In most cases, you don’t technically need a box spring for your bed. With that said, most warranties for mattresses require a foundation of some sort. It used to be that a box spring was one thing only, but now the term is interchangeable with foundation, and there are all sorts of foundations that are considered box springs. Confused yet? Keep reading to scroll through our recommendations for the best box springs currently on the market. We’ll also unpack exactly what a box spring is, what it’s useful for, whether you need one, and which one will be the best fit for your bed!
Zinus 9 Inch Smart Box Spring
Wayfair Basics 9 Inch Standard Box Spring
Zinus 4 Inch BiFold Box Spring
Classic Brands 4-Inch Box Spring
Zinus 9 Inch Metal Smart Box Spring
The Best Box Spring Reviews and Comparisons
1. Editor’s Choice – Zinus 9 Inch Smart Box Spring
- Type: Steel foundation
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
- Weight: Queen – 40.7 lbs
- Dimensions: Queen – 59.5 x 79 x 9″
- Material: Steel frame, polyester cover
- Warranty: 5 years
Whether you have a twin, full, queen, or king-sized bed, you need a foundation. Sure, you could throw your new mattress on the floor, but why do that when you could add this Zinus 9-inch Smart Box Spring to the mix? It not only elevates your bed to make it easier to fall into or roll out of bed, but it also gives your mattress the support it needs. A common issue with this foundation is that it is slightly smaller than the standard mattress and bed frame sizes, so you’ll just need to measure your mattress carefully to ensure it’s a perfect fit for you. Make sure to also assemble the box foundation correctly to avoid any squeakiness as you sleep. If there are any defects or anything you’re not completely satisfied with, you have five years to return it to the manufacturer to get it fixed.
- Easy assembly
- Excellent warranty
- Maybe squeaky
- Smaller than standard sizes
2. Runner Up – Wayfair Standard 9-Inch Mattress Foundation
- Type: Metal
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
- Weight: 40.67 lbs (Queen)
- Dimensions: 59.53″ x 78.7″ x 9″ (Queen)
- Material: Steel
- Warranty: 5 years
Metal boxes really make a name for themselves on the market these days, and this Wayfair model is one of them. Like most of its kind, it comes ready to assemble, and according to users this is very easy to do. It comes with all the necessary parts and tools required. It also comes with a thin, fabric cover to slip over the metal frame once assembled with zippers to close. It can be removed for cleaning if need be, but it may be best to hand wash as the fabric can lose strength in the washing machine.
- No tools needed to assemble
- Easy to move
- Decent warranty
- No rail bed frame needed
- Cover is thin
- Might develop squeaks
3. Best for Platform Beds – Zinus 4-Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring
- Type: Steel
- Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, Split King, Cal King, Split Cal King
- Weight: 34.6 lbs (Queen)
- Dimensions: 59.5″ x 79″ x 4″ (Queen)
- Material: Steel frame, poly jacquard cover
- Warranty: 5 years
If you love your current platform bed or have your eye on a new set but still want a box foundation, this Zinus low-profile one may be a good choice for you. Platform beds often add several inches of height, and it might look odd – and be hard to climb into and out of bed – if you add a tall box base. This one is only 4 inches tall, so you get a supportive surface without adding too much height. As a bonus, this bed requires no assembly at all. You just have to unfold the box, flip it over and zip the cover completely around it. It’s a little pricier than some other options, but it’s still quite affordable and is available in split options for king-sized beds.
- No assembly at all
- Good warranty
- Mattress may slip on this a little
4. Best Low Profile – Classic Brands Low Profile 4 Inch Box Spring
- Type: Box base
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, California King
- Weight: 53.5 lbs (Queen)
- Dimensions: 79″ x 59.5″ x 4″ (Queen)
- Material: Wood, cotton blend
- Warranty: 3 years
Not everyone wants a tall bed to climb into, which is why you may want to pick this Classic Brands 4-inch low profile box spring. It’s a little taller than a Bunkie board, and will offer a supportive surface for your mattress. This foundation will work well on its own on a bed frame, or placed inside a platform bed without adding too much height.
The slats are a little further apart than you may like at about 4.5 inches, so you may want to modify this foundation to add another slat or two to close these gaps. Another option is to add a Bunkie board on top, which should only raise everything by 2 more inches. It’s one of the more affordable wooden options, so it may be the best pick for you.
