Do I need a boxspring?
April 1, 2006 12:32 PM   Subscribe

If I have a good mattress and a frame that supports it, do I really need a boxspring?

The mattress itself is very firm, and about a foot thick plus extra padding. I have a frame with a "bunkyboard," which is apparently a platform that supports the mattress.

Since the "bunkyboard" supports the mattress, do I actually need a boxspring? It seems like an unnecessary cost.
posted by kenoshakid to Shopping (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Postroad at 12:41 PM on April 1, 2006

No. I slept for years on a mattress supported only by slats. No issues sleeping, no back problems.
posted by Loto at 12:43 PM on April 1, 2006

Do you already have all of these components? Why not just sleep on the setup and see whether it feels comfortable (firm enough, high enough, with enough give) to you. That's the main concern, as far as I know. Many beds are designed to be used with only a top mattress--they have a springy thing that the mattress sits on instead (like the trundle frame here).
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:44 PM on April 1, 2006

Nope. I've been sleeping for about a year on a foam mattress on wooden slats from Ikea.

A boxspring is good if you like your bed to squeak, other than that I'm not sure.
posted by driveler at 12:46 PM on April 1, 2006

Mostly I've heard that it's unnecessary, what with today's mattress tech.

The "Better Sleep Council" says otherwise, but they seem like the type of organization that would largely be funded by the industry as a means of marketing.
posted by chimmyc at 12:47 PM on April 1, 2006

Are you comfortable sleeping on it as is? If so, then you're fine.
posted by delmoi at 12:52 PM on April 1, 2006

Well, as far as comfort goes, I'd say no, but your mattress will probably last longer with a boxspring. Your call.
posted by katyggls at 12:59 PM on April 1, 2006

I've never quite understood what box springs are all about. My mattress is on slats and it perfectly comfortable. I rather like the low profile of the thing too - box springs make for a pretty big and old fashioned looking bed.
posted by aladfar at 1:04 PM on April 1, 2006

Previously on AskMe may be helpful.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:04 PM on April 1, 2006

Another good reason to distrust the better sleep council's site is they are advising you that not using a boxspring, or using a boxspring other than they reccomend will affect your warranty coverage. This is a almost definitely a falsehood, the only way it can affect your warranty coverage is if the manufacturer provides the box spring at no charge to you, or if they have convinced the FTC that the boxspring tie-in is absolutely necessary to ensure the warranty of the product (ie: There is absolutely no reasonable way the mattress will last without the boxspring). I don't see an FTC link to that on their site and I do see beds available that don't require a boxspring, so I'm going to call bullshit on this one.
posted by shepd at 1:06 PM on April 1, 2006

My mattress is on shipping pallets (no box spring). I haven't had any problems, and it is super-comfortable.
posted by unknowncommand at 1:44 PM on April 1, 2006

Sleeping on a matress only of course can be comfortable. The box spring has "give" to it, and thus lengthens the life of the matress. In fact, you might after a number of years need to change your matress for a new one but the boxspring should still be of use. Do you change your matress from top to bottom and turn it over everyso often? Why, if it is comfortable.
posted by Postroad at 3:31 PM on April 1, 2006

A box spring is designed to provide support for the mattress when you are using it with a frame that cannot do so. Many old bed frames just had a lip around all four sides. A flexible mattress would just fall through that without a box spring to hold it up. These beds people are describing that have "slats" work fine as a box spring replacement. I myself have a "platform" bed which serves the same purpose. It's a little bit low to the ground, but not as bad as a mattress alone right on the floor.
posted by autojack at 5:19 PM on April 1, 2006

Just did a quick check on the warranty over at Simmons. They aren't specific about the use of box springs, they do say use a simmons 'foundation' or a rigid non-yielding foundation of some sort. But as for the warranty, it's not forcing you to use a box spring at all.

As for flipping, many companies now manufacture mattresses that don't require flipping for the normal life of the mattress. In fact, in a recent add from my furniture shop they declare that they only carry mattresses that don't require flipping.

I'd have to say that there is no reason to use box springs so long as you have some support. While I have used them for my adult life, I don't recall a single bed when I was a kid that I slept on that had box springs. Nor my 2 siblings. Didn't have problems sleeping back then.

If you need them, great, otherwise, I'd guess you'd be better off spending that money you would have spent on those box springs, to buy an even better mattress.
posted by Phynix at 5:25 PM on April 1, 2006

I've been sleeping on an air mattress directly on my floor since September 2005 with no ill effects.
posted by WCityMike at 6:04 PM on April 1, 2006

I've had a good mattress on my ikea bed (slats) for several years. No boxspring. I debated just like you. It's fine without. No problems. I say skip the boxsping.
posted by bim at 6:30 PM on April 1, 2006

I second autojack: if your bed has slats you really don't need a box spring at all; in fact you may want to avoid them. (I guess that is what bim is getting at, too.) Slats allow air circulation, which is great for those of us who are allergic to mold.

I used to have a bad back /knocking on wood/ but have been very comfortable since getting a Scandinavian style slat frame and a cheap but firm mattress. BTW, I've had this combo for 8 years, for what it's worth.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 7:29 PM on April 1, 2006

Ever since my waterbed sprung a fatal leak -- and I suddenly discovered that they're no longer even sold locally -- I bough an air matress as a temp measure and set it into the waterbed frame.

That is ... I meant it as a tempt measure, but it works so well that I haven't bothered to get another mattress. Only downside is that it only lasts about 8 months before it has to be replaces. At $25-$35 bucks a pop, I can live with that.

(Though I surely do miss the toasty-warm bedness of my old set-up during those winter months.)
posted by RavinDave at 8:26 PM on April 1, 2006

nope, been sleeping on a matress on slats for years, and love it. plus high beds are sooo 1990s.
posted by blueplasticfish at 11:06 AM on April 2, 2006

I worked at a bedding shop for a few years while I was in college, so I'll give you the low down.

You do not need a box spring provided that your mattress is being placed on a flat surface, such as a piece of particle board or a bunky board.

If your mattress is on slats, and there is space between the slats... that CAN cause damage to the mattress. The best thing to do would be to go to home depot, and get a piece of particle board cut to put between the slats and the mattress.

The box spring is used for cosmetic purposes and to support the mattress when placed on a frame or a bed with rails.

A bunky board is essentially a rectangular frame with slats that gets covered with foam and cloth to be substituted for a box spring in beds (like a bunk bed) where you are trying to minimize the height of the mattress.

Bunkyboards are also being used with high-end mattresses instead of box springs due to the fact that mattresses are getting thicker and thicker and a highend box spring/mattress combo can be ridiculously high when placed on a bed.

They no longer put springs in box springs. They are just a boxed out frame of wood and metal to have something to put your mattress on top of.
posted by Mroz at 1:20 PM on April 2, 2006 [4 favorites]

I've slept on a slat bed with a matress or futon on it for my entire life with no problems. Several people who have slept in my bed have commented that it's extremely comfortable.

I gave away the box spring that came with my most recent matress purchase. What's the point (as long as your bed is high enough)?
posted by Four Flavors at 9:29 AM on April 3, 2006

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