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Bean Bag Filler: Everything You Need to Know

You've treated yourself to a luxurious bean bag chair and now you're wondering about how to fill it. This blog post will answer all your questions about bean bag fillers - from the different types of filler, to eco-friendly options and how to fill bean bag chairs without making a mess...

What is the best filler for bean bags?

Popular since the 1970's, bean bags have typically been filled with expanded polystyrene beans (EPS). These days there are a range of fillings on the market including micro beads, foam filling or memory foam.

Bean Bag

Most bean bags are filled with a virgin mid-sized bean made of expanded polystyrene. By virgin, we mean beans made specifically for bean bags. A luxury brand will use higher quality fillings. Wilson & Dorset Shaggy Bean Bags are filled with premium beans that are smaller than standard bean bag filling and 100% recyclable.

Good quality beads have a higher density, which means they contain less air and are less likely to compress and flatten down too quickly. So focus on buying a good brand of bean bag and fill - it will hold its shape, look good and feel comfortable for a longer period of time.

What can I use for bean bag filler?

Classic bean bag fillers are virgin polystryrene (EPS) beans or foam pellets. There are pros and cons for each type of material:

  • EPS beans are lightweight and retain their form. They reasonably priced and resistant to both moisture and heat.
  • Expanded polypropylene foam withstands compression better than EPS beans, returning quickly to their original form. They have a longer lifespan so you won’t have replace your filling as often. But it's heavier - making it harder to pick up and carry your bean bag around the house.
  • Compressed foam, or 'memory' foam,’ is relatively new in the world of bean bag chairs, but gaining in popularity. It responds to warmth, moulding to accommodate the shape of your body which makes it very comfortable and provides excellent support for your back.

The most comfortable bean bag chairs will use a memory foam or micro bead filling over traditional polystyrene beans.

What is the most eco-friendly bean bag filler?

Natural materials are making a come back among the more eco-conscious. Things like buckwheat hulls placed inside a thick inner lining for example. If the environmental impact of your filler is a big concern for you, you'll be pleased to know there's a lot of positive innovation and new research into sustainable bean bag filler alternatives. Watch this space!

How much does bean bag filler cost?

The price of typical bean bag filler varies from place to place. A quick internet search should tell you the average price in your area. The best filler material isn't necessarily the cheapest though, so make sure you do your research and aim for quality - it will be more comfortable and last longer, making it cheaper in the long run.

How do I fill a bean bag for cheap?

Technically you can fill your bean bag with a cheaper material like rice. However, you need to weigh cost against durability and comfort. Virgin beads might be more expensive at the outset, but over time you will save money as those virgin beads will wear better than the rice, so you won't need to refill your bean bag as much or replace your filler as quickly.

Bean Bag

Do your research. You'll be surprised the deals you can find - look around for sales and discounts and go for the best quality filler you can afford. You won't regret it!

How much filler do I need for bean bags?

If you are treating yourself to a luxurious new bean bag, then the retailer should be able to tell you how much bean bag fill you need. Often they have some available or a brand they recommend, so be sure to ask.

Bean Bag

The exact amount needed will depend on the size of bean bag you are purchasing and the type of bean bag filler you use (polystyrene beads (EPS), micro beads, memory foam). Think also about your bean bag's size and shape, how full you want it to be and how firm or soft you want it to feel .

Don't worry if you get too much filler. At some point you are going to need to refill your bean bag, so if you have a bit left over that's not such a bad thing.

What are bean bag sizes?

Bean bags come is all sorts of shapes and sizes. You want your bean bag to fit nicely in the space you’re planning to put it, and to suit the size of those who will use it. Always consider the weight of the people using the bean bag and your available floor space when choosing the best bean bag size for you.

Bean Bag

Standard size bean bags are the most popular for a reason. They are usually the right balance between being large enough to hold a grown adult in a snuggly embrace and the right size for a child to be able to climb up onto comfortably. A standard size bean bag is a good starting point, catering to both kids and adults and easily transitions from space to space.

How much filler does it take to fill a large bean bag?

The 64 million dollar question! There's no precise answer - the actual amount of filler your bean bag needs will depend on its size, the type of filler you choose and level of firmness you enjoy.

How much filler does it take to fill a small bean bag?

Obviously a small bean bag will require less fill than a large one, but again it depends on how firm you want it and the type of filler you want to use. Compressed foam might be a better choice for if you like a soft seat. If you prefer a firm fill, shop for EPS beads.

What is the best way to fill a bean bag?

If you're running low on beans you'll need to organise a refill. Adding extras beans or pellets can be quite a process. Sometimes fun, sometimes not!

People have come up with all sorts of ingenious ways to do it - like using an ice cream scooper to refill their bag or pouring the beans through a plastic funnel. Creating some sort of funnel definitely makes the process easier. And remember to shake the bag periodically, so that the refill moves down and is distributed evenly.

How do you fill a bean bag chair without making a mess?

The trick to mess - free bean bag filling is keeping on target and containing the spread of any stray beads or pellets. Placing your bean bag in the bath or shower to a good idea - any run away beads are kept within a confined space, making it easier to clean up afterwards.

Can you vacuum bean bag balls?

Yes, if any of your bean bag filler (beads, pellets or balls) have managed to escape, cleaning them up with your vacuum is the quickest and easiest way to go.

How do I add beans to my bean bag?

If your bean bag is losing shape and looking a little flat, it's probably time for a refill. Leave the existing beads or pellets in place and add new bean bag filling on top.

The easiest way to do this is to open your bean bag (most will have a zipper) and create a funnel into which you pour the new beads or pellets. You might want to use a plastic container to scoop and pour. Its definitely a two person job!

How do you remove beans from a bean bag?

It's unlikely that you will need to remove all or some of your beans or beads. If you do - say to wash your bean bag outer - it should be as simple as removing the entire inner bag (which contains your beads or pellets).

Why did my bean bag chair deflate?

Over time, you might notice your bean bag chair starts to lose its shape and look a little deflated. What was once plump and comfortable is now more of a flat puddle! Basically the more use it gets, the more air is forced out of your bean bag filling and the flatter it becomes.

Bear in mind that good quality beans are smaller and higher density than traditional beans, meaning they contain less air and are less likely to compress. If you choose a quality bean bag fill it will sags less and feel comfortable over a longer period of time - it pays to buy the best quality filler you can afford.

Can you wash a bean bag with beans in it?

Always remove the inner bag and filling before you wash your bean bag and be sure to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

How do you clean bean bags without removing beans?

If your bean bag chair has a mark or light stain you can simply spot clean it with a damp cloth. Wilson & Dorset Shaggy Bean Bags also love a good vacuum once a week and a shake outside to remove any dust.


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