The best bunk beds offer a little something for everyone: They save space, while providing a safe – and super fun – sleeping surface for kids. But while bunk beds used to mean two twin mattresses that were placed vertically, today’s bunk beds offer plenty of choices in terms of style, design, materials, and extras—like storage, slides, full stairs, and even treehouses.
“Parents love bunk beds because they save space and remind them of their childhood, and kids love bunk beds, because they’re fun,” says Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “They can be safe, but there are certain guidelines I always tell parents,” he adds. (More on those at the bottom of this article.)
The right bunk bed for your family includes choosing the right size beds (do you prefer double or full mattresses?), weight capacity and style for your kids. And of course, you’ll want something that fits within your budget. We’ve researched the bestsellers on the market, relied on our expertise in the bedding category and turned to experts, such as Dr. Ganjian, to find the best bunk beds to fulfill your child’s bedroom decor dreams.
Best bunk bed overall
Classic style bunk bed with plenty of storage space
Best Spliurg bunk bed
This bed has a magical and smart design
Best value bunk bed
This bed is under $350
Best bunk bed for small rooms
Affordable and durable bed with low profile
Best bunk bed for toddlers
This bed has a child-friendly drawer
Best triple bunk bed
This bed has a room under it for a desk or lounge space
Best bunk bed twin over full
This sturdy bed saves a lot of space
The most fun bunk bed
This basement doubles as a play area
How to choose the best bunk beds
To choose the best bunk beds, we looked at the most popular bunk beds on the market and spoke to a pediatrician about safety concerns. Then we narrowed the field down based on parental ratings, security features, options, and added value. At Forbes, we’ve also tested and researched dozens of the best mattresses and beds, so we know your sleeping space well. Our parenting coverage includes baby and toddler furniture, including the best cribs, cribs, baby mattresses, toddler beds, and even beanbags.
Are bunk beds safe for children?
In general, bunk beds are safe for children, says Ganjian. However, he says, it’s important to keep in mind that there is a risk of falling from an upper floor — especially with younger children.
Falls and injuries from bunk beds are not uncommon in children. Our Education Editor’s daughter took off her ladder in the middle of the night and broke her arm in first grade. One study found that 23,000 children ages 9 and younger were infected in bunk beds from 2001 to 2004 (almost 15,000 of these were under 6 years old).
What is the best age for a bunk bed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of 6 not be allowed to sleep on the upper floor. While young children can technically sleep in the basement, you want to make sure they can stay where they are and won’t wander upstairs (or on the ladder) when you’re not there to supervise. Therefore, it is really best to limit its use to children 6 years of age and older.
How do you make a bunk bed safer?
There are a few different things you can do. “Make sure everything fits properly,” says Ganjian. That is, the mattress should go to the side of the bed frame and leave no voids or gaps where children can hang or get stuck.
You will also need to make sure that your upper mattress does not raise the sleeping surface so high that the guardrail does not work. Bunk beds usually come with instructions on how thick the upper mattress should be in order to maintain the integrity of the railing.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates bunk beds, requires guardrails and sets certain design standards to reduce slips and falls, as well as setting standards for sharp edges, surface coatings, phthalates, and lead. It also states that “handrail tops must not be less than 5 inches above the top of the mattress,” to prevent children from rolling off the upper bed.
Janjian says that having a nightlight in the room is also a good idea to help guide kids who get up at night.
“I recommend placing the bed in the corner of the room,” he says. “This way, at least two sides of the bed are taken care of, for safety.”
Looking for a bunk bed with an easy-to-climb ladder or even stairs may also help reduce tripping.