Memory foam futon – Top 4 picks out of 12 reviewed – 2017 update

by | futon, sofa-picks, sofas

This guide on the top-rated memory foam futons was put together over the past 11 months.

We started the process by consulting our expert panel of 8 furniture repair experts.

After they made their initial 12 choice, we analyzed the user satisfaction %s from over 2000 user reviews and came up with the ratings in 5 quality categories.

Let’s go straight to the results.

pearington memory foam futon
  • Overall ratings of the top pick 92%

Memory foam futons – Top 4

 
Model
 
Info
 
Overall rating
& links
 
pearington black pu faux-leather memory foam futon in half recline

Pearington
Pillow-top
 

‣ Firmness - Medium
‣ Materials - leather,
suede, memory foam
 
9.2

See all ratings >
 
allegra foam top futon side view

DHP Allegra
Pillow-top
 

‣ Firmness - medium
‣ Materials - suede, foam
 
9.0

See all ratings >
 
mainstays brown sofa

Mainstays
 

‣ Firmness - medium
‣ Materials - tweed,
leather,
memory foam
 
8.8

See all ratings >
 
premium memory foam futon

DHP Premium
 

‣ Firmness - firm
‣ Materials - black
pu leather, foam
 
8.8

See all ratings >

Pearington Pillow-top Bella
memory foam futon

This Pearington is not only the top-rated in this category but it’s voted as the best futon overall.

What sets it apart from the competition is the thickness and the density of the memory foam used for the tufted cushions.

It won’t work for all spaces because the design is modern and contemporary with glossy accents of steel.

If the design of your home is more on the classic side you’ll probably want to take a look at the runner-up that the date be Allegra.

pearington pillow top memory foam futon profile view
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More info - click to expand
  • Material of the upholstery – dark gray suede fabric or PU leather (brown or black)
  • Dimensions as sofa 70.29 x 37.3 x 37.7
  • Weight of the item 100.5 lbs
  • Comfort as sofa 94%
  • Comfort as bed 92%
  • Build quality 92%
  • User satisfaction 90%
  • Value for money 92%

Who will choose the Pearington?

The Pearington will be the choice of people not looking to compromise on comfort.

If you’re looking for a futon that you won’t fidget in after a few hours, the lofty, high-density foam cushions will do the trick.

DHP Allegra

The Allegra is the 2nd pick among 12 futons we looked at, mainly because of the balance between the price and quality of the foam and build.

In the overall rating it received a 9/10.

It’s also shares the top spot with the Pearington as the most comfortable model – you can see the ratings below.

allegra foam top futon inclined
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More info - click to expand

Info sheet

  • Material of the finish that the Allegra is upholstered in black microfiber
  • Features a pillow-top cushions for extra comfort
  • The seats have extra padding of foam
  • Material of the frame – solid wood
  • Weight of the item is 70.5 pounds
  • Dimensions when folded – 71 x 34.5 x 31 in.
  • Comfort as sofa 91%
  • Comfort as bed 92%
  • Build quality 88%
  • User satisfaction 89%
  • Value for money 90%

Who will choose the Allegra?

Allerga will be the choise of people who are going for a more classic look,
but don’t want to sacrifice comfort and settle for a poly-fiber or cotton-only filling.

3rd top-rated – the Mainstays

When we started compiling data for this guide we expected this Mainstays model would to be battling it out for the top position with the Pearington and the Allegra.

The fact that the ratings are somewhat lower than the top 2 is mainly because of the plastic legs.

The plastic used is not just any plastic – it’s actually one of the futons with the highest listed weight capacity…but the legs material did affect its ratings in build quality.

black pu leather memory foam filling futon
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More info - click to expand
  • Material – PU leather (black) or suede (camel brown)
  • Dimensions as a sofa – 71.7 x 33.5 x 32.5
  • Maximum weight capacity – 600 pounds
  • Comfort as sofa 91%
  • Comfort as bed 89%
  • Build quality 85%
  • User satisfaction 87%
  • Value for money 88%

Bottom line

Rated 88 out of 100 it’s our 3rd pick, but it’s important to stress that it is the top value for money on the list.

