How to Select a Box Spring

How to Select a Box Spring

Your box spring mattress offers support for the actual mattress you sleep on, makes getting in and out of bed easier, and reduces mattress wear and tear. Since these sturdy frames play a big part in the quality of your sleep, your choice of a box spring mattress should be made carefully. Read on for everything you should consider before buying. For more information that will help you choose a quality box spring, read our FAQs About Box Spring Mattresses.
Closeup on corner of memory foam mattress over box spring

Measure Your Mattress

Bed Size  Mattress Dimensions
Twin 39 inches x 75 inches
Full 54 inches x 75 inches
Queen 60 inches x 80 inches
King 78 inches x 80 inches

Box springs are sized just like regular mattresses and are available in twin, double, queen, king and California king sizes. If you are uncertain what size your mattress is, measure it. Twin mattresses are 39 inches by 75 inches, full mattresses are 54 inches by 75 inches, queen mattresses are 60 inches by 80 inches and king mattresses are 78 inches by 80 inches. You’ll want your box spring mattress to be flush with your regular mattress, so buy accordingly. For an easy-to-digest mattress sizing chart, check out our Bed Size Fact Sheet.

Grey and white memory foam mattress on top of box spring

Plan for Your Desired Bed Height

A benefit of a box spring is the added height to your bed. However, this means you need to take into account the total height of both the box spring and mattress. The two most common box spring heights are a standard 9-inch box spring and a low profile 5-inch box spring. With the popularity of memory foam toppers and high-profile deluxe mattresses, the addition of an average 9-inch box spring can make a rather tall bed.

If your mattress is already at the desired height, look for a low-profile box spring. Although the low-profile box spring is much smaller in size, it still provides the same support and durability as a 9-inch box spring. The height of your box spring won’t affect your mattress’s performance in any way. It’s merely a matter of preference and aesthetic value.

Grey and white box spring on a simple black frame

Choose Between a Split Box Spring or Standard Box Spring

While a standard box spring comes as one whole piece, a split box spring comes in two sections to make up the size of your mattress. Unlike a mattress, a box spring can’t be squished into submission to fit through narrow halls and doorways. If you have a queen size bed or larger, and narrow halls in your home, you may need to purchase a split queen box spring. A split box spring does cost slightly more than a one-piece model; however, the ease of moving them makes up for the extra expense. A split box spring will require support in the center of the bed frame, so ensure your bed frame will accommodate this type of box spring.

Memory foam mattress, box spring, and throw pillows on a mid-century modern wood platform bed

Pick One That Fits Your Bed Frame

Select a box spring mattress that will fit on your bed frame. If you have an older rigid frame, check if the box spring can slide in or rest on top of it. It’s vital to make sure that your bed frame is sturdy and will provide a tight fit with the box spring. If you just can’t make your bed fit your bed frame, remember that your box spring mattress can also rest on the floor. A bed frame is not absolutely necessary when you use a box spring mattress.

Metal mattress foundation next to wood mattress foundation with cover partially removed

Select Materials That Suit Your Lifestyle

Box springs are generally made from wood and contain a steel reinforcement to provide strength. A thick fabric called ticking is applied to the sides, a skid-resistant fabric is added to the top, and the bottom is covered with a fabric dust barrier.

Box springs come with many options, including ones with densely packed coils as well as boxes with hypoallergenic fabrics, organic fabrics, and natural fillers. Mattresses and box springs are ideal places for dust mites and allergens. If you have allergies, select a box spring mattress that comes with an allergen-blocking cover to reduce the likelihood of an allergy attack. Other options include box springs that are designed for specific needs, such as extra support for those with back problems.

If you come across a cheap box spring that looks very similar to a higher-priced one, read the fine print. There could be major differences in spring type, fibers, or other parts of the box spring.

Pillowtop mattress with a built in box spring on the bottom

Don’t Overlook the Included Box Spring

Always take a good look at the mattress and box spring set. Often, manufacturers sell these combinations according to consumer popularity or as a promotional offer. With these packaged deals, it’s possible to get a box spring for significantly less than retail price. Plus, the set may be under the same warranty terms, making maintenance easy and affordable.

Investing in a high-quality mattress is a smart move. If you make a well-informed decision, your box spring mattress will last many years. Still not sure if a box spring is for you? Explore all your options to find a mattress that suits your sleep style in our full Mattress Buying Guide.