Bed Slats vs Box Spring


The debate between bed slats vs box springs has been ongoing for years. Each option offers unique advantages and disadvantages, and finding the best fit for your bed can be challenging.

Box springs give you a rigid, flat, and even surface, while bed slats can make a mattress sag. Box springs can also hold much weight and spread it out more evenly.

In this guide, we will explore the differences between Bed Slats and Box springs, providing an in-depth comparison to help you make an informed decision.

What are Bed Slats?

Bed slats are horizontal support pieces, typically made of wood or metal, placed across a bed frame to provide a stable foundation for a mattress. They run parallel to the head and foot of the bed, offering support to the entire mattress.

Bed slats play a crucial role in ensuring your mattress stays flat and well-supported, which, in turn, contributes to a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.

Who Are Slats Best For?

Generally, a solid board bed frame is best for people who like their beds to be firmer. This is especially true for people who sleep on their back, stomach, or side.

You can also sleep better with slats if you get hot at night (hot sleeper) because they let more airflow through and keep you cool.

Pros & Cons of Bed Slats

Bed Slats Pros

  • Even Weight Distribution: Bed slats are designed to evenly distribute the weight of your mattress and your body, which helps prevent any sagging or uneven wear on your mattress.
  • Affordability: Bed slats are generally more affordable than other mattress support options. This cost-effective choice provides you with good support without breaking the bank.
  • Long Lifespan: High-quality bed slats are built to last. They can withstand the weight and pressure placed on them and have a long lifespan.
  • Easy Assembly: Bed slats are generally easy to assemble and disassemble, making them a practical choice if you frequently move or have limited storage space.
  • Prevents Overheating: One significant advantage of bed slats is their ability to prevent overheating. They allow air to circulate under the mattress, reducing heat accumulation.

Bed Slats Cons

  • Sagging: Over time, slats can become less rigid and may develop a slight dip in the middle. This can lead to an uneven sleeping surface and reduce the comfort of your mattress.
  • Assembled Incorrectly: Properly installing bed slats is crucial for their effectiveness. If they are not assembled correctly, they may not provide adequate support, leading to discomfort and potential damage to your mattress.
  • Possible Shifting: Bed slats can sometimes shift or move out of position, especially if improperly secured. This shifting can create gaps or uneven support, disrupting sleep and requiring frequent adjustments.

What are Box Springs?

Box springs, or foundation or spring boxes, are a type of mattress support system. They consist of a wooden bed frame with springs encased in a fabric cover.

Box springs are typically placed on a bed frame or directly on the floor, acting as a base for your mattress. They are essential for innerspring mattresses but can also be used with other mattress types.

Who Are Box Springs Best For?

Depending on the mattress you buy, you’ll need a box spring. Coil-based mattresses necessitate the use of a box spring. An innerspring mattress is best supported by a box spring. However, a coil box spring is not a good choice for a memory foam or latex mattress.

Pros & Cons of Box Springs

Box Springs Pros

  • Enhanced Height and Support: Box springs raise your mattress, making it more accessible. This added height can benefit individuals with mobility issues or who prefer a higher bed.
  • Durability: Box springs are built to last. They absorb shock and minimize wear and tear on your mattress, ensuring the mattress and the box spring have a longer lifespan.
  • Noise Reduction: The spring system within box springs can help reduce noise. This can be advantageous for light sleepers, as it minimizes disturbances caused by movement during the night.

Box Springs Cons

  • Compatibility: Box springs may not be compatible with all bed frames or mattress types. It’s essential to ensure that your bed frame can accommodate a box spring or make the necessary adjustments.
  • Weight and Bulk: Box springs can be heavy and bulky, making them challenging to move and manoeuvre, especially in tight spaces. This can be a drawback when it comes to transportation or setup.
  • Cost: Compared to bed slats, box springs are often more expensive. The initial cost can be a consideration for those on a tight budget.

