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Bunk beds are a popular option for children’s bedrooms and guest rooms, as well as dorm rooms, hostels, and other shared sleeping spaces. Bunk beds are engineered to accommodate two – and in some cases, three or more – individual sleepers in beds that are carefully stacked or layered to ensure safety for all.
Today’s bunk beds range from minimalist metal frames to sophisticated designs that incorporate workstations, trundles, and other advanced features. Bunk beds come in many styles, as well. These include standard models with one Twin-size bed stacked on another (known as Twin-over-Twin), as well as Twin-over-Full, triple, standard and triple loft, L-shaped, futon, and trundle. The price of a new bunk bed may fall anywhere from less than $200 to more than $1,000, and often depends on the brand, style, and material composition.
Read on to learn more about bunk bed styles and characteristics, as well as tips for first-time buyers. Below you’ll find our picks for the best bunk beds sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Steel Quick Lock Bunk Bed from Zinus, an all-metal Twin-over-full bunk that offers great stability and a cool, streamlined design. A secure ladder connects the top and bottom bunks, each of which can accommodate any child or adult under 175 pounds (though children under six years should not use the top bunk for safety reasons).
The ‘Quick Lock’ mechanisms ensures the entire bed can be assembled in less than one hour; alternatively, customers can opt for expert assembly when they order the bed from Amazon.com. The mechanisms also provide a sturdy connection that helps withstand wear and lengthen the bunk’s overall lifespan. And due to its relatively low price-point and strong performance ratings, this bunk is considered a high-value option. The Steel Quick Lock Bunk Bed is backed by a five-year warranty.
Standard bunk beds, also known as Twin-over-Twins, are the most common bunk bed designs available. Our pick for the Best Standard Bunk is the Twin-Over-Twin Bunk Bed from DHP, which boasts a lightweight yet secure metal frame with sturdy guardrails and a slanted ladder (which is considered safer than fully upright ladders). Both beds are also equipped with narrow slats that will accommodate almost any mattress. This bunk is easy to assemble and ships in one box for added convenience.
The DHP Twin-Over-Twin Bunk Bed has a 200-pound weight limit for the top bunk and a 225-pound weight limit for the bottom; this is suitable for all children as well as most adults in the light and average weight groups. It also has a low price-point, making it a good option for college students or space-saving roommates. DHP backs the Twin-Over-Twin Bunk Bed with a one-year warranty.
Although they tend to be somewhat expensive, Full-over-Full bunk beds are an ideal option for older children as well as adult roommates. Our top pick for this size is the Max & Lily Full-Over-Full Bunk Bed, which is constructed from knot-free New Zealand pine for exceptional security and longevity. In addition to the top and bottom beds, the bed comes with a pull-out trundle bed that can be accessed using a drawer at the base, accommodating up to three adults or children who each weigh under 400 pounds.
The Max & Lily Twin-Over-Full also comes equipped with a sanded ladder for easy access between the top and bottom, as well as 14″ guardrails on the top bed. When not used as a bunk, it can be disassembled into two free-standing beds. Additionally, Max & Lily offers a Twin-Over-Twin bunk. Both the Twin-Over-Twin and Twin-Over-Full beds are backed by a one-year warranty.
All bunk beds are designed to be relatively sturdy, but the Stephan Full-Over-Full from Coaster Fine Furniture is a notable standout. It boasts a thick all-steel frame and strong connections throughout to prevent creaks and loose movements. Both beds have 20 slats apiece, eliminating the need for bunkie boards, and the weight limit for each is 400 pounds.
The Stephan Full-Over-Full also has a striking, curvaceous design and slick gunmetal finish that offers aesthetic appeal for most bedrooms. Ladders are featured on both sides for easy top bunk access. The bottom bed is also fairly elevated, ensuring substantial storage space beneath the bunk. The Stephan Full-Over-Full has a higher-than-average price-point, making it a good option for shoppers with bigger budgets – but the bed is backed by a 10-year warranty, which is much longer than average.
Triple bunks are a great option for large households with more than three children sharing a room – though for many parents, their tall profiles elicit safety concerns. The Sierra Triple Bunk Bed from Dorel Living is one of the sturdiest triple bunks on the market; constructed from durable rubber wood, the bed offers solid connections throughout and a long product lifespan. Each bed is slatted to support a Twin-size mattress; bunkie boards may be used as a comfortable buffer between the mattress and the slats.
Additionally, the Sierra Triple Bunk offers two ladders for access to the middle and top bunks, both of which are protected with robust guardrails. The entire bunk can be disassembled into three free-standing beds when needed, as well. Compared to other triple bunk models, the Sierra’s price-point is considered somewhat low. It is backed by a one-year warranty.
While many colleges and universities provide beds for students living in dorms, these models can be shoddy and of poor quality – and schools generally allow students to use their own bedding if they prefer. The Sunset Full over Workstation Bunk Bed from Walker Edison is a fine choice for substitute dorm bedding. This tall, single-sleeper loft accommodates a Full-size mattress and offers substantial space for a desk, computer, and other studying essentials.
The Sunset Full over Workstation is made from solid steel and provides great stability. It features two ladders, as well as sturdy guardrails around the bed. In addition to dorm rooms, the bed is suitable for a child’s room; the space beneath the bed makes a roomy playing area. Its price-point is on par with other loft bunks, and should fall within the budget of most students and parents. Walker Edison backs this bunk bed with a 30-night warranty; replacement parts are available upon request, as well.
