Few things are comfortable to sit on and read a book or watch a movie as a bean bag. There is something about the tiny beads inside that take the shape of your body and make you feel like you’re sitting on a piece of furniture that was molded to your shapes.
But what if we told you there is so much more you have to know about bean bag refill before you buy? So, let’s explore your options.
What Is the Best Filling for a Bean Bag?
If by “best” you mean “most comfortable”, then the best filling for a bean bag is most likely shredded foam. It’s highly adaptable, takes the shape of your body to allow for comfortable seating, and provides plenty of comfort even if you sit down for a considerable number of hours.
What Are Bean Bag Chairs Filled With?
There are plenty of different bean bag fill options out there, so we’ve made a list of the common types you’re bound to find and the characteristics of each variety.
The majority of bean bags have expanded polystyrene (EPS) inside them, which is a man-made material. EPS is a rigid plastic material that is quite similar to styrofoam, which is made of extruded polystyrene. Apart from bean bag beads, EPS is utilized as a cushioning material in packaging and transportation.
Because EPS is lightweight but strong enough to hold its shape for several years, it is ideal for most budget bean bag chairs. EPS is composed of 98 percent air. The EPS beads used as bean bag filler range in diameter from 3 to 5 millimeters. Moisture and heat are not a problem for EPS beads.
Since EPS is not a biodegradable material, it can be reused and recycled in a variety of ways. Once the beads are replaced, they can be packaged and sold or taken to a regional recycling center.
EPP is short for expanded polypropylene, which is also a thermoplastic polymer used to manufacture bean bag fill, but its use is more prevalent in Asia than in the United States and Europe.
EPP beads have a number of advantages over EPS beads and other types of fillers. EPP foam is a very robust and durable material that is also extremely resilient.
When crushed or distorted, the material soon reverts to its original shape and dimensions. This enables the beads to be compressed without sacrificing their airy, cushioning characteristics.
Additionally, EPP beads provide a number of advantages. They do not lose as much volume as EPS beads do. Additionally, they don’t have the strong odor that EPS beads have.
The primary disadvantage of EPP beads is their susceptibility to heat and burning. Additionally, when exposed to oxygen, EPP degrades. EPP is also used in a variety of other applications, such as plastic furniture and lids with live hinges.
Bean bags have existed far longer than plastic, and their moniker is not coincidental. Bean bags were originally packed with dried beans or a variety of different grains, including corn and rice.
These sorts of fillings have seen a comeback in popularity in recent years as consumers seek out natural fillers rather than synthetic fillers. Buckwheat hulls are a very popular natural filler. Although their hulls are stiff, they can be rather pleasant when enclosed in a thick liner.
Compressed foam is a new addition amongst the other types of materials used to make bean bag fill. Additionally, this is referred to as memory foam. Customers who have purchased memory foam bean bags are very happy with how these perform, and this type of material is predicted to gain prominence over the next few years.
Bean bags filled with memory foam are lightweight and portable. This is due to their ability to be compressed to around one-quarter of their resting size during transportation.
When used for making bean bags, memory foam is readily available in offcuts. However, because of the size and irregular shape of memory foam bits, some people dislike their texture when utilized in bean bags that have thin linings. The fabric works best when combined with 1680D polyester and leather.
Micro-beads were previously utilized in some types of bean bags, like neck pillows, however they are not suitable for huge bean bags or furniture. They are composed of microscopic pellets made of polyethylene, a form of plastic. They range in size from ten micrometers to one millimeter.
Micro-beads have been widely employed as an exfoliating ingredient in a variety of cosmetic products during the last many years, such as lotions and soaps. These little beads are very smooth, and their round shape allows for easy application while also adding aesthetic appeal to the goods they are used in.
There are some locations throughout the US that prohibit the sale of items containing microbeads. This is in response to their discovery in extremely high numbers in the Great Lakes, where they may pose an environmental concern.
Types of Bean Bag Refill
There is more than one type of bean bag refill out there, so knowing about all of them will help you choose a product that’s more suitable for you:
Natural filler is an eco-friendly solution for people who care a lot about reducing waste and their overall purchases of synthetic materials. Everything from rice to unpopped popcorn is considered to be natural filler. They offer plenty of benefits aside from being an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene, for instance. They don’t lose their shape that fast and they are cheaper as well. However, they are also likely to attract pests.
Shredded foam filler is another option that you can turn to. It is more comfortable and more conforming compared to the previous option. The flexibility of the shredded foam pieces makes this type of fill a viable option in many situations and it’s very common to find stuffer animals or pillow filled with shredded foam.
EPS (short for Expanded PolyStyrene) beads are probably the most common type of bean bag chair fill out there. These beads resemble the structure and appearance of styrofoam and they are lightweight and rigid. EPS beads are more resistant compared to other types of fill, since they can withstand both moisture and heat. It is also a recyclable type of fill. However, when it’s time to replace the beads, choose virgin ones instead of recycled because these have a longer lifespan.
Polystyrene pellets are similar to the aforementioned beads except for the fact that they are smaller and have a cylinder-like shape. They are amongst the most comfortable choices on the market and are well-known for their heat-insulation properties.
