Do I Need a Box Spring for My Mattress?

Mattress shopping can be confusing enough for anyone. Adding a box spring to the list of requirements makes the shopping process even more baffling.

It can tempt you away from the box spring section of the website or the store but depending on the type of mattress and the manufacturer’s requirements, a bed base might not be optional.

It can make the shopping process tricky for you. You will find hundreds of blogs and online guides that will tell you how to choose the right mattress for your health, bed type, and sleeping tendencies. However, there are not many experts to guide you through your box spring shopping process.

Choosing a box spring becomes even more challenging when a mattress manufacturer deems it necessary to couple their mattresses with bed bases to avail their warranty offers.

What Is the Actual Purpose of a Box Spring?

The name is quite self-explanatory. It is a wooden or a steel box-like structure with springs in the middle to add that extra bounce to the mattress.

Do you remember how your parents and grandparents would always scold you when you jumped on your bed? That was because when you did jump on the beds, you would risk busting these springs out of the frame and breaking the box spring.

Modern beds do not always come with box springs, and even when they do, their basic integrity is different from the older ones. The presence of the springs in the bed base helps the mattress absorb the pressure evenly across the surface. That extra bounce you feel on box spring beds adds to the support and aids the long lifespan of the mattress.

You should be able to find the ideal bed base between the wooden bed frame or the metal bed base and the mattress. Some people also forego the bed frame and couple the mattress with the box spring for convenience.

Do You Think You Need a New Foundation?

Box springs often do not exhibit the same levels of wear and tear as the mattresses do. Therefore, it is difficult for a user to understand when it is time to replace their old bed bases.

We often see several customers using their brand-new mattresses with their old box springs. It makes us wonder if they know how much stress they are about to expose their mattress to. The average lifespan of a box spring is usually between 8 and 10 years.

The exact level of wear at the end of a decade will depend upon the level of use, the weight of the sleeper and the quality of the mattress. Ideally, you should use your old foundation as long as your old mattress lasts.

That can be lesser than 8 years, but as soon as you get a new mattress, you should look for a new bed base as per the specifications of your new mattress and the manufacturer’s requirements. In many cases, people suffer from sore necks, stiffened backs and numbing shoulder pains in the mornings even after changing their old mattresses.

It might be a sign of an old sagging box spring that is crying for change. Therefore, you should consider changing your bed base if its recommended lifespan has expired to get better sleep each night.

What Is the Correct Way To Use a Box Spring?

A box spring usually goes between the metal or wooden bed frame and the mattress. Experts generally recommend the use of a bed base with a stiffer mattress. The firmest of all mattresses can feel a little softer with the use of a box spring.

Since the box spring acts as a direct support to the mattress, you should use it immediately underneath it. You can choose to omit a bed frame altogether. However, adding a bed frame to your bed gives it the extra couple of inches (a foot minimum) and keeps it way above the floor dust.

It is very crucial for you to buy your foundation or box spring from a reputed retailer or the mattress manufacturer of your choice. Since the primary task of the bed base is to provide support that conserves the integrity of the mattress, it is of utmost importance that it has a good design.

How To Turn Your Platform Bed into a Bed Base without Gaining the Extra Height?

Very few people go ahead and invest in bed bases nowadays. Platform beds are all the rage, and mattress manufacturers often omit the necessity of box springs or bed bases in their manuals and warranty cards.

A platform bed is a plain cabin bed with a raised and flush rectangular frame. The solid structure usually consists of wooden slats that support a mattress which eliminates the old practice of adding a box spring to the bed.

The other problem is the set-up process. Do you know how it feels to sleep on a bed that has a platform base, a box spring and a mattress on top? If not, picture the illustration from Princess and The Pea! It’s exactly what it looks like and feels like.

To find your way out of this problem you can slightly modify your platform bed. This comes as great news for all the DIY project lovers.

  1. Check your new platform bed frame for expendable height. You will usually be able to do away with a couple of inches from each of the 4 sides of the frame. Start by taking out the wood strip support on each side and cutting the frame down to lower the strip position. The strip will act as support to the divan, and our primary goal is to do away with as much extra height as possible.
  2. Check each of the (presumably) 4 legs that attach to the frame. There should be two to three pre-drilled holes that secure the legs to the edges. Since you have reduced the height of the structure, you may need to do away with one or two of the holes. That means you need to cut down the notches, so the tops of each leg are smooth against the wood strips you have lowered.
  3. Now, it is time to cut off the extra inches from the legs. Depending on how tall your bed frame legs are, you can get rid of about 4 to 6 inches. Measure very carefully and preferably use a circular saw for this process. You do not want a lopsided bed that wobbles (gives you Exorcist nightmares!) when you sleep.

