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Best Mattress for Bunk Beds

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Written by

Logan Foley

author

For many parents, bunk beds are a valuable space-saver. These stackable beds sleep two or three children at once, making them ideal for little ones who share a bedroom. Adults can use bunk beds, as well. They are particularly common in dorm rooms and overnight hostels.

You should make a few considerations when choosing a mattress for your bunk bed. Most of these beds can accommodate twin, twin XL, and/or full size mattresses, but larger sizes will be too wide and long to fit within the bunks. Low-profile mattresses are often ideal, as well. Mattresses that are too thick are often too heavy for bunk beds, and these models can also pose safety concerns on upper bunks.

Below, we’ve listed our top picks among best bunk bed mattress models sold today. Each selection is based on experiences from verified owners and our own product research and testing. Our best bunk bed mattress guide also looks at how these beds are designed and constructed, along with which types of mattresses work best with them.

The Best Mattresses for Bunk Beds

Product Details

Saatva Youth

Best Overall

Saatva Youth

Saatva Youth
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium (5), Firm (7)
Trial length: 180 nights ($99 return fee)
Trial length: 180 nights ($99 return fee)
Warranty: 12 Year, Limited
Warranty: 12 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Children between the ages of 3 and 12
  • Kids who wet the bed
  • Parents who need or want assistance setting up their new mattress
Highlights:
  • Reversible design with each side geared toward a different age group
  • Waterproof barrier protects against liquid damage
  • Free White Glove delivery and 180-night sleep trial
Saatva Youth

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Many mattresses are specifically designed for children but the Saatva Youth takes kid-friendly beds to the next level. This reversible innerspring features two distinct sleep surfaces, each one intended for sleepers in a certain age range. One side is equipped with a waterproof barrier and a water-resistant finish, along with a comfort layer of zoned polyfoam that provides reinforcement and cradling for targeted support. This surface is best suited to kids between the ages of 3 and 7. The other side has a firmer polyfoam layer geared toward children in the range of 8 to 12 years.

The shared support core contains low-gauge hourglass coils that deliver excellent stability for both sides of the bed, ensuring a decent lifespan before a replacement is needed. The coils also promote air circulation to help the mattress stay cool, while a breathable organic cotton cover regulates temperature at the surface level to keep your child comfortable throughout the year.

The Saatva Youth is available in twin, twin XL, and full sizes, making it compatible with virtually any bunk bed made today. The mattress measures 10 inches thick, so getting in and out of bed should be relatively easy for most children.

Saatva offers free White Glove delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. This service includes scheduled delivery date and time, full assembly in a room of your choice, and removal of your old mattress and/or box spring. Your purchase also comes with a 180-night sleep trial and a warranty that covers structural defects for up to 12 years.

Nest Big Kids Bed

Best Value

Nest Big Kids Bed

Nest Big Kids Bed
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Firm (7)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Children who like the adaptive feel of an all-foam bed
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Responsive and slightly bouncy for easier movement
  • Plush adaptive polyfoam comfort layer cushions the body
  • High-density polyfoam base provides added support
Nest Big Kids Bed

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Our first pick is the Nest Big Kids Bed, or BKB for short. This all-foam model is constructed with a 2-inch comfort layer of Energex polyfoam, an adaptive material that conforms a bit and offers a light bounce on the surface. Energex is an open-cell foam, which makes it fairly breathable and means the mattress won’t sleep too hot.

The bed’s support core is made from 5 inches of high-density foam with enhanced edge support to prevent excessive sinkage when your child gets on and off the mattress. Compared to other all-foam mattresses, the BKB is fairly durable and should last for several years – even after your kids have left the bunk bed. For added protection, the mattress contains a non-chemical fire barrier.

With a total profile of 7 inches, the mattress should be suitable for any standard bunk bed and thick enough for most growing children. You can choose from twin, twin XL, and full sizes.

The BKB is a bit more expensive than most competing bunk bed mattresses, but its above-average durability and strong performance still make it a high-value bed. You’ll also receive a lifetime warranty for added peace of mind. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S., and the mattress ships compressed to your doorstep.

