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For many years, bunk beds have served a brilliant purpose. While some introduce them for children sharing a room, you might also find bunk beds utilized in guest rooms, hostels, dorm rooms, and more. Traditionally, bunk beds would see one bed stacked on top of another; however, in some cases, they can accommodate three or more people.
While some models have extravagant designs with trundles, workspaces, or play areas underneath, others come with simple metal frames. In this market, it’s important to know the terminology, and it’s something we’re going to explore today. For example, one Twin-size bed stacked on another is called ‘twin-over-twin’. Elsewhere, you might find L-shaped, futons, twin-over-full, standard, and triple beds.
What about pricing? It all depends on the design; you might pay as little as $200 for a simple bunk bed, or you might go above $1,000 for the high-end material, brand, and style. If you want to learn all about the best bunk beds on the market today, why you should get one, and what you need to consider before spending money, you’re in the right place!
The Best Bunk Beds
- Storkcraft: the best bunk bed overall
- DHP: the best budget option
- Discovery World Furniture: the best bunk bed with a trundle
- Zinus: the best metal frame bunk bed
- Dorel Living: best triple bunk bed
- WE Furniture: best bunk bed for dorm rooms
- Coaster Home Furnishings: the best bunk bed for adults
- Disc-O-Bed: the best bunk bed for camping
Table of Contents
The Best Bunk Beds Comparison Table
- Extra versatility with conversion to two separate twin beds
- Simple to assemble
- Meets ASTM 1427-07 regulations
- Strong steel frame
- Solid wood construction
- Ideal for saving space
- Stable two-inch metal tubing
- Organizers for storing gear
The Best Bunk Beds Reviews
Storkcraft: The Best Bunk Bed Overall
Referred to as the Caribou Solid Hardwood Twin Bunk, Storkcraft has been designed with children’s safety in mind, and it’s clear to see. When testing this product, the first thing you’ll notice is the stability. Compared to the more common pine wood, solid rubberwood is denser and more likely to allow for a sturdy frame. To hold the levels together, the manufacturer has also gone for metal rods, which is always going to help in this regard.
Along with environmentally-friendly materials, Storkcraft has designed and built these bunk beds to be compliant with ASTM and CPSC safety standards. According to the manufacturer, each bed should hold a maximum of 225 pounds (including mattresses). The bottom bunk is recommended for big kids and adults, although taller people can face the danger of smacking their heads. The four-step ladder has a weight restriction of 165 pounds; while people over this weight should sleep on the lower bunk (we recognize the difficulty this presents given what we just said about hitting the head on the bottom!).
Fortunately, one way to sidestep this conundrum is to split the bunk bed into individual twin beds. With this versatility, it allows two growing siblings the opportunity to change their minds and use the space of their room; however, they wish. If an older sibling leaves home, you could even split the bunk into two and move one into the newly-vacant bedroom.
Thought to take one to three hours, assembly does require some patience, but most users comment on simplicity. Although possible to do it alone, it will obviously be easier with two or more people. Depending on your needs, the bunk bed comes in a number of different finishes (all non-toxic); and has a one-year limited warranty.
DHP: The Best Budget Option
As our next choice, we have this brilliant DHP (Dorel Home Products) twin-over-twin bunk bed, and we’ve chosen it for a budget. Not only is it affordable, it’s ideal for those who need to save space with a durable metal product. We recommend it for college students in dorms, parents who want safety as well as plenty of leftover playing room for kids, and even adults who want to save rent. DHP suggests the following weight restrictions; 200 pounds on top and 225 pounds on the bottom.
We love the sleek, curved metal frame, and climbing is made easy with the slanted ladder and full-length guardrails. Depending on the purpose, you can even choose between navy, silver, white, pink, and black color.
The ladder is wide, there’s a gap of 35.5 inches between the lower and upper levels, and each metal slat is 2.5 inches apart. Therefore, there’s plenty of room, it’s safe for all purposes, and assembly is easy from the one box.
