Shopping for a bunk bed mattress is like buying any other mattress, and it means you’ll want to consider many of the same factors as you would when choosing any new mattress: type, materials, firmness, and budget. However, there are some special considerations you should take into account for this particular type of mattress. Bridget Chapman, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and sleep expert for Sleepopolis, says: “The best bunk bed mattresses are lightweight, low profile, and don't require a box spring.”
With that in mind, we researched the top options for bunk bed mattresses, including innerspring, memory foam, and hybrid picks.
These are the best bunk bed mattresses to buy right now.
Zinus 6-inch Foam and Spring Mattress
Combines coil system with comfort foam
Available in less-common sizes
Some off-gassing reported
250-pound weight limit
The Zinus 6-Inch Foam and Spring Mattress is our top choice for a bunk bed mattress because it’s built to fit less traditional bed frames and styles. It has the ideal dimensions to fit most bunk bed frames and can be ordered as a standard twin or in specialty sizes if your bunk bed requires it—like Narrow Twin or Twin XL. Plus, this foam hybrid mattress is made using CertiPUR-US foam, which ensures its materials meet established standards for content, emissions, and durability. It also carries a 10-year warranty, which is impressive given the affordable price tag.
This hybrid Zinus mattress is popular for its value and comfort, especially for children or adults with petite to average body sizes (it has a maximum weight rating of 250 pounds). The 6-inch mattress is constructed with a 5-inch heavy-duty steel coil system topped by a 1-inch high-density foam layer. It has a firm feel but is softened by the presence of the foam top layer. If you have a deeper bunk bed frame or want more comfort, you can also order an 8-inch version to boost the height of the coil system and thickness of the foam comfort layer.
You’ll receive this bunk bed mattress right on your doorstep, tightly compressed in a box. Once removed from the packaging, it expands to its full size in 24 to 72 hours, which is typical for most foam or hybrid mattresses. Some odor is to be expected as the mattress off-gasses, but it’s minimal in the opinion of most people.
Price at time of publish: $119 for a Twin
Type: Hybrid | Firmness: Firm, plush | Sizes: Narrow Twin, Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen
Linenspa 6-Inch Spring Mattress
Thin profile fits most bunk bed frames
Available in sizes like Narrow Twin and Full XL
Only one firmness level
Thin layer of foam doesn’t offer much comfort
Basic but budget-friendly, it’s hard to beat the Linenspa 6-Inch Innerspring Mattress. This option is affordable for a twin-size mattress, but other specialty sizes are available too—like a Narrow Twin, Twin XL, or Full XL. The 6-inch profile of this Linenspa innerspring mattress means it fits most bunk bed frames. And it offers solid support, too, thanks to the layer of 5-inch continuous steel coils. This is topped by a 1-inch foam layer to keep the sleeping surface comfortable.
Together, the coils and foam create a firm feel that’s fine for most children but may be too hard for older teens or adults. While the manufacturer says it may take up to 72 hours for the mattress to fully expand, most people found it expanded to full-size very quickly, likely because of the limited amount of foam topping this mattress. Although it’s not the most comfort-enhancing mattress, it’s one that’s well-suited for budget shoppers and the primary bunk bed users: young kids!
Price at time of publish: $100 for a Twin
Type: Inner spring | Firmness: Firm | Sizes: Narrow Twin, Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Casper Sleep Element Mattress
Perforated surface offers enhanced airflow
100-night sleep trial
Dual foam layers for support and contouring
Requires up to 72 hours to fully expand
May be too deep for some bunk bed rails
While a budget bunk bed mattress may be fine for occasional use, you’ll want to invest in something more long-lasting and comfortable if it’s what you or your kids are using for regular, nightly use. The Casper Element Mattress can deliver on these two key factors wonderfully. This bunk bed mattress offers two layers of foam to provide support and comfort and stands out for enhanced breathability, thanks to perforations in the top layer of foam. At 10 inches thick, it offers more support and comfort compared to thinner mattresses (although it could be too tall for some bunk bed frames).
With a higher price, it’s definitely a splurge compared to some other options. However, Casper has designed this mattress to offer softness and support in one package. It’s described as firm by the manufacturer, yet it’s frequently praised for being comfortable and pressure-relieving. The breathability of this all-foam mattress keeps most sleepers sweat-free, but temperature-regulation can be dependent on many factors. The off-gassing odor is one thing frequently noted as a downside to this bunk bed mattress. Plan to give the mattress time to air out, which you’ll have to do anyway as you wait 24 to 72 hours for the mattress to fully expand.
