What is a Boxspring and What Does it Really Do?

Here is a recent question we received via email:

Is a boxspring worth the extra money and does it help the mattress last?

Well for many years the answer was yes. However you might be surprised at today’s answer; in this article we’ll take a closer look at what a boxspring is, and what it really can do.

How the Boxspring Started

Many years ago a mattress would lay on a simple platform others were suspended by ropes, and then along came the mattresses mate the box spring. It was the theoretical shock absorber for your sleep system.  The idea that a box spring lengthens mattress life  and gives our bodies additional support has been the salesman’s pitch for years, but does it really?  It seems that box springs and our thinking have changed quite a bit since early mattress sets and we’ll show you how, but first let’s check out the old way of thinking.

What is a Boxspring and What Does it Really Do?
What is a Boxspring and What Does it Really Do?

According to the Better Sleep Council “the mattress and the boxspring is designed to work together as an integral set and were engineered as such”. The council goes on to say that “the boxspring or today the more commonly called foundation receives most of the wear & tear throughout the mattress life. The boxspring is the key component and is by and large the contributing factor to mattress comfort and overall support. Placing a new mattress upon an old box spring, or pairing it with a mismatched foundation that it was not originally designed to work with, may shorten the beds functional life significantly. Putting a board between the boxspring and mattress will reduce comfort and shorten overall mattress life along with possibly voiding the manufacturers warranty.

The above paragraph is true. Unfortunately the most common of today’s box springs are designs like the Leggett & Platt SEMI-FLEX™ or the Hickory Springs’ zero deflection PowerStack™. Both of these designs have virtually no give or absorption ability when compared to the traditional coil box spring and various other torsion bar designs. Not only that but these new “box springs” have significantly less steel in them. This lack of steel in the box spring makes itself evident from the moment you pick one up; there is little weight or beefiness to their design.

Other new “boxsprings” actually are what is called a foundation. It is a simple design that consists normally of a lightly framed wood box. They also use horizontal wood slats that span the overall width of the boxspring helping to distribute weight. Often lying across the top of wood slats is a sheet of cardboard that is covered with upholstery.

It is my opinion that “boxsprings” of the non-flexible designs neither flex nor do they extend the useful life of a mattress. I also feel that non and semi flexible “boxsprings” do not contribute to mattress support. It will however transfer less disturbances from one person to another.

Many people believe that anything with steel is going to be stronger overall, but this is simply untrue. There are very good quality wood foundations on the market that can outperform the so called “boxsprings” so be sure to do your homework. So the question is this, are “boxsprings” really stronger and do they make a bed last longer? Well many people would say no. I think it is easy to see it depends on what the definition of a “boxspring” really is.

We have a great selection of box springs – even all natural box springs. Browse our selection today and let us know how we can help you find the perfect fit for your body.