Box spring vs foundation: the ultimate guide

Box spring vs foundation: the ultimate guide


You can use both box spring and foundation as a base for a mattress. The main purpose is to lie safer and more comfortable. While the two things serve the same purpose, there are minor differences. Above all, the choice of the mattress depends on whether one or the other is more suitable for you when comparing box spring vs foundation. It is also possible to use a bed frame in order to guarantee a secure hold for the mattress. Often this is only used to increase the height of the bed so that you don't have to invest in a new bed.


1 What is a box spring?

It is a wooden frame with steel coils on the inside. The top is covered with fabric. Ordinary box spring beds do not have a steel frame and are therefore not as safe as box spring. The steel coils inside ensure that the interior is well ventilated and also offer a secure hold for the entire structure. The top of the box spring is also not stiff, but caves in a little. This has the advantage that the weight when lying on the mattress is evenly distributed. Spring mattresses are best suited for a box spring. These require good shock absorption, which is ensured by the coils in the box spring beds. Models made of latex and memory foam would be less suitable as a mattress. Both types are too heavy for the coils. A light mattress is therefore required overall. You can also get comprehensive advice from a seller before buying.

1.1 Advantages and disadvantages of a box spring

  • supportive for the mattress
  • the coils inside ensure better air circulation
  • good shock absorption through coils


  • limited durability of the springs
  • not suitable for every mattress
  • can make a noise

What is a box spring?

1.2 What to look for when buying a box spring?

If you want to buy a box spring, there are many questions that you should consider. Find out below which mistakes you should avoid when making a purchase and which criteria the box spring that is right for you should meet.


A box spring consists of a spring box. Since the name box spring bed is not protected, many box spring beds are sold that only have a box spring look. If you are about to buy a box spring bed, make sure that the box is not empty, but that there is also a spring core in the box.


Box springs are usually available with pocket springs or with bonnell springs. Pocket springs yield point-elastic and therefore offer more comfort because they adapt to the body more precisely. Accordingly, when buying box springs, the mattress should definitely have a pocket spring core. Depending on the weight, on the other hand, a bonnell spring core box may be sufficient.


The level of firmness should correspond to the weight and height of the person lying on it. When buying a box spring, it is important that an individual level can be set for each side.


A high-quality box spring can also be recognized by the fact that the substructure is made of solid wood. In this regard, make sure that no chipboard or wood substitutes are used, especially for load-bearing parts, which may not be able to withstand heavy or permanent weight loads.


2 What is a Foundation?

Roughly speaking, this is a wooden box with wooden panels on the top. In addition, there is a breathable fabric over it. Compared to box springs, foundations offer better hold and support, so that you lie a little harder on the mattress. The hold also depends on the number of slats. Foundations can also be used for most mattresses.

2.1 Advantages and disadvantages of a foundation

  • can be used for most mattresses
  • durable

  • heavy compared to box spring

2.2 What to look for when buying a foundation?

A good foundation lasts for several years until the first signs of wear and tear appear. It is worthwhile to take a little time and compare products when buying a new foundation for your bed.


The smaller the distance between the individual slats, the larger the contact surface of the mattress. Certain types of mattresses only allow a bar spacing of a maximum of about 2 inches, for example cold foam, latex and innerspring mattresses.


The width of the individual spring slats is also decisive for the quality of a foundation. The slats shouldn't be too wide to be both stable and flexible enough. In connection with the distance between the slats, it emerges that a high number is a quality feature. Good foundations have 42 or more slats and thus ensure a comfortable lying position.


The decision between a regular and an adjustable foundation depends on several factors. A standard foundation without an adjustable head or foot section is definitely cheaper. If you really only use your bed to sleep and have no health problems, this option is certainly sufficient. Of course, foundations that you can adjust offer more comfort.


The materials used to create a foundation have an impact on the quality of your sleep and the longevity of the foundation. Foundations made of metal may appear robust, but these models are load. In addition, the screws loosen more easily. After all, you have to remove the mattress every time to get to the foundation. A wooden foundation should be made of hard and sturdy wood. The spring slats should be made of break-proof and flexible wood.

3 What is the differences between box spring and foundation?

First of all, both box spring and foundation serve as a good base for different types of mattresses. In addition, both types ensure that you lie higher, which makes it easier to get in and out of bed. Despite some similarities, there are also many differences. Foundations are more suitable for those who like to lie particularly hard on the mattress. Box springs, on the other hand, offer a secure hold, but also give in a little and have sufficient bounce. The springs in box springs are a bit noisy and have to be changed after a certain time. Foundations work with narrow woods, which last longer and also offer even support. Box springs are light. Due to the large amount of wood, foundations are correspondingly heavier and therefore not so easy to transport. Foundations can be used with different types of mattresses. Box springs, on the other hand, are only suitable for innerspring beds.

