Do You Need a Box Spring?
Your Guide to Mattress Support


Written by David Rubin

Our Editorial Process

Table of Contents

A box spring is one of many styles of bed bases on the market today. When innersprings ruled the mattress industry, a box spring was the most popular choice. It’s easy to see why. Box springs provide support, improve airflow, absorb shock, and allow you to increase the height of your bed.

But with the rise of memory foam, latex, and hybrid models, box springs are no longer the universal choice for mattress support. We’ll cover the basics of box springs, standard box spring heights, and how to know whether your mattress needs a box spring or a different type of base.

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is a type of bed base designed to support your mattress. They usually consist of metal coils encased in a wood frame and covered in a layer of fabric. However, some box springs use a metal frame design.

In a typical setup, a box spring rests on top of the bed frame and the mattress sits on top of the box spring. The frame of the box spring is usually the same size as the mattress.

While not always necessary, a box spring offers several benefits:

  • Support and protection for your mattress
  • A higher-profile sleep surface
  • Improved ventilation under your mattress

Do Box Springs Come in Different Heights?

Box springs come in several height options to meet different needs. Depending on your situation, you may want a high- or low-profile box spring.

Standard or High Profile: The standard height for a box spring is 9 inches (22.9 centimeters). These high-profile box springs are often helpful for sleepers with mobility issues because a higher sleep surface may make it easier to get in and out of bed.

Low Profile: Low-profile box springs are typically between 5 and 6 inches (12.7 to 15.2 centimeters). A low-profile box spring can give a more minimalist look to your bedroom.

It’s also important to consider how your box spring fits with the rest of your bedroom decor. You may need a lower or higher profile for your box spring to match the height of a bedside table or headboard.

What Size Should Your Box Spring Be?

Box springs are available in the same standard sizes as mattresses, from twin to California king. Make sure to choose a box spring size that matches the size of your mattress. This ensures your mattress is flush with the base. A box spring that’s too small can place unnecessary strain on your mattress.

Are Box Springs Necessary for Your Mattress?

In some instances, a box spring may be necessary for your mattress. Every mattress needs a sturdy base to prevent premature sagging and wear and tear. Most mattress companies void their warranties if customers fail to use a supportive base.

However, box springs work best with certain types of mattresses. We’ll help you decide whether a box spring is right for your bed.

Can I Use a Box Spring With a Memory Foam or Latex Mattress?

Memory foam and latex mattresses are known for their contouring and pressure relief. To prevent sagging, these springless beds usually need more support than a typical box spring provides. If you have a memory foam or latex bed, consider pairing your mattress with a solid foundation or a platform bed for extra support.

What if I Use a Piece of Particle Board or Plywood on Top?

Particle board or plywood pieces can help flatten the surface of your box spring. But even with a flat surface, box springs aren’t designed to provide consistent support to an all-foam mattress.

Do You Need a Box Spring With a Hybrid Mattress?

Unlike foam beds, hybrids contain more robust support cores made from metal springs. This means a standard hybrid may not require as much support as an all-foam model. However, every hybrid is constructed differently. To find the best support for your mattress, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines.

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What Can You Use Instead of a Box Spring?

A box spring is one of many mattress support solutions. If you have a foam or latex model or want a lower profile, consider alternative bed base options. Regardless of what you prefer, look over the mattress information to ensure you select a base with proper support.

Platform Beds

A platform bed is a bed frame that includes a foundation. Platform beds typically have a low profile but are available in a variety of heights. The foundation may be slatted or solid.

Do You Need a Box Spring With a Platform Bed?

You don’t need a box spring with a platform bed. Platform beds contain a built-in foundation to support your mattress.

Adjustable Beds

Like a platform bed, an adjustable bed contains a bed frame with a built-in foundation. However, adjustable beds also feature electronically controlled hinges. This allows you to adjust your sleep position by raising your head or feet.


A foundation consists of a slatted or solid support structure generally made of wood. Like a box spring, foundations usually need to be paired with a bed frame.

Bunkie Boards

A bunkie board is a thin type of foundation. It typically consists of a flat, solid piece of wood that rests on your bed frame and supports your mattress. This style of base was designed as a low-profile alternative to box springs for top bunk beds. While less common today, bunkie boards offer a solid base and added support for modern all-foam and hybrid beds.

Do You Need a Box Spring With a Bed Frame?

Not every bed frame requires a box spring. Collapsible bed frames and simple metal frames with no foundation may need one. However, platform beds with built-in foundations do not.

If I Don’t Want to Use a Bed Frame, Can I Place My Mattress on the Floor?

We don’t recommend placing your mattress directly on the floor. Failing to use a foundation, bed frame, or other support structure is likely to void your mattress warranty. Moreover, placing your mattress on the floor restricts airflow and can make it difficult to keep your mattress clean.

About The Author

David Rubin

Certified Sleep Science Coach, Director of Product Testing

David is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with a lifelong passion for well-being and health optimization. His interest in sleep developed with the arrival of his son, when sleep suddenly became a precious commodity.

  • POSITION: Side Sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper

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