DHP Premium memory foam futon

The minimalstic design of the DHP Premium will be appealing to home owners who prefer a slick, modern look.

It looks much more expensive than it actually is.

It’s rated at 88/100 in both comfort categories (as couch and as bed) and in 92/100 in the category of value for money.

premium futon sofa couch by dhp
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More info - click to expand

Fact sheet:

  • steel legs and leather upholstery
  • maximum weight capacity is listed at 600 lbs
    design style – modern
  • dimension in couch mode – 69 x 30.5 x 32 “
  • weight of the unit is 62 lbs (according to our measurement)
  • Comfort as sofa 88%
  • Comfort as bed 86%
  • Build quality 90%
  • User satisfaction 86%
  • Value for money 90%

Who will choose the DHP Premium?

Premium will the choice of those who prefer the minimal, contemporary look.

It will also be the choise of those who like the fact that it looks like a luxury item but isn’t priced as one.

premium dhp sofa

Reference info on choosing

Advantages of memory foam

Most commonly, futons are made of cotton. The better ones have a layer of sturdy foam to make the sitting surface more rigid.

As a rule of thumb the more cotton in the filing in the firmer the futon.

The reason behind that is that cotton gets flattened and compressed in the long run, which can be an issue because it forms the lumps.

In order to avoid lumping (with models that allow for you to detach the mattress) you can flip it every once in a while to prevent the fibers of the cotton compacting into a lump.

layers of memory foam used for futons

The more foam, the better

The more foam used for a futon the more comfortable it will be. Premium models even include luxury materials such as wool.

Wool tends to retain shape longer and provide better temperature insulation, in turn making the mattress more comfortable.

Memory foam used for futons

The type of memory foam commonly used for futons is Visco-elastic, which is polyurethane with some added chemicals to improve the viscosity, firmness and the density.

Visco form was first developed in the 1960s by NASA and it’s primary use was to increase the safety of the cushions used in the aircrafts.

Additional tips on choosing

Adjusting the size

The model we reviewed here come with the memory foam mattress fixed to the frame but if you want to buy them separately you have much more leeway to choose, mix and match.

The obvious start would be to adjust in the size of the mattress to the size and material of the frame. Most futons of this type are made to precisely fit the frame but there will always be products that don’t conform to the standards, so you would have to do your research in order not to make this basic mistake.

metal frame for futon and memory foam mattress

Types of foam used for futons

The memory foam used is usually not as good as that used in a regular mattress. So let’s take a look into the options you have when you’re looking at the fact sheet or the product.

Traditional foam

This type does its job of creating a supportive surface for the body by forming a “cradle” of sorts. This improves circulation and minimizes any pressure points.

Gel

Gel will be the choice of people who prefer a firmer sleeping service and/or suffer from back pain and sore muscles.

Foam density

You’ll see three types of foam mentioned in terms of density: high, medium and low.

In terms of support, the high-density will outperform medium and low.

Medium density is the sweet spot for motion isolation, which makes it a good choice if your plan is for two people to sleep on the futon.

Low density is easy to break in, meaning that it will adjust to the shape or the sleeper’s body more efficiently than medium or high.

The density doesn’t tell the full story

If you’re comparing the quality of the foam and just basing it on the density you might think again.

A better way to go about this is take the weight into account.

A good rule of thumb here can be that medium density should be 45 pounds per cubic feet. On the other hand, the same volume in high-density foam can you weigh as much as 10 lbs.

What is mmHG and why it’s important?

If you’re looking to draw conclusions about the comfort the unit of measurement that can paint the best picture is mmHG.

This unit measures the response of the phone and the pressure full stop as a Royal stamp people looking for pressure relief will go with 32 mmHG or less.

In the futon industry this value is almost never listed and the only way to get the information is to contact the company directly and ask them about it

What is ILD?

ILD stands for in the Indentation Load Deflection and the values range from 6 at 40.
With mattresses the ILD will be between 11 and 16.

