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Jonathan Louis or Craftmaster, Which is the Best?

By Jeff Frank


Trying to decide on two brands of sectional couches for our lake home. Choices by Jonathan Louis and Craftmaster F9 Design Options. Louis is cheaper but seems pretty good quality wise. Any advice?

Stephanie L.

Jan. 26, 2021


Jonathan Louis is a custom manufacturer with manufacturing facilities in both California and Mexico.

  • I don’t know whether or not there is a difference in quality between the two locations.
  • I do know that there are other upholstery manufacturers, including Flexsteel, whose Mexican made furniture is significantly lower quality than their U.S. made products.

Craftmaster is slightly above average in quality for U.S. made mid-priced sofas.

The diagram below comes from the Craftmaster website. I have made some observations about Craftmaster in RED.

Jonathan Louis furniture construction comparison is in GREEN.

Frames – Craftmaster has a hardwood plywood frame consisting Of Hardwood Rails And Hardwood Laminates. This is a mostly plywood frame. It should last 10 – 20 years.

JL’s frames are solid Poplar. Although solid hardwood is usually better than plywood, that is not the case here. Poplar is the lightest and least hard of all hardwoods. (It is also the least expensive.) I would expect the JL frame to fail before Craftmaster.

Heavily Padded Arms  – Craftmaster arms are foam and fiber wrapped.

JL pads arms and other frame parts using fiber, but not foam. That is much less costly. It also doesn’t work as well. The frame can often be felt through fiber only wrappings.

Tie Wires On Back & Seat Springs For Additional Support. – Standard. Cheap way to do it, but should last 20 years or more.

JL is the same.

Heavy Gauge Sinuous Wire Springs – Cheapest type of foundation support, but should last 20 years or more.

JL is the same.

Heavily Padded In-Back – Standard.

JL does not give specifications for their in-backs.

100% Dacron Polyester Fiber Back Cushion Encased In A Sewn Ticking With Separate Compartments To Prevent Fiber Fall Down – Standard.

JL is the same.

2.0 Density High Resiliency Foam Core With Dacron Fiber Wrapping –Above average. 2.0 density cushions should last about 1 – 2  years longer than standard 1.8 density foam cushions.

JL uses 1.8 density HR foam. They also have cushion upgrades. The upgrades replace some of the foam core with softer materials such as polyester fiber or feathers/down. These upgrades are softer than the standard cushion, but will probably have a shorter lifespan before losing their resiliency and comfort.

  1. – Fully Lined Tailored Skirts. This is the correct way to make a skirt. Not everybody does. JL does not specify this.
  2. – Padded Edge Roll. Above average. Padded with foam. JL pads with polyester fiber. Much cheaper, much less effective at cushioning the frame.
  3. – Insulated Seat Pad For Added Comfort. Standard.  JL idoes not specify.
  4. – Joints Are Mortise And Tenon Or Double Dowelled, Glued, & Corner Blocked For Durability. Good (but not great) joint construction techniques. Better than many other mid-priced brands. JL’s solid Poplar frames are not as strong, but should still last at least 10 years without any problems.
  5. – Wood Legs On Skirted Frames Are Built Into The Frame For Strength & Durability. Exposed Wood, Decorative Legs Are Securely Mounted To The Base Of The Frame. Built-in legs are stronger than screw-in legs, but make it harder to fit a sofa through a doorway. If your Craftmaster sofa does not have a skirt, you probably will not have built-in legs. JL does not specify.

Cushion breakdown is the most common complaint for modern stationary (non-motion) upholstered furniture. Craftmaster’s 2.0 density foam cushions should last 4 – 6 years for average size people with average use. Individuals who weigh 250 lbs. or more can wear out cushions much sooner.

Jonathan Louis’ 1.8 density cushions have an average life expectancy of 3 – 5 years (about 1 year less than a 2.0 density foam.)

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