repair adhesive and a few hours after I repaired it with just the adhesive I decided to put that patch do you think it would work with just that or should I do something else for it. I have only had the mattress for about 2 months or so. So it’s not worn out or old.

    • Reply James Dec 18,2015 12:05 pm

      Hey Jenny,

      There’s only so much you can do with air leaks, and it sounds like you did what you could, I wouldn’t worry about it any more.

      P.C. The specialized vinyl adhesive was a good choice, I keep stressing that to people that go “crazy” with the crazy glue. It does says plastic on the tube, but it is NOT the same, I know it first hand

      Let us all know how it works out

  6. Reply j. hurtado Aug 9,2015 3:54 pm

    To make a long story short got a hole that is now penny size and roughly area of about quarter size is hard and would have to be trimmed away. I thinking if the hole is going to be that large maybe putting one to three small straigt cuts so could put a large piece (2×2) on inside then even larger (4×4) one on outside.

  7. Reply Sheila Jul 7,2015 2:06 am

    Hi,
    Great leak repair info, but hows about repairing the broken battery cover? My daughter kicked it off and for a while we had it duct taped, but now we lost the broken part. Any ideas?

    • Reply James Menta Jul 10,2015 9:08 am

      Hey Sheila,

      Not much you can do there and the only idea that comes to mind is contacting the company and requesting a spare part if it’s only the cover that’s damaged. Just bear in mind that most of these air mattresses in their instructions manuals stress not to interfere or try to repair the battery compartment itself.

      My best,

      James

  8. Reply v.powers Jun 28,2015 7:44 pm

    what do you think of the old school use of tire or inner tube patch method of the old style glue that when applied and while drying becomes shiny and then one would apply a tube or tire patch and when applied the patch adheres to the leaking area like real solid and no leaks? i realize that the finish or surface of the inflatable bed is not the same as the surface of a rubber inner tube or tire surface. i would think that there are commercial adhesives that would be so strong that before the leak would occur again at the repaired site the material would fail but not the repaired site. do you know of any such commercial or industrial type adhesives and where to get them? thanks for a prompt reply….

  9. Reply Kipp Weirich Feb 11,2015 9:02 pm

    Insta bed leak on plastic (not fabric) around seal on side of hard plastic cup (cord storage).Plastic flap is peeling back around hard plastic cup. About 1 inch worth. What would your opinion be of best technique. Glue flap back down (what glue?) Then goop over top for security? Thanks in advance…

  10. Reply Jax Jan 2,2015 10:14 pm

    I have a single ez bed air bed that’s developed a leak but nothing we’ve tried has helped, even the kit it came with didn’t fix it. Any help at all would be great

  11. Reply Paul Stencel Dec 29,2014 11:53 pm

    hi. can I use material from a bicycle tire and super glue to put a patch on the vinyl side of an Intex air mattress?

    • Reply James Menta Jan 12,2015 7:40 pm

      Hey Paul,

      I don’t think that’ll work because the material of the mattress vinyl is not so smooth. You can take a look at the guide of the best fix kits I recommended to Jax a few comments up.

      They are cheap and can save you lots of time of extra sleep on that bed, it’s worth it

  12. Reply leana gerber Dec 16,2014 9:14 pm

    Hi I had a small hole on the back of my matress which we tried to fix with a bicycle tyre repair kit which didn’t work, we tried some liquid that my dad uses when making model air planes but that also didn’t work and we ended up with a big tear on one of the circles, is it still fixable with one of these products?

  13. Reply Jim DiSorbo Dec 1,2014 2:30 pm

    Thank you. I like the fact you are passionate about something so much.

    • Reply James Menta Dec 4,2014 8:01 am

      Thanks for the kind words Jim,

      Camping and hiking has been a large portion of my life and in the process I got the air mattress thing down to a science.

      An in my age, since I can’t walk the walk so much any more I enjoy talking the talk and sharing what I know…

      and when your passion gets you out of house chores every now and then as working on this website does for me, it’s even better 🙂

  14. Reply Cristina Jul 16,2014 4:09 pm

    I have a patch kit, but found that the glue had dried up. If I wanted to just buy the glue separately (and not the whole patch kit) what kind would you recommend?

    • Reply James Menta Jul 16,2014 7:04 pm

      Hi Cristina, I have no doubts here, I’ve tested dozens and I have a clear favorite – I would go with Loctite 1360694

  15. Reply Juan Valdez Jul 9,2014 9:53 pm

    I have a air bed Greenland Queen but I lost the cup of valve. Where I can purchase it?. Thanks in advance.

    • Reply James Menta Jul 10,2014 4:19 pm

      I know the good old Greenland, but I see now that Amazon carries only one of their products and it’s a camping pad. I did some research and I’m sorry to say – no success, they must have discontinued it. The fun part about the search is that I kept getting information about the Queen of Denmark, who is still Greenland’s head of state 🙂

      Sorry I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, but you might find something interesting in the guide that I recently published about TOP airbeds in queen size >>

      http://www.bestairmattressguide.com/top-5-best-rated-queen-airbeds/

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