Table of Contents
- What is a Bunk Bed?
- Why Choose a Bunk Bed Over a Regular Bed?
- Types of Kids Bunk Beds
- Bunk Bed Safety for Kids
- Kids Bunk Bed Buying Guide
- Review of the 10 Top-Rated Bunk Beds for Kids
- 1. Max & Lily Solid Wood Twin Low Bunk Bed with Slide
- 2. DHP Full over Full Bunk Bed for Kids
- 3. Dorel Living Airlie Solid Wood Bunk Beds Twin Over Full
- 4. Walker Edison Metal Twin Low Loft Bunk Bed
- 5. Dorel Living Sierra Triple Floor Bunk Bed
- 6. DHP Studio Loft Bunk Bed Over Desk
- 7. Dorel Living Phoenix Twin Bunk Bed
- 8. DHP Twin-Over-Full Bunk Bed
- 9. Walker Edison Della Classic Twin over Twin Bunk Bed
- 10. Dorel Living Brady Twin Over Full Kids Bunk Bed
- Final Word
Not all parents have houses big enough for every child to have their own bedroom. With a bunk bed, your boys or girls can have their wish of sleeping in their own beds but still be close enough to share their harmless secrets and comfort each other. In a sense, bunk beds are the ultimate fix-all sleeping solution for kids’ bedrooms.
We have looked around the usual places online for buying advice and options for the best kids’ bunk beds. In the process, we discovered such a wide variety of styles of children’s bunk beds we could never fit all of them in one article. We ended up summarizing our recommendations into 10 kids’ bunk beds spread across several price points.
Before we share our top picks, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to choose the right bunk bed for your children and space. So we have prepared a buying guide that takes an in-depth look at what bunk beds are and what you need to look for when shopping for one.
Let’s get started.
What is a Bunk Bed?
A bunk bed combines two or more beds into one unit. The standard design has the beds stacked one above the other. It features a step ladder that the child that sleeps in the top bunk will use to climb up and down from their bed.
For safety, the top bunk must have a guardrail running the full length of the bed to prevent the sleeper from rolling off the bed in their sleep. Some bunk beds are permanently attached while others are designed in a detachable configuration.
It’s not known who invented the bunk bed or when that was. It could be the same Egyptians who invented the bed as we know it today. Whoever it was, it was probably the only practical solution they could think of to accommodate more sleepers in a small space. The trick likely caught on because it was so clever and effective.
The stacked bed configuration has stood the test of time and is here to stay. That is true especially for kids’ bedrooms where the bunk bed is more than a place to sleep. But are there other advantages to choosing a bunk bed over a regular bed?
Why Choose a Bunk Bed Over a Regular Bed?
Today’s bunk beds do so much, but almost all their qualities can be summarized in one important benefit – the ability to conserve space. This bed style essentially fits two or more beds in a space that would ordinarily fit just one.
Extra sleeping space for guests
Bunk beds are a practical solution for parents with more than one child and whose properties are too small to fit more than one bed in one bedroom.
If you have just one child, a bunk bed provides extra sleeping space for when a cousin visits or their friend comes for a sleepover.
Provide each child with their own personal space
For children who are finicky about their personal space, a bunk bed gives them a private space in a shared bedroom that they can genuinely call their own. With the beds nicely separated, each child can choose their own bedding, meaning they can decorate their space as they like.
More play space for the kids
Because they are so space-efficient, bunk beds open more space for your kids to move around and play. You also get space for their toys and to fit more furniture, like a study desk.
Expand storage space
Some kids’ bunk sets incorporate drawers under the stairs or the bottom bunk. Others have book and display shelves built-in. So you get more storage without using up any more space.
Since many bunk beds can be separated into two standalone beds, you benefit from the flexibility of placing the children into their own separate rooms if needed as they grow and their needs change. You do this without incurring the expense of buying another bed.
With bunk beds, you are not exactly getting two beds for the price of one. But you still save money. For one, bunk beds don’t need any headboards as they have one built-in. You also do not have to buy box springs. Bunk mattresses are also cheaper than regular bed mattresses.
Types of Kids Bunk Beds
Kids’ bunk beds come in many styles, sizes, and configurations. There is the simple and yet functional standard twin-over-twin bed bunk set. Then there are the extravagant, opulently embellished sets, with barely useful features that kids love nonetheless.
