Bunk beds are an excellent space-saving option for families. They’re also great for kids who have frequent sleepovers with their besties.
But how do you choose a safe bunk bed that is appropriate for your family and home?
Here is our complete guide to choosing and using bunk beds, along with our recommendations for the best bunk beds available today.
- Converts into two twin beds
- Stairway can be moved
- Includes the assembly tools
- High head clearance
- Space for play or storage
- Bed slats for mattress support
- 50 inches high
- Has 14-inch guardrails
- High weight limits
- A lot of space at bottom bunk
- Converts into two beds
- Has beds, seating, &table
- Converts from table to bed
- Has fun play area or study nook
- Low profile, unfussy design
- Has 125 inch guard rails
- 200-pound weight limit
- Tons of storage
- Movable staircase
- Accommodates 8-inch mattresses
- Long-lasting, high-quality construction
- Includes trundle bed
- Clean & appealing finish
- 200 to 250 pound weight limit
- Accommodate 8-inch mattress
- High-quality construction
- Sturdy & movable staircase
- Trundle bed included
- Upper bed has a rail
Why Use Bunk Beds?
There are many reasons why bunk beds may be a good choice for you:
- Space-saving: Bunk beds use half of the floor space of traditional beds, so you have more room for other furniture or additional space to play.
- Money-saving: There is no need for headboards, box springs, and any other potentially expensive add-on items you may have to buy with a bed.
- Flexible: Some bunk beds can be separated to provide two beds on the floor. Others can convert to desks, sofas, and other furniture.
- Social: A bunk bed with a trundle is perfect for sleepovers, or to accommodate visitors.
- Life lessons: Children who sleep in bunk beds will have to learn to get along, share their space, accommodate others, and be flexible.
- Privacy: Bunk beds provide kids with a private space in a way regular beds do not.
- Fun: Sleeping up high, or in an enclosed space, can be just plain fun.
Are Bunk Beds Dangerous for Kids?
As with many other things, bunk beds are not inherently unsafe. Instead, they can sometimes be used in an unsafe manner. As long as you buy bunk beds from a reputable source, and they are used correctly, bunk beds are not dangerous for kids.
What Age Is Safe for Bunk Beds?
Experts widely agree that children under the age of 6 should not be allowed on a top bunk (1). Children younger than 6 do not have the coordination required to climb up and down from the top bunk safely.
And, as any parent can tell you, children younger than this age still sometimes fall out of bed, which makes the top bunk unsafe for them anyway.
How to Choose the Best Bunk Beds
There are plenty of how-to videos and articles to be found on the internet, detailing how to build your own bunk beds. Unless you are a professional, don’t. Instead, choose bunk beds from a reputable manufacturer.
These are some of the things to consider when choosing the best bunk beds for your kids.
The main choice here is between metal and wood. Which one you choose is more about aesthetics than one being better or safer than the other.
- Do you want bunk beds that have bookshelves or drawers built into them?
- Will there be enough floor space for other furniture?
- Are there under-the-bed drawers included?
- Is there space under the bottom bunk for boxes or other means of storage?
Check the height of the bunk beds and ensure you have enough clearance room above the top bunk so your child will not bang their head if they sit up in bed suddenly.
Establish the depth of the mattress recommended by the bunk bed manufacturer. Only ever use this depth of mattress and do not use a box spring under the mattress.
Ensure the ladder and guardrails are safely and securely attached to the bed.
Check the gaps between the guardrail and where the top of the mattress will be and ensure the guardrail will rise over 5 inches above the top surface of the mattress.
You should also always be mindful of the weight limit on the top bunk. Putting too much weight on it is a safety no-no.
How much floor space do you want the bunk beds to take up? Measure the footprint so you can ensure the beds will fit comfortably into your space.
Consider not just how tall the bunk beds themselves are, but also how much room there will be between the mattress in the top bunk and the ceiling. And make sure your child knows not to try to stand up on the top bunk where they will whack their head.
You may want to consider whether the bunk beds you chose can be separated and used as two beds in the future.
It is also worth looking for bunk beds where the bottom bed can be converted to a seat, a table, or other useful addition to your room.
Some bunk beds come complete with a trundle bed, providing you with an additional sleeping space for sleepovers, visitors, or in a pinch, a third child in the room permanently.
The Best Bunk Beds of 2021
Here are what we consider to be the best bed bunks on the market today.
