Best Bunk Bed Frames

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
489 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bunk bed frames

Last Updated December 2019

If your children share a bedroom and space is an issue, a bunk bed is the ideal solution. Choosing the right bunk bed frame will provide the perfect place for your children to have their sweet dreams. Of course, bunk beds aren't just for children who share rooms. Some kids just like the idea of bunk beds and sleeping up high. They're also useful for when your child has a friend or two sleeping over, or if family comes to stay with a little one in tow.

You'll need to consider various factors when picking out the best bunk bed frame for your home. First off, it's important to know the difference between a bunk bed and a loft bed and to figure out which is right for your child. The size of the beds is also important, as is the material of your chosen bunk bed frame and its color or finish. This buying guide includes all the information you’ll need to make the smart choice. We've also listed our favorite bunk bed frames for you to consider.

Some bunk bed frames separate, so you can divide them into two individual beds if your children's needs change down the line.

Key considerations

Bunk bed vs. loft bed

What's the difference between a bunk bed and a loft bed? A bunk bed features two (sometimes three) beds stacked one over the other, whereas a loft bed features a single raised bed without another one underneath. Loft beds often have other features built-in below the sleeping area, such as drawers, a wardrobe, a desk, or a sofa, though they sometimes have an empty space underneath so you can put anything you want below. Loft beds work well in small rooms that don't have much floor space, but they're not true bunk beds. Bunk beds, by definition, must feature at least two beds: one on an upper level and one at floor level. They're primarily designed for children who share rooms or have regular overnight guests.

Bed sizes

The majority of bunk bed frames are twin-over-twin models, which means they feature one twin bed over another twin bed. However, you can also buy twin-over-full bunk bed frames (with a twin bed on top and a full-size bed below). Occasionally, you can find full-over-full models (with two full beds stacked one over the other).

Twin-over-full bunk bed frames come in handy when three people are sharing the room or when the elder sibling of two feels like they're ready to upgrade to a full-size bed. Full-over-full bunk bed frames can work for two teenage sharers or even for four younger kids who share the same bedroom.

Material

The majority of bunk bed frames are made from metal or wood. Metal bunk bed frames are usually steel or iron in construction. Steel models are stronger but also heavier. It's often simpler to assemble metal bunk bed frames, and they tend to be fairly inexpensive, but they don't usually have any storage space built in, and they're not the most attractive choice (though, of course, this is subjective). Wooden bunk bed frames are solid and often have a high weight limit, but overall quality and durability can vary depending on the type of wood used. Wooden bunk beds are more likely to have built-in storage and also have a classic appearance, but they can be expensive.

DID YOU KNOW?

Although not common, you can find triple bunk beds with three beds stacked on top of one another.

Features

Color/finish

Bunk bed frames are available in a wide range of colors or wood finishes. Metal bunk bed frames are often powder-coated or have a similar finish to the metal. Although this can be done in any color, black and gray are common. Wooden bunk bed frames may either be painted or stained to give a natural wood finish.

Built-in storage

Some bunk bed frames have built-in storage, usually in the form of drawers, but you may find some alternative storage types. These are useful for keeping spare bedding, clothes, toys, or anything else that fits.

Ladder

A bunk bed frame should have a sturdy integrated ladder to allow access to the top bunk. Occasionally, you'll find models with staggered drawers at one end of the bed to form steps as an alternative to a ladder. Not only do some children feel more confident getting in and out of bed with this configuration, it also provides more storage space.

Guardrails

It's a legal requirement for all bunk bed frames sold in the U.S. to feature guardrails on the top bunk to prevent people from rolling out in the night. However, it's always worth double-checking that the guardrail is adequately secure.

All bunk bed frames sold in the United States must meet the safety guidelines put forward by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Bunk bed frame prices

You don't need to pay a lot of money to get a safe and sturdy bunk bed frame, but those with the best features and a more attractive appearance will cost more. Basic bunk bed frames cost as little as $100 to $200. These are simple twin-over-twin frames, usually made from metal and with no built-in storage. They tend to be fairly plain to look at.

Mid-range bunk bed frames cost roughly $200 to $500. You can find some wooden models in this price range, though they might not have much built-in storage.

High-end bunk bed frames tend to cost between $500 and $1,000. They have the sturdiest solid wood construction and plenty of built-in storage or fun added extras.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

For safety reasons, children under five shouldn't sleep on the top level of a bunk bed, even with safety rails in place.

Tips

  • Check the height of the bunk bed frame in relation to your ceiling height. You don't want your child to hit their head on the ceiling every time they sit up. There should be at least two feet between the top of the bed and the ceiling.
  • Consider whether the bottom bed will be in use at all times. If not, you might prefer a sofa bed or futon-style bottom bunk, which can also be used for lounging during the day.
  • Find out whether you need a box spring or "bunkie board." The majority of modern bunk bed frames are slatted, so there's no need for a box spring or bunkie board, but it's always best to double check.
  • Decide if you'd like any fun features with your bunk bed frame. Some bunk bed frames have covered tops that double as clubhouses, slides, and other entertaining features that kids might enjoy.

Other products we considered

With so many bunk bed frames available, it was challenging to narrow down our shortlist. We'd like to share some other great options that you may wish to consider. If you're searching for an affordable solid wood bunk bed frame, consider the Walker Edison Wesley Wood Bunk Bed. It isn't quite as durable as high-end wooden options, but it looks fantastic and is easy to separate into two twin beds. The Storkcraft Caribou Solid Hardwood Twin Bunk Bed is a similar choice. We love the range of finishes, including gray and navy, which are a little different from the majority of options out there.

With a top "clubhouse" section, the Donco Kids Deer Blind Bunk Bed stands out as something special. It provides a space for imaginative play as well as a sleeping spot. It's not so great for sharers, however, as kids will definitely fight over the top bunk. Need to sleep a number of kids in the same room? Consider the Discovery World Furniture with Trundle Bunk Bed. It features a twin bed up top, a full-size bed below, and a twin trundle bed that pulls out next to that.

Don't position your child's bunk bed frame directly under a light fixture or ceiling fan or up against a window.

FAQ

Q. Will I need to assemble my bunk bed frame?
A.
Yes, every bunk bed frame we've come across requires some degree of assembly. This ranges from fairly straightforward assembly, such as metal bunk bed frames with quick lock assembly, to much more complex processes, such as wooden frames with a large amount of built-in storage. Find out whether you need any tools to assemble your chosen bunk bed or whether tools (such as hex keys) are included. You should enlist the help of another person to assemble your bunk bed frame, as it's extremely tough to do alone.

Q. Where can I find mattresses for a bunk bed frame?
A.
Bunk bed frames should be of a standard size — usually twin, but occasionally full — so it's easy to find mattresses to fit. You may already have twin or full mattresses you can use, if not, there are plenty of places you can buy mattresses online.

Q. Do bunk beds have a maximum weight limit?
A.
All bunk bed frames have a maximum weight limit. It can be anywhere between 150 and 400 pounds per bed. Sometimes, the maximum weight limit is lower for the top bunk than the bottom bunk. This weight limit may include the weight of the mattress, so be sure to factor that in.

The team that worked on this review
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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