Like with the mmHG it’s rare to see a futon manufacturer listing this and you might think about contacting them beforehand to see if they even have the information.

Find out where it’s made

Outsourcing is not necessarily a bad thing but an average American will be more relaxed knowing that their product is made in Canada or USA

If you want to be precise about it you can always call or e-mail to the company and inquire on whether the actual materials are USA-made or only assembled locally.

How we tested the products

We first started working 9 months ago by contacting some furniture experts.

We thought that it’s smart to work with people that repair furniture (including futons).

Two members of the expert panel agreed to be mentioned by name

Martin Massey from Massey Upholstering in Boston

Martin has been in the industry for over two decades. He started out by working in a furniture factory. He left the job in 2009 and started his furniture repair company in Boston. He specializes in custom furniture.

Charlie Gilbert of the Barker Home Repair

Charlie Gilbert is an employee of the Barker Home Repair company in Tulsa Oklahoma

His narrow specialty is upholstery, which made him especially important for the initial picks.

Below is an outline of the process that resulted in the ratings

Step one:

We asked our expert panel to narrow down the choice so that we can efficiently apply our statistical modeling.

That resulted in a list of 12 initial products.

Step two:

From that point on we were able to apply the statistical model that we used to review all the sleep-related products.

The model is based on two things:

  1. Collecting all the user experiences we can find
  2. Using that pool of data to rate the products in relevant quality categories

In this case the quality categories are: comfort (as sofa and as bad), build quality, user satisfaction and value for money. The average of those 5 rating is what you saw in the table as the overall rating.

Comfort ratings

The comfort ratings are based on a statistical formula that we developed and tweaked over the years (which was generally used for mattresses). That meant that we had to make some further adjustments for it to be relevant for rating futons.

The ratings you see are a combination of the two factors.

Build quality

This rating is mainly based on the percentage of structural quality issues that we extracted from our stats. What it basically does is reflect the percentage of people that saw any significant structural issues, especially during the warranty period.

This category includes factors to reflect both the quality of the finish material and quality of the frame and mechanism.

User satisfaction

This one is pretty self-explanatory and it basically comes down to collecting data from all the sources we could find.

We made further attempts to contact as many owners as we could. This is usually the hardest part because it’s the most time consuming. It involves research on public forums where people mentioned the products.

Some of the futons we looked at are not the most popular ones and it wasn’t easy finding owners willing to talk towards the quality of their purchase. But, we did manage to find 12 owners (combined) to give us a moment of their time and discuss the advantages and shortcomings of the futons.

tweed memory foam futon

Tweed memory foam futon

We received about a dozen inquiries from people looking for a very specific combo – a tweed memory foam futon. The options here are limited and if you are looking for tweed, your choice come down to a few product (if shopping online), most of them from a company called Generic.

The good news might be that the Mainstays futon with tweed covering is available at Walmart in mutiple colors.

FAQs

FAQS – Pearington Pillow Top Bella

pearington sofa

Is it a good choice for tall and people on those on the heavier side?

The answer to that question depends on what you would define as tall person. In our experience the optimal height of person for comfortable sleep on the Pearington would be less than 6ft. This is especially important for back sleepers since you’ll be using the full length.

For side sleepers it will work just fine because it performs well in terms of distributing weight.

Bottom line – for tall people, it might not be the best solution for long-term sleep but rather a temporary bed.

On the other hand, people on the heavier side will find it be comfortable, much more so than the other futons we reviewed…because of the density of the foam and the solid built of the frame.

Dimensions as a sofa vs. dimensions as a bed

Pearington is 70 inches long. Set up as a couch it’s approximately 37 inches wide and in a flat position we measured it to be just a bit over 45 inches wide.

What sheets to use?

Our advice would be to use fitted sheets in full size with medium deep pockets. This will allow you to use a topper for added comfort.

How does the mechanism work?

To recline it into a horizontal position you just pull up the back seats. This disengages the hinge that’s locking the mechanism. As soon as you hear the click you just fold it back down into a flat position.