Discovery World Furniture: The Best Bunk Bed With A Trundle
This time, we have a twin-over-full bunk bed, which also has a twin trundle. Often, we see this as the product of choice for families because it suits all ages. Not only is there a twin size on top and a full size below, but the pull-out twin trundle is also perfect for the odd, unexpected visitor. Over Christmas, when the extended family visit, everybody is accommodated. Otherwise, it suits parents who want to allow their children to have friends stay over from time to time.
The bottom has a weight restriction of 250 pounds while the top supports 180 pounds; as mentioned in the list of features, the bed meets ASTM safety regulations. However, in our experience, adults should always sleep on the bottom, given a choice.
Discovery World Furniture has a growing reputation in this niche, and it doesn’t take long to find some of their many brilliant reviews. You shouldn’t have to worry about sturdiness because the solid wood construction ensures this in abundance, and we also love the beautiful appearance. Regardless of whether you choose the espresso, honey, or merlot finish, the Mission-style A-frame will suit any decor.
We also appreciate the flexibility that comes with this bunk bed; some like to separate it into two individual twin beds (one with a trundle bed). On the other hand, those who require storage space can remove the mattress from the trundle bed and use it as a drawer.
Judging by customer reviews, the assembly can take anywhere from one to three hours, and it isn’t overly difficult. Thankfully, the manufacturer also provides a one-year warranty.
Zinus: The Best Metal Frame Bunk Bed
Next up, we have a twin-over-full bunk that has a solid metal frame alongside great stability and a streamlined design. Connecting both bunks, you’ll see a strong ladder, and the manufacturer recommends a weight limit of 175 pounds for both beds. However, for safety reasons, they advise against allowing children under six to climb atop the top bunk.
If you’re not confident with assembling products like this, you’ve found gold because this model takes under an hour. Using their patent-pending quick-lock system, everything slots together easily, while Amazon provides expert assembly for those who need help.
Fortunately, the mechanisms are strong enough to withstand wear and tear and lengthen the bunk’s overall lifespan. All things considered, this Zinus bunk bed offers great value for money. Not only this, the manufacturer clearly backs their design with a five-year warranty on offer.
Dorel Living: Best Triple Bunk Bed
Finally, how could we look at the best bunk beds without reviewing a brilliant triple? For those with three children in a room or two children who like to have friends stay, this can sometimes be a logistical nightmare. Well, this is no longer the case because Dorel Living bunk bed is sturdy, durable (made from rubberwood), and comfortable. The bed offers solid connections throughout and a long product lifespan. Although each bed has slats for a twin mattress, some customers have suggested bunkie boards to act as a buffer between slats and mattress.
To access the top and middle bunks, there are two individual ladders, both of which are protected with robust guardrails. As the children grow, it’s possible to split the bunk into three individual beds, and this is why it makes for such a strong long-term investment. It’s affordable, it has a one-year warranty, and we love the Sierra Triple Bunk Bed.
WE Furniture: Best Bunk Bed for Dorm Rooms
With the majority of universities and colleges, we know that beds are provided. Yet, the biggest problem comes with their poor quality. In an attempt to save money, they order the cheapest products on offer. Since most schools allow students to buy their own beds, we recommend the Walker Edison Sunset Full-Over-Workstation. Sleeping just one, you’ll have a full-size mattress sitting above space, whether you want to use this for storage, a desk, or something else entirely.
We like this bunk bed, and one of the reasons is the solid-steel frame; you shouldn’t ever feel unstable while climbing one of the two ladders. Once you also consider sturdy guardrails around the bed, it is also suitable for children. Suddenly, there’s more floor space for playing (and they can also keep their toys tidied away).
Compared to other loft bunks, the pricing is actually very similar. With this in mind, both parents and students looking to save some money will do well with Walker Edison. We should also note that WE Furniture offers a 30-night warranty as well as replacement parts.
Coaster Home Furnishings: The Best Bunk Bed For Adults
Why should the bunk bed fun be restricted to children? We’re all big children really, aren’t we? This CoasterEssence Stephan Metal Full-Over-Full bed can withstand more than most. If you look through the customer reviews, most will be made up of parents happy that this sturdy bed could hold two rambunctious teenagers without so much as an inch of movement. Even with two adults, it doesn’t shake, wobble, or squeak.
