20. Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need Box Springs1

If you recently bought a memory foam mattress for yourself, you may be wondering whether a box spring is necessary. The answer is typically no, though it can also depend on the individual’s preferences given that a box spring affects the mattress’ comfort and structure. There are alternatives to the conventional box spring that you can look into if you want to know how to make a memory foam mattress firmer.

Therefore, it’s crucial that we start with bed frames before attempting to answer the question “does a memory foam mattress need a box spring?”. Why? Because some mattresses need box springs and some don’t, and often, the difference has nothing to do with the kind of mattress.

What Is A Box Spring?

Box springs are deep frames made of wood or metal filled with springs that are the same size as a mattress. In addition to increasing breathability and minimizing motion, they provide a surface for your mattress to sit on, keeping it supported. These features are crucial if you share a bed or experience hot flashes while sleeping.

The majority of the time, box springs have a cloth covering and are constructed from springs or slats. They aid in evenly dispersing your body weight, which helps to prolong the life of your mattress. A sturdy box spring will also heighten your bed, which is perfect if you want to raise your mattress to make it easier to get in and out of bed.

Though not all box springs are created equal. In fact, springs may be visible in some very basic models because they wear out quickly. This might pierce your memory foam mattress and endanger you.

The Need For A Box Spring With A Memory Foam Mattress

The short answer to the question, “do memory foam mattresses need box springs?” is no, they do not. However, the type of foundation you use for your memory foam mattress is just as crucial as it is for conventional mattresses that need box springs for support.

To evenly distribute the weight of their mattresses, latex and memory foam need a flat, firm, and stable surface. The mattress won’t be properly supported if there isn’t a structure of this kind.

What makes a box spring inappropriate, then?

An excessive amount of give in a box spring can cause sagging and poor sleep on a foam mattress. While you can use a box spring that gives no more than 1″ when you apply weight to it, it is best to go with a foundation that you know is firm and supportive.

The Best Memory Foam Mattress Foundations

The Floor

The flat, sturdy ground can make a great foundation for your memory foam mattress.

There are numerous ways to look at sleeping on the floor. Some people find the aesthetic of having a mattress on the floor to be unpleasant. Others, however, are drawn to minimalism.

If you prefer to sleep on a mattress that is directly on the ground and you have a memory foam or latex mattress, you now have a valid reason to do so. Your memory foam mattress can be supported on the ground just as well as any other foundation. The lack of storage space is the main drawback of this solution.

Wooden Slats

The most common type of foundation for memory foam beds is made of wooden slats, which are usually used with wooden frames. A slat foundation is not only simple to put together, but also reasonably priced, lightweight, and portable. Proper foam support is achieved by using a slatted bed support, which distributes the mattress’ weight across numerous boards.

Bunkie Boards

In order to support your mattress properly, a bunkie board is simply a flat piece of particleboard or plywood that has been treated and sized. The great thing about bunkie boards is that they can be used to change your current set-up to make room for a new memory foam mattress. All you have to do to give your mattress a strong support structure is to place your bunkie board on top of your box spring or bed frame.

Adjustable Bed Frames

For a mattress to move with an adjustable base, it must be placed directly on the frame. They typically give any mattress that works with an adjustable bed, like a latex or foam mattress, adequate support.

Platform Bed Frames

Platform bed frames are a low-cost option with a sturdy base made to support any kind of mattress. Platform bed frames come with plenty of storage space as well as more understated designs that keep your mattress closer to the floor.

Metal Bed Frames

It depends on the frame, but some metal bed frames are strong enough to support a foam mattress. Make certain that the weight is supported and distributed properly. Some metal bed frames may require the use of a very firm box spring, while others already have a sturdy base upon which the foam mattress can be placed.

Exactly Which Bed Frames Demand A Box Spring?

While it’s usually best not to use a box spring with new memory foam mattresses, traditional innerspring mattresses often require the support of a box spring (depending on the type of bed frame that’s chosen). Bed frames that will usually require a box spring include:

  • Collapsible metal frame
  • Certain platform bed frames with slats

Collapsible Metal Frame

Metal bed frames that collapse are typically an inexpensive, room-saving option. There is no interior support for the mattress; only the perimeter frame, so you’ll also need to buy a box spring. Collapsible metal frames don’t offer enough support without a box spring and may even void your mattress’ warranty.

Platform Bed Frame With Slats

Depending on how far apart the slats are, a platform bed frame doesn’t necessarily need a box spring. Without a box spring foundation and as long as the slats are sufficiently spaced apart, they will support the mattress and typically fulfill the mattress warranty.

