What are box springs, and does your mattress need one?

What are box springs and does your mattress need one?
(Image credit: Getty)

A box spring is a type of mattress foundation that adds height and support to your mattress. It is typically made of a wooden frame filled with springs, coated in fabric. Hence the name box spring - it’s essentially just a box filled with springs. The main purpose of a box spring is to give your mattress a firm base, which can reduce wear and extend the life of an appropriately paired mattress. This is because the springs act to hold and support the weight of your body when you’re sleeping. It also adds valuable height, which makes it easier to get in and out of your bed.

What is typically known as a box spring may not mean what you think it does. Although box springs were once very popular, the term is now far more likely to refer to a regular mattress foundation, which in fact has no springs at all. 

The difference between a box spring and a regular mattress foundation lies in the springs themselves. You may have a mattress foundation with slatted wooden panels to support your mattress and your weight when sleeping. A box spring uses springs instead of these wooden panels to support your mattress. These foundations are best used on different mattress types, and the best mattress companies will make it clear which platforms you should buy to best support your mattress. 

Even if you’ve managed to find the best Purple mattress deals or the best Casper mattress deals, you could find your warranty affected by using the wrong foundation type. Keep reading to find out if your mattress needs a box spring, and what to use if it doesn’t.  

Do you need a box spring for your mattress? 

Is a box spring right for your mattress? From Purple to Saatva, here's what the experts say.

(Image credit: Purple)

Whether you need a box spring for your mattress depends on the type of mattress you use. Many mattress companies offer different advice on box springs based on the construction of their mattresses. This is because the traditional box spring is designed to work with innerspring mattresses over newer, memory foam mattresses.

You should consider buying a mattress foundation of some type (whether or not it’s a box spring is down to you) if your mattress is living on the floor right now. Although it’s cosy and can save both space and money, putting a mattress right on the floor means you’re not getting the most out of its design. Especially with memory foam mattresses, you need the support of a bed frame or foundation to add the appropriate height and edge support to your mattress, otherwise you'll affect how long your memory foam mattress lasts.

Some mattress warranties only cover any damage to your mattress if you’re using a mattress platform, so make sure you check your warranty carefully before choosing your foundation.

Does Purple mattress need a box spring?

What are box springs and does your Purple mattress need one?

(Image credit: Purple)

Purple makes some fantastic foundations for its mattresses, including the PowerBase, Foundation, and Platform Bed. It doesn’t offer a box spring mattress though, which is a pretty firm indicator that the Purple mattress isn’t suited to box springs. 

According to Purple, “box springs are notorious for becoming a broken, saggy, and squeaking nightmare.” That’s hardly a rousing endorsement. It goes on to say:

“Spring beds need the box spring to give a little to support the pressure of our bodies. However, box springs aren’t ideal for supporting other mattress types. Since they don’t provide even support, they don’t work well with memory foam, latex, and Purple mattresses. In some cases, traditional box springs can even void the warranty on these types of mattresses.”

In fact, taking a closer look at the Purple mattress warranty, you’ll find that Purple mattresses “are covered by warranty only if they are used on a firm, flat, non-spring foundation”. So, should you use a box spring with your Purple mattress? We wouldn’t advise it.

Does Saatva need a box spring?

What are box springs and does your Saatva mattress need one?

(Image credit: Saatva)

While Purple was pretty clear on its disdain for box springs, Saatva is a little more neutral on the topic. This is because one of its large range of mattresses is a popular innerspring design, which is far more suited to a classic box spring. You need to be using an appropriate base with whatever Saatva mattress you buy, but the guidance on this changes depending on the warranty for the specific mattress and size you buy. For example, “Queen and King size frames must have a vertical center support.” Even if you manage to find the best Saatva mattress discounts when buying, make sure your purchase is paired with an appropriate base to get your money’s worth. 

Does Casper mattress need a box spring?

Simply put, your Casper mattress should never be paired with a box spring. According to Casper, “a traditional box spring is not designed for foam. It may not provide the flat, even support your Casper needs, and could potentially damage the mattress. For added height and durability, we recommend our foundation instead.”

Casper claims that pairing a bed frame and mattress foundation will perform “like a box spring, but better”. Enough said.

Millie Fender
Head of Reviews

Millie Fender is Head of Reviews at Top Ten Reviews. She also works on our sister sites: Real Homes, Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, and Livingetc. As Head of Reviews, Millie is on a mission to make sure that we are reviewing all of the latest and greatest products for you and your home, whether it's a vacuum cleaner or an inflatable hot tub.