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How to Choose a Bean Bag Chair: A 5-Step Guide

Posted by Dan Holmes on

So you want a bean bag chair? Here's a five-step guide to choosing a good one.

  1. Step 1: Select a Size
  2. Step 2: Select a Shape
  3. Step 3: Choose the Insides
  4. Step 4: Choose the Outsides
  5. Step 5: Check for Quality & Service

Step 1: Select a Size of Bean Bag

What size bean bag chair do you need? How many people are going to be sitting on it? Where will you use it? Answer these questions first.

If you're replacing a couch, consider choosing a bean bag lounger. A lounger is shaped more like a couch, longer as opposed to round like a typical bean bag chair. A lounger will typically seat two or three or more depending on the size.

If you're seeking a bean bag to take the place of a recliner or to provide single seating, get a round bean bag. A 4-foot is a good place to start. If you want more room, go to a 5-foot chair. A 6-foot is good for two people to have some room.

Keep in mind that the bigger you go the more space you'll need but also the chair or lounger will be more cumbersome to move.

Step 2: Select a Bean Bag Shape

Most bean bag chairs are round or a traditional tear-drop shape. Those chairs are designed to wrap nicely around one person, sort of swallowing them up with a big hug. But premium bean bag manufacturers offer loungers as well.

A bean bag lounger is longer, shaped more like a jolly rancher (without the stickiness). A lounger is more like a couch, providing seating for multiple people, while also offering a place for one person to stretch out. One person can lay down on a lounger and have their entire body suspended by the bean bag, like stretching out on a couch.

Which shape do you need depends on how you want to use the bean bag. Many of our church and school customers choose loungers because they want to offer seating for many young people.  

Step 3: Choose the Insides

Bean bags can be filled with nearly anything. Originally bean bags were stuffed with synthetic polyvinyl chloride beads, or PVC. Those things eventually became known as "beans" and the name was born. But beans don't really amount to a hill of beans.

Chairs filled with beans are cheaper and will not last as long. The chairs you probably see in department stores and on shelves, that cost $89, those are stuffed with the synthetic beans. They won't last long, which is why they cost so little --- they're basically throwaway items. But premium chairs are much better made.

The best bean bag chairs aren't actually bean bag chairs at all. That's because they're filled with foam. The better the foam, the better the chair.

Foam is softer and more durable than beans. Furniture-grade foam is the same foam that's used in the arms and cushions of your sofa and recliner. Furniture-grade foam will not flatten like beans. It will take years and years before furniture-grade foam flattens at all. If you want a chair that lasts, walk past the beans and choose a chair with foam.

Step 4: Choose the Outsides

The first bean bag chairs were leather. While leather is durable and classy, it's not what you want to lounge on for hours. Most quality bean bags have an outer shell made with quality fabrics like twill and microsuede. The covers are manufactured with care so the zippers and seams are durable.

You can also find specialty fabrics, such as polar bear fleece, cableknit, and other soft fleece or shag options.

Make sure you get a bean bag that has an inner liner. The inner liner secures the foam, while the cover slips over the top of the inner liner. That ensures that your foam (or other filling) stays secure and does not spill when you want to remove the cover.

Premium bean bag companies will make their product with a removable washable cover. 

Step 5: Shop for Quality and Service

Lastly, investigate the manufacturer before purchase. is the retailer the manufacturer? Do they offer a warranty and how long is it? What does the warranty cover? How long has the company been making bean bags? Are they committed to making quality products or are they simply making cheap bean bags for mass consumption? What would you rather have, a cheap bean bag that will break down, leak beans, and have a torn zipper, or a premium bag that lasts years and is hand-stitched and filled with high-grade foam?

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Xorbee sells premium bean bag chairs filled with hand-sorted furniture-grade foam. Our covers are removable, washable, and hand-stitched in the USA. We offer a lifetime warranty and we've been making bean bags for more than 20 years. We believe in providing only quality products to our customers. Many of our customers have been with us for years. Browse our bean bag collection.

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