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Which is More Comfortable, a Futon or a Sofa Bed?

Updated on July 27, 2016

There's more out there than cheap metal futon frames

Premium HD foam futon mattresses are lighter, last longer and have a clean boxed edge.
Premium HD foam futon mattresses are lighter, last longer and have a clean boxed edge.

The Futon Package Can Be Created Piece by Piece

When it comes to shopping for a sleeping and sitting solution in one piece of furniture, most consumers know very little about the pros and cons of a futon vs a sofa bed. When most people think of a futon, they think of a piece of furniture that is a cheaper alternative to a sofa bed. This is partly true to some degree. Futons come in all price ranges. There is a futon for every budget and every function. The misconception of the cheapness of the futon started during the late 80's and early 90's when the metal frame futon with mattress came on the market. This retailed usually for under $200 and was imported from China. Eventually the futon became a trend for college students and budget minded people who couldn't afford a quality sofa bed for $600 and up. This type of metal frame futon still exists on the market and is sold everywhere online.

Unfortunately, over the years,the metal frame futon and cheap mattress package have given the futon industry a bad reputation. People who have only seen the metal frame futon don't realize that there are more options in futons out there. The metal frame futon is made with hollow tubular slats which tend to stick up into the mattress which wears it out much faster. In addition, the conversion mechanism usually breaks easily when converted back and forth from sofa to bed. With metal futon frames, if one part of the welding snaps or breaks, you entire frame is ruined and would need to be replaced.

In addition to the cheap metal frame, this type of futon is usually sold as a package with a very cheap heavy futon mattress. This mattress is usually imported from China and made with very inferior materials. A futon mattress, traditionally is made with cotton batting and some may contain a few layers of foam to add shape to the mattress. Unfortunately, the cheap futon mattress is made with a mix of cotton along with 50% of other synthetic fibers and recycled textiles. This makes the mattress very heavy, lumpy, hard and very uncomfortable.

The alternative to the cheap metal frame is the wooden futon frame with either a pure cotton batting mattress or all high density foam, no cotton. Since the futon is piece by piece, you have the option to choose the style of frame, the arm rests, the finish of the wood, the comfort level of the mattress and the fabric and color of the futon cover. You can also add other accessories such as bottom storage drawers and accented throw and bolster pillows.

Getting back to the main question, which is more comfortable, a futon or a sofa bed? The answer is always a futon because the mattress is separate from the frame and usually is a at least 8" thick. A sofa bed pull out mattress measures usually under 5" thick. A futon mattress is just like any other conventional bed mattress, with the exception of bending in order to fold on a bi-fold futon frame.

Advantages of a Futon over a Sofa Bed

  • Very easily customized and can be replaced, everything is piece by piece unlike a sofa bed
  • Saves more space in the bed position than a sofa bed. A pull out sofa bed takes up 88" from the back of the frame to the end of the mattress when open. A futon only takes up 54"-60" in width when open
  • You can easily update the look with by getting a new futon cover. Sofa beds are much harder to get covers for, and much more expensive.
  • A futon gives you more options in mattress comfort level, a sofa bed does not.
  • A futon is guaranteed to fit through any door way, hallway or elevator because it comes delivered flat back and needs assembly. Many sofa beds do not easily come apart and may have trouble fitting through tight spots.
  • A futon mattress can easily be updated or replaced every few years. A sofa cushion is much harder to replace due to size, discontinued models etc.

A futon package set includes the futon frame, your choice of mattress, cover and optional accessories.
A futon package set includes the futon frame, your choice of mattress, cover and optional accessories. | Source

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