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Platform Bed vs. Box Spring: What’s the Difference?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 5 minLast updated on June 8, 2021

Finding the best mattress always includes choosing the bed base that would complement it, not make using it less enjoyable.

And while the modern market has plenty of great foundations to offer, the two most popular ones are platform beds and box springs (which often makes shoppers hesitant about which one to choose).

Today’s guide is going to compare the two types side by side to help readers make the most informed decision.

What Is a Platform Bed (Plus Pros and Cons of Using One)

A platform bed is a bed frame that has a low-profile design and features a built-in foundation for the mattress. And that’s the beauty of this mattress base type: there’s no need to buy any additional accessories. A platform bed would work with pretty much any mattress type.

Platform beds are available in a variety of styles and designs. Many models include headboards, footboards, storage drawers, and beautiful upholstery (1).

For support, platform beds usually have either a solid base or slats. A solid base provides sturdier support for the mattress and can make it feel slightly firmer. Most models have small holes in the base (typically wooden) to ensure proper airflow.

Slatted platform beds can be divided into two groups – solid and sprung. Solid slats are usually made from solid wood or thick metal. They provide firm, steady support for the mattress and may even help it wear out less.

Sprung slats are most commonly made of wood and have an arched design. They provide bouncy support for the mattress and can make one’s bed feel more responsive.

Both solid and sprung slats in platform beds allow for unobstructed air circulation. This makes them an excellent option for hot sleepers.

In platform beds, slats are typically spaced 2-3 inches apart. The closer the slats are placed together, the firmer support sleepers would receive.

Now, even though platform beds can be used with pretty much any mattress type, there are some important aspects to consider. The first one is the height. Because most platform beds have a low-profile design, not all mattress models work with them well. Most of the top-rated mattresses for platform beds are a bit on the thicker side to make getting out of bed easier for sleepers.

Additionally, some bed frames don’t have raised edges, which can make the mattress move around. And while there are plenty of ways to prevent a mattress from sliding off, it might be a good idea to take this aspect into consideration when shopping.

Box Springs Explained (Plus Their Advantages and Disadvantages)

When looking at the platform bed vs. box spring comparison, there’s one obvious difference. While platform beds can be used on their own, box springs need to be placed on a bed frame.

However, the construction is quite different too. Box springs usually include a wooden or a metal frame and metal coils. That’s why a box spring would always provide bouncier support

Using a box spring can also help sleepers make their beds taller. This would especially come in handy for those who have slight mobility issues and find it difficult to get out of bed.

That being said, there are plenty of cool low-profile box springs available on the market (for those who want their bed to look more minimalistic).

Many users also buy box springs because this bed base type can absorb some part of the shock the mattress might be enduring. As a result, this may help prolong the life of the mattress.

There are also some similarities between box springs versus platform beds: improved breathability. Because box springs have coils inside (and typically use breathable fabrics for the cover), they allow for impressive levels of breathability.

Platform Bed vs. Box Spring: Side by Side Comparison

To understand the main differences between box springs versus platform beds, it’s best to look at the two types side by side.

Platform Bed

Box Spring

Pros


  • works with most mattress types;

  • does not require a box spring and offers good value for money;

  • additional storage available;

  • tons of styles and designs to choose from;

  • allows for air circulation under the mattress for cooler sleep.


  • lsuper breathable and allows for cooler sleep;

  • can make one’s bed taller and easier to get out of;

  • affordable;

  • can absorb shock and may potentially increase the lifespan of the mattress;

  • provides more give, which some users might appreciate;

  • usually lightweight and easy to move.

Cons


  • lower profile can make it more challenging for some users to get out of bed;

  • can be quite bulky and thus, more difficult to move;

  • can offer firmer support, which may cause pressure points in some sleepers.


  • might become squeaky with time;

  • should be used with a bed frame, which means extra expenses;

  • relatively short lifespan;

  • might not work with all mattress types.

Average price


$150-$2,000

$100-$500

Average height


5-12 inches

5-9 inches

FAQ

Do you need a box spring with a memory foam mattress?

No, box springs are not designed to be used with memory foam mattresses.

Can I put a box spring on a platform bed?

Technically, yes. But in most cases, that’s not necessary. Additionally, stacking a box spring and a mattress on top of a platform bed may cause the mattress to slide off during use.

How much weight can a platform bed hold?

On average, platform beds are designed to hold around 500-1,000 pounds (including the mattress). However, the number will depend on the size and the material of the platform bed.

Summary

Looking at the platform bed vs. box spring comparison, every user can find something that could tip the scales in favor of each mattress base type.

After all, both box springs and platform beds come with a ton of benefits. And the easiest way to make the final choice for shoppers is to check whether the benefits outweigh the cons for them. 

So, which mattress base type do you think would work with your mattress? And what are you trying to achieve: more loft, extra storage space, firmer support, or something else? Share your thoughts in the comments!

References:

  1. Lucia Tonelli (November 21, 2018). Everything You Need to Know About Platform Beds. Retrieved from https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/a25240357/what-is-platform-bed/

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