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Every year during the holidays my wife and I have to visit our respective families. Due to divorces, remarriages, etc., we end up visiting and sleeping at 3-4 different houses during the weeks I have off work. During this time my sleep situation could be better. I’ve slept on the floor, on a heavy-duty futon, on an air mattress, on a couch, and even in my father-in-law’s bed.
Of all the places I’ve had to set up camp, the futon was my favorite without a doubt. The bed was probably a close second but sleeping in someone else’s bed also feels odd to me.
I was actually so impressed with the futon that I slept on this past year that I decided to look into one as an alternative to the air mattress that I kept in the closet for guests. I’m a big guy and have been writing about products for fat people on this blog for more than a year so it was no surprise to me that the majority of the futons on the market were flimsy pieces of furniture made by shoddy companies.
If two people are going to sleep on a futon it needs to have a high weight capacity. Several of the ones I saw would not even support two average-size adults, let alone my wife and me. However, I was able to find several options and ultimately purchased a heavy-duty futon with a weight capacity that will support most big and heavy people.
Here are the options that I recommend based on my research:
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Evaluating and Choosing a Heavy Duty Futon
As with all types of furniture, a heavy-duty futon has several specific characteristics that have a direct effect on its weight capacity. If you choose a futon off my list of best options I’ve already researched their respective weight limits and analyzed them according to these criteria. However, if you are going to shop somewhere like a furniture store, the weight limit might not always be listed or apparent. Because of this, I’m going to let you in on the things I looked at and considered when choosing the best futons for big and heavy people.
Weight Capacity. The first (and most obvious) thing I looked at for each option was the weight capacity that was listed by the manufacturer. If it’s not listed on the sales page it’s typically an easy thing to call the company and ask. If there is not a listed “max weight recommendation” and you cannot easily find a way to contact the company, it’s pretty safe to say that the futon in question was not made to handle much weight.
It’s worth noting here that just because you buy a 500lb capacity futon doesn’t mean a 500lb person can sleep on it. The given weight limits have two caveats. First off, the weight must be evenly distributed over the entire bed. Secondly, the weight capacity is given as a total for the two sides and a truer way of stating it would be to cut it in half and state the capacity of each bed/cushion. For example, the 500lb capacity futon that we ended up buying has a weight capacity of 250lbs per side.
Frame Material. When it comes to frame material you have two options: metal or wood. I typically gravitate toward wooden frames for several reasons. They are typically stronger as a given price point, I can fix them more easily if they break, and they are easier to reinforce (for example, adding a middle support).
Many people have the mistaken idea that metal frames are stronger. While they do have the potential to be stronger, most manufacturers produce low-quality thin-walled metal-framed futons which are significantly weaker than wood-framed ones. There are, however, good options out there so we’ll look at both.
Mattress Type. Futons typically have two distinctions: a bed that folds up and can be used as a couch, and a couch that just happens to recline into a bed. The primary use of the futon heavy influence the mattress type has and the comfort you can expect from it.
I gravitated towards futons with a full innerspring mattress with significant thickness. I figured that this would make both sitting and sleeping more comfortable as well as extend the functional life of the cushion. Thus far, my theory seems to be right.
Bed Size. The realistic size of a couch limits the size a futon can be. It would be nice to have one that folded out into a king-size bed but I can’t fathom how such a behemoth would function when folded up.
I prioritized the biggest futons I could find. After all, it’s much easier for a small kid to sleep on a huge bed than for two adults to sleep on a tiny futon. The largest futons are typically the size of a full-size mattress but most are the length of a full and significantly narrower.
I also chose futons, if possible, that had a regular mattress size as opposed to a strange one-off measurement. This makes it easier to actually make the bed with sheets/blankets and gives you the option of adding a mattress topper for additional comfort if someone will be sleeping on it for several nights.
Arm Rests. I can’t sit on a couch without armrests. However, armrests on a futon have the drawback of functioning as a head and footboard when it is laid out. If you are a big and tall guy this may be a problem as it limits the real estate available for sleeping on. However, they have the utility of keeping the mattress in place and giving additional support. This comes down to more of an aesthetic preference than anything.
Middle Support. If a futon is going to break it typically happens right in the middle where the frame has the least support. Makers of heavy-duty futons have gotten smart and typically add a leg in the middle as a brace that touches the ground when folded out. From what I have seen, this leg can add an additional 1-200 pounds of weight capacity. If you buy one without middle support you can always add one yourself or just put a block under the middle when it’s folded out or folded up.
Height. If you (or the person using the futon) have limited mobility you’ll want to consider its height. Some futons turn into beds that are barely taller than an air mattress while others at around the height of an average bed.
Additional Features. I didn’t need any additional features on the futon that I chose but I didn’t my best to choose options that had a ton of colors, the possibility of integrated storage, etc.
With all of those things in mind, we’re armed and ready to look at the world of furniture! Let’s check out the options! First off, the one that I actually own:
The Best Heavy Duty Futon – Kodiak Furniture Monterey
Kodiak Furniture is well known for its heavy-duty and attractive furniture and the Monterey futon is no exception. It actually holds the least amount of weight of any futon on this list (likely due to the lack of a center supporting leg) but it still posts a respectable 500lb capacity. However, there is a lot to like abou it!
