Best Box Spring Alternatives

By April Mayer
Last Updated On March 26th, 2021

Box springs are a wooden foundation covered in cloth. Some box springs contain actual coils or springs—hence the name—but not always. They’re built to lift your mattress to a more…

Best Box Spring Alternatives

Box springs are a wooden foundation covered in cloth. Some box springs contain actual coils or springs—hence the name—but not always. They’re built to lift your mattress to a more comfortable height, absorb impact, and support the mattress.

While you might think you need to pair a standard box spring with any mattress, this isn’t true. Box springs are only meant for innerspring mattresses, so you should not use a box spring with any other type of bed.

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Pairing a traditional box spring with other mattresses—memory foam, latex, or hybrid—can harm the mattress and even voids most mattress warranties.

We’ve done the research for you and have created a list of some viable box spring alternatives you can use with your foam or hybrid bed. Let’s take a look at some of your options.

Platform Beds

Platform beds are a low profile bed frame that also features supportive slats, eliminating the need for an additional foundation—such as a box spring or bunkie board.

They’re often made from metal or wood and have slats to support your mattress. Keep in mind, the slats must be no further than 2 or 3 inches apart to prevent your mattress from sagging or becoming damaged, which can void the warranty.

Platform beds can range from being very simple and contemporary to very complex and luxurious. For this reason, platform beds have a wide price range, costing as little as $100, but sometimes they run up to $2000. At the same time, since platform beds don’t require an additional foundation, you can save some money by using one.

Suitable For:

  • Memory foam mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses
  • Latex mattresses
  • Innerspring mattresses

Try the Amerisleep Mattress Foundation

Despite its name, the Amerisleep Mattress Foundation is a platform bed and has legs attached to the railing to lift your bed higher. It’s simple yet supportive, and we’ve designed it to match any bedroom.

The foundation is made entirely of hardwood, ensuring it is both sturdy and eco-friendly. The wooden railing is encased in gray upholstery. Not only is the upholstery durable, but the minimal design matches practically any bedroom.

The Amerisleep Mattress Foundation has six extra-wide wooden slats to support your mattress. There is very little space between the slats, ensuring your bed won’t sag into the cracks and wear down.

The platform bed has a high weight capacity—up to 750 pounds—which can support you, your mattress, and anyone you share your bed with.

The best part of all? It only takes five minutes to assemble the Amerisleep Mattress Foundation. You simply lock the wooden frame pieces together and place the slats above them. Since the legs come already attached to the railing, you won’t have to worry about screwing them into place, either.

We ship the Amerisleep Mattress Foundation for free within the contiguous US.

Mattress Slats

Best-Box-Spring-Alternatives

Slats are horizontal strips of wood or metal that you place between a bed frame and a mattress. Slats are either individually drilled into a bed frame, or are attached by a durable fabric you roll onto the bed frame.

With slats, your bed stays lifted and you can have storage space between your mattress and the floor. Not only that, but mattress slats are very lightweight and easy to transport, unlike box springs.

With mattress slats, it’s important not to confuse them with the sparse slats on some bed frames. Some bed frames have two or three support beams, but these are meant to support a mattress foundation or box spring and a mattress, not a mattress on its own.

Mattress slats are spaced closely together (no further than 2 or 3 inches apart) to prevent a mattress from sinking between the spaces.

Slats can cost anywhere from $20 to $100 since they are just pieces of wood.

Suitable For:

  • Memory foam mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses
  • Latex mattresses
  • Innerspring mattresses

Bunkie Boards

Bunkie boards are 1 to 3-inch pieces of plywood, solid wood, or particleboard wrapped in fabric. Bunkie boards were originally for bunk beds, as the name suggests, because they’re thin but supportive, so bunk bed users can maximize support without sacrificing overhead clearance.

However, more and more people started using bunkie boards with their existing mattress foundation to increase their bed’s support and firmness. Now, some people use bunkie boards as the only foundation for their mattresses.

Bunkie boards are useful because they are lightweight and easy to transport. Not only that, but they don’t add a lot of unnecessary height to your bed, which can make it hard for people with limited mobility to access.

Since bunkie boards are a single slab of wood, there’s no chance of your mattress slipping between the cracks and sagging.

The typical bunkie board costs between $50 to $250, but some people choose to DIY them for less.

Suitable For:

  • Memory foam mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses
  • Latex mattresses
  • Innerspring mattresses

Adjustable Bed Frames

Adjustable bed frames are easily one of the most luxurious box spring alternatives on the market, costing between $500 to $2500 on average.

