do we need box springs mattress

Box springs may be a thing of the past. But some people still have these under their new mattresses. Whether this bed accessory is for you or not is for you to decide, of course. But I’ll be diving deep into what makes box springs a need or just a remnant from the past. 

What are box springs?

Box springs are made from a wooden frame and have springs at the center. It’s also covered with a cloth and placed under your mattresses. It’s usually the same size as your mattress. And more often than not, these two are brought together.

These were invented in the 19th century. It’s a must for every home back then for their mattress to come with box springs. And this bed accessory was made for three reasons. One, it acts as a shock absorber. Since most mattresses manufactured in the days were rather thin, you need box springs to add support to your bed.

Two, it elevates the bed so you’re not close to the floor. If you don’t have an idea of what a bed with a box spring looks like, imagine stocky elevated princess beds, that’s how it looks. It gives height to the bed. And in the olden days. The higher is often better.

And three, it gives the mattresses a smooth and flat surface to lay on. And this will prevent the mattress from denting and sagging.

So to answer the question above, yes, in the olden days, box springs are a must. How about today? Do you still need one? The answer to that is, it depends on the situation. I’ll be elaborating on this one further in the next two sections of this article.

box springs mattress

Why you don’t need box springs anymore

  1. Innovation in modern mattresses

One of the functions of box springs is to act as a shock absorber. Since all mattresses made in the 19th century are thin, that gave birth to the box springs. But with all the technology and innovation in mattress and foam making, a lot has changed.

The quality of mattresses nowadays has grown in leaps and bounds. There are a lot of brands nowadays that can provide support and comfort better. And several brands also manufacture thick mattresses that have shock-absorbing qualities in themselves. So if you own a mattress that has innovative features, you don’t need a box spring anymore.

  1. Box Springs are only suitable for spring mattresses.

Springer mattresses were invented in 1857. And shortly after, the first box spring mattress came out in the public. And these bed accessories were invented primarily to provide support to a spring mattress. You don’t need a boxspring if your mattress is made from latex rubber or latex. Even hybrid mattresses do not have much use for it. And using a boxspring for these types of mattresses can damage them.

Especially if you have a latex mattress. It conforms to whatever surface it’s placed on while box springs have a lot of give. So combine these two and it can result in a sagging mattress that has inadequate support.

  1. If you prefer to sleep with the mattress on the floor.

Yes, some people prefer to sleep in that way. Especially if you have a small space or you’re renting a small apartment or dorm, box springs can be too bulky. Though sleeping on the floor isn’t really advisable. I have a section of that later in the article. 

  1. 4. You already have a platform or a bed riser

As I have mentioned above, another reason box springs were created was to add height to a bed. Nowadays, you can use platforms from wooden planks to raise your bed from the floor. And these can be less bulky. And if the mattress that you purchased already comes with a platform, you won’t be needing other bed bases.

So who needs a boxspring?

But wait, there are still instances in these can still be of value to you. So you may opt to outfit your bed with one if you happen to fall to any of the descriptions below

  1. You have a traditional metal bed frame. This type of bed frame can accommodate box springs.
  2. You own an old innerspring mattress. Take note of the word “old”. Because the innerspring mattresses nowadays are already hybrids. Meaning, they are a combination of more than one material. So even if it has a spring mattress part, it still would not be compatible with a boxspring.
  3. If you want to elevate your bed the old fashioned way.
  4. If you want a bulky princess like a bed. Boxsprings can be bulky and higher than most bed platforms. So you can achieve a princess like a bed with one. 
  5. If your mattress manufacturer specifically recommends box springs.

Alternatives to a traditional box springs

Box springs belong to a category of bed accessories referred to as a mattress foundation and bases. These can be used to provide height and support to your mattress.

Bunky boards

A bunky board can be made of wood, MDF, or plywood and it’s cut in the same size as your mattress. It’s covered with a cloth so that it won’t snag your mattress. 

Bunky boards are the thinnest and most affordable bed bases. It can add a bit of height to your mattress just enough to lift it off the floor. So it won’t be able to provide more than 3 inches of elevation.

Who is it for

  • If you need support but don’t want too much height for your bed.
  • Ideal for children for safety reasons
  • It’s perfect if you want a more modern and streamlined look.

