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Best Mattress for Bunk Beds

A mainstay in many family homes, bunk beds are a practical and fun way to save space for kids who share a room. Bunk beds and loft beds are also convenient in dorm rooms, hostels, and other bedrooms with limited space.

There are a few considerations that apply specifically to bunk bed mattresses. For safety and practical reasons, the size, weight, and height of a mattress all become very important when choosing a mattress for a bunk bed. Of course, you shouldn't sacrifice comfort and support. Put all this together, and it may seem difficult to find a mattress that ticks all the boxes.

We'll share a list of our top picks for bunk bed mattresses. We'll also break down the most important features in a bunk bed mattress, including tips for different ages, sleeper types, and comfort preferences, to help identify the best bunk bed mattress for your situation.

Our Top Picks

Nest Big Kid's Bed - Best Foam Kids Bed
    • Mattress Type: Foam
    • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
    • Price (Twin): $299
Little Luuf - Best Hybrid Kids Bed
    • Mattress Type: Hybrid
    • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
    • Price (Twin): $599
Tuft & Needle - Best All Foam
    • Mattress Type: Foam
    • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
    • Price (Twin): $350
Nectar - Best Value
    • Mattress Type: Foam
    • Firmness Level: Medium Firm (6)
    • Price (Twin): $649
Casper - Best for Side Sleepers

Nest Big Kids Bed - Best Foam Kids Bed

Price (Twin): $299

Height: 7"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 3/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 4/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

Nest Big Kids Bed

Highlights:

  • Made especially for growing children
  • Lightweight, with low profile that fits guardrail
  • Family-friendly price-point

Ideal For:

  • Kids up to 100-120 pounds
  • Active sleepers
  • Those who rely on the edges of the bed

The Nest Big Kids Bed is an ideal upgrade for young children who are transitioning from a crib. Designed to fit bunk beds, it's 7 inches tall and fits snugly against the guardrail. The mattress is very reasonably priced, and it's available in twin, twin XL, and full sizes.

The mattress consists of 2 inches of springy Energex foam over a 5-inch high-density polyfoam base. It feels fairly firm for smaller children, but as children grow and gain weight it will feel progressively softer. The mattress is suitable for children up to approximately 100 pounds. The mattress itself is among the more lightweight options out there, which can help put your mind at ease if you're worried about surpassing weight restrictions as the kids grow.

As the mattress is quite firm, most children don't sink in too far. This keeps heat retention to a minimum. The edges are also quite strong, which is a bonus for those who like sitting up in bed.

Made in the USA, the Big Kids Bed is CertiPUR-US certified and uses a non-toxic fire barrier made of hydrated silica. The mattress ships for free to the contiguous U.S. and comes with a lifetime warranty.


Little Luuf - Best Hybrid Kids Bed

Price (Twin): $599

Height: 8"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 3/5

Sleeps Cool: 4/5

Motion Isolation: 3/5

Edge Support: 4/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 4/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

Little Luuf Mattress

Highlights:

  • Gentle pocketed coils designed specifically for kids
  • Responsive surface and reliable edge support
  • Strong airflow for above-average temperature regulation

Ideal For:

  • Kids and pre-teens
  • Combination sleepers
  • Those who sleep hot

The Little Luuf is an 8-inch mattress made with bunk beds in mind. In the comfort layers, a plush proprietary foam provides a squishy feel that reduces pressure points without overly restricting movement. Below this is a pocketed coil support core that's specially constructed for smaller bodies. Hybrid mattresses are usually too heavy for bunk beds, but this one has a thin profile and smaller coils that adapt well to the needs of a bunk bed frame.

The pocketed coils add bounce and make it easier for kids to move around. They also leave space for airflow to help maintain a neutral temperature, as well as reinforce the edges of the bed to add more stability.

The Little Luuf is made in the USA and available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, and king sizes. The mattress is designed with a natural cotton and rayon fire barrier and holds CertiPUR-US certification for being low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). LuuF offers a full year-long sleep trial so you have time to see how the mattress works as your children grow. After that, the mattress is covered by a 10-year warranty.


