When you purchase a new mattress, you’re faced with the question of replacing your box spring as well. For most mattresses, it’s important to have a solid foundation and box springs are the most common option. That being said, however, they may not be the only option.
If you’re looking for an alternative to box springs, consider a platform bed.
Box springs provide a sturdy foundation for most mattresses, but they aren’t perfect. They do a good job of extending the life of the mattress by preventing sagging, but they can add undesired height to the bed as well. Box springs are by no means a poor choice, but they aren’t always the best choice and it’s important to know what your options are.
In this article, we’ll explore the subject of platform beds to determine what they are and to talk about their pros and cons. We’ll also provide tips for choosing a mattress compatible with platform beds and provide you with our top picks for the best mattress for platform beds.
What is the Best Mattress for a Platform Bed?
What is a Platform Bed?
When you use the word “bed,” you’re probably referring to the entire ensemble – the frame, the mattress, and even the pillows and comforter. If you’re going to get technical about it, however, the word bed often refers primarily to the structure itself – the actual piece of furniture. Another word often used in this application is the word “foundation.”
The foundation is what your mattress sits on. It provides support to keep the mattress from sagging and to ensure the materials making up the mattress do their job. The most common foundation for mattresses is the box spring. Box springs can be used on any type of bed, including simple metal frames.
A platform bed is typically made with a raised horizontal frame, often designed with a low profile. These beds can be designed with or without a headboard and footboard, and they often incorporate underbed storage. A storage bed is a great option for bedrooms where space is at a premium such as in small apartments or dorm rooms. Platform beds can be used with box springs but may also use slats.
Pros and Cons of Platform Beds
A mattress foundation provides support for the mattress, but there are other benefits as well. Choosing the right foundation affects the lifespan of the mattress and may increase airflow to keep you cooler at night. Certain foundations add height or limit the height of the bed and may help keep the bed clean by keeping it off the floor. A platform bed is a simple foundation that comes with many pros and cons.
- It saves you the additional cost of purchasing a box spring so you can put that money toward investing in a higher quality mattress.
- You can always change your mind and add a box spring if you want to raise the height of the mattress or adjust the way it feels.
- Many platform beds come with storage options which is particularly beneficial in small apartments and other cramped spaces.
- Platform beds improve air circulation under and around the mattress which may help you sleep cooler at night.
- Most platform beds are designed with a low profile – if you don’t use a box spring, it may end up being too low for some people who have trouble getting up on their own.
- Platform beds are typically assembled in one piece which can make it difficult to move the bed around after it is fully assembled.
- Some people find platform beds look too basic or simple – if you want to add a headboard you may have to spend extra for it.
In the end, it’s completely up to you to decide whether a platform bed is the right choice. Both platform beds and box springs have their advantages and disadvantages, so we can’t tell you definitively that one is better than the other. We can, however, provide you with recommendations when it comes to choosing a platform bed and the mattress you use on it. Read on to see our suggestions.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Platform Bed
Platform beds have become incredibly popular which means you have a wide variety of options to choose from. Unfortunately, that can make it more difficult to make a choice as well. Before you start shopping for a platform mattress base, you should have some idea what you’re looking for.
Here are some things to think about when shopping for a platform bed:
- Cost – Compared to other types of foundations, platform beds tend to be pretty affordable. That being said, you’ll find a wide range of prices so think about your budget before you shop.
- Style – Platform beds come in a wide variety of materials and styles, so think about what will match the décor in your bedroom or design a bedroom makeover around your new bed.
- Height – Most platform beds have a low profile, but you’ll still find they come in different heights. Think about what’s most comfortable for you, taking into account the thickness of your mattress and whether you plan to use a box spring.
- Support – Some platform beds utilize slats while others have a solid wood surface. If the bed you choose doesn’t come with these things, you’ll need to purchase them yourself.
- Extras – If you want a headboard or footboard, you may need to purchase it separately or choose a platform bed that comes with it. Think about whether you want a storage bed too.
Once you’ve picked out your platform bed, the next step is to choose a new mattress. You may not think you need to replace your mattress, but if it’s 7 years or older it’s at least time to start thinking about it.
What Kind of Mattress Do You Need?
If you’re going to go with a platform bed, you’ve already made half of the decision – the second half is to choose a mattress. Fortunately, many modern mattresses are compatible with platform beds. All you really need is a solid foundation, and most platform beds fit the bill. That being said, certain types of mattresses tend to work better with a platform mattress base than others.
Generally speaking, the best mattresses for platform beds are memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses. These require a solid, non-flexible foundation which is what a platform bed provides.