During the process, do not worry if you chip the polish or veneer inside. No one can see it. Be careful during reassembly. Once you have put the “new” platform bed together, you can effortlessly use your old high-profile divan to find the same old comfort on your new mattress.

Why Are Bed Bases Losing Their Popularity?

Box springs were once indispensable to every household. If your home had a bed, it was sure to have a bed base as well. However, off late, people have been shying away from buying box springs. Box springs come with several drawbacks that have caused people to question their necessity and usefulness.

They take up a lot of space: Almost all homes have platform beds or some form of solid horizontal bed frame with a significant height. Adding a box spring to the bed frame not only raises the height of the bed but it makes it difficult for the user to get out of bed every morning. Also, a lot of space is used up.

They do not help with extra storage space: Box beds and even good old platform beds have storage space underneath. Bed bases are lower due to height constraints and do not provide storage space under the bed.

Replacement and rotation: Box springs lose their supporting quality over years of regular use. It can be tiring to rotate them from time to time to even out the stress. Bed bases usually require replacement after 8 to 10 years.

They are costly: Foundations or box springs can cost you above $200 which is a significant amount to pay immediately after mattress shopping.

People love staying trendy: When it comes to decorating their house, they prefer more stylish and compact designs that provide them with more storage space and design options. The traditional box springs are too passé for the DIY interior designer.

What Are the More Popular Alternatives to Box Springs?

Since the primary work of any good box spring is to absorb the shock on a mattress, several people are choosing alternate solutions that can serve the same purpose.

Here are the top 5 alternatives to box springs almost every homeowner considers at least once during mattress shopping:

Innerspring Mattresses

These come with an inherent structure and integrity. While buying an innerspring mattress, you can eschew bed bases. They are cost-effective solutions for almost all kinds of beds since they come in several shapes and sizes.

Innerspring mattresses are quite similar to traditional mattresses, but the former offer more support. They do not sag without the use of a box spring.

Additionally, they retain more body heat, which is excellent for people who reside in the colder regions and often feel cold in bed. They are the cheapest alternatives to box springs, and they are known to have an average lifespan of about 6 to 8 years.

Memory Foam Mattresses

They are not a cheaper alternative, but they are ideal for light sleepers. Memory foam mattresses have viscoelastic foam that can “remember” your favorite sleeping postures.

They are perfect in case you have been suffering from back pain, neck stiffness, and leg pains after waking up each morning. They provide enhanced support and are often the solution to a mattress (or bed) that does not give enough support.

Memory foam mattresses are usually softer than the traditional mattresses at the bottom. Therefore, they perform better on flat platform beds. Although memory foam mattresses are costlier, they are bound to last much longer than their cheaper counterparts.

Platform Beds

Platform beds (of wood or metal) with slats are the go-to alternative for those who do not like the idea of sleeping on a box spring. While the wooden platforms are both cheaper and easier to make, they add aesthetic value to your bedroom.

They also provide better air circulation under your mattress. Wooden platforms with slats are much lighter than bed bases. They are ideal for softer mattress variants and double-sided innerspring mattresses.

Your platform bed will not need a bed skirt, and it will be much easier to change the orientation of your bed from time to time to spruce up the look of your bedroom.

Hybrid Mattresses

If you cannot stop feeling guilty about not getting a box spring, you can go for a hybrid mattress. It is indeed the best of both worlds. It has a memory foam gel layer on top and an innerspring structure at the bottom which provides you the comfort and the support you have always wanted.

They make it super easy to get out of bed every morning with a spring in your step. In fact, they have one of the best shock-absorbing qualities that allow two different types of sleepers in the same bed without bothering each other.

Although they seem costlier than the average mattress types, you must remember that you are adding the perks of a divan and memory foam to a single mattress design.

Adjustable Beds

Adjustable beds are the costliest of the lot, but indeed the most comfortable. The comfort is so good that you might not want to step out of bed at all. These beds adjust to all your needs.

They can reduce inflammation of joints, improve cases of spondylosis and help you sleep in healthier postures. These beds allow the occupants to selectively adjust the head and the foot of the mattress as per their need.

Several of the newest models also provide features of massage, under-bed lighting, and wall-hugging. They last longer and entirely obliterate the need for any bed base in the near future.