Works best with

  • Memory foam mattresses
  • Thicker pillowtop mattresses

Low profile foundations

This is the modern version of the traditional box spring. It’s more compact and will add only half the height the traditional one can offer. 

It consists of a 4-inch wooden frame wrapped in cloth.

Who is it for

  • If you need a more shock absorption feature
  • If you need a foundation that will help you get out of bed easier.

Works best with

  • All types of mattresses
  • If you have a bed frame with 6 or fewer slats

Adjustable bases

These bases are quite flexible and you can even lift the head part. It can foundation may help improve blood circulation and relieve muscle fatigue. 

Who is it for

  • if you’re looking for pressure relief
  • If you need to improve blood circulation

Works best with

  • Hybrid mattress and memory foam

Platform bed

These are raised wood or metal frames with horizontal slats of wood or metal. A platform bed is a minimalist way to add a few inches of height to your bed. If you don’t want to get a base for your mattress, this type of bed can also act as a foundation.

Who is it for

  • If you want built-in storage, you’ll love platform beds. Some structures often come with storages.
  • If you don’t want to use bed bases

Works best with

  • Any mattress type

Slatted base

This is a variation of the platform bed. These have metal or wooden frames that are placed horizontally on the frame.

Works best for

  • If you want more air circulation. Just keep in mind that the slats would not be more than 3 feet apart. Otherwise, the mattress can sag.
  • If you want something adjustable. Most slatted bases can be adjusted so you can choose how far apart the metal and wood planks are from each other
  • If you’re looking for support but don’t want to add height to the bed. 

Works best with

  • Any mattress type

Benefits of having a good mattress foundation or base

So why do you need to provide a base or foundation for your mattress? Here are some of the reasons.

  • Offers better circulation 

Adequate circulation is important for mattresses. Lack of this and your mattress can be a thriving ground for molds. And if you live in hot and humid climates, this is likely to happen.

And skipping on a mattress base can render your mattress sweaty and hot. Even with the AC on, it might still be uncomfortable

  • Amps up the Comfort level

A suitable mattress base can amp up the comfort level of your sleep. It’s not only the quality of the mattress that can provide you a good slumber. It also adds more support for your body, especially if you don’t have a specialty thick mattress.

  • Prevents your mattresses from sagging

Bases and mattress foundations provide a flat surface for your mattresses. So that prevents them from sagging. And a sagging mattress can result in body aches and pains the next day.

  • Protects your mattress from dirt

Since you’re elevated a few inches from the floor, the mattress is in direct contact with the dirt and dust. It’s also close to your face.

  • Can make your mattress last longer

A good base can help you protect your mattress from wear and tear. Since mattresses can be expensive, they aren’t yearly purchases. You also had to invest money to buy a comfortable mattress, so might as well take good care of it. A stable foundation can prevent them from bending, and sagging. Thus, they can last longer too. 

Are box springs outdated? 

Yes and no. Yes because these are not the only bed base or foundation that you can use. Unlike before, when we speak of a good mattress base, only box springs would come to mind. But nowadays, a lot of alternatives can perform better than the traditional foundation.

It’s a no because there are still brands that manufacture box springs today. And there were several improvements compared to the traditional one. Before, they are only compatible with a coiled spring mattress. But now, you can find box springs that are made for memory foam. So it still found its way into the modern sleep scenario. 

Why putting a mattress on the floor is not okay

The minimalists living has led to the exclusion of bed bases and foundations. And it eats up less space. It’s also economical because you don’t have to buy a base. But there are also cons to sleeping on the floor. And these are the following. 

  1. Small particles and dust can be naked to the eye. This can find its way to your mattress and your face as well.
  2. It blocks adequate circulation. And this can lead to the growth of molds, especially if you live in a hot and humid region.
  3. It can void your mattress warranties. Several brands warn against placing the mattress directly on the floor. 
  4. Not ideal for side sleepers. When you place mattresses on the floor, the support becomes too firm. It may be okay for a back sleeper, but a side sleeper will wake up every morning with body aches all over.
  5. Hard to get off the bed. Those with mobility issues and the elderly will find it difficult to get out of bed as they have to assume a squatting position first.

Final thought

So now that you know that you have a lot of options for a good mattress base and foundation, you won’t be limited to just a box spring. Other bed accessories can give better support and comfort, depending on your mattress type and circumstances.