There are many options to think about when contemplating buying a new bed. The type of mattress and base are crucial decisions. Putting a box spring on top of slats is something that many people consider.

You can put box springs on top of bed slats, but it’s unnecessary. The box spring will only add extra weight to the slats and also make the bed higher. However, if you are unconcerned by either of these, putting a box spring between the slats and the mattress will cause no problems.

Read on to learn more about box springs, why people might want to put them on top of slats, and learn some alternatives to box springs.

Why You Can Put a Box Spring on Top of Slats

Slats are usually strong enough to withstand the weight of a box spring, the mattress, and the sleepyhead under the duvet. The slats grip well, and the box spring won’t slide around on them.

The real question is, do you need both? Unless you have a specific reason for putting a box spring on top of the slats, you might be better off thinking of something else.

There are various types of mattresses to choose from, and selecting the right mattress and support combination is an important decision. Comfort is naturally very important, but making your bed look great is also something people often prioritize.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at box springs and the alternatives.

What Is a Box Spring?

A box spring is a frame that supports the mattress. It can be wooden or metal and often contain springs for extra mattress support. They are bulky and frequently don’t fold down to a smaller size.

The Purpose of a Box Spring

A box spring elevates the mattress, giving it a flat structure for support. It provides the user with a good elevation. It is also a shock absorber for when your toddler crashes his ride-on into your bed first thing in the morning!

Does a Box Spring Make a Difference?

A box spring gives support to your mattress. It, therefore, also supports you, and It can aid you in getting a night of good sleep. It also keeps the mattress in good condition.

If you have a box spring under your mattress, it may reinforce the bed frame so that your toddlers jumping all over your bed won’t hurt the frame.

Are Box Springs Necessary?

In bygone days, box springs were always a critical bed component. Back then, it was either a bed with a box spring or a mattress on the floor. However, as time goes by, things are changing in the world of mattress support.

Box springs are not entirely necessary anymore. With rapid advancements in mattress development in recent years, they are slowly becoming obsolete. There are now better alternatives for supporting your mattress.

Box Spring Alternatives

There are so many types of mattresses and beds available these days that the box spring is starting to become a thing of the past. Choosing any of these alternatives will depend on many factors.

You should consider your finances, your current sleep quality, and the aesthetics you are looking for. Here are a few alternatives to box springs for you to think about:

  • Under-mattress slats – as discussed, they can be used without a box spring.
  • Platform bed – a low-profile bed frame with a solid, metal or slatted base.
  • Adjustable beds – a multi-hinged bed you can customize to support your preferred position.
  • A memory foam mattress – a mattress made from material that responds to your body heat for better comfort.
  • A hybrid mattress – a mattress that uses a foam and spring combination for comfort.
  • The floor – simply putting your mattress on the floor acts as a flat supporting surface.

Using memory foam or hybrid mattresses with slats is possible. You must ensure that the slats are at least ½-inch thick and spaced no more than 2 ¾-inches apart.

What Are Slats?

Slats are wooden or metal planks that support a mattress. They offer similar support to a box spring, and many prefer this style. Slats should be spaced 2 to 3 inches apart.

However, keep in mind when buying slats that they are designed to withstand a certain weight. Most slats can withstand 600 pounds, but some others can only withstand 300 pounds.

Usually, this shouldn’t be a problem, but you should consider it if you share the bed with your partner, maybe a large pet pooch, and the box spring’s weight. Check with the manufacturer for the slats’ recommended maximum weight before purchasing.

You might also want to read: How to Make Bed Slats Stronger

Why Would You Put a Box Spring on Top of Slats?

You would put a box spring on top of slats to raise the height of the bed, for example. Some people like a high bed and the box spring on top of the slats will provide this. Some people simply sleep better at a higher height.

You can use this combination for aesthetic purposes, too. Everybody has their taste, and this can look good when done correctly.

Why You Shouldn’t Put a Box Spring on Top of Slats

Height will be the primary concern, especially for the elderly. Some older people may find getting down from a high bed challenging. Young children may also find the height difficult. A box spring will give unnecessary extra height if used with slats.

Using a box spring also negates the slats’ ability to circulate air. The mattress may become trapped with moisture and mold more quickly than without the box spring.

Box Spring or Slats: Which Should You Choose?

You may have a good reason for choosing both. However, if, by now, you have decided to pick just one, which should you select? Let’s look at the pros and cons of both:

Box Spring Pros and Cons


  • The mattress won’t sag between the slats.


  • Transportation is difficult due to weight and bulk.
  • It provides less effective air circulation.
  • It is pricier than slats.

Slats Pros and Cons


  • They are more budget-friendly.
  • Slats are lightweight and last a long time.
  • Transporting them is easy.
  • They provide good air circulation.


  • Some types of mattresses might sag through the slats.
  • They may not be able to withstand a heavier weight (check manufacturer guidelines).

Reviewers recommend these Wood to the World Solid Pine Wood Slats on Amazon, which sell at an economical price. They can be cut to size and are made from solid and dense South American yellow pine.

Alternative Ways to Use a Box Spring With Slats

If it is just the support of the flat box spring you need on top of the slats, then consider a piece of plywood as an alternative. It will be lighter and provide the same flat surface for your mattress. It will also keep the bed at a regular height.

A bunkie board will be a more aesthetically pleasing but more expensive alternative to a piece of plywood. It is essentially a piece of plywood, but it will be polished and covered in fabric. Using a bunkie board with mattresses unsuitable for slats could work out well.

Final Thoughts

There may be reasons for you wanting to have slats coupled with a box spring, and if this is so, then it is perfectly okay to have both.

Without a specific reason, it is unnecessary to have both. Choosing one or the other is the standard choice, and there are many benefits from doing it this way.

There are other alternatives out there, and selecting one that suits your needs is a relatively straightforward process. Envision your room before purchase, and consider the comfort and height you want before taking the plunge.

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