Bed Slats vs Box Spring: Which Is Better?

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5 min read

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Bed Slats vs Box Spring: Which Is Better?

The one factor that contributes significantly to enhancing the life and durability of a bed is the type of foundation it has. This is because the proper foundation provides firm support to the bed, making it more stable and increasing its height. So, when you begin your search for a new bed, the first question that crosses your mind is the type of foundation you should choose. 

Bed slats and box springs are the two most popular foundation options for buyers. However, choosing the better one between the two can be pretty confusing. This article will help you understand the differences between these two types of foundations and their pros and cons to help you make the right choice. 

What Are Bed Slats

Bed slats are a foundation comprising long horizontal planks made from metal or wood. This type of foundation is placed directly on the bed frame and with the planks, also known as slats, spaced at 2-3 cm. Bed slats support the weight of the mattresses evenly and make for a more stable foundation.

Depending on its size, a bed may have two or more columns of planks that run alongside each other. The bed slats can be either standard or sprung and while the standard planks are flat, sprung bed slats are somewhat curved, which gives them more room for movement.   

Benefits of Using Bed Slats

Opting for bed slats as the foundation for your mattress offers various benefits. First, they are suitable for people seeking a cheap yet sturdy foundation that helps enhance the bed’s life. The bed slats ensure better airflow, making them ideal for people seeking a more breathable bed. The vital benefits of bed slats include the following:

Prolong Mattress Life

Bed slats prevent the mattresses from sagging by providing firm support. They also help keep the mattress in a fully horizontal position with their sturdiness. This helps to prolong the life of the mattress by a significant margin.

Easy To Install and Maintain

Bed slats are extremely easy to install and maintain as they are thin and lightweight. They stay dry and firm and are easy to clean by wiping down with a moist cloth.

Inexpensive

Using the slatted bed base is a relatively cheaper option than other bed foundations. The cost of repairing the bed slats is also lower as it is possible to replace each slat individually.

More Hygienic

Bed slats prove to be more hygienic than other foundation options available in the market. This is because the slats do not retain moisture, eliminating the risk of the build-up of molds and bacteria. 

Variety of Slats

The bed slats are available in a variety of materials but the most common of all is:

  • Wood, and
  • Metal

Moreover, the bed slats offer storage space below the planks, which makes them suitable for people with space optimization needs. 

Drawbacks of Using Bed Slats

Like most other things, bed slats have their own set of shortcomings, including the following.

Require Assembling

The slatted foundation generally comes unassembled, and you need to fit them in the bed frame on your own. Even though the process is relatively simple, it may be time-consuming and inconvenient. 

May Need Fitting

Bed slats require assembling, and this might require some fitting. If not done correctly, it might cause the mattress surface to become uneven, making the bed squeaky or uncomfortable.

Poor Quality

Opting for wood slats for beds that are too cheap may decrease the stability and sturdiness of the bed and reduce its lifespan. Most premium quality bed slats come at a reasonable price which makes them well within the financial reach of ordinary people. 

What Is a Box Spring

Box springs are a traditional foundation that forms a kind of platform on which you place the mattress. The platform is made from wood or metal, and the older versions housed spring coils that offer bounce and durability. However, most modern box springs are hollow from the inside and have a covering of a thin layer of cushioning fabric. 

Box springs are generally thicker than bed slates and hence help increase the height of a mattress. Box springs are generally of the same size as your mattress. Most modern units come fitted with wheels to ensure their easy transportation.  

Benefits of Using a Box Spring

Even though box springs are no longer as famous as bed slats, they are still preferred, especially for people using innerspring mattresses. They are suitable for people seeking that additional lift and support for their back pain. Box springs are also ideal for heavier people seeking a durable bedding option. Some advantages offered by box springs include the following:

Great Stability

Box springs have an exceptionally sturdy design. They offer better support and stability than even the most robust wooden slats. This minimizes the risk of mattress sagging and damaging the bed frame due to various activities such as children jumping on the bed or pets playing with their parents. 

Offers Bounce

Even when they are hollow inside, box springs offer a bouncy feel that is lacking in all types of slats foundation. The bounce results from the coil springs inside the box spring or those present in the innerspring mattresses used with this type of foundation.

Keeps The Mattress In Place

The cloth covering of the box springs prevents the mattress from slipping and moving around. It thus helps to offer more excellent stability for the users while sleeping or performing any other activity on the bed. 

Drawbacks of Using Box Spring

Like bed slats, box springs also have their own set of drawbacks, the most important of which include the following. 

Extremely Heavy

Box springs are cumbersome so moving them around considerably tricky. Even though most modern units come with wheels, they are still too bulky to handle.

Lack Support

Since most modern box springs do not feature coil springs, they do not offer much support, especially for foam mattresses. This can cause untimely sagging of even the best mattresses and reduce their life. 

Too Expensive

Box springs are pretty expensive compared to bed slats, and while cheaper box springs are also available, their quality is not too good. Box springs do not offer the same level of air circulation as bed slats which makes them hotter.

Conclusion

Using either the bed slats or box spring is better than placing your mattress on the floor. However, deciding which is better among the two requires a slightly deeper understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of both these types of foundations. The above details can prove beneficial for understanding these key aspects and help you make the right buying decision.

The majority of mattresses may be laid on the ground. However, putting mattresses on the floor has some drawbacks. It would be best to check the manufacturer’s instructions and warranty conditions to see whether it would void your warranty.

Both plywood and bunkie boards can be used as box spring substitutes. It all depends on your mattress. You may also place either one on top of a box spring to help decrease its squeakiness.

The majority of contemporary bed frames with a slatted foundation can hold up to 600 pounds. Some, however, are only built to carry 300 pounds, so double-check the manufacturer’s weight restriction before buying. It can prevent it from getting damaged.

Many modern bed frames are built without box springs as they already provide adequate support. It’s up to you whether or not to utilize one, but keep in mind what kind of mattress or bed frame you should use instead.

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians