Bed Slats vs Box Spring: Which Is Better?

Bed Slats vs Box Spring: Which Is Better?

Written by Nectarsleep editorial team

Last Updated on Jun 04, 2022

In this article:

    Much like anything else in this world, your mattresses need support to perform their best. Unfortunately, a wrong foundation gives way to sagging and indentations, causing you to rest uncomfortably throughout the night. It is, therefore, recommended to accompany your mattress with a sturdy foundation. And while you are on the lookout for one, the two choices you will most likely come across are bed slats and box springs. 

    But which one should you choose? Which one should go best with your mattress type? Read on to find out!

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    What Are Bed Slats

    Bed slats are planks of solid wood or metal that run horizontally inside a bed frame and hold the weight of a mattress securely. In a slatted foundation, the boards are typically spaced 2 to 2.75 inches apart to keep the body weight of sleepers uniformly distributed. 

    As far as types of slats are concerned, bed slats can be either individual or interconnected. Connected slats appear similar to a ladder and are usually wrapped in fabric to stay intact. On the other hand, individual bed slats rest alongside each other and require screws to keep them in place. 

    Benefits of Using Bed Slats 

    Many consumers find slatted bed bases to be more comfortable and supportive than other types of foundations. Below, we list the benefits of using bed slats. 

    • Budget-friendly. Since comparatively less material goes into their making, bed slats happen to be much more affordable than other bedding foundations. So, if you are looking for something that doesn't dig deep into your pocket, bed slats can be an excellent choice.

       

    • Durability. Wood slats for beds are known for the extra durability they offer. That, too, when you are not buying something substantial or super-heavy.

       

    • Lightweight design. Bed slats come with a lightweight design that makes them easier to transport, assemble, and disassemble.

       

    • Promote airflow. The gaps between the bed slats allow air to flow through and beneath the bed, preventing moisture from building up. So, no more mold and mildew issues! For similar reasons, bed slats are also recommended for sleepers who tend to sleep hot at night. 

    Drawbacks of Using Bed Slats 

    Some drawbacks of bed slats are outlined below:

    • Possibility of sagging. If the planks are placed more than three inches apart or are remarkably thin, there are high chances of them allowing mattress sag. Memory foam models, in particular, have body contouring capabilities that make them more susceptible to sinkage through the wider gaps between bed slats.

       

    • Prone to sliding. Another pitfall is that bed slats, when not appropriately secured, are prone to shifting or sliding. This can lead to mishaps such as injuries or damage to the bed frame.

    What Is a Box Spring

    A box spring is a heavy wooden platform covered by a thin layer of sheeting or cushion. Traditionally, when innerspring mattresses were the game's name, box springs used to contain coil springs (and hence the name) for bounce and shock absorption. 

    However, modern box springs are generally hollow from the inside and only serve as additional heights for beds. These box bases come in varying shapes and sizes, and some even have wheels to make them easier to transport. The best thing about these upholstered boxes filled with pocketed springs is that they lend a unique luxurious look to your bedroom. 

    Benefits of Using a Box Spring 

    Although box springs are nowadays not as popular as wooden slats, it all depends on your requirements and preferences at the end of the day. 

    Here are a few benefits of box springs:

    • Elevates mattress height. The box spring structure significantly elevates the height of your bed. This is particularly beneficial for those who require extra height to get in and out of their bed, for example, the elderly.
    • Stable support. Box springs provide your mattresses with much more stable support than bed slats. In addition, these are sturdy enough to keep up with heavyweights.
    • Do not shift around. Being solid and bulky, these stay in place and offer less chance of sagging.
    • Extra bounce. Box springs comprising spring coils tend to bring a bouncy feel when accompanied by an innerspring mattress. As such, the added bounce can be a plus for sleepers who prefer sleeping on innerspring mattresses. 

    Drawbacks of Using a Box Spring 

    Let us now look at some of the drawbacks of using a box spring. 

    • Difficulty in transportation. Most box springs cannot be split into parts and are hence difficult to move or transport.
    • Too cumbersome. Box springs are generally too heavy and bulky, making it problematic to move them physically once they are placed.
    • Little support. Modern box springs lack coils and therefore offer very little support. This can sometimes lead to sagging in the middle of the bed, especially when you have an all-foam mattress.
    • More expensive. These products are much more expensive than bed slats, the reason being that more materials go into their making.

    Things to Consider While Choosing Bed Slat vs Box Spring

    When you are to choose between bed slats and box springs, do not forget to consider the following things:

    Mattress Type

    The type of mattress you have is the primary factor determining what foundation your bed needs. For the most part, conventional box springs work better with coil-based mattresses, and bed slats with proper spacings pair well with foam or latex models. 

    Bed Height

    Make sure you acknowledge how elevated you want your mattress to be. If you prefer sleeping on a high-profile bed, a box foundation will probably be your best bet. On the flip side, if you are looking for a low-profile bed base for kids or the elderly, bed slats should work fine. You may also want to consider the size of the mattress and room before deciding on the bed height. 

    Maintenance

    One problem with box springs is that they gather dust very easily, making them somewhat high-maintenance. If you suffer from house dust mite allergies, the easy maintenance of a slatted foundation can be your decisive factor when choosing between bed slats and box springs.

    Cost

    As we mentioned already, bed slats are cheaper than box springs. Although the cost depends upon the type of slatted bed base or box spring you opt for, box springs are usually costlier. So, if you are looking for a cost-effective option, bed slats might be your best choice.

    Interior Decoration

    If you consider buying a bed foundation to add an aesthetic touch to your bedroom or make it look more stylish and sophisticated, a box spring is what you need. Bed slats give an effortless and understated appearance most of the time.

    Ventilation

    As you might have already guessed, bed slats work best for ventilation. These are more open and promote sufficient airflow through the gaps between them. So, if you sleep hot or experience night sweats often, consider going for bed slats rather than box springs.

    Conclusion

    Although placing your mattress on the floor can be an option, it is more than crucial to have a foundation for your mattress. Keeping it directly on the floor may result in reduced airflow, less hygiene, and revokement in its warranty agreement. 

    But that's not it. Even if you pair your mattress with an incorrect foundation, it can ultimately lead to sleep disturbances, morning aches, and spinal misalignment. So, when you are unsure whether to buy bed slats or box springs, know that there are quite a few components you must factor in before deciding. 

    To help you decide on your best bed foundation, we have outlined all such factors and the pros and cons of bed slats vs box springs in this guide. Make sure you consider your budget, convenience, and requirements to make the final call, and feel free to revisit this blog while you are at it!

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
    {"faq":[{"_id":"94dcbb4","title":"Can you put a mattress on the floor?","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EYou can. But should you? Ideally, no. Putting a mattress on the floor can damage it in the long run. This can also void your warranty. Thus, it is best to check with the manufacturer and their warranty guidelines to see if you should put it on the floor.\u003C\/span\u003E\u003C\/p\u003E"},{"_id":"faed46e","title":"Can I use plywood instead of box springs? ","content":"\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cspan style=\"font-weight: 400;\"\u003EIt's worth noting that plywood and bunkie boards can be utilized as replacements to box springs, depending on your mattress. 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