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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
Who it’s best for:
- Kids between the ages of 3 and 12
- Children who wet the bed
- Hot sleepers
- Flippable design intended for growing children
- Both surfaces treated with a stain-resistant, water-repellent finish
- Each purchase comes with two free pillows
The innovative Helix Kids is a flippable mattress designed to meet the needs of growing children. One side of the mattress has a medium firm (6) feel meant for kids between the ages of 3 and 7 who need a more supportive surface to promote proper development. The opposite side is medium soft (4) and best suited to kids between 8 and 12 years old, who tend to prefer more cushioning from their mattress.
Each side features a top layer of adaptive polyfoam, followed by a memory foam transitional layer. A shared support core of pocketed coils is positioned between the foam layers and provides stability to both sides of the mattress. The coils are reinforced along the perimeter to ease the process of getting in and out of bed. Both sides feature a water-repellent and stain-resistant finish to protect the mattress from liquid damage due to spills or bedwetting episodes. Thanks to steady airflow through the coils and a breathable Tencel cover, the mattress also sleeps quite cool.
The Helix Kids is competitively priced and orders to all 50 states qualify for free ground delivery. You’ll also receive two of Helix’s best pillows, the Helix Dream Pillow, for free with your purchase. The mattress is compatible with any bunk bed that accommodates twin or full size models. Helix Sleep offers a 100-night sleep trial with this mattress, and customers who decide to keep it also receive a 10-year warranty against structural defects.Read our Full Helix Kids Review to learn more
Who it’s best for:
- Side and back sleepers up to 230 pounds
- Children who enjoy a bed that hugs the body
- Parents on a budget
- Three foam layers offer strong contouring and pressure relief
- Lightweight design is appropriate for top bunks
- Foam efficiently absorbs motion transfer
The Nectar Mattress is an all-foam bed with a well-rounded design that should feel comfortable to a wide range of children. It has a lighter weight than hybrid and latex beds, making it a good fit for top bunks, and the price is competitive compared to other foam models on the market.
The bed is constructed with three layers of foam, beginning with a comfort layer of memory foam that gently hugs the body. Beneath is a transitional layer of polyfoam that enhances the bed’s contouring properties, but also has a bouncy quality that pushes back and provides support. The core contains a layer of high-density foam that feels sturdy and supportive. The cover is made with a poly-blend fabric and is quilted for a plush feel.
With a medium firm (6) feel, the Nectar offers the “body hug” commonly associated with foam beds but is also slightly firmer than many foam models. This makes it ideal for sleepers who enjoy the feel of foam but don’t enjoy the sensation of sleeping “in” the bed. The strong contouring offers very good pressure relief, which is ideal for back and side sleepers up to 230 pounds who experience painful pressure buildup in the shoulders, hips, or spine. The foam surface eliminates virtually all motion transfer, so children are unlikely to feel movement if sharing the bed with a parent or pet.
Nectar backs the mattress with a 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.Read our Full Nectar Mattress Review to learn more
Who it’s best for:
- Hot sleepers
- Sleepers with sharp pressure points
- Combination sleepers
- Foam layers evenly contour to the body to relieve pressure
- Supportive coil system and firm (7) feel
- Cooling Celliant cover
The Bear Cub is a quintessential foam hybrid designed with comfort in mind. Your child should enjoy the mattress’ balanced feel regardless of their sleeping position. This versatility should also suit sleepers who switch positions throughout the night.
The Cub’s comfort system begins with a memory foam layer that adds some surface cushioning. This layer is also infused with cooling gel meant to reduce heat buildup. A polyfoam transitional layer prevents your body from sinking too deeply into the mattress and ensures your weight is evenly distributed.
Pocketed coils in the support core reinforce the sleep surface. Some coils are zoned along the perimeter of the mattress to help it bear your weight when you sit or lay near the edges. The cover is made with fibers using Celliant technology, which is engineered to aid in muscle recovery, enhance cooling, and wick away moisture.
The Cub’s firm (7) feel and foam hybrid design felt comfortable for our testers under 130 pounds. Many mattresses with foam layers tend to trap heat, but the Cub is a notable exception. The coils encourage airflow in the mattress’ interior, while the breathable cover keeps the surface cool to the touch. Our hot sleepers felt comfortable throughout testing. Supportive edges and a responsive surface also make the bed easy for your kid to get in and out of bed on their own.
Bear offers free shipping to customers living in the contiguous U.S. Your child can test the mattress for up to 120 nights, and you can return it for a full refund anytime after a 30-night break-in period. The Bear Cub is backed by a lifetime warranty against structural defects.
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
- Reversible design with each side geared toward a different age group
- Waterproof barrier protects against liquid damage
- Free White Glove delivery and 365-night sleep trial
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 365-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty that covers structural defects.Read our Full Saatva Youth Review to learn more
Who it’s best for:
- Those who want a memory foam mattress with a firmer feel
- People who tend to overheat
- Couples and co-sleepers
- Above-average support for an all-foam design
- Phase change material infused into the cover helps capture and dissipate body heat
- Excellent motion isolation and no noise
Most memory foam mattresses are prone to absorbing and trapping heat, which can result in an uncomfortable night’s sleep for people with fibromyalgia. The Cocoon Chill lives up to its name thanks to an infusion of phase change material (PCM), which is engineered to dissipate body heat on contact. This element makes the Chill a good option for those who normally sleep hot on foam beds.
