To support Home & Garden Authority, we earn a commission if you purchase by clicking a link listed below at no additional cost to you. This doesn’t influence or sway our opinions in any way. We believe in complete transparency so you can make the most informed choices. Read more here.

Mattress Foundation vs Box Spring

Editor’s Note: A mattress foundation and box spring are two terms that mean the same thing; a solid mattress support system. All box springs are foundations, but not all foundations are box springs. However both can be fantastic choices for mattress support in general. Our favorite mattress foundation? Zinus’s 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation. It’s a solid metal frame that sits high, has useful underbed storage, and it’s really built to last. Our favorite box spring is Zinus’s 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring. It sits low, still has a sturdy flat support system, and works perfectly with all mattress types (spring, memory foam, and even latex). 

Mattress Foundation

  • Sturdy surface (wired or flat)
  • Provides under-bed storage (depending on the foundation type)
  • Made of wood (sometimes metal) with a flat board on top 
  • Work best with all 3 mattress types; memory foam, latex, and innerspring

Box Spring

  • Durable & flat surface
  • No room for under-bed storage
  • Made of wood (sometimes metal) with a solid surface usually wrapped in a cover
  • Works best with innerspring mattresses & lighter memory foam and latex beds

Foundation vs Box Spring - Pros and Cons (which is better?)

mattress foundation vs box spring - Zinus 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring Folding
Zinus 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring Folding on Amazon

Having the right mattress support is crucial. Without it? You risk running into serious problems with not only your mattress, but your health. Bad support can lead to sagging issues with your mattress that ultimately affect the quality of your sleep. The end result is a negative impact on your overall health. Not good. 

The two main mattress supports in 2018 are foundations & box springs. Both serve as flat surfaces for your mattress. Having a flat, durable surface for your mattress to rest on means you won’t get impressions or experience sag (unless you have a defective mattress). how high you want your existing setup

Whether mattress foundations vs box springs are better support depend on:

  • how much you’re willing to spend on good mattress support
  • how long you plan on keeping your existing mattress
  • what type is your existing mattress (spring, foam, or latex)?
  • etc

Mattress Foundation Pros and Cons

Mattress foundations are ideal for memory foam, latex, and premium innerspring beds. They may cost a little more than box springs, but they’re generally better built, and will last longer. Our favorite mattress foundation? Zinus’s 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation.

Mattress Foundation Pros

  • Generally better built
  • Best for latex & memory foam

Mattress Foundation Cons

  • More expensive
  • Not always necessary
mattress foundation vs box spring - Zinus 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation
Zinus 14 Inch Elite SmartBase Mattress Foundation on Amazon

Mattress Foundation Verdict: A regular mattress foundation is normally made of wood or metal framing with a solid board top (of the same material). The end-goal of a mattress foundation is to act as a durable, sturdy support system for your mattress. 

Ideally, a mattress foundation supports all mattress types. More specifically, they’re designed to support heavier bed-types like latex, memory foam, and heavy premium innerspring mattresses.

The result? Mattress foundations tend to be a little more expensive. Fortunately, you get what you pay for. Paying more for a mattress foundation means you get more life out of your mattress.

Box Spring Pros and Cons

Box springs serve as support systems for your mattress. They’re conveniently come in many heights. Low-profile (4″-6″) and standard heights (7″-9″) are most common. They’re primarily designed for lighter, less expensive (and less heavy) mattresses. Some box springs can be as well built as foundations, but quality ranges. Our favorite box spring? Zinus 4 Inch Low Profile BiFold Box Spring. It folds, comes in a low-profile height, and acts an extremely sturdy support to any mattress type. It’s the best box spring in this price range; bar-none.

Box Spring Pros

  • Come in bi-fold options
  • Cheaper than mattress foundations
  • Better for lighter mattresses (in general)

Box Spring Cons

  • Not suitable for heavy mattresses
  • Not as durable as foundations (in general)

Box Spring Verdict: A normal box spring usually comes built with wood or metal-framing wrapped in a cover. They range in height from 4-6 inches (low-profile), or 7-9 inches (standard heights). These varied height choices conveniently allow you to decide how high (or low) you want your existing bed setup to be. Even more, these box springs are competitively priced. 

Our favorite aspect of box springs is their bi-fold capability. Some box springs built in 2018 can fold. This is extremely convenient if you’re moving, storing, or otherwise need to put one a normal box spring wouldn’t come close to fitting in. 

Box springs aren’t without their cons, of course. For one, box springs vary wildly in quality. Some box springs are as well built as foundations. Others? Not so much. Like with most things, pay careful attention to box spring quality. Picking the wrong box spring means not only a decrease in mattress longevity, but potentially more aches & pains over time, too. 

Not good!

Difference Between Box Spring and Foundation

Mattress Foundation

  • Under-bed storage capability
  • Best for heavy latex & memory foam
  • May be more expensive than boxsprings
  • Not necessary if your mattress is lighter

Box Spring

  • Best for innerspring and light mattresses
  • Less expensive than mattress foundations
  • Not always adequate support (depending)

Mattress foundations vs box springs ultimately come down to several questions you need to ask yourself:

  • How much higher (or lower) do I want my existing bed setup to be?
  • How much am I willing to spend? What’s my budget?
  • Do I need under-bed storage?
  • What mattress do I currently have? Is it latex, memory foam, or innerspring
  • How heavy is my existing mattress?
  • How long do I plan on keeping my existing mattress

Pick a mattress foundation if:

  • You have a latex or memory foam bed that’s on the heavier side.
  • You’re willing to spend a little more to get a sturdier & longer lasting support system.
  • You want additional under-bed storage capacity. 

Pick a box spring if:

  • You have a lighter (or less expensive) innerspring, foam, or latex mattress.
  • You’re budget constrained & can’t (or don’t) want to spend too much money on supporting your mattress.
  • You don’t need additional under-bed storage. 
Close Menu