If you’re in the market for a new mattress, don’t overlook the importance of also getting a quality box spring. The right box spring provides crucial support for your mattress, allowing you to get the full comfort potential from your bed. With many options available, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know to find the best box spring for your specific mattress type and needs.
What is a Box Spring and How Does It Work?
A box spring is a supportive base designed to sit underneath your mattress. It’s constructed from a wooden frame containing steel coils or a rigid wood slat system. The coils or slats provide a resilient surface for the mattress to rest on.
Box springs serve three key functions:
- Provide shock absorption – The springs or slats absorb movement and distribute body weight to prevent sagging.
- Extend mattress life – By reducing wear and tear on the mattress coils or foam.
- Lift mattress height – Raises the mattress up several inches for easier access.
Box springs are commonly paired with innerspring mattresses, where the two sets of coils work together to provide push-back support. They can also be used to add height and a firmer surface for foam or latex mattresses.
Replacing an old box spring along with your mattress helps ensure you get the full benefits from the new bed set. So don’t neglect this important foundation piece.
How to Choose the Right Box Spring
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a box spring:
1. Mattress Type
Make sure to get a box spring designed for your specific mattress type. Options include:
- Innerspring mattress box spring – Has coils to supplement mattress springs.
- Memory foam mattress box spring – Reinforced wood slats prevent sagging.
- Latex mattress box spring – Slatted base works well with conforming latex.
- Hybrid mattress box spring – Coils or slats support both springs and foam.
Choose a box spring specifically made for your mattress type for optimal performance.
2. Standard vs. Low Profile
Standard box springs are typically 7-8” tall. Low profile box springs stand 3-5” tall.
The lower height makes it easier to get in and out of bed. But may not provide adequate support for heavier individuals.
Standard works better for innerspring and hybrid mattresses. Low profile pairs well with memory foam or latex.
Look for steel coils or a solid wood slat system. Hardwood frames withstand years of use. Avoid cheap particle board, which can crack over time.
4. Mattress Compatibility
Pay close attention to the mattress specs the box spring is designed to fit. This includes mattress height, type and size.
Make sure the dimensions match precisely. Even small gaps or overhangs can impact performance and mattress life.
5. Quality Construction
High quality construction ensures the box spring provides even support across the mattress without sagging or creaking. Check for corner bracing for added stability.
Also make sure your bed frame and box spring are compatible. Look for built-in fittings to lock the box spring securely in place.
By keeping these key factors in mind, you can choose a box spring engineered to provide the right support system for your specific mattress.
5 Highest Rated Box Springs of 2023
Based on extensive research into verified buyer reviews, testing, and product analysis, here are 5 of the best box springs currently available on the market:
1. Zinus Elite Smart Box Spring
Style: Folding box spring with steel coils
Heights: 5, 7, 8 or 10 inches
- Steel coils for bounce and shock absorption
- Foam padding cushions coils for quiet performance
- Folds in half for easier storage and transport
- Compressed and shipped in small box
With a 4.5/5 star rating from over 4,000 reviews, the Zinus Elite is a top choice for convenient shipment, easy setup, and durable support. Reviewers love how the compressed packaging makes setup quick and simple. The steel coils provide reliable support while the foam padding muffles any noise. A great option if you value convenience along with performance.
Available on Amazon starting at $124
2. Dreamfoam Ultimate Dreams Box Spring
Style: Solid wood slat box spring
Heights: 4, 7, 8, 10, or 12 inches
- Reinforced solid wood slats prevent sagging
- Sturdy end wood panels and center support beam
- Designed specifically for memory foam mattresses
- Ships compressed in manageable boxes for easy delivery
Made exclusively for memory foam mattresses, Dreamfoam’s slat-style box spring provides the right support. Reviewers confirm it pairs perfectly with memory foam beds, preventing excess sinkage and extending mattress life. The solid compressed wood prevents creaking while supporting people of all sizes. A great pick specifically designed for foam mattresses.
Available on Amazon starting at $119
3. Classic Brands Instant Foundation Box Spring
Style: Foldable wood slat foundation
Heights: 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 inches
- Strong birchwood frame resists sagging
- Folds in half for compact storage
- Works well with all mattress types
- Noise-free wire mesh design
This foldable box spring from Classic Brands works universally with all mattress types thanks to the sturdy wire mesh platform. Reviewers love how easy it is to store and transport. And many report it provides the perfect firm base to prevent sinking and increase mattress longevity. The price is also very reasonable for the quality. A great versatile option.
