Bassett Sofa and Ethan Allen Which Brand Has Better Quality?

by | Oct 5, 2021 | Ask the Expert | 0 comments

Question:

I am trying to decide between a Bassett sofa and Ethan Allen. The prices are the same. Which is better quality?

Sheila.

Jan. 16, 2021

 Answer:

If you are comparing similar styles with similar fabrics, I would expect Ethan Allen to be more expensive.

If you have found an EA sofa priced the same as a similar Bassett, it will be a better value.

From a construction view, Bassett is above average for mid-range furniture quality. It is mass produced furniture.

If you buy a Bassett sofa make sure you get the upgraded spring down cushion. It should last about three times as long as the standard cushion.

  • Bassett’s standard cushion has a 5 1/2″ thick 1.8 density foam core with a polyester fiber wrapping. It has an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years for most people, getting softer and softer as it loses its resilience (and comfort ) over that time period.
  • The blend down cushion takes that same foam core and shrinks it down to 4″ and then adds a layer of mixed feathers and fiber to fill in the space of the missing foam.
    • Feathers and fiber have a nice soft feel (when new) but you now have a thinner foam core that is going to have an even shorter lifespan than the 3 – 5 years of the standard.
  • The Reaxion cushion would be intriguing if it was a real memory foam, but it would also be a lot more expensive. Because Bassett doesn’t actually say what its special “reaxion foam” is made from (other than it is not memory foam) it is impossible to draw any conclusions about this cushion.
  • Bassett’s spring down cushion option would be my choice. It is softer than the standard cushion, but will maintain its “moderate firmness” over time without losing any resilience. The spring down construction should last twice as long as the standard cushion for most people.

If you have done your due diligence and checked out reviews and complaints about Bassett, you will come across these review sites:

Consumer Affairs

My 3 cents

Complaints board (This review site has only negative reviews.)

PissedConsumer.com (This site has mostly negative reviews for every company it lists.

It is interesting to note that Bassett’s own review site has a 4.6 average star rating on over 20,000 customer reviews. Keep in mind they are allowed to edit or delete any reviews they don’t like.

Check out this interesting story about Bassett from the New Yorker magazine.

Ethan Allen is at the lower end of high quality furniture. It is genuine custom made furniture, built by highly skilled individual craftspeople.

I rank them at the lower end of high quality for several reasons:

  • Frames are engineered hardwoods.
    • Until about 10 years ago no high end upholstery manufacturer would use anything other than solid hardwood (usually maple) for their frames.
    • Now, many high end upholstery brands use engineered wood or plywood frames.
      • Well built engineered wood frames can last 20+ years.
      • The old 5/4″ solid maple frames were built to last 50+ years.
  • Foundations are either coil spring or sinuous wire.
    • Until the past 20 years, 8 way hand tied coils were required for most high end upholstery. Styles that did not have room for 8 way hand tied used Pirelli webbing.
    • The drop-in coil springs used by Ethan Allen are just as comfortable as 8 way hand tied and should last just as long (or longer.)
      • Drop in coil springs are considerably cheaper than 8 way hand-tied.
        • This is because there is very little labor (or skill) required to install a drop-in unit.
        • 8 way hand-tied springs require many hours of highly skilled labor.
        • Upholsterers who can do 8 way hand-tied springs are among the highest paid furniture craftspeople.
    • Sinuous wire spring foundations are very cheap and can be found in $399 sofas.
      • They are very sturdy and should last 20+ years, but are far less comfortable.
  • Ethan Allen does not give specifications on their cushions, other than that they are environmentally friendly.
    • I don’t think they have an optional Spring down cushion upgrade. That is unusual for a high end upholstery manufacturer.

In general, Ethan Allen’s frame and foundation are very similar to Bassett. Ethan Allen’s craftsmanship is at  a much higher level.

  • EA will have many more higher priced fabrics and leathers than you will be able to find in Bassett’s line.
    • Bassett’s fabrics will be mostly plain, solid colors.
    • Ethan Allen will have a far greater selection of patterns and stripes.
    • A higher skill level is necessary to match up stripes and patterns properly.

Bassett does have a custom sofa line, which is made for them by a subcontractor. That may be better quality than their regular line.

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Consultant

Jeff Frank is a 45 year  furniture industry veteran. He created this blog to provide detailed facts, inside information & advice for furniture shoppers. 

 

 

 

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