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What is the Comparable Quality of Craftmaster, Norwalk, Klaussner and Jonathan Louis? 

By Jeff Frank


What is the comparable quality of Craftmaster, Norwalk, Klaussner and Jonathan Louis? 

Oct. 18, 2020


Of these 4 brands I would rank them (from highest to lowest quality):

1) Norwalk (Lower end of high quality furniture)

2) Jonathan Louis (Slightly above most mid-range furniture)

3) Craftmaster (Slightly above most mid-range furniture)

4) Klaussner (The lower end of mid-range furniture)

Norwalk, Jonathan Louis and Craftmaster are custom manufacturers. Klaussner is a mass producer whose primary customer is large furniture retail chains.

Here are some key differences among the different brands:

  • Frames:
    • Norwalk generally uses plywood for its frames. Norwalk’s plywood is above the industry standard and should last 20+ years.
    • Jonathan Louis uses solid hardwood in many of its frames. Although you may think that solid wood is better than plywood, it depends on many factors. In this case JL uses Poplar, which is technically a hardwood, but is lighter and less durable than other types of hardwood such as maple and oak generally found in high end sofa frames. It may not last as long as the plywood used by Norwalk and Craftmaster.
    • Craftmaster uses plywood frames. Its plywood has fewer plies (and is less thick) than Norwalk.
    • Klaussner’s frames are plywood and engineered woods. The plywoods are thinner than those used by Norwalk and Craftmaster.
  • Springs and foundations:
    • Norwalk’s coil spring construction is far superior to the sinuous wire used by the other three companies.  Norwalk does use sinuous wire in some of their styles where they are trying to reach a particular price point or where there is simply not enough room beneath the seat for a coil spring. Coil spring foundations add to the seat comfort where sinuous wire does not. Both types of foundations should last 20+ years.
    • Jonathan Louis, Craftmaster and Klaussner all use sinuous wire spring foundations (also known as No-Sag.) This is one of the least expensive types of seat supports available  but should last far longer than many other parts of the sofa.
  • Cushions
  • Norwalk uses top of the line Qualux foam in its standard cushions. Get one of the cushion upgrades. These can significantly increase the comfort and lifespan of the furniture.
  • Craftmaster uses 2.0 density foam in most of its cushions. For cushions of equal thickness, 2.0 foam should last about a year longer than the industry standard 1.8 density foam.
  • Jonathan Louis and Klaussner both use industry standard 1.8 density foam for its cushions. Depending on frequency of use (and the size of the individuals using the furniture) 1.8 density cushions generally have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years before wearing out. At that point they lose their resiliency and comfort. Cushions are typically the first part of low and mid-range upholstered furniture to wear out.
  • Norwalk, Klaussner and Craftmaster furniture is all Made in the USA. Jonathan Louis has manufacturing facilities in both California and Mexico.

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