EPP (short for Expanded PolyproPylene) beads are made from thermoplastic polymer and are incredibly strong. They will outlive most other types of beads and don’t have a strong off-gassing like other options out there. The main downside of choosing this type of filling is that it degrades pretty fast when exposed to oxygen. It is, however, impact-resistant, lightweight, and also recyclable.
Related: 10 Best Bean Bag Chairs for Kids To Sink In Comfortably
How Much Filling Do I Need for a Bean Bag?
The amount of filler used is determined by the size, shape, and volume of the bean bag, as well as the user’s preferences. When no information on refilling is available, you can self-evaluate the measurements of your bean bag in order to calculate how much fill is needed. Thus, it is more advantageous to be aware of the fillers and their composition before purchasing a bean bag chair.
To determine the quantity of beans to fill, it is necessary to understand how to calculate the capacity of the bean bag. The bean bag’s volume is determined by its shape. Bean bags come in two basic forms. The first type is rectangular or square in shape, whereas the second type is either cylindrical or round.
Square and rectangular chairs
To begin, you’ll need the height, breadth, and length of the bean bag. After that, multiply the width, breadth, and length. Ascertain that all measurements are taken in centimeters or a single unit.
Then, you’ll get the volume of the bean bag expressed in cubic centimeters or another precise measurement. Due to the fact that square-shaped bean bags have equal breadth, height, and length measurements, you only need to take one.
Round and cylinder chairs
For these types of bean bag chairs, the formula for calculating the volume is pi * (d/2)^2 * h – where p is equal to 22/7, d is the diameter of the bean bag, and h is the height.
Recycled vs. Virgin Beads: What’s the Difference?
When you’re out shopping for new bean bag filling, you will often come across the concepts of “virgin” or “recycled” beads as part of the product’s description. These two options may look alike, but they are quite different and each of them provides different benefits and drawbacks for the person buying them:
- Virgin beads can be recognized due to their round and smooth shape. Because of that shape, they are able to shift around each other easier once you sit down on the bean bag, making this experience more comfortable. Unlike recycled beads, virgin ones are more durable and will retain shape for longer.
- Recycled beads are a result of particles grounded into chunks. As a result of the process they go through, these beads have an irregular shape and a shorter lifespan compared to their virgin counterparts. They are a more eco-friendly purchase and a cheaper one at that, but they do sacrifice durability and maybe a little bit of comfort because they are not as good at holding form.
Is Memory Foam Good for Bean Bags?
Today’s greatest bean bag chairs are made of shredded foam, a very comfortable material known for offering excellent support for your body and allowing you to sit with less pressure on your back.
Additionally, foam springs back into shape when you stand up, and it does not seep out of the chair’s cover, as beads did in the past. When bean bag chairs made with foam are removed from the package, they require time to expand.
Bean bag chairs are available with two different fillings: foam and beads. The chair is lightweight and portable due to the polystyrene beads. They do, however, degrade over time, and you will eventually need to replenish your bean bag chair.
Polyurethane memory foam conforms to the curve of your body to give ideal support. Due to the fact that this durable material does not degrade, the fill will last you a pretty long time before you need to make any filling changes
Consider an eco-friendly memory foam mattress if you’re seeking for a more sustainable option. However, keep in mind that because memory foam is a heavier substance, moving bean bag chairs filled with memory foam is a tad more difficult.
Are Bean Bags Worth It?
If you’re looking for casual seating that’s comfortable, a bean bag chair is a great option but keep in mind that there are many different bean bags on the market to choose from.
It’s critical to choose a cover material that complements your room, and if you have children or dogs, consider a washable cover. Additionally, consider the filling substance, which contributes to the bean bag’s support.
Best Bean Bag Filling
Time to look at some of the best-selling and most convenient bean bag refills on the market. Make sure that you check how much refill is in each bag, as some bean bags might require more than one bag of refill.View on AmazonView on Walmart
Posh Beanbags sells the bean bags themselves, but also the right fills for them or any other brand that you may already own. They have both shredded memory foam and polystyrene beads fill, depending on which type you find to be more comfortable. This 100L fill (which is the equivalent of 3.51 cubic feet) comes in a box that measures 30 x 20 x 10 inches. Good news for conscious shoppers: this refill is 100 percent recyclable after use.View on AmazonView on Walmart
Time for some more polystyrene beans, this time from the brand known as Big Joe. This 100L bad is here to save you when your current bean bag fill gets compressed over time or if you feel like you simply need to add more fill on top of what’s already in the chair. Much like in the previous example, these beads are also 100 percent recyclable when you’re done using them and it’s time for another refill. The company will also donate 10 percent of its profits to charity.