Price at time of publish: $495 for a Twin
Type: Memory foam | Firmness: Firm | Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Linenspa 8-Inch Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
6-inch continuous coil system
Memory foam pillow top
Only available in medium-firm
May be too thin for heavier bodies
A hybrid mattress combines the advantages of a memory foam and innerspring mattress into one package. It offers coil support with comfort foam for a sleeping surface that offers pressure-relief without the sinking feeling sometimes associated with all-foam mattresses. The Linenspa 8-inch Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress is one of the most popular picks in this category, and we particularly like its low-profile height for bunk beds. It makes for a seamless fit, but its combination of coils and foam work together to offer a solid level of support, particularly on those pressure points that may need extra relief.
This hybrid mattress uses a 6-inch continuous coil system, topped by 1.5 inches of comfort foam and a 0.5 inch memory foam pillow-top layer. The result is a medium-firm feel that’s recommended for a child or light sleeper, since heavier bodies may feel the coil support layer more easily. Regardless of what size bunk bed mattress you need, you’ll likely find a match among the sizes offered by Linenspa, which includes sizes like a Twin XL, Full, and Short Queen.
Price at time of publish: $130 for a Twin
Type: Hybrid | Firmness: Medium | Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen, King, Cal King
Best for Adults
Nod by Tuft & Needle 8-Inch Twin Mattress
Available as a 6- or 8-inch thick mattress
GreenGuard Gold and CertiPUR certified
100-night sleep trial
Only one firmness option available
Does off-gas once opened
Bunk beds aren’t just for kids–but to make one work for adults, you’ll need a mattress that offers enough support and comfort. The Tuft & Needle Nod mattress is a great option if you’re looking to enhance the comfort of a bunk bed for adults. It has a low-profile height of 8 inches but is made of two foam layers for pressure relief and long-lasting support. This mattress is designed with simplicity and comfort in mind, and it works with a wide range of bed styles, including bunk bed frames that accommodate an 8-inch thick mattress (but a 6-inch version is available, too).
The support layer of this mattress is made of open-cell foam for breathability, helping to minimize the heat-trapping effect that foam mattresses are sometimes known for. The pressure-relieving polyfoam on top of the mattress softens as you lay on it, relieving pressure points along your shoulders, hips, and knees. It’s more responsive than memory foam, but offers similar motion isolation. The foam used for this mattress is GreenGuard Gold certified and meets the standards for CertiPUR-US foam, so it contains no harmful emissions or chemicals. However, you should still expect some off-gassing after unpacking the mattress.
The Nod is described as a firm mattress by Tuft & Needle, which is especially true for heavier bodies that may compress the upper foam layer and wind up sleeping on the support foam underneath. However, many reviews agree that this mattress offers a medium firmness level for light to average-weight sleepers. If you’re on the fence about firmness, take comfort in knowing that Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty for this mattress.
Price at time of publish: $349 for a Twin
Type: Foam | Firmness: Firm | Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Best for Kids
Saatva Youth Mattress
Dual-sided design for kids ages 3 to 12
Waterproof barrier and antimicrobial treatment
365-night sleep trial
Only available in Twin, Twin XL, and Full
It can be hard to keep up with the needs of growing kids, so stretch your spend on a bunk bed mattress by choosing a version that will transition as your child grows older: the Saatva Youth Mattress. This is a dual-sided mattress that’s suitable for use by children ranging from ages 3 to 12. It costs as much as many adult mattresses, making it a pricey pick, but it’s constructed with high-quality materials and pays special attention to supporting a growing child’s spine. This mattress is also hypoallergenic and protected against mold and bacteria growth with an antimicrobial treatment. It’s made with CertiPUR-US certified foam and organic cotton.
This is the ultimate bunk bed mattress for kids, thanks to its flippable design that accommodates two different life stages. One side of the mattress is designed for younger kids, ages 3 to 7. It has a five-zone support foam layer to help maintain spinal alignment. For older kids, ages 8 to 12, turn the mattress over. This side features a comfort foam layer with a softer feel. However, it doesn’t neglect support; in the lumbar zone, the coil layer is enhanced to support the alignment of the spine where it’s needed most. Both sides of the mattress are finished with an organic cotton cover that includes a waterproof barrier to protect against spills or accidents.
Just note that this bunk bed mattress for kids is 10 inches high and only available in Twin, Twin XL, and Full sizes. Fortunately, that covers most of the most common bunk bed sizes, but the depth is something to keep in mind if you’re shopping for a mattress for a top bunk bed.