4 Other bases for mattresses

If you don't like a box spring or a foundation, there are some other bases for mattresses to choose from.


4.1 Futon

Futons have also become fashionable in recent years. These bed bases are from Japan. The original Japanese futon is actually just a blanket that you put on the floor to sleep on. The futon beds sold in the western world consist of a bed frame. The bed bases are very low and simple.


4.2 Rattan beds

Rattan is a climbing plant with spines, which has its home in the tropical zones of Southeast Asia to Southeast Australia and West to Central Africa. The material rattan is obtained from the rattan palm. Because it is a natural material, it has become popular in certain circles in recent years.


4.3 Platform beds

One of the trendiest types of bed bases is the platform bed. These particular beds are usually made from materials such as wood or metal. Unlike beds that can accommodate both a mattress and a spring core, platform beds are simply suitable for mattresses. The support for the mattress on a bed comes from the slats below. The simple design of the platform beds has been modified to create other types of beds.



5.1 How do you recognize good quality?

The price determines the quality. It is important that the box spring is very robust and has solid suspension. In addition, the box spring should not stand directly on the floor but have a base plate. Lying directly on the floor will prevent the air from circulating. As a result, the moisture can no longer escape. The suspension also determines the quality. Good models are equipped with barrel pocket springs. Bonnell springs are sometimes used, but their quality is significantly poorer, albeit cheaper. Bonnell springs always give way over the entire surface and let you sink deep into the mattress. With a barrel pocket spring system, the springs are located in small chambers so that the mattress only gives way where the pressure is particularly high. The spine is now superbly supported while you sleep. The quality of the fabrics is also important. A box spring should last for years. It is important that not only the mattresses and the suspension are of high quality, but also the substructure and the fabrics are. A substructure made of solid wood guarantees a long service life. If solid cover fabrics are added, the box bed retains its attractive appearance even after years.


5.2 Which foundation is suitable for children and young people?

In principle, any foundation can be used. However, as children's body weight is lower, less pressure is applied. In this case, the foundations integrated in the bunk beds are sufficient.


5.3 Which box jump for seniors?

Box springs are very suitable for seniors due to their high construction, but you should choose the box spring carefully. In old age people like to lie softly. This is mainly because, depending on the weather, the joints hurt, the muscles tense and the body becomes more sensitive. However, these preferences can also have disadvantages. If the base is too soft, the body will not receive any support during the night, so that the health problems will increase.


5.4 Which box spring if you like to on a hard bed?

Not everyone prefers a soft bed. Those who suffer from back pain often enjoy a hard surface that optimally supports the spine. Box springs are incredibly flexible when it comes to personal sleeping comfort. The box spring itself determines the firmness of the box spring bed. Make sure you have a base with pocket springs. This is harder in itself, as it is point-elastic.


5.5 What are the advantages of an adjustable foundation?

If you want to read in bed, have back pain or have problems with swelling in your legs after a hard day at work, adjustable foundations offer you the comfort and relaxation you need. You can change the setting either manually or with a remote control. Such an option is also ideal for the elderly.


5.6 How much weight can the foundation withstand?

Everyone is different and has different requirements. Weight can also change significantly over a short period of time (pregnancy, prolonged bed rest). The normal capacity of foundations with 28 slats allows a maximum load 280 pounds.


5.7 How do I choose the right foundation?

Buying a new mattress and a new foundation is difficult for many people because there are numerous factors that have to be considered. Many people ask themselves: How important is the foundation really? The firmness of your mattress is determined by your foundation between 30 and 40 %. So if you choose a soft mattress, you can still create a firm feeling with the respective foundation. In order to achieve the desired feeling, however, it is important to know the precise influencing factors. Depending on the mattress model and different needs, you will need a different foundation. You will find out everything you need to know to choose the right slatted frame.



It turns out that both box spring and foundation can be suitable for you. It always depends on your own needs and, for example, on whether you prefer to lie softer or harder. The type of mattress you want also has an influence on the choice of bed base. You should therefore weigh up all the criteria listed in this guide as well as advantages and disadvantages when you decide to buy a bed base. It is important to note that a high quality of sleep begins with the right base and not with the mattress.

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