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The Best Sleeper Sofa

Updated on November 20, 2010

Another Variation of the Sofa Sleeper. This One Looks Bumpy!

The Old Sleeper Sofas

I have been looking at furniture stores for decades; I like furniture. And I have slept on a few pull out sofas. One memorable night at our friends Polly and Bruce's house in Lafayette, California, was particularly funny. My wife just could not get comfortable and complained that something (besides the huge cat that was walking on us) was wrong. We were tired, and I said that she should just go to sleep even though I could feel a bar across my back and my feet hung off the end of the bed about a foot. She did not go to sleep and insisted that I get up, find the light switch, and find out what was wrong with the bed. I finally agreed. We are big people, and when I turned on the light I discovered that we were so heavy that our weight had tilted the sofa up on its front legs and the head of the bed slanted to the floor. I found some magazines and placed them under the front legs of the sofa, which, at least, solved the slanting problem. It did not, however, solve the comfort or length problem.

Since then I have seen minor variations in sofa beds. A few years ago I saw a sofa sleeper that had an air mattress included. I had tried that before by placing an inflated Aero Bed on a sofa sleeper. It was not the same size and slipped to the side. This one, by Lane, I believe, was not cheap, and it was still a short bed. I thought, too, that the air mattress, folded up and creased, would easily develop a leak.

In general, almost all sleeper sofas are poor sofas, and they are poor beds -- not a nice combination.

The American Leather Comfort Sleeper

The American Leather and American Upholstery (AU) 24/7 Tiffany Comfort Sleeper

A few years ago we went to Ocean View Furniture in Morro Bay, California. An American Leather Comfort Sleeper was displayed with the bed pulled out. I had never heard of the brand, and had never seen one before. It looked both bigger and much different from other sofa sleepers I had seen. I lay down on it, and, amazingly, it was long enough! And, it was comfortable! Always before, I had heard the admonition not to buy a sofa sleeper -- that it would not be a good sofa, and it would not be a good bed. But, here was a sofa sleeper, that came in many styles and colors, that was both an excellent sofa, and an excellent bed.

Since then three of my sons have bought this sofa sleeper, so I have had the chance to sleep on it many times. My original assessment still holds: Excellent as a sofa, and excellent as a bed. It is not cheap, but I have seen specials (Check out Traditions in San Luis Obispo, California).

This is a quality manufacturer of upsholstered furniture. The company prides itself on getting a custom piece ot furniture to the consumer very quickly. They are very well made and the coverings are both durable and tasteful.

The Jennifer Convertible Sleeper Sofa

I have seen the Jennifer Convertible Sleeper Sofa, and it is pretty much the standard issue. Jennifer products are now made in China, and they no longer let the customer choose the fabric and order a sofa bed.  There will be many different styles available, but the customer cannot custom select the fabric.  They are cheap!  When I went to the San Francisco Jennifer store in June, 2010, a sleeper sofa was $399.00.  They have been on sale recently for $299.00!  For $269.00 extra, the customer may choose a memory foam mattress, and it is so much of an improvement that 80% of customers choose it. Once again, however, not a good sofa, and not a good bed. It can be quite attractive, though, and may work well for some applications. Jennifer also sells a "flip-flop" sofa that becomes a bed.  The back flips down.

The Ikea Sleeper Sofa

   The Ikea Sleeper Sofa has a lot in common with the Jennifer Sleeper Sofa.  The covering can be easily removed, and it may be washed, or you can buy new coverings at Ikea.  It has the basic same pull-out mechanism that was available fifty years ago resulting in a short, thin sleeping surface. Their style is pretty basic, but I do wonder how long they will keep the same style.  Popular styles change.  Too, the Ikea coverings are cotton, and after a trip through a large laundromat washer and dryer, I think there will be some shrinkage.  The colors are usually very light, so the user may want hot water to remove as much of the dirt as possible.  Once again, this is like the Jennifer with not so many variations in fabric.  It is neither a good sofa, nor a good bed.

A Comfortable Sleeper Sofa

   A comfortable sleeper does exist, and, it is more expensive than the Jennifer Convertible and Ikea sleeper sofas, but it is definitely not THE most expensive.

Twin Sleeper Sofa, Loveseat Sleeper Sofa, Sectional Sleeper Sofa

Many manufacturers make different widths of the basic sleeper sofa. from a twin that would be contained in a rather large chair, to a double size contained in a loveseat, to an eastern king size bed in a large (read long) sofa. There are also sectionals with one part of the sectional being a sleeper sofa.  The rule is that if a company makes a poor queen size sleeper sofa, the twin size will be of comparable quality.  And, if the company makes a superior queen size sleeper sofa, then the other widths will be the same quality.