These are not the only alternatives you can pick, but these are 5 of the most popular ones. Bunkie boards and slats are the leading substitutes you can buy to cut down on your bed upgrading costs.

Nonetheless, if you are about to design your platform bed with slats, make sure you find the correct DIY guidelines. Some people go right ahead and put their new mattresses on the floor! It provides enough support but invites a lot of dirt and dust.

Not providing the right kind of support for your mattress can cause it to sag or form lumps, and void the warranty.

Which Mattresses Need a Foundation or Box Spring?

Healthy living advocates, who often decide to go with an all-natural mattress type, may find the use of a box spring necessary. Since traditional mattress types are usually harder, these springs-in-a-wooden-frame structures add that extra bouncy comfort to natural mattresses. Not having a bed base can give you a poor sleeping experience.

Mattresses with springs on a single side ideally do well on box springs. They do not have enough inner strength to prevent “sinking.” No-flip coil mattresses make the bed bases a necessity in the bedrooms.

If your mattress is a thin one, it will likely need external support to boost its height. Softer mattresses without enough internal support require foundations too. They preferably need a low platform as well to complete the support structure and keep the mattress in good shape for the coming few years.

Several mattress manufacturers stress on the use of proper box springs. Not using a foundation or a bed base with your mattress can void its warranty.

Instead of wondering if your mattress type requires a box spring, you should check if the manufacturer needs you to get a foundation with the mattress for providing warranty services.

What Are the Different Dimensions of Box Springs for Modern Beds?

Several leading mattress manufacturers engineer ergonomic box springs. Today, you can find a mattress for almost every bed dimension.

You can even design your mattress as per custom measurements of your bed. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not be able to find a foundation that fits your needs perfectly and enhance the look of your home.  

There are 3 profiles of foundations you can choose from:

  • High profile: They are bouncy. They are about 23 cm in height. You can use them with thick no-flip mattresses with single side coils.
  • Medium profile: They are between 15 cm and 21.5 cm in height which makes them ideal for thicker mattress types on low bed frames.
  • Low profile: These are ideal for taller platforms. They are tough, and they are usually between 13 cm and 14 cm in height.

This categorization of the box springs according to height makes it much easier for the buyer to choose one as per their support requirements.

The easiest way to find a box spring that exactly matches your mattress dimensions is by referring to your mattress manufacturer’s size chart. It should look somewhat similar to this:

Size Width (inches) Length (inches)
California king 72 84
King 76 80
California Queen 60 84
Queen 60 80
Full 54 75
Twin XL 38 80
Twin 38 75

We have come across several customers demanding split-spring structures for their mattresses. While the bed base you choose is entirely your discretion, we must inform you that a split design can cause your mattress to sink in the middle.

We always recommend a standard King or a Queen box spring for twin-mattress beds.

What Are the Different Types of Bed Foundations?

Modern technological advancements have brought a flurry of new bed bases for every bed in every home. These suit the need of each mattress type without the need of adjustments and compromises.

Latex, memory foam, and inner-spring type mattresses have all found their due support thanks to the variety of bed base types in the market.

Coil on coil box springs: These are the closest to traditional box frames. They have a wooden frame containing equally spaced coils. They are the most primitive of all box spring designs since their engineering is ideal for older mattress designs that needed more support and more flex. They are obsolete right now since new mattresses require a more solid foundation.

Knock-down foundation: The knock-down foundations are the easiest to transport and assemble. They need on-site assembly. They are ideal for small apartments and shared rooms. Smaller beds or mattress types are often better suited for this foundation.

Zero deflection box spring: Modern mattresses use a new generation of box springs – the zero deflection box springs. Their use keeps the transfer of motion to a minimum. They usually use wooden foundations with wire support. The costlier and more ergonomic designs can use a wooden frame and fiberboard supports.

Semi-flex grid box spring: The semi-flex models use wooden bases topped with metal wires. It offers more flex than knock down models, but they can be quite costly. Even the basic semi-flex grids are suitable for memory foam mattresses and all kinds of beds.

A standard box spring is a single piece structure that provides uniform support to your mattress. You will not be able to fold or efficiently resize a bed base for a smaller bed or a smaller room.

Larger mattresses on smaller bed bases will sag at the corners. They will also tend to shift on the sides and compromise integrity. Although split box springs are not ideal for the health of your mattress, you should consider one in case you need to fit one through a narrow passage, small doorway or up the stairs.