Memory foam and latex are similar materials in that they both sink under pressure, conforming to the contours of your body. Depending on the density, memory foam tends to sink a little more than latex which is great for pressure relief but can create challenges with heat retention. Latex tends to sleep a little cooler and it is a little more responsive than memory foam.
Hybrid mattresses combine the elements of different mattress materials. In many cases, they feature a supportive spring base with latex or foam comfort layers. These mattresses work well for platform beds.
The Best Mattress for Platform Beds
If you’ve decided a platform bed is the right choice for you, the next step is to find the perfect mattress. Fortunately, most modern mattresses are designed to work with platform beds and a variety of other foundations. Even so, it’s a good idea to double-check or, if you already know you’re using a platform bed, choose a mattress that is designed with this type of foundation in mind.
We’ve done our best to provide you with a wide range of suggestions in different categories to help you narrow down your options. Here are our top picks for the best platform bed mattress:
Best Overall: Platform beds are very versatile, so you can choose from just about any mattress on the market. That being said, there are certain things we think you should look for. Support is essential, but we also look for mattresses that deliver on pressure relief. The Nectar mattress is our top pick because it hits the sweet spot on those two categories while still being affordable and rated at a medium level of firmness.
The Nectar mattress is constructed with a base of stabilizing support foam followed by a transition layer of adaptive hi-core memory foam. Next comes a layer of gel-infused memory foam that helps distribute your body weight and body heat for all-night comfort. On top you’ll enjoy a quilted memory foam mattress cover that is soft and airy. The combination of these materials ensures nonstop airflow to keep you cool at night, all while enjoying the support and pressure relief you need. Nectar mattresses come with free shipping and returns as well as a 365-night trial period.
- Pros: Long 365-night trial period, multi-layer foam construction, comfort and support
- Cons: May not be firm enough for heavy sleepers, foam may be slow to respond
Best Budget-Friendly: Price is often equated with quality, but you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to get a good mattress. Amerisleep is a trustworthy brand that offers affordable pricing on high-quality mattresses. When it comes to budget-friendly options, we recommend the Amerisleep AS3. Try it risk-free for 100 nights and enjoy the reassurance of a 20-year warranty.
The Amerisleep AS3 mattress is the company’s most popular model. It combines support with softness and pressure relief, making it perfect for all sleeping styles. This all-foam mattress incorporates unique, premium materials like Bio-Pur open-cell memory foam which wicks away warm air, making it more breathable than traditional foam. This mattress is more responsive than traditional foam as well and crafted for lasting comfort and durability.
- Pros: Five models to choose from, plant-based Bio-Pur materials, targeted pressure relief system
- Cons: Could be stronger in edge support, may not have enough bounce for some sleepers
Best Luxury: You can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep, but you can put a price on a mattress. If you’re looking for a luxury option but you don’t want to break the bank, we think the Alexander Signature Series mattress from Nest Bedding is an excellent compromise. This mattress delivers in every area you’d expect from premium materials and unbeatable comfort to optimal support and pressure relief. It also sleeps cool.
The Alexander Signature Series mattress from Nest Bedding is wrapped in a breathable organic knit cover and made up of layers of Certi-PUR-US memory foam. What really makes this mattress unique, however, is the fact that it is flippable – choose from a medium or luxury firm level of comfort simply by flipping the mattress over. You’ll also get free shipping and returns with a 100-night comfort guarantee.
- Pros: Added temperature regulation features, blend of luxury and pressure relief, medium or firm sides
- Cons: May still sleep warmer than other models, can be somewhat heavy and difficult to move
Best Memory Foam: When it comes to choosing a mattress for your platform bed, you have a wide array of options, but memory foam is definitely one to consider. Depending on the type of foam, the thickness, and the density, you can customize a mattress to nearly any level of firmness. Our top pick for the best memory foam mattress for platform beds is the Layla memory foam mattress – it also happens to be a two-sided mattress which gives you the versatility of choosing between two firmness levels.
The Layla memory foam mattress is constructed from a combination of Layla Max AirFlow foam and cooling copper-gel memory foam. The mattress is wrapped in a luxurious fabric cover that helps wick away body heat, and the cover can be removed for easy cleaning. This mattress is affordably priced under $1,000 for the queen size and it ships free and includes a 120-night sleep trial.