- Good warranty
- Strong, sturdy
- Slats are 4.5 inches apart
- May squeak without modifications
- Assembly may take a while
5. Customer’s Choice – Zinus 9 Inch Metal Smart Box Spring
- Type: Wooden with cover
- Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
- Weight: 48 lbs (Queen)
- Dimensions: 79.5″ x 59.5″ x 8″ (Queen)
- Material: Wood, fabric
- Warranty: 5 years
The slat spacing in the Zinus 9-inch wood box spring is surprisingly pretty much ideal. They’re spaced just so that your mattress should get the support it needs, along with the air flow that would benefit your mattress. That airflow can keep you cool as you sleep, and prevent mold or mildew from growing on the bottom of your bed.
Nine inches doesn’t sound all that high, but paired with a 10-inch mattress and a few more inches from a bed frame, and you’re looking at your sleeping space at nearly 2 feet tall. This is a very popular foundation because of its happy-medium of height, support and affordable price tag. It’s important to keep in mind the weight limits of your mattress and foundation. This one is only rated for 500 pounds, so it’s better for those of an average weight.
- Great warranty
- Strong support
- Easy assembly
- Good slat spacing
- Weight limit is a bit low
What is a Box Spring For?
Have you ever sat on your bed wondering, “What does a box spring do?” Well, there’s no short answer for this question. It acts as a foundation for your mattress for several purposes. One purpose is to raise the height of your bed, which makes it easier for you to get in and out of bed. Another reason for having one of these is to extend the life of your mattress. A quality box spring can serve as a shock absorber, so when you get in and out of bed the pressure on your joints is properly supported.
Many mattress warranties require you to have a box or a foundation of some kind to keep it valid. Acceptable foundations vary with each mattress. The traditional box spring is made up of coiled springs that mimick the innerspring coils of standard mattresses. They work in the same way, as they’re built for shock absorption and extend the life of your mattress.
Most mattresses you buy today are one-sided, and they don’t require those coil box types. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a traditional coil model today. Even if you don’t place your one-sided no-flip mattress on a foundation, it still needs to be on an even and supportive surface.
Do You Need a Box Spring?
In most cases, a box spring is a must if you want to keep your mattress in top shape and sleep comfortably. The sturdiness of a mattress foundation ensures that you get optimal support without sags and sinking, and adds to the overall height of the bed, which is especially great if you went for a budget-friendlier low-profile mattress. Box spring is mandatory for certain mattresses as it ensures they keep their shape and qualities for years to come (and opting no to use one when the manufacturer recommends comes with certain risks) and it’s meant to be used with metal bed frames or bed frames without slats or wooden frames that have no other type of support for mattress built in (such as slats or bunkie boards, for example).
Not all types of bed frames require a box spring. For instance, platform beds already come with wooden slats that are meant to keep the mattress from sagging and losing shape, as well as distribute the weight evenly throughout. However, it’s important to check if your mattress needs to be placed on a box spring regardless: some mattress manufacturers insist on one and won’t offer quality and longevity assurances for mattresses used without a box spring.
Different Types of Box Springs
Now that coil models are an endangered species, mattress companies are looking at a different kind of foundation that still carries the same name. Not every set of box springs looks or acts the same way, though. Some are lightweight and high-profile, while others are closer to the ground and require lots of assemblies. Are they heavy? Sometimes. We’ll take you through the different types below.
– Steel Foundation
A box made of steel offers several benefits. These foundations are typically durable enough for any type of mattress, but they’re still lightweight, so they’re easy to move from room to room or on moving day. They’re also the most affordable option because the materials to make them are inexpensive. You can find some that require no assembly at all or some that have a no-tool assembly, which makes it an easy choice if you live alone or can’t assemble one by yourself.
These box springs sometimes come with tall legs, so you don’t need a rail bed frame to rest it on. This also means you can find these foundations in heights around 14 inches, which gives you more than a foot under your bed for storage. The only issue you may have is with a foam-based mattress. The metal slats on these beds are often spaced far apart, so you wouldn’t be able to use this type of foundation on its own. You could still use one and keep your warranty valid if you add something like plywood or a Bunkie board to provide the proper support for your mattress.