Shop around a bit and you wind up with so many options it will make your head spin trying to decide which to choose. The basic types mainly define the size and number of beds in a bunk set, which gives you an idea of how many kids the bed can sleep.
The four basic types are:
- Twin-over-twin bunk beds that have two twin or single beds sitting one on top of another. This is the standard size and design for kids’ bunk beds.
- Twin-over-full bunk beds have a twin or single-sized bed stacked above a full or double-sized bed. The bottom bunk has enough space to accommodate two kids.
- Full-over-full bunk beds are a lot less common for kids than they are for adults. In theory, this bunk set has space to sleep two people in each bunk. Whether it can do so safely for everyone depends on how sturdy the bunk bed is.
- Triple bunk beds have three beds. But instead of the three beds stacked in three tiers, most kids’ triple bunk beds are designed in an L shape. They have, perpendicular to the floor, two beds on the top bunk and one bed on the bottom bunk.
There are alternative configurations to the four we discussed above. Even the L-shaped bunk bed we discussed above comes in so many variations it will be remiss not to strip it down to its many subtypes.
The L-shaped bunk bed leaves space around the bottom bunk that you can utilize as you please. The top bunk can be designed to recreate a treehouse feel for a play area the kids can escape to. The open space created around the lower bunk can be outfitted into a cozy reading nook by incorporating a desk, bookshelf, or other space-saving features.
Instead of shopping for a specific ‘type’ of a kid bunk bed, use filters like ‘with desk’, ‘with storage drawers’, or ‘with slide’ to get a bunk bed that more closely matches your room and children’s needs.
Trundle bunk beds
An excellent choice for kids that usually have friends sleeping over, trundle bunk beds have an extra bed that slides out like a drawer from under the bottom bunk. Some trundle beds aren’t connected to the bunk bed but simply tuck in underneath the lower bunk, with casters that make it easy to slide them in and out.
Futon bunk beds
If you have just one child, a bunk bed may still be a good option for their bedroom. But instead of the standard twin-over-twin bunk set, you would choose a futon bunk bed for them. It has the same configuration, with the major difference being that the bottom bunk converts into a couch.
So most of the time the lower bunk serves as a couch where your child can lounge while they play their games. When a cousin visits or a friend sleeps over, the couch is then converted into an extra bed.
In other words, with a futon bunk bed, you are fitting both a bed and a couch in a space that would not have accommodated the two pieces of furniture if you had bought them separately.
Bunk Bed Safety for Kids
There are two ways to look at safety where kids’ bunk beds are concerned. One is by considering the profile of the user and the second is by looking at the bunk bed itself, including its design and build quality.
A bunk bed built from poor quality materials is obviously not going to be safe. Neither is one that’s not properly assembled. But seeing that manufacturing methods have largely standardized unless you make a really poor choice, you are unlikely going to end up with a bunk set whose quality is so bad it is unsafe.
That said, bunk beds have a weight limit, which means your child can actually be too heavy for a specific bed. And while bunk beds are generally built to be strong and durable, and sturdy once they are properly assembled, they aren’t designed as a play rig.
To prevent accidents, strongly advise your children against bouncing on the bunk bed. The bed might break or, if it’s the top bunk, the child may slip and fall to the ground, which can cause serious injuries. For further guidance on bunk bed safety, review these guidelines from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Kids Bunk Bed Buying Guide
Who Are You Buying the Bunk Bed For?
Specifically, how old are the children that will use the bunk bed? While children’s bunk beds are structurally safe for any kids aged between four and sixteen years, the top bunk isn’t safe for those younger than six. Children that young may lack the balance and physical strength to safely climb up and down the ladder.
Whatever the age of the child, it is also crucial that there is a guardrail and that it remains securely affixed. A permanently attached ladder is also safer than one that hangs freely.
Remember that a ladder is only useful if the child uses it. So, implore your children to always use the ladder or stairs and not other pieces of furniture or any apparatus they may devise. Some children, especially boys, tend to be hyperactive and adventurous. It is those whose safety you should be concerned about when using bunk beds.