They are motorized mattress foundations that give you the ability to adjust the angles of your head and feet with a remote. Adjustable bases originated in hospitals, so patients could optimize their comfort and easily sit upright. However, they quickly became popular for average sleepers.

Simple adjustable beds usually just come with a remote to move the bed up and down, but luxury adjustable beds include features such as USB charging ports, customizable presets, massage features, under-the-bed lighting, and more.

An adjustable base is a good option for the elderly, people with limited mobility, chronic pain, and people with nocturnal breathing problems. However, anybody looking for extra comfort and support at night will enjoy an adjustable bed.

Although adjustable beds have legs to lift them off of the ground, most adjustable beds aren’t aesthetically pleasing, so you’ll likely want a bed frame to encase yours.

Suitable For:

  • Memory foam mattresses
  • Hybrid mattresses
  • Latex mattresses

The Floor

When it comes down to it, some of you may be tempted to just place your mattress on the ground since it’s free and requires no effort.

Although the floor may be a solid surface to firm up your bed’s feel, we recommend against placing your mattress on the ground at all costs.

Think about it, the floor collects all the dirt, dust, and other bacteria floating in your home. Placing your mattress directly on leaves it at risk of collecting all of this. Also, your sheets and blankets come in contact with the ground too, which causes them to get dirty as well.

Not only that, but there’s usually a cold draft lingering around the floor of your home. Regardless, your mattress lacks airflow when on the ground, so your body heat and sweat can’t escape, leading to mold and mildew build-up inside of your mattress, which can get you sick.

If this still hasn’t convinced you not to leave your mattress on the floor, using your bed on the ground voids most mattress warranties, meaning your investment isn’t protected.

FAQs

What is a milk crate bed base?

Milk crate bed bases are just like they sound: bed bases made from milk crates. It’s simply multiple crates pushed together to make a DIY bed foundation. Sometimes, people place a bunkie board on top of the crates as well so their mattress’s foundation is more even.

Still, we don’t suggest doing this as milk crates are not a reliable foundation. There’s the possibility of the crates breaking under your weight and causing you to fall, which can potentially lead to injury. And without a bunkie board or piece of plywood, milk crates just aren’t a viable foundation option and will likely void your mattress’s warranty.

Can you put a mattress on a frame without a box spring?

No, bed frames are not designed to hold a mattress on their own. Bed frames are meant to be decorative and hide a mattress’s foundation since most foundations aren’t very visually appealing. Some bed frames have center beams, but these aren’t enough to support a mattress.

If you use your mattress directly on the frame, it’ll likely sag and wear down quickly. Most mattress companies don’t view a bed frame as a suitable foundation, either, so this set-up will likely void your bed’s warranty.

However, instead of a box spring, many sleepers are now opting for the sleeker and thinner mattress foundation for support.

Can you use two mattresses instead of a box spring?

No, a mattress is not the same as a foundation, and using it as one will likely only harm both the top and bottom mattresses.

If the mattress you want to use as a foundation is old and sagging, then it won’t support the top mattress well—not that mattresses are meant to support other mattresses to begin with.

Mattresses need a sturdy, flat surface to support them, not a cushiony mattress.

Can you use an old box spring with a new mattress?

This depends. If your current box spring is old and sagging—which is most likely is after supporting another mattress for years—your new mattress will follow suit and start sagging.

Even if your box spring isn’t saggy or old, box springs only last so long and you’ll likely need to replace yours within a couple of years after getting your new bed.

Are platform beds better than box springs?

When it comes to using either a platform bed or a box spring, the right choice depends on the type of mattress you have.

This isn’t because box springs are bad, per se, but platform beds are much more all-encompassing than box springs. Box springs only work with innerspring beds and aren’t decorative, so most people buy a bed frame in addition to their box spring.

Conversely, platform beds are a foundation and a bed frame in one, which saves money. Not only that, but nearly all mattresses, including memory foam mattresses and hybrid beds, are compatible with platform beds.

Conclusion

Choosing the right foundation is just as important as choosing the right mattress. Even if you have a comfortable, high-quality mattress, an incompatible mattress foundation can negatively affect the bed’s feel.

Some of the biggest issues with using the wrong foundation are that it voids mattress warranties and shortens your mattress’s lifespan.

We hope our guide and recommendations helped you determine which mattress foundation you need so you can avoid damaging your mattress.

This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.


About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird.

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