Do You Need A Box Spring?

Box springs are not necessary. But...
Do You Need A Box Spring?
Tom Greenspan
December 21, 2022

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When shopping for a mattress, a box spring is always an afterthought but do you need one and what the heck is a box spring? Most people rely on the mattress for support, but many experts say the foundation your mattress rests on is responsible for your bed's comfort and support.

Here is the issue at hand. Many memory foam mattress manufacturers say you just need a solid base for the mattress to perform excellently well. That is perfect to say in the showroom, but what about when you sleep hot because your mattress can't breathe?

This article uncovers the reasons for and against the box spring and provides you with factual information empowering your decisions.

Let’s jump in

How will a box spring help to make me comfortable?

If you've ever wondered whether a box spring is necessary, you're not alone. How can you determine whether you also need a box spring when so many different bed frames and mattress alternatives are available?

Both simple and complex describe the solution. Depending on your bed frame and mattress, you may or may not need one. Some mattresses work better without a box spring, while some bed frames don't give your mattress enough support to stand independently.

What do box springs do?

A box spring is a sturdy mattress foundation made of wood and coils. The wood serves as a frame that is similar in size and form to your mattress, and the coils are positioned in the middle to give and absorb shock. They are supplied in various diameters to meet your needs.

Box springs are still beneficial in some situations, even though other mattress supports look for more modern solutions. It is normal to have a different foundation for mattresses, especially memory foam mattresses.

During the time when coil mattresses were the norm, the typical box spring was practically required. They required additional assistance and a shock-absorbent material to prevent injury from sitting, lying, and bouncing on them.

Even though the popularity of coil mattresses is declining in popularity, understanding when to purchase a box spring can be helpful. 

Box springs still fulfill their original purpose of giving your bed height and supporting your mattress, in addition to a few additional ancillary advantages.

How will a box spring help you?

Airflow and breathability of the mattress

Box springs are mostly hollow, save from the coils and wood support inside. More air circulates your mattress when you use a box spring; if the box spring is well-designed, air will circulate through it. 

It's crucial to take airflow seriously, especially with memory foam mattresses, because it plays a significant role in keeping you cool at night and promoting better sleep.

Sleeping high and mighty

Many people are still searching for something higher despite the current fashion of having your bed closer to the ground.

 A box spring can assist you in getting out of bed in the morning if you are tall, experience joint pain, or have trouble getting yourself up.

If you live in a period home, a low bed will look somewhat out of place, while the box spring will elevate the mattress providing a period finish appearance to the bedroom.

Mattress support

Your mattress may sag if your bed frame doesn't give it the support it needs. Not using a box spring will invalidate the warranty on a memory foam mattress.

A box spring may be necessary for use in order to maintain the advantages of your mattress guarantee, so be sure to verify.

Shock attenuation

A box spring absorbs some of the force created when you lay down on your mattress, turn over in your sleep, or your dog jumps up for hugs. As a result, the box spring helps your mattress last longer. Box springs also assist in shock attenuation, which is another advantage.

Nothing can absorb some of the energy if you use a mattress without a box spring or leave it on the floor. Your mattress might need to be destroyed or damaged more quickly than it otherwise would have.

When is a box spring wrongly purchased?

Despite the advantages, there are situations when employing a standard box spring isn't a good investment and is wrongly purchased.

In some instances, a box spring substitute can be more appropriate. Today's bed frames are often made to function without them and already give the support required. 

Whether you decide to utilize one is entirely up to you, but remember what mattress or bed frame you should substitute in its place.

Memory foam, Latex and hybrid mattresses

Most contemporary coil-free mattresses, including memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses, don't require the same level of support for shock absorption. 

They are intrinsically shock-absorbing due to the materials used to construct them. Box springs don't offer any noticeable benefits; they alter how a mattress feels and reduce your bank balance.

The warranty should always be considered before buying any mattresses. Contrary to coil or innerspring mattresses, which frequently require box springs, warranties for foam mattresses may become void if you use one.


Platform beds have a sturdy base on which the mattress is placed. Box springs are not required unless you prefer a taller bed because the bed frame offers a sturdy support system. 

Because platform beds are often lower to the ground, getting out of bed in the morning can be challenging for people with joint or back problems. 

A box spring would be helpful in this situation, if only for the added height.

Sleeping on the floor

Your mattress is fine on the floor without a box spring unless you want one for height or shock absorption. But be aware that it can experience additional stress and will not perform in comfort or longevity as you may have first expected.

Box Spring vs Foundation vs Platform Bed

The majority of mattresses need something in between them and the floor. Even though many mattresses work fine when put on the ground, doing so hinders airflow and might result in filthy conditions.

Therefore, most individuals will want to use a foundation of some kind; whether that's a platform bed, box spring, or foundation depends on the kind of mattress you select and your particular preferences.

Box spring

A box spring is a straightforward support composed of a fabric-wrapped hardwood or metal frame loaded with metal coils, springs, or a metal grid. Box springs are often made to rest on top of a bed frame. The majority of the time, innerspring mattresses use them.


Another support form is a foundation, which often comprises flat, sturdy frameworks or wooden slats. Despite not having metal springs, they provide a similar purpose as box springs. 

Foam beds work well with foundations because they provide a reasonably firm surface for mattresses to rest on. Despite certain retail outlets' availability of free-standing models, most foundations are made to be utilized with a bed frame.


A platform bed incorporates a frame to elevate the bed off the floor and a base for the bed. Most have wooden legs to raise the frame. 

However, some have storage drawers that extend all the way to the floor. Platform beds provide a comprehensive solution, although they can be more expensive than other options.

Adjustable beds

Similar to a hospital bed, an adjustable bed has a base that can be moved into several positions. 

These are fantastic options for people who enjoy reading or watching TV in bed and older people who have trouble rising out of bed in the morning. 

In comparison to other options, adjustable beds are much more expensive and can only be utilized with specific kinds of mattresses.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if you sleep without a box spring?

It depends on the mattress type and the bedroom setup.

The mattress could sink and be unpleasant if the middle lacks support and sags. A box spring is almost always necessary for any bed frame that isn't completely solid or has a support system in the middle.

Does every bed need a box spring?

Not every bed needs a box spring. While more traditional bed frames might not require a box spring, more contemporary platform beds and foundations might. 

Your mattress type should be considered because some mattresses may require additional support.

It is essential to understand the warranty of the mattress. The warranty could be void if it stipulates a box spring and you don't use it.

What kind of box spring do you need for a memory foam mattress?

Given how supple memory foam mattresses tend to be, box spring foundations are insufficient for supporting them. The optimum support for memory foam is provided by solid platforms and slatted bases, provided that the distance between the slats is no greater than 2.75 inches.


If you're considering switching to a memory foam mattress, you should get a new bed frame at the same time. Box springs are the best fit for innerspring mattresses, offering breathability, support, and reduced motion transmission.

This doesn't have to be expensive, and many manufacturers give you a discount when you purchase a bed frame and mattress at the same time. Your new frame should work with innerspring and memory foam mattresses, so it will be a long-term investment that will pay off.