Safety Rules for Using Kids’ Bunk Beds
Kids love bunk beds. So you are not going to struggle to convince your kids to use their new bunk bed. But besides your responsibility to make sure the bunk bed is properly assembled and set up, you have an important job of teaching your kids how to use their new bunk bed safely. As the parent, you have to set the ground rules.
Here are some children’s bunk bed safety tips to remember:
- Make sure there is clearance of at least two feet between the top bunk mattress and the ceiling,
- Only one child should use the top bunk at a time so as not to exceed the bunk bed’s weight limit. Or, simply refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations,
- Do not position the bunk bed directly under a light fixture unless there is good clearance between the light and the top bunk mattress
- Use the correct, recommended mattress for the bunk bed – it should be the right length and thickness,
- Regularly check that the guardrails and ladder are securely attached and not broken at any point,
- Ensure there is a guardrail on the wall side of the bed bunk as a child can slip through that gap if the bunk bed ever moved,
- Only use parts that are designed for the bed. If anything breaks, contact the bed manufacturer and see if they cannot send replacement parts.
How to Choose the Right Kids’ Bunk Bed
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when you go out shopping for a bunk bed for your kids:
Consider the layout of the room
A well-chosen bunk bed fits both the room and the needs of the children who will use it. Consider the layout of your space and picture how and where the bunk bed will sit. That will influence the type of bunk bed you will choose and help you decide the best place to position it.
For example, if the only place you can safely position the bunk set is in a corner of the room, an L-shaped bunk bed will be an excellent way to save space. Having the bunk bed leaning against two walls also gives it more balance.
Otherwise, measure the room to make sure you get a bunk bed that will fit in the space it will live in. Pay attention to obstacles like low-hanging light fixtures so you know how much headroom you have. To ensure the child using the top bunk doesn’t hit their head against the ceiling when climbing into bed, shoot for a ceiling clearance of at least 8 feet.
With your measurements in hand, you can shop with more confidence, knowing that your bunk bed will have the right dimensions.
How many beds do you need?
The greatest attraction for any parent considering a bunk bed for their children’s bedroom is that each child can have their own bed. Since the beds are stacked, you can have more beds in the same room. Even better, bunk beds come in different sizes and configurations that fit a specific number of beds.
If you have more space to work with, a T-shaped triple bunk bed may be more appealing. That configuration means you have bed space for three children or an extra bed for guests if you have two kids.
We have also seen double twin-over-twin bunk sets where two standard bunk beds sit along a wall with a common set of stairs between them. The stairs are used to access both top bunks. This setup accommodates four beds in one bedroom, which makes it a great space saver.
So consider how many beds you need and find a bunk set that accommodates your needs and can fit in the space you have. You will be surprised at the options you will find by simply shopping around.
How old are the bunk bed users?
The age of your children is an important factor to consider when shopping for a kids’ bunk bed. If you have a 4-year-old, it’s important that the bunk bed not be too high off the ground. The child has to be able to easily hop into bed.
Consider the ladder, too. A ladder that is slightly slanted, as is one with shorter steps, is easier to climb for a smaller child. If you are worried that a ladder bunk bed may not be safe for your child, one that features a built-in stairway may be a better option. We have seen many clever designs where a set of well-positioned storage drawers serve as the stairs.
The child’s age is also essential for deciding the size of the bunk bed. Are you buying for elementary school kids or pre-teens? The latter will require a larger bed than the former. Perhaps you want a bed the children will grow with. All those are questions you have to ask yourself before you settle on a particular bunk bed.
You should also want to keep the gender of the children in mind. Some designs fit boys better than girls. Boys, for example, may find a slide to be a fun way of getting down from the top bunk, while girls may feel stairs are a more orderly and graceful way to descend from the top bunk.
Do you have any special features in mind?
There is now a wide variety of bunk bed styles to choose from, all with features that appeal to different users. While you may view the bedroom as a place for your child to sleep in, to them it is a lot more than that. With the options that are out there, it shouldn’t be hard to indulge their dreams, no matter how outlandish they may seem.
If it’s a slide that your child wants, there are bunk beds outfitted with them. In fact, a kid bunk bed can be themed into almost anything you or the child can imagine – a princess castle, a hide-out fort, a mini-house, or a double-decker bus, among others. Your child’s bunk bed really could be the stuff of dreams.