Available on Amazon starting at $132
4. Ortizan 9 Inch High Profile Box Spring
Style: Steel coil box spring
Height: 9 inches
- Meets strict quality standards for durability
- Designed for all innerspring mattresses
- High profile design ensures adequate height
- Noise minimizing padding extends mattress life
- Easy self-assembly
For traditional innerspring mattresses, Ortizan’s steel coil box spring hits the mark. It provides the right amount of bounce to complement mattress coils. Reviewers consistently praise the super sturdy construction that prevents sagging even with larger people. The self-assembly takes minutes for a box spring that should last over a decade.
Available on Amazon starting at $259
5. Zinus 12 Inch Premium Box Spring
Style: Wood slat box spring
Height: 12 inches
- Super strong double beam wood slat construction
- Designed for all foam, latex and hybrid mattresses
- High profile height makes getting into bed easier
- Ships compressed in small box for easy delivery
- Noise free performance
With a 4.5 star rating after hundreds of reviews, this sturdy box spring from Zinus offers top-notch quality and performance. It provides the ideal support base for foam, latex or hybrid beds thanks to the rigid slat system. And the high profile design makes it perfect for individuals who want a taller bed. Reviewers love the quiet performance and easy setup.
Available on Amazon starting at $161
How to Choose Between a Box Spring vs. Platform Bed
Besides a traditional box spring, platform beds have become a popular alternative base for mattresses. Here’s how they compare:
- Provides extra shock absorption
- Ideal if you have a high-profile mattress
- Raises overall bed height for easier access
- Required for warranty on some innerspring mattresses
- Can be noisy over years as coils sag
- Quieter and less chance of squeaking
- Sleeker, more contemporary look
- Easier to vacuum and clean under bed
- Provides enough support for most mattresses
- Takes up more space than collapsible box spring
In general, box springs work best for innerspring and hybrid mattresses, while platforms pair well with latex or memory foam beds. But you can use either type with most mattresses as long as the height is adequate.
Consider your room layout, mattress type, warranty requirements and personal priorities when deciding between these two strong foundation options.
Pros and Cons of Box Springs
- Absorb shock from motion and increase mattress durability
- Provide adequate lift for high profile mattresses
- Required for warranty coverage on some mattress brands
- Softer support reduces pressure points for some
- Make it easier to get in and out of bed
- Can squeak and creak over time as coils weaken
- Not compatible with all bed frames and mattresses
- Difficult to clean under and require vacuuming vents
- Some find them too bouncy or springy
- Not as attractive looking as platform bed
Box Spring Buying Tips
Follow these tips for choosing the optimal box spring for your bed:
- Select the right height for your mattress thickness
- Make sure box spring is designed specifically for your mattress type
- Verify mattress and box spring dimensions match precisely
- Check construction quality and materials for durability
- Read reviews and look carefully at product images and descriptions
- Take delivery logistics into consideration based on packaging
- Understand any warranty coverage details before purchasing
Taking the time to find an ideal box spring for your specific mattress pays off with better mattress support and longevity. Don’t compromise on quality or acceptable performance just to save on costs. A box spring should last you years.
Box Spring vs. Foundation: What’s the Difference?
While the terms box spring and foundation are sometimes used interchangeably, there are a few key differences:
- Contains steel coils for bounce
- Raises mattress height more significantly
- Works best with innerspring and hybrid mattresses
- Typically contains solid wood slats
- Less bouncy, provides firmer support
- Better suited for memory foam and latex mattresses
- More lightweight and portable option
The main difference is that box springs use steel coils while foundations use a rigid wood slat system. But both serve the same purpose of supporting the mattress properly. Make sure to choose the style best matched to your mattress type.
Do You Really Need a Box Spring?
For some types of mattresses, a box spring is crucial:
- Innerspring mattresses – Require a box spring for adequate support and shock absorption. Usually mandated by warranty terms.
- Thick mattresses – Prevent sagging and increase life expectancy of extra tall mattresses.
- Soft mattresses – Firmer support extends lifespan and prevents bottoming out of plush soft models.
But for other mattress types, a box spring is optional:
- Memory foam and latex – Platform beds often provide enough support, but box spring can help if sagging issues.
- Thin mattresses – Platform alone usually provides enough lift for low profile mattresses under 10”.
Check your mattress warranty and specifications before deciding. Box springs do help optimize mattress performance and durability in many cases.
Troubleshooting Box Spring Problems
Noisy squeaking or popping – Apply WD-40 to joints and springs. Tighten fasteners if needed. Add rubber stoppers to bottom corners.
