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Platform Bed Vs Box Spring: Which Is Right for You?

By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024

  • When choosing between a platform bed and a box spring for your bed, consider factors such as mattress type, height preference, storage needs, and budget.
  • Platform beds offer a wide range of style options, are compatible with various mattress types, and may come with storage features. 
  • Box springs are ideal for innerspring mattresses, can provide added height to your bed, and absorb shock, but they offer limited storage space and may not be compatible with all mattress types.
  • Ultimately, the choice between a platform bed and a box spring comes down to personal preference and specific sleep requirements.

If you’re in the market for a new bed, you may be faced with the decision between a platform bed and a box spring. Both options have their benefits and considerations, so it’s essential to understand the differences before making your choice. This comprehensive guide will explore the features, benefits, and disadvantages of platform beds and box springs to help you determine the best fit for your needs.

What is a Platform Bed?

A platform bed is a bed frame with a low profile, specially designed to support a mattress. These beds typically have a height ranging from 5 to 12 inches. Platform beds do not provide sufficient mattress support, unlike traditional bed frames like sleigh beds, canopy beds, or four-poster beds. They usually require a box spring or a mattress foundation to be used in conjunction.

Platform beds are economical because they combine a bed frame with a built-in foundation. The solid wood surface of these beds often features holes or channels that improve airflow and enhance mattress breathability. The gaps between the wooden slats allow for air circulation, which helps cool the mattress and influences the support it provides. Smaller gaps between slats tend to offer better support. The slats in most platform beds are spaced about 2 to 2.75 inches apart, although metal platform beds may feature thinner slats resembling rods.

Bed slats are typically rigid, but some wooden slats can be flexible, offering a bit of give to accommodate the weight of the mattress and the sleeper. On the other hand, rigid slats can make the mattress feel firmer and tend to be more durable.

Types of Platform Beds

Platform beds come in various styles, including headboards, footboards, storage drawers, and upholstered designs. The storage feature in platform beds is especially practical for small living spaces like apartments and studios. Some styles, like floating bed frames, create the illusion of weightlessness by concealing the legs. Many platform beds emulate the appearance of traditional panel beds that require a mattress and box spring.

These frames are available in standard mattress sizes, from twin to king. A queen platform bed is an excellent option for a versatile choice suitable for two people and most bedrooms. Some platform beds have metal frames made of materials like wrought iron or steel with metal grids on the surface.

It’s important to note that these metal grids can exert more pressure on certain memory foam mattresses, potentially causing premature wear and tear. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult the mattress manufacturer regarding the compatibility of a specific bed base before purchasing a new mattress.

Platform beds crafted from particleboard or composite wood may be more budget-friendly but lack durability. If you’re looking for a long-term investment in a bed, opting for a solid wood platform bed is wise. Platform beds are suitable for all mattress types, including foam, latex, and memory foam mattresses. While innerspring mattresses can be used with platform beds, they are typically better matched with box springs.

Pros of Platform Beds

Platform beds offer several advantages, including:

  • Variety of Styles: Platform beds offer a wide range of style options, making them suitable for any bedroom decor.
  • No Box Spring Required: Platform beds eliminate the necessity for a separate box spring or foundation.
  • Compatible with all mattress types: Whether you have a memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattress, platform beds can accommodate them all.
  • Storage options: Some platform beds have built-in storage features, providing extra space for your belongings.

Cons of Platform Beds

While platform beds have numerous benefits, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Lower height: The low-profile design of platform beds may make it harder for some individuals to get in and out of bed.
  • Limited mobility: Due to their weight and design, platform beds can be challenging to move.
  • Storage space: Platform beds that extend to the ground may lack storage space underneath.
  • Firmness: Depending on the specific platform bed and mattress combination, some users may find the bed too firm for their liking.

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is essentially a wooden box with springs inside, covered by a breathable top fabric and a dust-resistant bottom fabric. Some box springs come with a steel frame to enhance support, and you can place them directly on the floor or on a bed frame to raise the bed’s height and prevent any movement.

The layer of springs in the box spring promotes air circulation, adds a bit of bounce to your mattress, and helps distribute your body weight. It also increases the overall bed height by a few inches.

Box springs work well with innerspring mattresses because the springs in the mattress align with those in the box spring, making the bed feel softer. These springs also help with shock absorption and reducing motion transfer.

However, it’s important to note that box springs aren’t a good match for memory foam or latex mattresses. The weight of these mattresses can damage the springs, reducing support and causing the bed to sag.

Pros of Box Springs

Box springs offer several advantages for certain sleepers, including:

  • Height enhancement: Box springs can considerably increase the bed’s height, making it more accessible for getting in and out.
  • Support for innerspring mattresses: Box springs work harmoniously with innerspring mattresses, aligning the coils for better support and comfort.
  • Shock absorption: By absorbing some of the shock, a box spring can help prolong the life of your mattress.
  • Ease of movement: Box springs tend to be lighter and easier to move than platform beds.

Cons of Box Springs

While box springs have their benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited storage space: Box springs typically do not offer much room for storage underneath the bed.
  • Increased cost: Adding a box spring to your bed setup can increase the overall cost compared to a platform bed.
  • Compatibility issues: Box springs are incompatible with all types of mattresses, limiting your options.
  • Motion isolation and noise: Box springs may lose support over time and become noisy, particularly if the coils deteriorate.

