Most likely, with a new mattress and a modern bed frame, a box spring is not necessary. Many newer beds are on slats and designed to work without a box spring. However, you still might need a box spring depending on your bed frame. Some people still prefer a box spring and you can easily add one to certain bed setups.
Here, we’ll explain what a box spring is, why you might need one, some box spring alternatives, and answer some FAQs.
A box spring is a wooden and coil base used as extra support for a mattress. The wood coordinates with the mattress’s size and the coiled base absorbs shock and provides an additional layer of support. Compared to new mattresses made with more advanced materials, a box spring might seem or look outdated.
Even though there are alternative ways to support a mattress, they are still effective in some instances. It’s perfectly fine to have a mattress without a box spring as long as it is supported. Some even will forgo a bed frame and place their mattress directly on the floor.
Sometimes, a box spring might be necessary or they can provide additional support, shock absorption, and add additional height to a bed—the original function of the box spring. Here are a few benefits of using a box spring and a few reasons why you might want to add one to your bedroom.
Sometimes your bed frame won’t fully support your mattress, leading to sagging. This is more common in innerspring mattresses. Some innerspring mattress manufacturers require a box spring to keep the warranty valid.
Check your mattress warranty to see if a box spring is necessary. Also, using a box spring with an innerspring mattress can extend the life of your mattress.
The hollow interior of a box spring is designed to allow more air to circulate around and into your mattress. Ideal airflow is crucial to keeping you cool at night and helping you sleep better. If you have an innerspring mattress and find that you’ve been getting hot at night, a box spring can help improve airflow and keep you cool.
A box spring absorbs some of the impact when you sit, jump, or move on your mattress. Shock absorption is vital to prevent mattress sagging, preserving the mattress’s support, and increasing the life of the mattress.
Even though lower to the ground beds are a popular interior design trend, many prefer a taller bed, especially taller individuals, those with joint pain, and anyone who has trouble getting out of bed due to injury or physical limitations.
Even if you want better shock absorption, improved airflow, or a taller bed, a box spring is not always necessary or the best option. A majority of bed frames today are designed to be used without a box spring, but it’s perfectly fine if you want to use one. Here are a few situations where a box spring isn’t needed.
Platform beds are made with a solid surface to hold and support the mattress. A box spring is not necessary on a platform bed unless you want a taller bed. Platform beds are often lower to the ground, making it harder to get out of. A bed that is lower to the ground can be a challenge for individuals with joint or back problems, so a box spring might be useful in these situations.
Mattresses without coils like memory foam, latex, and some hybrids don’t need the extra support and shock absorption provided by a box spring. Adding a box spring to one of these mattresses will alter the feel which can disrupt the benefits and comfort of the mattress. Unlike coil mattresses, which frequently require box springs, certain foam mattress warranties are voided for using a box spring.
Box springs aren’t necessary for every type of mattress and can end up doing more harm than good if they change the feel of a mattress. If you have or are thinking of buying a mattress that doesn’t require a box spring but you still want some extra support and don’t want to leave your mattress on the floor, here are some alternatives to a box spring to consider.
Platform beds are made with wood, metal, or other materials that raise the bed height but leave no under-bed space. These beds usually have a sleek, minimalist design that accents bedding—platform beds can serve as stylish upgrades to a bedroom. The design does restrict airflow so they aren’t recommended for hot sleepers.
These beds are made with spaced-out pieces of wood that are connected to the bed frame with Velcro or snaps. Slats provide good air circulation, so they are recommended for hot sleepers. When shopping for a slatted base, make sure the slats aren’t spaced too far apart. If so, your mattress might not properly fit and will lead to sagging.
Metal frames can be used either or without box springs. These frames are the cheapest type of bed frame and usually do not last as long as slatted bases or platform beds. Some metal frames include slats that help support a mattress. Not every metal bed will have slats. If you have or purchase a metal frame without slats, you’ll need a box spring for your mattress.
Most hybrid mattresses have a base that will support a mattress on a frame without a box spring. Hybrid mattresses, especially those with latex, do not need extra shock absorption, so a box spring is not necessary.
If you decide to keep your mattress on the floor, you wouldn’t need a box spring as the floor would offer enough support. Keep in mind that a box spring will absorb shock and help extend the life of your mattress, saving you money over time. Placing a mattress on the floor will also subject your mattress to more wear and tear. Keeping your mattress on the floor is also less hygienic and increases the risk of bed bugs and mold.
Adjustable bed bases have been growing in popularity over the past few years. In the past, they were primarily used for medical care. Today, many mattress manufacturers sell a mattress compatible with an adjustable base in a bundle at a discounted price. Since adjustable bed frames move, a box spring would not work with this design.
Keeping a mattress on the floor is not ideal and will limit ventilation, increase risk of germs/mold, and will decrease the lifespan of the mattress. While many mattresses can be directly on the floor, it’s best to have a box spring, foundation, or a platform bed.
Along with a bed frame, many will want a box spring, foundation, or a platform bed. Not sure which one you need for your mattress or bed frame? Here’s a breakdown of each.
A box spring consists of a wooden or metal frame and is filled with metal coils, springs, or a metal grid and covered in fabric. Box springs are most commonly used with innerspring mattresses and are placed on the top of a bed frame between the mattress and the frame.
A foundation is another type of mattress support that is made from wooden slats or a solid base. Bed foundations have the same function as a box spring, only without metal coils. Foundations work the best with foam mattresses as they provide a firm surface for the bed. Some foundations can be used without a frame, but the majority of them are meant to be utilized with a frame.
A platform bed has a base and a frame that keeps it off the floor. Most platform beds have wooden legs to raise the frame—some even have drawers for extra bedroom storage. Platform beds combine both a frame and a base that keeps the mattress off the ground. They are a great option if you want to make just one purchase, but they can be more expensive than buying both a frame and a box spring or foundation.
Box springs are sometimes useful or necessary. With new hybrid mattresses and more choices for bed frames, box springs are slowly becoming a thing of the past. If you don’t have a stable foundation with your bed frame or your mattress is on the floor, a box spring is a low-cost solution. Before buying a box spring, do your research by comparing mattresses and bed frames so you don’t end up with something you might not need.
Still not sure about a box spring? Here are a few FAQs.
A box spring does two things—it provides a base for a mattress and increases mattress height, which can help you get out of bed easier.
On average, a box spring ranges from $100 to $500. Some might even be in the $50 range. The price of a box spring depends on the materials, quality, and brand.
You can buy a box spring at a mattress store, furniture store, or either one of those online. Box springs are available to purchase by themselves as well as with a mattress in a bundle.
There are a few alternatives to a traditional box spring, including a low-profile foundation and a bunkie board. A low-profile foundation is about half the height of box spring and provides the same support. A bunkie board is a plywood foundation.