These probably look and act more like the traditional types you’re used to. They’re usually made of durable, but lightweight wood and are wrapped in a thin fabric. These boxes offer the support your mattress needs, provide height, and let your mattress breathe. Get one of these foundations and you’re likely to be good on your mattress’ warranty.
A wooden foundation is probably going to be heavy because it’s made completely of wood. This also means it’s a durable surface for your mattress, which means your mattress will feel the way it’s supposed to.
How to Choose a Good Box Spring
Now that you know what types are available, it’s time to choose the other attributes of a model that you might want.
– Low-Profile vs. High-Profile
You may have the choice of a low-profile box spring, which is usually around 4 inches in height. When you pair this with a bed frame and a 10-inch mattress, it preserves the look of your bed. Choosing a high-profile bed that’s 9 inches high might look odd if you have a bed frame plus a high mattress. If you’re choosing a high or low profile, always consider the height of the other components.
– Standard vs. Split
Aside from height, you also need to decide on the type of box you’d like. Standard box spring foundations are assembled into a single piece, which is great for stability but not so great when you have to move it as they don’t bend. In this case, you have the option of getting a split foundation. These come in two pieces split down the middle and support your mattress, while also giving you flexibility when you’re moving.
Other than durability, height and material, there’s also the affordability factor. Most boxes cost considerably less than what you’ll pay for your mattress. You can expect to pay as little as $50 for a standard queen-sized box to as much as $750 for a top of the line split queen. The sweet spot for highly rated box springs, though, seems to be somewhere between $80 and $150. But these prices can vary depending on make, model and manufacturer. To figure out which one is the best for you and your mattress, you should always read the reviews. It’s in the comparison of these different box models that you’ll know which one is the perfect fit for you.
In the end, the right box spring is the one that meets your unique needs. The overall best choice for any type of mattress is the Zinus 9-Inch Smart Box Spring. It’s strong, easy to assemble and gives your bed an ideal height, which is great if you suffer from any sort of back pain and need a higher loft for your bed. There’s a long warranty included so that if anything goes wrong due to a defective piece or workmanship, you can get your Zinus repaired or replaced in no time.
August 6, 2021: The Classic Brands 8 Inch Box Spring and Classic Brands 5 Inch Split Foundation have been removed due to unavailability, replaced by the popular Classic Brands 4 Inch Low Profile Box Spring and Zinus 9 Inch Metal Smart Box Spring. Additional Resources have been added to refer readers to related content.
- Do I Need a Box Spring?
- What is a Low Profile Box Spring?
- What is a Split Box Spring
- Do I Need a Box Spring With a Platform Bed?
- Is a Platform Bed Better Than a Box Spring?
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the point of box springs?
A box spring has many purposes. To kick off, it adds height to your bed making it easier for you to get in and out. A good box spring also acts as a shock absorber, supporting your joints during movement. Many mattress warranties require you to use a foundation and depending on the mattress you have, box spring is a good option. Alongside protecting the warranty, it increases the longevity of your mattress by providing additional support to counteract sagging and delaying the process of wear and tear by removing contact with the floor.
How long should a box spring last?
The life span of your box spring is going to depend on its quality. Expect at least a few years from low quality box springs and up to 20 years from the topnotch ones. However, at average your box spring should sustain for 8 to 10 years. If you’re noticing squeaking sounds, sagging across the platform, or damage to the frame, then it’s definitely time to say goodbye to your box spring and get a new one.
Are wood or metal box springs better?
The type of box spring best suited for you is going to depend on your personal preferences. A traditional wood box spring is built with durable and lightweight wooden slabs that provide support to the mattress. The wooden construction makes the box spring heavy but at the same time the sturdiness increases the resilience of your mattress. A steel box spring on the other hand is much lighter and easy to move. It's affordable and easy to assemble. However, its metal slabs are often placed far apart and require additional support from plywood or a Bunkie board.
Do you really need to replace box springs?
Yes, if your box spring has worn out, it’s time to replace it. A damaged or sagging box spring fails to provide support to the mattress, making it uncomfortable and squeaky, even if the mattress is of topnotch quality. Many people make the error of keeping their old box spring while changing mattresses every few years. We’re here to tell you it’s time to stop making that mistake. If your box spring is over 10 years or showing indications of damage, it’s time to consider a new one, or you can simply change box springs every time you change your mattress.