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Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for best box springs

Getting a good night’s rest is serious business, especially when you have a busy family and work schedule. The box spring beneath your mattress helps absorb and evenly distribute movement as you sleep. A good box spring can help you sleep comfortably so you’re ready for all the challenges the day brings.

Now more than ever, you’ll find numerous box spring choices in all sorts of price ranges. 

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Many mattresses and box springs come as a set. Some sellers will give you a better deal when buying a set, though it’s usually a matter of aesthetics rather than quality and performance.

Types of box springs

With the variety of mattresses available –memory foam, latex, innerspring – finding the right box spring requires you to consider your mattress type and the height at which you want your bed to stand.

Here’s a look at the various types of box springs available today.

Coil-on-coil box springs

Coil-on-coil box springs have a wooden frame with coils equally spaced throughout. They were originally designed to prolong the life of the mattress by allowing it to flex. Coil-on-coil box springs are less common today because most modern mattresses are designed for a solid surface foundation.

"The welds in a box spring can bend or break if too much force is applied to a single area. You should follow your mom’s advice and not jump or stand on the bed. "

Zero-deflection box springs

Most modern mattress use zero-deflection box springs. They keep motion transfer to a minimum, yet they still offer excellent mattress support. A zero-deflection box spring may have a wooden foundation with metal wire support or a wooden frame with fiberboard supports to prevent the mattress from sagging.

"Many box springs can now be delivered directly to your door. Split and KD kits are especially easy to ship in comparison to a full-size box spring. "

Knock-down foundations (KD)

A knock-down foundation comes as a kit that must be put together on site. These foundations are easy to transport in pieces, so if you live in a tight space, you may wish to consider this type.

Semi-flex grids

A semi-flex grid has a wooden base with a web of metal wire on top. It allows more flex than a KD foundation and works well with memory foam mattresses. However, they can be a bit pricey.

Standard box springs, split box springs, and kd kits

A standard box spring comes as one piece that’s the same size as your mattress, be that a twin, full, queen, or king. Box springs cannot be bent or folded, so you will need a good amount of space to maneuver it through doorways and up stairs.

A split box spring comes in two halves. If you live in tight quarters, you might appreciate having a split box spring as you attempt to maneuver your purchase through your doorway or up the stairs. But a split box frame puts extra weight on the center of the bed, so you’ll need to be sure your bed frame can support it before making a purchase. Split box springs cost slightly more than standard box springs.

As mentioned above, a knock down (KD) kit is a box spring kit that can be assembled in the bedroom. As such, it is easier to maneuver through the home. KD kits can be purchased and shipped directly to your home.

Choosing a box spring height

Box springs come in two general heights: 8 to 9 inches and 4.5 to 5.5 inches. Which should you select? Your chosen box spring height depends on several factors, including the following.

  • Bed frame and headboard design: Keep the design and height of your bed frame and headboard in mind as you shop for a box spring. With some designs, a low-profile box spring of 4.5 to 5.5 inches would leave the lower portion of the headboard exposed. In other cases, an unusually tall bed frame paired with an eight-inch box spring would make the bed too tall for an average-size person.

  • Mattress height: Mattresses vary in height. Measure your mattress and bed frame before purchasing a box spring so you have an idea what your final bed height will be.

  • Mattress topper: Mattress toppers can add several inches to the height of your bed. If you plan to use a deluxe mattress topper with your mattress, you may want to consider a low-profile box spring to make getting into bed easier.

  • Your height and mobility: Shorter people may prefer a mattress that’s lower to the ground so they don’t have to literally climb into bed. People with mobility issues may prefer a higher mattress so that getting into bed is easier. Take your personal preference and physical condition into account when shopping so you can get a bed height that works for you.

Box spring materials

Box spring frames

Traditionally, box springs were made of wood with metal coils. Today, box spring materials vary a great deal. The frame may be made of steel and other metals. The fact that a bed frame is made of steel doesn’t necessarily make it better or more durable, however.  A steel frame needs strong welds, or too much weight could cause it to bend or break.

