In this article, I will talk about both the American futon mattress and the Japanese traditional shiki futon (also known as a roll up futon mattress). I will also point out which one is suitable for sleeping, even if you have back pain problems.
A western futon is a versatile couch that can be flattened out as a twin or queen bed. Due to possible frequent flipping, an American futon mattress is likely to wear and tear.
Therefore, American futon mattresses are often cheap, or say, very affordable. However, a high quality futon mattress can last for years.
If you are looking for a western futon set (including the couch frame and the mattress), check my article about the best futon beds on Amazon.
Meanwhile, the Japanese futon is a thinner cushion. The Japanese puts it on the ground or on a tatami mat, and sleep on it.
To know how sleeping on a Japanese futon mattress is good for your spine and the best ones on Amazon, read my other article about the 10 best Japanese futon mattresses.
If you are looking for the most comfortable futon mattress, keep in mind the following.
Not all futon mattresses are the same.
And not all people need the same futon mattress.
What makes the best futon mattress depends on you and yourself.
So, keep reading to see my NUM buying guide – Needs, Usage Frequency, and Maintenance
Are you looking for an American futon mattress that is
Or are you looking for a Japanese futon that is
In this article, I will show you the top candidates from both of these categories.
For the American futon mattress, you should consider the following questions.
Are you gonna sleep on the futon most of the time?
If yes, buy a higher-quality and thicker mattress that gives plenty of support.
A firm and dense mattress or a memory foam one is best for spinal alignment.
A memory foam mattress or an individually encased spring mattress relieves pressure points such as your shoulders and hips.
How often do you flip the futon between a sleeper and a seater?
If frequent, buy a mattress that is divided in 2 sections so that you can bend it easily.
If the mattress is not sectioned, you will struggle bending it back to the sitting position. Moreover, the mattress filling will crease and tear at the fold over time.
Meanwhile, the Japanese futon is quite straightforward. You can use it daily as long as you are used to sleeping on a firmer mattress or surface.
The American futon mattress needs less maintenance. Some with good outer fabric lets you wipe off dust easily.
You don’t need to beat the mattress to fluff it up. However, the downfall is the mattress will lose its shape over time of use, depending on the quality of the filling and of the quilting.
On the other hand, to use the Japanese futon, you will have to air it out under the sun every week or every other week for it to fluff up.
Otherwise, it can be as thin as 1 inch thick.
If you still have questions, read the FAQ section at the end or leave a comment below. I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Best Customer Service
This American futon mattress is the best if you are looking for a thick, soft and supporting bed. It provides contouring support, relieving pressure points to give you a good night sleep, even if you have back pain.
This mattress is good for sleeping, even for a 300 lbs + person
Independently encased coils, or pocketed coils, of this mattress contours to the curves of your body and, hence, relieves pressure points. This also means it’s good for your spinal alignment.
This is because, each coil works independently, supporting your body based on body regions’ weight.
With that being said, if you have back pain, consider this mattress.
Thanks to the pocketed coils, again, this mattress does not transfer motion.
That means your partner will not feel any motion during the night even if you bounce on the mattress.
This mattress is not split into 2 halves like other mattresses in futon sets. Customers have been reporting it is very hard to fold it from a sleeper back to a seater.
After folding this mattress back and forth between the two positions daily for a while, the mattress starts to separate in the middle, exposing the springs.
There are other reviews that say the springs also come through the foam over time.
This futon mattress is of high quality and style. And it is the best for customer service. The firm mattress is beneficial for spinal alignment. If you wish to make it softer, scroll down to the bottom and read my FAQ section.
This futon set is the best for value.
This authentic Japanese set comes with a futon (shikifuton), a comforter (kakebuton), and a pillow.
Therefore, if you want to feel like you are in Japan, this is a must-have.
In terms of comfiness, lots of people including pregnant women have said laying on the floor helps with their back pain. However, other people who are used to the Western thick and soft mattress find this quite thin and hurt their pressure points.
So, imagine a Japanese futon as a sleeping bag that’s a bit thicker than a normal sleeping bag. You probably will not enjoy sleeping in only a sleeping bag on the hard ground. You need to have a sleeping pad to make sleeping on the ground more comfortable.
