Most people still use box springs today because “that’s how we’ve always done it”.
But do you even need to use a box spring underneath your mattress? And if you do need support underneath, is a box spring the best idea?
The short answer is – yes, you should have some type of support underneath the mattress, and no, a box spring isn’t the best answer. A platform bed is a much better option!
For the long answer, keep reading…
Box Springs vs Platform Beds
A box spring used to be the most effective form of mattress support available. That was, this is now.
A lot of research and development has refined the modern form of the platform bed. A box spring is all but obsolete now – but we keep using them because “that’s what we’ve always used”.
A platform bed like this 14″ Abel model from Zinus, actually has many advantages over a box spring.
Let’s take a look at what makes a platform bed the superior option.
More sturdy = Longer mattress life
A popular misconception is that the purpose of a box spring is to make the bed more comfortable – which is just not true.
The whole point of a box spring is to support your mattress. Without some sort of support underneath, a mattress would get lumpy and uncomfortable within just a few years.
The problem with a box spring is that it contains springs. When springs do what they’re supposed to do, they allow the mattress somewhere to go when you place your weight on top.
And that is actually where lumps form in a mattress.
A platform bed uses wooden or metal slats to provide sturdy support. Your mattress compresses under your weight, but then receives a steady base of support.
This preserves the surface of your mattress even, allowing you to maximize its lifespan. This is the most important advantage of a platform bed vs a box spring.
A bedframe, followed by a box spring, followed by your mattress combines for a tall setup. If you’re under 6 feet tall or physically challenged, it might feel like you’re literally climbing into bed.
If you’re using an extra-deep mattress, that just makes the climb even steeper.
With a regular platform bed, there is no need for a bed frame. This cuts off a few inches from the overall height.
If you need something even shorter, you can also use a low profile version, like this Modern Studio platform bed from Zinus:
You can actually choose your own platform height – which for this model, ranges from 6″ to 14″.
The height of an average bed (with a frame, box spring, and 12″ mattress) is about 25″. If we substitute the frame and box spring with a 6″ low profile platform bed, that gives us an overall height of 18″. Quite a difference!
More storage area
The average platform bed has a height of 14″. That gives you 14″ (in terms of height) of storage space.
Using a Queen sized bed as an example, the overall storage dimensions would be 60″ x 80″ x 14″. That would give us 38.88 cubic feet of space. Let’s round that up to 39 cubic feet.
Let’s compare that to the storage area underneath a traditional setup.
A bedframe measures about 5″ in height. Using the same Queen mattress as above gives us storage dimensions of 60″ x 80″ x 5″ – or 13.88 cubic feet of space. Let’s round that up to 14 cubic feet.
In other words, a platform bed provides about 3 times the amount of storage space compared to a box spring.
If your bedroom is small, or if you’re short on overall storage space, that extra bit of room underneath your mattress can make a big difference.
Easier to clean underneath
Have you ever tried to vacuum under the bed? Not very easy right? The 5″ of space between the box spring and the floor don’t provide for much wiggle room.
If you have hard floors, it’s nearly impossible to sweep or mop under there.
A platform bed (assuming the storage area isn’t being used) provides you with more open space to get the vacuum in and out.
No need for a bedskirt
Speaking of which – if you appreciate the modern sleek appearance of a platform bed, you can skip the bedskirt entirely.
That means you can also skip washing the bedskirt, and putting it back into place!
Easier to clean = more hygienic.
A box spring provides a breeding ground for dust mites and bed bugs. Since we don’t (and can’t) often clean under the bed, dust mites and bed bugs can go wild.
A cleaner area under the bed will result in a dramatic drop in dust mites. If you combine that with a mattress protector, you’ll significantly minimize any bed bug issue that you might have.
Sleeker, more modern appearance
If you’re into that sort of thing.
If you’re not, a platform bed can still provide the classic bed look. You have two options:
1.) You can use a bedskirt just as you would with a box spring.
2.) You can use an upholstered platform bed.
This type of platform bed comes upholstered and is essentially a half-skirt – giving you the best of both worlds. A compromise between a clean raised platform, and a bit of cover.
A bedframe has caster wheels. A platform bed has legs.
If you have hard floors, you probably use rubber bed stoppers for the wheels so your bed doesn’t move around if you have a wild night.
Some people even use bed stoppers on a carpeted floor.
Every once in a while you’ve probably had a wheel or two slip out of the stopper. Lifting the bed to put the wheel back onto the stopper isn’t impossible, but it is a hassle.
A platform bed has legs. Legs don’t move. Legs stay where they are.
Easier to move
A box spring is as big as a mattress. Which means you have to essentially move two mattresses.
A platform bed can be broken down into smaller pieces, and then put back together later. If you ever move to a new home, you’ll appreciate the convenience.
You can still use your box spring
There’s no law against using a box spring on a platform bed. Instead of the box spring sitting on a bedframe, it can just sit on top of the platform.
If you find that the platform isn’t to your liking, you can always throw the box spring on top, and enjoy the platform appearance (and storage space).
A platform bed has many advantages over a traditional box spring setup, including one which we didn’t explain above.
A plain platform bed costs about a third of the price of a box spring. Considering that a platform bed will also get the most out of your mattress, you can definitely add financial benefits as an advantage as well.