- Pros: Flippable two-sided design, copper-infused memory foam for cooling, comfort and support
- Cons: Slow response foam may make it tough to change positions
Best Latex: Memory foam is great, but it isn’t right for everyone. Some people who try memory foam get the feeling they’re sleeping “in” rather than “on” the mattress and desire a little more bounce. If you’re looking for a material with a little more responsiveness to it but you don’t want to compromise on pressure relief, consider latex. Our top pick for the best latex mattress for platform beds is Zenhaven by Saatva.
The Zenhaven mattress by Saatva is a premium pick. This mattress delivers natural comfort and breathable sleep through the combination of natural Talalay latex and organic cotton. The mattress is built on a support core of latex with a 5-zone comfort layer of latex over top. It’s all wrapped up in a quilted organic cotton cover with a flame-retardant layer of organic wool just underneath. This mattress comes with free white glove delivery, a 120-night home trial, and a 20-year warranty.
- Pros: Made from natural and organic materials, flippable design with 2 firmness levels, no off-gassing
- Cons: Significantly more expensive than many models, neither side may be ideal for side sleepers
Best Innerspring: If the Zenhaven mattress from Saatva doesn’t seem like the perfect fit, you might prefer their original model the Saatva Classic. Made with a unique coil-on-coil design, this mattress has more of a classic innerspring feel and it comes in three different levels off firmness. Like all Saatva mattresses, the Saatva classic ships free and comes with white glove delivery as well as a 120-night sleep trial.
Choose from Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, or Firm with the Saatva Classic as well as a 11.5” or 14.5” height. This mattress is built on a base of 416 tempered steel coils topped with a second layer of 884 coils, all individually wrapped for optimal motion isolation and contouring comfort. This second layer of coils has the bonus of a layer of high-quality memory foam and active wire Lumbar Zone technology for additional support in the middle of the mattress, and it’s all contained by the Perimeter Edge Support system. The Saatva Classic is wrapped in an organic fabric cover with a Euro pillow-top.
- Pros: Three firmness levels to choose from, luxury hybrid construction, breathable and supportive
- Cons: Hybrid mattresses tend to be fairly heavy, less contouring/hugging than foam mattresses
Best Hybrid: Why choose one mattress material when you don’t have to? Many modern mattresses are what we call hybrids – they bring together the best of several different materials to give you a sound night’s sleep. Birch by Helix is a premium hybrid mattress that combines the support and stability of individually wrapped coils with the responsive pressure relief of natural Talalay latex.
The Birch mattress is made up of six unique layers starting with a layer of organic wool batting and ending with an organic cotton cover. In between, you’ll find hundreds of individually wrapped steel coils topped with natural Talalay latex, organic Birch wool, and an additional layer of natural wool fires for fire resistance. This mattress is highly durable and offers extra benefits like breathability. If that’s not enough to convince you, know that the Birch mattress also comes with free shipping, hassle-free returns, a 25-year warranty, and a 100-night sleep trial.
- Pros: Hybrid construction for support and pressure relief, less sinking feeling than memory foam
- Cons: Some may not like the bouncy feel of latex materials
Best Dual-Sided: For many years, most mattresses were two-sided – this simply meant that both sides were the same, so you could sleep on either one. Today, modern mattresses are often designed from the top down (or the bottom up) with a specific order to the layers. There are certain benefits to this design, of course, but it may limit the longevity of the mattress. If you’re looking for a dual-sided mattress, we can heartily recommend the Nolah Signature mattress.
The Nolah Signature mattress measures 12 inches thick and is built on a 7-inch layer of high-density support foam. This supportive base layer is topped with a 1-inch support layer of high-resilience foam followed by two inches of Nolah AirFoam to ensure optimal pressure relief while keeping you cool and comfortable. Choose from two unique levels of firmness according to your preference and rest easy under the assurance that you have a 120-night trial period and a generous warranty.
- Pros: Two-sided design to choose firmness, cooling foam for comfort, 120-night trial period
- Cons: May not be a good choice for heavyweight sleepers, somewhat pricier than other options
Best Customizable: Nothing is worse than having to spend the night on a mattress chosen by someone who has different preferences than you do. If you’re going to buy a new mattress, it should be perfectly suited to your needs to ensure you get a good night’s sleep each and every night. To do so, you need a mattress company that offers a wide variety of options and that company is Helix. Helix offers an assortment of original, luxury, and hybrid mattresses in a wide range of firmness levels.
If you’re looking for a specific recommendation, we like the Helix Midnight Luxe. This mattress is rated at a medium level of firmness and features a luxury hybrid design. A supportive base of individually wrapped coils rests beneath three layers of premium foam designed to relieve pressure and isolate motion. Helix gives you the option to choose a mattress based on your firmness preferences as well as your sleeping style to ensure you get the perfect mattress to suit your needs.
