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Is a Mattress Foundation Better than a Box Spring?

If you want an exceptional sleep experience, it helps greatly to have a high-quality, comfortable mattress, and a mattress base that can genuinely hold and support your bed.

Whether you sleep on a traditional innerspring mattress, or prefer the newer memory foam, latex, or hybrid mattresses, your bed base is crucial to improving your sleep quality.

Whether a box spring or a mattress foundation, your bed base can provide adequate support to elevate your sleep experience to the next level.

Box Springs

Box springs are typical bed bases designed for a traditional innerspring mattress. Simply put, a box spring is a bed base made from a solid wooden or metal frame with steel support springs or coils, all wrapped in fabric.

The primary function of a box spring is to provide support, and a cushioning effect to an innerspring mattress that is laid on top of it. The coils in the box spring also allow airflow, and limit motion transfer by acting as shock absorbers.

Box springs are usually covered with a breathable fabric, and have an anti-skid layer on the top. They are placed on bed frames, as they provide height and support to the mattress.

Box springs, because of the metal coils, provide better responsiveness than other mattress foundations. Their shock absorption and pressure-relieving properties make the inner coil mattresses comfortable. On the flip side, the metal coils inside the box springs can make them susceptible to sagging.


Box springs are known for the following characteristics:


The support box springs provide come with a degree of flexibility because of the metal coils. The responsiveness helps in evenly distributing the body weight, preventing sagging issues. The flexible metal coils also reduce pressure, absorb shock, and promote better airflow and breathability.


The metal coils used in box springs can lose flexibility with time, causing mattress sagging issues. Box springs usually last for 5 to 10 years, depending on the weight put on them, and the weight of your bed.


The average price of a box spring suitable for a queen mattress can be between $100 to $300, making them an affordable bed base.

Compatibility with Mattress

Traditional innerspring mattresses need a box spring to provide bounce, and allow motion isolation to the sleepers.


  • A high degree of responsiveness and bounce
  • Promotes airflow with increased breathability
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • An affordable option
  • Elevate the bed, making getting on and off the bed easier


  • The metal coils can break with wear and tear
  • Metal springs can squeak and creek
  • The metal coils are prone to sagging
  • They are incompatible with most mattresses like memory foam, latex, or hybrid

Mattress Foundation

A foundation is a bed base made from solid wood or metal designed to support a mattress. A mattress foundation can be placed directly on the floor, or over bed frames, and can support just about any mattress.

A mattress foundation has wooden stats across the surface that can be covered by a breathable fabric. The slats are usually placed between 2 -2.75 inches apart; the less space, the more support they provide.

Because of its firmer structure, a mattress foundation offers better support to modern mattresses. It can be more durable than a box spring bed base.


Mattress foundation can have the following characteristics:


As foundations are typically made of wood frames with sturdy wood slats, they provide better support to the mattress.


A high-quality foundation made from a wooden or metal base can last for decades without wear and tear.


Mattress foundations are typically more expensive than box springs. While a typical queen-sized mattress foundation can cost between $200 to $500, a luxury foundation with added features like adjustable frames and remote control operations can cost over $1000.

Compatibility with Mattresses

Foundations offer a firm, even surface, and can hold the weight of newer beds like memory foam mattresses. They are generally compatible with most modern mattresses, like latex and hybrid beds.

The Latex For Less Foundation

If you have a memory foam, latex mattress, or hybrid bed, and want a supportive and durable bed base that can complement your mattress and add comfort and support to your sleep routine, consider the Latex For Less Foundation.

Latex For Less Foundations are generally made from natural spruce wood, and have a soft, breathable organic cotton cover. They have precisely measured slats that are durable and perfect for providing edge-to-edge support to your latex mattresses.


