Different Types Of Bean Bag Filling (Plus The Best Options)

Sep 10, 2021 | Home Decor Reviews, What To Buy

Bean bag filling has a bad reputation for being cheap, uncomfortable, and lumpy.

We all know that bean bags are great to sit on, but they can be so uncomfortable if you don’t get the right filling! 

The solution is simple: just use our guide to find out what is the best bean bag filling for your needs. Our blog post will give you everything you need to know about choosing the best filler for your specific needs.

Types of Bean Bag Refill

Natural Filler

Natural filler is a green solution for conscientious people who want to reduce waste and purchase only eco-friendly materials. Some of its benefits include:

  • Extremely Conformable. One of the many benefits of natural filler is that it molds to your body shape and adapts to it, thus providing extreme comfort.
  • Up to Date. Another great part about this type of filler is that you can get extremely up-to-date styles, shapes, and sizes in order to create unique bean bags for different rooms and purposes. They have tons of shapes available so you will definitely find a style for every room.
  • Environmentally Friendly. Natural fillers are made out of materials such as recycled small plastic drink bottles. There’re no chemicals involved at all, because the processing doesn’t need any additives (including formaldehyde or toxic flame retardants). So, what you’re getting is 100% eco-friendly filling.

Shredded Foam Filler

Shredded foam filler is another great option that you can turn to when looking for bean bag inserts. It is more comfortable and has better conforming abilities compared to natural fillers. Some of its benefits include:

  • Extremely Conformable. Shredded foam is very flexible so it adapts to your body shape pretty well and forms around your frame while you sit on the bag. This extends the comfort zone of this type of filler by a huge margin. Also, because there are no lumps, only soft small pieces which stick together very easily instead, any pressure points on the body become almost nonexistent.
  • Supportive. This type of filler distributes the weight and prevents any pressure points from forming on your back or bum. What this means is that you can sit for hours without feeling any pain in your body. Plus, it allows you to lay down more comfortably than with natural fillers because of its supportiveness and also due to the lack of lumps in the bag.
  • Non-Allergenic. The biggest benefit against natural fillers when it comes to shredded foam is that there is no chemical added during processing since they’re made out of polyurethane foam pieces which are used as packaging materials by most companies on a regular basis (and this material doesn’t contain formaldehyde). Therefore, even some people may find them a bit too “chemical-smelling” in the beginning, they’re completely hypoallergenic and a much safer option for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Flexible Filler

This type of filler is another great option that merits your attention when choosing the perfect filling for your bean bag. Due to its properties, it is a bit more expensive than shredded foam but you get other benefits such as:

  • Extremely Conformable. Flexible filler adapts to your shape almost instantly. It molds automatically to the body and this provides extreme comfort while laying down or sitting on the bean bag. Some models are even made out of memory foam which molds perfectly to cut pressure points on the body. So if you want something that will provide maximum comfort, then you should definitely look into getting a flexible filling for your next purchase.
  • Hypoallergenic Filler. If you suffer from asthma or other allergies then flexible filler is an extremely safe option because it doesn’t contain any chemical additives during processing compared to shredded foam (which often contains formaldehyde). It is made out of thin sheets which are glued to each other without any chemical additives.

EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene) Beads

EPS beads are a great option to look into if you have kids and pets that constantly like to lie on the bean bag. They help with making the filler odorless for children, which makes it very safe from this point of view. And you don’t need any special tools or cleaning supplies in order to clean them either.

  • Extremely Lightweight Filler. The most significant benefit is that compared to shredded foam (which can weigh anywhere between 10-12 pounds) EPS beads only weigh around 3-5 pounds per cubic foot so they’re definitely lighter than natural fillers and several times lighter than shredded foam. This means that your bag will be much easier to move around if needed, but still having good supportiveness.
  • Non-Marking Filler. The beads themselves are covered in a plastic or another chemical coating to make them non-marking, which means that even if they’re moving around inside the bag for an entire day, they won’t leave any marks on the furniture surface. You can place it near any type of furniture without having to worry about leaving unsightly stains on them later.
  • Easy Clean Up and Odorless Filler. For parents with young kids who like lying down on bean bags but don’t want to have a hard time cleaning up afterward, this is definitely a great option because there is no need for anything special in order to clean the beans from dirt. All you have to do is vacuum them and/or just wipe them down with a damp cloth. Since the beads are made out of EPS (Expanded PolyStyrene), they don’t smell as strong as traditional bean bag filler and are therefore considered to be a great option for people with asthma or other allergies.

Polystyrene Pellets

Polystyrene pellets or beads are similar to EPS beads and are also made out of the same material but they’re processed differently (so it’s a slight variation between them). Both types have their own pros and cons, but one thing is certain – if you choose polystyrene pellets then you’ll get an odorless filler that will assist in keeping the product clean.

