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Best Mattress for Bunk Beds in 2024:
Safe, Sturdy, and Reliable

UPDATED

Written by Alison Deshong

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Breus

Expert Tested

Table of Contents

Bunk beds are a smart way to add an extra sleep surface without taking up more floor space. They usually have two mattress frames, one above the other, though different configurations are available.

These space savers are a popular choice for families with children, teens, or a guest room. They’re also often seen in hostels, dorms, barracks, and other places with limited space.

Because bunk bed frames differ from standard frames, there are additional factors to keep in mind when choosing the right mattresses, including weight, profile, and safety. 

We’ll take a look at some of the best mattresses for bunk beds and weigh their pros and cons. We’ll also explain what sizes and types of mattresses are best for bunk beds, how firm they should be, and how much they cost.

Best Mattresses for Bunk Beds

Best OverallAvocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress

Best ValueBrooklyn Bedding Kids Mattress

Most ComfortableHelix Kids

Best LuxuryNolah Nurture 10

Sleep Doctor’s Picks

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Best Overall Mattress

Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress is a hybrid model made with high-quality materials like organic latex, wool, and cotton. The low profile, firm support, and responsive surface make this an excellent choice for kid’s bunk beds.

Buy From Avocado
Ideal For:

Hot Sleepers

Firmness:

Firm

Value:

Great Value

Certifications:

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), GREENGUARD

Pros

  • Latex and coils balance pressure relief and support
  • Wool and cotton promote breathability
  • GOLS and GOTS organic certification

Cons

  • Latex produces some motion transfer
  • May be too firm for kids who enjoy feeling “hugged” by their bed

The Avocado Eco Organic Kids Mattress checks a lot of boxes when it comes to kid mattresses. In addition to high-quality materials and construction, a standout feature of this model is the eco-friendly design – with certifications to back up eco-conscious claims.

Why We Like It

All the materials in the Eco Organic Kids Mattress have natural cooling properties, so this bed is a great pick for children who sleep hot. Latex has an open-cell composition that retains minimal heat, especially compared to foam. Cotton and wool are highly breathable and air circulates freely through the coil interior.

The cotton and wool have organic certification from the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and the latex has organic certification from the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The mattress also has GREENGUARD Gold certification to show it has passed rigorous standards for chemical emissions.

How Does It Feel?

The mattress is a latex hybrid with a firm (7) feel and 7-inch profile, so it fits perfectly on bunk beds or trundle beds. The design begins with an organic cotton cover and a thin layer of organic wool, which acts as the bed’s flame retardant. Beneath is a 1-inch latex layer followed by a layer of 6-inch pocketed coils. The cotton and wool gently cushion your child’s body without too much sinkage, and the latex has a buoyant feel that gently contours but still offers ample support.

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Best Value Mattress

Brooklyn Bedding Kids Mattress

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The BB Kids is well-made, relatively affordable, and compatible with the vast majority of bunk beds on the market today. You can choose from three child-friendly sizes, and the thin 6-inch profile ensures the utmost safety for little ones who sleep on the top bunk.

Buy From Brooklyn Bedding
Ideal For:

Side and Back Sleepers

Firmness:

Firm

Value:

Great Value

Certifications:

CertiPUR-US

Pros

  • All-foam design has a gentle surface and sturdy base
  • Cover is engineered to resist stains and liquid damage
  • Available in three sizes

Cons

  • Strong off-gassing smells for the first few nights
  • Some kids may find the mattress too firm

The BB Kids from Brooklyn Bedding is reasonably priced and ideal for any bunk bed arrangement. Consisting of two layers built onto a 6-inch profile, the mattress should rest at least 5 inches below the bed’s guard rails — this helps ensure a safe night’s sleep for kids who use the top bunk. Twin, twin XL, and full designs are available, allowing you to mix and match if your children’s top and bottom bunks are different sizes.

Why We Like It

The BB Kids is firm (7), but not overly stiff. A memory foam top layer gives the surface a cushy feel, but the base is reinforced with high-density polyfoam to prevent your child from sinking too deeply. This balance of softness and support is key for healthy growth and development.

The BB Kids’ thoughtful design also includes a cover treated with Nano Stain Terminator, a kid-safe agent that protects the fabric from stains and liquid damage. This can be especially useful if your child sometimes wets the bed.

How Does It Feel?

