Box Springs vs. Platform Beds

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The box spring was so universally used up until recently that the term “box spring” won’t die, even though the technology virtually has. Like “hanging up” the phone, the term has survived even though it is no longer relevant in the literal sense. Although a small minority of companies still produce or refurbish legitimate box springs, mattress and bed technology has largely evolved past the need for them. Most foam, latex, and no-flip innerspring mattresses are now designed with an all-inclusive design that requires only a stable, flat surface beneath it. This can be a foundation, a platform bed, or even the floor! Box springs were designed as part of a team, to work with two-sided inner spring mattress to provide a firm, bottom layer of springs that would work and move with the softer, more responsive springs of the mattress. But modern mattress combine a firm, supportive core with a softer, conforming top layer to achieve the same effect in a single, contained unit. This has made mattresses thicker, and also eliminated the need to flip them since they are built differently from the bottom up than the top down. It has also eliminated the purpose of a separate box spring unit, being replaced by a foundation or platform bed design which usually uses wooden slats directly beneath the mattress. The primary function of a foundation, which is essentially a solid box of wood with metal supports, is to mimic the size and shape of a box spring without the actual springs. The purpose of this it to retain the height of a bed-box spring-mattress setup instead of just using a bed-mattress setup that will likely be significantly lower to the floor. Replace the old mattress and box spring with a new mattress and foundation for a comparable height.

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Platform beds, on the other hand, are designed to need nothing but the mattress on top. This makes for a more sleek, minimalistic, and Contemporary look, while also being cheaper, requiring one less component. Another benefit of platform beds is that they usually provide storage space underneath, as they often have comparable height to a traditional style bed, but without a box spring or foundation taking up space. This is usually replaced by drawers or simply open space. Platform beds also have the advantage of more diverse design options. They can sit an inch off the ground, at traditional height, or higher, with virtually no change in comfort and support. The frames can be plain and simple, opulent and complex, or constructed to look just like traditional style beds. This allows for platform beds to achieve virtually any style, cost less, and be more reliable with less parts to wear out and fail.

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If you are purchasing a memory foam, latex, or no-flip/pillowtop mattress, 99% of the time you do not want a box spring. If you planned to use the box spring from your old mattress, or the seller wants you to buy a box spring to go with the new mattress, do some research and make sure, because chances are the mattress is not designed for use with a box spring. Modern all-in-one mattresses are designed to sit on a solid flat surface, and the springs in a box spring will actually take away from the support and comfort, as well as adding more moving parts to wear out and fail. If a seller is suggesting you buy a box spring with a new mattress, you should A) make sure its actually a box spring, with springs, not just a foundation that is designed to give your mattress the height of a box spring, B) double check that your mattress is designed to be used with a box spring, because chances are it is not, and C) make sure the seller isn’t trying to unload unneeded box springs on you. Very, very few new mattresses are designed to use box springs! Because, why would they? Platform beds get the job done better in most cases, are cheaper for the customer, and provide much more versatility and practicality in the modern bedroom.

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One comment

  1. I had no idea that the word “box spring” is archaic but then again I never knew about it’s construction until now. It’s interesting to know how things work and this may even be helpful for troubleshooting problems in the future. I also didn’t know that buying a memory foam mattress would negate the need for a box spring but that is good to know. Thanks for the helpful info.

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