Which is Best: Foundation vs Boxspring

Last Updated on October 14, 2021

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

Box springs and bed frames and slatted foundations, oh my! If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone.

Here’s what you need to know: your mattress needs some sort of support underneath it to keep it from sagging, as well as to increase its longevity. The extra support also makes it much more comfortable to sleep on!

In the past, this meant a box spring paired with a traditional innerspring mattress. But nowadays, with so many other options for mattresses, do you really need a box spring? In most cases, the answer is no.

Choosing between the alternatives doesn’t have to be tricky, though. If you’re wondering what you should put under your mattress, keep reading as we explore what a mattress foundation is, what your options are and how to choose between them.

I. Comparison Chart: Box Spring vs. Foundation vs. Adjustable Base

II. What to Know About Box Springs

III. What to Know About Slatted Foundations

IV. What to Know About Solid Foundations

V. What to Know About Adjustable Base

VI. How to Choose a Mattress Foundation

VII. GhostBed’s All-in-One Foundation

I. Comparison: Box Spring vs. Foundation vs. Adjustable Base

What Is It?

Traditional Box Spring: Box springs are wooden boxes filled with coiled springs that are tied down and covered with cloth

Traditional Foundation: A foundation refers to a slatted or solid base for your mattress to lay on

Adjustable Base: Adjustable bases provide a hinged surface for your mattress, allowing you to elevate your head and/or legs using a remote control

Benefits

Traditional Box Spring: Extends the life of innerspring mattresses

Traditional Foundation: Provides great support for all types of mattresses; Adds height; Increases airflow around mattress

Adjustable Base: Fantastic health benefits; Customized comfort settings

Drawbacks

Traditional Box Spring: Typically sits on a bed frame, so there’s an additional item to purchase

Traditional Foundation: Can vary in durability and strength, depending on materials used

Adjustable Base: Some models can be pricey

Works Best With...

Traditional Box Spring: Innerspring mattresses

Traditional Foundation: All types: foam, hybrid and spring

Adjustable Base: All types: foam, hybrid and spring

Notes

Traditional Box Spring: Not recommended for use with memory foam mattresses

Traditional Foundation: Can be slatted or solid

Adjustable Base: No need for anything else (e.g. foundation, box spring, frame)

II. What to Know About Box Springs

The terms "box spring" and "foundation" are sometimes used interchangeably, but it’s important to understand the difference. Namely, a box spring is a foundation, but not every foundation is a box spring. But what do we mean by that?

The distinction is easy: a "box spring" has… springs! When paired with an innerspring mattress, the coils inside the box spring act as a continuation of the coils in your mattress, which absorbs some of the shock.

A box spring is also typically placed on top of a wooden or metal bed frame to raise the height a bit more, and can be connected to a headboard and/or footboard.

Note: Bed frames are not designed to support the weight of a mattress on their own, so you definitely need a box spring or foundation if you’re using a traditional frame.

III. What to Know About Slatted Foundations

A mattress foundation might refer to anything that your mattress lays on; with box springs going out of style, though, the modern foundation is typically a reinforced base that’s made with either wood or metal, and can be either slatted or solid. It usually comes with a cloth cover so that it matches your mattress and looks put together.

Depending on the construction, you may or may not need a bed frame to go with it. Similar to a box spring, you can easily connect a headboard and/or footboard to your foundation for added style. If the style is one that doesn’t require a frame, it might also be called a "platform bed." These all-in-one mattress foundations are an easy way to support your mattress without having to purchase a separate box spring or frame.

Slatted foundations have planks of wood or metal that span the frame horizontally. This provides great support while also allowing for air circulation below and around your mattress. Keep in mind that wood can warp over time, so most industry experts recommend going with metal.

You’ll also want to examine the space between the slats. For the best support—especially for memory foam and latex mattresses—you want the slats to be no more than 3 inches apart. Too much space can encourage your mattress to sag or dip over time.

IV. What to Know About Solid Foundations

Another type of mattress foundation is a solid foundation, which is also sometimes referred to as a platform base. Instead of featuring slats with space in between them, this foundation will have a solid surface to place your mattress on. This offers a sturdy support system, ensuring the weight of the mattress is evenly distributed at all times.

Solid foundations come in a variety of styles and may also have built-in storage underneath.

V. What to Know About Adjustable Base

Finally, there’s the adjustable base, known for its customizable comfort. An adjustable base features a solid surface with hinges connected to a power source, so you can elevate your head, your feet or both for a zero-gravity position. Adjustable bases provide a ton of health benefits, especially for those with acid reflux, arthritis, and chronic back pain.

Plus, many adjustable bases — like the GhostBed Adjustable Base — include extra features, such as massage settings, USB ports and under-bed LED lighting.

VI. How to Choose Your Mattress Foundation

Ultimately, choosing between a box spring, foundation and adjustable base will come down to your comfort preferences and the type of mattress you have.

Mattress Type Foundation Recommendation
Innerspring Box spring
All-Foam Slatted foundation (for improved airflow)
Memory Foam Slatted foundation, solid foundation, adjustable base
Hybrid Slatted foundation, solid foundation, adjustable base

VI. How to Choose Your Mattress Foundation

For a supportive, high-quality mattress foundation, look no further than the GhostBed All-in-One Foundation. It's all-metal construction holds up to 2,000 pounds, ensuring durability and stability without the need for a separate bed frame. And with its adjustable legs, you can customize the height to your liking.

See how the All-in-One Foundation stacks up to the competitors below:

Price (Queen)

All-In-One Foundation™: $299 $209

Casper Foundation + Frame: $450

Nectar Platform Bed: $400

Purple Foundation: $449

20+ Years in the Industry

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: No

Patent-Pending

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: No

Holds Up to 2,000-lb Weight

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: Yes

Heavy-Duty Metal Construction

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: Yes

Foldable for Easy Storage and Moving

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: Yes

Contemporary Slip-On Fabric Cover

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: Yes

Includes Free Headboard Brackets

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: Yes

Includes Adjustable-Height Legs

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: No

Easy to Assemble

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: Yes

Nectar Platform Bed: Yes

Purple Foundation: Yes

Free Shipping

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: Yes

Nectar Platform Bed: Yes

Purple Foundation: Yes

20-Year Warranty

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: No

Nectar Platform Bed: No

Purple Foundation: No

100% US-Based Customer Support

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: Yes

Nectar Platform Bed: Yes

Purple Foundation: Yes

Flexible Payment Options

All-In-One Foundation™: Yes

Casper Foundation + Frame: Yes

Nectar Platform Bed: Yes

Purple Foundation: Yes


Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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After undergoing three neck surgeries, Marc knew what it was like to live and sleep in constant pain. In 2001, after searching fruitlessly for a comfortable pillow and mattress that supported his neck and back ... Learn More

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