Most people who’ve spent a sleepless night turning and sweating on a cheap futon back in the day will scoff at the idea (and inhumanity) of having to relive that horrible experience if they’re staying over.
Here’s a piece of good news for both you and your houseguests – futons have become much more comfortable and you don’t even need to dig deep into your pocket to get one even your mother-in law could find no faults with!
Let us convince you that this is truly the case with our top 5 futon roundup.
The first entry from DHP is also among the best futon sofas you’ll find in the entry-level category. With great looks and only minor issues people who aren’t prone to nitpicking will easily overlook, it’s the perfect futon to furnish your starter home or spend a couple of years studying and sleeping on during your college years.
A distinctly modern futon, the Emily is quite a looker with the fun slant in two of its front legs and the soft, rounded look of its mattress. Once you’re done admiring it and actually take a seat, you’ll notice that the cushions are a bit on the firm side, but not too firm to sour a full night’s rest. Switching between the three different positions is easy when you have someone close by to help, but completely doable on your own as well.
Emily’s standout feature is the adjustable backrest. Most futon sofas don’t have a lounging setting between bed and couch mode, making this a welcome option for relaxing during the day, taking in a movie etc. The color selection is diverse as well. You’ll find no garish greens or ruby reds here, but you will be able to pair it with virtually any existing décor.
While it certainly looks like it’s premium grade, some of the design decisions made during the Emily’s design and manufacturing phases say otherwise. For one thing, the cover is prone to cracking with use if you’ve chosen a faux leather option, with the fabric one showing just a bit more strength.
The other issue is with its legs – they’re hollow and prone to breaking at the welds if you jostle the bed too much. Both of these can be avoided by being mindful when using the futon, but they’re there nevertheless.
You may already have a spare frame from a futon whose mattress didn’t make the cut or is too old and gnarly to use anymore. There’s hardly a better or more cost-effective futon mattress to take its place than this 8-inch beauty, again made by DHP.
Once you’ve managed to get it out of the box and let it breathe for a day, DHP’s futon mattress is ready to go, and right off the bat you get to experience how cozy it is. There are coils placed strategically throughout it and each one is independently cased. This ensures that the thick foam inside won't lose its form or move too much to any one side. The mattress is of standard full size, so fitting it into an existing frame should be a snap.
As futon mattresses go, 6 inches is the thickness you’d usually expect, and these extra two inches at this price point really do make a difference. It’s by no means an overly soft. Rather, it strikes a good balance between firmness and stability, giving you the best of both worlds and making sure that you’ll never get to feel the frame no matter what your preferred sleeping position is.
Prepare to struggle with the packaging, a lot. As they so often do nowadays, this futon mattress comes vacuum-sealed inside a tightly packed cardboard box which is a bit of a hassle to remove.
Care should be taken when cutting up the bag to not damage the mattress. Even though it is 8 inches thick, the coils can still be felt, not to the point where they’d cause pain, but they do make an otherwise comfortable mattress too firm in certain places.
Have you been looking for a small, unobtrusive couch to put into your rumpus room or an unusually cramped dorm? If you were planning on it to mostly be used for sitting and relaxing on, or have a petite build, Mainstays’ memory foam futon may just be the inexpensive solution you’ve been looking for!
This is just the cutest little futon to tie your room together with. It’s not here just for show though – its stable and modern-looking design, reliable frame and memory foam padding make it as pleasant to sit on as it is to look at.
Of special interest are the adjustable armrests which turn the futon from a cozy love seat through a chic lounger into a couch that can seat three. All of this is born on four plastic yet surprisingly sturdy legs without squeaks and creaks, the futon’s maximum weight limit being a respectable 600 pounds.
The build quality is really impressive at this price point. Sure, Mainstays had smaller dimensions to work with, but the results are nevertheless great. The memory foam is snappy and very comfy to sit on, even for a longer while. The faux leather holds up very well, with the potential to be free of marks and cracks for a good while if you treat it with care.
