Do You Need a Box Spring? (2024)

Sam Kulathilaka

Sleep Content Specialist

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect bed, one question often pops up: do you really need a box spring? Is it some outdated piece of furniture you need just for older mattresses, or something worth paying more to use with newer mattresses?

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about box springs so that you can make an informed decision about setting up your bed.

 

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is a type of mattress foundation. It’s a wood or metal frame covered in fabric, usually with metal coils, metal grids, or springs inside.

When choosing a box spring, it’s important to match it with the appropriate mattress size. Box springs come in various sizes to fit different mattresses, including twin, full, queen, and king.

Box springs are largely outdated, as most mattresses are designed to not require a box spring. So, depending on the mattress you choose, you may not even need a box spring.

READ MORE: How to choose a mattress

Using a box spring with a modern mattress (like a bed-in-a-box mattress) that doesn’t need one could void your warranty and negatively affect its support.

On the other hand, if a company recommends using a box spring with their mattress or bed frame, you should follow their instructions. Failing to set up your mattress or bed frame according to the manufacturer’s guidelines can void your warranty, too.

 

What Is a Box Spring For?

A box spring supports your mattress and lifts it to a comfortable height, improving airflow and regulating temperature.

It also creates a barrier between your mattress and your bed frame (or floor). This protects your mattress from the wear and tear caused by your body’s movements, which can help extend its lifespan, especially if your bed frame doesn’t have slats.

If you’re thinking about getting a new bed set, consider whether a box spring is necessary for the type of mattress and type of bed frame you want to buy. Many modern mattresses are designed to work without a box spring—but a firm foundation is a good idea for any bed.

A box spring should be replaced every ten years to ensure your bed stays comfortable and supportive.

READ MORE: How long should a mattress last?

Graphic image of a box spring

Do I Need a Box Spring?

You need a box spring if:

  • You have a bed frame that requires a box spring, like a traditional metal frame
  • Your bed frame doesn’t use slats, or has slats that are spaced too far apart to adequately support a mattress on its own
  • You have an older mattress (like an innerspring mattress) that’s designed to be used with a box spring
  • You have a mattress that requires a box spring as part of your mattress warranty
  • You want more support for your mattress (provided it’s compatible with a box spring)
  • You want to raise the height of your mattress so it’s easier to get in and out of bed
  • You want to add a layer between your mattress and your base to protect the underside of the mattress against mold and mildew growth
  • You want more airflow for a cooler night’s sleep

Infographic showing the benefits of a box spring

Don’t Use a Box Spring If:

  • You have a newer mattress that’s designed to be used without a box spring
  • You prefer a lower bed height, or have a bed frame that’s already at a comfortable height
  • You have an adjustable bed
  • You have a bed foundation that isn’t compatible with a box spring

 

What’s the Difference Between a Box Spring, a Platform, and a Foundation?

Box Spring

A box spring is a wooden or metal frame containing springs or a metal grid covered in fabric. It promotes airflow, mattress protection, and mattress longevity by absorbing shock and movement.

 

Foundation

A foundation is a rectangular box, similar to a box spring. It’s built on a fabric-wrapped wood or metal frame, with either wooden slats or a solid wooden top. Unlike a box spring, a foundation doesn’t use coils and doesn’t absorb pressure from your body’s movements the same way.

Foundations are commonly used with foam mattresses to reduce sagging. This is a less common problem with hybrid mattresses.

 

Platform

A platform bed is a frame featuring a built-in slatted base or a solid surface, making it both a bed frame and a foundation. The less space between the slats, the more support a platform bed has.

Platform bed frames are shorter than other bed foundations, which can make it difficult for you to get in and out of bed. Some people choose to use box springs with platform beds for that reason.

 

Adjustable Base

If you want an elevated sleep experience, consider a bed with an adjustable base. An adjustable base allows you to choose your sleeping position in a way that no other mattress foundation offers.

An adjustable base offers both comfort and flexibility by allowing you to raise the head or foot of the bed to your desired position, whether you’re sleeping, reading, or watching TV.

Elevating your upper body can reduce snoring and alleviate symptoms of acid reflux, while elevating your legs can improve circulation and relieve pressure on your lower back.

Adjustable beds are also ideal if you have chronic pain or mobility issues, as this type of frame makes it easier to get in and out of bed.

READ MORE: Get our ranked list of the best adjustable beds in Canada

 

best sleeping position for peripheral artery disease: illustration of woman lying on her back on an adjustable bed with her legs elevated

 

Choosing the right foundation for your mattress is crucial for a comfortable and restful night’s sleep. Many factors determine whether or not you need a box spring, including the type of mattress or bed frame you have, your budget, and your personal sleep preferences.

No matter which option you choose, making an informed decision about your mattress foundation will ensure you enjoy the best sleep experience possible.