Tuft & Needle Original

Most Comfortable

Tuft & Needle Original

Tuft & Needle Original
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights
Trial length: 100 nights
Warranty: 10-Year, Limited
Warranty: 10-Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Kids who enjoy the contouring feel of an all-foam bed
  • Hot sleepers
  • Parents who want to save money on their child’s mattress
Highlights:
  • Adaptive polyfoam conforms to the body without excessive hugging or sinkage
  • Above-average breathability for an all-foam mattress
  • Optional antimicrobial treatment
Tuft & Needle Original

Save 15% sitewide on Tuft & Needle products

The Tuft & Needle Original is a great mattress for kids and adults alike. Measuring 10 inches thick, the mattress features a comfort layer of adaptive polyfoam reinforced with a high-density foam base. The feel is medium firm (6) but the foam contours evenly to the body, creating a balance of conforming and support that many children find comfortable compared to the close body-hug of memory foam.

The comfort layer has an open-cell composition and is infused with graphite, so the foam shouldn’t absorb too much body heat or sleep excessively warm. As a result, the mattress is a good option for kids who tend to sleep hot. The Tuft & Needle Original is also completely silent, making it a good option for top bunks.

The mattress weighs between 50 and 63 pounds in twin, twin XL, and full sizes, so installing it in a bunk bed shouldn’t require too much strain. You can also purchase a HeiQ antimicrobial treatment, which protects the mattress from harmful bacteria and helps with odor control.

The Tuft & Needle Original is a budget-friendly mattress thanks to its budget-friendly sticker price and free ground shipping for anyone in the contiguous U.S. Each order includes a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.

Purple Kid Mattress

Best Cooling

Purple Kid Mattress

Purple Kid Mattress
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (21-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (21-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin
Who it's best for:
  • Kids up to 13-14 years who weigh 115 pounds or less
  • Hot sleepers
  • Children who sleep in twin size bunk beds
Highlights:
  • Constructed with innovative Purple Grid comfort layer
  • Exceptional breathability and temperature regulation’
  • Machine washable cover
Purple Kid Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Purple mattresses

The Purple Kid Mattress features the same Purple Grid comfort layer that has made the company’s adult-friendly mattresses so popular. Constructed from hyperelastic polymer material in an open grid shape, the Purple Grid cushions and contours to the body much like foam, but without hugging too closely or trapping body heat.

Two layers of high-density foam reinforce the Purple Grid to prevent excessive sinkage and sagging, though the mattress is best suited to kids who weigh up to 115 pounds. Purple also recommends the mattress for children up to 14 years of age. The cover is machine washable, allowing you to keep the mattress clean and hygienic.

The Kid Mattress is exclusively available in a twin, so buyers should make sure their child’s bunk bed will accommodate this size. The mattress weighs 43 pounds, which is fairly lightweight even compared to other foam models, so installing it in any top or bottom bunk will be fairly hassle-free.

Purple offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. You’ll receive a 100-night sleep trial that requires a 21-night break-in period, as well as a 10-year warranty against deep impressions and other defects.

Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress

Best Organic

Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress

Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 30 nights
Trial length: 30 nights
Warranty: 10 years, limited
Warranty: 10 years, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin Trundle, Twin Trundle Short, Full
Who it's best for:
  • Children and preteens
  • Kids who wet the bed
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Reversible design with waterproof barrier on one side
  • Made from organic and non-toxic materials
  • 4 sizes available, including trundle options
Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Naturepedic mattresses

The Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Kids Mattress is a flippable innerspring model with two distinct sleep surfaces. One side features a quilted cotton cover over a layer of organic cotton batting, creating a plush feel for kids who prefer extra cushioning. The other side contains a waterproof membrane made of non-GMO sugarcane polyethylene along with a similar batting layer. This side is better suited to bedwetters. A shared support core of hourglass coils reinforces both sides very well.

