The Down Low On Futon Mattresses

Your futon mattress is the most crucial part of your total Futon Experience. You can have a cheap, sucky, black metal futon frame but throw on a really nice high quality encased coil & foam futon and wow it's magically an awesome futon. Conversely, you can have a super premium $800 solid oak futon frame hand made by an Amish family with a thin, crappy, cheap, inexpensive, piece of worthless junk futon "pad" on it and your super premium frame becomes super premium fire wood. That's not to say that the futon frame doesn't matter at all. The King Of Futons certainly knows something about quality and that it pays to invest in a premium product that you'll be able to use --like really use it comfortably and consistently-- for years and years. You need to get a good futon frame to go with your awesome mattress. We need to stop the throw-it-away consumer mentality that has tarnished the bedding and futon industries.
Knowing what matters and what makes a high quality futon is important to learn especially in the world of online commerce where you're not exactly able to just try out your futon through your tablet. Maybe one day with these fancy 3D printers we'll get closer, but that's a long ways off.
The King Of Futons has over 12 years of direct, hands-on, professional experience in the World of Futons running a brick and mortar retail location in Milwaukee, WI. We know what the really good stuff is and what the crap is. We don't sell any of that junk. Just quality. The type of high quality that we would sell to our Moms. And yes, we Love our Moms.
We'd like to discuss a few things about futons that will make you a better informed consumer (what we refer to as a better partner) and will alleviate a whole bunch of confusion, accusations, and potential arguments and just make everything better for everyone involved. Cool? All right.
First of all, there are some people who go online and post bitter, harsh reviews of futons they've purchased and say things like "it said it was 75 inches but when I measure it it was only 74" or "they claimed it was 10 inches thick but its hardly 8.5 inches." It would make it seem that folks are being duped.
Well, we're here to help set that straight a little. The King Of Futons assures you that each and every futon mattress manufacturer we deal with now or have ever dealt with in our other endeavors have always made their mattresses based on the industry standard bedding sizes. Always. We have never encountered a manufacturer making things less than what they claim. Seriously, never.
At the retail store we used to run, we'd get this from time to time, someone calls and says "I measured my mattress and it's 73 x 51 and you said [ARGH! ANGRY PERSON]!!!" and so we'd go to their house and bring our tape measure and ask them to show us and they'd oftentimes be measuring the mattress in the sofa position and they'd measure the top side, and then they'd measure the front to back depth of the seat and then the top to middle of the back and they'd add it up and get something odd. Then we'd lay the mattress flat, and then pulling the corners taut, we'd measure from corner to corner and always, always get the correct measurements.
That's not to say we're trying to be pompous or jerky. We just wanted to show the customer the correct way to measure a futon and that they indeed got what they ordered.
Which leads us to another thing we'd like you all to know: the King Of Futons does not sell our futons based on guaranteed exact measurements. All dimensions listed are meant as approximate dimensions. We sell our futons based on the size and the makeup of the materials used. There is going to be some wiggle room. Materials shift around sometimes. There's some decompression and bulging that goes on after the voyage to your home. Futons are soft and foldable and squeezable. They are not rigid. There will be a little variance. Most futon mattresses will be +0/-1.5" different than the approximated listed dimensions. But if comes down to it, if you lay it flat, push it down, pull those corners taut and measure from point to point, you're going to get close to the correct measurements.
Another error we would occasionally encounter is the customer who was totally sure they had a queen size futon and ordered a new queen size mattress and when it was delivered it was way too big for their frame. Then we'd drive out and measure their frame and sure enough it was 100% undeniably a full size futon. We list the sizes and dimensions of our mattresses to help you determine the correct size mattress you need.The best and only method we recommend for measuring your frame to get the correct size is to measure from the inside of one arm to the inside of the other arm. If that measurement is anywhere close to 75" it's Full size. If it's over 75" and up near 80" it's a Queen size. There is no such thing as a King size sofa futon frames. Never seen 'em, ever. King size platform beds with King size futon mattresses, sure. But we've never seen a King size sofa style frame. Same thing with Twin size. Twins are 39" wide. Now imagine folding that in half. That would be one mini-micro totally weird looking futon. We have never seen nor heard of a Twin size sofa style (aka bifold) futon frame ever. Follow the wisdom our our carpenter friend who says "Measure twice, cut once." It's hard to reverse a cut, and it's just as hard to return your futon if you failed to measure properly. If you're unsure, just ask us, we love to help.
