Black futons are probably the most popular choice for Americans looking for a multipurpose solution for their living spaces. If you are shopping for a black futon, you should be aware there are many differences to consider before you buy. Use this article to help you make the right choice and find the ideal black futon for your sitting and sleeping needs.
Not all black futons are a created the same. First of all, most black futons are made of metal instead of wood. While you might find that there are some black futons made of rubber wood or a similar material, most black futons available on the market are made of tubular metal.
Probably the most important thing to consider before you buy a black futon made of metal is how it is constructed. When judging the quality of a metal black futon, you should consider the following:
- How thick is the metal?
- How sturdy are the hinges?
- What is the quality and accuracy of the welds?
- How are the stretcher rails connected to the armrests?
- How many tubular bars are there to support the mattress?
- Are these support bars crimped on the ends where they connect to the deck framing?
Asking these questions of your futon dealer will help you from following thousands of other consumers who purchased black futons that were doomed to fail from the start.
Taking each bullet point, one by one, you should look to buy thicker metal futon frames over thinner gauge models. The exact thickness may be hard for you to gauge as a consumer. In general, however, a black futon frame made of metal should weight between 50-65lbs to be of premium quality. Any black futon that weighs less should be questioned to some degree. Of course, any metal frame that weighs more should likely be more solid. The important thing to keep in mind is that this is a general standard, but not the rule.
Always look for solid heavy duty hinges when purchasing a black metal futon frame. Checking the gauge of the hinge should not be too difficult. Another general rule of thumb (emphasis on “general rule of thumb”) is that the hinge should be roughly the thickness of a quarter. When possible, test the hinge by opening and closing the futon frame with the mattress intact. Converting a black futon frame made of metal can be vary in difficulty depending on the weight of the futon mattress.
However, the hinges should operate evenly. If one hinge seems to convert more quickly than the other, and the seat becomes somewhat skewed, you might suspect that lower quality hinges are in use.
Solid, even straight beads of welding should run the entire length of the two pieces of metal they are connecting. In some case you might see spot welds that connect the panels on the side of the arms. But in general, you should see very few spot welds. Many black futons often use cheaper welds and metal materials that often can result in metal fatigue and failure. While it might be difficult to tell, you can often guess that if budget tack welds are used, the black futon is very cheaply priced, you are more likely to experience catastrophic failures.
Stretcher rails should be connected with two bolts instead of one. Black futons that have only one bolt may have slot where the rail fits into. These futons should be avoided.
Decks that have many bars that are crimped on the ends to allow a longer weld are more desirable. Bars that are spaced 4-5 inches are considered to be better. The less bars you have on your black futon frame, the more likely a bar will fail. Equally problematic, a black futon that has too large a gap between the bars will likely cause more discomfort. On many futon mattresses, these gaps can be felt through to the surface.
The bottom line is that you get what you pay for. Always consider that cheaply priced black metal frames will likely be more prone to failure than those that are more moderately priced.
Finally, knowing a little bit about what to look for and ask about will make you a more savvy shopper and prevent you from making a poor investment in the black futon you are considering. Good luck!
Finding futon information can be easy when you know where to look. Many futon websites provide excellent detailed information about futon furniture products that will help you get well on your way to becoming a futon expert. Before we recommend a list futon resources where you can find helpful futon information, let’s make sure we understand the basics first.
Basic Futon Information
The first thing to understand about futons is that the term “futon” is often generalized to mean the basic three parts of a futon sofa:
- Futon Frame - This is the foundation of the futon sofa made of wood or metal
- Futon Mattress Pad - The pad that folds as a sofa cushion and can lie flat when needed to serve as a bed mattress
- Futon Slip Cover - The decorative and protective covering that can be removed and replaced when needed
Because the word “futon” originally described the mattress portion only (before the futon was “Americanized”), the futon mattress pad itself is still often referred to as a “futon” as well. Just be aware of that both terms mean futon as this can prove helpful when discussion futon information in general.
Functions of the Modern Futon
The primary use of a futon is a substitution for the traditional sofa sleeper. While the this type of sofa bed is still quite popular, the futon sofa has gained massive market share over the years since it was first introduced to the United States. Like the traditional sofa bed, a futon can serve as a second bed for guests, a primary bed for small spaces like studios and dorm rooms, and can always gives the user the option for use as a place to sit when converted to the sofa position.
