Simple and comfortable, the best futon mattress can create a seating option that doubles as a bed when entertaining overnight guests. Placed on the right sofa frame, these mattresses can lie flat in far less time and space than a sleeper sofa. They can also appeal to the minimalist inside.
Traditional futons are a Japanese invention. These cushions lie across the floor overnight for sleeping but fold up and store away during the day. If your home could benefit from this level of flexibility, this guide will help you choose the best futon mattress for your space.
- BEST OVERALL: Classic Brands Classic 8-Inch Futon Mattress
- RUNNER-UP: Mozaic Full Size 12″ Thick Futon Mattress
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: D&D Futon Furniture Cotton/Foam/Fiber Futon
- BEST MEMORY FOAM: Mozaic Full Size 8-inch Memory Foam Futon
- BEST INNERSPRING: DHP 8-Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon
- BEST DUAL-SIDED: Mozaic Queen Size 6-inch Cotton Twill Futon Mattress
- BEST FOR TRAVEL: Luxton Home Japanese Shiki Futon Foldable Mattress
Common Types of Futon Mattresses
If you’re shopping for a futon, you may realize that for a simple mattress, there are quite a few choices. This section outlines the types of materials found in futons to give you a better idea of what may work best for you.
Cotton, Foam, and Fiber
When the futon craze started spreading, futons containing cotton, foam, and fiber were the most popular. These futons had soft cotton batting, polyester fiber, and foam inside a polyester shell. They were a bit heavy but were easy to fold up and store away. They also took the shape of a couch frame easily.
These futons are still popular, though you could interpret them as the least advanced. This is because they’re more traditional in nature, taking a somewhat modern approach to the original Japanese futon mattress.
They’re a great choice for an affordable option for a guest or TV room. However, they can become misshapen if the fibers start to shift over time.
Innersprings and Pocket Coils
Just like a typical mattress, futons with innersprings or individual pocket coils have built-in springs that provide support, comfort, and shape. Because they hold their shape so nicely, they work very well on convertible couch frames but can be challenging to fold up and store.
While the springs do provide most of the support, these mattresses also have foam or polyester layers over the springs. The combination creates a comfortable mattress with plenty of airflow between the springs, allowing your guests to stay cool and sleep well.
Memory foam futon mattresses are another great seating option, even if the material is a bit non-traditional for a sofa. These mattresses take the shape of the person sitting or lying on them, creating a soft cradle that supports and relieves the discomfort in some pressure points like hips or knees.
Memory foam doesn’t allow for much airflow, so these futons can trap body heat and warm up. While it may not be a problem while watching the game, it could make your guests uncomfortable overnight. The benefit is that memory foam futon mattresses are relatively light compared to a traditional futon.
When choosing a memory foam futon mattress, look for one with individually sewn sections to ensure it will sit nicely on a couch frame.
Latex futons could be a very attractive option if you suffer from allergies or just prefer to rest on a more natural product. Latex comes from the sap of the rubber tree. It tends to be chemical-free, and the collection process doesn’t require much, if any, tree cutting.
These mattresses provide pressure relief and support but also allow for airflow, creating comfortable and cool sleeping conditions. They can be a little expensive, and there are fewer latex futons on the market than mattresses in other materials.
Foam and Polyester
For the most straightforward futon mattress, look for one constructed of layers of foam and polyester. These mattresses offer a bit less support than other options, but they tend to be pretty affordable and lightweight, making them an excellent option for children’s sleepovers.
However, they can be challenging to use as a sofa, as they don’t fold easily—they’d prefer to retain their shape. In this case, look for a futon mattress with individual sewn sections that make it easier to shape to your couch frame.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Futon Mattress
The following section outlines some of the most important factors when choosing your new futon mattress, from use to support and size. Keep these points in mind.
To use a couch frame with your futon, it is important to choose the right futon mattress. Look for a mattress that folds well in the middle. Otherwise, your mattress will try sliding off the couch and onto the floor. In this case, look for something more flexible like a cotton and foam futon.
