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Do You Need a Box Spring? [+ Other FAQs]

by Ann Ferguson

“Out of sight, out of mind” may take a role in the ambiguity of the box spring, but in fact, box springs are ever-present in the mattress world. Stealthily located beneath the mattress, this type of foundation is often considered an add-on to the traditional bed purchase. But do you need a box spring? We answer this and related questions here.

At a Glance:

What does a box spring do?

Does a mattress need a box spring?

Do you need a box spring with a platform bed?

Which mattress types need a box spring?

What’s the difference between standard and low-profile box springs?

How long do box springs last?

How much is a box spring?

Frequently Asked Questions About Box Springs

A saggy mattress keeps you from experiencing deep and restorative sleep, so support it with a box spring foundation! Climbing into bed shouldn't feel like scaling a mountain — and with mattresses getting thicker and taller, a box spring foundation keeps your mattress at a manageable height. Our mattress experts answered the most basic questions to lay the foundation (pun intended) for a successful purchase.

What is a box spring?

Tempur-pedic mattress foundation

A mattress-sized structure made from wood and coils, a box spring is a bed accessory that provides a foundation for your mattress. While there are some alternatives available, the box spring is still widely popular in mattress shopping. Tucked neatly away under your mattress and often covered with a frame or bed skirt, many never give it a second thought after purchase. Some beds are even visibly without a box spring. So, what is the purpose of a box spring?

As a foundational component of the bed, the box spring provides support for the mattress above to prevent dips or bumps. It also plays a part in raising the bed up to a more comfortable height for entry and exit, and it provides hygienic airflow under the mattress to prevent staleness.

The box spring also plays a part in shock absorption. As you can probably imagine, tossing and turning, sitting too hard, or having pets and kids that jump on the bed can create quite a bit of wear and tear. In short, the box spring absorbs some of this to keep the mattress in great condition.

In some instances, having a box spring is not optional. Some bed frames require a box spring to prevent the mattress from sinking through; however, many frames with a platform or slats can benefit from the structure and height a box spring foundation provides.

Box springs are used to:

  • Raise the bed to a comfortable height
  • Create airflow under the mattress
  • Provide shock absorption
  • Make a platform on collapsible frames

Do you need a box spring?

The answer is generally “it depends,” but almost every bed can benefit from a box spring. That said, you absolutely need a box spring for:

  • Collapsible bed frames
  • Frames without foundational slats or alternative support
  • Putting the bed on the floor with no frame

Do you need a box spring with a platform bed?

A platform bed provides its own foundation for the mattress, making it a suitable replacement for a box spring; however, a box spring can still be used to make the bed sit higher, and in some cases, it may be included in certain mattress deals.

Which mattress types need a box spring?

closeup of a coil mattress on a foundation

Traditional bed types, such as pillow-top, coil, and hybrid models, usually require a box spring foundation. We also suggest checking the manufacturer specifications to see if it is recommended to use a box spring since every mattress is different. That said, every mattress can be used with a box spring.

But does a memory foam mattress need a box spring? Newer memory foam, latex, or premium hybrid mattresses may not require a box spring. Again, check with the mattress maker’s specifications. Also, be aware that any mattress on a collapsible bed frame will require a box spring.

What’s the difference between standard and low profile box springs?

Some box springs are made for both standard and low profile foundations. The main difference between low profile vs standard box spring options is thickness and support. A low profile foundation is a thinner option that sits lower in height for easier entry and exit. You can even find ultra-low profile foundation options that only add a few inches to the overall height of the bed.

How long do box springs last?

smiling parents tickle their daughter while lying in bed together

Like most home products, box springs do not last forever. Their lifespan can vary depending on factors like frequency of use, level of wear and tear, and the location of the box spring. A good rule of thumb is to replace the box spring every ten years. As you may already know, ten years is slightly longer than the average lifespan of a mattress (which is around 8 years for most economy-to-premium models). Replacing the box spring at the same time as the mattress can help you remember to upgrade the foundation. That said, there is no harm in replacing the box spring early if you are unsure of its purchase date.

How much is a box spring?

There is a large range of prices when it comes to beds, and the box spring is no exception. A budget twin-sized box spring can run as cheap as $50 while a larger luxury California king box spring can run up close to $1,000. Typically, mattress sales run specials that include box springs for little to no cost, so it does not have to be a costly investment.

Typical price range: $50–$800

Shop Box Springs at Mattress Land

Last question: Where to buy a box spring? At Mattress Land, you’ll find the perfect foundation for your mattress. Plus, we can help you find the right mattress with our exclusive BedFit technology. You can shop box springs online today or visit us at one of our store locations in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Washington.