Price at time of publish: $795 for a Twin
Type: Innerspring | Firmness: Not listed | Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full
Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Bunk Mattress
Open spring design for ventilation
Reversible mattress with waterproofing
Only available in Twin or Full sizes
Expensive compared to other options
The Naturepedic 2-in-1 Organic Bunk Mattress is the best option for shoppers looking for an organic and eco-friendly choice. Why opt for organic? Mattresses made of organic materials prioritize sustainability or meet independent health and safety standards. With this in mind, Bridget suggests shoppers look for mattresses that are certified to be made of nontoxic materials. She specifically mentions the following certifications: Greenguard Gold Certified, CertiPUR-US certified, and GOTS certified. This Naturepedic mattress carries all three of these independent certifications, meaning it’s a low-emissions product that doesn’t off-gas chemicals or VOCs that are considered harmful. It’s also free of conventional flame retardants.
This organic bunk bed mattress relies on a 7-inch innerspring coil unit for support. The open coil design facilitates airflow and prevents the mattress from holding heat. An organic cotton cover provides a soft sleeping surface on either side of the mattress. For parents of young children, it’s worth noting that one side of the mattress features a waterproof coating to protect the mattress against accidents.
This eco-friendly bunk bed mattress has a firm feel. It’s designed to provide children with an option that transitions from a crib or toddler bed into a bunk bed or loft bed. That being said, there’s no reason an adult searching for a high-quality mattress wouldn’t be satisfied with this option, either. Just take note it’s only available in Twin or Full sizes and it carries a significant price premium over many other bunk bed mattresses.
Price at time of publish: $799 for a Twin
Type: Spring | Firmness: Extra firm | Sizes: Twin, Full
Lucid 5-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Removable, washable cover
Comfort foam infused with gel for temperature-regulation
5-inch mattress thickness
Only available as a firm mattress
Need a thin mattress but don’t want to sacrifice comfort? The Lucid 5-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress measures only 5 inches thick but provides a firm and supportive sleeping surface. You can expect comfort and breathability from this low-profile bunk bed mattress, thanks to the ventilated top layer of comfort foam, infused with gel for heat capture.
Lucid’s memory foam mattress is available in a variety of sizes to fit your bunk bed configuration, including Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, and Short Queen. Regardless of which size mattress you need, the low-profile height shouldn’t pose a problem when paired with most bunk bed railings. Other features to appreciate about this mattress include a removable, washable cover that assists in keeping the sleeping surface of the mattress clean and fresh. In addition, the base foam of this mattress is infused with charcoal to combat odors. Just keep in mind that there aren’t multiple firmness choices available; if a firm sleeping surface won’t work for you, you may need a more customizable alternative.
Price at time of publish: $120 for a Twin
Type: Gel memory foam | Firmness: Firm | Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, Short Queen
Zinus 6-inch Essential Innerspring Mattress
5-inch coil system with light foam layer
Not as comfortable for adults
Only available in Twin or Full sizes
For an innerspring bunk bed mattress, we recommend the 6-inch Essential Innerspring Mattress from Zinus. This product features a number of perks, including a simple design, affordable price tag, and a 10-year warranty. It’s only available in Twin or Full mattress sizes, but these are the most frequent bunk bed sizes.
The Zinus Essential Innerspring Mattress has a 5-inch coil system topped by 1-inch of foam for a medium-firm feel. As a tight top mattress, there’s no pillow top or plush layer to this mattress but it is finished with a soft, breathable knitted cover. It’s primarily recommended for children or young teens. There is a 250-pound weight limit for this mattress, and most people agree that it’s a bit too firm for adults to sleep comfortably on for an extended period of time.
Price at time of publish: $135 for a Twin
Type: Innerspring | Firmness: Medium | Sizes: Twin, Full
The comfort and value of the Zinus 6-Inch Foam and Spring Mattress makes it our top pick because it combines the support of an innerspring mattress with the comfort of a foam top layer. Its low-profile height also makes it suitable for most bunk bed frames, and you can order it in a variety of mattress sizes, including Narrow Twin and Twin XL. But if you're specifically looking for a bunk bed mattress for adults, then consider the Tuft & Needle Nod. This is an all-foam mattress made of the brand’s adaptive foam, which allows you to more easily switch sleeping positions. It’s also 8 inches thick for extra comfort compared to thinner, firmer bunk bed mattresses.
What to Look For in a Bunk Bed Mattress
Mattresses come in various firmness levels, usually identified by terms like soft, medium, medium-firm, or firm. While firmness can be very subjective, it’s sometimes assigned a number value from 1 to 10 (with 1 being very plush and soft and 10 being very firm) to help generalize the feel of the mattress. Bunk bed mattresses utilize the same firmness levels as other mattress types but you’ll find that most options are medium-firm or firm.
When choosing the firmness level for a bunk bed mattress, Bridget recommends the following: “Opt for mattresses that provide an ideal balance of comfort and proper spinal alignment while sleeping.” She adds that medium-firm to firm mattresses generally work well for most children, which explains why you’ll see this firmness level most often when shopping for bunk bed mattresses.