Tuft & Needle - Best All Foam

Price (Twin): $350

Height: 10"

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 4/5

Motion Isolation: 4/5

Edge Support: 2/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 4/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

T&N Original Mattress

Highlights:

  • Graphite- and gel-infused Adaptive Foam is cool and responsive
  • Suitable for kids and adults alike
  • Above-average pressure point relief

Ideal For:

  • Older kids, teens, and adults
  • Any sleeping position and combination sleepers
  • People who tend to sleep hot on all-foam beds

With a modest 10-inch profile, the Tuft & Needle Original mattress is perfectly suited to many bunk beds. It's priced below-average for a mattress of its caliber, with a durable build that should last through adolescence into adulthood.

The top layer of the Tuft & Needle is made with Adaptive Foam, a proprietary material that facilitates movement thanks to its quick response to pressure. In terms of firmness, the mattress has a neutral medium firm feel that lends itself well to most sleeping styles.

The foam is infused with graphite and cooling gel designed to keep the surface of the bed cool. It also does a good job of absorbing motion, minimizing disturbances to the person in the other bunk. The Tuft & Needle mattress has a high-density polyfoam base that supports growing bodies as well as adults.

Tuft & Needle offers a standard 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty. Parents will be glad to hear that the Tuft & Needle mattress holds CertiPUR-US and UL Greenguard Gold certifications against chemical emissions. It's also endorsed by several third-party parent organizations.

Read Our Full Tuft & Needle Mattress Review


Nectar - Best Value

Price (Twin): $649

Height: 11”

Firmness: Medium Firm (6)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 2/5

Motion Isolation: 4/5

Edge Support: 3/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 3/5

Sex: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 3/5

nectar-mattress

Highlights:

  • Gel memory foam absorbs motion and eases pressure points
  • Suitable for adults
  • 365-night sleep trial 

Ideal For:

  • Back and stomach sleepers
  • Sensitive sleepers
  • Bottom bunks 

At 11 inches, the Nectar Mattress is slightly taller than the average bunk bed, but it makes a great option for the bottom bunk. It's suitable for kids and adults alike.

The Nectar features a comfort section made with quilted memory foam and gel memory foam. These layers prevent pressure from building up in the hips and shoulders. Transitional memory foam and high-density polyfoam provide a quiet, stable base for the mattress.

The medium firm feel best accommodates back and stomach sleepers. In these individuals, the comfort layers form a gentle cradle that encourages proper spinal alignment. The contouring foams also absorb motion to prevent disturbing the person on the other bunk. The mattress has a sleek Tencel cover and is CertiPUR-US certified to be made without a number of harmful chemicals.

Nectar offers a 365-night sleep trial, starting 30 days after delivery. This is much longer than average and should come in handy for indecisive shoppers. The mattress is further backed by a lifetime warranty against workmanship and manufacturing defects.

Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review


Casper - Best for Side Sleepers

Price (Twin): $595 (Original), $695 (Hybrid)

Height: 11"

Firmness: Medium (5)

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Pressure Point Relief: 4/5

Sleeps Cool: 3/5

Motion Isolation: 4/5

Edge Support: 2/5

Durability: 3/5

Ease of Movement: 3/5

Off-Gassing: 2/5

Highlights:

  • Standout motion isolation and pressure relief
  • Choice between all-foam or hybrid models
  • Zoned support for the lumbar area

Ideal For:

  • Side sleepers
  • Teens and adults
  • People who suffer from lower back pain

The Casper has several advantages to recommend it for bunk beds. The mattress is fairly low-profile at 11 inches tall. It also performs above-average on motion isolation, meaning bunk bed sleepers are unlikely to shake the whole bed frame when changing positions.

The mattress has a straightforward 3-layer design. The top layer is made with perforated polyfoam that fights back against heat retention. The second layer is made with firmer memory foam in the middle third of the mattress, providing pressure relief for the shoulders and extra support for the lumbar region. For the support core, customers can choose between high-density polyfoam or pocketed coils with extra airflow and stronger edge support. Both options provide adequate support for teens and adults.