- 3 Position Frame. Unlike most futons which are either a couch or a just, the Monterey has an additional “lounge” feature that allows you to comfortably recline.
- 8″ Innerspring Mattress. This mattress provides exceptional comfort. Before I started shopping for a futon I remembered sitting on a display futon at Walmart which was a thin foam cushion over a wire/steel frame. In other words, it was pretty much patio furniture. This mattress is comfortable for heavy people even without adding a mattress topper.
- Full-Size Mattress. This futon has the widest mattress of anything I could find in this price range. It folds out to be a “full” size mattress (same length as a twin but 16″ wider). This is enough for two adults to sleep on the futon as long as they’re on very good terms with each other…
- Hardwood Frame. The frame is easy to assemble/disassemble and feels super sturdy, even with two adults on the couch/bed.
All in all, this futon has everything the others I looked at has except that it was more comfortable and, in my opinion, better looking. While the others I looked at had a 600lb capacity, if you are not over the weight limit here, I suggest the Monterey!
Better Home & Gardens Neo – If You Need Extra Capacity
If you like the Kodiak Furniture futon but it isn’t quite adequate to support your weight, there is another option. Better Homes & Garden has been making a futon for several years that they have dubbed the “Neo Mission” It has a hardwood frame, comfortable mattress, and a 600-pound capacity.
I would imagine that the frame is very similar in strength and integrity to my futon although this one has the added support of a middle leg.
So if you like the thick mattress with a wood frame type of heavy-duty futon, this is a great option!
Heavy Duty Metal Frame Futon by Dorel
Seeing this futon gave me flashbacks to college. It seems like every dorm had a futon of questionable quality and comfort where questionable things happened. However, there isn’t much actually questionable about this futon from DHP. It is one of the best-selling options on Amazon with tens of thousands of units sold!
First off, there are a few reasons why I didn’t choose this futon for my house. I didn’t like that it doesn’t have a separate mattress. If you don’t even plan on removing or replacing the mattress this might not be a deal for you. However, there is no way that the cushioning and comfort of this futon are on comfort with either of the above options. Add in the lack of armrests and this was a no-go for me. However, there are many reasons why this is a great option and so many people have chosen it:
- The faux leather covering makes this futon exceptionally easy to clean. If you are looking for a futon that you can simply wipe off, this is a solid option.
- This futon is part of a set so, if you want everything to match, it can.
- Due to its metal frame and middle support, this futon can support up to 600lbs
- Modern design with chrome legs adds some excitement to any room. At least that’s what DHP says. Either you love it or you don’t!
Overall I think this is a solid futon for a select group of people. If you don’t need the additional comfort from a thicker mattress and think this one would go with your décor then its a no-brainer.
Novogratz Heavy Duty Designer Futon for Big People
This one is on my list because it was almost the one we bought. I wanted the Kodiak, my wife wanted this won. It was a war between a classic attractive design and comfort. In the end, I won. Put that one in the record books!
I will admit that this is an amazing-looking futon from a very cool couple. For the last quarter of a century, Robert and Cortney Novogratz have dedicated their lives to the design of several different domains including whole city blocks, castles, and even tree houses. Now they are bringing their high-end design sense in a futon-shaped package that is available to the masses!
Besides its stunning good looks, here’s what we loved about this futon:
- Memory Foam Padding. Even though this couch doesn’t have a removable mattress its layer of high-quality memory foam promises comfort as both a couch and a futon.
- 600lb Capacity. This speaks to the quality of engineering and wood used.
- The split-back can be reclined independently and at multiple angles. This was a huge draw for us as I could lounge and watch a movie while my wife sat upright and did whatever she does while we’re watching a movie.
- Available in multiple colors (including pink) so you can be sure to make an impact!
At the end of the day, it wasn’t so much that I got my way. The main reason that we decided to go with the first option (my choice…) was that it was two inches longer and a full 9 inches wider in bed form. In our specific situation, we knew that two adults might be sharing sleeping space on this futon and we wanted them to be as comfortable as possible. But for kids or single sleepers (even big and heavy ones), this is an amazing option!
Taking Care of Your Futon
Let’s face it, heavy-duty futons are expensive. I’ve bought so many pieces of furniture for heavy people lately that I can scarcely afford to abuse and replace pieces prematurely. Given that, here are a few tips that I’ve employed to help my futon last as long as possible.
- Use a mattress topper. Your futon will probably see less use as a bed than a couch but that is when the most wear and damage are likely to happen. Getting and using an inexpensive mattress topper will both increase the level of comfort and protect your futon.
- Keep it clean. Dirt is the silent killer of furniture. Not only does it make things look crappy but it actually gets into the fabric and foam and starts breaking it apart. Invest in a cover and clean your futon regularly if you want it to last.
- Hide your futon. Futons are most at home in bedrooms, auxiliary seating rooms, guest rooms, etc. If you need something to sit on in your living room you’re probably better off looking at a heavy-duty couch, recliner, or chairs.
Whichever futon you choose, I don’t think you can go wrong with any on this list. We absolutely love our choice and don’t regret it. And yes, it’s way better than an air mattress. Now if only it would fit in our car for the next holiday season.