The first thing people often notice about the Stephan bed is the hourglass shape, and this comes from the curved ladder on each side. Once you pair this with the gunmetal finish, it actually fits in with various styles and decors. Throughout the frame, the metal tubing is two inches thick, with 20 metal-supported slats under each bed. Ultimately, this results in a maximum weight limit of 400 pounds per berth.
We’ve noted the sturdiness and aesthetics, but what about the investment itself? Well, your money is safe with the Stephan. Compared to others in the market, the initial outlay will be higher, but the added durability should mean that it’s in your family for many years. As an added bonus, it’s also possible to sit up on the bottom bed and use it not only for sleeping but also for hanging out.
Are there any negatives? Some have said that assembly can take a long time. Elsewhere, others have noted the large weight and the fact that it isn’t possible to split the bed into two.
Disc-O-Bed: The Best Bunk Bed For Camping
This bunk bed isn’t designed as a permanent solution, but it works brilliantly in the great outdoors and when family/friends are staying the night. Despite the temporary nature of the bunk bed, it offers comfort and plenty of space. Using the patented lock-in disc system, installation is simple, and the versatile bunk bed will be ready in no time. You don’t need any tools, and you don’t even need any help. Good to know that the Disc-O-Bed L also has also been designed to fit a number of dome structures and tents for campers.
Not only is the steel frame considered ‘anti-rust, but’ the cover is also eco-friendly (with a PVC-coated polyester fabric) and water-resistant. Available in green, navy, or black, the manufacturer suggests a maximum weight of 500 pounds. With the beds themselves, they’re soft and don’t have an annoying middle bar. The bottom bed is 11 inches from the ground, and the top is around 32 inches, which means a gap of around 21 inches between the top and the bottom. Not only is it possible to buy a leg extension for extra space, but campers are also unlikely to sit up in this type of bunk bed anyway, so it shouldn’t be an issue.
One of the features we love about this bed is the versatility; it can transform into two individual cots as well as a bench. Customers have also noted a lack of sinking since there’s enough room between the bottom bed and the ground. Of course, this is considered camping equipment, so we think you’ll love the cup holders, pockets, and carrying case.
Unfortunately, the beds are a little heavy, which might pose a problem for those walking long distances with the carry case. Once you’ve arrived, however, assembly takes between 10 and 30 minutes. Thankfully, the manufacturer also offers a one-year warranty on workmanship and all materials.
As a side note, there’s a simple hook-and-loop system for the side organizers. In these side organizers, you’ll enjoy pockets and zippered shelves for all your camping gear. Those with a fishing rod or rifle will also enjoy the longer sleeve.
What’s a Bunk Bed?
A Bunk Bed is a type of bed in which two or more beds are stacked on top of one another. When children share a room, or you want to have more floor space with an extra storage loft area underneath, it’s a brilliant way to save space. Just like buying any other bed, you will need to buy mattresses separately since manufacturers usually sell the frame construction alone.
Benefits of Choosing a Bunk Bed
As we’ve just mentioned, the first reason you might choose a bunk bed is because of the space it saves. Especially when two children are sharing a bedroom, having two beds stacked on top of one another is much better than having them side-by-side. If you don’t have children, bunk beds are an excellent choice for guest bedding.
These days, bunk beds are more functional than ever with storage options (you can free up closet space as well as floor space!). Also, we can’t forget the lower price. Considering some bunk beds can be split into two freestanding beds, it makes sense to choose this option rather than the more expensive individual beds.
Common Bunk Bed Designs
Beds have evolved over the years, so it makes sense to look at the many different designs you might find. From standard bunk beds to a triple bunk bed, they almost always hold twin and full mattresses (though you might find the rare twin XL, queen, or maybe even king). Common designs include;
Finally, this will normally sleep three people thanks to the standard bunk bed design and then a third hidden in a pull-out drawer. The better the design, the easier the pull (most have some form of caster wheels).
With the penultimate design, the standard mattress sits above a futon. Depending on your sleeping plans, the bottom is either a bed or a sofa. If you want your child to have seating without taking up extra room, this allows both to use the same floor space.
We touched on it with the triple loft, but other L-shaped bunk beds exist too. For example, the most common has a top twin perpendicular to the bottom bed (either full or twin). The ‘L’ shape isn’t quite as dramatic, but it allows for ladder or steps flanking the bottom bed with enough space for storage on the other side.
With a full-sized mattress underneath a twin, the bottom has space for two people, and this is helpful for guest rooms.
Often shaped like an ‘L,’ this suits a corner space with the top having two adjoining beds at a 90-degree angle. From here, one will have a bottom bunk while the other has open space underneath. With the triple loft design, all beds are likely to be twins.
As the name suggests, this third option is three twins stacked on top of one another. Normally detachable, other designs exist, including a top and two adjoining bottom beds.
With a standard loft design, there’s a normal bed lifted above an open space (a gap of at least 40 inches) to accommodate a work desk with a computer or a play area.
In this area of the market, ‘standard’ is considered a twin over another twin. Not only this, they tend to be detachable so that such beds act as two freestanding twins too.
Most Common Bunk Bed Materials
Which materials will you find with bunk beds?
Including woods like poplar, oak, cherry, and ash, hardwood is the most durable and also the sturdiest. As a result, they can support the most weight (and also require a larger investment!).
Although not quite up to the level of hardwood, softwood bunk beds such as those made of pine can be worth your time. They’re a cheaper solution, but still more expensive than both metal and plastic.
These days, metal tends to be the cheapest option, and these beds can be found almost everywhere. As we’ve just seen, they can boast durability and will support the weight of up to 200 or 250 pounds.
As you might imagine, plastic can’t compete with metal and hardwood for stability and durability. However, it’s worth mentioning because it’s a material used for small children’s bunk beds (they’re incredibly affordable).
The Great Frame Debate - Wood v Metal
When thinking about the ‘best bunk beds,’ one question that always seems to arise is frame material. Should you choose wood? Should you choose metal?
Firstly, some prefer the modern look of metal while others like the homely feeling that comes with wood. In terms of aesthetics, you will need to decide which you prefer, and which goes better with the decor and style of your home.
From here, the debate moves into stability and sturdiness, and we should start by saying that safety regulations dictate that both can withstand a certain level of pressure over the years. Knowing that both will provide a good solution, we’ll note that the quality of the wood is essential. When strong enough, wood actually provides more stability than metal; ‘strong enough’ means solid wood as opposed to artificial woods or particle boards. In case you’re wondering why this is the case, it’s the weight that solid wood brings over metal.
While breaking down durability, material treatment is also important. For protection, wood is normally treated with paint or varnish, while manufacturers with metal will use a powder finish. Despite this, they won’t be immune to marking and scratching.
As the final important discussion point, you want the bed to last for a long time, right? Therefore, we’ll note that wood tends to perform a little better for longevity. Unfortunately, metal is vulnerable to rust.
In entering this debate, please recognize that we’re heading into the minutiae. Both materials have plenty to offer, and there’s no reason why you can’t be happy with a metal or wood frame for many years to come. We recommend considering your family, your needs, and which material will cater to these needs more closely.
Bunk Beds Qualities and Features
When looking to buy a bunk bed, you might want to look out for the following features and qualities.
Not only should manufacturers consider guardrails, but they also can’t afford not to since they’re a US Consumer Product Safety Commission requirement. At least one set of parallel guardrails should be placed on the top bunk; on the other hand, guardrails on the bottom are optional.
Top Bunk Access
Firstly, and especially if a child will be climbing to the top, you want top bunk access to be simple and pain-free. Currently, ladders are most common in the industry, and it will be built into the frame. In terms of the ladder itself, some will have a traditional ladder appearance, while others will be curved to accommodate a unique design and size.
If the bunk you choose is for young children, we recommend looking for stairs as opposed to ladders because these are much easier to climb. With stairs, you’re far less likely to wake up in the morning to a screaming child who has just fallen.
While on the topic of stairs, these can attach to both sides or just one. Not only will some have storage drawers, but they are also most commonly found on L-shaped and trundle beds.
If you don’t like the sound of either option, you might also find slats or rungs. Extending between support columns from the head and/or foot of the bed (widthwise), they work well on futon bunks and loft designs.