What’s the exact type of memory foam used?

The filling of the cushions is high density recycled foam.

Thickness of the memory foam

We measured the distance between the top of the legs and the sleeping surface and the result we got is approximately 9 inches.

Unpacking

One of the commonly asked question is about the fit of the package on arrival. According to our measurements there should be no issues fitting the package through any doorway, even the narrow ones (as narrow as 28 “).

Clearance measured from the floor to the top of the legs

The front features a steel support bar and if you measure that clearance it’s approximately 5 inches. The sides are slightly elevated and sit at 9 inches high (measured from the floor).

Measured at the back the clearance is approximately 7 “.

The downside

One question that keeps popping up is weather the armrest folds back fully.

They don’t.

By looking at the side-elevation you might get the impression that is not too comfortable to sleep on, but the thickness of the foam makes that a moot point. It’s thick and dense enough for the surface to be flat when in horizontal position.

Clearance from the wall

The distance between the unit and the wall in about 20 in (measured from the wall to the top of the back seat) will be just fine to freely recline and set it back up.

FAQS about the 2nd top pick – the DHP Allegra

dhp allegra futon black

Can you detach on the mattress from the frame?

No the mattress is fixed and cannot be detached from the frame.

Are twin size sheets big enough?

Based on our measurements we would recommend going a size up and getting full size sheets (fitted, if possible).

Is it hard to set up from couch to bed?

The transition between a couch and a bed is pretty simple and it’s the described in detail in the instructions that come with it.

Compared to a standard bed

When in full recline (flat position) the approximate size is similar to that of a double bed (in terms of width).

The height (clearance) between the ground and frame

The clearance between the floor and the bottom surface of the futon is about 6.5 inches.

People who intend to use the storage space under the sofa might find this inconvenience because standards storage containers require about 7 inches of clearance.

Thickness of memory foam

The mattress the mattresses about 8 inches tick.

Assembly

Assembly is pretty simple and most new owners choose to do it themselves. It comes down to dust screwing in the four legs into the bottom support surface. This shouldn’t take more than two minutes.

FAQs about the 3rd top pick

mainstays sofa

Is it fabric or leather?

It’s available as both as both black PU leather and brown fabric.

Dimensions of the seating cushions

Measured from the top edge to the beginning of the backrest it’s about 44 inches wide.

Size compared to a regular bed

In the horizontal position, dimensions are somewhere between a twin and a full-size.

Folding the arms

Another common question that we received is about the armrest and the angle to which it folds.

The arms can be folded to approximately 70 to 75 degrees.

Is this a split back and what does that mean?

Yes this is a split back futon, which means that you can set one half into a reclined position while the other half can remain upright.

FAQs about the DHP Premium Sofa

premium leather futon sofa flat position

Assembly

Based on the experiences of the owner’s experiences it’s pretty simple to assemble and an average user will do it in less than 15 minutes.

Similar to the models above, it’s just about screwing the steel legs into the frame.

The image of this DHP premium might be misleading when it comes to the thickness of the legs, they seem more fragile than they are in person – the steel is thick and sturdy.

The materials of the site and the bottom

The whole futon is made of the same material (black PU leather), which includes the bottom and the sides.

Shipping

The DHP Premium is one of the few products that’s shipped within 1-2 days from purchase. This usually means that it will be with you within 3 to 5 business days.

Size when setup for sleeping

In the flat position it’s bigger than a twin and slightly smaller than a full bed.

Updates to this guide

Putting together a detailed guide like this involves a lot of work. We generally stick by the rule of updating our guide bi-monthly, quarterly or once a year, depending on how time-consuming the reviews are.

In this case, the guide is updated every 6 months to reflect any quality changes in the market. We deviate from that policy only if we notice a substantial drop or raise in the user satisfaction %s. If this happens, we do on an unscheduled update.

What’s important for you is that we do our best to keep the information presented relevant and up-to-date at all times.

If you have a specific situation that needs addressing, feel free to drop us a line using our contact page or simply by commenting in the field below.