Which is Better? Futon vs Sleeper Sofa
Many in the futon industry will point out that a good quality futon sofa bed will generally be of better quality and higher comfort level than a sofa bed of equal price. This generalization may go only so far, however, as futons in the $2000 range might have very comparable sofa sleeper counterparts. As a general rule, however, consumers are urged to test sofa bed while in the bed position for comfort, especially at prices below a thousand dollars. For that matter, if you are going to spend more than a thousand dollars, you are even more wise to test for comfort before you buy.
The winning point, however, might be the consumers’ experience with traditional sofa beds. Often consumers complain of experiencing sagging mattresses of older and/or lower quality traditional sofa sleepers. With this type of unit, a guest will often complain about the “bar-in-the-back” experience, which occurs when the mattress sags so far that the sleeper actually rests on a metal support bar beneath the cushion.
Futon Dealers Offer Better Product Information
Negative experiences are sure to be had when people buy the cheaper “big-box” futon sofa products sold by major low and medium priced department stores, however. The old saying of you get what you paid can certainly apply to futon sofas as well. Owners of cheap quality futon sofas likely wish they had better futon information before they bought. These futon owners are generally the unhappy futon owners. Don’t buy cheap if possible.
To help avoid this experience seek out futon dealers who specialize in futons. These companies will offer the best information about futons to help you make a sound judgment come purchase time. In contrast, when a salesperson cannot talk in specifics about a given futon product it might be considered that the salesperson does not have full command of the product and lacks the knowledge to help you make a sound decision. Look elsewhere for help and make sure your dealer has solid, believable futon information.
Finally, be prepared to ask a lot of questions, especially if you are shopping on the Internet. Those who ask the most questions generally have the most favorable futon experiences in the end. Getting more information about the futon you are considering will easily make your investment that much more worth while. Best of luck!
Futon Informational Resources
Go to the Futon Association for general futon information. The Futon Association offers non-biased futon dealer information to help you find a dealer in your area or a reputable futon dealer online. For more information and resources, review our Helpful Futon Resources listing where you can discover other important resources with futon information.
Futon Dealers to Consider
Futons Etc Factory Outlet has an excellent blog which is filled with useful futon information. There “futon news” section provides all kinds of tips as well as relatively neutral sounding articles about products they sell. As always, take product reviews with a grain of salt when reading blogs from companies that sell the products under review. Still, Futons Etc Factory Outlet seems to do a respectable job of “sticking to the news” so to speak.
Another interesting stop is CSN Futons Advice Central. While this area of their website seems to promote the sale of their products more than might be palatable for some, it still offers a very usable guide to purchasing a futon and offers decent entry level information.
Possibly the best retail resource of futon information on the web comes from Futon Planet. This company prides itself on acting as the chief futon expert company around. While their ego may be loud, there is definitely no question that their site is jam packed with …
One of the least understood concepts facing new futon owners is the operation of their futon frame. While there is no standardized mechanism, you will find that each manufacturer follows a similar set of guidelines. Futon frames can be sorted into five major catagories:
- Metal hinge futons
- Click clack futons
- Standard wood futons
- Front loading wood futons
- Wall hugging wood futons
In this article, we will focus on metal hinge futon frames and their operation.
Metal Hinged Futon Frames
Metal hinged futon frames are among the most common futons on the market. They are generally the only futon frames you can find in the big box stores. These frames tend to be very inexpensive and thusly easy to sell. The hinge, sometimes mistakenly called a click-clack hinge, usually has little to no warranty, and is prone to failure.
Metal Hinged Futon Operation Instructions
To convert your metal futon from sofa to bed:
- Lift up on the front of the seat deck until the back deck is laying completely horizontal.
- You will now be able to pull the seat deck down into a flat position.
To convert your metal futon from bed to sofa:
- Lift up on the front of the seat deck until the seat deck locks.
- Gently push the seat deck back down. Gravity should be doing most of the work as the crease of the futon frame rolls toward the back.
- The frame will come to a stop in the recline position. Reach to the top of the back deck. With your calf against the seat deck, pull the back deck toward you until it locks into the upright position.
