low profile box spring vs standard
Buying Guides

Low-Profile Box Spring vs Standard Box Spring: What's The Difference?

    Last Updated
    June 16, 2023
    min read

    What’s the difference between a low-profile box spring and a standard box spring? Which one fits your mattress? 

    Excellent questions that most sleepers in the market for a new box spring are also asking – which is why we’re breaking down all the need-to-knows here. 

    In summary, a low-profile box spring is shorter, lighter, and easier to move than a standard box spring. Depending on your mattress height and preferred bed height, you may want a low-profile box spring instead of a standard one.

    The height of a box spring can affect how tall your bed is. In this article, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of each type of box spring and which one is right for your mattress type.

    What Is A Low-Profile Box Spring?

    A low-profile box spring is a box spring that’s made to be shorter than the standard box spring height. A standard box spring is around nine inches tall, while a low-profile box spring is anywhere from 4-6 inches tall. There are also 1-2 inch flat foundations, sometimes called bunkie boards.

    Despite their smaller stature, low-profile box springs provide the same type of support for beds as regular box springs and last just as long.

    Advantages Of A Low-Profile Box Spring

    Here are a few advantages the low-profile box springs offer over standard box springs:

    • Lower height: A low-profile box spring can help lower the bed height, which can be beneficial for individuals who have trouble getting in and out of bed or prefer a lower bed height. This makes low-profile box springs ideal for children or elderly adults with shorter legs.
    • Modern look: Unlike the more traditional standard box spring, a low-profile box spring has a sleek, modern look that can enhance the overall appearance of the bed and the bedroom. This modern aesthetic can be further reinforced by using minimalist bed sheets and bedding accessories.
    • Room height: The height of a box spring affects your total bed height, and this can translate into how big your bed looks in your room. If your bedroom has low ceilings, a low-profile box spring may keep  the room from feeling cramped.
    • Lighter construction: Low-profile box springs are made of a coil structure that results in a lighter, easier-to-move box spring. If you frequently rearrange your room or move houses, a low-profile box spring may help alleviate some of the bulk that tends to be hard to deal with.

    Disadvantages Of A Low-Profile Box Spring

    Here are some of the disadvantages of using a low-profile box spring:

    • Stability: Because low-profile box springs are lighter than standard box springs, they are easier to move around. However, this is a double-edged sword, as they offer less stability than a standard box spring and may move around if you’re a particularly active sleeper.
    • Less support: While low-profile box springs provide sufficient support for most sleepers, there’s no denying that standard box springs reign supreme when it comes to support. If you have multiple people in one bed or tend to be very active when you sleep, a standard box spring may be better suited.

    Who Should Sleep On A Low-Profile Box Spring?

    Children, shorter elderly adults, and people with trouble getting into higher beds are most often suited for a low-profile box spring. Additionally, a low-profile box spring is a great option for people who want a sleeker, more modern bedroom aesthetic without having to give up the mattress support that a box spring can provide.

    How To Select The Right Box Spring Height For My Panel Bed Frame

    Mattresses can range in height from 9-18 inches with standard mattresses at 10 or 12 inches thick. Measure your mattress and the height of your panel bed frame from the inner rails. From there you can determine whether you need a low or standard box spring height.

    What Is A Standard Box Spring?

    A standard box spring is a bed foundation that is designed to support a traditional innerspring mattress. This box spring is typically made of a wooden frame covered in fabric and contains evenly spaced coils or springs. The coils in a standard box spring provide support and help distribute weight evenly across the mattress, which can prolong the lifespan of your mattress. 

    The standard box spring is usually around 9 inches or more in height and is designed to work with a headboard and bed frame combination.

    Advantages Of A Standard Box Spring

    Here are a few advantages the standard box springs offer over low-profile box springs:

    • Added stability: The extra weight of a standard box spring provides more stability. This makes standard box springs a good option for active sleepers.
    • More airflow: The thicker construction of a standard box spring means more space for air to flow in and around the box spring. This makes standard box springs much better at dissipating heat from your mattress compared to low-profile box springs.
    • More support: Because of their heavy-duty construction, standard box springs may provide additional support over low-profile box springs. They may be a bit springy or bouncy, but standard box springs have the ability to handle ample weight.
    • Additional height: Standard box springs increase your bed height, making them useful for people who like high beds or have mobility issues that make it difficult to get in and out of lower beds.

    Disadvantages Of Standard Box Spring

    Here are some of the disadvantages of using a standard box spring:

    • Weight: Standard box springs are significantly heavier than low-profile box springs making transport a two-person (or more) job. If you frequently move houses or rearrange things in your bedroom, standard box springs may limit the ease of movement.
    • Traditional aesthetics: Standard box springs provide a more traditional aesthetic but this is a personal preference. .

    Who Should Sleep On A Standard Box Spring?

    If there’s ample weight in the bed, a sleeper has mobility issues that make getting into lower beds difficult, or the feeling of being on a higher bed is simply preferred, a standard box spring is the way to go. If the traditional aesthetic of a standard box spring appeals to you or you have a room with high ceilings, a standard box spring can actually enhance the look of your bed.

    Is A Box Spring Right For You?

    Many newer mattresses do not use a box spring. In fact some mattress manufacturers will void the mattress warranty if a box spring is used. This is because traditional box springs can break down the mattress.

    Purple mattresses do not require a box spring. If you want to learn more about box springs and when you should be using them, you can check out our guide on whether or not you need a box spring.

    Looking for an alternative to box springs? Purple’s collection of bed frames provides an array of options for standard mattresses including ultra-sturdy to ergonomic to adjustable.  Remember that Purple mattresses cannot be used with box springs.

    Low-Profile vs Standard Box Spring FAQs

    What is a flat foundation?

    A flat foundation is a sturdy flat structure that is generally constructed of wood, or metal with a flat surface on top. 

    What can you use instead of a box spring?

    Instead of a box spring, you can use bed slats or a bed foundation. Bed slats and bed foundations must be used with hybrid and foam mattresses. If you want to learn more about these options, read our articles that compare box springs to bed slats and foundations.

    How much do box springs cost?

    On average, box springs can cost between $200 and $400, depending on factors like the manufacturer, quality, type, and size.

    How long do low-profile box springs last?

    A low-profile box spring of good quality can last for 10 years on average. Lower-quality box springs can last anywhere between 2-4 years


    About the authors

    Cecilia Gillen

    Cecilia brings over five years of writing experience primarily centered around lifestyle and health topics. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Journalism from the University of South Dakota. She’s both an advocate for sleep and a night owl at heart.

    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.