The Chill’s three-layer design consists of a memory foam comfort layer over polyfoam transitional and base layers. Each layer is progressively firmer and denser from top to bottom, resulting in an adaptive, cradling feel without excessive sinkage. The Chill is medium firm (6), so it will feel firmer and more supportive than the average memory foam mattress. The Chill measures 10 inches thick, making it a medium-profile model. PCM fibers are woven into the cover, which feels soft and stretchy.
During our hands-on tests, the Chill earned exemplary ratings in the temperature control performance category. None of our testers experienced the bothersome heat absorption we’ve come to expect from memory foam mattresses, and this can be attributed to the PCM infusion. The surface feels cool and comfortable at all times.
The Chill’s firmer-than-average feel also made this mattress popular with our side sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds and back sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. These testers felt little to no pressure buildup in the shoulders, hips, and other areas where discomfort often occurs. Motion isolation is another area where the mattress excelled. We did not notice any transfer of movement during this portion of our testing.
The Chill is priced reasonably for a memory foam mattress and shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.Read our Full Cocoon Chill Review to learn more
Best for Younger Kids
Nest Bedding Puffin
Who it’s best for:
- Hot sleepers
- Kids who use a bunk bed compatible with 7-inch mattresses
- Parents who want a child’s mattress covered under an accident protection plan
- Cover infused with phase change material shouldn’t trap too much heat
- Firm, supportive feel promotes healthy growth and development
- Available in twin, twin XL, and full sizes to match most bunk beds sold today
The Puffin is Nest Bedding’s all-foam mattress aimed at small kids. A firm (7), supportive design lightly cushioned with a foam comfort layer keeps their bodies on an even plane to help ensure proper growth and development throughout their childhood. The Puffin also has a 7-inch profile and is available in twin, twin XL, and full sizes, so the mattress will be compatible with most bunk beds sold today.
The cover is infused with phase change material to capture and release body heat on contact, resulting in a sleep surface that always feels cool even during warmer or more humid times of the year. A base layer of high-density polyfoam stabilizes the mattress and prevents your child from sinking too much. Weighing between 30 and 40 pounds depending on the selected size, the Puffin is lightweight and easy to move between bunks as needed.
Nest Bedding provides free ground shipping for all orders within the contiguous U.S. and each mattress comes with a 30-night trial period. A lifetime warranty covers structural defects in the Puffin for as long as you retain full ownership. For an additional fee, you can also obtain a protection plan that covers stains and liquid damage for 3, 5, or 10 years after the purchase date.
Best Pressure Relief
Brentwood Home Juniper
Who it’s best for:
- Shoppers who prioritize eco-friendly beds
- Children who enjoy well-cushioned mattresses
- Side sleepers
- Low profile is ideal for top bunks
- All-foam design hugs the body
- 365-night sleep trial
The Brentwood Home Juniper is an all-foam bed with a low profile that is perfectly suited for the top or lower bunk. For parents who care about what their child’s mattress is made out of, the Juniper is composed of safe and eco-friendly materials – with the certifications to back it up.
The mattress begins with a cotton cover that has Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification to ensure organic sourcing. The comfort layer contains an inch of memory foam that moderately hugs your child’s body, followed by a polyfoam core that provides sturdy support. The entire mattress has GREENGUARD Gold certification, which demonstrates that it has met strict standards for off-gassing and absence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The foam is partially composed of plant-based BioFoam, which is engineered to run cooler than traditional foam. Children who tend to overheat on foam beds will sleep cooler on this model. The bed has an overall medium firm (6) feel that should feel cushioned enough for kids who enjoy plushness but firm enough to support the body and keep the lower back from sinking in excessively. Lighter and low-profile beds are well suited to top bunks for safety reasons, so the 6-inch profile on the Juniper makes it a good fit for bunk beds.
Brentwood Home offers a 1-year sleep trial, with a 30-day break-in period required before refunds may be issued. The mattress is also backed by a 25-year warranty. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S.
Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress
Who it’s best for:
- Kids who weigh less than 115 pounds
- Hot sleepers
- Children who enjoy very bouncy mattresses
- Responsive and breathable latex hybrid design
- Cover and comfort layer materials have received organic certifications
- Free children’s book included with each purchase
Avocado’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond the company’s adult mattress line. The Eco Organic Kids Mattress is a latex hybrid featuring environmentally friendly materials from top to bottom. These include the cotton cover and wool batting layers that encase the entire mattress. Both of these materials have earned certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard. Likewise, the Dunlop latex comfort layer is certified by the Global Organic Latex Standard. Avocado is also a carbon negative company that maintains their status through carbon offsets and other eco-conscious programs.
The support core contains individually pocketed coils. The latex and coils make the mattress feel quite responsive, which is a perk for children who prefer bouncier beds. The coils generate plenty of airflow, the latex is ventilated to promote extra circulation near the surface, and the wool has moisture-wicking properties. Together, these materials allow the mattress to sleep exceptionally cool.
Avocado recommends the mattress for children who weigh less than 115 pounds. The 7-inch profile complies with current safety standards for bunk bed mattress height. You can also choose between twin, twin XL, or full sizes, making the mattress compatible with virtually any bunk bed on the market today.
Shipping is free of charge for all orders in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase includes a complimentary copy of “My Little Blue Planet,” a children’s book produced by Avocado that tackles environmental issues in a kid-friendly way. The Eco Organic Kids Mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Other Mattress Guides
If you’d like to refine your search for your children’s beds beyond bunk bed mattresses, take a look at our other recommendations broken down by mattress type.
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 mattress, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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