  • A firm surface with evenly distributed support
  • Compatible with most bed types, especially memory foam and latex mattresses
  • Prevent sagging
  • Will last for a long time
  • Slats provide better airflow
  • It has a sturdy construction, and resists wear and tear with time


  • Can be heavier and difficult to move
  • Can create pressure points if the slats are not responsive
  • More expensive than traditional box springs

Box spring vs. Foundation

Both box springs and foundations can be excellent bed base choices. They provide adequate support to the mattress, elevating the bed to help getting in and out of bed easier.

The bed bases differ depending on the support they provide. While foundations offer a firmer sleeping surface that can adequately support virtually all mattress types, box springs have flexible metal coils that make them more flexible and supportive of the innerspring mattresses.

The primary differences between box springs and foundations are:


Box springs have flexible metal springs that allow for more give and bounciness. At the same time, foundations, thanks to their sturdy wooden slats, provide firmer support to the sleepers, preventing mattress sagging issues.

Even though box springs do offer some support, their primary purpose is to absorb shock, and help in motion isolation. If you prefer firmer support with less responsiveness, you need to go for a mattress foundation.


Although box springs and bed foundations look similar, they differ in construction. Box springs have a wooden or metal frame with flexible metal springs inside, wrapped in a breathable fabric. On the other hand, a mattress foundation has a metal or wood frame with wooden slats or panels laid across the top.


The supportive quality of the box spring comes from its flexible inner coil system. With time, the steel coils inside lose their resilience and flexibility, causing mattress sagging issues.

Foundations, in contrast, have a wooden or metal frame with wooden slats running across. They are more durable as they rely on wooden slats that do not show much wear and tear with time.


The price of a box spring or foundation depends on the size of your mattress. A box spring for a Queen-sized mattress would cost about $200, while a foundation of the same size would come at a price of $350.

Mattress Compatibility

While a box spring is an excellent option for innerspring beds, it is not compatible with modern beds with their heavier construction. Latex, hybrid, or memory foam mattresses require more support than a box spring can offer.

A mattress foundation with a sturdy layer of wooden slats provides better support in such a case. To decide if a box spring or a mattress foundation would suit your mattress, read the mattress warranty that clearly states the type of base your bed requires.

Other Types of Bed Bases

Other than the traditional box spring and foundation bed bases, you can consider certain alternate bed bases.

Adjustable Bed Bases

You can purchase an adjustable bed base where the top and bottom of the bed can be elevated or lowered to position your body in a comfortable manner. Adjustable bed bases offer several advantages: they can help you get more comfortable when reading, working in bed, or binge watching your favorite streaming show. They also often feature an anti-snore position, which can be helpful if your partner snores.

Platform Beds

In the case of a platform bed base, the mattress sits directly on the metal or wooden bed frame. The platform bed frame can have a top layer comprising a solid or slatted foundation. Platform beds can be made from solid wood or metal, and have storage space.

Which Bed Base Should I Choose?

If you are looking for a bed base for your new mattress, you can choose between a box spring or foundation. Depending on your mattress type, your preference between firm support and flexibility will improve your sleep routine, and the affordability of it.

  • If you have a traditional innerspring bed, getting a box spring will be your perfect choice. If you have a latex, hybrid, or memory foam mattress, you may prefer to purchase a foundation that can provide adequate support to the newer, heavier beds.
  • If you suffer from body aches, and want a more supportive base, you must invest in a bed foundation. On the other hand, if you wish to have more bounce and motion-isolating properties in your bed base, you can go for box springs.
  • If you want to splurge on your mattress base, you can consider a firmer, more resilient mattress foundation. On the other hand, if you are on a budget, a box spring can work perfectly.
  • If you have a soft mattress, and want to add some additional support, you can use a bunkie board. Bunkie boards are flat pieces of plywood, or particle wood, about 1-3 inches thick that you can place between your mattress and bed base to provide additional support.

Bottom Line:

Although a mattress foundation has better durability and firmer support than a box spring, you can go for a box spring if you prefer more responsiveness, and a bouncy feel. Whatever bed base you choose, make sure not to compromise on the quality.

Consider personal preferences, and check your mattress warranty before investing in a bed base to upgrade your sleep experience.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates,, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report,, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.