  • Extremely Lightweight Filler. This is definitely one of the most important benefits because compared to traditional shredded foam or even EPS beads, this type of filler only weighs 1-2 pounds per cubic foot which means that your bean bag will be much lighter than before once filled with these plastic pellets. If you’re like many people who simply want to make their old bean bag a bit more comfortable, then this type of fill will certainly help with that.
  • Non-Marking Filler. One of the biggest pluses is that it doesn’t leave any stains on your furniture because it’s intended to be non-marking (although we still recommend placing a cover underneath the bag to keep the filling from spilling out all over the place).
  • Odorless Filler. Just like EPS beads, most polystyrene pellets are odorless so you don’t have to worry about anything bad-smelling, which is an important factor if you want to keep your house fresh and clean at all times. The only potential problem might occur when opening up the box because for several days they might be quite strong due to being packaged. But once you start using them, the odor will disappear quickly.

EPP (Expanded PolyproPylene) Beads

EPP beads have the same material as EPS beads, but they are also slightly different when it comes to processing. The biggest benefit is the fact that they’re even lighter than EPS pellets which means that your bean bag will be super lightweight and easy to move around in the room.

  • Extremely Lightweight Filler. If you take a look at other types of fillers you’ll notice that no matter how much time and effort you put into choosing something else, it still won’t be as lightweight as these tiny little balls. They only weigh 1-2 pounds per cubic foot which is 4-8 times less than traditional polystyrene foam or shredded foam so if you want an extremely comfortable option then this is certainly what we recommend.
  • Odorless Filler. As you probably have already noticed, this is an extremely important factor to consider if you want your house to smell fresh and clean all the time since most people don’t like being around smelly things. But thanks to its innovative design and minimal manufacturing process, EPP beads are even more odorless than EPS pellets which also makes them a great choice for people who prefer bean bags over traditional furniture because of their odors.
  • Non-Marking Filler. Another reason why we recommend EPP beads is the fact that this material won’t leave any stains on other surfaces, so it’s definitely more convenient than having to deal with foam or shredded foam spills from time to time (although as we’ve said – it’s always best to use a cover underneath the bag).

Recycled vs. Virgin Beads: What’s the Difference?

Both materials are made from the same thing, but recycled polystyrene is melted down and reshaped into its original pellet-like form. They’re then ground down into smaller pieces – this product has a more porous texture compared to virgin beads which means that it’s also filled with tiny air pockets.

  • Defining characteristics of virgin beads are their smooth and round shape, as well as lack of pores. These things make these gel beads perfect for use in the home because it won’t absorb liquids, but will still provide you with maximum support and comfort.
  • Recycled beads on the other hand are perfect for the outdoors and any other place where you’ll be exposed to a lot of dirt, oil or paint.
  • Both virgin and recycled pellets have their advantages which is why it’s important that you read up on them, so that you don’t end up buying something that you won’t be satisfied with in the future.
  • Our Recommendation: If we had to choose one type of filler over another it would definitely be EPP beads because they’re not only odorless but also extremely lightweight as well as non-marking (that means no stains from spills). This is exactly what most people are looking for, especially if they want an alternative to traditional furniture.

Top 3 Best Bean Bag Fillings

1. Posh Beanbags Bean Bag Refill

The Posh Beanbags bean bag refill is just what your adults-only zone needs to stay comfy. It’s made with two different types of fill that can either be 100% shredded memory foam or 100% ABS beads. You’ll love these adorable, comfortable options for the ultimate place to relax after a hard day at school or work. And don’t worry, it’s not just grown-ups who can reap the benefits of this amazing bean bag filler; you could also blow up some little ones and create a fun mommy-and spot for one, too!

2. Big Joe Comfort Research Megahh (UltimaX)

Who doesn’t love a big, comfortable chair? But sometimes it just isn’t enough. Sure, you can go out and buy another bag of beans but with Big Joe Comfort Research Megahh (UltimaX) you don’t have to! This 100L bag is designed to help you out when your current beanbag fill gets compressed or if you feel like adding more on top of what’s already in the chair – much like in the previous example. Just add some new beads into your favorite lounger and never have to worry about any stained clothes again! A lot of our customers are also really excited about these because there are 10% less than those other brands too.

3. Gold Medal Virgin Expanded Polystyrene Bean Bag Refill

The Gold Medal Virgin Expanded Polystyrene Bean Bag Refill is a great two-pound bag of polystyrene beans that measure around 1 cm in diameter. These are available in many options, and they come at good prices that will ensure you can pick up more if you own multiple bean bags.

How Much Filling Do You Need for a Bean Bag?

Generally speaking, you need roughly 10 liters for every cubic foot. For example: If you need around 50 liters of filling (enough to refill one large beanbag), then this should be more than enough for two smaller bags, as well.

Are Micro-Beads Good as Bean Bag Filling?

As of now, the only micro-bead filling that can be used for bean bag chairs is EPP. These beads have recently been tested to see if they’re completely free from harmful chemicals and other problems you might have with older types of silicone gel. Plus, it’s quite a bit cheaper!

Why Do Bean Bags Go Flat?

There are many reasons why a bean bag goes flat. Firstly, it could be because you didn’t properly fill the item when you first received it – make sure that it’s actually filled with beads and not just air! In other cases, people will often complain about their chair going flat simply because they never take proper care of it (i.e. cleaning). Finally, bean bags go flat over time due to regular use and wear and tear.


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