Do You Need a Box Spring? Everything You Need to Know

March 15, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

No, you don’t necessarily need a box spring; it depends on your bed frame and mattress type. Most modern mattresses do not require a box spring.

If you’ve ever found yourself asking the age-old question, “do you need a box spring?” you’ve come to the right place. With so many different bed frame and mattress options out there, how are you ever to know if you also need a box spring? 

The answer is both simple and complex. Whether or not you need one depends on what type of bed frame and mattress you have. Some bed frames don’t provide enough support for your mattress to stand alone, and some mattresses function better without a box spring. 

What Is a Box Spring Used For?

Made out of wood and coils, a box spring provides a solid mattress foundation. The wood provides a frame similar to the size and shape of your mattress, while coils are placed in the center to provide some give and absorb shock. They may seem outdated given some of the other types of mattress support out there, but box springs are still useful in some cases.

It isn’t bad to have a mattress without a box spring as long as there is another form of support below. This support can come from a platform bed, foundation, or, if you prefer, the floor.

Reasons to Use a Box Spring 

During the era where most mattresses were made with coils, the standard box spring was almost essential. They needed extra support and something to absorb the shock from sitting, lying, and bouncing on them. 

Even though the coil mattress trend is dwindling, it can still be beneficial to know when a box spring is a valuable investment. Originally built to add height to your bed and support your mattress, box springs still provide this today, as well as a few other minor benefits.  

Improved Airflow 

Aside from the coils and wood support within, box springs are relatively hollow. When you use a box spring, more air flows around your mattress — and if it’s well-designed, air will travel through as well. Airflow is a significant factor in keeping you cool at night and helping you sleep better, so it’s not something to take too lightly.  

Increased Height

Despite the current style of having your bed lower to the floor, many people are still looking for something higher. If you’re tall, suffer from joint pain, or have a hard time boosting yourself out of bed in the morning, a box spring can help you reach a comfortable height. 

Support for Your Mattress 

Some bed frames don’t provide the support your mattress needs and can cause it to sag. Occasionally, coil spring mattress warranties will require you to use a box spring to prolong its life. Be sure to check on your mattress warranty — if you don’t use a box spring and it’s required, you could lose out on those benefits. 

Shock Absorption

Another benefit of having a box spring is that it helps absorb shock. When you plop down on your mattress, toss and turn at night from sleep anxiety, or your dog jumps up for cuddles, a box spring absorbs some of the force. Because of this, the box spring helps prolong the life of your mattress.

If you leave your mattress on the floor or use it without a box spring, there’s nothing below it to take some of the force. You may find yourself disposing of your mattress sooner than you would have otherwise. 

You Have a Collapsible Bed Frame

Some bed frames require a box spring. If you’ve ever used a collapsible frame, you’ll understand why. If it doesn’t provide enough support in the center, the mattress will sag and be uncomfortable. Any bed frame that isn’t entirely solid or has a support system in the center will more often than not require a box spring.

When a Box Spring Isn’t Necessary

Despite the benefits, sometimes using a traditional box spring isn’t worth it and a box spring alternative may suit your needs better. Many bed frames today are designed to go without them and already provide needed support. Whether you choose to use one is up to you, but keep in mind what mattress type or bed frame you should use in its place. 

Under Memory Foam, Latex, and Hybrid Mattresses

Most modern mattresses without coils, like memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses, and hybrid mattresses, don’t need the same assistance absorbing shock. The materials used to make them are already inherently shock absorbent. Box springs only change the feel of the mattress rather than provide any noted benefit.   

When purchasing any of the mentioned mattresses, be sure to look at the warranty. Unlike coil mattresses or innerspring mattresses that often require box springs, sometimes foam mattress warranties will be void if you use a box spring.

On Platform Beds

Platform beds are constructed with a solid surface for the mattress to sit on. Unless you prefer a taller bed, box springs aren’t needed as the bed frame provides a solid support framework. Platform bed frames are typically lower to the ground, making it difficult for those with joint or back pain to get out of in the morning. In this case, a box spring might be beneficial if only for the increased height.

