Traditional sofa bed mattresses have a bad reputation for being uncomfortable, but your overnight guests may be too polite to complain about poor-quality sleep. These mattresses have come a long way from the days of feeling too thin or too firm and offering unbalanced support.
Similar to a futon mattress, a space-saving sofa bed turns an ordinary couch into a guest bedroom with a bit of unfolding. Offer your guests the best sofa bed mattress so they wake up feeling fresh and well rested. Finding the right sofa bed mattress depends on the mattress type, proper fit, and the right amount of comfort. When these features align, the bed turns your guest space into a welcome place for visitors.
- BEST OVERALL: DynastyMattress 4.5-inch Cool Gel Memory Foam
- RUNNER-UP: Zinus Memory Foam 5 Inch Sleeper Sofa Mattress
- BEST COIL: Leggett & Platt AirDream Inflatable Mattress
- BEST COOLING: Classic Brands 4.5-Inch Cool Gel Memory Foam
Types of Sofa Bed Mattresses
Sofa bed mattresses come in numerous designs, materials, and sizes. The sofa bed mattress you select depends on your personal preference, your budget, and the pros and cons of each material. These factors help determine which type of sofa bed mattress is best for your home.
Memory foam creates a plush sleeping surface to boost the comfort of a sofa bed mattress. The foam molds around the body, contouring to the sleeper’s unique shape. Very few mattresses are made entirely of memory foam; most memory-foam sofa bed mattresses come with a top layer of memory foam on a supportive base layer of denser foam, such as polyfoam. When multiple layers are used, they are laminated together, keeping the mattress in one solid piece rather than separate layers that slide against each other. The base foam in these mattresses should be at least 2 inches thick, since denser foam offers more supportive sleep.
Gel-infused memory foam contours around sleepers the same way as standard memory foam. This style integrates gel into the memory foam to help generate coolness in the mattress. Gel conducts warm air away from sleepers so they don’t overheat.
Coil mattresses used to be the standard with sofa beds, but they are becoming less common. The perks of coil mattresses are their affordability and airflow. These mattresses usually feel quite firm, which can benefit some people with back pain. Using a coil mattress with more springs offers more support for overnight guests.
The springs compress with pressure and revert to their neutral position when a person gets out of bed. Since most sofa bed mattresses are only a few inches thick, coils have limited space to compress and spring back. And the comfort layer above the coils is generally thinner than the comfort layer on other types of mattresses. Coil mattresses provide adequate support for some, but many sleepers require more comfort. Due to the thinness of the sofa bed mattress, innerspring mattresses are less comfortable for side sleepers and those with pressure-point pain. High-quality mattresses seldom use coil technology unless they are a hybrid mattress type.
For a quiet and cozy mattress, a foam sofa bed mattress replacement might be the way to go. Polyfoam is a popular type of foam mattress that serves as the base layer for many foam and memory-foam mattresses. Polyfoam offers thick, sufficient support and helps relieve pressure when guests lie down on the mattress. Comfort layers for foam mattresses are made of additional polyfoam, or cotton, wool, polyester, and more. The foam absorbs motion from a partner’s movement through the night, keeping sleepers from waking each other up. One drawback of foam is heat retention, as some foams can trap warm air and cause guests to overheat.
Due to the softer nature of foam, some sleepers might feel the sofa bed support bar under the mattress; this can be avoided by using a high-density foam with more pounds of material per cubic foot. For the best quality foam mattress, find a material that has a support base with a foam density between 1.8 and 2.5 pounds per cubic foot.
Made from natural foam rubber, latex is a healthy choice for sofa bed mattresses and offers great durability, body contouring, and support. Tru-latex (or all-latex) mattresses are constructed entirely of latex, making them high quality, but more expensive. A latex core and comfort layer gives an exceptional sleep surface that supports and contours the body. Similar to memory foam, latex moves with the weight of the sleeper, for spinal alignment and pressure relief, but doesn’t mold as closely to the body as memory foam (which is a matter of preference).
Latex sofa bed mattresses are heavier than other types, making moving, lifting, and cleaning a bit challenging. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications when purchasing a latex mattress, as mattresses with minimal latex can still be labeled as a latex mattress.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Sofa Bed Mattress
Each sleeper has individual preferences and needs in a mattress. Finding the best sofa bed mattress that’s comfortable for a variety of future overnight guests can be tricky. The best sofa bed mattress is cozy for most people, fits the sofa properly, and offers buyers a trial period to try it out at home before deciding whether to keep it.
