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Do people still use box springs?

Box springs have been a staple of mattress sets for decades, providing support and height for mattresses. However, with the rise of alternative mattress types like memory foam, latex, and hybrid, some people wonder if box springs are still necessary or commonly used.

What is a box spring?

A traditional box spring is a type of bed base made of wood and springs that sits under the mattress. It provides:

  • Support – The springs absorb weight and impact to support the mattress.
  • Height – Box springs lift mattresses up several inches off the ground for ease of getting in and out of bed.
  • Protection – It helps protect the mattress from damage.
  • Air circulation – Space underneath allows air to circulate and prevent mold or mildew.

Older style box springs contain metal coils while newer box springs may use metal coils encased in fabric or a lightweight wood foundation. Some modern box springs are even foldable or split into two pieces for easier portability and maneuverability.

Are box springs required for all mattresses?

Traditional innerspring mattresses usually require a box spring or other rigid support. However, guidelines vary for newer mattress materials:

  • Memory foam mattresses – Many can be placed on slatted frames, adjustable bases, platform beds, or directly on the floor. Box springs are often optional for added height.
  • Latex mattresses – Require some additional support like a box spring or platform bed. Placing directly on the floor is not recommended.
  • Hybrid mattresses – Contain both coils and foam so can go on box springs or platforms. Floor use depends on the specific model.
  • Air mattresses – Are self-contained blow-up beds that don’t require box springs or additional support.

Box Spring vs. Foundation

Foundations provide similar support and height to box springs but with some key differences:

Box Spring Foundation
Contains metal springs Made of solid wood, engineered wood, or plywood
Coils provide bounce Rigid surface without springs
7-9 inches high usually Range of height options
Fits inside bed frame May act as standalone base

Foundations can be a lower cost alternative to box springs but provide comparable support for many mattress types.

Platform Beds

Platform beds have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to box springs or foundations. They provide:

  • A flat, stable surface for mattresses
  • Built-in height and support from their slatted or solid platform structure
  • A modern, minimalist aesthetic as a self-contained bed frame and base

Many platform beds have enough underlying support to work well with memory foam, latex, and some hybrid mattresses while eliminating the need for a box spring.

Adjustable Bases

Adjustable bases allow you to raise the head and/or foot sections of the mattress for customized comfort and support. They:

  • Enable ergonomic positioning and motion
  • Provide sufficient support for memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses as an alternative platform
  • Typically make box springs unnecessary
  • Range widely in size, features, and price

Using an adjustable base allows you to elevate your upper or lower body, enjoy lounging positions, and tailor mattress comfort and support.

Do people still commonly use box springs?

While box springs used to be universal with all mattresses, trends show declining usage today:

  • Only about 61% of recent mattress buyers also purchased box springs according to surveys from the Better Sleep Council.
  • Online mattress brands like Casper, Leesa, and Tuft & Needle do not require or sell box springs.
  • Alternative platforms like foundations, adjustable bases, and platform beds are widely available and often more affordable than box springs.
  • Mattress technology changes enable more options for support beyond box springs.

While still common with innerspring mattresses, box springs are much less prevalent overall as consumer needs and mattress options continue to evolve. Many shoppers view them as an unnecessary upcharge compared to other sufficient and more flexible bases.

When are box springs the best choice?

Box springs may still make sense for certain needs and preferences:

  • Using a taller traditional bed frame – Box springs add height to reach the desired level.
  • Desiring maximum shock absorption – Box springs may dampen impact better than some foundations or platforms.
  • Seeking that “bouncy” feel – Only box springs provide springy resilience.
  • Matching an existing bedroom set – Coordinating mattress and box spring heights.
  • Needing extra ventilation – Space under box springs allows more air circulation.

Alternatives to consider

For many modern mattress types, shoppers may want to consider these sufficient supports over box springs:

  • Foundations – Affordable, rigid support.
  • Platform beds – Stylish integrated platforms.
  • Adjustable bases – Customized reclining and incline.
  • Futons or bunkie boards – Basic mattress support for floor sleeping.
  • Slatted bed frames or metal frame platforms – Low-profile but sturdy.


While box springs used to be universally paired with mattresses, changing technologies and consumer priorities mean they are no longer as ubiquitous. About 61% of mattress buyers still choose to include box springs based on factors like height, bounce, shock absorption, and existing bed frames. However, the remaining 39% opt for sufficient support from modern platform beds, adjustable bases, foundations, and other alternatives better suited to their needs and bedroom aesthetics.