1. Bedz King Stairway Bunk Beds
If you are concerned about safety, bunk beds with a built-in stairway, rather than a ladder, are an excellent option.
Bedz King Stairway bunk beds have a three-step, 22.5-inch wide staircase with a barrier that completely encloses the steps. That’s not to say the stairway is walled. Instead, the barrier is comprised of a banister and railings, similar to a regular stairway.
The steps have drawers built into them, and there are also two under-bed drawers. The under-bed drawers are not on drawer sliders or attached to the bed in any other way. Instead, the drawers are on four wheels, which makes them easy to slide on either carpet or hardwood flooring.
The space between slats is approximately 2 ¾ inches, and there is no cross bracing. The manufacturer indicates that you should not use a memory foam mattress as, over time, it may settle between the slats.
- Bunk beds can be separated into two full-size twin beds.
- Stairway can be placed at either end of the bed.
- Includes the tools needed for assembly.
- When used as twin beds, one will have a space in the footboard where the stairway would usually go.
|Footprint||102 x 42 inches|
|Features||Stairway, in-stair drawers, under-bed storage.|
2. Dorel Living Clearwater Triple Bunk Beds
The Dorel Living triple bunk bed consists of a set of traditional bunk beds with a loft bed attached in an “L-shaped” formation. The triple bunk bed fits into the corner of a room with the bunks on the left and the loft on the right.
The sturdy wooden construction provides plenty of support for three kids. There is enough space under the loft bed to place a toddler bed or small futon if you need a fourth sleeping space. If you don’t need a fourth bed space, there is sufficient room under the loft for a table and chair, chest of drawers, bookshelves, or other storage.
If you have three kids in one room, the Dorel Living triple bunk beds may be a great space-saving solution.
- More head clearance than sets with three bunks stacked on top of each other.
- Space for play or storage.
- Bed slats for mattress support.
- It can’t be set up with the bunks on the right and the loft on the left.
- It has a weight limit of 165 pounds per bed, so it’s not suitable for taller or heavier children.
|Footprint||120 x 78.75 inches|
|Features||Two bunks plus loft bed|
3. Max & Lily Low Bunk Bed
If you have kids at the younger end of the safe bunk bed age range, the Max & Lily low bunk bed may be what you are looking for.
The bottom bunk is at floor level so any little one rolling out of bed will only fall from the height of their mattress, plus the two inches of floor clearance that the slats provide. Meanwhile, the upper bunk has all the regular safety features you need, including guard rails on all four sides of the bunk.
Another huge plus is that the bunk has a 400-pound weight capacity per bunk. You can feel confident climbing up to tuck in your little one or sitting on the bottom bunk to read a bedtime story.
- Only 50 inches high so it’s great for low ceilings.
- It has 14-inch guardrails.
- It’s available with a removable slide.
- It has one of the highest weight limits for bunk beds.
- The bottom bunk isn’t suitable for older children because of how low to the ground it is.
|Footprint||81.5 x 42.5 inches|
|Material||New Zealand pine|
|Features||Floor level lower bunk|
|Options||Five colors, optional slide, available with staircase instead of ladder|
4. Dorel Living Brady Wood Bunk Beds
The Brady solid wood bunk beds provide room for two adults and a child, or three adults to sleep where space is at a premium. Great for small homes, holiday cottages, or guest rooms, the Brady can also be converted from the bunk configuration to free-standing twin and full-size beds.
There is an easy-to-climb, four-step ladder that can be placed at either end of the bunk beds with a simple adjustment of the upper guardrail. Both bunks have support slats so you only need a mattress and not a box spring.
However, the manufacturer recommends you only use a six-inch mattress on the beds. This may not be thick enough for everyone who wants to use the lower full-size bunk.
- There is room for you to sleep in the bottom bunk with your young child occasionally.
- It can be converted into two beds instead of a bunk.
- A maximum six-inch thickness for the lower bunk may not provide long-term comfort for all.
|Footprint||79 x 69.5 inches|
|Features||Converts to two beds|
5. Meritline Convertible Dorm Loft Bunk Beds
The unique design of the Meritline convertible loft bunk beds provides a bed, bench seats, a table, and the facility to convert the seating area into a second bunk. This makes this bunk bed great for dorm rooms, small apartments, studios, and children’s rooms where space is at a premium.
The bunk bed comes with the padded bench seat cushions which can also be used as a temporary mattress. If you plan for a child to sleep on the bottom bunk long-term, a regular twin size mattress would be more comfortable.
The bunk beds come with two storage drawers on wheels that fit under the bench seats. These drawers will still fit under the bottom bunk when the bed has been converted.
- Provides a bed, seating, table, and second bed all in one spot.
- It is easy to convert from table to bed.
- It has a fun play area or study nook.
- Provides occasional second bed rather than a long-term sleeping solution.
|Footprint||79.5 x 42.3 inches|
|Features||Coverts bed above two seats and table to bunk beds|
6. DHP Miles Twin Metal Bunk Bed
The majority of low-to-the-ground bunk beds are designed for younger children, so the bed space itself can be quite small. However, the DHP Miles bunk beds provide two twin sleeping spaces, which will accommodate two fully grown adults, while taking up as little space as possible.
Not only do these bunk beds use a minimum amount of floor and wall space, but the minimalist design also makes them appear less imposing than other bunk beds. This makes them a good choice for darker or more cramped rooms where bigger furniture would be oppressive.
The slats are 3.5 inches apart, so you don’t need a board or box spring for under the mattress, which is another space and money-saving bonus.
- Low profile, unfussy design.
- It has 12.5 inch guard rails.
- It has a generous 200-pound weight limit per bunk.
- If you use a thicker mattress on the bottom, head room can become an issue.
|Footprint||73.5 x 41.5 inches|
|Features||Metal slats for mattress support|
|Options||Twin over twin, twin over full, full over full, or twin over futon, plus four colors|
7. Discovery World Furniture Mission Bunk Beds
It is difficult to find a high-quality bunk bed with integrated storage, and to find one with as much storage as the Mission may be impossible.
The staircase to the upper bunk has a four-drawer dresser built into it. Rather than the “mini” drawers you find on some bunk beds, this dresser provides four decent-sized drawers with plenty of space for your kids’ clothes.
Then there are three drawers under the bottom bunk. These cover the entire width and depth of the under-bunk area, maximizing the storage space available to you.
There is even an additional space in the bottom bunk on the rear of the dresser that acts as a magazine or book rack, which is great for your little midnight reader.
- Tons of storage.
- The staircase can be placed at either end.
- Accommodates eight-inch thick mattresses.
- It cannot be separated into two beds.
|Footprint||98 x 41 inches (the bed is 79 x 41 inches)|
|Material||Pine and MDF|
|Features||Staircase, dresser, under-bed storage, book rack|
8. WE Furniture Wooden Twin Bunk Beds
Many of us look for bunk beds that can be separated when our kids are older. However, an option that is often overlooked is using your bunk beds as separate beds to begin with. That is what we did with these wooden twin bunk beds from WE Furniture.
Before our youngest two were old enough for bunk beds, we used this set as separate twins. Then, once they were both old enough and trustworthy enough, we put them together as bunk beds. When they went into their own rooms, we separated the beds again.
Not only do these bunk beds look good in either configuration, they lasted many years and survived being put together, separated, and taken apart completely for a home move.
- Long-lasting, high-quality construction.
- Additional trundle bed available, great for sleepovers or visitors.
- Clean, appealing finish.
- The smell of the finish of the wood takes a few weeks to dissipate.
|Footprint||79 x 42 inches|
|Features||Separates for use as two twin beds|
|Options||Six colors, trundle available separately|
9. DHP Junior Twin Low Bunk Beds
It isn’t easy to find high quality at a low cost, but the DHP low bunk beds do just that.
Sitting low to the floor, but not at floor level, these bunk beds are unusual in that they have high quality, secured metal slats running the entire length of both bunks. You don’t need a box spring or bunk board to support the mattress of your choice, saving you another few bucks in the process.
This set of bunk beds is also available in black or white, although these two color options are, rather inexplicably, more expensive than the silver. The downside to the silver finish is that it gives a bit of an institutional feel to a room if you’re not careful.
- The weight limit is 200 pounds for the top bunk and 250 pounds for the bottom.
- The bottom bunk will accommodate an eight-inch mattress.
- Low height may not be suitable for older, taller kids.
|Footprint||77.5 x 51 inches|
|Features||Secured metal slats|
10. Harper & Bright Trundle Bunk Bed with Drawers
If you’re after a basic bunk bed, but also want the safety of a staircase to the upper bunk, take a look at the Harper & Bright trundle bed.
