Do You Need a Box Spring?

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If you ask your parents, they might say you need a box spring with your mattress, because back in their day, it was common for most mattresses to use a box spring.

Nowadays, modern mattresses and bed frame support systems make it so you no longer need to use a box spring for most setups. However, there are still some cases where you will need a box spring, and even if you don’t need one, you may still choose to use one for some of the additional benefits they bring to your bed setup.

We’ll explain what purpose a box spring serves and address the real question so many are asking: do you need a box spring?

Do You Need a Box Spring? A Video Walkthrough


What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is basically what it sounds like – it is a box with springs inside of it! Most box springs are constructed either with wood or metal and are then covered with some type of fabric. Inside of the box and under the fabric, there are going to be metal support coils.

Do You Need A Box Spring

Box Spring vs Foundation: What’s the Difference?

People often mistake box springs for foundations, and they really aren’t the same thing. They look similar from the outside, but the support materials inside are different – box springs contain, yep, springs, inside, but foundations usually contain wooden slats.

Foundations (like platform bases) are usually used to support more modern types of mattresses such as memory foam models, but box springs are used to support innerspring mattresses and create a barrier between the mattress and bed.

When we move around and lie on innerspring mattresses, we put a strain on the coils. Box springs are intended to absorb some of that shock and strain and ensure that the mattress lasts for as long as possible without weakening or sagging prematurely.

Box springs also have an aesthetic purpose because they add some real height to the bed. Some people prefer the look of a taller bed and when we add in a box spring, the mattress can rise quite far off the ground.

Who Needs a Box Spring?

There are a few cases in which you would need a box spring:

  1. You use a collapsible metal frame without reinforcement slats.
  2. You want to add some height to your mattress so it’s easier to get in and out of bed.
  3. You want to add more support for your mattress, especially a traditional innerspring mattress.

Collapsible Bed Frame Users

Box springs used to be so popular because they were often paired with collapsible metal bed frames. These frames create an outline for your mattress, but are not reinforced with slats to provide support all along the surface of the mattress.

That’s why box springs were key. They added that extra support to help extend the lifespan of your mattress and keep you comfortably supported while you slept. If you still have a frame like this, you will need a box spring.

If you use a metal bed frame with slats, a platform bed frame, or an adjustable bed frame, you probably will not need a box spring.

People Looking for Additional Loft

You may also want to add a box spring to your bed if you want to add a few inches of height. This will make it easier to get in and out of bed, which can be particularly helpful for seniors, people with pain, or those who place their mattress directly on the floor.

People Who Need Extra Mattress Support

As we stated above, if you have an innerspring mattress, it is very likely that a box spring will be a necessary investment. However, this is not always the case and, to find out if it is worth investing in a box spring, you should first consult with the mattress producer. Looking on a mattress company’s website, you will most likely find information about what type of bed the mattress should be paired with, and if a box spring is required.

If the company does recommend a box spring, you should definitely buy a box spring! First off, this will ensure that the mattress is getting the support it needs and that it will last for as long as possible. What’s more, many companies will void the mattress warranty if your mattress is not paired with the proper bed and bed frame.

Box springs are also going to extend the life of your mattress. If you’re wondering how to make your mattress last longer, a box spring could be a great idea.

Final Thoughts

A box spring can be a worthy addition to your bedroom, but it is worth doing the research to find out if a box spring is really necessary. In most cases, you won’t need a box spring for a modern mattress.

It is worth noting, that you might need to factor a box spring into your bed and mattress budget. If you need a box spring, that might mean you have to choose a slightly more affordable mattress to offset this cost.

Finally, if you aren’t sure you need a bed at all, take a look at our article which answers the question: “Can you put a mattress on the floor?”

Box Spring FAQs

What is the point of a box spring?

A box spring's main use is to create a barrier between the mattress and the bed. It also helps absorb that shock and strain our bodies put on a mattress and adds another level of support.

Is a box spring necessary for a bed?

Not all beds require a box spring. More modern platform beds and foundations might not need a box spring, but more classic types of bed frames might need a box spring. You should consider what type of mattress you have because some mattresses might need extra support. In addition, you run the risk of voiding your mattress warranty if you do not employ a box spring.

How much is a box spring?

Box springs can range in price from $100 up to $500 and more. It really depends on the size of the box spring and the materials found in its construction.

Can I purchase just a box spring?

Shoppers can definitely purchase a box spring by itself. However, some mattress companies make box springs to pair with their mattresses, so it might be a good idea to buy them together.

Gravatar for Marten Carlson

Marten Carlson

Marten is the Lead Reviewer at Mattress Clarity. He is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and covers the mattress industry as well as sleep science news. He is specifically interested in the connection between sleep and overall health. Marten has written for media publications like Consequence of Sound and received a master’s degree in Film Studies from Emory University. He comes from Franklin, Indiana, and spends all the time he can writing, directing, and acting in films.


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