Platform Bed vs Box Spring: A Comparison

FeaturePlatform BedBox Spring
HeightTypically between 6 and 18 inchesTypically between 2 and 9 inches
Price$150 – $2,000$100 – $500
FirmnessFirm and responsive support absorbs shock and softens the innerspring mattress.N/A
CompatibilityCompatible with all mattress typesBest suited for innerspring mattresses
StorageOffers storage optionIt can be paired with headboards for added aesthetics
MobilityHeavy and can be challenging to moveLighter and easier to move
ComfortBreathable and suitable for all mattress typesEnhances comfort for innerspring mattresses
Additional AccessoriesVarious options available (e.g., headboards, footboards)Can be paired with headboards for added aesthetics

To help you make an informed decision, let’s compare platform beds and box springs across various factors:


Choosing the Right Option for You

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When deciding between a platform bed and a box spring, consider the following factors:

  • Mattress type: A box spring might be ideal if you have an innerspring mattress and prefer a softer feel. A platform bed is compatible with other mattress types, such as memory foam or hybrid.
  • Height preference: A box spring can provide the desired height if you prefer a taller bed or have difficulty getting in and out of lower beds. However, a platform bed may be more suitable if you enjoy a lower-profile design.
  • Storage needs: Platform beds with built-in features are a great option for additional storage space. Box springs, on the other hand, offer limited storage opportunities unless paired with a bed frame that provides clearance underneath.
  • Budget: Platform beds can range in price depending on the material and design, but they often require fewer additional accessories. While generally less expensive, box springs may require additional purchases like a bed frame.

Ultimately, the decision between a platform bed and a box spring comes down to personal preference, comfort, and practicality. Consider your specific needs, mattress type, and desired aesthetics to make an informed decision.

Other Bed Frame Options and Accessories

While platform beds and box springs are popular choices, there are other bed frame options and accessories worth exploring:


A mattress foundation can be used alone or in combination with a bed frame to provide additional support for your mattress. A foundation is a suitable option if your bed frame lacks supportive slats or a baseboard. It can help raise your mattress and improve its overall firmness.

Adjustable Base

An adjustable bed base is an excellent choice for individuals who prefer customizable sleeping positions. These bases allow you to elevate your head or knees, providing optimal comfort and support. Adjustable bases can be paired with various bed frame types, making them versatile options for different preferences.

Upholstered Bed Frame

An upholstered bed frame offers a cozy and stylish alternative to exposed metal or wooden frames. It is covered in fabric. These frames provide padding and a softer feel while maintaining a sleek and modern appearance.


A headboard is a decorative element that adds style and functionality to your bed frame. It prevents your head from hitting the wall and comes in various materials and sizes to suit different preferences. Some headboards are sold separately from bed frames, allowing you to mix and match accessories.

Metal Bed Frame

Metal bed frames provide a simple, cost-effective solution for those seeking a basic bed setup. Paired with a box spring, a metal bed frame offers stability and support for your mattress. They are usually simple to assemble and disassemble.

Advantages of Using a Bed Base or Mattress Foundation for Your Mattress

Placing your mattress on the floor might seem simple, but it can lead to comfort and durability issues. While the floor offers support, it lacks airflow and shock absorption, making you feel too hot.

The floor can also be too hard for your mattress, causing it to wear out faster. Sleeping on the floor can bring you closer to bugs, dust, germs, and allergens. Exposure to these things could potentially lead to health problems for some people.


Are box springs obsolete?

Box springs still serve a purpose, particularly for innerspring mattresses. However, they are not necessary for all mattress types.

Do you need a mattress foundation?

A mattress foundation is necessary for proper support if your bed frame lacks a solid or slatted base. It can help enhance the overall firmness of your mattress.

What’s the difference between a platform bed and a mattress foundation?

A platform bed is a bed frame that does not need a separate box spring or mattress foundation. On the other hand, a mattress foundation is an accessory used alone or with a bed frame to raise and support your mattress.

Can you use a platform instead of a box spring?

A platform bed is a suitable alternative if you prefer a bed frame that works without a box spring.

Which provides better comfort, a platform bed or a box spring?

The comfort level depends on the specific mattress type and personal preferences. Box springs can enhance the comfort of innerspring mattresses, while platform beds offer breathability and are compatible with various mattress types.

Do platform beds make mattresses firmer?

Platform beds can create a firmer feel, but the impact will vary depending on the mattress type and specific platform bed design.

Do platform beds hurt your back?

Platform beds are generally recommended for individuals with back pain due to their stability and support. However, raising the platform bed height can make getting in and out of bed easier for those with back pain.


Selecting between a platform bed and a box spring requires carefully considering your preferences, mattress type, and specific needs. Platform beds offer a minimalist design, compatibility with various mattresses, and storage options. On the other hand, box springs enhance the height of your bed, provide support for innerspring mattresses, and absorb shock. Understanding each option’s features, pros, and cons allows you to select the bed frame that best suits your preferences and sleep requirements.


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