Box Spring vs Bed Frame (Comparison) Which is Superior?

Bed Frames
September 27, 2022

Do you find yourself tossing and turning at night? Do you wake up with aches and pains? If so, it might be time to switch your bed frame for a platform bed.

A platform bed is a type of bed frame that does not have a box spring. Instead, the mattress sits directly on the platform. This can be a great option for people who have back problems or other health issues.

In this article, we will compare box spring vs bed frame and determine which reigns superior!

What is a Box Spring?

A box spring.
Credit: Amazon

Tired of your old, lumpy mattress?

A box spring is a tall, rectangular box that is placed under a mattress. It is typically made of wood or metal and has a solid surface. A box spring is designed to provide support for mattresses and can help to prolong their lifespan. In addition, box springs can help to absorb shock, making them ideal for use with heavier mattresses.

A box spring showing the internal coils.
Credit: Sleep Organic

Box springs come in a variety of sizes, and most models can be adjusted to fit different bed frames. While a box spring is not required for all types of beds, they can be a helpful addition to those who want an extra level of support.

A box spring can give your mattress a new lease on life by providing the support it needs and improving airflow. You’ll feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud!

Pros

Here are some pros of a box spring:

  • Takes the weight of a mattress off your bed frame.
  • Improve the support and comfort of your mattress.
  • Improve airflow around your mattress, preventing dust mites and other allergens from accumulating.
  • Extend the life of your mattress.
  • Raise the mattress to a more comfortable height.

Cons

Here are some cons of a box spring:

  • They can be expensive.
  • They’re not always necessary. If you have a platform bed or a mattress with its own support, you don’t need a box spring.
  • They’re not always the most comfortable option. If you have back problems, a platform bed might be a better choice.
  • They can look pretty bulky and be a bit of an eye sore.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to using a box spring. Some people find that a box spring extends the life of their mattress and makes it more comfortable, while others find that it is unnecessary and not as comfortable as other options. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not a box spring is right for them.

What is a Bed Frame?

Quagga Designs No Fuss Plus wood bed frame.
Credit: Quagga Designs

Looking for something sturdy to support your mattress?

A bed frame is a structure upon which a mattress rests and provides support. A bed frame typically has a slatted surface that allows air to circulate around the mattress and prevents it from sagging over time.

In addition, bed frames often have legs or other supports that lift the mattress off the ground, making it easier to get in and out of bed. Bed frames come in a variety of styles and can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, metal, and upholstered fabric.

Metal bed frame

IKEA metal bed frame.
Credit: IKEA

Upholstered bed frame

Endy upholstered bed frame.
Credit: Endy

Bed frames are often minimalistic and stylish (unlike box springs). They come in all different colors and sizes to fit any bedroom. Plus, they’re designed to give your mattress even support – so you can sleep easy knowing your bed is stable.

At the end of the day, bed frames are perfect for anyone who wants a modern look in their bedroom. You can choose from a variety of colors to find the ideal frame for your space.

Pros

Here are some pros of a bed frame:

  • They’re stylish and come in a variety of colors.
  • They don’t sag over time (unlike a box spring).
  • They’re easy to get in and out of bed.
  • They provide even support for your mattress.

Cons

Here are some cons of a bed frame:

  • They can be expensive.
  • They might not offer as much support as a box spring (depending on the design).
  • There might be some maintenance required like adding wax to prevent squeaking.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to using a bed frame. Some people find that a bed frame is more stylish and provides better support than a box spring, while others find that it is more expensive and doesn’t offer as much support.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide whether or not a bed frame is right for them.

Box Spring vs Bed Frame: Comparison

We will now take a look at how a bed frame and a box spring compare in terms of weight, height, price, firmness, storage, mattress compatibility, aesthetics, assembly, and squeaking.

Box spring vs bed frame comparison chart.

Box Spring

Here is how a box spring stands up against a bed frame:

Weight: 60-105 lbs

Box springs are generally lighter than bed frames and are made from a mix of materials:

  • A frame (made of wood or metal)
  • Metal coils/springs or a metal grid
  • Fabric on the outside

Height: 2-9 in.