Of course, we could think of features that are more functional for a children’s bunk bed. The most obvious are storage drawers, trundle beds, toy display shelves, and student desks. The idea is to make the bunk bed as multifunctional as possible, with the common goal of conserving space.
Bunk bed construction materials
- The best bunk beds for kids are made from solid wood. Wood bunk beds are ultra sturdy and usually quite good-looking. You may find other parts of the bunk bed made from MDF or engineered wood. But for a sturdier construction, we prefer that the actual frame and slats (sleeping platform where the mattress rests) be solid wood.
- Other bunk beds will have metal frames. Plastic has also been used to make children’s bunk beds. While steel bunk beds are generally strong, in an effort to lower costs some manufacturers tend to use low-grade steel that can bend or wobble under the kids’ weight. People have also complained of some steel bunk beds squeaking rather loudly.
- Pay attention to build quality, even though that can be difficult to tell before you’ve fully assembled the bed. For this reason, it is helpful to read editorial reviews like the one you are reading right now. Reviews left on the product page by people who have bought and used the bunk bed are also a great resource.
- Pay attention to the finish on the bunk bed. For steel bunk beds, a powder-coated finish is quite durable and something to look for. For obvious reasons, a bunk bed that uses chipboard, plastic hardware, and other unreliable materials isn’t going to last very long.
Review of the 10 Top-Rated Bunk Beds for Kids
This Max & Lily twin-over-twin bunk bed is quite popular on Amazon, where it has garnered 1000’s of 5-star reviews. It must be that slide. Or the solid Zealand Pinewood construction. Once assembled, the feedback from most people who have bought the bunk bed is that the bed set is quite sturdy.
The bottom bunk sits really low. So low that the child sleeping on that bed can roll off in their sleep onto the floor and never feel it. That has benefits for safety and means that the bunk set itself does not stand too tall. In fact, at only 50 inches tall, this bed is perfect for small spaces with low ceilings.
About that slide, we can see how the kids can tire themselves down climbing the ladder to the top bunk and then sliding down the other side until they are dog tired. The ladder and slide are reversible too, which means you can position them on either of the two sides of the bunk set.
We like the look of the bunk bed as well as the weight limit of 400 lbs. There aren’t that many bunk sets that can take so much weight in the kids’ category. A higher weight limit generally points to sturdier build quality.
One complaint that came up frequently in the customer reviews we read is that the bunkie slats are too far apart. Despite being low VOC, another complaint we found is that the bunk bed gives off a strong odor and that the off-gassing takes too long.
Are you on a budget? This is our pick for the best budget kids’ bunk bed. The bunk bed is a steal, but should you lower your expectations because of the low price? Probably, but it still offers great value.
Drilling down, the bunk set has a steel frame, which suggests that it is durable. That it may be but there are complaints that the bed wobbles and squeaks when you climb and settle in on the top bed.
Looking closely at the bunk bed, the top bunk seems a few inches too high, which may be why it wobbles. As one reviewer on Amazon suggested to the manufacturer, the bunk bed would be sturdier if the top bunk was lower. Bracing the bunk set against the wall may help to stabilize it.
There are two ladders on opposite ends of the bunk bed. This makes it easier to organize your children’s bedroom. But being so tall, we are concerned about the safety of the children climbing to the top bunk. We would rest easier if the ladder was slightly angled. The steps can also be painful on young, delicate feet and may need cushioning.
Assembling the bunk bed is fairly easy but you will need the help of another person. Ultimately though, the two biggest selling points for this bunk set are the ample sleeping space and low price.
You cannot fault this twin-over-full bunk bed where looks are concerned. We found the design – with the curved footboard on the top bunk and the vertical slats, and the espresso-colored finish to be absolutely gorgeous.
Judging from the feedback from buyers, the bunk bed is sturdy and doesn’t wobble. So from a build quality standpoint, this is a great bunk bed for kids. In the convenience stakes, we like that the bunk set is detachable, meaning the twin and full-size beds separate completely and can be used in different rooms.
Safety-wise, we have a few concerns, including some that were also shared by reviewers on Amazon. First, the top bunk is too low. We worry the child sleeping on the lower bunk may hit their head on the top bunk, especially in the early days while they get used to the bed.
