Platform Bed vs. Box Spring: Your Buying Guide

April 13, 2022 | Casper Editorial Team
platform bed vs box spring platform bed vs box spring platform bed vs box spring

There’s a lot of talk about choosing the right mattress, but your bed frame choice is just as important. If you’re struggling to weigh the benefits of a platform bed vs. a box spring, we’re here to clear up your confusion.

A platform bed is a type of bed frame that’s ready to go without a foundation or box spring. A box spring is a type of bed base that can be placed on a bed frame. While both a platform bed and a box spring are bed bases, a platform bed is also a bed frame. 

When shopping for a new mattress, many are confused about whether or not they need to buy a platform bed or box spring, and sometimes forget to buy one altogether. To help you choose between a platform bed vs. box spring, use our buying guide below.

The Foundation provides excellent support under any Casper mattress and can be assembled in minutes. It also comes with a 30-night, risk-free trial.

What Is a Platform Bed?

What is a platform bed

A platform bed is a low-profile bed frame with a sturdy base (either solid, metal, or slatted) that holds the mattress up. What makes a platform bed unique is that it doesn’t require a box spring. So, once you buy it, it’s ready to use — no need to purchase any extra accessories. Other traditional bed frames — such as four-poster beds or canopy beds — would need a mattress foundation or box spring to accompany it.

Platform beds are more modern than box springs and come in a variety of styles, from sleek to upholstered bed frames. Some platform beds even come with storage features that make them perfect for tiny apartments or studios.

A platform bed is a good choice if you’re looking for:

  • A low-profile bed frame 
  • A sturdy base
  • A bed that doesn’t need extra accessories like a box spring or mattress foundation

Because you can place your mattress right on top, platform beds are usually between six and 18 inches tall. There are three types of platform beds: 

  • Solid platform beds have a solid base and are made of wood, metal, or plastic.
  • Slatted platform beds use slats made of wood, metal, or plastic as the base.
  • Metal platform beds are made of wrought iron or steel and they use a metal grid and support wires as the base.

Platform Bed Pros

  • Typically includes storage features
  • More style options available
  • Doesn’t require a box spring or foundation
  • Compatible will all mattress types
  • More durable than other bed frames

Platform Bed Cons

  • Low profile can make it hard for some to get out of bed
  • Can be difficult to move
  • Beds that extend all the way to the ground lack storage space underneath
  • Can be too firm for some users

Platform beds are comfortable and have several style options available (including headboards and footboards). They are compatible with different types of mattresses, however, their low profile can cause aches and pains for sleepers who struggle to get out of bed.

Casper’s upholstered bed frame is a good option to keep your platform bed frame simple. After an easy one-tool assembly, just add your mattress, and you’ll be ready to snooze in style.

What Is a Box Spring? 

What is a box spring

A box spring is just as it sounds — it’s a box with springs inside. Box springs are typically made of wood or metal and contain metal coils. On top, you’ll find some type of breathable fabric.

The purpose of a box spring is to serve as a barrier between the mattress and bed. This can help extend the life of the mattress by absorbing some of the shock a mattress typically endures. 

Similar to mattresses, box springs generally last around 10 years. Box springs also provide more support for your mattress and can add a significant amount of height to your bed.

The best way to determine if you need a box spring is to check with your mattress manufacturer. If they recommend one to accompany the mattress you bought, then you should get one. There are different types of box springs that vary by height, depending on the look you’re going for.

You should also keep in mind the type of bed that you have. 

  • Older beds (such as antique beds) require box springs
  • Modern beds (such as platform or adjustable beds) do not require box springs

For the most part, box springs aren’t really necessary. However, box springs are a good match for spring mattresses because the coils in a box spring will align with the coils in your innerspring mattress. This makes the mattress feel softer and can help isolate motion and enhance its support.

Box Spring Pros

  • Adds height to your bed
  • Offers more support
  • Absorbs shock from restless sleepers
  • Is easier to move
  • Ideal for innerspring mattresses

Box Spring Cons

  • Doesn’t have a lot of room for storage
  • Can increase the cost of your bed
  • Not compatible with some types of mattresses
  • Springs can lose support over time and become noisy
  • Has poor motion isolation 

While box springs work great for innerspring mattresses, they aren’t compatible with other mattress types. If you have a spring mattress, they can add height and extra support to your bed.

If you’re worried that your mattress won’t be compatible with a box spring, try The Foundation. This can add height and support to your bed frame and is compatible with all types of mattresses.

Platform Beds vs. Box Springs

  Platform Bed (Queen) Box Spring (Queen)
Weight (not including a mattress) 50 – 200 lbs, depending on material 60 – 105 lbs
Height 12 – 18 inches 2 – 9 inches
Price $150 – $2,000 $100 – $500
Firmness Firm and responsive support Absorbs shock and softens innerspring mattress
Storage Lots of storage Little to no storage
Compatibility All mattress types Innerspring mattresses only
Best if… You want style on a budget Your innerspring mattress is too soft

Dimensions

The dimensions of your platform bed or box spring will depend on your mattress size and manufacturer. 

When it comes to weight, platform beds are much heavier than box springs which could make it difficult to move around. However, if you count the weight of a box spring plus the bed frame, box spring beds are often much heavier.

Price

The cost of both a platform bed and box spring will largely depend on the brand, the material, and the size of each. Traditional box springs typically cost anywhere from $100 to $500 (not including the cost of a bed frame). 

On the other hand, platform beds can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand, but they don’t require other mattress accessories during setup. Usually, platform beds are more cost effective because they require fewer additional accessories.

Comfort

When it comes to the platform bed vs. box spring comfort debate, both can enhance the comfort of your bed. However, it will depend on the type of mattress you have.

Box springs can make beds more comfortable if you have an innerspring mattress. They work with the coils in innerspring mattresses to:

However, box springs don’t have much airflow, so they don’t work with other mattress types and can trap heat.

On the other hand, platform beds are breathable and ideal for all mattresses. If you’re someone who sleeps hot, a platform bed circulates air throughout the mattress, keeping you cool at night. When buying a platform bed, take note of the size of the slats and the distance between them. The closer the slats are to each other, the more support you’ll have.

Storage Space

Platform beds with built-in storage are a popular choice for those that live in a small space or need extra room for storage. The storage drawers are placed under the bed, so you can maximize the space in your room. There are also platform beds that have built-in bookshelves for additional storage.

Box springs don’t offer much storage space. However, if you have a box spring that is high off the ground, you can use the space under the bed for storage.

Compatibility

A platform bed is more compatible than a box spring because it can accommodate most mattress types, including memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses. Box springs are most compatible with innerspring mattresses.

Can You Use a Box Spring on a Platform Bed?

Yes, you can use a box spring on a platform bed. However, it’s not required. If you have a platform bed and are comfortable with the height, then you do not need a box spring. However, if you would like to add some height to your bed, you can add a box spring.

Other Types of Bed Frames and Accessories

To figure out your ideal bed frame, it’s good to get familiar with all your options. Let’s review some of the popular types of bed frames and their accessories.

Foundation

A mattress foundation can be used alone or with a bed frame to help support your mattress. This option is best for people who own a bed frame that doesn’t have slats or a board to support their mattress.

If your bed frame has any of the following features, you should consider a foundation:

  • No support slats 
  • Slats that are more than 2.75 inches apart
  • No supportive baseboard
  • Mattress is too soft

Adjustable base

Adjustable bed bases are a good option for people who struggle to find the right sleeping position or have different sleep preferences than their partner. You can match these bases with multiple bed frame types.

Adjustable bases let you elevate your head or knees so you’re always sleeping in the optimal position. This is perfect for people who like to lounge around in bed and are tired of using pillows for extra support.

Upholstered Bed Frame

An upholstered bed frame is covered with material rather than having exposed metal or wood. This gives a cozier feel and offers padding from any sharper corners compared to a wooden bed frame, but it still has a simple and sleek look. 

Headboard

A headboard is a decorative part of the bed frame that keeps your head from hitting the wall. Headboards can be made of almost any material — from wool to rattan — and come in different sizes to fit any bed.

Headboards are ideal if your room isn’t well insulated or if you’re looking for a statement piece. Sometimes, you can purchase a headboard separately from a bed frame to mix and match accessories as you’d like.

Metal Bed Frame

Metal bed frames are good for people who want to keep their bed setup simple. A classic metal bed frame is usually paired with a box spring to support your mattress. Casper’s Foundation and metal bed frame come together without tools and are a cost-effective bed frame option.

FAQs

Are box springs obsolete?

Box springs are useful if you have an innerspring mattress, but they’re not useful for other mattress types.

Do you actually need a mattress foundation?

If your bed frame doesn’t have a solid or slatted base, then you need a mattress foundation for proper support. 

What’s the difference between a platform bed and a mattress foundation?

A platform bed is a type of bed frame that doesn’t require a box spring or mattress foundation. A foundation is a mattress accessory that you use alone or with a bed frame to raise your mattress and add support.

Is there any way to add height to a platform bed?

You can add height to a platform bed by using bed risers or a mattress topper.

Can I use a platform instead of a box spring?

If you are looking for a bed frame that works with your mattress on its own, you can use a platform instead of a box spring. 

Which is more comfortable, a platform bed or a box spring?

If you have an innerspring mattress that’s too firm, a box spring can be more comfortable. If you have any other mattress type — or if your innerspring is too soft — a platform bed might be more comfortable.

Does a platform bed make a mattress firmer?

Generally, platform beds make mattresses firmer, but it depends on the type of mattress.

Do platform beds hurt your back?

Platform beds are a very stable type of bed frame, so they’re recommended for people who have back pain. However, if you struggle with back pain, you might want to consider raising your platform bed to make getting out of bed easier.

Should You Choose a Platform Bed or Box Spring?

So, how do you choose between the two? To summarize: A box spring is a mattress foundation that can be placed on a bed frame and a platform bed is a bed frame with a foundation built-in.

Box springs are best for sleepers who have innerspring mattresses, are looking to add height to their bed, and want responsive support.

If you want a one-stop-shop, a platform bed is for you. There is more variety in terms of style and the types of mattresses it can accommodate. It also offers more air circulation than a box spring will.

However, the choice is ultimately up to you. The Casper Upholstered Bed Frame is a platform bed that offers durable, stylish support. If you’re not ready to part with the box spring, give yourself an upgrade and try The Foundation, which is compatible with any mattress.