Most of us remember the times when growing up and going on vacation or visiting a friend and we spent the night in a bunk bed. It was fun, to say the least. We ended up talking even after our parents told us that it was time to go to sleep. Maybe there was disagreement on who got to sleep up top. Whatever the memory it is still with us to this day.
Now, we are grown up and need to buy a bunk for our kids or maybe even the guestroom in our vacation home.
No matter the reason, we have to determine who the mattress is for first before making a buying decision. After that, more considerations come into play – like what type of sleeping surface. Let’s face it; when you are sleeping up top, we need the right firmness, weight, and durability.
Like with bedding for regular sleeping surfaces, there are a lot of different products and information out there. We have to wheedle our way through it, and that can be daunting and time-consuming. With this article, we aim to put everything into perspective so that you will feel comfortable with your potential purchase.
So let’s start the quest to get the best bed.
Tips for Buying a Bunk Bed Mattress
First and foremost, as a parent, you have to be sure when to give in to your little one’s desire of sleeping on a bunk. As a rule of thumb, we suggest not to get one before your child is six years old. You have to explain that the bunk is a bed and not a castle or pirate ship. If used correctly it is fun, safe and cozy.
The thickness of the mattress is another consideration. We will look into that in more detail in another section. However, regarding safety, it is important to know that with a thicker mattress you forfeit the height of the railing guard. If your son or daughter sleeps up top, they need ample protection so that they won’t fall during the night.
Construction of the bed is paramount. There are many good ones out there. Be sure to read the reviews for better guidance. Also, stairs are a better option than a ladder – you can feel more confident that your little one will not topple over.
Just remember, children do silly things, but they are not stupid. If you discuss the purchase of a new bunk with them and explain the dangers, you should have nothing to worry about.
Guide to Sizes
As a rule of thumb bunk sizes are generally limited to twin-sized mattresses. You can, of course, go for a twin XL if you are slightly taller. It depends on for whom you need the bed. If your it is in the guestroom in your vacation home and for adults, you could try for a larger mattress down below.
Unless you have a specially made piece of furniture for king-sized mattresses – that would be cool.
For children, it’s twin-sized fits all. That is how most bunks are designed. Another thing to take into consideration is the length.
As we already mentioned for adults, this is an important criterion. But this is also the case for kids because they grow up. Be sure to allow for enough space as the years go by quicker than you think.
We touched on thickness when we spoke of safety. If the mattress on the bunk is too thick, you risk reducing the efficacy of the safety rail.
Anyhow, kids do not need thick bedding. Adults, on the other hand, require it due to their weight. It’s a win-win because grownups are less likely to roll around during the night and if they do, it’s unlikely they will slip off the bed.
Standard twin sized mattresses are between 7.5 and 12 inches thick. You can have the thicker bed on the lower level of the bunk and the thinner one up top. However, if you have an exceptionally high guardrail, there is no need to choose something more delicate.
In short, it all depends on the construction style of the bunk. Remember, in most cases, the bottom part below has limited space, so thicker beds take away headroom.
Firmness is personal. It depends on the type of sleeper. Most back sleepers prefer a firmer mattress to say tummy and side sleepers. The good thing is that latex and memory foam often come with two different intensity levels. All you have to do is flip the mattress, and you will find the desired sleeping surface.
The most important thing is that the body gets the utmost support and give where it is needed. If the bed is for your children, you can talk to them about it.
However, the chances are that their eyes will either glaze over with boredom or light up and squeal ‘soft is best.’ Read the reviews to be sure. Reread this article for the top-grade reviewed mattresses and then make your decision.
With children trial and error is the way to go. Take them to a bedding store and let them experiment on a few mattresses. Then they will be able to tell you what they want. If you buy online, be sure to check the risk-free trial period that most vendors offer – this is very important so that you can return the mattress if it is not suitable.
A small tip to end this section: You will need a firmer mattress on the lower part of the bunk because in most case it rests on the floor.
What Material Should You Get?
You can’t go wrong with memory foam mattresses. Thanks to developments in technology, the old problem of overheating in the night is over with the addition of gel or other materials to the mattress mixture.
NASA originally pioneered memory foam for astronauts in need of a body-shaping surface during takeoff. This technology soon found its way onto the market for regular consumers. Now, more and more people swear by memory foam bedding because of the great support it gives.
