Do Memory Foam Mattresses Need Box Springs?

Using the right foundation can improve the longevity and comfort of your new memory foam mattress.

By Nicole Gleichmann

Apr 28th, 2022

Most of us grew up with a traditional innerspring mattress, a type of mattress that does best with a box spring. The box spring is able to absorb some of the shock that is released from the coils inside of innerspring mattresses, and the stable surface helps to extend the life of the mattress.

But memory foam mattresses are completely different. Rather than being made from hundreds to thousands of steel coils, memory foam mattresses are made entirely from foam. Because the materials are different, so is the ideal base that you should use for a memory foam mattress.

Using the right foundation can help extend the life of your mattress. What’s more, it can increase the comfort and support that your mattress offers. Read on to learn how to best set up your new memory foam mattress.

Do Memory Foam Mattresses Require a Box Spring?

The short answer to the question, “do memory foam mattresses need box springs?” is no, they do not. However, the type of foundation that you use for your memory foam mattress is just as important as it is for the traditional mattresses that require box springs for support.

Latex and memory foam mattresses require a flat, firm, and stable surface to properly distribute the mattress’s weight. Without this type of structure, the mattress will not be adequately supported.

So then, why isn’t a box spring appropriate? A box spring allows a bit of give, and too much give can lead to sagging and a poor-night’s rest on a foam bed. While you can use a box spring that gives no more than 1” when you apply weight to it, it is best to go with a foundation that you know is firm and supportive.

The Best Memory Foam Mattress Foundations

The Floor

Because the floor is flat and supportive, it can be an ideal foundation for your memory foam mattress.

Having your mattress on the floor can be viewed through many lenses. Some people dislike the aesthetic that comes from having a mattress on the floor. Yet others find the minimalism appealing.

If you are someone who likes the idea of having your mattress directly on the floor, and you have a memory foam or latex mattress, you now have an excuse to do so. Resting your memory foam mattress on the floor is just as good as any other type of foundation. The primary downside to this solution is the lack of storage space.

Wooden Slats

Wooden slats, typically used with wooden frames, are the most popular type of foundation for memory foam beds. Not only is a slat foundation easy to assemble, but it is also inexpensive, light, and easy to transport. Using a slatted bed support spreads the weight of the mattress across many boards, resulting in proper foam support.

Bunkie Boards

A bunkie board is simply a flat piece of particleboard or plywood that has been treated and sized to properly support your mattress. What is great about bunkie boards is that they can be used to transition your current setup to accommodate a new memory foam mattress. All you need to do is place your bunkie board on top of your box spring or bed frame to provide a solid support structure for your mattress to rest.

Adjustable Bed Frames

Adjustable bed frames require a mattress to rest directly on them so that it moves along with the adjustable base. They tend to provide adequate support for any type of mattress that works with an adjustable bed, such as a latex or foam mattress.

Platform Bed Frames

Platform bed frames are an inexpensive option with a solid base designed to support any mattress type. You can find platform bed frames that offer ample storage space as well as those that offer a more subtle look by keeping your mattress closer to the ground.

Metal Bed Frames

Some metal bed frames are adequate to support a foam bed, although it depends on the frame. You want to be sure that the weight is properly supported and distributed. For some metal bed frames, you may need to use a very firm box spring, but with others, there is already a solid foundation on which the foam mattress can rest.

Final Thoughts on Box Springs

Not only do memory foam mattresses not need box springs, but they tend to do better without them. That does not mean, however, that you can place your memory foam mattress on anything. Be sure to use a foundation that provides a flat, firm, and stable surface to equally distribute the mattress’s weight. In the absence of this, use the floor!