Many do not realize that the futon originated in Japan. According to Premier Futon Mattress.com, the original futon was a thin, frameless mat spread over rice straw that could be folded and easily stored. Now, as the futon has taken hold in Western culture, the futon mattress is available in several different sizes and shapes and can be made from several different materials.
What Sets Them Apart
Not all futon mattresses are created equally. According to Futon Mattress Info.com, the only quality that truly sets futon mattresses apart is the craftsmanship and materials used. The site goes on to say that the best futon mattresses use cotton, wool, organic cotton or latex as futon material.
Futon mattresses can come in nine different sizes. Futons.net lists these sizes as ranging from twin size (39 inches by 75 inches) to a large king size (78 inches by 80 inches). Size obviously depends on personal preference and what room the futon will be used in.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a futon mattress is what material the mattress is stuffed with. Cotton and cotton foam mattresses are common choices, according to Premier Futon Mattress.com, but they are prone to collecting moisture and "lumping up." Routinely airing these mattresses out and flipping them will usually help alleviate these problems.
The options for futon mattresses do not end with cotton. As wool is a natural insulator, the material is great for futon mattresses. However, according to Premier Futon Mattress.com, many people have a wool allergy, making wool mattresses a rarity. Polyester foam mattresses are another option to consider because of how long they last. Premier Futon Mattress.com reports that the mattresses are surrounded by a thin layer of cotton, so while they are comfortable they can be almost too firm for some.
Try Before You Purchase
The best way to test for your personal taste is to sit and/or lay on a friend's futon or a store model. According to Futons.net, this is the best method for finding a good futon mattress, but knowing the different materials and what to expect from them is a great head start in the selection process.