A woman sits upright on top of the covers of a bed on the Purple Bed Frame.
Bedroom Design

Do You Need a Box Spring?

    Last Updated
    March 16, 2022
    min read

    Having the proper support between your mattress and the floor can be crucial to get the most support out of a mattress. Should you use a box spring, platform bed, or adjustable bed?

    Older mattresses used to use box springs frequently. Although most newer mattresses do not require a box spring. There are a few factors to keep in mind when considering if you should use a box spring.

    People generally need a box spring if:

    • They have an old innerspring mattress designed for a box spring
    • The mattress manufacturer recommends using a box spring
    • People that want the mattress elevated higher. While no other alternatives work
    • People using a traditional rail frame that only supports bed frames

    People generally do not need a box spring if:

    • They use a platform bed or newer frame that has slats 3-4 inches apart
    • They have a newer mattress that is hybrid or latex
    • The mattress manufacturer doesn't require it

    Check with your mattress manufacturer to know whether a box spring is required.  Different mattress types and bed frame types can have different benefits. Read more to learn about key information related to using a box spring or not.

    Purple Bed Frames

    Purple's wide range of bed frame options fit any sleep styler and a variety of mattress types.

    What Is a Box Spring?

    A box spring is a fabric-covered frame filled with springs, positioned directly under a mattress to support it. The box spring is built to be the same size as the mattress.

    The metal grid of a box spring is designed to be firm yet supportive, with a little bit of bounce to them. This allows a mattress placed on a box spring to flex a little bit more under a sleeper’s weight, with the box spring absorbing some of that pressure – this reduces the wear and tear on your mattress.

    Bed manufacturers make box springs in most standard mattress sizes. You can purchase a box spring that comes with a footboard or a headboard if you prefer the look of a traditional bed. 

    If you find that your mattress feels too bouncy with a box spring, you can place a piece of bunkie board in the middle of your mattress and the box spring to reduce bouncing while still retaining the support your mattress needs.

    Reasons To Use A Box Spring

    Now that we’ve defined what a traditional box spring is, you may be wondering if you need one at all. Here are some benefits you may want to consider when purchasing a solid base for your modern mattress.

    Gives You A Bit Of Extra Height

    Sleeping on a mattress that sits directly on the floor means you might struggle when getting up and out of bed in the morning. However, having a platform bed foundation like a box spring can lift your actual mattress to a more comfortable height. It can also serve as a mattress protector if your bed's getting scratched up from being on the floor.

    Underlying Support For Your Traditional Mattress

    If you own an innerspring mattress, then you know that sustained use results in your bed losing its shape over time. And when people spend an average of 36 years in bed, that means a lot of use. That’s because the actual springs in these mattress models are susceptible to sagging and warping caused by body weight.

    A sturdy foundational layer provides a support system for your mattress to keep it from deforming. This is especially true if you have a metal frame. Adding a box spring can create a well-designed bed surface for better sleep and a longer-lasting mattress.

    Relieves Pain

    Whether you have a luxurious foam mattress or an affordable mattress that's been in your family for decades, sleeping without a platform can make body aches worse. In contrast, an even flat surface can keep body pains at bay. This is especially true for side and stomach sleepers who need extra support for their bodies to maintain natural spine alignment.

    Improves Airflow

    The lack of air circulation makes warm nights even hotter, which results in restless evenings. That's where box spring bases can help. These platform bases lift your mattress off the ground, letting heat travel and dissipate through most types of mattresses. The extra ventilation from the box spring can also prevent mold and mildew from accumulating inside your mattress or on your covers.

    Shock Absorption

    If you own a traditional innerspring mattress, then you’ll need something to help absorb the shock of your body weight. That’s because innerspring mattresses contain actual metal coils to create a firm surface for sleeping, but these need a little bit of extra support to be comfortable.

    A word of warning to memory foam mattress owners: certain kinds of box spring supports can void your mattress warranty, so be sure to check that out before purchasing one.

    Additional Info On When To Skip The Box Spring

    So now that we know how bouncy coil box springs can contribute to more restful nights, you may be wondering if there are any situations when it doesn't help. The truth is that traditional box springs don't have a place in most modern bedrooms, but there's more to it than that.

    Here's when you should skip the box spring altogether.