Sofa bed mattress sizes are not the same as standard bed mattress sizes, even though they use the same names for sizing. With an average height of 4 to 5 inches, sofa bed mattresses need to be thin so they can fold away when visitors leave. Length for sofa bed mattresses ranges from 68 to 74 inches, depending on the brand.
The widths for typical sofa beds are:
- twin, measuring 24 to 38 inches,
- full, measuring 39 to 54 inches, and
- queen, measuring 55 to 60 inches.
When replacing the existing sofa bed mattress, measure the dimensions of the metal frame. Measure the width, length, and height of the inside of the metal frame, and round down to the next inch for proper sizing. If the replacement mattress is too big or too small it might not fold up properly, which could affect how it feels to sit on the sofa cushions.
Firmness is how hard or soft the mattress feels beneath sleepers. Many sofa bed mattresses come in a medium-firm feel. Generally, sofa bed mattresses are only about 4 to 5 inches thick, meaning they don’t have the depth to offer much additional softness. In general, a firmer mattress keeps the body better aligned, and choosing a firmer mattress is good for the back.
Foam mattresses use indentation force deflection (IFD) as an indication of how firm the foam feels and how much movement there is when weight is added. A higher IFD indicates a firmer foam, which usually ranges from 40 to 60. Softer or medium foams are in the range of 20 to 30. Memory foam also uses IFD, which softens when the foam warms from body heat, changing the IFD.
Each mattress is made differently, and comfort can be affected by different construction styles, making comparison difficult. The best way to determine how a mattress feels is by trying it out yourself.
Before purchasing a mattress, find out the seller’s policy on returning or exchanging the sofa bed mattress. Some companies allow buyers to return products that don’t meet their comfort standards within a certain time frame, whereas others take returns only if there is a defect with the product or if you have a warranty. Once you install the replacement sofa bed mattress, try it out yourself for a few nights rather than waiting for an overnight guest to give you a review. This way you know exactly how comfortable it is and whether visitors can get a good night’s sleep.
Our Top Picks
Once you’ve measured your sofa bed frame and know which type of mattress you’re looking for, it’s easier to narrow down the selection for the best sofa bed mattress. These six represent some of the best sofa bed mattresses for various situations and preferences.
This cool gel memory-foam sofa bed mattress by DynastyMattress checks boxes for important features that contribute to a comfortable night’s sleep. A 2.5-inch foam support base offers needed stability and support, while a 2-inch gel-infused memory foam adheres to the base layer, giving overnight guests a comfortable surface that conforms to their body, relieves pressure points, and keeps them cool. This material provides alignment for the neck and spine, helping ensure guests wake up without the aches and pains of sleeping on a traditional sofa bed mattress.
Designed to fit most standard sofa beds, this replacement mattress comes in two sizes to ensure a compatible fit. Both sizes are 72 inches long and 4.5 inches thick, with a width of either 53 or 58 inches. With the right fit, this mattress folds up nicely inside most sleeper sofas. Keeping the mattress clean is easy; between guests, remove the zipper cover for machine washing to ready the mattress for new visitors.
- Cooling technology
- Machine-washable zip cover
- Folds into most sleeper sofas
- Lacks thickness for extra comfort
Comfort is the name of the game with this memory-foam sofa bed mattress from Zinus. A 5-inch thick mattress with a 4-inch high-density base offers support, while a 1-inch gel-infused memory foam hugs the body and promotes undisturbed sleep. Thicker mattresses tend to offer more softness, which benefits long-term guests sleeping on this mattress night after night. Available in twin, full, or queen sizes, this mattress can fit many couches. The one drawback to having additional comfort is the mattress depth may not fit all sofa beds; measure the dimensions of the couch before purchasing to avoid disappointment.
With attention to the products used during manufacturing, this mattress represents a cleaner option for sleepers. A CertiPUR-US certification for foam durability, emissions, performance, and content assures buyers that this is a healthier product for the home. The memory foam swaps out some harmful traditional products for natural plant oil and infuses the mattress with green tea extract and active charcoal for moisture absorption, odor elimination, and overall freshness.
- Thickest foam option, extra comfy
- Convenient shipping and delivery method
- Added moisture absorption
- Maintains a fresh feel
- Added thickness may not fit all sofa beds
A critique of traditional coil sofa bed mattresses is that they’re not as plush as other types. This sofa bed mattress from Leggett & Platt uses the support from innerspring coils with patented air-over-coil technology for abundant softness. The steel coil system gives sleepers the firm support and stability they expect from an innerspring mattress, but this one provides similar comfort to a regular bed with an air bladder layer and padded cover.