There is a four-step staircase which can be placed at whichever end of the bunk bed you prefer. The staircase has a safety rail on both sides and also has drawers for storage in the top three stairs. For safety reasons, the bottom stair does not have a drawer.
This bunk bed comes with a matching trundle bed for sleepovers and visitors. The castors can be removed to stop the trundle from moving back and forth when being used. Neither the two main bunks nor the trundle bed comes with a mattress.
- Sturdy staircase that can be placed at either end.
- Trundle bed included.
- The upper bed has a rail.
- Delivered in three packages that do not always arrive on the same day.
- It takes hours to put together.
|Footprint||96.38 x 41.42 inches (the bed is 75.98 x 41.42 inches)|
|Material||Pine and MDF|
|Features||Staircase, trundle bed, and three drawers|
|Bedz King Stairway Bunk Beds||Safest||102 x 42″||61″||Brazilian pine||Stairway, in-stair drawers, under-bed storage.|
|Dorel Living Clearwater Bunk Beds||Triple Bunk||120 x 78.75″||74.38″||Wood||Two bunks plus loft bed|
|Max & Lily Low Bunk Bed||Low Ceilings||81.5 x 42.5″||50″||New Zealand pine||Floor level lower bunk|
|Dorel Living Brady Bunk Beds||Twin Bunk||79 x 69.5″||64.5″||Wood||Converts to two beds|
|Meritline Convertible Loft||Bed-Desk||79.5 x 42.3″||71.9″||Pine||Coverts bed above two seats & table to bunk beds|
|DHP Miles Twin Bunk Bed||Small Rooms||73.5 x 41.5″||54″||Metal||Metal slats for mattress support|
|Discovery World Furniture Mission||Storage||98 x 41″||64″||Pine & MDF||Staircase, dresser, under-bed storage, book rack|
|WE Furniture Wooden Twin Bunk Beds||Separable||79 x 42″||65″||Pine||Separates for use as two twin beds|
|DHP Junior Twin Low Bunk Beds||Budget Pick||77.5 x 51″||49.5″||Metal||Secured metal slats|
|Harper & Bright Trundle Bunk Bed||Stairs||96.38 x 41.42″||65.75″||Pine & MDF||Staircase, trundle bed, & three drawers|
How to Use Bunk Beds for Kids Safely
Having the best bunk beds for kids doesn’t matter if they aren’t used safely. Follow these guidelines to keep your children secure in their beds.
- Place bunk beds in the corner of the room, so there are walls on two sides of the bed (2).
- Do not allow a child under the age of 6 on the top bunk.
- Only one person should be allowed on the top bunk at a time.
- Install and use guardrails on the top bunk, no matter what the age of your child (3).
- Ensure guardrails provide a barrier at least five inches above the top of the mattress.
- The space between the bottom of the guardrail and the top of the mattress must be less than 2 ½ inches.
- Check that the mattress is supported by slats and preferably cross braces, and that it does not merely sit on a ledge around the inner perimeter of the bunk.
- Consider affixing the bunk beds to the wall so they can’t be pushed away from it. This will prevent the possibility of a child becoming trapped between the top bunk and the wall.
- Don’t put your bunk beds up against the window, or close enough for your child to hit the window should they fall out of the bunk. The bunk beds should also be well away from any cords for the light or the blinds.
- Make sure there is enough space between the top of the mattress in the top bunk, and the ceiling so that your child can sit up safely in bed without banging their head.
- Do not place the bunk beds within touching distance of ceiling fans or other light fixtures.
- Take the time to show your child how to climb up and down the bunk bed ladder safely.
- Teach your child never to hang or drape items around their bunk beds (4).
- Ensure your children know never to play on either the top or the bottom bunk.
- Provide a nightlight so children can see as they climb down from the top bunk at night.
- Tell your child never to climb onto the top bunk from a chair, bookcase, or any other item that is not the ladder affixed to the bunk.
- Regularly check the hardware on the bunk beds to ensure nothing is coming loose.
- Reiterate your rules of use to your children on a regular basis, and anytime someone else comes to stay in their room.
The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of
No matter what age your children, how many you have, the space available to you, or your budget, there is a set of bunk beds out there for you.
Use our buying and safety guidelines to stop your selection process from turning your dream into a nightmare. You’ll enjoy maximizing your space and the fun your children will have.