Why Are Bean Bag Chairs So Expensive? The Truth Explained

You know you’ve been there. You’re browsing the furniture store looking for a new chair and all of a sudden you see it – a bean bag chair. It’s so soft, so comfortable, and so perfect! But then the sticker shock sets in – $489? For a chair made from what looks like scrap fabric? Well, this post is for you. I’m going to explain why bean bag chairs are so expensive AND give you some tips on how to get your hands on one without breaking the bank.

Why are bean bag chairs so expensive?

They are made of durable materials

Many people expect that bean bags will be cheap. After all, it’s not much different to a pillowcase filled with cheap stuffing, right? Not quite!

Strong, durable, colorfast materials can be expensive. You want your bean bag chair to last, so the fabric needs to be dense enough that it won’t tear easily. It needs to be tough enough to support the weight of a large adult of any size and be able to stand up to regular use by kids and pets. A thin, inferior or weak fabric could cause the bean bag to burst, which would spell disaster! While the fabric needs to be robust, it also needs to feel soft and comfortable enough to enjoy lounging on.

Type of fabric used

Some types of fabric are more expensive than others. Here are just a few used for bean bag chairs:

Cotton

High-quality upholstery grade cotton is soft, warm and robust. This is one of the cheaper fabrics and is particularly popular for bean bag chairs with removable, washable covers. This is a great option if you’ve got kids or for high use chairs.

Leather

Real leather offers comfort, style and luxury, but it’s an expensive option. Genuine leather comes from animal hides and is not mass produced. Most is imported and it costs a lot to manufacture. Leather is a great material for a bean bag chair as it is comfortable, durable, colorfast and heat resistant. Leather is also easy to clean, although needs some extra love and care when it comes to maintenance. You should use a leather conditioner to keep it soft and supple.

Faux leather

Faux leather is a popular alternative as it looks like leather but is easier to maintain. It’s also cheaper! Faux leather is usually made from a high-strength, fire-safe vinyl. It is very easy to clean – all you have to do is wipe it down.

While we could go into detail about all the different types of fabric available, there’s no need. If you want to save money, you should avoid fabrics such as real leather, silk, suede etc. as these can be very expensive.  Instead opt for products with faux leather, faux fur, microsuede, cotton or polyester covers. If you’ve got kids, look for a bean bag chair with a removable cover – preferably one that is machine washable.

Construction methods

Construction methods also matter when it comes to durability. A good bean bag chair will be double stitched with reinforced stitching for extra strength. They must pass relevant fire safety regulations. Zips need to be child-proof so that a child cannot gain access to the interior of the bean bag chair (in case of accidents). Many contain inner liners (that hold the beans) so that the outer covers can be removed for cleaning. These extras all cost money because they add time and expense to the manufacturing process. However, they are features you will need if you want a safe, long-lasting bean bag chair.

The larger the bean bag, the more it will cost

This one is common sense really. A bigger bean bag will cost far more than a smaller one, because more fabric is needed. Also bigger liners, bigger more robust zipper etc. Many people choose the bigger bean bag sizes (5ft and 6ft) for lounging as they’re more comfortable, but if you want to save some money, choose a smaller one.

Filling is not cheap

Foam

There are different types of filling for bean bags. One of the most popular fillings today is shredded polyurethane foam. This is used for upholstery, pillows, bean bags, pet beds and more. It offers superior comfort, and firm but flexible support. You can get the “right feel” with this type of filling just by adding extra for more firmness, or using less for a softer bean bag.

Shredded memory foam is another option used in bean bag chairs. Memory foam contains polyurethane, but also additional chemicals that increase its density and viscosity. Memory foam is more expensive than polyurethane foam, but neither are cheap.

You can buy bags of foam on Amazon to fill a bean bag you’ve made yourself, or to add more to an existing bean bag. A small bag of shredded foam might seem cheap, but if you needed enough to fill a 70 lb bean bag it could get quite expensive.


Polystyrene beads/beans

Polystyrene beans are all the same shape and conform to the body well when you are positioning yourself on a bean bag. They are usually lightweight, small, round and white. Because the beads are all the same shape they move around each other better when you are positioning your body in the bean bag. Virgin beads are best as they have never been used before (not recycled) and they bounce back quicker to their original shape. These should keep your bean bag chair fluffy, full and comfortable for a long time. While its a cheaper option than foam, it can still be expensive due to the manufacturing processes involved in making it. The Moon Pod is one particular product that uses polystyrene beads.

Shipping is expensive for large, heavy items

The cost to ship bean bags is high due to their size and weight. While some types of filling (e.g. foam) can be compressed to make it slightly smaller for shipping, it’s still going to retain its weight and much of its size. A 6 foot bean bag that seats 2 adults can weigh 70-80 lbs or more, and that won’t be cheap to ship. The bean bag chair company you purchase from might be offering free shipping to you, but it’s not free for them. So you can be sure the cost of shipping will be reflected in the overall price of the bean bag making it more expensive.

Why you should buy a bean bag chair

  • While you might think that a bean bag chair is expensive, it’s actually a far less expensive alternative to a couch, armchair, recliner or loveseat. Find out how much a bean bag chair costs 
  • They’re durable, easy to clean and can be used as an extra seat for guests
  • Bean bag chairs come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors – you’ll easily find one to suit your family’s needs
  • Bean bag chairs are a great way to sit comfortably and watch TV, use a laptop etc.
  • Bean bags can be used as a reading nook for kids and adults alike
  • They’re easy to move around if you need more space, or want to change the room’s layout
  • They’re also great for playing video games with friends – they create an inviting atmosphere that anyone would enjoy hanging out in
  • You’ll never have backaches from sitting in one place too long because beanbags conform to your body’s shape, so you’re not forced into any unnatural positions like traditional chairs do.

Where to find an affordable bean bag chair that won’t break the bank

There are many brands that offer affordable options. If you want a bean bag chair that’s big, a bit luxurious and comfortable enough for all the family, check out companies like Ultimate Sack or Sofa Sack. They sell high-end products starting at about $100. These will last much longer than cheaper versions because they use better materials and construction methods. You can find both of these brands on Amazon:


The cheapest option is probably buying one second-hand. There’s no shortage of people looking to get rid of their old furniture! It’s worth checking out Craigslist in your area to see if there are any for sale.

If you’re crafty and can sew, you could try making your own. This is not something I can write about unfortunately as I’ve never made one myself, but check out The Easiest DIY Bean Bag Chair Tutorial for instructions.

Final thoughts

So now that you know why bean bag chairs are so expensive, you’ll see exactly why they cost as much as they do. Size, materials used, features etc. will all have a bearing on the overall price. For a high-quality, durable bean bag chair that will last, it IS worth paying over $100, and up to $300 for a giant 6ft version.  You don’t need to pay crazy prices like $1000+. Yes, there really are bean bag chairs that cost that much – check out the Lovesac range for instance.

Whatever you pay, you’ll probably find that a bean bag chair is a very welcome addition to your home. Do shop around though to find the best prices and read customer reviews before you choose! This is a purchase you don’t want to get wrong as it can be awkward and expensive to try and return such a large, heavy item.

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