Updated February 2022
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Buying guide for best sleeper sofas

For some people, hosting guests is the highlight of having a home. If you’re limited on spare rooms and beds, you might be exploring other options to accommodate visitors. A sleeper sofa should be at the top of your list.

Unlike other options, which can require moving furniture or inflating a mattress, a sleeper sofa is a multipurpose investment. When it’s not serving as a spare bed for guests, you can enjoy it as seating. But some sleeper sofas are better for sleeping than others, and some are actually called futons while others are traditional sofa beds. You have lots of choices to make, and those choices will impact how comfortable you and your guests are as well as the price you pay.

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A futon is ideal for a basement or playroom where kids have sleepovers with friends. It’s an affordable and space-savvy alternative to buying an extra bed, and it doubles as comfortable seating during the day.

Traditional sleeper sofa vs. futon

Traditional sleeper sofa

A traditional sleeper sofa, also called a pull-out sofa or a sofa bed, consists of a hidden mattress within a couch frame. Simply remove the seat cushions and pull out the bed frame, and the mattress unfolds piece by piece. 

Pros: A sleeper sofa doubles as a couch. Many come with exceptional cushioning about the back and arms to create a soft makeshift headboard. 

Cons: Most sleeper sofas have thin mattresses, so support and comfort are modest compared to a traditional bed. Given their design and plethora of mechanical parts, sleeper sofas are prone to moderate squeakiness.


Futons, sometimes called convertible couches, transition from sofa to bed by simply pulling the seat out to drop the back. 

Pros: Futons usually cost less than sleeper sofas. They often have thicker, firmer mattresses than regular sleeper sofas. It takes just a few seconds to convert a futon to a bed, and in most designs, you don’t need to cover the bed with sheets. 

Cons: Futons don’t have the curb appeal of sleeper sofas, as the design tends to be more rudimentary. A futon might not suit guests who prefer a more traditional sleeping experience with bedding.

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Some companies provide shipping dimensions for their sleeper sofas, including how wide your doorway and stairway must be to fit them. If you live in an older home, it’s definitely helpful information.

Key considerations


Sleeper sofas, including futons, are available in a broad range of sizes. They’re usually loveseats or three-seaters that open into a full or queen sleeping area. There are some sleepers with king-size mattresses, but they’re a bit harder to find.

The dimensions of most sleeper sofas are similar to those of regular sofas. However, you still need to consider whether you have enough space to accommodate it as a bed. Because twin and queen mattresses extend approximately 80 inches, you'll need about 8 feet of floor space.

Mattress type

Most sleeper sofa mattresses are made of memory foam about 6 inches thick. Premium sleeper sofas have better mattresses that may include memory gel layers, waterproof coverings, and varying degrees of firmness.

Most futon mattresses are made of densely packed polyfill or foam stuffing. They’re usually 8+ inches thick, which is more than the average sleeper sofa mattress. People often find futon mattresses to be firmer and more comfortable than sofa bed mattresses.


A sleeper sofa could theoretically be made of any sofa material, but it’s common to see them with softer coverings like chenille or microfiber. Other options include vinyl, leather, and upholstery. Futon mattresses are most commonly covered with microfiber or upholstery. The frame may be made of wood or metal.

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Expert Tip
If you rent out your home to vacationers, you might want to buy sleeper sofas or futons for various spots in your house to maximize sleep occupancy.


Mattress protector: Guardmax Sleeper Sofa Mattress Cover
Shield your sleeper sofa mattress with a protective cover. We like this one from Guardmax, which is water-resistant, hypoallergenic, and bedbug-proof. It’s even machine washable for easy care.

Throw pillows: Monkeysell Lotus Leaf Butterfly Pillows
Throw pillows add a touch of warmth to your sleeper sofa. We like this set of four by Monkeysell, which features a 100% soft cotton shell. The pillows have invisible zippers, so you don’t need to worry about them snagging clothing.

Comfy comforter: Degrees of Comfort Weighted Blanket Set
Give your guests a hotel experience on your sleeper sofa with a weighted blanket. We like this set from Degrees of Comfort, which includes two duvet covers to accommodate both warm and cool sleepers. They’re available in four neutral colors. 

Sleeper sofa prices

When it comes to sleeper sofas, the price range is wide: you could spend anywhere between $150 and $2,000. Cost depends largely on how well the sofa is made and the quality of the bed mechanism.

Inexpensive: Budget shoppers can pick up a futon for between $150 and $250. The futons toward the top of this range are far more comfortable and tend to have more padding than those closer to $150.

Mid-range: Entry-level sleeper sofas cost between $250 and $800. This includes sofa beds containing twin and queen mattresses. Most of these couches are covered in microfiber, chenille, or upholstery, though vinyl styles exist as well.

Expensive: Sleeper sofas with high-end components, including top-quality mattresses, cost between $1,000 and $2,000. These designs are by far the most comfortable. 

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Expert Tip
If your sleeper sofa is made with microfiber, chenille, or upholstery, spray it with a water-resistant treatment. This will keep spills and stains at bay and cut down on your cleaning time.


  • Take measurements at home. Before embarking on your search for a sleeper sofa, take measurements around your home. You’ll need enough space to accommodate the folded couch as well as the fully extended mattress.

  • Clean it regularly. Even if your sleeper sofa doesn’t get much use, steam clean the upholstery and always keep clean bedding on the mattress.

  • Use caution when opening the mattress. Keep your fingers clear of any moving parts to avoid crush injuries. Pets and kids should stand back so they don’t get hurt.

  • Save your purchase information. Keep your receipt and warranty documentation somewhere safe in the event you need the sofa serviced or repaired.

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The average weight capacity of a sleeper sofa is 350 to 400 pounds. The manufacturer should explicitly list the weight capacity on the product.


Q. Do sleeper sofas come with their own bedding?
A. Sleeper sofas usually come with the mattress and its cover, but you’ll need to invest in separate bedding. Because the mattress pad is thinner than traditional mattresses, you’ll either need to secure the sheets with suspenders or purchase size-specific sheets. Any comforter or throw will do as an outer layer.

Q. Are sleeper sofas comfortable for sitting on a daily basis?
A. When it comes to comfort, you get what you pay for. Well-made sleeper sofas offer superior cushioning and support for sitting. Inexpensive, poorly made sleeper sofas can feel lumpy. 

Q. I’m getting a new sleeper sofa. How do I get rid of my old couch?
A. Depending on your town or city, you may be able to leave it for curbside pickup. In some cases, there may be a cost to have it hauled away. Another option, especially if the couch is still in good shape, is to donate it. Several local and national charities offer pick-up services, and many will provide you with documentation for a tax deduction.

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