In terms of firmness the Casper rates as a medium, or 5 out of 10. Side sleepers should find the top two layers conform closely to help align the spine and prevent pressure points. The mattress also performs well for most back sleepers, though stomach sleepers may find it a little too soft.

Casper uses foams that are CertiPUR-US certified to be free of ozone depleters and other harmful chemicals. The mattress ships free in the contiguous U.S. and Canada, and it comes with a 100-night sleep trial as well as a 10-year limited warranty.

Read Our Full Casper Mattress Review


What is the Best Type of Mattress for Bunk Beds?

Buying a bunk bed comes with a unique set of considerations. In addition to the typical factors such as firmness and comfort preferences, you'll need to factor in weight capacity, mattress height, and other safety-related details.

The first thing to consider when purchasing a bunk bed mattress is who will be using the bunk bed. Smaller children may be comfortable on a thinner, more lightweight mattress, while adults typically need a mattress with more support. There may be an age limit for the top bunk, which can help determine which sleeper goes where.

Once you have a general idea of the traits you're looking for in a bunk bed mattress, it's time to narrow down what type of mattress you need. There are several main categories, each of which has its particular advantages and drawbacks:

All-foam: Made with memory foam, polyfoam, latex, or a combination, all-foam mattresses are lightweight, affordable, low-profile, and allergy-friendly. Cheaper all-foam mattresses may break down over time.
Innerspring: Innerspring mattresses are also fairly lightweight due to their thin comfort layers. A long-time child favorite, these are a good option for the bottom bunk but may be too bouncy for the top bunk.
Latex: All-latex mattresses can be heavy and expensive, but they often feature thin profiles capable of supporting adult bunk bed sleepers.
Hybrid: Made with a substantial comfort section over an innerspring core, thinner hybrid mattresses may be suitable for certain bunk beds as long as they don't exceed height and weight requirements.

To reduce disturbances to the person on the other bunk, try to choose a mattress that's quiet when bearing weight. All-foam and latex mattresses are the best for this, as hybrid and innerspring mattresses tend to squeak and creak. These models also absorb movement, which may help prevent motion transfer depending on the type of bunk bed frame.

Further considerations include temperature regulation and edge support. Innerspring, latex, and hybrid mattresses tend to be best at maintaining a neutral temperature. In turn, innerspring and hybrid mattresses tend to have the best edge support. Edge support is important for people who plan to spend time sitting on the edge of the bed, especially in the bottom bunk where there is no guardrail.

Most people end up opting for all-foam or innerspring mattresses, but the best choice will depend on your needs.

Which Mattress Firmness is Best For a Bunk Bed?

The best firmness for a bunk bed mattress depends on the sleeper's body type and favorite sleeping position. Mattress firmness is a matter of personal preference, but there are certain guidelines that can help you select the firmness that's most appropriate.

As a general rule, lighter individuals and side sleepers typically prefer a plusher surface. This conforms to the body to align the spine and relieve pressure points in the hips and shoulders. By contrast, heavier sleepers and stomach sleepers need a firmer surface to prevent heavier body parts from sinking and impeding proper spinal alignment. If the bunk beds are for a hostel or another place with high turnover, a medium firm feel is probably best. On a scale of 1 to 10, this would fall between a 5 and a 7.

Choosing a mattress for a growing child can be a little more complicated, as their needs are constantly changing. Smaller children don't weigh as much, so they don't sink as far into the mattress. They typically need a plusher mattress that cushions pressure points and helps soothe growing pains.

As the child grows, their body exerts more weight on the mattress, requiring a firmer surface to keep the spine aligned. If you're buying the mattress for a child and hope to keep using it into their teen years, a flippable mattress with a different feel on each side may be appropriate. However, depending on how much they weigh, they may eventually need a thicker or longer mattress to support their growing frame. Once they reach the weight limit for the bunk bed, it's time to transition to an independent teen mattress.

What Size Mattress is Best for a Bunk Bed?

Bunk bed mattress size varies, but most bunk beds require a twin (38 by 75 inches), twin XL (38 by 80 inches), or full size (54 by 75 inches) mattress. Some bunk beds allow room for a bigger mattress on the bottom. Be sure to measure your bunk bed frame before purchasing your mattress, as twin and twin XL beds can look similar at first glance.