To slide the mattress under a spare bed or couch, look for something that’s lightweight and retains its shape well so you can push on the side without the mattress bunching up. In this case, consider a coil-spring option.
Comfort and Support
If comfort is a priority, a memory foam, latex, or coil-spring futon offer superior comfort. These materials provide plenty of support and help to relieve pressure points. Latex is a natural material, which some guests may prefer, while coil springs can be very comfortable.
Memory foam might need to off-gas (release the gases trapped in the material during manufacturing), so it could have an uncomfortable smell to contend with at first. Otherwise, it’s a very comfortable material, though it will trap more body heat throughout the night.
Just like your bedroom mattress, futons do have varying degrees of firmness, whether intentional or as a result of their contents settling. Foam and coil-spring-based futons may come in different levels of firmness intentionally, with different spring compression rates and foam densities. Some manufacturers offer varying degrees of firmness, from extra soft to extra firm.
Firmness can be a result of settling, as well. When new, a cotton/foam/fiber futon might be fairly soft. Over time, the contents will settle and pack tighter, creating a much firmer surface. To remedy this, fluff your futon from time to time as you would a pillow.
Thickness can affect a few aspects of your futon mattress, including how easily you can fold it, how comfortable it is, and how well it works with a couch frame.
Thick mattresses—thicker than 8 inches—can be challenging to slide under a guest bed, and they could become a bit flimsy as you push on their sides, making it challenging to stow them away. They also don’t fold down as tightly as thinner mattresses, though they tend to be much more comfortable sleeping.
Thinner mattresses in the 6- to 8-inch range are far easier to stow away. They fold up smaller, are easier to fit under a spare bed, and they’re usually lighter, depending on the material. However, they’re generally a bit less comfortable and can be harder to get up from if placed on the floor like a traditional Japanese futon.
Futon Frame Size
Common futon frame sizes are different from standard mattress frames. In descending order, futon frames come in queen sofa, full sofa, love seat, twin, single, and chair sizes.
If you plan to use a frame for your futon mattress, be sure to take its size into consideration. Placing a queen-size mattress on a full-size frame can lead to some overhang that will likely cause the mattress to start slipping to the floor. The best policy is to choose the frame size that works best in your space and then purchase a futon mattress to fit it.
Our Top Picks
The following is a list of the best futon mattresses that you can buy for your space. There are various options, so you should be able to pick a mattress that works in your space.
A high-quality futon that will work with your full-size sofa frame, the Classic Brands Classic 8-Inch Futon Mattress might fit the bill. This futon mattress has individually wrapped coil springs with a foam layer over the top, creating a comfortable core with a soft surface. It works well as a sofa but also springs back to its flat shape quickly for use as a bed—a benefit over foam mattresses that expand slowly at the crease.
The Classic comes in both brown and black, and the microfiber cover is easy to clean. At just over 60 pounds, it’s light enough to maneuver around when needed and can even slide underneath a guest bed frame if necessary.
When it comes to a thick, plush futon mattress, the Mozaic 12-Inch Futon Mattress should be on your shopping list. This cotton, foam, fiber futon mattress has a multilayer memory foam core that’s also cotton-wrapped to create a thick, plush futon. It fits on a full-size sofa frame as well, providing the flexibility you expect from a futon.
While this mattress is thick, it weighs only 69 pounds. This weight makes it easy to maneuver when lifting or lowering the sofa frame—a concern for some thick mattresses. The cover is upholstery-grade polyester, and it comes in five colors.
The D&D Futon Furniture Cotton/Foam/Fiber Futon offers your visitors something a bit different from the standard guest-room accommodations. This roll-out futon has a traditional design, with its 90 percent cotton filling and 1-inch-thick foam. This futon measures 80 inches long by 30 inches wide, with a thickness of 3 inches. It also weighs only 15 pounds, making it a compact sleeping arrangement for guests or for activities like camping or traveling.
