Sleeper Sofas: How to Buy the Best One

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Giving your guests a comfortable place to sleep has never been easier.

In an ideal world, homes would always have full guest rooms, complete with a spare bed for friends and family who are visiting. But in the real world, that isn’t always the case. And that’s when a sleeper sofa or air mattress comes in handy.

There are many reasons to pick a sleeper sofa. They tend to be more supportive than air mattresses (although they are also more expensive—anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars—which is why air mattresses have their place, too ). How a sleeper sofa works: During everyday life, it’s a comfortable couch that's perfect for reading or watching TV. When guests arrive, the cushions come off, and it transforms into a place for people to sleep.

If your memories of sleeper sofa mattresses are thin cushions over iron bars, then you haven’t seen the latest offerings. They’ve come a long way since then, and knowing what options are available can help you get the best one for your home. Follow these tips, below.

  • Check Out Different Mattress Styles. While they used to mostly contain spring mattresses (which can result in getting poked or creaky springs waking you up when you roll over), sleeper sofas now come with memory foam options and air/innerspring hybrids, where there is some air inflated above the traditional spring-style mattress to make it much thicker. These styles can add between $100 and $250 to the cost of the sofa, so make sure that you test each one out in the store beforehand (just like you would when shopping for a normal mattress).
  • Look For Foam Toppers. Manufacturers now make sleeper sofa mattresses that have comfortable padding added to the top, which makes them much more comfortable to sleep on.
  • Get The Right Size. Measure how much space you have available for the fully extended sleeper sofa. After all, you don’t want to have to move a lot of furniture around to get it open. Sleeper sofas don’t just come in one size—they usually come with queen or full mattress options (but there are even ones available with twin or king mattresses).
  • Check the Mechanisms. See if there are any sharp points that might snag your sheets as you’re putting them on. You want the mechanism to be smooth when you’re pulling the mattress out and putting it back in.
  • Consider the Weight. A sleeper sofa is essentially a mattress inside a sofa, which can make the entire product quite heavy. So you may want to consider an inflatable mattress instead of a sleeper sofa if you have to haul your purchase up several flights of stairs.
  • Ask What the Frame is Made of. One way to avoid metal bars digging into your guests is to get a sleeper sofa with a kiln-dried hardwood frame. Why kiln-dried? It takes the moisture out of the wood, which keeps it from cracking or warping over time.
  • Sit on it While it’s Folded. Most of the time, you’re going to be using this piece of furniture as a sofa, so don't forget to check that the cushions are comfortable and high-quality.