When you buy a traditional single bed, they normally have a box spring under the mattress. We’ve already noted that these are uncommon in bunk beds, but what they do have is ‘bunkie boards’ beneath both beds. As thin wooden panes, they can reach four inches in thickness and work in much the same way.
The last thing we ever want from bunk beds is a collapse, and this is where support poles or columns come in. On each corner, you’ll find some sort of column, and these should be strong to prevent accidents.
Considerations for Bunk Bed Shoppers
It’s all well and good us providing some of the best bunk beds, but you can only make a decision based on your own needs. Therefore, we’ve broken down some of the main considerations below!
For safety reasons, the top bunk will never really be able to hold as much as the bottom bunk. With many metal frames, we see a 500-pound limit for the bottom and a 200-pound limit for the top. Parents of small children don’t need to pay attention to this one, but those buying for teenagers or a dorm room do. In case you didn’t know, the weight capacity for bunk beds includes both the individual and the mattress. With this in mind, we recommend avoiding hybrid, latex, airbed, and other heavy mattresses. Instead, choose innerspring (some models) and memory foam.
Before spending any money, you need to think about the size you require. While some bunk beds will have two twins, others will have full mattresses, while a few will go even larger. Due to versatility and functionality, the most common two are twin-over-twin and twin-over-full bunk beds. If you’re expecting adult visitors, we recommend a full mattress (this also ensures extra space in case it’s ever necessary).
For those wondering about the larger sizes, the king is rare, but you might find a queen at the bottom. If this is a concern for you, why not look into the trundle beds that remain under the bottom bunk for whenever required?
We’ve already spoken about pricing, but don’t forget that bunk beds normally come without mattresses. Remember to pay attention to the size of mattresses and that you’ll need a mattress that has been approved, both in thickness and weight, for bunk beds.
Although not perhaps a part of the original design of bunk beds, storage space has played a more important role in recent years. Is it something you will consider? As well as under-bed storage, other designs may have stairway drawers or stacked drawers at the foot. When children are sharing a room, this extra storage space might just be a lifesaver later down the line (think of all the toys and clothing!).
With so many options for bunk bed designs, there’s no reason why you can’t find one that matches the decor of the room.
Not only should bunk beds meet CPSSC guidelines, but they also need to meet either commercial or residential criteria (or both). When buying from a physical store, you can be confident all bunk beds have the relevant certifications. When buying online, this is where you need to be careful.
Although some manufacturers actually offer an assembly assistance service, most will require the customer to assemble. Do you have experience putting together these types of items, or will you need a model that offers simple assembly?
With the many varieties of bunk beds available, there’s really no need to put yourself into debt. The cheapest falls under $300, the most expensive are over $3,000, but we always advise people that they can expect to pay between $300 and $900 for a bunk bed that has stability, durability, and more.
The warranty is great, but does the manufacturer offer a protection plan against accidental damage? Although they don’t cover neglect or abuse, plans can include repairs for things like dents, stains, cuts, punctures, tears, and water rings. Depending on the bunk bed, these plans are normally optional and can be worth the small additional investment.
In our opinion, it’s best to choose a product that offers at least 30 nights as part of a sleep trial. If you test the bunk bed and find problems, this then allows you to return it with no issues. If they don’t offer a sleep trial, look for warranties.
At the moment, you’re likely to find all warranties falling between one month and one year. As we saw in one of the example products, however, some will extend as far as five years.
Important Questions to Ask Before You Buy
Is this a temporary or long-term solution?
For those only looking for a temporary solution, there are lots of products that will allow you to spend less money. If the solution is a permanent one, then you can start thinking about durability, function, and saving space in the room. You could even accommodate your children as they grow.
Is the ceiling high enough?
Though it might sound obvious, one mistake we commonly see is people not checking the height of their ceiling. When planning, consider sloped ceilings and low-hanging ceiling fans.
Where will the bunk bed go?
If you’re putting together a guest room, the aesthetic is probably more important than if you were choosing a bunk bed for a child’s room. Especially if you’re offering seating beneath the bed or a futon, you might want it to match the decor.
Who will sleep in the bed(s)?