"Split box springs need a center support for the extra weight of the two frames. "

Box spring coils

As for coils, many box springs don’t actually have them anymore. Most include some sort of wire grid, frame, or solid surface. Coil-on-coil box springs are still available, but they’re harder to find than they once were. A seller may promote a coil box spring based on its coil density, but that won’t help you determine the quality of the box spring itself. You should look for a box spring with a strong frame. If you opt for coils, choose a box spring with evenly spaced coils that cannot be felt through the mattress.

"Platform beds do not require a box spring. However, a platform bed with a queen or king mattress may need a center support. "

Box spring fabrics

A box spring is usually encased in a protective fabric that shields it from dust and other substances.

  • If allergies are a problem for you, consider a box spring cover made of hypoallergenic fabric. The fabric helps keep dust, pet dander, and other contaminants from gathering in the box spring.

  • If you’re a fan of organic products, you may wish to consider a box spring cover made of organic fabric. Many people choose organic fabric because it has undergone fewer pesticide treatments and less exposure to hazardous chemicals.
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Did you know?
Pricier box springs often have higher-quality steel and better welds. This is an important consideration, especially for consumers who weigh more than 280 pounds.

Box spring prices

  • Less than $100: You can find inexpensive split or standard box springs ranging in height from five to eight inches in this price range. These are usually all-wood frames with slats across the top for mattress support. Steel-frame box springs occasionally sell at this low price, but the quality tends to suffer.

  • $100 to $500: For this kind of money, you’ll find box springs of all heights, including ultra-low models with four-inch profiles. The box springs found at the lower end of this price range tend to have KD designs, making them more portable. There are some steel KD designs at this price point, too. You’ll also find box springs as part of a set here.

  • $500 to $1,000: Steel-framed box springs are the standard in this higher price range. They are most commonly found as part of a set that includes a mattress. Most come in either a standard or split design. There are also some specially designed foundations that include storage drawers.

  • More than $1,000: A price tag this high usually covers a box spring/mattress set, and the high price likely has more to do with the mattress than the box spring. Many box springs in this price range are specially designed to complement one specific type and brand of mattress.
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For box springs with slats, be sure to check the measurement between the slats. Some mattress types, like memory foam, require three to four inches between slats, while other mattress types can have up to eight inches of space between slats.


Q. Does the height of the box spring affect the support it provides?
The height of the box spring has little impact on the support it provides. The design and quality of the construction and materials are far more important than the height of the box spring. There are many low-profile box springs that provide excellent support and can prolong the life of your mattress.

Q. Do I really need a box spring?
Technically speaking, you could get by without a box spring, but a few things would suffer. Without a box spring, the first thing to suffer would be your comfort. Box springs help redistribute movement so that if two people are sharing a bed, each experiences fewer disturbances when the other moves. Secondly, a box spring extends the life of your mattress. While many modern mattresses are designed to rest on a solid foundation, a box spring still helps absorb body weight and results in less wear and tear on the mattress.

"Box springs that come as part of a set often include a warranty that covers both the mattress and the box spring. That makes it easier to ask the manufacturer questions and resolve any issues. "

Q. I live in an older home with a steep staircase and narrow hallways and doorways. I want a queen-size mattress, but I’m not sure what my options are for fitting a box spring in my house.
You have a few options available. The first is to buy a split box spring. It’s basically two box springs that fit together to make a queen-size box spring. You will need to make sure your bed frame can offer the support down the middle where the seam of the two box springs meet, as there will be some extra weight in this area.

Your other option is to order a KD foundation kit. You can order a wood or metal kit and put the foundation together yourself in as little as 15 minutes. Because you do the assembly, it can be put together in your bedroom so you don’t have to navigate stairs, doorways, or hallways.

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