That’s it! If you have a heavy or extra firm mattress, you may have difficulty converting the frame at first. Over time, as the mattress becomes acclimated to the frame, conversion will become easier and easier!
Futon shoppers are rather astounded when they first see how many possible futon cover designs, materials, sizes, and options are available from a variety of futon cover manufacturers. After picking out the cover that matches your frame and interior best, there are a few other options that are available from some futon cover manufacturers.
Piping or Welting on Futon Covers
Piping or welting, is a cording that borders the seams of futon covers to make an impressive pop to the fabric. Usually manufacturers use the same material as the rest of the futon cover to create the piping or welting.
If you are interested in receiving your futon cover sooner than later, piping may not be your best option. Most manufacturers provide meticulous detail when adding piping to a futon cover. Some futon covers with piping could take an extra two weeks to be shipped out because of this extra care added to a futon cover, so plan accordingly.
Matching or Contrasting Pillows
Many interior decorators believe that pillows add a warm, cushy feeling to any room. Adding pillows to your futon cover order is usually rather simple as most online dealers offer a simple drop-down menu to pick out your cover.
Pillows are available in a variety of sizes, but 20″, 24″, and 30″ square pillows are most common. Some manufacturers even provide bolsters that are round cylinders with your choice of fabric. You may even have options to add round pillows, fringes and buttons to match and coordinate with your futon cover and futon set. You should contact your futon dealer to discuss these options.
The internal content of the pillow also can be changed to create specific levels of comfort. Some manufacturers offer soft cotton, polyester and even feather pillow fill options.
To match your futon cover even more, pillows are also available with piping.
Extra loft is not necessary for all futon covers. Some futon mattresses are 10 inches or thicker, especially those made by Otis. These mattresses require what the industry calls, extra loft. If your futon mattress, or the futon mattress that you plan on purchasing is between 10 inches or thick, be sure to choose extra loft when you order your futon cover.
Loft is the measurement on the side of a futon mattress or futon cover. Standard loft on a futon cover is 6″, and this fits futon mattresses up to 9″. Extra loft is 7″ and will fit thicker futon mattresses perfectly.
Your Futon Cover
Now that you have all the necessary information on options for your futon cover, you can make the right choice to create the design and theme that you are going for.
For more information about futon covers:
- Futons ETC Factory Outlet
- Visit our website today and
- Learn how you can save today!
Are you a futon expert? Futon Magazine is looking for seasoned futon experts with knowledge to share about their trade. Any breaking news, helpful tips, futon press, or just generally useful information for the futon purchaser is appreciated. We are also conducting interviews with various futon insiders to offer a more personal perspective for futon buyers who want to know a little more information about their futon manufacturers. For a limited time, we will also be taking press releases from manufacturers and retailers concerning futon news. Help customers connect with your product on FutonMagazine.com.
- Articles should be as unbiased as possible
- Your orginazation will be clearly identified in the byline
- We reserve the right to correct spelling and grammar issues, as well as general content editing to fit the spirit of the site. You will be sent a final proof for your approval prior to posting
- Sales letters and promotional material will be rejected
- Please, no more than 800 words per article
Please send articles and press releases to info @ magazine.com. Also use this email address to request interviews and to send in tips or questions that you would like to see answered on Futon Magazine.
In addition to futon magazine, we have a few other suggestions for futon news and futon related information. While many of these are maintained by manufacturers and retailers, we believe the information found here is generally unbiased and can aid you in your futon ownership experience.
This third party website offers some of the best and most unbiased general futon information available. This information is offered up by the industry pros at FAST, the Futon And specialty Sleep Trade. While the information is very general, the clean and unbiased nature of each article makes them all worth reading.
This resource offers consumers and businesses alike, a valuable resource to meet and exchange ideas. With its easy-to-use navigation and favorable architecture, Futon Life will provide many with an excellent source of news, information and various futon related tips.
This website has interesting background information about futon mattresses, as well as trivial bits of futon lore. While learning about the history of the futon mattress isn’t altogether helpful in teaching you about what to look for in a new futon, it does provide you with the history of the futon and why it has been such a popular bedding choice.