The cotton batting and coil layers promote consistent airflow, making the mattress a great option for kids who sleep hot. A profile of 6 to 7 inches also allows young children to get in and out of bed with ease. Naturepedic specializes in mattresses and bedding products made from natural and non-toxic materials, and this bed is no exception. No glues or adhesives are used, and the cotton cover and batting layers have received certification from both the Global Organic Textile Standard and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Four sizes are available for this mattress. In addition to a standard twin and full, you can also select a twin and short twin specifically designed for trundle beds – though any size could potentially work with your child’s bunk bed.

Naturepedic offers free ground shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. Your order comes with a sleep trial that allows your child to test out the mattress for up to 30 nights, and you’ll also receive a 10-year warranty should you decide to keep it.

How to Choose a Bunk Bed Mattress?


In order to find the best mattress for a bunk bed, you’ll need to take a few factors into account. The mattress should meet certain size, weight, and thickness requirements for the bed, especially if you plan to use it on a top bunk. Other variables include price, durability, firmness level, and the age, body type, and sleep position of the sleeper who will primarily use the mattress.

Read on to learn more about choosing the best bunk bed mattress. We’ll also cover bunk bed styles and safety concerns for these bed models.

What to Look for in a Bunk Bed Mattress

During your search for the right bunk bed mattress, you’ll likely come across a wide variety of beds advertised with misleading terms and descriptions. Some mattress companies tout their models for “universal comfort” regardless of the sleeper’s body type and sleep position, or make the claim that their beds will last for at least 10 years. As you browse different brands and models, keep in mind that each mattress is designed to feel more comfortable for certain types of sleepers, and less so for others. We encourage you to focus on the nuts and bolts of the mattress and consider the following factors instead.

  • Size: The vast majority of bunk beds sold today are compatible with twin, twin XL, and/or full mattress sizes. All three of these sizes are best suited to one person and will probably be too narrow for two or more sleepers. Make sure to check the specs on your bunk bed to see the proper size for each individual bunk.
  • Profile: Low-profile mattresses of 6 to 7 inches thick are typically best for bunk beds. This ensures the mattress is thick enough to support the sleeper, but not too tall for the bunk and its safety rails. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the mattress should be at least 5 inches shorter than the top of the rails. (Scroll down for a detailed list of bunk bed safety tips.)
  • Weight: Bunk beds always have a listed weight capacity that includes all mattresses and sleepers. For this reason, lighter mattresses tend to be best for bunk beds. Excessively heavy mattresses pose serious safety concerns for sleepers on lower bunks. Before selecting a mattress, add up the total weight for all sleepers who will use the bed and subtract this number from the bed’s listed weight capacity.
  • Contouring: Mattresses that contour evenly and consistently can distribute your weight and reduce pressure points throughout the body. Poor spinal alignment is a common issue for side sleepers, so they typically need closer contouring to ensure the shoulders, lower back, and hips are evenly supported.
  • Noise: When picking out mattresses for a bunk bed, you should consider all-foam or all-latex models that do not make any noise. This can reduce nighttime disruptions for everyone sharing the bunk bed. Hybrids and innersprings tend to produce more squeaks and creaks due to their coil systems.
  • Price: The cost of a new mattress largely depends on the bed’s material composition. All-foam and innerspring mattresses are the cheapest options, with an average queen size price-point of $900 to $1,200. All-latex and hybrid models cost a bit more – about $1,600 to $2,200 for a queen size, on average.
  • Temperature Regulation: Mattresses with breathable components tend to sleep noticeably cooler than other models. These components may include ventilated latex or foam comfort layers, coil systems that promote steady air circulation, and covers made from breathable fabrics and fibers. All-foam mattresses generally absorb and trap the most body heat.
  • Durability: The average mattress will perform for six to eight years before a replacement is needed. Excessive sagging and loss of support are the most common reasons for retiring a mattress. All-latex mattresses tend to last longer because latex is a naturally durable material that won’t sag or deteriorate as quickly as memory foam or polyfoam.
  • Firmness Level: Mattress firmness is assigned using a 1-10 scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 the firmest. Most mattresses sold today fall between 3 and 8. A softer mattress conforms more closely for side sleepers and those weighing less than 130 pounds, but it will probably sink too much for people who weigh more than 230 pounds – especially back and stomach sleepers. These individuals should consider a firmer mattress with stronger support instead.
  • Pressure Relief: For any given sleeper, the best mattress for pressure relief will conform to the body and support the spine without sagging too much beneath the sleeper’s heaviest areas. Therefore, a mattress that alleviates pressure very well for one sleeper may not provide enough relief for another person with a different body type or way of sleeping.