Similarly, if you want to make sleeping on a Japanese futon (shikibuton) more comfortable, consider a layer of sleeping pad. It could be tatami mats to go with the Japanese theme, a sleeping pad, or some cheap foam you can buy from Walmart.
This Japanese shikifuton is the most comfortable futon mattress for sleeping on the floor. Thanks to its special sandwich quilting technique, the high density foam pad can cushion better.
If it’s still too firm for you, you can use some more cushion. You can consider tatami mats to go with the Japanese theme, a sleeping pad, or some cheap foam you can buy from Walmart.
This futon is best for camping with its dense filling, dust proof cover, and other accessories. Lightweight and portable, you can easily roll it up and store away when not using, or bring it with you on road trips.
If you are not a fan of camping, no worries. This can be used to “camp” in your yard, for a sleepover at your friend’ place, or a guest bed when you have visitors.
With the dust proof cover, you can extend the durability of the mattress.
Regarding its comfiness, this mattress is highly dense, which will give you cushioning and is still firm enough for your back to not hurt. Before quilting, the thickness is 17cm. Then they quilt to compress the foam to 10cm (about 4 inches).
This futon is not like a western futon where you can sink in and enjoy the soft embrace of the mattress.
It is a thin layer of cushion, meant to be placed on a hard surface (a tatami mat or even the floor). Sleeping on hard surface is actually good for you spinal alignment, and in the long run, keeps you a way from back pains.
The cushion is still soft to relieve some pressure at contact points such as your hips and shoulders. But as other futons, many of us in the West may find it’s incredibly hard to sleep on the futon placed on the floor. So you can consider placing a tatami mat, a sleeping pad, or a layer of foam below the futon for more cushioning.
This futon mattress looks sleek if you don’t mind the white tuft. It provides medium support, hence, is not the best for daily sleeping. The biggest plus is it’s a cheap futon mattress.
This mattress is the thickest in the list – at 10 inches. The middle layer is memory foam that helps it provide more support. Although not as comfy as a memory foam mattress, this mattress is still many people’s favorite for its thickness and comfiness.
It weighs 47 lbs with 10-inch thickness. This can be a hassle when you want to put on a convertible futon frame because it’s hard to fold. But if you just want to put this on a bed frame or even on the floor, it’s totally fine.
When this mattress is converted into a sitting position in a futon frame, it can slip off at the bottom. This is mostly because it’s hard to stay bent. To fix this, you can buy a grip to fix it to the frame.
The reason why I ranked this mattress low is because besides comfiness, my ranking is also based on portability – you know, for a small place that you will not stay for long.
If you have a bad back and want to sleep on your futon mattress, consider the DHP western futon and any of the Japanese futons to sleep on the floor.
Among these good futons, the one with the best customer service is Classic Brands western futon.
It is totally safe, and even beneficial, to sleep on a Japanese futon.
Some people may find sleeping on a thin futon placed on the floor to hard, but it is good for spinal alignment.
In the long run, you will save yourself from back pain problems.
Indeed, many pregnant people also feel most comfortable sleeping on the floor for this reason.
If you are placing your futon on the floor, you may find it too hard.
Traditionally, Japanese people place their futon on a tatami mat, so they won’t lay close to the hard cold ground.
Here is a cheap alternative for you.
You can buy some waffle foam from Walmart and place it under the futon. If you still want it to be softer, simply put another layer of foam in, until you feel comfortable.
You can also sleep on an American futon mattress as long as it is a high-quality and high-density foam mattress.
However, if it is a cheap, thin and low-density mattress, you might feel the frame of the futon underneath. The saggy, shifted foam might also cause body pain.
Therefore, it is worth it to invest in a higher quality futon if you want to sleep on it regularly.
You can work around a lower quality futon by putting a mattress topper on top of it.
It can be a Japanese futon or similar, which is easy to fold and store away.
For a hard American futon, you can put a softer mattress topper on top of it. This can be something like a comforter, a real topper, or a Japanese futon
For a thin Japanese futon which makes it too hard to sleep on the floor, you can buy a tatami mat or a sleeping pad that is used for camping to place underneath. A cheap (but not that aesthetic) alternative is buying waffle foam from Walmart.
If you have any suggestions for futon mattresses, both American and Japanese, comment below to help other readers find their right product.