Top 3 Best Bean Bags To Choose
As a bonus, we wanted to show you some of the best bean bag chairs that money can buy. In other words, if you don’t already own one of the most comfortable seating places that man can have in his house, it’s time to check out these products and get one for yourself.View on AmazonView on Walmart
How would you feel about a huge and comfortable bean bag chair that’s available in 30 different colors and covers? Measuring 60 x 60 x 34 inches, this giant bean bag comes with a shredded memory foam fill that basically takes the shape of your body and provides comfort like you’ve rarely experienced it. The microsuede cover feels really nice to the touch and it is machine-washable. The fabric is double stitched and designed to be stain-resistant.View on AmazonView on Walmart
The next bean bag we wanted to show you is a little bit different compared to what you’ve seen so far. That’s because it is a bean bag that converts into a comfortable floor mattress which is essential for when you have guests over and no spare bed for them to sleep in. Filled with a polyester blend, this is a chair that measures 42 x 42 inches (the Full-sized version) and converts into a bed of 54 x 75 x 8 inches. The best part is that you can also opt for the Queen (chair measures 48 x 48 inches and converts into a bed measuring 60 x 80 x 10 inches) and King-sized (chair measures 60 x 60 inches and converts into a bed measuring 76 x 80 x 10 inches) versions of this chair.View on AmazonView on Walmart
Big Joe is one amazing bean bag chair brand and this XL monster is here to prove it. Measuring 72″ L x 48″ W x 36″ H, this is just one of the multiple sizes available for this Big Joe bean bag chair. It is filled with shredded foam fill that promises to have a long lifespan. However, you will need to wait about 48 hours after unboxing the chair for the fill to expand to its full size. We recommend that you opt for the version with the removable cover so that you can clean it easier. There are multiple color options to choose form, including cobalt blue, cocoa, or black.
Pros and Cons to Bean Bags
There’s one more thing to keep in mind before spending money on a bean bag: they offer both advantages and drawbacks, so let’s take a look at what they have to offer.
Pro: They provide comfort.
While they may not always promote the most correct posture, bean bags are certainly comfortable. Their plush and squishy interiors conform to the shape of the person who sits in them.
There are numerous ways to sit in a bean bag. These positions include sitting upright, lying on one’s side, and lying on one’s stomach. Alternatively, you can sit cross-legged and the bean bag will reshape to offer as much spine support as you can possibly get (although nothing is more comfortable than a mattress).
Con: The fill flattens in time.
When your body applies pressure on the fill, it loses its shape, meaning that you’ll need to change the refill from time to time. Additionally, the covers are frequently not as robust as the upholstery on other pieces of furniture. Thus, bean bags will rarely survive as long as a high-quality couch or recliner.
Pro: They are easy to move.
The portability of beanbag seats is one of their most enticing features. This is one of the reasons why they make such a common choice for outdoor seating because they can be reconfigured to take advantage of the sun or shade.
They’re an excellent alternative for additional seating when you have guests, as they can be put away and brought out as needed. Bean bags are easy for youngsters to move and will not damage your flooring due to their light and soft nature.
Con: Materials are often not recyclable.
The majority of bean bags are made up of little inflated polystyrene balls (EPS). When it comes time to discard these beads, care must be taken to ensure that they do not constitute a threat to the environment or wildlife.
Additionally, EPS balls can be hazardous if inhaled or ingested. Therefore, if bean bags are to be used in close proximity to little children, the covers must be secure and robust enough to prevent toddlers from opening them.
If you’re extremely concerned about the environment, you might want to explore an alternative filling material such as buckwheat. This will not be as light or as comfy as regular filling, but if you’re searching for an entirely eco-friendly choice, this is a viable option.
Pro: They are easy to clean.
Most bean bags have covers equipped with zippers that allow you to remove them and clean them in the washing machine. This is especially useful for households with children and pets, where furniture tends to get dirty really fast.
Con: It’s not easy to stand up from a bean bag.
Because they are designed to allow the body to sink into the surface and they have a low profile that lets you sit pretty close to ground level, it’s not always easy to get up from a bean bag, which could pose a problem for people with limited mobility.
If you already have a bean bag chair, shopping for the proper refill is a whole lot easier, since most of your will probably want to go for the fill sold by the same company that made the chair itself. However, if you want an upgrade and weren’t particularly happy with the current fill of the chair, our suggestions are bound to leave you feeling like you’ve spent your money wisely.
Bean Bag Fill FAQ
How much filling do you need for a bean bag?
This depends on two things: the size of the bean bag and how much or little you want to sink into its surface. When you purchase a new bean bag, you will often see that its fill capacity it mentioned (in cubic feet). For the most part, 1 kg of filling should be enough to cover each cubic foot.
Are micro-beads good as bean bag filling?
No. Micro-beads are mostly made to fill pillows or really small bean bags, but they are definitely not recommended for adult-sized bean bag chairs. In fact, micro-beads are rather controversial because they were used to make different types of exfoliating cosmetic products and are even banned in curtained states across the US because they are considered to be an environmental hazard.
Why do bean bags go flat?
Because of the type of filling that’s used inside them. In general, the filling that one has inside their bean bag is made from beads that contain air pockets as part of their structure. As you apply pressure (or, in this case, the weight of your body) on top of these beads, you are pushing air out of them and reducing their size. As this compression carries on for longer periods of time, these beans or pellets will no longer be able to expand to their original shape, causing bean bags to go flat.