Which bunk bed is best?
Bunk beds have long been the choice of organizations that need to house people efficiently in places with limited space, such as seagoing ships, army bases and school dormitories. For many, bunk beds are fond reminders of their days in summer camps.
Stacking one bed above the other means needing only half the floor space. This comes in handy in small bedrooms and also works well to free up play and study space for your kids. If you are looking for a dramatically different bunk bed, the Discovery World Mission Twin Over Full Bunk Bed is a great choice with its integrated storage and a staircase to the top bunk.
What to know before you buy a bunk bed
Most bunk beds stack one bed right above another. Some are built in L-shapes for a more open look that goes well in a corner. Many modern bunk beds have special built-ins like bookcases, shelving, drawers, lighting and even small desks.
Make sure you measure the amount of space in your room so you buy a bunk bed that is the right length and width. Don’t forget to measure the amount of vertical space you have so the child who sleeps on the top can climb in and out safely.
Most bunk beds are placed either parallel to a long wall or perpendicular to a short one. As you survey your room, pay particular attention to where the windows, doors and room air conditioners are so you don’t obstruct them.
The traditional bunk bed has identically sized mattresses on the top and bottom bunks. New designs include one that has a bottom bunk that is larger than the top.
Bunk beds are large pieces of furniture that arrive at your home unassembled. If you are handy with tools and have a good tool kit, you will have no trouble putting your bunk bed together. Otherwise, either enlist a DIY friend or pay for professional assembly.
To learn even more about bunk beds, take a look at the full bunk bed buying guide from BestReviews.
What to look for in a quality bunk bed
Metal frames are the cheapest and usually the most simply constructed, with four round or square vertical metal posts at the corners and two beds stacked in between.
Wood frames are the most popular because of their traditional design and appearance and the warmth of wood over metal. Wood frames cost more and more can be done with them.
Single piece or convertible
Most bunk beds are made as a single unit that bolts together. Some are two beds that can be joined together or used individually because each is built to stand on its own. Convertible beds are popular with parents who are thinking ahead to when their children will want beds and bedrooms of their own.
Ladders: Just about every bunk bed has a ladder for the top bunk to climb up and down. Ladders that are permanently fixed to the bunk bed frame are safer than ones that hook loosely over the top rail but offer less flexibility.
Side rails: The top bunk often has a half-length rail that keeps the sleeper from rolling out of the bed. Permanent side rails are the safest for small kids, but removable rails can be taken away when your kids are big enough to sleep without them.
How much you can expect to spend on bunk beds
Metal bunk beds with very basic designs are priced between $150-$250. You will find some wooden bunk beds between $250-$500, as well as better quality metal beds. Top-tier wooden bunk beds with integrated drawers, shelves and the like cost between $500-$1,500.
Bunk bed FAQ
Who gets which bunk?
A. Sometimes the parent should make the decision, usually based upon the children’s ages, abilities and personalities. When a choice is possible, have the kids decide. If the kids can’t work it out among themselves, suggest an alternating schedule or have them flip a coin.
Do kids outgrow bunk beds?
A. If you bought a standard-sized bunk bed, your kids will not physically outgrow bunk beds any more than college dormitory residents and military personnel do. However, as children grow older, so does the desire for greater privacy.
What’s the best bunk bed to buy?
Top bunk bed
What you need to know: This bunk bed’s remarkable design integrates storage drawers into a staircase that leads to the top bunk.
What you’ll love: Construction of this twin-over-full bunk bed is of quality hardwood with a built-in, four-drawer wooden chest. This Stair Stepper model is available in a few colors and finishes.
What you should consider: This bunk bed can be hard to assemble, because so much is involved.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top bunk bed for the money
What you need to know: This bunk bed has greater versatility than most metal-framed models because it is designed as a convertible and has a movable ladder.
What you’ll love: The urban industrial look of this bunk bed is sleek and the design of the side rails matches the design of the headboards and footboards. The top and bottom bunks support 200 pounds each. The space between the top and bottom bunks is tall enough for an adult to sit upright on the bottom bunk when using mattresses that are between 5-9 inches thick.
What you should consider: This bunk bed is hard to assemble and not as sturdy as the 400-pound load limit suggests.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: The farmhouse style of these bunk beds feature matching headboards, footboards, side rails and a ladder.
What you’ll love: These beds are built so they can be stacked or used separately. This bunk bed comes in either white or espresso finishes. The wood is sturdy and the corners are rounded for safety.
What you should consider: The twin mattresses are better for smaller children, so larger kids may not like the size.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.