The Ultimate Guide to Kotatsu Tables
If you ever have or ever do travel to Japan, chances are you are going to see a peculiar piece of furniture in a sociable part of the house that looks like a coffee table and a comforter had a baby. It’s called a kotatsu table and it is the comfiest coziest way to enjoy a cup of tea or a meal together.
So what is a kotatsu table? Basically, it’s a table that stands about 14” off of the ground that has a heat source under it, covered by a thick, heavy blanket known in Japan as a futon. On top of the futon sits a tabletop or a wooden plane for holding food and beverages.
The futon traps the warm heat generated by the heater under the table acting as a foot warmer. Draftyhomes back in the 17 th century in Japan were the motivation for needing something like a kotatsu to stay warm in the winter time.
Back in the olden days, the heat source was some sort of fire pit or irori. It doesn’t take much effort to see how something like that could burn down the house. And they did—a lot. These days, electric heat that is protected by metal prongs is attached under the table top to make it safer – we’ll get to all of that. This is the ultimate guide to kotatsu tables!
How Much Does a Kotatsu Cost?
To understand how much kotatsu tables cost, you have to understand what a kotatsu is. A complete set includes a mat known in Japan as a tatami mat, the kotatsu table (which should include an affixed heat source), and a futon. Modern kotatsu users often buy big puffy pillows to sit on around the kotatsu for added comfort.
Depending on how fancy you want to get, you could spend over $600 for an authentic kotatsu shipped from Japan. But you can find some for as low as $120 on Amazon. Some are made for one or two people but you can find traditional size kotatsu that seat four or five.
You have to pay attention when shopping for kotatsu. Many times they will come with the table and the futon but not the heater or just the futon and not the table. You can buy each component of the set individually but there are some places where you can buy the full set, for more money.
In fact, you can get kotatsu tables that sit higher than the traditional 14” inches off of the ground to add more legroom. You can even buy flat chairs with seat backs in case you have a hard time sitting Indian style on the floor for long periods of time.
How to Make a Kotatsu Table
Making your own kotatsu table from scratch is actually not that hard at all. You won’t need a lot of materials and any person with a drill and some screws can do it. First you need to buy all of the parts:
4 Corner Brackets
If you are planning on building this yourself but want to buy the table, you’ll want to buy a two tier coffee table where the bottom shelf comes out. That’s because you are going to use that shelf as the tabletop. You’re also going to need to buy a kotatsu heater.
It’s safer than buying a space heater and sitting it under a comforter. A kotatsu heater is made with heated tubes under a protective casing for safety purposes. We recommend the latest version of the Quartz Tube Kotatsu Heater from Metro.
This heater will only run you around $72. It is designed for easy mounting underneath a kotatsu or coffee table. Another thing we love about this heater is that it comes with an electronic controller. It pumps out 600 watts of heat through the U-Shaped quartz tubes to keep your toesies nice and toasty.
To begin, flip the table over in order to mount your heater, removing the bottom shelf first. The Metro heater comes with four mounting holes on each side. You’ll need to measure those holes to the tabletop and drill four holes into the table top. We recommend using 4 brackets to secure the heater tightly.
Screw in the brackets using four screws. Then slide the heater into the brackets. Now put in the four remaining screws to secure the heater to the brackets.
Flip the table over and throw your comforter or futon over the tabletop. Now take the bottom shelf and place it on top of the comforter. There you have it—your very own homemade kotatsu! You can toss pillows around the table or you can check out this legless chair with a back.
The Padded Floor Chair with Adjustable Backrest from bonVIVO is the best of east meets west if you ask us! People born and raised in Japan are used to sitting on the floor for their meals. Americans…not so much. After 20 minutes, your butt starts hurting, you feel like you need to stretch out, and your posture starts to wreak havoc on your back.
If that is the case this is the answer. The chair adjusts into five different seating positions. Whether you want to lounge out or get your grub on, this is the perfect accent to your new kotatsu table!
You could build your own kotatsu table or buy one – we found 3 of the best. Any comforter or thick blanket will do or you can buy an authentic Japanese futon.
Where to Buy a Kotatsu in America
Maybe you’re not the DIY type. Maybe you aren’t qualified to be around power tools of any kind! That’s nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone. Hell, you may just be the type that would rather defer to someone who you already know knows what they’re doing.