This isn’t a futon you’d want to spend more than a couple of nights on as the memory foam is too thin and firm for that. Besides, the futon’s overall size makes it very hard for all but women and children to be able to sleep on it without their feet dangling in the air. When folded down in bed mode, its mattress also assumes an irregular size that’s neither twin nor full, so you might run into trouble when trying to find sheets for it.
If you’re planning to get a new bed to sleep on but don’t wish to pay full price, spending a little extra on a futon of superb quality like the Montreal X will actually end up saving you money with little to no compromise in the quality of sleep it offers. This may be the most expensive item on our list by a wide margin, but it promises to pay dividends even 5+ years from now.
This is one of the most well-built, luxurious futons out there. Everything from the easy-to-follow setup process through its pleasing classic look down to the smaller details like the strong, careful stitches on the sides of the mattress or the pleasant dark brown finish of its sturdy frame suggest that the customer is getting what they paid for quite considerably. Depending on the model you choose, two drawers lying underneath the frame are also included for storing bed covers, linens etc.
Kodiak has done an awesome job in pairing a high-quality wooden frame with a wonderfully thick and responsive mattress. As it’s queen size, the frame has to be sturdy enough to hold two people and it passes with flying colors. The mattress on the other hand is so comfortable that you might just as well fall asleep on it even before you lower the backrest.
With futons like this one, any kind of criticism necessarily consists of nitpicking. You’ll need a bit of time to break in the mattress and even then, fussier sleepers might not find it cozy enough without a topper. It’s also pretty heavy, so adjusting the mattress into the sleeping position and back again can start to wear on you if done frequently. You’ll also probably want to ask for help if you ever intend to move it as the futon is quite heavy overall.
Our final pick comes from Kodiak and is a small lounger not unlike the one from Mainstays. Its higher degree of comfort and customization, as well as the numerous color options make Kodiak’s futon lounger pull ahead, but it’s up to you to decide whether the stark price difference is justified.
This is the kind of seat you’d want to curl up in with a good book. Small enough to fit into those awkward spots you thought you’d never be able to use, while being soft and big enough to double as a guest bed in a cinch, this futon is versatile indeed. Moving it to the side or rearranging the room it is in is easily done too as the futon’s blend of metal frame with wooden slats is light enough for one person to reposition without much effort.
The great thing about this futon is that it doesn’t have a bigger footprint when being used as a bed – you just remove the pillows, lower the armrests, and have room enough for one person to rest.
There’s also a fine degree of adjustment to the armrests as they don’t have fixed positions, but don’t move either once you’re satisfied with their position. Over a dozen solid and patterned color options are there to choose from, giving the futon the finish it needs to fit into a child’s room or a study equally well.
While assembling the futon should be easy in theory, you might get unlucky and have one shipped with misaligned holes. Several people have voiced this complaint, so make sure to check if everything properly fits. Other than that there aren’t many things to complain about, other than a noticeable chemical smell which takes time to air out but isn’t a problem afterwards.
There’s much more to buying an adequate futon than the amount of money you’re willing to spend on one. If you want to make sure that people who’ll be using your new futon also have a pleasant experience while doing so, keep the following in mind.
Futons come in a surprisingly wide variety of sizes. The smallest one is the futon chair. While you probably won't be buying one other than as part of a set, it can be unfolded and used as a makeshift bed in a pinch in tandem with its ottoman.
Loveseats are wider and can accommodate one person just fine when unfolded, plus they are much longer than they’re wide, which makes them great for narrow rooms. Next are the standard bifold and klik klak futons that have full-sized and, to a lesser degree, queen-size mattresses.
Futon beds which don’t fold up can reach king-size, while futon bunk beds usually sport one full-size and one twin mattress.
Traditional futon mattresses are mostly made out of cotton, which is heavy and keeps one warm, but can get lumpy with use if the mattress isn’t turned over regularly. Different kinds of foam are a better option as they are much less intense to maintain, bounce back on their own and do a better job of lessening the impact the floor has on one’s back. Memory foam is a special subcategory of foam which makes the mattress softer and easier to store while giving you that sofa cushion feel when sat on.
