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Box Spring Vs Platform Bed Frames: Choose Right

Box Spring Vs Platform Bed: Make The Right Choice

box spring vs platform bed frame cover image

Box spring vs platform bed. This is a decision many people ponder over when choosing the right base for their mattress. Box springs are the traditional base we know very well and are quite used to. Platform beds go nicely with many modern mattress types. So which one is the right choice for you?

Is one better than the other?

Is one going to last longer?

There is some critical information you need to know to help you decide which mattress support system is right for you. In this article I’ll take you through:

  • the construction of box springs and platform beds
  • the pros of each
  • the cons of each
  • when a box spring works well and when a platform works well
  • summary and my recommendation

Let’s Start With Box Springs

Construction

The traditional box spring most people are familiar with consists of a wooden frame (the box) with heavy coils inside it, covered in fabric. These older style box springs are gradually on the out: a “modern” box spring no longer contains coils and is called a  “foundation”.

A foundation is just like a box spring, but without the springs! It has the same wooden frame (the box), but a sheet of wood across top as the support instead of springs. I am assuming this change in construction is to make up for the fact that the springs in the traditional box spring could wear out quite quickly. A spring free foundation is probably what you will find if you go to buy a box spring these days.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Pros
  • if used with a stiff mattress containing coils, eg an innerspring mattress or a modern hybrid mattress, using a box spring
    can help make the mattress feel softer as the coils of the box spring will move with the coils inside the mattress
  • more even support across the base than platforms as there is no gaps
  • some people prefer the more traditional look of a box spring

Cons

Cons
  • not versatile: a traditional box spring containing springs was designed to work best with an innerspring mattress (which we are also moving away from with modern mattress construction)
  • the springs can be creaky and noisy
  • the springs can wear out and cause your mattress to sag (I’ve seen many many people having a hard time with a new mattress sagging, but the problem was actually the box spring underneath the mattress)
  • not suitable for latex mattresses as these are the heaviest mattress type and can put too much wear through the springs
  • whether it’s an older style box spring or newer style platform, it will not allow for airflow around the base of the mattress
  • not suitable for memory foam mattresses due to air flow issues
  • no option to for storage under your bed

When does a Box Spring Work Well?

If you really like the traditional look of a box spring and like the feel of lying on one, then a box spring is going to work well for you. Just as long as you don’t have a memory foam or latex mattress! I actually think the time is up for box springs, there are a lot more cons than pros and they are not very versatile.

Let’s Talk About Platform Bedsplatform bed frame example with modern look

Construction
A platform bed is usually made from a frame of variable height, with or without a headboard, that has slats running across the body of it. By definition, it will have “a base consisting of a raised, level, usually rectangular horizontal solid frame, often with rows of flexible wooden slats or latticed structure meant to support just a mattress”.

Note the last four words there: SUPPORT JUST A MATTRESS. You don’t need to add anything else to the platform, just your mattress. This may seem common sense to some, but box springs are so entrenched in our minds that I have seen countless people asking platform bed makers if they should use their box spring on top of the platform.

As well as the steel and/or wooden materials you should expect that make up the structure of a platform bed, you might find lots of different materials, such as fabrics and plush upholstery, depending on the design. but the functional elements will be wood or steel.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Pros
  • lots of different styles to choose from
  • you can choose a height that allows for storage underneath your bed
  • good for air circulation around the base of the mattress
  • well suited to all mattress types
  • particularly good for memory foam, which has limited potential for air circulation through the mattress due to the dense foam base
  • easier to dismantle or move around than a box spring/foundation

Cons

Cons
  • can be flimsy if you buy a cheap one: look for a sturdy frame with sturdy slats
  • if the slats are too far apart your mattress might not be supported properly


When does a Platform Work Well?

A platform base works well in pretty much every situation. I can’t think of a scenario where a platform base would not be a good option. I have a platform base on my own bed: it is made from 100% pine wood (no steel), and has slats 2-3 inches apart. I’ve had it since 2013 and plan to have it for many years to come. It supports my memory foam mattress really well.

There is one thing you need to keep in mind though, to make sure a platform mattress will work for you:

You MUST check the support requirements of your mattress when choosing a platform. Many mattresses require the slats of a platform to be no more than 3 inches apart, to ensure the mattress is adequately supported. If you use a mattress on slats that are too wide for it, you not only risk the mattress sagging, but also voiding your warranty. Luckily, most of the best quality platform beds will easily meet this requirement for you.

with my platform mattress baseMy Summary And Recommendation

You’ve probably worked it out already, but I highly recommend a platform base over a box spring. In the box spring vs platform bed question, the answer is a total no-brainer to me.

As long as you choose a platform base that is sturdy and has slats that are no more than 3 inches apart, I really don’t see how you could go wrong with choosing a platform base.

With box springs, regardless of a traditional or modern construction, there are just too many caveats and pitfalls when compared to a platform base.

Tell me about your personal preference for box spring or a platform base in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

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