While some want to offer guest bedding, others want to save space in their child’s bedroom. Once you determine the sleepers, you can think about mattress size, function, and more.
Existing Standards and Safety Concerns with Bunk Beds
When a bunk bed is sold in the US, it must conform to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulations. Whether it’s manufacturers themselves or those importing products from another country, safety testing must be performed by a third-party lab that has CPSC acceptance. From here, all successful designs will get a Child’s Product Certificate.
Additionally, importers and manufacturers should also get a General Product Certificate to sell in the US. If we look at the CPSC’s current regulations on bunk beds, we find a few key areas.
Bunk Bed Ends
Here’s what the guidelines say;
“No opening in either end of the upper bunk that is above the mattress foundation can let the wedge block pass through freely. When the thickest mattress and mattress foundation recommended by the manufacturer are used, the top of each end of the upper bunk must extend at least 5 inches above the top of the mattress, and that 5-inch margin of safety must extend at least half of the distance between the corner posts of each end.
No opening in the headboard or footboard of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk and above the mattress foundation of the lower bunk shall permit the wedge block to pass through freely – UNLESS the opening also allows a rigid 9-inch sphere to pass through it freely.
Any opening in the headboard or footboard of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk tested with the wedge block must also be tested for the risk of neck entrapment if the opening lets the 9-inch sphere pass through freely.”
Elsewhere, the CPSC helps with entrapment hazard testing with clear guidelines. To test alongside guardrails and both ends of the two bunks, it’s important to use probing equipment. Luckily, they provide a full list of possible equipment. What’s more, the Cornell Law resource keeps information pertaining to bunk bed laws for both adults and children.
For those interested in the general safety guidelines when it comes to children’s bunk beds, we’ve listed a handful below;
- When climbing rungs or ladders, children should only ever move one hand or foot at any given time. At all times, three of four hands and feet should be gripping the ladder/rungs.
- No child under the age of five should sleep in a bunk bed. Unfortunately, the majority of injuries that result from bunk beds are actually to children under five.
- To prevent falls and other injuries, children should not be allowed to hang in any way from the top bunk. As well as preventing injuries, this will prevent a weakening of the structure itself.
- Children should never jump or wrestle on either of the beds.
- Bunk beds should not be installed against windows, and they should never sit below ceiling fans or light fixtures.
- Even if the weight capacity allows, two people, should never sleep on the top bunk (only ever one).
- Always buy bunk beds new; constructing from raw materials can ensure durability, something that can’t be ensured with used bunk beds.
- Whenever your child has a friend stay over, have a conversation with the child’s parents so that they understand the bedding situation. In some cases, the parents may object to them sleeping on a bunk bed.
- Whenever the guardrail is loose or wobbly, don’t allow anybody to sleep on the top bunk; this is one of the most important safety features.
- As well as ensuring the bunk bed fits under the ceiling, make sure the top sleeper has enough room to sit up without banging their head.
Next up, we have guardrails, and this is what the regulations have to say on the matter;
“Bunk beds must have at least two upper bunk guardrails, with at least one rail on each side. Lower bunks with mattress foundations that are 30 inches or less from the floor do not have to have guardrails. The guardrail on the side of the bed next to a wall or on the side opposite to a ladder must run continuously from one end of the bed to the other. If the guardrail does not attach to an end of the bed, the gap between the end of the guardrail and the nearest end of the bunk bed cannot be greater than 0.22 inches.
A guardrail on the side of the bed away from the wall does not have to run continuously from end to end of the bed, BUT the distance between either end of the guardrail and the end of the bed nearest to it cannot be greater than 15 inches. Guardrails must be attached to the bunk bed with fasteners that must be released before the rails can be removed, OR the rail or fastener must be designed to move in two or more different directions, one after the other, to release them.
The tops of the guardrails must be no less than 5 inches above the top of the mattress. With no mattress on the upper bunk, any space between the bottom of the guardrail and the top of the mattress foundation must not let the wedge block pass through freely.”
There we have it, your complete guide to bunk beds. As well as showing you some of the best bunk beds, we looked at buying considerations, important questions, materials, and so much more. With this, you should now be in a position to consider your own needs and find a bunk bed that will suit you and your family for years to come.