Which futon bed is best?

Futon mattresses are a traditional form of bedding in Japan, going back as far as records began, but Western-style futon beds are a more popular choice in the United States. They’re thicker than Japanese futons and usually come on a slatted frame, so they double as couches when not used as beds. 

The right futon for you depends on how and where you intend to use it, whether in your living room or spare room, as your main bed or a guest bed. The Lark Manor Burin Queen Futon is the top choice for regular use.

What to know before you buy a futon bed

Frame material

The frame of a futon is important because it supports the mattress both in couch configuration and bed configuration. Futons can have either metal or wooden frames. 

  • Wood: Frames made from wood are solid and highly durable. They’re unlikely to bend or break over time. They’re generally more attractive than wooden frames, as well, which is important if your futon is in the living room or anywhere else where you’ll have to look at it regularly. On the downside, they’re more expensive than metal frames and heavier so it can be trickier to convert your futon between modes. 
  • Metal: Metal frames are an inexpensive choice. They’re usually light so transforming your futon from a bed to a couch is easier. However, they’re not the most durable and can bend or warp with regular use. 

Mattress material

Traditionally, futon mattresses are made from cotton batting. This provides firm support but it doesn’t always feel comfortable to people who are used to more conventional mattresses. Therefore, many contemporary futons have integrated foam or innersprings into their mattresses. 

  • Foam: Foam mattresses have a softer feeling than all-cotton versions while remaining supportive. They usually consist of a central layer of foam with cotton batting above and below. 
  • Innerspring: Some futons contain inner springs below a layer of more traditional futon materials. This retains the firm support but adds some bounce. It’s a great choice for anyone used to sleeping on a sprung mattress. 

Size

While you can find a handful of smaller and larger options, most futons are either full or queen size. Full size is great for one person if they want more space than a twin would offer, but can fit two people at a push. Queen size is a more comfortable option for sleeping two. 

You should also consider the length of the futon. Its length in bed mode is the same as its width in couch mode, so it’s often slightly shorter than a standard mattress. 

What to look for in a quality futon bed

Color choices

You can choose from a range of frame colors and mattress colors. Consider the existing decor in the room where your futon will go and use this to help your decision. 

Bi-fold frame

Bi-fold frames have just two parts and one hinge, while tri-fold frames have three parts and two hinges. Bi-fold frames are more common than their tri-fold counterparts these days because they’re much easier to maneuver between modes. 

Adjustable frame position

In addition to an upright couch position and a flat bed position, some frames have one or two more points of adjustment. This puts the back of the couch into a more relaxed reclined position. 

How much you can expect to spend on a futon bed

Most futons cost $200-$1,000. Pricier models tend to have solid wood frames and higher-quality mattresses. 

Futon bed FAQ

Are futons healthy to sleep on? 

A. As long as the mattress is adequately supportive, futons are perfectly healthy to sleep on. Cheap ones are fine for occasional use, such as when you have guests staying, but higher-end offerings are supportive enough for every night. 

Can futon covers be washed? 

A. Some futon mattresses have removable covers. These removable covers are usually machine washable, but you’ll need to check the label for exact instructions. Taking them off, washing them and replacing them can be a pain, so it’s better to keep the cover clean by using a fitted sheet. 

How thick should a futon mattress be? 

A. It should be roughly 6-8 inches thick. This is thick enough that it’s comfortable and supportive but not so thick that it’s impossible to fold.

What’s the best futon bed to buy?

Top futon bed

Lark Manor Burin Queen Futon

Lark Manor Burin Queen Futon

What you need to know: With its innerspring mattress, this futon is supportive enough to be used every night. 

What you’ll love: The frame is wooden with a choice of two finishes: butternut and espresso. The mattress comes in five colors, including gray, black and dark blue. It’s a queen size so it’s large enough to sleep two people. 

What you should consider: The mattress and frame are both heavy so you need an extra pair of hands to switch it from a bed into a couch. 

Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair

Top futon bed for the money

Winston Porter Garrido Full Futon

Winston Porter Garrido Full Futon

What you need to know: This basic metal-framed futon makes an excellent guest bed. 

What you’ll love: Assembly is straightforward and the frame and mattress are both light enough that it’s easy to change configurations. The gray color works well with most styles of decor. 

What you should consider: The mattress isn’t comfortable enough for regular use. 

Where to buy: Sold by Wayfair

Worth checking out

Nirvana Futons Eastridge Futon Set

Nirvana Futons Eastridge Futon Set

What you need to know: Comfortable, sturdy and attractive, this is an excellent futon for regular or occasional use. 

What you’ll love: The wooden frame has a gorgeous medium-dark finish and a flip-out table on the side of the arm. The mattress comes in a choice of 10 colors, including fudge, burgundy and navy blue. The cotton and foam mattress is comfortable and supportive. 

What you should consider: Assembly is on the tricky side, especially for anyone with little flatpack experience. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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