Futon frames are made out of wood and metal. Wooden frames can bear more weight and are generally sturdier, but they aren’t as flexible, so they can break more easily if applied a lot of pressure to. Metal frames are lighter and make the futons which use them cheaper. They’re also prone to bending with use, potentially leaving your mattress in an unhealthy position.
Today’s futons are built to withstand a lot and can easily accommodate an adult of above average weight. Their maximum capacity depends on the type of futons and their frame. Loveseats and full-sized twofold futons support up to 600 pounds if their frames are made of hardwood, or up to 400 if they’re metal.
With queen-sized futons, this number can rise to 750 and 500 pounds respectively. A futon bunk bed’s bottom bunk can carry as much weight as a full-sized futon, while the top bunk is more suitable for women and children as it’s able to support between 150 and 200 pounds.
The only standard regarding futon dimensions is that of their mattresses. We won't mention all of them here as you can find convenient size charts online. In a nutshell though, futon chairs and top bunks on futon bunk beds have twin-size mattresses, loveseats and couches have those which are full-size, while some couches also come in queen-size. Futon beds come in all of these plus king size too.
Generally speaking, today’s futon mattresses are more comfortable than in the past, but of course you’ll get the most out of one if you spend more money on it. Regardless of your budget, you should get a futon whose mattress is thick yet firm, one which is large enough for the desired number of people to sleep on it without feeling constrained, and one that’s sturdy enough to not bend out of shape after frequent long-term use.
To get the most use out of your futon you’ll want to make sure that it is made with durable materials. For its frame, this means a solid and well-machined metal construction or a hardwood one that has been finished and varnished.
The mattress needs to be able to withstand everyday use without deformation and be of a material which won't accumulate to one side and make it uneven. You have a part to play in the futon’s durability too – make sure to follow all instructions pertaining to its care to maximize the futon’s longevity.
Short of replacing it, there’s actually a lot you can do if your futon is a pain to sleep on. You’ll want to make the sleeping area as firm and level as possible, which can be accomplished from below by adding extra support to the frame either through additional slats or propping it up with books, boxes etc., or from above by dealing with the mattress’ surface irregularities by covering it with mattress toppers, duvets, comforters, or air mattresses.
First, make sure that the armrests are out of the way if they can be removed. Then grab the lower part of the mattress towards the center with your hands and push upwards. Continue doing so until the back part of the futon is all the way down and you hear a distinct clicking sound. After that, gently put the front of the mattress back down again.
There are three was of turning your futon into a bed, depending on its configuration. With a futon loveseat, you need to pull the concealed deck out first. In some cases this triggers the backrest to fall down as well, leaving you with a flat surface to put the mattress on. With standard bifold futons the process is even easier.
Pull the front part of the mattress towards yourself while applying downward pressure to the back part. This should cause he mattress to move forward and its backrest to slide down. Finally, for trifold futons, you apply the same technique as with the loveseat mattress except that its deck isn’t independent and pulls out along with its own section of mattress.
While the same can’t be said for their sides, legs and back, futon mattresses adhere to the same size as regular ones. The most common is full-sized, which is 54 inches wide and 75 inches in length.
The answer depends on your futon’s characteristics. If we’re talking about the traditional Japanese-style futon where you’re practically sleeping on the floor, then the answer is yes as the firm flat surface is very beneficial to proper spine alignment. Futon couches can have a similar effect if they mimic these sleeping conditions with firm, even mattresses.
We’re of the opinion that if you’re going to get a futon, you should make it one that won't pop a spring after its first use or leave you as stiff as a board in the morning. While all the reviewed futons have much going for them, Kodiak’s Montreal X Espresso is the clear winner.
Naturally, not everyone wants to spend too much on a futon, nor do they necessarily need to use theirs as a bed. In these cases, DHP’s Emily or Kodiak’s other entry will do the job quite nicely.