Mattresses Tips

Do I Really Need a Box Spring?

Box springs were once considered a must-have piece of furniture but those days have since passed. If you’re currently shopping for a new bed you be surprised to find that many don’t require a box spring or consider a box spring as one of a few support options. Others may love their coil mattresses but aren’t convinced by how important a box spring really is.

Regardless of which label you fall under, here is an explanation of whether you really need a box spring for new mattresses and what alternatives you may be able to use instead.

What is the Purpose of a Box Spring?

A box spring is essentially a cloth covered wooden box with springs and/or rods inside to provide support to coil mattresses. They essentially look like a mattress, being the same size and style to match the mattress. It performs with the mattress to provide two layers of support – the actual bed supporting the person and the box spring supporting the bed. Primary function aside, box springs also help add height to the bed to make it more comfortable to get in and out of. They also help reduce general wear and tear on the mattress by absorbing the shock caused by nightly tossing and turning.

A traditional bed set up would be a metal or wooden bed frame with a box spring and finally the mattress on top. The support given by box springs means a platform bed frame isn’t needed so you have more options. Typically you can place a box spring plus mattress on nearly any bed frame.

Box springs can also be found in different heights, which makes shopping for a bed frame easier. Some bed frames, like modern platforms, look silly with the extreme height of a mattress and a box spring. For this situation where a box spring is still needed, you can opt for a low profile box spring. These are roughly half the height of a traditional box spring and give the same support minus the height. This is also useful for people with limited mobility than requiring a bed closer to the ground, especially if they need to access a wheelchair.

As other types of mattresses like innerspring, memory foam, gel and a range of hybrids have become more popular due to price and comfort, box springs are beginning to become somewhat obsolete and fewer are seen in home decor magazines. You might be surprised to find that you may not even need a box spring for your new bed.

Do New Mattresses Need a Box Spring?

It wasn’t until recently that box springs were considered a must-have piece of furniture for the bedroom. New mattresses certainly aren’t cheap and getting a good night’s sleep as well as protecting your investment depended on a box spring. However, if you’ve been mattress shopping for the first time in awhile or other used hand-me-down mattresses up until now, you might be surprised to find that boxsprings are only one option or sometimes not needed altogether.

Older mattresses often had issues with sagging or developing indentations over time, which led to having to turn or flip the mattress after a certain period. This is because these older coil mattresses lacked a firm base of support, which is why they required a box spring in the first place. New mattresses are overall better designed and more supportive. They are often one-sided and don’t allow for turning or flipping simply because it’s not going to be needed.

All in all, you probably don’t need a box spring if you’re purchasing brand new, recently designed mattresses. However, you should always double-check with the manufacturer to be sure. If you don’t need a boxspring, there are a couple options to consider for alternative support.

What are Alternatives to Traditional Box Springs?

Depending on your mattress you may be able to choose between these two or a box spring, while other mattresses specifically require a specific type of support. Also, be sure to check the manufacturer instructions for your mattress. If it’s a brand new bed you may find that the manufacturer requires the use of a box spring or other type of base or else their warranty is void.

There are two main alternatives to traditional box springs, which include:

Mattress Foundations

Mattress foundations are more common with today’s new mattresses. They are the most common mattress base produced and recommended by many manufacturers, particularly those quickly growing online brands.

A mattress foundation may look like a box spring at first glance. Is it a flat structure that is the same size as the bed. It typically has a matching cloth cover. Many foundations are made of wood and have a flat board on top for the mattress to lay on. There may also be metal in the structure but the foundation only serves as a box for the bed to sit on. There are no coils like a bedspring.

Mattress foundations are popular for memory foam, latex, and innerspring mattresses since these only require a sturdy flat surface. These types of mattresses actually need this style of support and can be damaged via sagging or other issues if placed on a box spring.

Platform Bed Frames

The platform bed frame functions as both mattress support and furniture. Platform bed frames typically have a sleek, modern look and are available in nearly any price range. Rather than having a metal or wide-spaced slatted bottom platform frames are flat and supportive. They are typically made of wood and come with either a solid wooden platform or a slatted one with less than 3″ of space between.

Platform bed frames solve the issue of both mattress support and having to buy a bed frame, which makes them very popular. If you are completely remodeling your bedroom you might want to go this route when buying a new mattress as it will probably be less expensive. If you already have a bed frame you love you could potentially go a D.I.Y route by having a custom piece of wood fitted to the bottom and placed on top of the frame, thereby creating a platform for your mattress.

Do You Need a Box Spring?

The answer to this is fairly simple. If you are either using a coil mattress or a mattress designed for a boxspring, then yes, you should purchase one. If you are buying a latex, foam, gel or other newer type of mattress and the manufacturer doesn’t recommend a box spring, you will want to skip it and choose an alternative to suit your needs.

While boxsprings still have their place in the world of mattresses they certainly aren’t the only option. If you’re shopping for a new bed keep in mind that you may not even need a box spring or you may be able to choose a more appealing alternative than the traditional box spring the salesperson may be pressuring you to purchase. Some people purchase coil mattresses but still choose to skip a box spring. You may still sleep great but it may void your warranty as well as reduce the lifespan of your mattress by a few years.

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