Platform Beds or Box Spring Beds

Jo Davies (Mattress Expert)

When it comes to our beds, there’s arguably nothing as important as the bed frame we put the mattresses on.

Okay, they might not be that important, though they do play a big role in your mattress’s ability to conform to your body as you sleep and the longevity of the bed you’re sleeping on, especially if it’s an all-foam variant.

If you’ve done some research online, there’s a good chance you’ve come across two reoccurring bed types, and these are the platform beds and the box spring beds. Both have their own unique perks, look and comfort-focused features. That in mind, it’s good to know that type of sleep experience you’re looking for before you invest in one over the other.

With all that in mind, we’re here to give you a little direction and information on choosing either a platform bed or a box spring model for your new mattress.

The Box Spring Beds

These are the bed bases that are essentially a tall, solid and typically a timber base that rises up off the floor around 1.5 feet.

They’re comprised of an internal set up of springs, which your mattress then sits on top of to provide you optimal support. These springy internals give your mattress some added bounce and support as you sleep, and can often add some life expectancy to foam beds, so long as you invest in a new box spring.

The Platform Beds

A second wildly popular bed type is the platform bed.

These are the bed frames that are simply a frame with four legs and feature slats that run down the middle. These slats can either be flat or curved and offer a different feel depending on the design of the slats.

Most mattresses work well with these bed bases, however, some foam beds do ask for a more rigid base and thus the box spring seems to be the more suitable model of bed frame here.

All that said, let’s have a look below in both of these beds in more detail and help you choose one over the other.

The Platform Beds

Taking a look in stores and online, it’s easy to see that these beds are the most popular out there. This is often due to them having a little more versatility with regards to the style and aesthetics than the box spring models.

You can find these platform beds in all different types of materials from wood, steel, carbon fibre and more, and they’re often a little more affordable and easy to assemble when compared to their box spring counterparts.

When it comes to durability and strength, the platform beds do win out here, as they do come with a more rigid base and also come in steel options.

That said though, the main slats are generally made of timber, which isn’t always the strongest material available, especially if you are someone who does jump or play rough with their bed from time to time.

As we mentioned, these beds can be more affordable than box springs, though not always, and that’s where some of the difficulty of choosing one or the other comes in — and so we’ll direct you to the experience with these beds.

A platform bed can be seen as a far easier model to set up and to have delivered to your home than a box spring. The assembly process is really as simple as connecting the legs and the head to the slats and you’re all done. The box spring on the other hand can be far more complicated and will often ask that you bring in an installer.

When it comes to the supported bed materials and mattress types, these platform beds do play nice with all mattresses from latex to memory foam and of course innersprings, so you’re all set for a platform bed regardless of the mattress type you’ve chosen.

Where issues will come into play are with regards to the weight supported by the often-flimsy bed slats. If you have a heavy latex mattress, and a platform bed with rather thin slats, you’re going to be dealing with the problem of broken slats.

Our biggest tip for weight-bearing info is to check with the manufacturer sheets and paperwork to find out what the weight limits for the mattresses are on each of these beds, and whether a specific mattress is supported or not.

Practicality

As for practicality, platform beds are the be all end all when it comes to storage.

Because these beds are up and off the floor, there is simply ‘space’ beneath there, which can be used for storage. You’ll have a tonne more space below these beds when compared to the box spring and that means if you’re in a smaller home or bedroom, a platform bed gives you added storage space to slide your items below the bed.

You can also find platform beds that offer adjustable legs, which allow you to raise or lower the frame depending on the height of the mattress you’d like — which also increases or decreases the available storage space below the bed. Another winner for the platform bed.

All that out of the way, let’s take a look at the box spring beds and why you may want to consider one of these.

The Box Spring Beds

To keep thing simple, these beds are relatively ‘solid’ in design when compared to their platform counterparts.

These are large timber ‘boxes’ essentially, which are filled with spring foundations and these are what holds up the mattress you’re sleeping on. That in mind, these beds do offer a little more movement and flex when compared to platform models, as they’re supported by a dynamic set of springs.

When compared to platform beds, these box springs are also a little higher in profile as they are often comprised of the timber frame along with either wheels or legs beneath them. This is good news for some if you do find it hard to get in and out of a bed that’s too low to the floor.

Looking at the box spring from another angle, these beds can also be used in with platform bases too. You’ll simply be able to slot the box spring inside the platform bed frame and then set a mattress on the box spring this way — giving you an ultra-high profile bed base which features storage.

This is a great idea for those of our readers who can’t bend down to their beds with ease, and so the higher profile is ideal for this.

Mattress Support

There is often a lot of confusion out there surrounding which mattresses can be used with a box spring, and we’re here to tell you that these beds support all mattress types. From springs through to latex and memory foam, a box spring will offer the prime surface to sleep on these mattresses.

To add, a box spring’s built in supportive spring array is actually going to absorb more movement than a platform bed, which amplifies the motion isolation you’ll find in memory foam beds, making your experience even better.

Practicality

Where box springs do lose out to platform beds is with regards to storage. These beds are too low to the ground and are a ‘solid’ bed base which means you can’t store anything under these frames.

If you’re in a small room or apartment, for example, these box springs will take up valuable storage space for you.

Long-term Usage

To end, box springs aren’t as long lasting as platform beds.

The springs internally will need to be replaced in time, which means you’re looking at replacing your box spring when you replace your mattress, which can be around 5 to 7 years depending on the spring quality.

This may or may not be a major con for you depending on how long you’d like to keep your box spring for, or when you consider that platform beds can essentially last forever, especially if they’re an all-steel model.

The Takeaway

With our comparison of those two bed types out of the way, we’re sure that you have plenty of information to help you decide which model is better for you.

Both of these bed types offers a unique experience from one another and are designed for different use cases. Our platform beds are great for storage and long-term use, whereas box springs are good for absorbing movement and keeping our mattresses elevated quite high off the floor.

To help finalise our comparison and make your selection process a little easier, we have some final points to keep in mind when choosing between a platform bed or a box spring bed.

Your Home’s Style

If your home is rather modern and features a light and airy feel to it, as well as focuses a lot on slimline furniture and decor, then a box spring is not something you want to integrate into the bedroom.

These box springs bring a very traditional and early 1900s look to them, which will clash with just about everything in the modern bedroom and modern home.

Your Age and Requirements

For those older sleepers, or anyone who finds it a little hard to get in and out of bed in the morning and evening, a box spring may be your best bet at dealing with this.

You can use a box spring’s height to make it a whole lot easier to get in and out of bed, and this means it could be your key to a far better night’s sleep.

For our taller readers, the box spring and platform bed pairing is a good idea as you’ll be able to get some great height here and it’ll be a tonne easier for you to simply get into bed without bending down and putting pressure on your joints and legs every single evening.

Your Budget

As we mentioned, the platform beds and box springs are relatively similar in price, however, platform beds can break the bank. Depending on the material and the style you’re looking for, these beds can cost up to a thousand dollars and sometimes even more.

Box spring beds on the other hand can be quite affordable and you can generally find these for only a few hundred dollars at max.

Your Storage Requirement

For the smaller homes and bedrooms, your top choice and our biggest recommendation is to go with the platform bed. These are off-the-floor and give you plenty of space to store everything from your winter clothes, toys and more. A box spring being solid takes up a tonne of vertical and under-bed space, taking away a fair bit of storage area in the bedroom.

All that said, both of these bed bases will support all types of mattresses unless otherwise stated.

When it comes to choosing one over the other it’s a good idea to consider your own requirements from style to storage and you’ll be on the right track to choosing something that works best in your home and bedroom.

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