You might require a conventional box spring if the slats are spaced apart by more than four inches. The recommended size of the bed slat gaps should be stated in your mattress warranty. These slats can come flexed or straight, and they’re available in a variety of materials, including but not limited to:

  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Composite

In light of this, steel slats, as opposed to wooden slats, offer the most rigid support for your mattress. Wondering how long do memory foam mattresses last? Memory foam mattresses typically last 10 years, but in order for them to do so, they must be properly supported by a bed frame or solid slats.

More Box Spring Alternatives

There are many options available when looking for the best foundation for a memory foam mattress. Platform beds, panel beds, and adjustable bases are a few examples.

Don’t forget to make sure the mattress you choose has the support a memory foam mattress requires. To estimate how much storage space the bed offers, you may also want to measure the height of the under-bed space.

Platform Beds

Without the conventional headboard and footboard, platform beds have a sleek, contemporary design. They are relatively cheap because all they are—a solid or slatted base made of wood or metal with legs—are all they are. Slats should be at least 0.75 inches thick and spaced no farther apart than 2.75 inches if you want more airflow to wick away heat and moisture.

20. Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need Box Springs2

Panel Beds

Because it is constructed from wood panels, the conventional bed frame with a headboard and footboard is also referred to as a “panel bed.” Traditionally, a box spring is concealed by the bed’s side panels.

Older panels might not have as many wooden slats as are required for support. To give your memory foam mattress enough support, you might need to buy some slats or a piece of plywood from a home goods store.

Adjustable Base

An adjustable bed frame is possibly the best way to personalize your sleeping experience. You can adjust an adjustable bed so that the head and foot of your mattress can be raised and lowered.

Many advantages come with an adjustable bed. Raising the head of your mattress can assist in maintaining a clear airway if you snore or have sleep apnea. You can increase blood flow and relieve pressure on your lower back by elevating your knees and legs.

A memory foam mattress is also among the best for an adjustable bed. Without causing material damage, the mattress must be able to adjust to the movements of the base. Flexing and bending a memory foam mattress won’t affect how cozy and supportive it is.

Can A Box Spring Be Used With A Memory Foam Mattress?

A bunkie board can be inserted between your memory foam mattress and box spring, even though you shouldn’t use a memory foam mattress directly with a box spring in order to make your bed taller. Bunkie boards are two- or three-inch thick pieces of plywood or particleboard that provide a flat surface and enough support to keep your mattress from sagging.

If you decide to buy a bunkie board, make sure it can withstand moisture. The moisture that gathers at the bottom of your mattress cannot be removed by air because a bunkie board acts as a solid base. Mold and mildew can develop underneath your mattress in this odious way.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Type Of Bed Base Is Ideal For A Memory Foam Mattress?

The best bed frames for memory foam mattresses are solid or slatted, but when paired with slatted bed frames, the slats shouldn’t be more than 2.75 inches apart. These foundations provide solid support to fend off sagging and stop wear and tear.

Suitable For Memory Foam Mattresses Are Metal Foundations.

Metal foundations frequently result in sagging and indentations across foam mattresses, so the answer is no. These foundations typically provide uneven support and are insufficient to support thick foam beds. Instead, we advise selecting solid wood foundations.

Is Plywood An Acceptable Substitute For A Box Spring?

If the bed frame or foundation you use to hold a mattress requires additional support (i.e. frame is hollow or foundation has slats too far apart), you can use a piece of plywood to create a more sturdy surface for your mattress. Make sure to choose plywood that is resistant to moisture, and make sure it is at least.75 inches thick. Under the weight of a mattress and a sleeper, plywood that is too thin will sag and eventually crack and break.

What Can I Put Under My Mattress To Raise It Up?

More than just providing support, box springs and mattress foundations also give your mattress extra height, making it simpler to get in and out of bed. A box spring, solid, or slatted foundation can be used to maintain a comfortable bed height if your mattress is extremely thin.

Are Box Springs No Longer Used?

Although still somewhat common, box springs are becoming less and less necessary. Only innerspring mattresses can be used with box springs, and innerspring mattresses are no longer nearly as prevalent as they once were. Additionally, customers frequently choose mattress foundations and other mattress supports, and these options can be combined with inner springs.

In today’s mattress market, we wouldn’t advise purchasing a box spring. To improve its support and lengthen its life, you can place a bunky board or piece of plywood on top of a box spring if you still have one and don’t want to get rid of it just yet.


As a result of box springs’ inability to provide the support that memory foam mattresses require, they do not require them.

Solid slats spaced no wider than 2.75 inches apart are required for memory foam mattress foundations. There are many foundation options for sale if you recently purchased a memory foam mattress.