Updated November 11, 2020Memory foam mattresses are relatively soft, so they need a more solid support system than box spring foundations have to offer.Solid platforms and slatted bases offer the best support for memory foam, as long as the slats are no more than 3 inches apart. A foundation meeting these requirements can maintain the mattress’s longevity.In this article, we will discuss why memory foam beds need different foundations than innerspring mattresses, and what type of foundations are best for your new memory foam mattress.Traditional Foundation vs. Box SpringTraditional box springs are built with wooden frames, steel springs, and widely spaced slats. The slats absorb movements by reacting to weight and evenly distributing pressure, preventing sagging and wear in the mattress.When a memory foam mattress is placed on a box spring, the box spring flexes, causing the bed to sag in the middle, rolling sleepers toward one another.Box springs’ slats are spaced more than 3 inches apart, which can cause the memory foam mattress to dip below the slats—this leads to unevenly distributed weight and premature disintegration.Foundations are sturdy structures with evenly spaced slats or a solid platform. Unlike box springs, foundations don’t flex under weight—this prevents the mattress from bending in the middle.Alternative Bases for Memory Foam BedsThere are many types of foundations compatible with the best memory foam mattresses. Some are built with slats, while others are solid platforms.Platform BedsPlatform beds have a sleek modern look and a solid surface where you can place your memory foam mattress. Often, they come without a headboard, although you can attach one.Platform beds are more affordable than traditional bed frames and come in several heights.Since a platform bed’s surface is solid, it doesn’t encourage much ventilation, which may cause heat and moisture build-up in the mattress. Hot sleepers will sleep cooler on a slatted bed.Slatted FoundationPanel and slatted foundations can support a memory foam mattress without a box spring; just make sure the slats are no wider than 3 inches.Normally, slatted foundations are made of wood with wooden slats. The slats allow air to circulate, which significantly reduces heat and moisture retention. We suggest looking for a wood slat foundation capable of supporting at least 500 pounds—or the weight of the mattress and one or two sleepers.Adjustable BedsAdjustable beds are often used by those with acid reflux and sleep apnea. You can adjust the foundation to elevate your head and legs. This alleviates pressure on the lower back and hips, prevents stomach acid from slipping into the esophagus, and opens up the airways.You cannot use a box spring on an adjustable foundation because it prevents the base from adjusting properly. The best adjustable bed offers a solid and flat surface, so it can be used alone.Bunkie BoardsBunkie boards are low-profile and flat. Manufactured out of plywood or particleboard, they’re used to reinforce the tops of box springs, so the foundation can support a memory foam mattress.Some people use bunkie boards to raise their mattresses further off the ground.Metal FramesMetal bed frames have built-in metal grid systems or slats; however, the grid and slats can create pressure points and deteriorate the mattress’s material. You can place a bunkie board on top of the frame before laying down the mattress—this prevents pressure points from damaging your bed.Why Use a Box Spring?A little over 75 years ago, box springs and innerspring mattresses were the most popular sleep setups. Now, people have other mattress and foundation options, causing the box springs’ popularity to plummet.Box springs offer support, prevent sagging, and extend an innerspring mattress’s lifespan. They also raise the mattress off the ground, making it easier to get in and out of bed, and create a flat, sturdy surface, which deters premature sagging.Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat is the best bed base for a memory foam mattress?Memory foam mattresses are best paired with solid or slatted bed frames, but when paired with slatted bed frames, the slats should be no more than 3 inches apart. These foundations offer sturdy support to resist sagging and prevent wear and tear.Are metal foundations good for memory foam mattresses?Not necessarily. Metal foundations tend to cause sagging and indentations across foam mattresses. These foundations typically offer uneven support and aren’t sturdy enough to reinforce heavy foam beds. We suggest choosing solid wood foundations instead.Can you use a piece of plywood instead of a box spring?If you have a bed frame or foundation that needs extra support to hold a mattress (i.e. frame is hollow or foundation has slats too far apart), you can use a piece of plywood to create a more sturdy surface for your mattress. Be sure to choose moisture-resistant plywood and check to see that it’s at least .75 inches thick. Plywood that is too thin will sag and eventually crack and break under the weight of a mattress and sleeper.What can I put under my mattress to make it higher?Box springs and mattress foundations do more than just support your mattress, they give it extra height to make it easier to climb in and out of bed. If you have a very thin mattress, you can use a box spring or solid or slatted foundation to keep your bed at a comfortable height.Are box springs obsolete?Box springs aren’t entirely obsolete, but they’re getting there. Box springs are only compatible with innerspring mattresses, and innerspring mattresses are not nearly as popular as they once were. Plus, mattress foundations and other mattress supports are the go-to options for shoppers, and these options can also be paired with innersprings.We wouldn’t suggest investing in a box spring in today’s mattress world. That said, if you still have a box spring and don’t want to part ways with it just yet, you can throw a bunky board or piece of plywood on top of it to enhance its support and prolong its lifespan.ConclusionIn summary, memory foam mattresses do not need a box spring because box springs do not offer the support a memory foam mattress needs.Memory foam mattresses need a solid foundation with slats spaced no wider than 3 inches. If you just got a new memory foam mattress, there is a wide selection of foundations available for purchase.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.