What Types of Bunk Beds Are Available?

If you’re in the market for a new bunk bed, you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of styles. The most common bunk bed designs include the following:

  • Standard: A standard bunk bed is constructed with two stacked bunks of the same size. Most standard models are designed for two twin bunk bed mattress models, but you may also find some that are compatible with twin XL or full sizes instead. The top bunk is detachable, allowing you to separate the beds. This makes standard bunks ideal for two siblings who will eventually sleep in separate rooms.
  • Triple: Triple bunk beds are built with three separate bunks of a matching size – twin, in most cases. The bunks may be stacked three-high. Another common design is two adjoining bunks on the bottom in a straight line or an L-shape, with the third bunk stacked over the middle where both bottom bunks intersect. Like standard bunk beds, most triple bunk beds can be detached to create three individual beds.
  • Standard Loft: In a standard loft bunk bed, the sleep surface is stacked over an open space that measures at least three to four feet high. This space may contain a workstation with a desk and computer – a popular layout for college dorms and teenager bedrooms. Most standard lofts are also tall enough for a sofa or chair to fit underneath.
  • Triple Loft: Triple loft bunk beds feature two top bunks that connect at a 90-degree angle. As is the case with a standard loft, you’ll find an open space of at least three to four feet high beneath one of the bunks. The other bunk is stacked over a third bed. Due to their larger specs, these bunk beds are normally positioned in one corner of a room to maximize floor space.
  • L-Shaped Bunk: An L-shaped bunk bed features two individual bunks. Rather than being evenly stacked, the bunks are stacked in perpendicular fashion. A ladder next to the lower bunk allows sleepers to access the top bunk. Many L-shaped bunks also offer drawers or compartments for added storage.
  • Twin-Over-Full: As the name suggests, a twin-over-full bunk bed is constructed with a twin size top bunk and a full size bottom bunk. These beds are a good option if you have three children sharing the bed but their room is not tall enough to accommodate a triple bunk.
  • Trundle: A trundle bunk bed accommodates three individual sleepers. Two use the evenly stacked bunks, while a third bed can be accessed using a pull-out drawer attached to the bottom bunk. When not in use, the third bed can be pushed back in to free up more floor space.
  • Futon: A futon bunk bed has a top bunk similar to that of a standard or triple bunk. The bottom contains a futon-style sofa that can be folded down to create a bed surface. Futon bunk beds are another popular choice for dorm rooms.

What Types of Mattresses Are Best for Bunk Beds?

Material composition is an important mattress consideration because each mattress type carries certain pros and cons based on its components. For bunk beds, all-foam models tend to work best. These mattresses are relatively light, so you won’t need to worry about exceeding the bunk bed’s weight capacity. They are also completely silent, allowing sleepers to get onto their bunk without disturbing their bunkmates.

Most mattresses sold today fall into one of five general categories based on their materials, but only a few of them are best for use in a bunk bed. Each category is fairly consistent across different models in terms of price, durability, and performance, but you’ll also find plenty of variation between models of the same type.

Foam

Definition: An all-foam mattress is constructed with comfort and transitional layers of memory foam or polyfoam. If a mattress contains both types of foam, it is considered a “mixed-foam” model. The support core is always made of high-density polyfoam. The average all-foam mattress costs between $900 and $1,200 in a queen size.
Exceptional Pressure Relief: Most all-foam mattresses offer noticeable body-conforming and even weight distribution. For side sleepers, softer all-foam models cushion the shoulders and hips to help align the spine and alleviate pressure. Firmer foam mattresses tend to alleviate more pressure for back and stomach sleepers by promoting even support with minimal sagging.

