Box-spring BedYou’re shopping for a mattress when you realize that there’s another important part of the equation. Of course, there’s pillows, bed sheets, mattress toppers etc. But your mattress also needs a solid foundation. In other words, having a buffer between your mattress and the floor is useful. This is where box springs potentially come in the picture.

And now you’re probably wondering: aren’t box springs and foundations the same thing? Not quite, though they are sometimes interchangeable.

Mattress foundations are anything that supports and raises your mattress; they can be used with or without a box spring. In this instance, sometimes box springs act as a foundation, and they can be used interchangeably.

But is it necessary for you to use a box spring or can you go without one? 

Maybe. Ultimately, you don’t need a box spring for your mattress. In fact, most mattresses made today don’t require one because they’re made stronger and thicker. But you need some sort of foundation—whether or not that’s a box spring or not is up to you, but it also depends on the type of mattress you have. And the truth is, there’s tons of other foundational options to choose from in today’s market. Continue reading to find out whether you need a box spring or not.

What is a box spring?

A box spring is a heavy, supportive platform base that is the same size as your mattress and sits directly underneath it. They are wooden box frames covered by a thin layer of cushion and fitted with metal springs or similar supports in the middle.


  • Raises the height of your mattress

  • Creates support for your mattress and reduces saggy sections or lumps

  • Absorbs shock from rapid movement


  • Heavy and difficult to move

  • Can break down over time

  • Can cause your mattress to feel too firm or soft

  • Isn’t paired well with all types of mattresses (latex and foam)

Do I need a boxspring?

Yes and no. At the end of the day, you need to put your mattress on something. Box springs are just one option but it’s not necessarily the best one. You can put it on the floor if that’s what you prefer, you can use a platform bed, or you can even invest in an adjustable mattress base.

Couple Setting Up Bed Together in New HomeHow do I know if I need a boxspring?

Here are some indicators to better identify whether or not you should get a box spring:

  • You have an innerspring mattress designed to pair with a box spring.
  • You have a mattress whose manufacturer recommends a box spring.
  • You wish to add extra height to your bed.
  • You have a bed frame designed to cradle box springs.

When do I need a boxspring?

The important thing to note is that box springs are effective bases for innerspring mattresses, so if this is the type of mattress you have, a box spring may be worth considering. Spring or coil mattresses need a little more support to uphold the pressure and weight of our bodies. They do a good job at distributing weight evenly and providing support for this type.

But when it comes to foam, hybrid or latex type mattresses, we wouldn’t recommend using a box spring. Because these types of mattresses are heavier and lack a rigid structure, you need a firmer foundation—made from a wooden frame or slats close enough together (under three inches apart). Box springs have a ‘give’ to them, therefore, they wouldn’t do well to uphold latex or foam mattresses. But there are other options that we get into below.

Box spring alternatives

Final thoughts

On the matter of needing a box spring for your mattress, when in doubt, read the recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Different mattresses will need different foundational bases so base your decision on what works best for yours.