This is a firm futon, which could be uncomfortable for some sleepers. If you’d like a bit more cushioning, you can pair the D&D Futon with the company’s Trifold Foam Bed.
Finding the right memory foam mattress for your sofa frame can be a challenge, so looking into the Mozaic 8-inch Memory Foam Futon is worth your time. This flippable memory foam mattress has four cotton-wrapped layers of foam to provide a comfortable and cozy surface for relaxing. It also comes with a poly-cotton blend cover available in 10 colors.
This mattress fits well in a full-size sofa frame but also lies flat quickly. Because it weighs just under 70 pounds, one person could potentially move this alone. When new, it may take a few days to expand and for the wrinkles smooth out, so it’s best to lay it flat on your sofa frame before using it.
The DHP 8-Inch Independently Encased Coil Futon should be on your list if looking for a comfortable futon that’s lightweight and breathable. This full-size futon has individually encased coils that work entirely independent of each other, which means this mattress provides contour-hugging support. There’s also a foam and polyester layering over the coils for added comfort, and it comes with a microfiber cover.
This futon will work for full-size sofa frames and, thanks to its coil-spring design, weighs only 59 pounds. However, it isn’t flippable, so keep that in mind when looking for a dual-sided futon mattress.
For a dual-sided futon that’s comfortable and easy to flip, the Mozaic Cotton Twill Futon could be your answer. This memory foam futon has a four-layer foam core wrapped with cotton batting to create a comfortable and soft surface. It has a poly-cotton blend fabric cover and fits well on queen-size sofa frames.
Even though this futon is queen-size, it’s still lightweight at only 59 pounds. Its light weight makes it easy to flip when trying to get the most even wear possible out of your futon. It also comes in nine colors, allowing you to choose one to fit your style and décor.
When you plan to take your mattress on the go, check out the Luxton Home Japanese Shiki Futon Foldable Mattress. This lightweight futon pad folds into a small package (about the size of a pillow) and weighs less than 5 pounds, making it easy to transport for traveling or to stow away for guests.
This thin futon is traditional in design, made from 100 percent organic cotton—a nice option if you’re particularly sensitive to off-gassing smells from synthetic materials. It also comes in both twin-long and full-long sizes.
If you want the traditional Japanese futon experience, you can pair it with a tatami mattress.
FAQs About Futon Mattresses
If you still have some questions about futon mattresses, you’re not alone. Luckily, these mattresses have a very long tradition, so answers to most questions exist already. If you still have questions about your particular futon, reaching out to the manufacturer’s customer service department will surely help.
Q. Is it OK to sleep on a futon every night?
Ultimately, if you aren’t experiencing pain or discomfort, it’s fine to sleep on a futon every night. In fact, traditional futons sometimes serve as permanent bedding solutions in Japan.
Q. How thick should a futon mattress be?
This depends. Coil-spring futons tend to be thick out of necessity since they have compressible springs inside and a layer over the top for comfort. Foam mattresses don’t need to be as thick, though potentially, the thicker the foam, the more comfortable the futon will be. Traditional futons are very thin, usually under 3 inches.
Q. Can a futon mattress be placed on a box spring?
You can use a box spring if you’d like, but the typical use for a futon is on a sofa frame with wooden slats or lying flat on the floor.
Q. How do you maintain a futon mattress?
The best way to maintain your futon mattress is to let it air out at least once a year. Take your futon outside onto a deck or patio on a hot, sunny day. Let the sun dry out any moisture trapped inside, and allow the fibers to fluff back up. Otherwise, it’s best to keep a cover on your futon that you can easily wash, just as you would a mattress.
Q. How long do futon mattresses last?
Under regular use, you can expect your futon mattress to last between five and 10 years. It’s important to keep it clean and air it out at least once a year to ensure it stays in the best possible condition.