Platform vs Box Spring vs Foundation: What's the Difference?

SHARE

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Platform bed vs Box Springs vs Foundation

Consistent and quality rest is imperative to maintaining your overall health. So, what’s the secret to getting a good night of sleep? A good mattress! 

Sleep can be dreadful without a good mattress rather than a welcome respite after a tiring day. To ensure you choose the right mattress, you must start with a suitable bed base.

There are multiple types of bed bases, but three of the most common are platform bed, box spring, and foundation. Choosing a bed base can be a daunting task, but only if you don’t know the difference between the three.

That’s where we come in. We’re going to share with you the differences between a platform bed, box spring, and a foundation so that you can make the best choice for your sleeping health.

A Closer Look at Each Bed Frame Type

Let’s take a deeper dive into each bed base:
platform bed illustration

Platform Bed:

A platform bed is a minimal low-profile bed frame with built-in supports. They offer good support for the mattress while still being aesthetically pleasing. Instead of using either a box spring or a foundation with your mattress, you only need a mattress for a platform bed. Some platform beds come with slats, while others are solid. They come in many different styles, like a floating bed or contemporary design, to fit your aesthetic and storage preferences.

Koala bed base is a great example of how a platform bed can be sturdy, minimal, yet functional. You can check our full review of Koala bed base here.

Box Spring Bed Frame Illustration

Box Spring

A box spring is a base made of either wood or steel. Inside are coils, and the outside comes covered in fabric. Box springs are a common bed base because they can be placed on the floor or on top of a frame and are often used to increase the bed height. Box spring frame has a bit of give to it and offers flexible yet shock-absorbing support. As a result, box springs may make your mattress feel a bit softer but at the same extend the mattress lifespan by absorbing the extra pressure.

Foundation

A foundation is similar to a box spring, except they don’t have inner springs. As they’re made of either wood or metal, you can place some of them on the floor or on top of a frame, similar to a box spring. Some foundations are slatted like a box spring, while others are not. Foundation bed frames offer sturdy and even support in comparison to box springs. They are usually covered in fabric to make them more comfortable.

Each type is very common, and all come in many different styles. You’ll be able to find something to accommodate your mattress size no matter which base you choose.

What Are the Differences Between Platform, Box Spring & Foundation Bed Frame

Platform vs Box Spring vs Foundation

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these three choices for mattresses. We’re going to discuss each type as they relate to these five different categories:

  • Comfort
  • Size
  • Price
  • Look
  • Longevity

Comfort & Support

Comfort is an essential aspect when choosing a mattress, and it starts with the base you select. Remember, comfort looks different for every person, but there are features that you will expect to get from each different option.

The innate design of platform beds provides good support. Because platform beds are built differently (some are slatted and some are solid), you can choose them according to how firm you like your mattress. The slats also offer more circulation, giving you an option for the temperature you need for optimal sleep. Platform beds are low to the ground, though, which could pose a difficulty for some people when getting in and out.

Box springs offer decent support for the mattress but at the same time have a give to it due to the in-built springs. The extra shock absorption due to the springs extends the lifespan of your mattressThe slats provide natural air circulation and maintain the form of your mattress. The springs inside make for a more comfortable sleep because they absorb bounce. You won’t notice much movement in your bed, even when you’re tossing and turning.

Foundations are very supportive and naturally have height. They make for a very comfortable frame, as they are easy to get in and out of. They are also adaptable to different sleeping preferences due to having either a solid foundation or a slatted foundation.

Tl;dr: Foundations offer the best support for the mattress, followed by platform bed frames. Box springs offer extra shock absorption and may make your mattress a bit softer than it should but extend the life of the mattress.

Size

The size of all three bed base options varies based on your size mattress, but some are naturally bigger than others. A platform bed is low to the ground, but depending on which one you choose, it can take up a lot of space due to its additional parts, like a headboard and a footboard. Platform beds are also heavy and cumbersome when moving.

A box spring is usually taller than a platform bed, but it is much lighter. It is very easy to move and does not take up extra space.

A foundation is like a box spring in height and weight. Foundations are easy to move (relatively speaking) and do not take up extra space in your bedroom.

Price

Of the three options, box springs are the cheapest base. Foundations are a little more expensive, and platform beds are the most expensive.

Keep in mind, though, that platform beds come with everything you need including a headboard in most cases. When buying a box spring, you may also need to purchase a frame and headboard, and the same goes for foundations.

Although platforms are more expensive initially, they may be more economical when considering the extra accessories you will need to purchase for your box spring or foundation.

Looks

Looks are also a significant factor to consider when choosing a mattress base. Platform beds are a great option if looks are one of your primary concerns because it comes with everything you need and offers a lovely modern aesthetic. Platform beds are also excellent options because many of them offer storage options, allowing you to hide items you don’t want to display.

Box springs and foundations are not the most pleasing to look at and will likely require either a bed skirt or another piece of fabric to cover them.

Longevity

Although they are cheap to buy, box springs are the least durable of these three options. You will likely have to replace it every five to seven years, along with your mattress. You can primarily use innerspring mattresses with your box spring, which is a downside.

Platforms and foundations are very durable, and both accommodate far more mattress types than box springs. Good quality platform beds will likely last you your entire adult life, and you may only want to change it if you are looking for a different aesthetic.

Be selective when you’re choosing a mattress base. It’s not an item you want to repurchase often, so carefully consider what you need when making this critical purchase.

Bottom Line

Platform beds are minimal, low-profile and quite supportive, while box springs allow to raise bed height and are supportive too but still have a bit of flex to them. Finally, foundation bed frames are similar to box springs, except they don’t have springs and are flat, very durable and offer rigid support.

We hope you understood the difference between the different bed frames. If you’re shopping for a new bed base in Australia, you can check our bed base buying guide, and top picks here.

References:

James Lee

James Lee

James is the content director at WhatASleep, a certified sleep science coach from Spencer Institute and our in-house sleep product expert. Over three years, he's personally tested hundreds of mattresses. He likes to keep his reviews simple, objective, and straightforward so that the readers don't have to go through decision fatigue which is often the case while shopping for sleep products.

He hails from Sydney and has a journalism degree from the University of Queensland and an MBA from Melbourne Business School.

trophy-pick

Searching for that perfect bed frame?

Check out Australia's top-rated Bed Frames & Bases of 2022.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Content: