What Are the Different Types of Bean Bag Stuffing?

Bean bag chairs offer a comfortable alternative to traditional furniture and they’re surprisingly supportive. It may not seem like a fabric bag full of beans would be better than the average chair, but many people who suffer from neck and back aches find them incredibly comfortable. If you’re in the market for a bean bag chair, it’s worth learning the difference between different materials and fill options. There are many different types of bean bag stuffing and we’ll discuss some of the most popular options here to help you make your choice. 

We all need a comfortable place to sit. Whether you’re cozying up for a movie night at home, settling in with a good book, or just relaxing for a few minutes after a long day, sometimes a straight-backed chair or a structured sofa just doesn’t do the trick

The Benefits of Bean Bag Chairs

When you think of ergonomic furniture, you probably picture a structured office chair with adjustable armrests and lumbar support. This type of furniture is indeed supportive, but it isn’t always the most comfortable option. If you suffer from neck and back pain, you might prefer something that conforms to the shape of your body, relieving pressure and providing support exactly where you need it. Enter the bean bag chair. 

Here are some of the potential benefits of bean bag chairs: 

  • They’re generally more affordable than ergonomic furniture because the materials from which they are made are inexpensive. 
  • Bean bag chairs adapt to whatever position you’re sitting in – they don’t force you to sit in a position that feels unnatural or uncomfortable.
  • They don’t limit you to a single sitting position – you can change position easily to relieve pressure where needed. 
  • Bean bag chairs are perfect for outdoor use and many are made with outdoor-friendly materials so you don’t have to move them inside after use.
  • They’re much easier to clean than traditional furniture – many come with a removable cover you can unzip and throw in the wash. 
  • Bean bag chairs enable you to recline while providing support for the head and neck – most traditional chairs are limited in this way.
  • They can be a great option for autistic children because they provide a soothing sense of security without the restrictions of a normal chair. 

If it sounds like a bean bag chair might be the right option for you, the first step is to determine what kind of bean bag chair would best suit your needs. Think about the materials from which it is made, the size and shape, and the different beans for bean bag chair filling. 

5 Types of Bean Bag Chair Stuffing 

bean bag stuffing

Few pieces of furniture are more comfortable to sit in than a bean bag chair. As with any type of furniture however, comfort and quality is determined by the materials from which it is made. 

Bean bag chairs are stuffed with all kinds of materials and many come with removable covers that are easy to wash. The bean bag chairs you grew up with as a kid were probably stuffed with expanded polystyrene (EPS), a material similar to styrofoam, but modern bean bags are much more versatile. Learning about the different types of beans for bean bag chairs can help you make an educated decision about which is right for you.

Here’s a quick overview of five types of bean bag stuffing: 

EPS Beads 

Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a type of man-made material similar to styrofoam. It is a rigid plastic material made from extruded polystyrene that is often used as a cushioning material in packaging. 

EPS is lightweight but strong and, because it is composed of 98% air, it is very inexpensive. It is also resistant to heat and moisture. One disadvantage of EPS beans is that they can lose their volume over time and may have an odor to them.

EPP Beans

Expanded polypropylene beads are a type of thermoplastic polymer most commonly used in Asia while EPS is used primarily in the United States and Europe. EPP beads are a more durable version of EPS beads but they have the same lightweight, airy qualities.  

This material has the added benefit of regaining its original shape and dimensions after being crushed. They are, however, susceptible to heat and burning. EPP may also degrade when exposed to oxygen, so it is typically kept in plastic inside the bean bag. 

Compressed Foam

Much like the pillow you sleep on at night, compressed foam is a popular type of bean bag chair stuffing. Also known as memory foam, compressed foam offers excellent support because it compresses under weight, contouring to the shape of your body. 

Compressed foam is very lightweight and because it compresses, it can be reduced to about one-quarter its original size for transportation. The downside of this material is that it’s often the offcuts from pillows and mattresses used in bean bag chairs and some people find the irregular shape of the pieces uncomfortable. 

Natural Fill 

Before modern materials like plastic and memory foam were available, bean bag chairs were filled with natural materials like beans and grains – hence the name. In recent years, these natural fillings have seen a comeback. Buckwheat hulls are particularly popular, though the material does tend to be stiff. It works well, however, when enclosed in a thick fabric liner. 

Micro Beads

Early examples of modern bean bag pillows were often filled with micro beads but they’re generally not the best material for larger designs like bean bag chairs. They’re made of microscopic polyethylene pellets, a type of plastic, and range in size from ten micrometers to one millimeter.

Micro beads have a long history of use as an exfoliating ingredient in facial scrubs and other cosmetics because they have a smooth, round shape. Unfortunately, they pose an environmental concern because they do not break down. 

Where Can You Buy Bean Bag Stuffing? 

Whether you’re purchasing a new bean bag chair or trying to revive one that’s seen a lot of use, it’s worth knowing where to get extra bean bag stuffing when you need it. You can find cheap bean bag filler online at Amazon.com or you can shop in-store at major retailers like Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

When you start shopping for bean bag stuffing, keep the above tips in mind to make sure you get the right product to suit your needs. 

Bottom Line

Bean bag chairs offer a comfortable and casual alternative to traditional furniture. Whether you’re looking for something to relax in after a long day or trying to outfit your child’s reading nook, bean bag chairs are great. 

Before you settle on a bean bag chair to buy, be sure to determine what size, material, and filling best suits your needs. By making these decisions ahead of time you can narrow down your options more quickly and avoid the hassle of returns.

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