A box spring can range in height from 9 inches to as thin as 2 inches. You have the option of throwing it on an existing bed frame or purchasing a box spring with legs.

Price: $50-$800

A box spring can be as cheap as $50 and can go up to $800 in price depending on the materials and quality.

Firmness: Very Firm

Since a box spring has such a solid surface, mattresses tend to feel firmer. For example, something as soft as a memory foam mattress might feel firmer on a box spring in comparison with a bed frame.

Storage: None

The sad part about a box spring is that since it is enclosed and has coils inside, you can't use it for storage.

Mattress Compatibility: Innerspring

A box spring's mattress support is only compatible with a traditional innerspring mattress. This is because the box spring was designed to be a shock absorber for this type of mattress. It isn't advised to use heavier mattresses such as latex because these may break the coils in the box spring and result in sagging.

Aesthetics: Bulky

The box spring has a more traditional and formal look. It is also quite bulky in comparison to a bed frame (not the sexiest option).

Assembly: Moderate Difficulty

A box spring is not the easiest to assemble, as they usually come with a lot of different metal pieces including small nuts and bolts. You can pretty much guarantee you're going to need at least a screwdriver to put it together.

Squeaking: Fairly Common

In fact, this source tells us that "a box spring is the most common source of bed squeaking." This is because there is a high chance of a spring rubbing up against the wood that would cause this.

Overall, a box spring is a good choice if you are looking for something that is lighter, cheaper, and more firm than a bed frame. 

Where a box spring falls short is its storage capabilities and aesthetics. Plus, it's advised that you only use it if you have an innerspring mattress. So if you ever want to switch your mattress to something else like a latex mattress, you might have to get rid of your box spring as well as it will no longer be compatible.

A box spring also falls short in terms of aesthetics, risk of squeaking, having minimal to no storage, and moderate assembly difficulty with lots of parts. A box spring is not the "sexiest" option, and there is a much wider range of options when it comes to bed frames. Plus, you may not need a box spring!

Bed Frame

Here is how a bed frame stands up against a box spring:

Weight: 50-200 lbs

The weight of a bed frame depends on the material it's made from. Bed frames can be made from the following:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Upholstered fabric

Overall, a bed frame is typically heavier than a box spring.

Height: 12-16 in.

The height of a bed frame varies depending on the style. Some bed frames are designed to be low to the ground (for example, platform beds), while others are taller. Generally, a bed frame tends to be higher than a box spring.

Price: $100-$2,000+

Bed frames can range in price depending on the material they are made from and the overall quality. The price may also be impacted by other factors such as where it is manufactured and inflation levels.

Firmness: Sturdy but Softer

Bed frames are generally very sturdy, especially metal and wooden bed frames. However, since they generally have a slatted surface, the mattress you use may feel softer than it would on a box spring. So if you're someone who generally prefers sleeping on a softer surface, this may be the option for you.

Storage: 5-10 in.

Depending on how high the bed frame is, its storage space can range from 5-10 inches. This is great since you will not be sacrificing the real estate underneath your bed frame especially if you are living in something like a small apartment.

Mattress Compatibility: All

The great thing about a bed frame is that it provides an ample amount of mattress support (even something as soft as memory foam). Whereas a box spring is only compatible with innerspring mattresses, a bed frame can be compatible with all types of mattresses.

Aesthetics: Wide Range

Bed frames come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. As we previously mentioned, bed frames can be made of metal, or wood, or they can be upholstered. Within these categories are even more options:

  • A metal bed frame made of steel in a variety of colors (most commonly black).
  • A wood bed frame made of birch, maple, walnut, oak, etc.
  • An upholstered bed frame made of cotton, linen, or leather.

If you want something that is the most sturdy, go for the metal bed frame. If you're looking for something with a natural touch, go for a wood bed frame. If you want a more soft and comfortable look, try the upholstered option.

Assembly: 5 min. - 2 hours

The assembly time varies from bed frame to bed frame. Depending on the amount of hardware, pieces, and tools required, the time it takes to assemble a bed frame can range from 5 minutes to 2 hours.