Also, you can buy them at almost any price, and they are easily delivered to your home. Another plus when considering a mattress for the bunk in your kid’s bedroom is that memory foam is not bouncy like an innerspring or latex.
Your children will soon stop jumping up and down on the bed – mom and dad can relax in the living room without worrying.
The spring has been with us for over a century. They are reliable, comfy and come in all firmness levels. You can buy a spring mattress for your bunk for little to no money, and you can go crazy because the sky is the limit with this type of bed. It all depends on the material and the brand.
Children will love it because they can bounce about due to the ‘spinginess’ of the mattress. Also, depending on the firmness intensity, they are cozy and plush. Just one thing to note – memory foam, latex and gel might be more ideal because they are easier to clean. Bedwetting, unfortunately, is an occurrence and the thick fabric on a spring is difficult to clean.
Springs are excellent for the bottom level of the bunk. Up top, children might bounce up and down, resulting in injury. Also, remember that spring mattresses have a shorter lifespan than say latex.
As with the spring bed, the cost for a latex mattress can reach into the stratosphere. It all depends on their makeup. But if you want eco-friendly, the organic mattress is ideal.
Some latex bedding is made of synthetic materials based on petroleum-sourced additives. On the other hand, there is bio-or all-natural latex sourced from trees using the Dunlop technique of vulcanization. The latter is almost synthetic free – in other words, 5 percent is sourced from manmade materials, and the rest is from nature alone.
Latex beds are the most recommended in terms of durability. In theory, they can last a lifetime. Also, they provide excellent body contouring and support. If you have the cash, don’t buy anything cheap because off-gassing can be a problem with synthetic materials.
Another thing is that it is difficult to test them because they are mainly available online.
So ideal option is to see: Our Recommended Latex Mattress Picks
Adding coolness to memory foam. Many manufacturers include a layer of gel to the makeup of their mattresses for its cooling properties. Even latex and innerspring beds are using this material because of it.
There are two types of gel mattress. In some cases, the gel is infused with other materials on the top, and in other cases, the gel is moved down.
In both cases, producers promise a cooler night’s sleep. However, most of the benefits such as body contouring, firmness and durability are because of memory foam, innerspring and latex.
In some reviews, critics bash gel by claiming that the ‘coolness effect’ is bogus. They may have a point. Have you ever removed a gel pack from the freezer? What happens? After being exposed to room temperature, gel soon heats up until it reaches the same level. The same happens in the mattress.
Top 3 Bunk Mattresses Reviewed
DreamFoam Bedding – Very Comfortable
- Foam mattress with 0.75 inch quilting layer
- CertiPUR-certified and made in the USA
- Twin size; ideal for bunks
- Suitable for all sleeper types
Our Ratings: 9.7/10
DreamFoam is a company based in the USA. They promise that every part of the mattress is sourced and assembled in the country. Everything from the moment you order the DreamFoam mattress to when you finally lie on it is plain sailing. Quilted luxury for a good price at its finest.
Say goodbye to the conventional heating up you might know from other memory foam beds. The tri-zone layers and quilted surface ensure the high-grade breathability, promising to maintain the optimum temperature while you sleep.
Thanks to the body-shaping properties of memory foam, this mattress will adapt to the shape of your body, providing support and relief where it is needed. No matter whether you are on the top or bottom of your bunk, this twin will make sleeping better.
Check out the reviews, they speak for themselves. Having said that, we want to share that the DreamFoam bed is excellent for side sleepers because of the firmness.
LUCID – Ideal Firm Feel
- Hypoallergenic and ideal for kids
- Durable memory foam
- Cooling layers for better breathability
Our Ratings: 9.6/10
Even though a lot of people reviewed this mattress, we thought that another one could not go amiss. While testing, we discovered that customers were right – this is truly great for a bunk if you are in search of a mattress that has a great firm feel.
It’s perfect for young people because it fits on trundle beds and bunks alike. It is so easy in fact that it arrives at your home neatly packed. All you have to do is remove the packaging and wait for the bed to unfold and you are ready to go.
And go you will on this tri-layer memory foam bed with optimum breathability thanks to the gel layer.