Your Mattress is On the Floor

Unless you would prefer a box spring for the height or shock absorption, your mattress may be okay to be on the floor without one. However, keep in mind that it may go through extra strain and might not last as long.

Box Spring vs. Foundation vs. Platform

Box SpringFoundationPlatform
Does it absorb shock?YesNoNo
Does it offer improved air flow?YesYesNo
Does it increase the bed height?YesYesNo. These tend to be lower to the ground, making it difficult for those with joint or back pain to get out of the bed.
Does it offer matress support?Yes and box springs have the added feature of shock absorbers.YesYes. It provides firm and responsive support 
Which costs more?Between $100 – $500Between $100 – $2000Between $150 – $2,000
Weight limit?60 – 105 lbs for Queen sized bed240 lbs or more50 – 200 lbs for a Queen sized bed, depending on material
Which one lasts the longest?Lasts 8 – 10 yearsUp to 10 yearsUp to 10 years
Best if…Your innerspring mattress is too softIf you want to raise the height of your mattressYou want style on a budget

Box Springs

A box spring is essentially a box filled with springs. Traditionally constructed with wood or metal and covered in fabric, its inner layers of metal coils support the mattress. Box springs are especially beneficial for traditional innerspring mattresses, as they can absorb the pressure and prevent the mattress from sagging.


Often mistaken for box springs due to their similar appearance, foundations differ in their internal structure. Instead of springs, they typically contain wooden slats, providing a firm surface ideal for modern mattresses like memory foam beds.

Platform Beds

Platform beds are the newer kids on the block, combining the foundation and bed frame. As mentioned, they either have slatted or solid surfaces and sit lower to the ground. While platform bed frames offer an all-in-one solution, they might make the mattress feel firmer, especially along pressure points like the shoulders and hips.

Comparing the Three

With its coil and wooden frame design, the greatest strength of a box spring bed is absorbing shock. Foundations are similar to box springs and are sometimes confused for them. The difference is that a foundation is made of wood or metal around the edges and sometimes with bed slats(metal or wooden slats) across the top solely to provide support. But typically, your bed frame can serve as a foundation or bed base.

Box spring beds and foundations are, in essence, an extra layer below your mattress to provide more support and absorb shock. But a box spring base is more ideal if your innerspring mattress is too soft. A platform is a bed frame with a solid bottom that supports your mattress. They are usually lower to the ground and don’t require a box spring or foundation. When it comes to the durability of your mattress foundation, certain factors can affect how long box springs last.

Setting yourself up for a successful night of sleep can be difficult if you’re unsure how to create a comfortable environment or if you keep asking, “do you need a box spring?” and never finding a sufficient answer. Keep in mind that unless you’re using a foam mattress, latex mattress, or hybrid mattress, it’s okay to use one of the various types of box springs if you don’t already have a solid foundation with your bed frame or the floor. 

While box springs are still occasionally relevant, many people are reverting to foam or hybrid mattresses that don’t need one, and the rise of platform bed frames isn’t slowing down. Are you looking for a new mattress? If you’ve decided to make the switch from using a box spring and coil mattress, look through our collection of award-winning foam mattresses to find the right fit for you.


What happens if you sleep on a bed without a box spring?

Sleeping on a bed without a box spring won’t harm you, but it might affect the mattress’s longevity, especially if it’s an innerspring type. Without the shock absorption a box spring provides, the mattress might sag prematurely.

Can I put my mattress directly on the bed frame?

Yes, you can. However, ensure the bed frame has slats or a solid surface to support the mattress. If it’s just an outline frame without support, a box spring or foundation is recommended.

What happens if you don’t use a box spring?

If you don’t use a box spring with a mattress that requires one, you might experience premature sagging or reduced comfort. Additionally, some mattress manufacturer warranties might become void if not paired with the recommended base.