Squeaking: Possible

Squeaking is always a possibility for bed frames. The most common reason a bed may squeak is due to loose screws in a wooden bed frame, or metal rubbing against metal. To maintain the lowest chance of your bed frame squeaking, try to go for a bed frame that has minimal to no hardware.

Overall, a bed frame is great when it comes to storage capacity and overall variety. Unlike a box spring, a bed frame doesn't have any coils in it meaning you can effortlessly store whatever you want underneath. In addition, you can use whatever mattress you want on a bed frame, plus they come in all shapes, sizes, and materials to suit your taste.

Where a bed frame falls short is in its price and weight. Bed frames tend to be more expensive than box springs (although there is a wide range of prices), and they tend to be heavier than box springs (although that also depends on the material it is made of).

FAQ

What is the difference between a box spring and a bed frame?

A bed frame is the foundation of a bed, upon which a mattress rests. A bed frame typically consists of a series of metal or wood slats that support the mattress.

A box spring is a type of bed frame that contains springs that help to support the mattress.  A box spring is often used in combination with a bed frame to provide extra support for the mattress. However, a bed frame can also be used without box springs.

Ultimately, the choice of bed frame will depend on personal preferences and the type of mattress being used.

Is a bed frame or box spring better?

When it comes to whether a bed frame or a box spring is better, there are a few things to consider.

The most important factor is whether or not you need a box spring. If you have a traditional mattress, then you might need a box spring in order to provide support. However, if you have a latex mattress or an adjustable bed, then you may not need a box spring.

Plus, bed frames come in a variety of styles and materials, unlike a box spring. You can choose from wood, metal, or upholstered frames in a variety of colors and designs. So if having a variety of options is important to you, you'll want to go for the bed frame.

The type of bed frame you choose will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and the needs of your bedroom.

Can you use a bed frame instead of a box spring?

The short answer is yes, you can use a bed frame instead of a box spring.

A bed frame is a foundation for a mattress, while a box spring helps to absorb shock and provide additional support and should only really be used if you have a traditional innerspring mattress. The only other time you can use a boxspring is if you simply prefer it over a bed frame or like the way your mattress feels when using one.

While you can use a bed frame without a box spring, it is not necessarily recommended if you have an innerspring mattress. Using a bed frame without a box spring can cause the mattress to sag and make it uncomfortable to sleep on.

In addition, bed frames are not designed to absorb shock, so they will not provide the same level of support as a box spring. For these reasons, it is best to use both a bed frame and box spring if you have an innerspring mattress.

Are box springs becoming obsolete?

In recent years, bed frames have become increasingly popular, while the box spring has fallen out of favor. There are a few reasons for this trend.

First, a bed frame is generally more sturdy and durable than a box spring. They don't sag as easily over time, and they're less likely to break down. Second, a bed frame provides better support for the mattress, which can prolong its lifespan. Finally, a bed frame is usually more attractively designed than a box spring, making them a more stylish option for the bedroom.

For all these reasons, it's no surprise that bed frames are becoming more popular than box springs.

What is the benefit of a box spring?

A box spring is a type of mattress foundation that typically consists of a wooden frame covered in fabric. The box spring was invented in the 19th century, and they were originally designed to help prolong the life of mattresses by providing extra support.

Today, a box spring is still used for this purpose, but they also have a few other benefits. For one, they can help to absorb shock, which can protect your mattress from damage and extend its lifespan. Additionally, they can help to create a more comfortable sleeping surface by providing additional cushioning.

So, if you're looking for a way to prolong the life of your mattress and make it more comfortable, a box spring may be the ideal foundation for you.

Box Spring vs Bed Frame: Which Reigns Superior?

So, what's the verdict?

In our experience, a bed frame is the clear winner when it comes to storage capacity and overall variety. Unlike a box spring, a bed frame doesn't have any coils in it meaning you can effortlessly store whatever you want underneath. Plus, they come in all shapes, sizes, and materials to suit your taste.

If you're looking for something that is lighter, cheaper, and more firm than a bed frame though, then we recommend going with a box spring.

Which do you prefer, a box spring or a bed frame?