One other little thing to clear up is that despite our best efforts, the product you buy and receive may not look exactly just like the pictures and descriptions you find online. The foam might not actually be green. The cotton might not actually be greyish with speckles. The order of the foams, or the shape of the foams might not be exactly like the picture. The outer casing might be a different color than what's shown. These images and descriptions are all for visual purposes only. You shouldn't go ripping open your mattress just so you can then go online and moan that "the foam isn't blue and doesn't have all the little divots like the picture" or "I reached in and all I felt was cotton." Yes, there's often cotton or fiber fill all around the perimeters of the futon. But rest assured the mattress was made properly with the correct materials as guaranteed by the manufacturer. Yes, it's possible that there are manufacturing errors that result in damaged materials, etc., but the instance of that is so rare we can count on one hand the number of times in 12 years that we have encountered genuine mistakes in manufacturing. If you encounter an actual manufacturing mistake, the King Of Futons and our manufacturing partners will take care of you and get it fixed.
Let's just get over the suspicions and mistrust and misinformation about sizes and measurements and colors of foams and be assured that the King Of Futons is 100% confident in the integrity and validity of all the manufacturers we have chosen to partner with. We would not be selling and promoting their products if we at all doubted their valor.
Now, here's a little Futon Industry Secret that you should know: There is no such thing as a universal, industry-standard concept or version of what a futon mattress is supposed to be. Just because someone calls it a "foam core" futon or an "innerspring" futon does not mean that all futons labelled as such are the same. There are high quality foams and cheap, thin, what's-the-point-of-this-foam foams. There are really good, U.S. steel, heavy gauged innerspring units, and there are flimsy, imported (also called "dumped"), squeaky, what's-the-point-of-this-spring springs, too. There is no industry wide standard or agreement on the vocabulary used to describe the ingredients of futon mattresses.
Thus, it opens the door for shady quick-sales stores to use the words in an intentionally misleading way to make the customer think that they're selling something of quality. Often times they'll say things like, "We have the foam core futon," or, "you should buy the innerspring futon," or, and this is one of our all-time favorites, "We sell The 10 Inch Futon" as if there's something in the World of Futons sold as "The 10 Inch Futon." It's all meaningless outside of a basic description and doesn't tell you anything about the quality. But that's the point. It's an illusion. It's giving you an answer in the hopes that you won't feel like you need to find out more. What's surprising is how often that tactic works.
Here's another Futon Industry Secret: the thickness, also called the loft, is approximate, not guaranteed, and has next to nothing to do with the actual quality of the futon mattress. Again, you'll see this used all the time by stores and sales people who have no idea what they're talking about. "This mattress is 10 inches" they'll say and fake-smile and point and take out their sales pad. Sure, it might be 10 inches, but 10 inches of what? It could still be 10 inches of crap. I'd much rather have a high quality futon mattress that's 7 inches in loft than a cheap throw-away one that's 10 inches thick. The thickness has little to do with the quality, but it makes it seem like it does. It uses our inherent bias of perception that "bigger must be better." Why would you buy an 8 inch futon when you could buy a 10 inch?
Again, it's a misleading tactic that you'll see highlighted on the Other Guys' web stores and signs. They'll make a big deal about the thickness because it appears to have value. It's just a numbers game.
Here's another thing about futon thickness: it is almost impossible to have 100% consistently reproduced thickness in futon mattresses. Each and every futon will have some variance in thickness because futons are malleable and squishable and aren't made of plastic or metal. They are made differently than traditional bed mattresses so that's not a fair or equal comparison. And exactly which thickness do they mean, anyways? The thickness of the corner panel? The thickness of the biggest bulgy part? The thickness when it's a sofa? When it's flat as a bed? The thickness after you sit on it? Or right out of the box?
There are so many variables that effect what "thickness" even means in futons, and overall, it is not the best indicator of quality or comfort.
One exceptional exception to this are the futon mattresses made by our preferred manufacturer, Otis. Their unique method of construction and use of high-tech quality materials designed for resilience and comfort really makes them the premium choice of futons and they are a company who's thickness/loft measurements and claims actually mean something.
One thing to keep in mind about futon thickness is knowing what size of futon cover you should order. Futon covers are made with a standard 6-inch corner depth and in most cases, for a good majority of futon mattresses, this standard cover will fit just right. From our experience, you can fit a futon mattress up to about 8.5 inches thick into a standard corner futon cover. The more substantial the futon (like the Serta Red Bud), the more filled out your futon will look. But, and this is very important, if you buy a Premium Otis made futon mattress, we highly encourage you to follow the recommendations to special order a futon cover made with a larger corner depth. It will make things easier on everyone.
Ready for another Futon Industry Secret? Comfort and Firmness are totally subjective and nearly impossible to standardize, and we know it. That's right. You'll even see right here at the King Of Futons that we have a Firmness Level picture on all the futon mattresses we sell. We realize that one person's "firm" is another person's "too mushy." "That's not ultra firm!" or "I thought you said soft. This is hard." We get it, and we admit that it's a difficult part of selling mattresses (whether online or in a retail store). And try to gauge "comfort"? Oh boy, no way. We're not going to try that.