Most Sofa Sleepers, Like Jennifer's, Are Too Short!

My head was at the top.  Who wants a bed that is so short?
My head was at the top. Who wants a bed that is so short?


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    • gredmondson profile image

      gredmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco, California

      Robin V

      I hope you will keep us posted on how your retailer handled your dissatisfaction.

    • profile image

      Robin V 5 years ago

      I have had the same experience as Kathey B with the cushions on the AL sleeper. The seat cushions are so thin that they slide forward exposing the cheap material on the back everytime you sit. And the back cushions are so overstuffed they are schlumpy and fall over/sag. Not happy with anything but the bed. I guess I have a guarantee, i will see what they can do, but this started day 1.

    • profile image

      Oral seymour 7 years ago

      I find that with sleeper sofas, the seat sinks after a while. I'll never buy one again as my primary sofa.

    • profile image

      AlexReilly 7 years ago

      Here's a new sleeper sofa I found at the last High Point Market show:

      It's memory foam and electric powered by remote control or a button console on the frame. It was very comfortable with a clean modern design and a variety of color options. I was very impressed.

    • profile image

      Kathey B. 7 years ago

      American Leather needs to address their seat cushion design on their sleeper sofa. The foam isn't thick enough in the middle of the cushion and sags when you sit on it.( you feel like your sitting in a hole) I had onlly had my sofa 3 weeks and the cushions were so bad, they had to be replaced.THen 4 weeks later they had to be replaced again along with the foot section of the sleeper. After waiting 8 weeks for the new cushions to be delivered and then a week to get them installed, we've been using the couch about 4 weeks and their sagging again. I really don't want to replace this sofa because I love the bed portion. My husband is really upset with me because I paid so much for this couch and it has been so much trouble. I'm going to contact the dealer to see what can be done now. Maybe a refund is in order.

    • profile image

      Rachel B. 7 years ago

      Great article. I might be buying a sleeper sofa within the next few months so I'll be keeping this informatin in mind when I go out shopping for one!

    • profile image

      sofa 8 years ago

      yeah, the combination of sofa and bed isn't good idea,

      but it's good when you have no enough free space in room

    • profile image

      paulnyc 8 years ago

      I was very disappointed in my comfort sleeper from American Leather because it was very UNcomfortable. I awoke every morning with lower back pain and body aches. After just a few weeks, I yearned for my old futon. Fortunately, I was able to return it, and would never purchase anything form American Leather again!

    • michelle.dragon99 profile image

      michelle.dragon99 8 years ago

      thanks for your info....great hub

    • profile image

      Down Pillow 8 years ago

      I agree, there could be no sofa sleeper more fantastic than the leather one. It looks amazing! It's currently on my must have list as well.

    • profile image

      American Leather Phil 8 years ago

      I've had a chance to operate one of these modern 21st century sleepers with the Tifanny 24/7 mechanism which was designed by Robert and Barbara Tiffany. Real easy to open and close compared to old traditional mechanisms. I would agree that these are a good choice. - Phil

    • profile image

      Comfort Sleepers 9 years ago

      We have been selling Comfort Sleepers for years and now with the next generation; there is truly nothing even close.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Now that we have had several guests come and stay on our bed, everyone has said that it is the best sleeper they have every tried.

    • profile image

      Jason 10 years ago

      This has got to be one of the coolest sofa beds I've seen. In the UK our sofa beds seem to be basic ugly looking things.

    • profile image

      Brenda 10 years ago

      I slept on this sofa bed at a friends in NYC for 3 nights. Loved it and it is now on my "must have one" list. Highly recommend this sofa.

    • profile image

      Ann 10 years ago

      I live in a studio and have had an American Leather Comfort Sleeper as my primary bed for the last four years. I have no complaints, it is comfortable and looks great...two things that are nearly impossible for any other sleeper sofa combo. Previously, I'd purchased several pieces of American Leather furniture so I was very familiar with the company's tradition of style and quality. So when I heard they made a sofa bed you could bet that I was in the store testing it out and placing my order.

      Expensive, but worth it.

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      We are going to get our american upholstery sofa Wednesday.  I agree, that it's the best sleeper sofa for sleeping:)