Do I Need a Box Spring With My Mattress?

Do You Need a Box Spring?

Most new mattresses don't need a box spring for the sake of comfort, but many modern mattress warranties still require a box spring!

Box Spring Foundation

The no-flip, one-sided design of modern mattresses usually contains all of the components necessary within the single unit. All you need is a hard, flat surface to set the mattress on. This could be an adjustable base, platform bed, box spring, or even a hardwood floor. The mattress should perform well and be comfortable in all of these situations, but the box spring standard still exists in the eyes of most companies.

If you set your mattress on an uneven or unsupportive surface, it may cause premature sagging and a shorter lifespan than if it was used on a box spring. For this reason, many modern mattress warranties still require the use of a box spring as a universal standard for ensuring warranty claims were properly supported by a hard, flat surface. Mattresses that are compatible with adjustable bases have that alternative, while platform beds are another newer alternative that is acceptable in most cases in lieu of a box spring. If your new mattress's warranty does not require a box spring, or if you aren't concerned about voiding the warranty, then you should be fine to use most modern, one-sided mattresses on any hard, flat surface.

The old two-sided mattress design is rare today, but can still be found. You may also be looking to replace a box spring for an old mattress. In these cases, yes, two-sided mattresses are designed to be used with a box spring, and their performance will likely suffer without one.
To summarize:
  • Modern one-sided mattresses do not need a box spring to perform properly. Any hard, flat surface will do. HOWEVER, the warranty may still require the use of a box spring or platform bed as a guarantee that the mattress was properly supported.
  • Old-style two-sided mattresses are designed to be used with the supportive foundation of a box spring.
  • Platform beds are an alternative to box springs and should be sufficient on their own.
  • Adjustable bases are another alternative for some mattresses, providing additional functionality as well as proper mattress support.

The Function of a Box Spring

A box spring (sometimes referred to as a "foundation") is a wooden box with either springs or metal rods that provide support to a mattress. The box spring is usually the same size as the mattress that sits on it, and while the mattress provides support to the human body, the box spring ensures that the mattress itself is properly supported for a long comfort life. Box springs also raise the height of a mattress which can make it easier to get in and out of bed, and they absorb shock to reduce wear. In a complete bed set, box springs are typically placed on top of a wooden or metal bed frame that is connected to the headboard and footboard. It is also common to see mattresses and box springs used together without a complete bed. Many sleepers who don't feel the need to have a decorative looking bed simply place their box spring directly on the floor or on casters with the mattress on top.

Box Spring Types (Standard and Low-Profile)

Over the last several years, advancements in sleep technology have resulted in mattresses that are much taller than they used to be. For this reason, many manufacturers now produce low-profile box springs which provide the same amount of support as standard box springs, but are shorter to compensate for the taller mattress. Standard box springs measure 9 inches in height and low-profile box springs measure between 5 and 5.5 inches. The difference in height between the two is completely aesthetic, and there is no difference in the amount of support they provide to a mattress. Whether you lay your mattress on top of a standard or low-profile box spring, you can count on it getting the support it needs to maintain its comfort for as long as it should without warping or sagging.

Platform Beds and Adjustable Bases

Platform beds and adjustable bases are some modern alternatives to box springs. Platform beds provide a hard, flat surface via wooden slats or a similar design to effectively support your mattress. Platform beds also offer other advantages like storage space underneath and a sleek modern look. Some mattresses are compatible with adjustable bases that add a whole new level of functionality to your bed. Adjustable bases provide a solid support surface for your mattress as well as additional functionality like adjusting the angle of the foot of the bed, head of the bed, massage functions, etc. Both platform beds and compatible adjustable bases should satisfy your warranty if you need to make a claim, but check first to be sure!

Protect Your Warranty

Most manufacturers require that a mattress be supported by a box spring in order to file a warranty claim. Alternatives to the traditional box spring are a platform bed or a compatible adjustable base. If you're upgrading your mattress, then you might be able to use the box spring that you used with your previous mattress. As long as that box spring is free of defects and remains structurally sound, most manufacturers will recognize it as a sturdy means of support for the mattress. If you're not sure if you should purchase a box spring, platform bed, or adjustable base for your mattress, or have any questions about a box spring you found on our site, give us a call at 1-800-455-1052 to speak with a friendly mattress expert who will be happy to answer your questions.
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