Todays air beds are not the same as the canvas things that you slept on as a kid while camping or at sleepovers. Modern air beds can be an excellent choice for any bedroom in your home, but they have similar limitations to any other kind of conventional bed type.
The thing that you need to understand when shopping for any type of bed is that almost all sleep systems really have only two basic parts - the support layer, and the comfort cushioning layer. It’s easy to spot these layers now because so many beds have “pillow tops”. Pillow tops are the comfort cushioning layer, and the part underneath is the support layer.
In an air bed the air chamber (bladder, balloon, air bag - whatever you want to call it) is the support layer of the bed. It does exactly the same thing that the springs in a coil spring bed do - it supports your body and allows proper alignment of the spine. However, without the comfort cushioing layer between you and the air chamber (or spring unit) your bed would not be at all comfortable, because you would suffer from pressure points. When you sleep on a camping type air mattress that doesn’t have an additional comfort layer, you can achieve some degree of comfort by not fully inflating it. This allows the parts of your body which protrude to sink in so that the pressure on them is not so pronounced, and to some extent also allows your spine to be better aligned than if the air mattress is tight as a drum. Unfortunately the effect is a lot like sleeping on a hammock - unless you’re pretty young or unusually tough and resilient you’re likely to be stiff and sore in the morning because you have compromised support to gain cushioning.
Adding a layer of cushioning on top of the support layer allows us to have the best of both worlds - support and comfort - for a while.
Nothing lasts forever, and the components of any bed start to degrade as soon as you start to use them. Foam eventually goes flat (all foam) from being compressed over and over. Similarly steel springs degrade and get softer, and eventually will even break. One big advantage of an air bed is that by using an air chamber as the support layer the degree of support that it supplies never changes for the life time of the air bed. If air leaks out (and of course it will) you just pump some more in. If a chamber develops a serious leak it can be replaced with a new one - with a coil spring bed, you just can’t do that.
So what about that cushy pillow top? Are pillow tops good or Bad? It depends on what’s inside, and how much of it is in there, and can you get in there to change it out when it gets old? Another advantage of many air beds is that it can all be unzipped so that you can get in there to turn, reconfigure, and replace nearly all of the components.