BB Kids utilizes the tried-and-true combo of a memory foam comfort layer and high-density polyfoam support core — this design is found in most adult foam mattresses, as well. Since the surface is on the firmer side, your child shouldn’t sink too deeply into the memory foam. A cooling gel infusion in the top layer also helps minimize heat retention, so the mattress should stay fairly cool.

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Most Comfortable Mattress

Helix Kids

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Helix Kids Mattress is a dual-sided model that offers a different firmness level on each side. Having two firmness options in one bed ensures the mattress will stay comfortable for your child throughout their growth.

Buy From Helix
Ideal For:

Value Shoppers

Firmness:

Soft, Medium Firm Sides

Value:

Great Value

Certifications:

CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD

Pros

  • Dual-sided design offers two firmness options
  • Water-repellent surface
  • Breathable Tencel cover

Cons

  • May not be suitable for children over age 12
  • Children may notice temporary VOC odor

The Helix Kids Mattress is a hybrid model designed with children in mind. The dual-sided mattress has a medium soft (4) feel on one side and medium firm (6) feel on the other. The dual firmness options are meant to accommodate your child’s needs as they grow from toddlerhood into adolescence.

Why We Like It

While children can sleep on whichever side feels most comfortable, the medium firm side is meant for children roughly 3 to 7 years old. The softer side is aimed at children ages 8 to 12, since older children may gravitate toward beds with a softer feel. Simply flip the mattress to pick your child’s preferred firmness level.

How Does It Feel?

The bed measures 8 inches thick and features a 6-inch coil layer sandwiched between foam layers. The surface of the softer side is composed of plush memory foam while the firmer side features a denser polyfoam. The entire mattress is encased in a water-repellent cover made with breathable Tencel fabric. The water-repellent finish ensures protection for the mattress from nighttime bedwetting or accidental spills.

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Best Luxury Mattress

Nolah Nurture 10

Dr. Michael BreusReviewer Picture

The Sleep Doctor’s Review

The Nolah Nurture 10 is a flippable hybrid mattress made with latex, wool, and organic cotton. We recommend this model for parents who prioritize beds made with non-toxic, premium materials.

Buy From Nolah
Ideal For:

Organic Shoppers

Firmness:

Soft, Firm Sides

Value:

Good Value

Certifications:

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD, eco-INSTITUT

Pros

  • Flippable with soft and firm sides
  • Made with natural materials
  • Zoned support core

Cons

  • Above-average price-point
  • Children who enjoy feeling “hugged” by mattress may find this too bouncy

The HDMax Tri-Zone support core consists of 6-inch pocketed coils that react independently to contour to the body and isolate motion. Our testers felt minimal vibrations when we dropped a kettlebell next to them. Three firmness zones also help support good posture by limiting midsection sinkage.

Why We Like It

The Nurture Mattress and its components hold several certifications pertaining to content and sourcing, including OEKO-TEX Standard 100, GOTS, eco-INSTITUT, and Rainforest Alliance.

This model is 10 inches high, making it versatile enough to work on either the top or bottom bunk of many frames. However, read the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the guardrails on the upper bunk are high enough and that the total weight does not surpass recommended limits.

With its kid-friendly design and high-quality materials, the Nolah Nurture is especially appropriate for families seeking natural luxury. The two built-in firmness options make the mattress adaptable to changing needs and preferences.

How Does It Feel?

Most of our testers preferred the extra support of the firm side, especially when lying on their stomachs. However, our team members under 130 pounds preferred the soft side for back and side sleeping.

Why You Should Trust Us

Our team members are veterans in the field of sleep products. We base our reviews and guides on extensive research, impartial criteria, and rigorous in-house testing to provide unbiased information.

With a range of body types and preferred sleeping positions, our sleep experts personally test each mattress so we can accurately assess how a model performs for a broad range of sleepers.

What Size Mattress is Best for a Bunk bed?

Typical bunk bed frame sizes include twin, twin XL, and full. Twin mattresses are 38 by 75 inches, twin XLs are 38 by 80 inches, and full mattresses are 54 by 75 inches. For safety reasons, it’s vital to match the mattress size to the dimensions of the bunk bed frame.

There are several types of bunk bed frames, each with different characteristics. Not all options take the same size mattress on each bunk. Additionally, some frames have three bunks, and some have just one.

Bunk Bed Type
What It Is
What Sizes Fit

Standard

Two mattresses of the same size, one placed above the other

Usually twin

Loft

A bed above and an empty space below to accommodate a dresser, desk, etc.

Twin, twin XL, or full

Triple

Three beds stacked directly above each other

Usually twin

L-shaped

A bottom and a top bunk that are at right angles to one another, one atop the other

Twin, twin XL, or full on top, and twin, twin XL, full, queen, or king on bottom

Twin Over Full

A twin mattress directly above a full

Twin on top, full on bottom

Trundle

A bed that can be pulled out from under another bed frame

Usually twin

Keep in mind that bunk bed frames have different weight capacities, even among the same type. Be sure to check your frame’s rated weight capacity and calculate the total weight of the mattress and the individual sleeping on it before making a purchase.

How Thick Should a Mattress Be for a Bunk Bed?

A bunk bed mattress should be no thicker than what safely fits in the frame. This depends on the height of the guardrails and the depth of the frame.

Federal requirements stipulate that the mattress profile needs to be at least 5 inches below the top of the guardrail for the upper bunk. When in doubt, we generally recommend looking for a mattress 6 to 7 inches high. However, always check the thickness requirements for your specific bunk bed frame.

This is especially important for the top bunk because a mattress that is too thick could increase the risk of the sleeper rolling over the safety railings. It may be less of a concern for bottom bunks under 30 inches off the ground. Mattress thickness can also impact how much overhead space is available, so this is something to consider for both the top and bottom bunks.

What Mattress Type is Best for a Bunk Bed?

The type of bunk bed mattress you should choose depends largely on who sleeps on it. The ideal mattress for small children may be different from the best option for guests. Safety, quietness, durability, and versatility are frequently top considerations.

Any of these four major mattress types may be suitable for some bunk beds, but each carries potential pros and cons.

Material
Description

Foam

Foam models are popular for bunk beds. They typically consist of at least two layers of foam intended to cradle and support the body. Their light weight makes it easier to stay within the recommended weight capacity, and they’re generally the quietest choice.

Innerspring

Innerspring models consist primarily of supportive metal coils. Responsive and easy to move around on, this type of mattress can simplify the process of getting in and out of the bed. However, innersprings are often prone to squeaking, which may be problematic for the sleeper on the other bunk.

Latex

Latex models usually contain natural latex derived from the sap of the rubber tree, though synthetic and blended options are also common. This type of mattress may appeal to shoppers who value durability or natural materials. While often heavier than other varieties of mattresses, latex models frequently have a lower profile.

Hybrid

If you have a guest room, a hybrid model may be versatile enough to accommodate different sleepers. A hybrid consists of a generous comfort system coupled with a metal coil core. This combination tends to provide a balanced performance. Since hybrid mattresses are often thicker than other designs, pay careful attention to the profile before selecting a hybrid model for a bunk bed.

How Firm Should a Bunk Bed Mattress Be?

The ideal bunk bed mattress firmness depends on the weight and preferred position of the sleeper. Unfortunately, this can be difficult to anticipate if you plan to use the bunk bed for guests. 

In general, most sleepers prefer a mattress with a medium (5) or medium firm (6) feel. Individuals who weigh under 130 pounds and side sleepers usually favor this range or slightly softer. Stomach sleepers and those over 230 pounds generally gravitate toward the higher end of the firmness spectrum. Back sleepers, combination sleepers, and individuals between 130 and 230 pounds typically fall right in the middle. 

How Much Does a Bunk Bed Mattress Cost?

Several factors can influence how much you’ll need to spend on a bunk bed mattress. First and foremost, you’ll likely need to budget for several mattresses. Standard bunk beds need two sleep surfaces, while triple bunk beds call for three. 

Since most bunk beds fit twin, twin XL, or full size mattresses, they should be less expensive than queen and king sizes. Choosing lower-profile models suitable for bunk beds also often saves money since they use less material.

Innersprings and all-foam models are often the most affordable options for budget shoppers, but there are also price variations between brands. Comparison shopping and watching for sales can help you get the best bang for your buck.

About The Author

Alison Deshong

Staff Writer, Product Testing Team


Alison is a health writer with ample experience reading and interpreting academic, peer-reviewed research. Based in San Diego, she is published in the journal PLOS Genetics and the Journal of Biological Chemistry and has been a copywriter for SmartBug media. With a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Davis, she has nearly a decade of academic research experience in life sciences. She enjoys helping people cut through the noise to understand the bigger picture about sleep and health. Alison likes to stay active with rock climbing, hiking, and walking her dog.

  • POSITION: Stomach Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Neutral Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Bear

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