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The Differences Between a Box Spring and a Foundation

The Differences Between a Box Spring and a Foundation

If you’re having trouble sleeping, your bed may be to blame. Replacing your mattress will likely help, but consider replacing your bed base instead or even at the same time. Your bed base, whether it's a box spring or a foundation, supports your mattress and affects its overall comfort level. Sleeping on a quality mattress on top of a good base will feel like an absolute dream.

While traditional box springs and foundations are both good bed base options that raise your mattress and make getting in and out of bed easier, they have a few key differences. Lifestyle Furniture will help you out, read on the guide to bed springs vs. foundations before purchasing your next bed base.

Box Springs

Instant Foundation Full-Size 8 in. H Regular Profile Mattress Foundation  124001-5030 - The Home Depot

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is a frame, typically made from wood, with a network of steel coils inside. The entire piece is covered with fabric. They’re designed to sit on top of a bed frame to support a mattress.


Box springs provide sturdy support for mattresses, but add some give because of the somewhat flexible coils inside. The give ensures even weight distribution on the surface to prevent your mattress from sagging. The coils also work to absorb shock, reduce pressure, and promote airflow and breathability.


Over time, the coils in a box spring can wear down and become less springy. They typically last between five and 10 years, depending on how much weight is put on them and how heavy your mattress is.

Mattress Compatibility

Box springs are ideal for supporting mattresses with springs. Using heavier mattresses, like those made from latex or memory foam, can wear down the coils in a box spring. Worn down coils can lead to a saggy mattress, which isn’t comfortable. 


The average price of a queen-size box spring is between $100 and $300. The price can vary slightly depending on the box spring’s size, material, brand, and model. But in general, market prices for box springs fall somewhere within that range. 


Robin Mattress Foundation | Pottery Barn

What Is a Foundation?

A foundation is a solid wooden frame with wooden slats on top, covered by breathable fabric. The spacing of the slats determines the foundation’s level of support, with most foundations having slats spaced between two and three inches apart.


Because foundations have no flexible coils, only sturdy wooden slats, they provide sturdy support with no give. They provide strong, even support for your mattress.


Foundations are very long-lasting bed bases. Without coils that can wear down over time, foundations can hold up for several years without issue. A high-quality foundation can last decades, while a low-quality one might only last five years.

Mattress Compatibility

Foundations are compatible with virtually all mattress types available. If you prefer a firm mattress, a foundation will make it even more firm. 


The average price for a basic queen-size foundation is between $200 and $500. Luxury foundations that include accessories like adjustable frames and remote controls can cost upwards of $1,000.

Box Spring vs. Foundation

Both box springs and foundations are excellent bed base choices. They both support your mattress well and give it a boost in height, which can make it easier to get in and out of your bed.

The main difference between these bed base options is the support level they provide. Box springs have some give to them, while foundations don’t. Foundations provide a firmer sleeping surface and box springs provide one that’s a little more flexible. It goes without saying that foundations are ideal for those who prefer a firm mattress or sleeping surface.

The type of bed base you choose should also be compatible with your mattress type. If you’re in the market for a new mattress as well, you can choose either. Foundations typically work with all mattress types, whereas box springs only work with lightweight innerspring mattresses. If you use a bed base that is incompatible with your mattress, your mattress and bed base can become damaged over time. 

To sum up

Box Spring

  • Contains steel springs
  • Has some give
  • Lightweight
  • Springs weaken over time
  • Compatible with innerspring mattresses
  • Potentially noisy


  • Features wooden slates, not springs
  • Compatible with multiple mattress types
  • Even support
  • Durable
  • Has no give
  • Heavy

All that said, you are the only one who can determine which bed base is right for you.

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