Wood vs. Metal Bed Frames: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Bed Frames
July 14, 2020

Did you know that we spend more than a third of our lives sleeping?

It makes sense then to carefully consider which bed to pick. There are lots of things to consider such as cost, material, and size before considering buying a bed. So don’t rush! The most common bed frames are either made from wood or metal. So which should you choose? Let's take a look at the pros and cons for each.

Pros of the Metal Bed Frame

white metal bed frame
freestocks.org

Less Maintenance

One of the best things about a metal bed frame is the fact that it has less maintenance. It's obvious that metal does not dent or scratch as easily as wood does, making it the more attractive option in this circumstance. It also won't be damaged by termites or other insects (we wrote another blog about termites and how to prevent them).

Durability

If you were in a sword fight and had to choose between a metal or wood sword, which would you choose? I know what my answer would be: metal. There's no question metal is more strong and durable in comparison to wood, which could make it last longer. In addition, it could handles more weight than a wood bed frame.

Lightweight

Metal bed frames tend to be lighter in weight than wooden bed frames. In fact, some metal bed frames even come with wheels, so mobility is never really an issue. If you are someone who enjoys moving furniture around in your room and redecorating, or you move a lot, this may be the option for you.

Adjustability

Many metal bed frames adjust to fit the size of mattress you have. However, this does not mean that there is no such thing as an adjustable wood bed frame. Have a Queen size mattress that you might upgrade to a king size? No problem; the No Fuss Plus has your back.

The No Fuss Plus Bed Frame from Quagga Designs
The No Fuss Plus bed frame from Quagga Designs. Goes from Single to Double or Queen to King sizes.

Cons of the Metal Bed Frame

Rust

Yes, it's true; in general there is less maintenance involved with metal bed frames. However, this does not mean that they are entirely susceptible to developing rust. Over time, the reddish-brown appearance of the rust won't look so good. How can you avoid this? Make sure you prevent your bed frame from coming into contact with moisture. In order to clean and maintain your metal bed frame, you must use a nylon brush, some detergent, a toothbrush, and a towel which can become a nuisance over time.

Toxic

Metal bed frames can actually increase your exposure to electrical pollution or electromagnetic fields (EMF). This can disrupt your sleep and increase health problems, so this is something that you definitely want to avoid if you are someone who values your health. Here are couple of health problems you could come into contact with:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Muscles cramps/aches

This is of course something that you will definitely want to avoid.

Squeaky

In terms of which bed frame will squeak more, I think the answer is obvious. Metal against metal will eventually create a squeaking noise, effecting the quality of your sleep (unless you're someone who regularly oils your metal bed frame.. but I doubt it).

Uncomfortable

Oftentimes when it comes to metal bed frames, the design can be flimsy which can lead to the mattress not being supported properly. This is not only uncomfortable which will effect the quality of your sleep, it can result in back problems as well.

Pros of the Wooden Bed Frame

Sturdy

Although metal in and of itself is stronger than wood, in the context of a bed frame the wooden bed frame wins the battle.

Wooden bed frames are made of thicker material, and sturdier stability systems. For example, the Flex bed frame from Quagga Designs uses a unique V-shape for the legs to absorb weight in a way that metal bed frames cannot.

Flex Bed Frame from Quagga Desgns
Flex Bed Frame from Quagga Designs, using a unique V-shape for its legs making the bed stronger than its metal counterpart

Easier to Assemble

Some say that metal bed frames are easier to assemble as opposed to bed frame made from wood. This couldn't be further from the truth. The unique thing about wood is that it can be molded into things similar to screws like dowels, for example. A great example of this is the No Fuss Plus bed frame from Quagga Designs.

Close up of No Fuss Plus bed frame showing off its dowels.
The No Fuss Plus Bed Frame from Quagga Designs

No screws or screwdrivers are required with this one, and it assembles and disassembles within minutes, even your kids can do it. With metal bed frames, however, they usually have more parts to put together, and you will need specific screw drivers to assemble it.

Customizability

The really neat thing about wooden bed frames is that you can customize it however you want. If you have a saw at home, you can even cut the pieces to your liking. Want a specific stain or paint job added to your wooden bed frame? That shouldn't be a problem. Just hit up your local Home Depot, grab some paint brushes, and your on your way to having a unique and personally customized bed frame.

White Tic Tac Toe bed frame
Tic-Tac-Toe bed frame from Quagga Designs custom painted with white

Price

Although some solid wood bed frames can get pretty pricey (especially if they are custom made), it doesn't mean all wooden bed frames are high in price. Wooden bed frames have a wide range of prices, making them suitable for any budget.

Sustainability

If you are looking for the more sustainable option between metal or wood, wood wins. Some bed frame companies manufacture with FSC wood which stands for The Forest Stewardship Council. This means that the wood being used is being responsibly grown and harvested and is being replenished.

The Forest Stewardship Council logo
The Forest Stewardship Council

Wood Options

Another nice thing about wooden bed frames is that they can come in a variety of different types of wood which can suit your needs better, if you want to get more technical with the type of bed you want. This also informs pricing, so if you want something more affordable, go for the cheaper wood. Here are few popular options from most expensive to least, as well as some unique characteristics each has to offer:

  • Oak: More expensive than pine. A hardwood that is arguably the best for a bed frame.
  • Pine: Cheaper than oak. One of the most popular soft woods.
  • Birch: Reasonably priced. A hardwood that is good for simple contemporary lines.

Those are just a few, but there are of course many more to choose from!

Cons of the Wooden Bed Frame

Fire Hazard

As with many things that are made of wood, it is important to avoid putting anything flammable on or near a wooden bed frame to avoid it from catching on fire. Despite this being a concern, there are probably already a lot of things in your house that are prone to being caught on fire, so this shouldn't be a huge concern.

Heavy

Wood tends to be heavier than metal which makes it harder to transport (if you are someone who moves a lot) and could make it more difficult to assemble. In addition, if you want to avoid scratching up your floor, a wood bed frame might not be the best option for you. A good compromise, however, is to put felt under your furniture (available at Home Depot or Walmart), or to get a good old rug.

Conclusion

So the question remains: which should you choose?

Well, the answer isn't always easy and it depends on what you are looking for and what you value most. Is your health very important to me? Go for a bed frame made of wood. Do you want something that is easy to maintain? I'd say go for the metal option. If you can't decide, find a bed frame that is a mix of both! My overall opinion? I personally love the look of wood bed frames better. They're all natural so they are better for the environment, they are not prone to squeaking so I will have a better sleep, and they are easy to assemble and don't necessarily require any fussy screws or screwdrivers I have to dig up from my garage. Find your next, long lasting, easy to assemble, affordable wood bed frame at Quagga Designs.

Thank you for reading this blog! We put a lot of effort into each and every one to help you make informed decisions. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at hello@quaggadesigns.ca, I would be happy to chat :)