    If You Own A Modern Mattress

    Modern-day mattresses can be pretty advanced, with latex mattresses, memory foam beds, and adjustable bases becoming increasingly popular. For all of their advanced mattress features, these high-tech sleep solutions lack traditional beds' solid inner structures. This makes partnering them with box springs a terrible idea since the coils can wreck the soft surface and void most mattress warranties.

    If you'd like some extra height, check out a few modern bed frames or box spring alternatives like bed slats. Read our handy guide to the pros and cons of bed slats versus box springs for tips and advice on choosing a good box spring alternative.

    If You Prefer More Modern Bed Frames

    Given that there are so many types of foundations on the market, you shouldn’t feel pressured to fit a box spring into your sleep zone. If you prefer the flexibility of an adjustable bed frame or the style of wood pallets, then you may want to skip box springs altogether. For hybrid mattresses, look at adjustable bases and other state-of-the-art bed frames for a budget-friendly choice that fits your preferred way of sleeping.

    If you’re looking for a good bed frame for your mattress, check out our guide to bed frames.

    If You Like Sleeping Directly On The Floor

    If you’re the kind of person that prefers sleeping with their mattress directly on the ground, that’s totally fine. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to your bedroom furniture, and box springs or bed frames aren’t a necessity if they’re not wanted. However, we recommend investing in a mattress protector if you’re going to sleep on the floor.

    Box Spring vs Foundation vs Platform: What's The Difference?

    box spring vs foundation vs platform


    As we mentioned earlier, there are plenty of foundation options on the market for all kinds of sleepers. But when it comes to looking for a box spring alternative, there are really only two others to consider: the foundation and platform bed. Here’s how they differ.

    • Foundation: As the name suggests, this is a type of foundation that provides a very sturdy surface for beds to lay on. Usually made from wooden slats, this box spring alternative pairs well with hybrid mattresses and other soft bed types. There are many different types of bed foundations – check out our handy guide to learn how to choose the right kind of bed foundation you need.
    • Platform: A platform bed frame combines the idea of mattress support with a bed frame and usually comes with little wooden legs for a bit of lift. Some options also include extra storage space, which can be great for small spaces. However, platform beds tend to be a little pricier than other alternatives. Platform beds are often mistaken for panel beds, but one of the main differences between them is that you don’t need a foundation or a box spring to put a mattress on a platform bed, while you will need one of those for a panel bed. Check out our article on the differences between panel beds and platform beds to see which one is right for you.

    Check out our full articles where we compare box springs against a foundation and a platform bed to discover which one is right for your mattress type.

    Does A Purple Mattress Need A Box Spring?

    Purple Mattress Box Spring

    The short answer is no. Purple mattresses are top-of-the-line mattresses designed with comfort and better sleep in mind. We do not recommend using box springs as bed bases with our mattresses, but what we do recommend is even better.

    To get the most life out of your Purple mattress, we recommend pairing it with a Purple bed frame. Purple bed frames are strong, easy to assemble and create a solid base for your mattress. With a Purple bed frame, you know you’re getting the best for your Purple mattress.


    Frequently Asked Questions About Box Springs

    Purple mattresses do not come with box springs. We recommend pairing your Purple mattress with a Purple bed frame to assure you get the most out of the life of your mattress. Use of a box spring may damage your Purple mattress and void the warranty.

    A Purple mattress should not be used on a box spring. Use of a box spring can damage your Purple mattress and void its warranty. Instead, pair your Purple mattress with a Purple bed frame for the best possible comfort.

    Yes, you can put a new mattress on top of an old box spring. However, this may not be the best idea if you want to maximize the support and longevity of your mattress. Box springs naturally deteriorate over time and, in some cases, can have exposed springs that may damage your mattress and impact your sleep quality.

    Check out our guide to putting new mattresses on old box springs to see if this is a viable option for you

    About the authors

    April Seifert

    April has nearly a decade of writing experience, with 3+ years specializing in sleep content. Her work has been covered by sites like BuzzFeed, Entrepreneur, and Money Under 30. She has an M.A. in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University and a B.A. in Communication Studies. As a self-proclaimed expert in all things cozy, she sleeps better at night, knowing her writing helps others sleep in comfort, too.

    Brooke Reynolds
    Senior Product Manager of Bases and Smart Comfort

    Brooke Reynolds is a Senior product manager of bases and smart comfort at Purple. She's passionate about designing bases specifically to support Purple mattresses and educating customers on how adjustable bases can improve sleep, provide targeted support and enhance your bedtime routine.