Mattress Foundation and Box Springs

The terms box spring and foundation are often used interchangeably by both mattress manufacturers and retailers so when they are talking about a foundation, they may actually be talking about a box spring and vice versa. It may be confusing and the fact that they are very similar in appearance doesn’t help either. However, their similarities end with their appearance because they function very differently.

A foundation is a frame made of wood with slats or steel with a wire grid but there are also some foundations made from steel with wooden slats. A box spring is a frame made of wood and inside, it has coil springs that are thicker than those found inside an innerspring mattress for durability and more effective weight absorption. They are very similar in appearance because they are both covered with some type of fabric to make it look like they are a part of a mattress.

The main function of a foundation is to provide support to the mattress. A box spring is for support and weight absorption.

A foundation is a great choice for mattresses that are designed to only need a flat, solid surface such as latex, memory foam and some innerspring mattresses such as the Saatva luxury mattress. It is a very popular choice because it costs less than a box spring due to its simpler construction. Also, since a lot of mattresses today are designed to only need a flat surface, a foundation is more than enough to support the mattress.

Box springs are not very common nowadays due to a lot of reasons. The main reason is the popularity of foam mattresses. Foam mattresses are better suited to be placed on a flat, solid surface that does not have any “give”. Since a lot of people are going for foam mattresses, the demand for box springs is dwindling. Because of low demands, manufacturers are not producing as much because it is quite expensive to manufacture.

When should you buy a mattress foundation?

  • If you are planning on buying a foam, memory foam, latex, air or innerspring mattresses that don’t require box springs.
  • If you already have one but it is already old. Check your current mattress foundation for damages to see if you need a new one.
  • If you want to increase the height of your mattress.
  • If your current bed does not satisfy the requirements of your new mattress. (e.g., the slats are too far apart, there are visible damages to the support structure, etc.)

When should you buy a box spring?

  • Box springs are rarely sold as a standalone nowadays. Box springs often come with innerspring mattresses so if you are planning on a buying an innerspring mattress and it has an accompanying box spring, it’s best to also buy that.

Best Mattress Foundations

Here are the 3 mattress foundations that we can recommend. We reviewed 2 steel foundations and 1 wooden foundation.


Simple Life Fully Assembled Mattress Box Foundation

Simple Life Full

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Features and Specifications

  • Fully assembled
  • Steel construction
  • 8″ profile
  • Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King and Cal-King
  • Check price on Amazon

The Simple Life Fully Assembled Mattress Box is the best foundation that we can recommend. Because it is already fully assembled, the chances of it arriving with missing parts, missing screws, unclear instructions and parts not fitting each other is eliminated. This is very convenient for consumers because it is ready to use and you just have to place it on your bed frame or directly on the floor. It is also foldable so it makes transport easier. Of course, it is a bit more expensive than other foundations that you have to assemble by yourself but if you don’t have the time or patience to deal with assembling, this is the best one to get.

Sleep Master Smart Box Spring

Sleep Master Full

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Features and Specifications

  • Steel construction
  • 9″ profile
  • Needs to be assembled
  • Available in Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King and Cal-King
  • Check price on Amazon

The Sleep Master Smart Box Spring is the cheapest of all the foundations that we recommend here. Even though it is called a box spring, it is a foundation. As we explained above, the terms box spring and foundations are sometimes used interchangeably and this is one of those cases. It is the cheapest out of all the foundations that we recommend because you have to assemble the foundation yourself. Some say that the assembly is easy while others complain about unclear instructions so they had a tough time assembling the foundation.

We actually tried assembling this particular foundation and it is not as easy as 1,2,3 but it is also not as hard as others make it out to be. If you are handy, you won’t have any problems with this but if you’re not, better ask someone to help out so that it will not take too much out of your time to fully assemble the foundation. The package comes with tools that you will be needing in assembling the foundation. For the price, this is a great product that we fully recommend.

Dynasty Mattress Wood Box Foundation

Dynasty Mattress Wood Box

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Features and Specifications

  • Wood construction
  • 8″ profile
  • Needs to be assembled
  • Available in Full, Queen, King and Cal-King
  • Check price on Amazon

If you prefer a wooden foundation instead of steel, then the Dynasty Mattress Wood Box foundation might be for you. It is an all wood foundation with wooden slats. The slats are around 3″ apart so this will satisfy the requirements of most mattresses without any problems. Assembling the foundation should not pose any problems because it comes with instructions that is easy to understand.

In Summary

If you are buying a new bed, you should know that there are different options to choose from when it comes to bed frames/support structures. There are platform beds, adjustable beds and then there’s the traditional bed (bed frame+foundation). Each of them has their own pros and cons and it’s up to you to decide which one you think is best for you. If you opt for a traditional bed, then the foundations that we recommend above are all good options.