The term ‘bunk bed’ refers to any design that features at least one bed stacked on top of another bed or, in the case of standard loft bunk beds, one bed elevated over an open space. Although they are can be used to accommodate sleeping adults in establishments like military garrisons, correctional facilities, and college dorms, bunk beds are primarily used in children’s bedrooms. Most bunk beds sold today are made from either wood (softwood or hardwood) or steel. Prices for bunk beds range from less than $200 to more than $4,000, although the average model costs between $300 and $900.
Bunk beds can be significant space-savers, particularly in homes where two or more children share a bedroom, and many models come equipped with drawers or compartments for extra storage. However, there are some notable safety concerns associated with bunk beds that parents should understand before purchasing.
This guide will look at some common features of bunk beds, identify safety concerns and strategies for mitigating these risks, and list our picks for the top-rated bunk bed models. First, let’s look at how today’s bunk beds are constructed.
Most bunk beds feature two stacked sleep surfaces, but some models may include three stacked beds. The mattresses used in bunk beds are almost always Twin and/or Full, although Twin XL-, Queen-, and even King-size bunk bed models are available. Some of the most common bunk bed designs include the following:
The table below lists basic details for each of the aforementioned bunk bed designs.
Please note that there may be some cross-over in terms of design. For instance, a bunk bed may technically be L-shaped and Twin-over-Full, or triple loft and futon.
|Bunk Bed Design||Number of Sleepers||Mattresses Used||Stack or Elevated Beds||Storage Space|
|Standard||2||2 Twin||Stacked||Base drawers or space beneath bottom bed|
|Standard Loft||1||1 Twin||Elevated||Open space beneath top bed|
|Triple||3||3 Twin||Stacked||Base drawers or space beneath bottom bed|
|Triple Loft||3||3 Twin||Both||Open space beneath one of the top beds|
|Twin-over-Full||2 - 3||1 Twin 1 Full||Stacked||Base drawers or space beneath bottom bed|
|Futon||1 Twin 1 Futon (Twin or Full)||Stacked||Base drawers or space beneath futon|
|Trundle||3||3 Twin||Stacked, with third bed housed in roll-out base drawer||Side drawers or no storage|
|L-shaped||2 - 3||1 Twin 1 Twin or Full||Elevated at a right angle||Side drawers, as well as open space surrounding bottom bed|
Most bunk beds sold today are made from one or more of the following materials:
Consumers have a wide range of bunk bed models to choose from, but generally speaking most share the following qualities and features:
Bunkie boards: Unlike standard single-person beds that feature a box spring beneath the mattress, bunk beds feature relatively thin wooden planes known as ‘bunkie’ boards beneath the top and bottom bunks. Most bunkie boards measure two to four inches thick.
Support columns or poles: In order to properly support the top bunk and prevent it from collapsing, bunk beds are designed with four poles or pillars, one for each corner of the bed.
Top bunk access: Standard bunk beds are constructed with implements that allow users to reach the top bunk safely. Most commonly, bunk beds will feature one or more of the following:
Guardrails: The top bunk(s) must feature at least one set of parallel guardrails, one rail on each side, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (see bottom section for more information). The bottom bunk may feature guardrails, as well, but these are not required.
When shopping for a new bunk bed and comparing different brands and models, here are a few important factors to keep in mind:
Some parents may wish to craft a bunk bed themselves using lumber or metal they acquire themselves, rather than purchasing a manufactured model for home assembly. These individuals are encouraged to follow this step-by-step process:
1.) Meticulously measure the room in which the bunk bed will be located. Take width, depth, and ceiling height into consideration, as well as the placement of lights, ceiling fans, windows, and other room fixtures that the bunk bed should not be near or against. Also think about storage needs.
2.) Create clear blueprints. Assembly guides for manufactured models may be a useful starting point.
3.) Make a comprehensive inventory of materials and implements that will be needed, including:
4.) Begin assembling the bottom bunk bed. Once this portion is complete, move onto the top bunk(s). Utilize the level throughout this process to ensure the design is sturdy and even.
5.) If constructing the bed from wood, be sure to thoroughly sand all surfaces to lower the risk of cuts and other injuries from splinters.
6.) If planning to paint or stain the bed, make sure all floor surfaces beneath the bed are covered with cloth, tarp, or other protective materials to prevent spillage.
Bunk beds sold in the U.S. are regulated under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Manufacturers and importers of children’s bunk beds must submit bunk beds to a CPSC-accepted, third-party laboratory for safety testing, and then obtain a Child’s Product Certificate that certifies the bed complies with all current safety standards and regulations. Those who manufacture or import adult bunk beds must likewise obtain a General Product Certificate after the required testing has concluded.
The CPSC’s current ‘bunk bed rule’ guidelines state the following:
Bunk Bed Ends:
The CPSC also provides guidance for testing bunk beds for entrapment hazards associated with the guardrails and both ends of the top and bottom bunks. In order to test for entrapment hazards, probing equipment is needed. A full equipment list and step-by-step procedures can be found in the CPSC Test Manual for Bunk Bed Entrapment Hazards.
In addition to these regulations, here are a few general safety guidelines for children’s bunk beds: