Platform Bed vs. Box Spring: Your Buying Guide
September 4, 2020 | Casper Editorial Team

A platform bed is a type of bed frame that has a thick, sturdy built-in foundation. 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.

What Is a Platform Bed? The Pros and Cons

A platform bed with spaced-out wooden slats serving as a baseboard.
 
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.
 
Because you can place your mattress right on top, platform beds have a low profile and are usually between six and 18 inches tall. There are three types of platform beds: solid, slatted, and metal.
 
Solid platform beds have a solid base and are made of wood, metal, or plastic. Slat 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 beds are more modern than box springs and come in a variety of styles from sleek to upholstered. Some platform beds even come with storage features that make them perfect for tiny apartments or studios.

Pros

  • Typically includes storage features
  • More style options available
  • Does not require a box spring or foundation
  • Compatible will all mattress types

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

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

What Is a Box Spring? The Pros and Cons

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. Box springs also provide more support for your mattress and can add a significant amount of height to your bed.
 
Do you really need a box spring? The best way to check if you need a box spring is to check with your mattress manufacturer. If they recommend one with the mattress you bought, then you should get one.
 
You should also keep in mind the type of bed that you have. If you have an older style bed — such as an antique bed — then a box spring is necessary. However, if you have a more modern style of bed — such as a platform bed or adjustable bed — then you do not need a box spring.
 
For the most part, box springs are not really necessary. However, box springs are a great match for spring mattresses as opposed to memory foam 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.

Pros

  • Adds height to your bed
  • Provides support
  • Shock absorption
  • Ideal for innerspring mattresses

Cons

  • Not 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

While a box spring works great for innerspring mattresses, they are not compatible with some mattress types. However, they can add height to your bed and extra support if you have a spring mattress.

Platform Beds vs. Box Springs: Comparison Table

A chart outlining the information below.

Dimensions

The dimensions of your platform bed or box spring will depend on the size and manufacturer of your mattress. When it comes to weight, platform beds are much heavier than box springs which could make it difficult to move around.

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, while platform beds can cost anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousand.
 
However, you also have to factor in the cost of accessories. Platform beds are typically the more affordable option because you don’t need to buy a box spring or foundation to accompany it.

Comfort

When it comes to the platform bed vs. 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 add support and absorb body weight. This can also help ease aches if you’re someone who sleeps with back pain. However, box springs don’t have much airflow, so they don’t work as well with memory foam mattresses.
 
On the other hand, platform beds are breathable and ideal for memory foam 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 distance between them. The closer the slats are together, 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.

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 that a box spring will.
 
However, the choice is ultimately up to you. The Casper platform bed frame is made from aircraft-grade aluminum that offers durable, stylish support. You can even get a matching headboard to accompany it — no foundation or box spring necessary. For more comparison guides, check out our memory foam vs. spring, latex vs. memory foam, and King vs. California King mattress guides.