IDLE Mattress

Does Your Bed-In-A-Box Mattress Need a Box Spring?


Affiliate Disclosure: I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a mattress after clicking a referral link or using a coupon code on this site. That said, all content and opinions on this site are my own and are NOT affected by these payments.

Today, the term ‘box spring’ doesn’t always mean what it used to mean.

Traditionally, a box spring is a type of mattress foundation consisting of a wooden box/frame with coils or springs to support a mattress.

The coils are designed to take some of the weight off the mattress to ensure it lasts longer. They also absorb motion when you turn or move on the bed.

Box springs have been around for decades. They were originally meant for use with innerspring mattresses but quickly became popular with foam mattresses as well.

A modern box spring doesn’t necessarily have coils. They are usually wooden-framed boxes with slats or a solid platform for the mattress to rest on.

A more correct name for the modern box spring is a box foundation.

In this article, when I refer to a box spring I mean the traditional type.

Do You Need a Box Spring?

Intellibed Review

If you’ve been shopping around for a mattress and bed, you may have noticed that box springs are no longer that popular.

Most online mattress companies sell solid metal or wooden foundations. And even when they sell a ‘box spring’ it’s most likely one without springs.

The reason for this is that mattresses have changed quite a bit from decades ago.

Then, mattresses were fairly thin and usually soft. They did not have a firm supportive base since they were 2-sided.

So a box spring was used as an extension of the mattress, providing extra support and comfort.

Today’s mattresses are better in quality.

They use durable foams that provide enough support all on their own. Because they are one-sided, they spot a thick firm base that offers plenty of support for years.

So you no longer need a box spring to absorb the mattress’ weight or motion.

Several online mattress companies including Leesa specifically ask that you do not place the mattress on a box spring.

Modern mattresses are too heavy for a traditional box spring. They won’t get the sturdy support they need to last long.


Check with The Manufacturer

CompanyCushion TypesWarrantyRequired FoundationSuggested Foundation
CasperOEKO-TEX Latex, Memory10 YearsA firm, raised foundation. No floor.Casper foundation and metal bed frame; bunkie board between old box spring; firm platform or slatted base with thick, unyielding slats.
Cocoon by SealyMemory, Support foam10 YearsA flat, sturdy foundation, adjustable bed base, or bed frame.N/A
intelliBEDSpring, soy foam, Latex, Intelli-gel20 yearsFrames that have a support that runs down the center of the mattress, connects at both the head and foot of the frame, and properly supports the mattress for a flat, firm surfaceN/A
LeesaMemory, Avena10 YearsA solid (non-spring) foundation.Platform or slatted foundation (no more than 3” apart).
LullGel-infused memory, Polyurethane10 YearsN/APlatform, adjustable, or slatted foundations (no more than 3” apart), box springs, or floor.
NovosbedUltra-dense memory15 yearsFirm, non-springy foundations or adjustable bed bases that allow air to circulate beneath—cannot be placed on the floor. Per terms, must have “a center support and having at least 5-6 legs for queen, king and California king and 4 leg support for twin and full mattresses.” Slats must be a minimum of 2" in width, and have gaps between them of no more than 3".N/A
PurpleComfort, Support foam10 YearsFirm, flat, solid-surface, non-spring foundation, whether non-moving type or adjustable type. Queen or larger must have 5 or more legs including a center support.N/A
SaatvaWrapped coils, Memory foam15 yearsMetal frame with 5- or 6- legs on Queen or King size.Saatva adjustable base suggested.
Tuft and NeedleHigh-density, pressure-relieving adaptive foam10 YearsNo specific requirements listed.Flat, adjustable, or slatted foundations (no more than 4" between slats), Tatami Mats, or box springs. If on the floor, T&N recommends lifting it every 2-3 weeks to briefly air out.
YogabedMemory, YogaGel10 yearsFoundation with a center support that has at least 5 to 6 support legs (Q, K, CA King) or 4 support legs (twin, twin XL, and full).All-In-One Frame Foundation
ZenhavenTalalay latex, Wool20 yearsFoundation with a center support that has at least 5 to 6 support legs (Q, K, CA King) or 4 support legs (twin, twin XL, and full).Saatva adjustable base foundation suggested.

Before you decide to use (or not to use) a box spring with your new bed-in-a-box mattress, check the manufacturer requirements.

Some will say it’s okay to use a box spring while others warn that using a traditional box spring will void the warranty.

Box Spring Alternatives

Casper vs Tempurpedic

The best foundation for a bed-in-a-box mattress is one that is flat, solid and sturdy with no give. This essentially includes all other kinds of foundations that are not box springs.

Here are the most common ones

Solid Platform

Amerisleep vs Loom and Leaf

A solid platform is exactly that; a foundation consisting of a flat platform that is the same size as the mattress or slightly bigger.

The surface of a platform bed can sometimes be smooth or slatted.

If it is slatted, the slats should be no more than 3 inches apart. Also, check whether the manufacturer requires that you place a Bunkie board on the slats.

One of the advantages of a platform bed is that most come with storage underneath. This is handy for space-limited bedrooms.

Slatted Frame

GhostBed vs Tuft and Needle

This is a wooden or metal frame consisting of slats for support and ventilation.

These types of foundation are very popular because they provide sturdy support. Just make sure that the slats are no more than 3” apart.

If the gaps are too wide, the mattress might start sagging.

Remember to check whether there is a Bunkie board requirement.

Metal Bed Frame

Metal frames are very simple and minimalist but provide excellent support. They are great for heavy mattresses such as innerspring and hybrid ones.

Metal frames vary in design.

Some have a network of wires and thick panels for support. These can be used on their own.

Others consist of just basic perimeter and center support and are designed to work with other types of foundations such as box springs and Bunkie boards.

Some metal frames come with versatile customization options. You can use it as a full or queen size bed or split it into two single or twin sizes.

Others are foldable for easy storage and transportation.


Box Foundation

Box foundations have largely replaced traditional box springs. If you hear of a company selling a box spring, they are most likely referring to a box foundation.

Instead of springs, a box foundation consists of a simple wooden frame with wooden or metal slats or a flat solid platform.

A box foundation provides sturdier support than a traditional box spring.

Adjustable Base

Amerisleep vs Loom and Leaf

This is a powered base that can be raised in different positions. You can incline your upper body or raise your legs a bit to improve circulation or get more comfortable.

Most, but not all, bed-in-a-box mattresses can be used with an adjustable base.

Check the manufacturer specifications before buying a power base. The constant movement can affect the structure and longevity of some mattresses.

What are Bunkie Boards?

I have mentioned Bunkie boards several times, and you might be wondering what the heck they are.

Are they a type of foundation?

Well, sort of.

A Bunkie board is a thick piece of plywood that provides sturdy support to a mattress. The difference with other foundations is that you don’t use a Bunkie board on its own.

You often place it on a box spring, metal platform or a slatted frame.

Some manufacturers require the use of a Bunkie board with slatted frames and traditional box springs.

Bottom Line

If you bought your mattress in the last 5-8 years, you do not need a box spring.

Choose one of the solid foundations we have discussed above. They all provide better support and durability than a traditional box spring.


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Affiliate Disclosure

Affiliate Disclosure: I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase a mattress after clicking a referral link or using a coupon code on this site. That said, all content and opinions on this site are my own and are NOT affected by these payments.

This site participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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