Does a Memory Foam Mattress Need a Box Spring?

May 18, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team
mattress on a box spring mattress on a box spring mattress on a box spring

If you’ve just purchased yourself a brand-new memory foam mattress, you’re probably wondering: do foam mattresses need a box spring? The answer is typically no, although it can depend on the preferences of the person, seeing as a box spring affects the comfort and structure of the mattress. If you are looking for ways for how to make a memory foam mattress firmer, there are several solutions to explore besides the traditional box spring.

So, when it comes to answering does a memory foam mattress need a box spring, it’s important that we first start with bed frames. Why? Because some require box springs and some don’t, and it often has nothing to do with the mattress type at all. 

Let’s discuss. 

Bed Frame Options for Memory Foam Mattresses

There are typically four main options that support foam mattresses. They include: 

  • Platform bed
  • Slat foundation
  • Mattress foundation
  • Adjustable frame

Platform Bed

Platform beds offer a flat, even surface and internal supports designed to support your foam mattress and prevent sagging. For instance, our Platform Bed Frame provides a simple, modern solution to replace the box spring as a bed base but still provides optimal comfort and support.

Slat Foundation

Metal or wood slat bed foundations often work well with foam mattresses. Each bed slat is evenly spaced and collectively provides a solid support for the foam mattress’ weight. To that end, your mattress manufacturer should recommend what kind of slatted foundation will work best for your new mattress.

Mattress Foundation

While slat foundations can be bought through third-party retailers, mattress foundations are typically sold by your mattress manufacturer themselves. These frames are specifically designed to support your mattress in a way that fosters comfort and durability.1 

Here at Casper, we offer The Foundation, a reinvented box spring designed to sit on a normal bed frame and offer mattress support due to its evenly spaced and adjacent slats.2

Adjustable Bed

Adjustable bed frames are made specifically to support foam mattresses. These bed frames allow you to adjust your bed up and down to find the angle where you’re most comfortable.1

Which Bed Frames Need a Box Spring?

While it’s usually best not to use a box spring with new memory foam mattresses, traditional innerspring mattresses often require the support of a box spring (depending on the type of bed frame that’s chosen). Bed frames that will usually require a box spring include:

  • Collapsible metal frame
  • Certain platform bed frames with slats

Collapsible Metal Frame

Collapsible metal bed frames are typically an affordable, space-saving option. However, you’ll also need to invest in a box spring because there’s no interior support for the mattress, only the perimeter frame. Without a box spring, collapsible metal frames provide insufficient support and might even void the warranty on your new mattress.

Platform Bed Frame with Slats

Whether or not a platform bed frame with slats requires a box spring depends on the distance between the slats. As long as the slats are close enough together, they’ll support the mattress without a box spring foundation and typically satisfy the mattress warranty.

If the slats are more than four inches apart, then you might need a traditional box spring. Your mattress warranty should indicate the appropriate distance of the bed slat gaps. These slats can come flexed or straight, and they’re available in a variety of materials, including but not limited to:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Plastic 
  • Composite 

With that being said, steel slats provide the most rigid support for your mattress, as compared to wooden slats. Wondering how long do memory foam mattresses last? The average lifespan of memory foam mattresses is 10 years, but to stand the test of time, they need to be well supported by a bed frame or sturdy slats.

Which Bed Frames Don’t Need a Box Spring?

There are also a variety of bed frames that do not require a traditional box spring, regardless of the mattress type. We’ve already confirmed that slat bed frames don’t need a box spring as long as the slats are appropriately distanced. The other options include:

  • Solid platform bed frame
  • Reinforced metal bed frame
  • Adjustable bed frame

Solid Platform Bed Frame

Platform beds use one solid surface that accomplishes the same goal of a box spring foundation, rendering them unnecessary. As a result, platform bed frames are lower to the ground than a traditional mattress, fulfilling a clean, modern aesthetic.

However, older sleepers or sleepers who suffer from joint pain might struggle to get in and out of this lower bed frame. In that case, a box spring can be helpful to raise the mattress.

Reinforced Metal Bed Frame

Unlike collapsible metal bed frames, reinforced metal frames have additional metal supports across the center of the frame that provides even weight distribution for the mattress. These frames limit sagging and wear-and-tear, making a box spring unnecessary.  

Adjustable Bed Frame

As we already mentioned, adjustable bed frames do not need a box spring because they are designed specifically to support memory foam mattresses and evenly distribute their weight. However, these frames are not available for a traditional innerspring mattress.3

A Solid Night’s Sleep with Casper

So, does a memory foam mattress need a box spring? The answer is no. However, if you’re looking to support your foam mattress, we have a large selection of bed frames to peruse. Here at Casper, we design our products to improve your sleep, support your body, and complement your preferences. 

Sources: 

  1. CNET. Why you shouldn’t use a box spring with a foam mattress. https://www.cnet.com/health/sleep/why-you-shouldnt-use-a-box-spring-with-a-foam-mattress/ 
  2. Casper. Platform Bed vs. Box Spring: Your Buying Guide. https://casper.com/blog/platform-bed-vs-box-spring/ 
  3. Sleepopolis. Do You Need a Box Spring? https://sleepopolis.com/guides/do-you-need-a-boxspring/