Lucid is ideal for kids, ensuring spinal alignment when it is most important. Just be careful when you tell them about it because even if you don’t want one, the children will convince you that you need a bunk in the house.
Zinus – Perfect Comfort
- Smart shipping
- Three memory foam layers for the highest quality comfort
- Bio-foam components
- Great price
Our Ratings: 9.3/10
Zinus provides the perfect comfort for your child on any sleeping surface whether it is a bunk or a trundle bed. Memory foam technology that shapes to the natural contours of the body delivers support and sinkage where it is needed.
Just be sure to wait 48 hours after you have unpacked the mattress so that it can adapt to its ideal plush shape for use. And don’t worry if something goes wrong because you get a 10-year warranty – Zinus sure knows how to keep their customers relaxed.
The great reviews on Amazon confirm what we tested – Zinus is an excellent product for a low price. You are surely not forfeiting perfect comfort because of a low cost. The company promises that you or your kid that you will sleep like a baby up high on the bunk.
How Old to Sleep on Top Bunk & Is It Safe?
We already touched upon age and bunks in the safety section of this article. From our reviewing process, we have discovered that the best age for letting your child sleep on the top part of a bunk is six and over. Just be aware that each kid is different. It’s best to base your buying decision on the way your offspring behaves.
Are bunk beds safe?
This depends on the product. Most manufacturers include a safety rail on the upper level so that you won’t roll out during the night. As we already mentioned, make sure that the mattress is too thick lest you compromise the height of the rail.
Another thing to consider is whether to buy a bed with stairs or a ladder. The former is safer. Again, base your choice on your child’s disposition. Be sure to talk to your boy or girl before getting them one. Inform them of the pitfalls, and you should be okay.
Read the American Academy of Pediatrics: Bunk Bed Safety
What’s the Difference Between Bunk and Loft Beds?
Bunks and loft beds are pretty much the same. The main difference is that the traditional ones always has two mattresses. Unless you have two children that share the same room, the bed may not be the ideal option, as it will only be used for sleepovers.
A loft bed has an elevated sleeping surface like a bunk. However, the lower part is kept free of bedding and can be used for other purposes like a desk, sitting area or a cozy nook for your kid to hide. And when you do have your son or daughter’s best friend over, you can just slip a mattress below and turn the loft bed into a bunk.
It’s every child’s dream to have a loft bed. There are so many excellent options on the market. You can buy anything from a house to a pirate ship. Also, if the room is limited in space, the underside can be used for all manner of purposes.
Is It Safe for Toddlers?
Toddlers are children between the ages of 12 to 36 months. As the name suggests, a kid that age has just begun to walk. In other words, they toddle rather than walk. The toddler period is a vital part of a child’s life. They learn new things every day as they discover everything on their own two feet.
But falling off is something you definitely don’t want them to experience. As we mentioned before, six years and older is the best age for children to sleep in a bunk or a loft bed. They are already steady on their feet so that you don’t have to worry about them tripping or falling.
Our advice is to wait with your toddler until he or she can navigate the house well enough alone before bringing up the topic of a bunk.
A rule of thumb is if they go shopping with you at the supermarket without complaining about walking then you can consider investing in a fun and cozy bunk.
Can Bunk Beds Collapse?
Whether the bunk bed collapses depends on the sturdiness of the piece of furniture. As with most things, it all boils down to quality. You need to make sure that the manufacturer is well reviewed and always delivers a superior product. Do not try and save money on it. It’s your child’s health we are talking about.
If you have scoured the web, you have most probably come across the odd horror story about children dying because of their bunks. They either slip down the stairs or trip over the safety rail. However, having the entire piece of furniture collapse would surely cause harm.
We recommend doing your research. And if you decide to build the it yourself, be sure that you know what you are doing. Your child’s life is the most precious thing – do not take shortcuts.
Our Final Thoughts
Whether you use the bunk bed for yourself or your children, we all know that they are a lot of fun for people of all ages. The most important thing to do is read articles such as this so that you are best prepared.
If you have come so far, you are now armed with all of the necessary information. You know about the top reviewed mattresses, and you are aware of the pitfalls involved with buying a bunk. Stay safe and sleep well and may your child have fun with his or her bunk bed.