Home » Blog » Sofa Shopping: How Can I Tell Which Sofas Will Last the Longest?

Sofa Shopping: How Can I Tell Which Sofas Will Last the Longest?

By Jeff Frank

Sofa shopping can be confusing & frustrating.

You don’t always get what you pay for!

It’s very easy to spend thousands of dollars on sofas or sectionals that will need a replacement within 5 years.

Seat cushions determine how long most sofas & couches will last.

If you paid more than $1000 for a sofa, the frame & foundation usually holds together for at least 10 years.

The frames make squeak or sway, but will remain functional.

Sinuous wire foundations aren’t as comfortable as 8 way hand tied, but they will last just as long.

Seat cushions are usually the first component that fails.

Most seat cushions wear out long before the frame or foundation.

Most seat cushions have foam cores.

Foam density is the single most important factor in determining how long a cushion will last.

Firmness does not affect a cushion’s lifespan.

For a more detailed explanation of the difference between density & firmness, see What is the difference between foam density & firmness?

1.8 density foam is used in the majority of seat cushions.

Cushions described as “high density” or “high resilience” are 1.8 density foam.

Seat cushions with 1.8 density foam have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years before losing their firmness, resilience (ability to bounce back) and comfort.

2.0 density cushions will provide an additional few years before needing replacement. (5 – 7 years.)

2.2 density foam cushions increase the average lifespan up to 8 – 10 years.

2.5 density cushions should last 10 – 15+ years.

Foam cushions that wear out within 5 years can be found in a wide variety of sofas, ranging in price from $300 sofas to leather reclining sectionals priced at $5000+.

Spring Down (or Spring Fiber) cushions retain their “as new” looks and comfort for 15+ years.

Pocketed coil spring cushions have been growing in popularity lately.

They are far cheaper than Spring Down cushions.

Pocketed coil cushions last more than twice as long as 1.8 density foam cushions, but can feel uncomfortably firm unless there is sufficient padding above the coil springs.

Cheap imported seating (usually sold online) has 4 to 5 inch thick pocketed coil cushions (3 inches of coil springs & 1 to 2 inches of cheap padding.)

Cheap pocketed coil sofas products are rarely sold in showrooms, because they would feel uncomfortable to most people trying them out.

Better quality 6 inch thick pocketed coil cushions, with 3 inches of good quality padding, can last 10+ years, and are firm, but reasonably comfortable for most people.

More recently, a few brands have started using 8 inch thick pocketed coil cushions with 5 inches of heavy-duty padding.

8 inch thick pocketed coil cushions are both long-lasting (10+ years) and comfortable.

Cushion durability also depends on factors that may increase or decrease its lifespan.

Amount of use:

If you have a family with lots of kids who like to jump on the furniture, it will decrease the lifespan of your cushions.

Size of the people using the cushions:

A 250 lb. person decreases the average lifespan of foam cushions by 50%.

A 300 lb. individual can wear out most foam cushions within one year.

Cushion size:

Larger seat cushions decrease the amount of pressure per square inch on the foam core, resulting in longer cushion lifespan.

A two seat sofa’s cushions will last longer than the same sofa with three seat cushions.

Cushion thickness:

Thicker foam cushions last longer than thin cushions.

The most common foam cushion core found in American sofas is 5 inches thick. 

If you increase that to 6 inches, you increase the lifespan by at least 20%.

If you decrease the foam core to 4 inches, you decrease the lifespan by at least 25%.

“Soft “ and “Cloud comfort” cushions substitute feathers and/or polyester fiber for some of the foam. They don’t last as long solid foam cushions with the same thickness.

Cushion depth for coil spring cushions is more complex.

The average coil depth for Spring Down cushions is 4 inches (3 inches for pocketed coils), but increasing or decreasing that depth does not necessarily increase or decrease the lifespan.

Now that you know, sofa shopping doesn’t need to be quite as confusing.

For more help, see the Insiders Guide to Furniture.

Leave a Comment