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mattress guides

Guide To Box Springs: Does a Memory Foam Mattress Need a Box Spring?

is a box spring necessary for a memory foam mattress

Box spring — do you really need to spend money on it?

The answer depends on your needs. You may need a box spring for your memory foam mattress but it is not necessary; some of the box spring alternatives work even better for this mattress type. However, people often choose it for some reason. What are the reasons to choose a box spring, what are its pros & cons? Can it improve sleep for you personally? What are the alternatives for this mattress base type? Let’s find out.

box spring

What is box spring?

As the name suggests, it is a huge box with many springs inside it and with some type of fabric on top. Box springs have been bought and used since the beginning of the 20th century when innerspring mattresses were on the rise (the thing is mattresses of this type tend to sag). The strong base made of a wooden or a metal box with springs in it and wrapped in fabric, placed between the mattress and the frame, could slow down sagging significantly, prolonging the life of mattresses.

What is box spring?

People choose box springs not only as a preventive measure for sagging: they are often used to add some height to the mattress/bed or to absorb shock if sleepers tend to move a lot in the sleep.

A box spring is usually placed on a wooden/metal bed frame connected to a headboard and footboard. The term “box spring” is often mistakenly used to describe a mattress foundation; it is somewhat a misnomer in the modern world but it is widely used and people have got used to it.

What’s the actual difference between box spring and foundation?

As you already know, foundations and box springs are not the same thing. Unlike box springs with springs in them, foundations have even slats inside. That’s why they are a much better option for those who have foam mattresses and other more modern mattresses - they can provide the mattresses with much better support.

the actual difference between box spring and foundation

It is okay to put foundations right on the floor without a frame. You can do the same thing with box springs, but you need to realize that this is acceptable only if you don’t care about the consequences, in particular, about voiding your warranty.

Box spring and foundation are both bed bases - they have nearly the same functions and very similar pros & cons.

All pros and cons of a box spring/foundation


  • Absorbs shock
  • Make a mattress (especially an innerspring mattress) more supportive
  • Make a mattress last longer
  • Create a thick layer between the bed frame and a mattress
  • Adds height


  • Increases the total cost of a mattress
  • Heavy and pretty massive
  • They wear out over time and need to be replaced, too

So do you need a box spring for a memory foam mattress?

No, you don’t. Box springs don’t work well for super-modern mattresses, in particular, for foam mattresses. However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need a foundation at all — memory foam mattresses are quite heavy, so they need more support than other types of mattresses. If you have a memory foam mattress, it is recommended choosing a quality slatted foundation as the base.

What is the best box spring for memory foam mattress?

As we have already said, the best option for a memory foam mattress is a slatted foundation, and we highly recommend paying attention to this bed base, as it is firmer and more solid (and these are essential features for a memory foam mattress base.)

Choose a foundation with at least 6 slats. Here are some of the best options on the market:

Still, it doesn’t mean that there are no alternatives for foundations besides slatted bases. There are more interesting options to choose from.

alternatives for box spring

Alternatives for box spring with prices

So, here are the best alternatives for slatted foundations, as well as for box springs:

  • Solid platform beds. These are the best bases for pretty heavy foam mattresses., as well as hybrids and latex mattresses They can make your mattress last longer but this is not such a good option for hot sleepers because of lack of the airflow. The price varies from $300 to $2000.
  • Adjustable bed frames. These are the modern options for those who want to be able to adjust the angle of the bed at any time. They are perfect for people with health issues but are pretty pricey — they cost from $650 to $2,000.
  • Bunkie board. It is a pretty thin board made of a firm material (usually wood or metal) that provides extra support, no matter if you have a foundation or just a bed and a mattress. The cost is pretty low — it varies from $50 to $200
  • Right on the floor. This will not make your mattress last longer, but some people still prefer to put their memory foam mattresses and hybrids right on the floor.

So, these are options that can be considered as alternatives for foundations. Two of them are definitely more expensive than box springs that usually cost $100-$500, but some people still prefer them, especially when it comes to memory foam mattresses.


You may need a box spring if you have an innerspring or a hybrid mattress and look for extra height, extra support, and want to extend the lifespan of your mattress. Sometimes, it is necessary to get it if a manufacturer requires it. Otherwise, you can void a warranty. Box spring is not really good for memory foam, but you can choose a slatted foundation as an alternative.


Can I put my mattress directly on the floor?

No one can stop you from doing it. It is easy and it is cheaper. However, you will void your warranty. Dirt, no airflow, and insects are the common problems you will also face if you make such a decision.

What do you put under a memory foam mattress?

You can put a slatted foundation or a bunkie board under your memory foam mattress. You can also purchase solid platform beds and adjustable bed frames to support it without foundation.

How long can I expect box springs to last?

They usually last 8-10 years.

Can you put a mattress directly on slats?

Yes, you can, if wooden slats are closely laid, i.e., if they provide enough support for a mattress.

Are box springs obsolete?

Not really — a lot of people still use innerspring mattresses, as well as hybrid mattresses. They, in turn, often need extra support and generally work better with box springs.

What kinds of mattresses require a box spring?

In most cases, these are innerspring mattresses and hybrids.

If I use a wooden platform as my foundation, what wood is best?

It is considered that Douglas Fir & Southern Pine are some of the best options on the market.

Can I use my old box spring with a memory foam mattress?

It is not such a good idea. You’d better use other bases, in particular, a slatted foundation with this type of mattress.

How much does a box spring cost?

It depends on plenty of things, from the construction and size to the brand. For example, for a Queen-size bed, the cost is likely to vary from $100 to $500.