An included, simple-to-use electric pump fills the comfort layer with air quickly; it takes less than a minute to fully set up, as long as the sofa is near a wall outlet. If the mattress is too firm, the button on the valve cap releases air to customize the firmness level to increase softness. Whereas usual sofa mattresses are between 4 and 5 inches thick, this mattress inflates to an 11-inch depth. Deflated, the mattress is less than 5 inches thick, making it easy to fold back into the sofa. This hypoallergenic mattress fits most sleeper sofas and comes in full and queen sizes.
- Inflates to impressive thickness
- Easily folds into a sleeper sofa when deflated
- Feels like a regular mattress
- Can lose air after prolonged use
To keep overnight guests cool while they sleep, this Classic Brands cool gel memory-foam sofa mattress might be the answer. Using a 2-inch thick gel memory-foam system, the breathable material draws heat away from the body to minimize overheating and creates a plush sleeping surface. Under the memory-foam layer is a 2.5-inch layer of high-density base foam for support. The memory foam cradles all parts of the body, relieves pressure points, and aligns the spine for a healthy sleeping posture. When two people share the sofa bed, the memory foam absorbs jarring movements that would wake the other person on other types of sofa bed mattresses.
Guests can sleep easy knowing this sofa bed mattress meets CertiPUR-US program standards for performance, emissions, and durability. The foam used in this mattress is naturally hypoallergenic, resisting mold, bacteria, and dust mites. Measuring 58 inches by 72 inches by 4.5 inches, this sofa bed mattress gives the coolness and comfort many guests appreciate.
- Naturally hypoallergenic
- Great upgrade from a traditional mattress
- Attractive price point
- May start losing its shape retention over time
If fitting a guest mattress into the sofa is an issue, consider a memory foam option like the DynastyMattress Cool Gel, which does not sacrifice comfort to be thin enough to fold up. If feeling the metal bar under the mattress is an absolute no-no, then the Leggett & Platt AirDream is a must-have, since it will inflate into a regular-size mattress.
How We Chose the Best Sofa Bed Mattresses
We are aware of the varying types of issues that users face with the mattresses found in sleeper sofas. Our mission here is to cover this range of needs to provide a solution to the problems faced by most users. We wanted to take into account those who can’t sleep on a thin mattress and need something substantial between them and the frame underneath them, and we also wanted to consider those who need something thin enough to actually be able to fold back into the sofa between uses. To that end, we have provided an option for everyone in our list of recommendations.
With memory foam mattresses in particular, we picked up on a common complaint, which was strong chemical odors that can sometimes take an eternity to fade. As such, we have made sure to avoid this issue as much as possible, even though all memory foams tend to have a slight smell when fresh out of the box. Our top foam picks in this list stand out among their competitors with regard to lingering chemical odor and tend not to have such a strong smell.
You’ve selected your new sofa bed mattress and you want to take care of it so it lasts as long as possible. We’ve assembled some frequently asked questions and their answers to help you get the most from your new sofa bed mattress.
Q. Can you replace the mattress on a sofa bed?
Yes, you can. Measure the dimensions of the sleeper sofa to ensure you get a replacement mattress that fits properly when the bed is set up and when it’s folded away.
Q. How are sofa bed mattresses measured?
Sofa bed mattresses come in various sizes, such as twin, full, or queen; however, they don’t adhere to an industry size standard, so length and width can vary. These are considered “short” versions of traditional-size mattresses.
Q. How can you remove a smell from a sofa bed mattress?
You can deodorize a mattress using simple household products. Lightly spray an equal mix of water and white vinegar over the mattress and let it air-dry, or sift baking soda over the mattress and vacuum it up after 30 minutes to remove smells and boost freshness.
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Kat Hodgins is a freelance writer for home repair, DIY home building projects, and green living. She previously worked at OP Media Group for three of their magazines, including Cottage (a former division of OP), writing DIY articles, such as building an outhouse and insulation installation. In her tenure as a content and copywriter, Kat has written for many companies, including Perk Canada, Nest Designs, Run Wild My Child, and This Is LD. Outside of her work as a writer, Kat is an insurance benefits professional, nature enthusiast, recreational climber, and chocolate connoisseur enjoying life in the Pacific Northwest.