Why Does Your New Mattress Warrant a New Bed Base?

You might be wondering if at all you need a new foundation since your old one seems to be just fine. You are already buying a new mattress and purchasing another bed base seems like such a waste of the pretty dollars.

However, if you already have a box spring that is a couple of years old (or came with the older mattress), it needs replacement. There are quite a few reasons why your old mattress is not cutting it anymore, and your old bed base might be one of those reasons.

While you are spending a couple of hundred dollars on a new mattress, would you want to take a chance with your bed base?

The rule of the thumb says that you must replace your bed base at least once every 8 to 10 years. It has a slightly longer lifespan than the average double-spring mattress.

However, if your foundation is missing the springs or broken slats, it demands immediate change. Corrupt support will compromise the internal structure of the mattress quickly. Most manufacturers will consider their mattress warranties void, in case you do not get a new divan for your new mattress.

What Factors Should You Consider before Buying a Box Spring?

By now it is quite understandable that shopping for a box spring may not be as complicated as you deemed it to be. You need the right guidance to buy a product that will offer endless years of structural support to your prized mattress.

Here’s a comprehensive look at the factors you must always consider before investing in a foundation –

  • Size of mattress and foundation: We have already covered the variations of box springs in size depending on the size of the mattress. To ensure that their sizes match flawlessly you can buy the mattress and the bed base from the same brand. Alternatively, you can take accurate measurements of the same to ensure a perfect match.
  • Warranty terms and conditions: Depending on the manufacturer, the terms and conditions of your warranty will vary greatly. While some require you to steer clear of all stains on the mattress, others will need the compulsory use of box springs. Always make sure you do not remove the law tag on your mattress to enjoy the warranty services. Removing the label instantly voids all warranties irrespective of other terms.
  • Check the reviews and ratings: Just like any other services, you can pick the best mattress manufacturers and foundation companies online. Always check the reviews of the company, verify their ratings, and look for authentic customer testimonials. Reading genuine reviews will give you an idea about the brand as well as the product type. Several brands use distinct product names depending on distinct features and sizes of their mattress-box spring combos. Several others give out seasonal offers on their products. The only way to avail the best brand and best offers is by staying in touch with their online profiles.

A high quality bed foundation is a costly buy. It is not going to be like buying a pillow or a new set of bed sheets. You must weigh your pros and cons before investing in a particular model. Read the fine print for guarantee, warranty, and exchange before you pay the dealer.

How much should a box spring cost?

A good quality bed base can set you back by a few hundred dollars. Like the cost of any bed frame, foundation or mattress, the box spring cost will depend on its quality, the manufacturer’s profile, their target market and the size. While some manufacturers base the prices of their base by their height, others price them by their dimensions.

You may even find a box spring for $70 online, but you should always double check its quality, reviews and warranty considerations before purchasing.

Check the base type, material and support quality in detail for each model you pick, compare their prices online and then hit the “Buy” button. Today, a good design can cost you anything between $150 and $350, depending on the myriads of factors we have mentioned above.

So, Box Springs and Mattresses Are What Dreams Are Made Of!

Budgeting is very crucial for any shopping process. Unless you are an Instagram celeb or a reality TV star, it is indeed difficult to shop on a shoe-string budget, when you are looking for ergonomic options to help you sleep better.

Mattresses can cost you between $400 and $4000, depending on what kind of comfort you are looking for. Innerspring coil mattresses are the cheapest, while memory foam adjustable mattresses tend to be the costliest.

The costlier your mattress gets, the more necessary it becomes for you to ensure that it comes with a replacement warranty. As per warranty conditions, any snags in the mattress, sinks or lumps within the next one year (or two years, depending on manufacturer) will warrant an immediate exchange.

Click here to see what are the top rated mattresses in our reviews and pick one that will best suit your needs.

However, not using a recommended or approved bed base under the mattress can completely make the warranty invalid and render the mattress useless.

Most people do not take this risk. Old beds without enough slats or old box springs with broken coils can bust new mattresses faster than you can say “replace.”

After all, you will be spending close to $1000 or even more for a new mattress, spending a couple of hundred more for guaranteeing better sleep and better customer service is the smartest thing you can do!

Your bed should be your haven. You should be the most comfortable in your bed, and each morning you should feel well rested and fresh to start a new day.

Before you buy a costly mattress and a bed foundation, you can try it out at the stores, or if ordering online, make sure to take advantage of any sleep guarantees. 

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