Finding a mattress that offers the right combination of comfort and support can be very specific to your body type and sleeping style. To help eliminate some of the uncertainty that comes from buying a new mattress, some mattresses come with a trial period. The sleep trial terms vary, but you’ll often see 30-, 60-, or 100-night trial periods. Some mattresses, like the Saatva Youth Mattress, come with an impressively long 360-night trial period. For any mattress you pick that comes with a sleep trial, be sure to read the details regarding the duration and return policy of the sleep trial.
A mattress warranty typically protects defects in workmanship or abnormal wear. The specific terms of the warranty and what is included or excluded can vary, so you should read the warranty policy in advance of your purchase decision if the coverage is important to you.
Mattress warranty periods can be as short as one year or up to 25 years. While it’s not always connected to price, you’ll find that budget bunk bed mattresses typically have shorter warranty periods compared to high-end mattresses. Expect most bunk bed mattresses to offer a one to 10 year warranty period.
The material of a mattress impacts its support, comfort, and durability. Like other types of mattresses, you’ll find bunk bed mattresses made from a range of materials including innerspring,foam, and hybrid versions.
- Innerspring: Innerspring bunk bed mattresses rely on a coil system for support. They typically have a firm feel and are best for younger sleepers with a lighter body weight. The coils of an innerspring mattress can be interconnected or arranged in separate pockets. Affordable and low-profile bunk bed mattresses tend to have an interconnected coil system rather than pocket coils. While pocket coils offer better motion isolation, bunk beds are usually used for solo sleepers, so it may be less important of a feature to consider. Either way, innerspring mattresses offer good airflow for the mattress and are typically an affordable option. You can buy an innerspring bunk bed mattress for about $100 to $150.
- Foam: All-foam bunk bed mattresses have multiple layers of foam—usually a dense base foam on the bottom and one or more layers of softer comfort foam on top. Memory foam is one type of foam bunk bed mattress that’s commonly seen but you’ll also find other types of foam bunk bed mattresses. One example is the Tuft & Needle Nod, which uses a proprietary foam blend that’s designed to be more responsive than memory foam, making it easier to change sleeping positions. This is one reason why this mattress is our top recommendation as a bunk bed mattress for adults. The price for a foam bunk bed mattress can vary significantly, with options available for about $100 to over $500.
- Hybrid: Hybrid mattresses rely on both coils and foam. This type of mattress can be used for someone that wants the airflow of an innerspring mattress without missing out on the soft, conforming feel of a foam-topped mattress for a bunk bed. Keep in mind that a hybrid mattress may come at a slight price premium. You can expect to pay between $100 and $300 for most hybrid bunk bed mattresses.
How thick should the mattress be for a bunk bed?
The mattress for a bunk bed should be thick enough to provide appropriate support and suitable comfort for sleeping but low-profile enough that it doesn’t tower over the safety rails of the bunk bed frame. With that in mind, a bunk bed mattress is usually 5 to 8 inches thick. For a bottom bunk mattress, you may be able to use a deeper, 10-inch thick mattress. You should consult the manufacturer of your bunk bed frame or measure the depth from the base of the bunk bed to the top of the safety rail to find your maximum mattress depth.
What type of mattress is best for bunk beds?
The right type of mattress for a bunk bed will depend on what size bunk bed frame you have. A twin-size mattress is usually the most common size, but you’ll also find bunk beds that work with Twin XL or Full mattresses. Some even accommodate a Full or Queen mattress on the bottom bunk.
In terms of material, bunk bed mattress types include innerspring, foam, and hybrid options. Picking the right type of mattress depends on your sleep style, comfort preferences, and budget.
Can I use a memory foam mattress on a bunk bed?
While you should check any requirements the manufacturer makes regarding the type of bed base compatible with the mattress, most memory foam mattresses can be used on a bunk bed. Bridget says, “Memory foam mattresses are generally a top pick for bunk beds, as they don't require a box spring and often include quilted foam layers for comfort to compensate for the reduced thickness."
Why Trust The Spruce?
Erica Puisis is a lifestyle writer and product tester that has been researching the best mattresses, toppers, and pads for every sleeping style and budget since 2017. To find the best bunk bed mattresses, she researched low-profile options that are likely to fit on most bunk bed frames. Mattresses were compared based on their thickness, firmness, materials, and any applicable sleep trial or warranty policies.
To learn more about choosing a bunk bed mattress, Erica interviewed Bridget Chapman, a sleep expert and Certified Sleep Science Coach that contributes to Sleepopolis. Bridget provided details on what to consider regarding firmness and materials when shopping for a bunk bed mattress.