Common bunk bed types include:

  • Standard: Two twin beds, one on top of the other.
  • Loft: One twin bed with space underneath for a desk, couch, etc.
  • Triple: Three twin beds stacked vertically, or two on the bottom and one on the top.
  • L-shaped: Two standard bunks, or a standard bunk and a loft, joined at the heads.
  • Twin Over Full: A twin bed on top of a full size bunk bed mattress.
  • Trundle: A standard bunk with the option to roll out a third bunk from under the bottom bunk.

Every bunk bed has a maximum weight capacity that includes the weight of the mattresses and occupants. For safety reasons, it's extremely important not to exceed this weight. Choosing a lightweight mattress will give you more leverage for heavier occupants, and makes it easier to lift the top mattress when making the bed.

Federal guidelines also state that the top bunk should have a guardrail that rises at least 5 inches above the mattress. This means that the mattress for the top bunk should have a low profile, usually 6 to 7 inches at most. On the other hand, a mattress that's too thin might leave room for a small child to slip out between the mattress and the guard rail. Ideal mattress thickness varies from manufacturer to manufacturer and is something to double-check before purchasing.

Whether on the top or the bottom bunk, a thinner mattress will leave more space for sitting up in bed. This is especially convenient if the bunk is for a hostel or dorm room with limited space, or if you plan on sitting in bed while you read bedtime stories to your children.

How Much Does a Bunk Bed Mattress Cost?

As bunk beds typically come in smaller sizes, they won't set you back as much as a queen size mattress. However, you'll likely be buying two, which will double the price.

Good-quality models start at around $200 for a twin bunk bed mattress. For this reasonable price, you can usually get an all-foam or innerspring mattress with a solid support core and a thin comfort layer section. This design is ideal for young children, but these mattresses tend to have lower durability and wear out within a few years.

For heavier occupants, you'll need to spend a bit more for a mattress with more robust comfort and support sections, and better durability. All-foam mattresses are still good options due to their lighter weight. You can usually find adult-friendly all-foam models for bunk beds starting at around $500 for a twin.

Latex mattresses are also a good choice. While latex itself inherently weighs more, it's possible to get a thin latex mattress that satisfies height requirements while still providing ample support for a teen or adult. Natural latex mattresses may set you back $1,000 or more for a twin, but they're very durable and should last for years.

How Can I Make Sure I’m Getting the Best Deal on a Mattress?

Thanks to the rise of direct-to-consumer mattress companies, it's easier than ever before to find affordably priced mattresses with no middleman fees. Online bed-in-a-box companies offer a vast range of models to choose from, and in most cases, these are shipped free to your door.

A huge advantage of buying a mattress online is that it allows you to conduct research at your own pace so you can make a fully informed decision, instead of being pressured by a salesperson. To make up for not seeing the mattress in person before buying it, generous sleep trials allow you to try out the mattress risk-free in the comfort of your own home. As with store-bought mattresses, the warranty protects you against manufacturing defects after that. Don't forget to check the shipping, sleep trial, warranty, and return policies before buying, to avoid hidden charges.

The mattress industry likes to celebrate holidays by offering discounts and bundles, so be sure to keep an eye out for deals around days like Black Friday, Memorial Day, and other holidays. Even on regular days, many online mattress companies offer coupon codes that can be entered at checkout for a small discount off the suggested retail price. If you're buying in a brick-and-mortar store, check local newspapers for coupons and try negotiating with the salesperson.

If the bunk bed is for children, and even for teens and adults, you can protect your investment against spills and stains with a waterproof mattress protector. You can also lengthen the lifespan of your mattress by rotating it head-to-toe every 3 to 6 months. This evens out wear-and-tear, delaying the onset of permanent indentations in the spot where you usually lie.

Last but not least, think carefully before you skimp on mattress quality. You may be tempted to buy a cheap twin mattress for the bunk bed, thinking it doesn't make sense to splash out on a top-tier mattress for a growing child. However, by investing in a slightly better bunk bed mattress when the kids are young, you may be able to repurpose the mattress in their teen years once the bunks are separated.