If that’s the case, there are places where you can buy a kotatsu in America, they are just harder to find and a bit more expensive. Luckily, we were able to find 3 of the best kotatsu heaters available on Amazon.
Top Heated Kotatsu Sets
Not all of these are complete sets. When we went on our search for the best kotatsu heaters, we were looking for the best heat setups – preferably those that come attached to a kotatsu table. What we found was the best kotatsu table with heater, the best complete set, and we found the best oversized kotatsu table with heater:
1. The Best Kotatsu Heated Table
Our favorite of the heated Kotatsu tables is the Casual Kotatsu Japanese Heated Table from Yamazen. The table is about two and half feet by two and a half feet, so it doesn’t stand very high but higher than the traditional 14 inches.
Most U.S. outlets are 120 volts; this one is 100 volts. It’s on the lower end of the power spectrum at 300watts so it doesn’t eat up a lot of energy. It doesn’t take up a lot of space despite its height and it has a reversible top plate for different occasions.
This one goes great with the floor chairs we talked about earlier since there’s plenty of legroom. The sturdy wood makes this a great buy at $219. Only problem is you’ll have to find your own futon or blanket to put on it. But two out of three ain’t bad!
2. The Best Oversized Kotatsu Table
For the roomiest kotatsu table, we chose the Folding Legs Kotatsu Table from Azumaya Japan. Made of solid natural oak, this beauty is going to cost you $345, but well worth it we think. It stands only 14 and a half inches off of the ground which is traditional. However, it is also wide and deep to fit several people.
We love that you can fold this table up and move it out of the way whenever you want. Plus it comes with its own heater under the tabletop which we give two thumbs up! The wood is very pretty with a satin finish on the oak veneer top – perfect for entertaining.
You control the 100 volt heater with a handheld control knob and there is no assembly required. Like the last kotatsu table, this one does not come with a futon or blanket. You’ll have to buy that separately but that won’t be a problem.
3. The Best Complete Kotatsu Table
Although the 3-Piece Kotatsu Set from Yamazen is for one person, it is the best complete kotatsu table set. It comes with the kotatsu table, the futon, and a nice cushiony chair with a back. The table stands almost two feet tall, so there is plenty of space underneath.
This is a genuine, made in Japan kotatsu table. Because of that, it is quite pricy - $657. But, for that money, you get a sturdily constructed kotatsu made from all natural wood. The futon and the chair cushion are made of urethane foam and polyester making it super soft and puffy.
You can even adjust the chair height at three different levels. The table comes with an attached U-Shaped quartz tube heater under the tabletop. This may be the most expensive kotatsu on our list, but we guarantee you will stay warm and cozy under this dream 100v heated kotatsu table.
The Best Heated 120v Kotatsu
American homes come with 120v outlets. Authentic kotatsu are made in Japan where the standard electrical outlet is 100 volts, that’s why most of them come with 100v heaters. Finding a ready-made kotatsu table with a 120v heater is slim pickings. Still, they can be found and we found one of the best.
You will be hard pressed to find a 120v heated kotatsu table better than the Kotatsu Square from Sungold. In traditional Japanese fashion, this table only stands 14 and a half inches off of the ground. Unlike traditional kotatsu, this table is made of plastic instead of wood but it is designed to handle the higher voltage of American outlets.
Assembly is required. Like many of the products on this list, you will have to buy the futon separately.
Best Futon Sets
You can find some really gorgeous futon and mat sets. Take a look at these beauties we found:
Gorgeous Shikifuton Kotatsu Futon Set
Stunning, just gorgeous, we love the EMOOR Classical Flowered Pattern Kotatsu Futon Set in brown. You get both the tatami mat to sit on and the futon to sit under. Made of soft microfiber on the outside, inside, the futon is packed with boa fluff. It’s made for tables that are three feet tall or shorter as the comforter itself is only about 6’ x 6’. The rug is 100% polyester and a tiny bit smaller than the comforter at 71” x 71”.
Regal Navy Blue Kotatsu Futon Set
You can buy the EMOOR Microfiber Kotatsu Futon Set in nearly a dozen different colors and patterns, but this navy futon set caught our eye. This set is bigger than the last one. The comforter is six and a half feet by six and a half feet and the rug is about six feet by six feet. If you have a square shaped kotatsu, this futon set is perfect for it. Light fleece and fluffy microfiber blends make the rug and comforter super soft while the backside of the rug is non-slip.