But, there is some value to having some sort of scale, particularly in the firmness department. At the King Of Futons we base our firmness levels from the feedback of 1,000's and 1,000's of real live customers and have figured out averages and medians that we feel are best in line with the words we use to describe the firmness (soft, medium soft, medium firm, firm, ultra firm). Again, we understand there is a bit of a disconnect between you and the product when you're buying online. That's why we stress that we have over 12 years of real-life hands-on experience in selling and making futons and that we really do know what the heck we're talking about. We always, always welcome and encourage you to contact us prior to placing your order so that we can work it out.
In selecting your futon, you should ask yourself 2 questions: 1. What am I going to be using my futon for (most of the time)? and 2. How do I want it to feel? Once you've determined those you can better determine which futon is going to work best for you.
If you are furnishing a second bedroom or guestroom or basement, for example, and will use the futon mostly for sitting whenever you're in the room, and for an occasional guest to sleep on, you probably don't need the super duper mega memory foam encased coil ultra awesome mattress. Something more basic or better than basic will do. If you are going to be sitting and sleeping on your futon as your primary bed, you definitely need to consider buying a mattress that has more substance to it, like an encased spring coil unit with foam, or something with multiple layers of premium foams and blended mega-resilient fibers. One thing we know for sure from our years of professional experience is that when you're using your futon to sleep on every day & night, you need to buy something more luxurious. They will last longer, keep their shape better, and provide a more consistent feeling sleeping surface.
That said, there are plenty of people who know what they like, are familiar with futons, and are just fine sleeping on something thin and firm. And there are certainly plenty of people who know that they just want to make sure they get the best possible futon period, it doesn't matter if 10 people or nobody ever sleeps on it. They just want the best.
To help pick the futon that will give you the feeling closest to what you want, think about futons as having various "families" or groups and within those groups you'll have variances on a similar feeling. Essentially there are 2 families of futons, 1 we'll call "Foam" --which means there is some combination of low and/or high density polyurethane foams, or latex, etc. combined with cotton and/or other fibers-- and one we'll call "Springs" --which means they have some sort of steel spring unit (coiled or encased or pocketed, etc.), combined with foams and/or cotton or other fiber materials. Foam futons in general feel more dense and substantial than Spring futons. Foam futons tend to be more firm, or, rather, have a different type of firmness than Springs. Foam futons feel in general like "traditional futons" or will have "that futon feeling" to them. Springs will have (duh!) more bounce to them and will generally have more noticeable difference between sitting and laying down on them. Springs tend to be closer to what traditional bed mattresses feel like.
There is no way of saying Foams are better than Springs or vice-versa. Some people love a firm foam futon, some people want a more "pedic" feeling encased spring coil mattress.
Jees, that can be tough to figure out! From our experience, most customers wound up purchasing a Spring style futon because of some of the following reasons: they liked the overall feeling, felt it sat better (more like a quality sofa), had older guests and family who said they were more comfortable to sleep on, wanted something that would keep it's visual aesthetic longer, had a doctor recommend it (it is very very important to point out that we are not doctors and do not at all pretend to give out medical advice whatsoever and feel that if you ever encounter a futon store that is making health or medical claims about their mattresses you should have all your B.S. flags up and flying; you need to consult a medical doctor not some person at a retail store), etc.
Customers who buy a Foam futon do so based on some of the following reasons: cost (foam futons tend to have a wider range of cost vs. quality choices), they like something more firm and supportive, they've always slept on a futon and like that "futon feeling," they like how it sits, they like a more dense feeling in their cushions, they like that memory foam feeling, they believe that spring mattresses make more noise, they want something nice but don't need to buy the most expensive futon because it's just going into a guest bedroom or dorm, they had a doctor recommend it (see our above advice about how we in no way whatsoever will ever pretend to give you medical or health advice), etc.
Now here's our disclaimer about what we just said: this is all subjective and relative to the individual person. We offer our recommendations and advice based on 1,000's and 1,000's of individuals' feedback and ask that you keep in mind that everything we sell is high quality and that there is no industry standard for these terms and products. There is not just one mattress that is better than another. That all depends on you the beloved customer.
When choosing a futon mattress, what it really all comes down to is the quality of the materials used in the construction of the futon. At the King Of Futons we only sell products that meet our high standards of quality. We make sure that the foams being used are good, high-resiliency foams, that the cotton is top grade domestically sourced and blended for thickness, comfort and longevity. We make sure that the spring units are premium heavy gauge steel that are built to last for years and years. We have tested the mattresses we sell and know that they are made to last and to be used on a daily basis. You won't find a bad one in the bunch. It all depends on what you are going to use it for, and how you'd like it to feel. The quality you can depend on without question. It is our mission to stop the throw-away furniture market that has plagued our retail world.

The King Of Futons
The King Of Futons