Slats vs Other Mattress Foundations

When choosing the proper mattress foundation, several options are available, each with its features and advantages.

In this section, we’ll compare bed slats with other standard mattress foundations to help you make an informed decision that suits your needs.

1. Bunkie Board

A Bunkie board is a slim, solid support between your mattress and the bed frame. These boards are typically made of plywood or particleboard and are an excellent choice when you want to reduce the overall height of your bed while providing essential support.

Bunkie boards may also be utilized in place of bed supports when a flat surface is required for the mattress. It is important to note that Bunkie boards typically impede ventilation, which may make them unsuitable for individuals who sleep hot.

2. Adjustable Base

An adjustable base, also known as an adjustable bed, offers customized support for your mattress. These bases can be electronically adjusted to elevate the head or foot of the bed.

This foundation can be used to increase or lower the height of either the head or the foot of the bed. They are ideal for those seeking versatility, whether for medical reasons, comfort, or lifestyle preferences.

3. Platform Beds

Platform beds have a built-in support system, eliminating the need for additional foundations like box springs or slats. They consist of a solid platform that fully supports your mattress.

Platform beds are known for their contemporary, minimalist design and often offer ample under-bed storage space.

4. Solid Foundation

A solid foundation is a sturdy, non-flexible support system designed to provide your mattress with uniform support.

These foundations are typically constructed with wood or metal and can extend the lifespan of your mattress by preventing sagging and uneven wear.


Choosing between bed slats and box springs ultimately depends on your preferences, mattress type, and sleep needs. Both options have their advantages, and neither is definitively better than the other.

When deciding, it’s crucial to consider factors like mattress type, budget, and personal comfort. Now, armed with the knowledge provided in this article, you can confidently choose the best support system for a comfortable and restful night’s sleep.


How much weight can bed slats hold?

A slatted base on most modern bed frames is strong enough to hold up to 600 pounds. But some are only meant to hold 300 pounds, so check with the maker to see the weight limit before buying.

Should I use metal or wood slats?

For instance, memory foam beds are susceptible to bumps and sagging when supported by wooden slats. If your mattress is heavy, you may hear creaking from the structure beneath it. However, metal slats are more durable and can still provide sufficient support for a mattress.

Can I use a box spring with a latex or memory foam mattress?

Due to their weight, firmness, and need for sturdy foundations, latex mattresses do not work well with box springs. The box spring base’s metallic coils might bend, break, or lose elasticity due to body and latex weight.

Do I need a boxspring if I have slats?

Since slats are made of less material than a regular box spring, they cost less. You usually don’t need a separate box spring if you buy a bed frame with a slatted base, and the slats are no more than 2.75 inches apart. Any cushion can sit right on the slats.

Do bed slats break easily?

If you don’t put the bed slats together right or put too much weight on them, they can break quickly. When you buy bed bars, check to see how much weight they can hold. Remember that metal slats are more likely to break than wooden ones.

Do slats make a bed more comfortable?

Some bed bars can help your mattress feel better and be more supportive. These things work with your mattress to give you the support you need when lying down. Also, they make airflow from your bed to your toes easier, which can help your mattress stay fresh for longer.

What is the advantage of a slat bed?

Bed slats let air flow through your mattress, which keeps your body temperature stable and helps you sleep better and healthier. Moving a slatted bed base is lighter than other frames, which makes it easier to move if you need to change your furniture or move.

Do bed slats need center support?

All timber bed frames (Full, Queen, King, and California King) require a central support. The producers of beds and mattresses advise placing a solid support in the middle of the bed.

About the author

Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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Best Mattress Advisor Editorial Team

Our dedicated team of experts, with more than two years of experience in the bedding industry, is committed to helping you achieve your best sleep yet. From in-depth reviews to comprehensive guides, we cover almost every aspect of sleep products, including mattresses, pillows, bed frames, and accessories. Explore our website and discover why we're the go-to resource for all things sleep-related.

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