Metal vs Wooden Bunk Beds

two children in a wooden bunk bed

I often wish I had a bunk bed when I was a child. They look fun and cosy, not to mention they hold nostalgic value, as they remind me of all the child films I used to watch in the 80s and 90s. After much consideration, my daughter now has a wooden bunk bed, but I did do a lot of research on whether a metal or wooden frame would be a better choice. In this article, let’s look at the pros and cons of each option.

What is the best material for bunk beds?

There are really two choices of materials for bunk beds; metal and wood. You can get different types of wooden bunk beds, and the choice of material can make a big difference on durability. For example, engineered wood, which is made from various strands and fibers, tends to be cheaper but not that strong. Hardwoods are heavier and tougher, which should ensure the bunk bed holds its shape and structure for many years. Metal frames are more consistent in their sturdiness and durability.

Are wooden or metal bunk beds better?

It depends on what you define as ‘better’. In terms of the look and feel of a bunk bed, wooden ones usually come out on top. They tend to have a more cosy and traditional appearance which goes down well with the majority of families. However, if your child’s bedroom has a modern theme, such as space, robots, or something else futuristic and contemporary, then a metal frame might be the way to go. Metal frames are also generally cheaper than wooden ones.

Are metal beds safer than wooden bunk beds?

Wooden bunk beds tend to be a little safer than metal bunk beds as they are more suitable for young children, who let’s face it, are more prone to accidents! The hard metal frame can be a little risky for youngsters if they were to bang their head or slip on the ladder. For teenagers and adults, this shouldn’t be an issue, so you don’t need to worry about safety too much.

Are wood or metal bunk beds stronger?

The strength of a wooden bunk bed can vary a lot depending on the material (as outlined above). However, metal is generally stronger as the frame can support a heavier weight, which is great if you have teenagers.

Pros and cons of metal bunk beds

Here are advantages and disadvantages of metal bunk beds:


  • More affordable. Buying a metal frame is generally cheaper than a wooden one.
  • Resistant to bed bugs. Any nasty critters won’t affect a metal bunk bed, but it can certainly damage a wooden one.
  • More durable (if you’re on a budget).While most parents prefer the look of a wooden bunk bed, metal bunk beds are generally more durable, but only at the cheaper end of the market. If you spend a bit more, some top quality wooden bunk beds are also very tough and long lasting. Wooden bunk beds are also at more risk of damage due to moisture and rot.
  • Lighter frame. Metal bunk beds are generally lighter than wooden ones, which makes it easier to move them around.
  • Easier to assemble. In general, metal bunk beds are easier and quicker to put together.
  • They can support a greater weight. This is only something to consider if you need to buy one for a teenager or adult. Metal bunk beds can support a greater weight than a wooden frame.


  • Have a specific look and feel. Metal bunk beds tend to suit a room with a modern and contemporary look. Unfortunately, they don’t have the cosy and warm feel of wooden bunk beds.
  • Not suitable for small children. Bunk beds with a metal frame aren’t generally suitable for younger children. They have a slicker design overall, particularly for the ladder which makes them less comfortable to climb on the balls of the feet. Also, as younger children are at greater risk of falling in general, they’re more likely to injury themselves on a metal frame, compared to a wooden one. Metal frame bunk beds are generally better for older children and teenagers though.

Can metal bunk beds break or collapse?

If the bunk bed isn’t put together properly or is misused in some way, then it could definitely collapse. Ensure you follow the assembly instructions properly and your child uses the bunk bed properly (no repeated jumping up and down on the mattress!)

Are metal bunk beds safe for adults?

One of the advantages of metal bunk beds is they can generally support a heavier weight than a wooden frame. Therefore if you’re buying one for your teenage son or daughter, for yourself or another adult, then a metal bunk bed is a sensible choice.

Pros and cons of wooden bunk beds

Here are the strengths and weaknesses of wooden bunk beds:


  • Attractive designs. There is a lot more choice of wooden bunk beds than metal ones, and they have a more traditional and cosier feel, which is popular with parents.
  • Comfort. Wooden bunk beds are more comfortable to use and for climbing up and down the stairs or ladder compared to metal ones. This makes them a better option for smaller children.
  • Durability (but it depends on the type of wood). Wooden bunk beds made out of engineered wood won’t be as durable as ones made from hardwoods, like  walnut, maple or oak. As you can expect, the heavier and more durable wood types are more expensive.


  • Expensive. Wooden frames are just more expensive than metal, as it’s more costly to manufacture.  Although you can get cheaper wooden bunk beds, they won’t be as long lasting or as durable as more expensive options.
  • Don’t support a heavy weight. If you’re buying a bunk bed for a teenager or an adult, a metal frame might be the better choice as it can support a heavier weight. However, as bunk beds are generally for children, this shouldn’t be a big issue.
metal vs wooden bunk beds