- Pros: Luxury hybrid design, medium firmness level, comfort and pressure relief, 100-night sleep trial
- Cons: Fairly expensive compared to some brands, may be too soft for heavy sleepers
Best for Couples: When shopping for a new mattress, it’s important to find something that will be comfortable for sleep. If you think about it, however, sleep isn’t the only activity that takes place in your bed. If you share your bed with a partner, you may want to think about some of those other activities and how the mattress materials and the firmness of your mattress might make a difference. Our top pick for the best platform bed mattress for couples is the WinkBed.
The WinkBed mattress is a luxury hybrid made with a coil-on-coil design as well as a quilted, two-layer gel-infused foam Euro-pillow top to help you and your partner have the best sleep of your life. This mattress is constructed on base of individually wrapped coils with the built-in Extra-Edge support system to prevent sagging, helping ensure maximum durability and longevity. The gel-infused top layer provides a little added cushioning and pressure relief, but the bed doesn’t sink to the degree that an all-foam bed might, so you may enjoy the added degree of responsiveness. WinkBed offers free delivery and returns with a 120-night sleep trial.
- Pros: Luxury coil-on-coil hybrid design, edge support system to prevent sagging, two-layer quilted top
- Cons: Can be more expensive than some options, shipping may be slower than some companies
Best Pillow-Top: There are plenty of factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress, but comfort is at the top of the list. No matter what kind of mattress you choose, you can always find one that comes with a pillow-top. If you’re looking for a quality, durable mattress that delivers on support AND has the bonus of a pillow-top, we recommend DreamCloud.
The DreamCloud mattress has the familiar feel of an innerspring mattress but it incorporates comfort layers of foam on top. The Targeted-Support coil layer is made up of individually encased coils that respond to motion while supporting your weight. The top layers of foam deliver on pressure relief no matter your sleeping style and the quilted pillow-top adds an extra degree of luxury and comfort. Plus, DreamCloud mattresses come with a generous 365-night trial period.
- Pros: Memory foam and encased coils, comfort and support, luxury materials and design
- Cons: Hybrid mattresses tend to be fairly heavy
If you’re upgrading to a platform bed, you should at least consider upgrading your mattress at the same time. The good news is most modern mattresses are compatible with platform beds, so you have plenty of options to choose from. All that really matters is the mattress is properly supported.
We’ve done our best to provide you with the information you need to understand your decision and to make the right choice for you and your partner. If you’re looking for the best mattress for platform beds, consider one of our recommendations above!
Frequently Asked Questions
- What type of mattress is best for a platform bed? – Most modern mattresses work well with platform beds, though you need to make sure the mattress is uniformly supported. If your platform bed doesn’t come with a central support bar (for larger sizes) and slats, you’ll need to purchase them separately. In some cases, you may be able to get away with simply placing pieces of wood over the frame to create a solid foundation. When it comes to choosing a mattress, platform base frames work well with memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses. Modern mattresses are designed to be compatible with a variety of bases, not just box springs, so you have plenty of options to choose from.
- Can you put a regular mattress on a platform base? – Many people who switch to a platform mattress base wonder whether they can keep using their traditional innerspring mattress. In most cases you can, but you need to make sure it is supported. You can either keep using your box spring or take precautions against sagging in another way. Many platform beds use slats to ensure uniform support, though you may also use a platform bed that simply has a flat surface over the frame.
- How thick should a mattress be for a platform bed? – The thickness of your mattress should be determined by several factors. Comfort and construction are key factors in choosing a mattress in general, and you should take those things into account when choosing the thickness of your mattress as well. You should also think about the height of your platform bed to determine the right thickness. If your bed has a very low profile, you might choose a thicker mattress than you would if the platform base is very high. Most mattresses are 10 or 12 inches thick.
- Can you use a box spring with a platform bed? – Yes, you certainly can but you may not need to. What really matters is that the mattress is supported. You can either use your current box spring to accomplish this goal or use slats instead. If you’re using slats, make sure they have the right spacing. For memory foam mattresses, the slats should be spaced no more than 3 to 4 inches apart. Hybrid mattresses may accommodate wider spacing.
- Can I use a sheet of plywood on a platform bed? – If you’re buying a newer mattress, you have several options when it comes to the foundation. Platform beds don’t require the use of a box spring, but you still need to make sure the mattress is supported. Slats are a popular option, though you can also place a sheet of plywood across the frame to create a solid foundation. It just needs to be flat.