This special August Edition reviews America’s top ten futon companies. For 2008 the top ten futon companies include:
- Futon Planet
- CSN Futons
- Futons Etc Factory Outlet
- Ellens Futons
- Futon Creations
- Affordable Futons
- Today’s Futons
- Futon Street
Asking some basic questions of your online futon dealer means getting on the phone. This is one reason Futon Magazine advocates ensuring your futon dealer is accessible by phone. While the following recommended questions to ask your futon dealer form a general basis, you should ask as many questions as you can. The more things you ask the more likely you will be happy with your purchase.
Searching Reputations with Google
Before delving into the suggested questions, look for signs of reputability like Better Business Logo’s, Visa Logos, Privacy and Security Policies, Terms and Conditions, contact information. However, not every logo should readily be trusted. A great tip is to search for the dealer by name. For example, a Google search of the large advertiser Mercantila shows a link to a slew of dissatisfied customers. For example, Brad writes this about Mercantila saying:
I will start by saying this is the worst online shopping experience I have ever had. Now this is saying something. I have been shopping online extensively since 1998 when I first bought tickets off of Ticketmaster. I have bought from probably over 100 different online-only merchants these past ten years, many (if not most) being “gray market” or seemingly “fly by night” operations. I have never been burned.
Another customer writes about Mercantila, “Horrendous experience! I find it hard to believe they are a web-based merchant…” This customer writes “DO NOT buy from them at any COST. ” Reading through the list you will find dozens of negative customer experiences that make it seem like Mercantila is likely a company to avoid for futon purchasing.
- Mercantila - NEVER AGAIN will I shop with this vendor..
- … Mercantila was the WORST experience I have ever had..
- ..Be aware superstore spawns of Mercantila . Mercantila is only a shell…
Dig deeper by checking the Better Business Bureau at http://bbb.org to see what they have to say about a retailer your are considering to give your business. In some cases, it might be better to shy away from buying from bulk companies doing business from countries like Asia and India. Doing business with a domestically based futon company will often yield a better opportunity to get your money back or get helpful status reports.
Three Smart Questions
- How long have you been in business selling futons?
- When can I expect delivery AND how can I track my order?
- What is your return policy if I am unhappy or dissatisfied?
Most companies will have honest answers to these questions. Further probing will give you a better sense of the futon dealer’s mastery of their products and will give you an idea of how safe you think it is to do business with them. Keep in mind that most companies who offer free shipping, will expect some type of reimbursement should you decide to return your futon.
In general, most futon frames on the market come from Southeast Asia. Most commonly, the wood comes from rubber trees located in that region and are assembled in Indonesia. Vietnam is another country where futon frames have recently been imported into the United States as well. Other futons that come directly from China may be made of from the same raw materials, but to date, the quality that comes from China has not matched the same quality from Indonesia with the exception of some Siberian Oak futon frames.
There are one or two futon companies left that still manufacture their futons in the United States. Kd Frames is an American based futon company that makes futons from Appalachian Tulip Poplar. These frames are basic in design, unfinished, but are still extremely solid. Tulip Poplar, like rubber wood is a hardwood. This makes it an affordable alternative and makes Kd Frames an excellent choice for kids.
Another company offering American made futon frames is a company called Collegiate Furnishings. Their futons are made of Pine wood, which is considered a soft wood. Like KD Frames, Collegiate’s futons are unfinished and basic in design.
Other than a few other mom-and-pop shops scattered across the U.S., most futon frames are now imported from Asia. Lower labor costs have brought higher end futon frames down by as much as $300 in some cases.
Now with the rise of China and its immense appetite for raw materials, raw lumber is becoming rarer to find at competitive price points. This has caused many manufacturers to move to alternative methods of assembly. One common practice is to purchase smaller scraps of wood and then join them and glue them under high pressures. When done correctly, a good “finger joint” can be equally as strong as a solid piece of wood. In some cases, however, when cheap methods of construction are used, these finger joints can fail.
Consumers are advised to purchase their futons from reputable dealers who carry established futon name brands. Still with the ever-changing economy, it is hard to say whether consumers will continue to enjoy the same price points the futon market has offered the US market, or whether they will see general increases as time moves forward. For now the latter seems more likely.