We are also a little concerned about the 4-step ladder. The steps can be painful on the feet. The ladder also leans on the bottom bed so that the child sleeping there can easily hit their leg against it in their sleep. The designers could have angled the ladder over that bottom bunk.
One wrinkle that’s no slight on the bunk bed itself is the package arriving with missing parts. It has happened with more than a few people, which shows that the company isn’t being thorough when packing the kits. For something that takes so much effort to assemble, it is very frustrating to have your progress checked by a missing part.
What if you live in a small apartment, have one child, and don’t host a lot of guests? In other words, what if you don’t need the extra space a traditional bunk bed provides but are still keen on saving space?
A loft bunk bed like this model from Walker Edison is perfect. Basically, a raised bed that leaves space underneath that’s big enough to fit a musical drum set, desk, or another piece of furniture.
This twin metal bunk set has two ladders on either side that double up as supports for a set of built-in shelves. It also comes with a desk that, though detached from the loft bed, tucks in under the bed and has the same look and finish.
This loft bunk bed will be perfect for a pre-teen’s bedroom. The guardrail is super high and would accommodate a thicker mattress while still leaving a good safety barrier.
Overall, this bunk set makes great use of space and has an elegant minimalist look to it. We love it, as do the over 9,000 people who have reviewed it so glowingly on Amazon. We just wish the bed was a little higher so one could actually put the desk and a chair and work from under there.
This is the only traditional triple bunk bed on our list, so it had to be a good one. We are glad it looks as good as it is sturdy, which you kind of expect with wooden bunk sets. Still, for three stacked beds it is a fair bet that most parents will be concerned with safety.
What you will notice with this triple bunk bed is that it is not crazy tall. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is that the bottom bed almost sits right on the floor. That bottom bed will be perfect for a kid below 6 years of age. It also isn’t that spacious between the beds, which reduces the bunk set’s overall height. That low bunk looks like it’s a bit of a squeeze, though, especially for an older kid.
The two ladders, one for the middle bunk and another for the top bunk, give the whole set a nice, symmetrical look. The guardrails, as they need to be, have a safe, proportional height.
The one complaint that we have also picked with this and other bunk sets is the limited number of slats on the base of the beds. Many parents end up buying extra wooden slats or fashioning some kind of bunkie board to lay over the slats and make the beds safer. No one wants to be spending money to make something they have bought safer.
As your child grows, their needs change. To serve their changing needs, they may need to fit in more furniture in their bedroom, like a student desk for their homework. That requires more space, which isn’t always there, especially if the bedroom was already small. We couldn’t find a better bed for a child whose needs have changed than this DHP studio loft bed.
Multi-functional, this loft bunk bed has a desk, bookshelf, and three shelves that run the full width of the bed. That’s sleeping, study, storage, and display space all in one. You literally can fit that in one corner of the room, decluttering and saving the rest of the bedroom to organize as you wish.
After coming across so many complaints about inadequate slats for the mattress, we were so happy not to find similar complaints about this loft bed. While there may be concerns about the child climbing so high to their bed, we find that the extra height opens up more space below the bed, making it a really comfortable study space.
The only gripe we have with the bed is that the ladder is a bit uncomfortable on bare feet. The bunk set also shakes a bit when a person is climbing to the bed. You may need to use earthquake straps to brace the bed to the wall. We are also a bit worried that a child will have to climb over the guardrail as there is no opening where the ladder ends. If the bed wasn’t so high we wouldn’t be as concerned.
Who says you can’t find a low-profile bunk bed to fit a small space with a low ceiling? This wooden twin-over-twin bunk bed model from Dorel Living is certainly made for such spaces. Sturdy as you like due to the wood construction and low profile, the twin-over-twin bunk bed is the ultimate space-saver.
The Phoenix bunk bed has a floor bunk design that optimizes space and gives it a low profile. You can sleep easy knowing that your child is not perched precariously on a tall bed. You will like the bunk set’s multiple configurations that allow it to be separated into two separate beds.
We also dig the gorgeous espresso color that gives the wood frame a solid appearance. The top bunk, despite not being so high, has high, full-length guardrails that will catch the child and stop them from falling to the ground should they roll about in their sleep.