Mattress sagging – Reinforce with center support beam. Add additional slats if needed.
Excess motion transfer – Add foam between box spring and mattress to dampen movement.
Bed height too tall/low – Switch to a higher/lower profile box spring compatible with mattress.
Mattress slipping – Make sure box spring is locked firmly in bed frame. Add non-slip mattress pads.
Box Spring vs. Bunkie Board
Bunkie boards provide a more lightweight and portable alternative to box springs for certain mattress types. Here’s how they compare:
- Coil or slatted support system
- 7-10 inches high
- Better for innerspring and hybrid mattresses
- More motion isolation but less portable
- Thin 2-3 inch plywood base
- Better for foam or latex mattresses
- Fits easily into campers, RVs or home conversions
- Very portable and can be trimmed to size
- Less motion absorption than box spring
If you need maximum portability or have a recreational vehicle, bunkie board is the way to go. But for long term residential use, box springs provide optimal support and shock absorption.
Do You Need a Box Spring with a Bed Frame?
It depends on the type of bed frame:
Platform bed – Usually don’t require an additional box spring
Panel bed – Require either a box spring or foundation
Sleigh bed – Typically need a box spring, but some work with just a mattress
Four poster beds – Require a box spring and mattress
Adjustable beds – Require an adjustable base rather than box spring
If your frame doesn’t have solid underlying support, you’ll need either a box spring or foundation for proper mattress support. But platform beds have built-in support.
Always check your frame specs to see if an additional base is required or recommended.
Do You Put the Mattress Directly on the Box Spring?
Yes, the mattress should be placed directly on top of the box spring without any gap between the two surfaces. This allows the box spring to absorb shock and support the mattress properly.
Do not put any type of mattress pad or topper in between the mattress and box spring, as this can lead to instability and prevent the two components from working together as designed.
How Long Do Box Springs Last?
With regular use, a quality box spring should last 8-12 years on average. Higher end box springs can last over 15 years.
Factors impacting box spring lifespan:
- Quality of materials and construction
- Frequency of use/rotation
- Weight of sleepers that put pressure on the coils
- Whether moisture or dust buildup corrodes the coils
Signs it’s time to replace your box spring:
- Sagging spots or broken coils
- Noticeable squeaking, popping or creaking
- Inability to provide mattress support
- Damage to the covering or frame
- Mattress indentation or sagging
Rotating your mattress and box spring together every 6 months helps maximize durability. But expect to replace your box spring about as often as you replace your mattress for ideal comfort and support.
Best Mattresses to Pair with a Box Spring
These mattress types are best paired with a box spring for optimal performance:
Innerspring – Require the extra shock absorption and thickness from a quality box spring.
Hybrid – Benefit from the balance of support coils and cushioning from a box spring.
Extra Tall Airbed – Added lift maintains air chamber height and prevents bottoming out.
Plush Pillowtop – Firmer base prevents too much sink into soft pillowtop layer.
Avoid using box springs with floors sleepers or ultra-thin mattresses under 8 inches thick. And always double check your mattress specs for any box spring requirements.
Box Spring FAQs
Do you need a box spring with a memory foam mattress?
Most memory foam mattresses work fine on just a platform bed or slat frame alone. But a box spring can help provide extra support and height for better performance.
What is the best height for a box spring?
Standard box spring height is around 6-8 inches. Taller 10-12 inch models provide extra lift but can be difficult to get on and off. Anything under 4 inches may not provide enough lift and support.
How do you dispose of an old box spring?
Most municipalities allow box springs to be included in bulk item garbage pickup. Otherwise you can contact local charities to see if they will accept donated box springs, or look for recycling centers that take mattresses and box springs.
Can you put two twin box springs together?
Yes, two twin box springs can be placed next to each other on a king size frame. Make sure the dimensions match up precisely to prevent gaps or instability. “King” box springs are usually just two twins side by side in one frame.
Should a box spring touch the ground?
No, there should be a 2-3 inch gap between the bottom edge of the box spring and the floor. This allows air circulation to prevent moisture buildup. Bed skirts are designed to hide this gap.
Replacing your mattress provides the perfect opportunity to also assess whether you need a new upgraded box spring. Take the time to choose a box spring specifically engineered for your mattress type and thickness. This provides the ideal supportive base for mattress stability, shock absorption and increased longevity.
Don’t simply default to the cheapest box spring available. High quality materials and precise sizing compatibility are crucial. Measure carefully and read reviews and product descriptions before purchasing. With the foundation properly addressed along with your new mattress, you’ll ensure many years of restful sleep.