Hybrid

Definition: A hybrid is a specific type of coil mattress that offers more cushioning and closer body-conforming than a traditional innerspring. The comfort layers are often made from contouring materials like memory foam, latex, and microcoils, while the support core almost always contains pocketed coils and some type of base polyfoam. The average hybrid costs between $1,600 and $2,200 in a queen size.
Balanced Comfort and Support: Hybrids are a comfortable compromise for many sleepers. Their adaptive comfort layers offer a deeper contour, resulting in better pressure relief and motion isolation than you normally receive from a coil mattress. However, the coils offer sturdy edge support and better temperature control than the solid base layers found in all-foam and all-latex models.

Innerspring

Definition: An innerspring is usually constructed with one or two thin comfort layers of polyfoam, along with a support core of steel coils. Innersprings are the most popular type of mattress sold today. This category is also the cheapest, with the average queen size model priced between $900 and $1,100.
Excellent Responsiveness: Innersprings are highly responsive, creating a noticeable bounce on the surface than many people enjoy for sleeping (as well as sex). Most people have an easier time moving across these mattresses compared to those that respond more slowly and sink deeply. Edge support for innersprings is above average, as well.

Latex

Definition: Latex is a foamy material processed from the sappy extract of rubber trees. Latex is naturally responsive and feels bouncier than polyfoam or memory foam, but it also offers body-contouring and pressure relief without a deep sink. Latex is very durable, as well. The average latex mattress costs between $1,600 and $2,200 in a queen size.
Temperature Control: Latex does not absorb and trap heat like foam, so all-latex mattresses tend to sleep quite cool. Many of these models have ventilated layers for added airflow, and their covers are often made of breathable fabrics like organic cotton and rayon from bamboo.

Last Things to Consider with a Bunk Bed Mattress

Now that we’ve discussed bunk bed styles and the best types of mattresses for these beds, let’s conclude this guide with some final considerations for first-time bunk bed shoppers.

Bunk Bed Safety

Bunk beds are subject to federal laws outlined in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 and other pieces of legislation. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), federal bunk bed requirements include the following:

  • Each upper bunk must have a guardrail on each side. Lower bunks do not require guardrails if they are 30 or fewer inches off of the ground.
  • The guardrail must run the entire length of the side next to the wall. An exception is made for gaps of .22 inches or less between the guardrail and the nearest end.
  • On the side away from the wall, gaps between the guardrail and the end of the bed cannot exceed 15 inches.
  • The top of the guardrail must exceed the mattress profile by at least 5 inches on all sides.

The CPSC also lists requirements for bunk bed ends, entrapment prevention, and materials used to construct the bed. We encourage you to read all CPSC bunk bed requirements, and please make sure the bunk bed you buy meets all of the federally mandated criteria.

Long-Term Use

Mattress durability should be a major consideration, but you may not need a mattress with an exceptionally long lifespan for your bunk bed. Children often outgrow their mattresses during their pre-teen and teenage years. By the time they hit junior high or high school, they may be too tall for a twin or full size bunk bed mattress. In these cases, buying a cheaper mattress with a shorter lifespan for the bunk bed may be more cost-effective than paying top dollar for a very durable model.

Many siblings also stop sharing bedrooms when they reach these ages. Most bunks can be disassembled into single beds, allowing your child to keep using the same mattress after they no longer sleep in the bunk. If your child does not undergo any major growth spurts, they may be able to use the same mattress for the remainder of their childhood.

Body Weight

As we mentioned earlier, the listed weight capacity of a bunk bed refers to the sleepers and their mattresses. If your two children weigh 50 to 60 pounds and share a bunk bed with a 200-pound weight capacity, this means their mattresses should weigh no more than 40 to 50 pounds each. If the same children share a bunk bed with a weight capacity of 400 to 500 pounds, you’ll have more wiggle room for selecting a mattress based on weight.

Most bunk beds have weight capacities of 200 to 500 pounds. Always check this figure before buying mattresses for your bunk and never exceed the weight capacity under any circumstances.