This bed has a lot of pieces to put together and is quite heavy. But after assembling it you can’t help but steal a few moments to admire both the bunk bed and your hard work. If the bed turns out rickety and wobbly, there is a good chance something with the assembly didn’t go right. At least that’s what many that have bought the bed report.
Despite its generous bed space (it sleeps three), the first thing we noticed about the bed is its low price. Perhaps that’s the reason Amazon has sold so many units of the bed. Looking at the bed itself, we notice that there are two ladders on either side of the bed. We like that because it allows you to position the bed on any side of the room.
Some twin-over-full bunk beds have a design where the top bunk lies centrally above the lower bunk. That design gives the child sleeping on the top bed the feeling of being exposed. With this bed, the top bed leans to one side of the bunk set, which would be against the wall. That gives the bunk bed extra support as well as protection for the sleeper.
You don’t normally find wood bunk beds this affordable. Wood bunk sets are normally quite sturdy and solid after assembly and this model is as well.
This bed is available in multiple finishes. If the cherry finish doesn’t quite match your child’s bedroom’s decor, there’s the natural wood, black, espresso, grey, and honey finishes. And if you are concerned with the unchecked decimation of the world’s forests, you will be pleased that the wood used for this bunk is sustainably sourced.
Your children will eventually demand some privacy as they grow. Or the battle for who gets the top bunk may never get solved. So a bunk bed that separates into two beds that you can place in different rooms is always a better option. This one detaches into two identical beds, meaning much-needed private space for everyone.
This twin-over-twin bunk set’s guardrails and ladder are integrated, so your children should never find a reason to devise other ways of getting up to the top bunk. A nice height, the guardrail will also prevent your kid from rolling off the top bed.
The Brady twin-over-full bunk bed from Dorel Living is very versatile. While this one has a white finish, you can take your pick from the graphite, black, grey, and espresso finishes that it’s also available in.
Being a twin-over-full, the bunk set is designed in such a way that it will be possible to separate it into two beds – a twin size and a full size. So as your children grow and would rather have their own separate bedrooms it would be easy to grant their wish.
We have come across stories of boxes of bunk beds that come in more than one package getting lost during shipping. You will be glad to know that this bed ships in one box.
From the customer reviews we have read, assembly is pretty straightforward. All the holes and screw marks line up perfectly. However, mounting the top bunk requires the help of another person.
While the quality of the bunk set is quite decent for the price, we did find a few complaints about it cracking after a few months of use. That suggests that the pinewood used is not of the best quality. That’s not reassuring from a safety perspective.
The bed set wouldn’t last very long for a teenager with a heavy build, but you should be OK if buying for young children. Also, consider investing in some bunkie boards as the supplied slats leave large gaps you wouldn’t feel too good about.
Bunk beds are safe for kids as long as they are assembled the right way. After assembly, the bunk bed should not be wobbly or rickety. Safety also has a lot to do with how the bunk bed is used. Accidents can happen if the kids bounce, spin, and jump on the bed. The bunk set should only be used for sleeping.
Only children older than 6 years should use the top bed on a bunk bed. Younger than that and the child may not be able to safely climb up to the bed. A half-asleep younger child may also not be able to safely climb down from their bed to go to the bathroom.
Bunk beds are designed to be freestanding. However, anchoring the bunk bed will give it more support, as will placing or bracing it against the wall. Metal frame bunk beds especially tend to sway when you climb to the top bunk. So anchoring the bed will give it more structural support.
Ensuring that there are at least 8 inches between the top bunk bed mattress and the ceiling will keep the child using the top bunk from hitting their head on the ceiling. If you have a low ceiling, it will help to choose a shorter bunk bed.
Besides limiting the top bunk bed to children older than 6 years, a bunk bed is safer to sleep in if it has guardrails on both sides of the top bunk. The guardrail should be high enough to stop the child sleeping there from rolling off the bed. Adding a bunkie board will also reassure you of your child’s safety, especially if there are wide gaps between the slats on which the mattress rests.
There are plenty of reasons why so many parents choose bunk beds for their children’s bedrooms, not least their ability to save space. With so many options available, choosing the right bunk bed for your kids can however be overwhelming. We hope we have simplified that task and presented you with enough options to make it much easier you.