Box Spring Beds and Conventional Beds

Box Spring Beds and Conventional Beds in Dictionary

Now that the box spring beds are becoming more and more popular in Germany, the question arises more and more whether the next new bed should be conventional or whether the decision should be in favor of the popular box spring bed system. In the following article we explain the differences between conventional beds and box spring beds. In addition, we refer to most other types of beds and also draw the comparison that is often made between box spring beds and water beds.

When it comes to box spring beds compared to conventional beds, the special structure of the box spring system must first be examined more closely. While a conventional bed system basically consists of a bed frame, slatted frame and mattress, the box spring bed is essentially composed of three other essential components.

The special components of the box spring bed

According to everhomedecor, The basic structure of the box spring beds is the same for most models, although there are some manufacturers who rely on a slightly modified structure. In principle, a box spring bed consists of:

Base mattress / spring box / spring frame / box spring / box

The base mattress of the box spring bed, which is also known as a spring core box, a spring frame, a box spring or a box spring bed frame, is roughly the same as the bed frame including the slatted frame of a conventional bed. The spring core inside the box corresponds to the slats of the slatted frame. The spring core box takes on the function of the spring base.

Similar to the slatted frame, the box is responsible for ensuring that the actual mattress or top mattress of the box spring bed can fully develop its effect and positive properties in terms of flexibility and support.

In order to achieve the air circulation that is essential for a healthy sleeping environment, the base mattress of the box spring bed does not lie on the floor, but rests on bed feet, which, depending on the design and quality of the bed, also have a positive effect on the look of the bed. For an attractive look, the base of the box spring bed is usually covered on the outside with fabric or leather.

Box spring beds, which are designed as double beds (usually from a bed width of 160 cm), are usually equipped with two separate spring boxes.

Top mattress

The top mattress is placed on the spring core box of the box spring bed. The top mattress of a box spring bed is basically identical to the normal mattress in a conventional bed. It is entirely possible to place any commercially available mattress in the appropriate size on the base mattress of the bed. In general, however, it is advisable to choose one of the top mattresses that are offered by the manufacturer of the respective bed that are matched to the innerspring box.

In conjunction with the lower mattress, the upper mattress provides optimal support for the body when lying or sleeping.

For box spring beds in double bed size, both continuous, one-piece top mattresses and two separate mattresses are used, depending on the manufacturer and model.

The top mattresses are often covered with the same fabric or leather as the base mattresses. In these cases, we also talk about decorative mattresses. A box spring bed with a decorative mattress has the advantage that it is basically sufficient to cover the topper of the bed with a fitted sheet.

Topper / topper mattress / top mattress

The upper end of the box spring bed – the lying area – is formed by the so-called topper mattress, usually just referred to as a topper. In contrast to the lower mattress and upper mattress, toppers are always made continuous. With box spring beds in double bed size, you can be particularly pleased because the “visitor crack” known and hated from most conventional bed systems is not present in the box spring bed thanks to the continuous topper.

In order to relate the topper of the box spring bed to conventional beds, it can be viewed as a counterpart to a mattress pad that is also placed on the mattress in a conventional bed.

In the box spring bed, the topper takes on the function of optimal body positioning while lying or sleeping. It enables fine-tuning of the lying feeling conveyed by the bed system to the user.

To ensure cleanliness and hygiene in bed, the toppers are usually equipped with removable covers. If necessary, the topper cover can be easily removed and washed in the washing machine at home.

Different materials for different requirements

With conventional bed systems, the selection of the right combination of slatted frame and mattress is decisive for the properties and sleeping comfort of the bed. Here a decision is made according to one’s own needs and individual physical requirements. Mattresses made of various materials in a variety of designs and differently designed slatted frames are available for this purpose.

The situation is similar with the box spring beds: The individual components (base mattress, upper mattress, topper) are made of many different materials that have already proven themselves in the manufacture of conventional mattresses. Different designs and combinations allow the box spring bed to be fine-tuned to personal wishes and habits.

Degree of hardness for box spring beds

As with the mattresses in conventional beds, box spring beds are also available in various degrees of firmness. Although there is a degree of hardness from H1 (soft) to H5 (hard), you will mostly find box spring beds with hardness levels H2 and H3. These two degrees of hardness are often required / preferred and are therefore the most common.

The degrees of hardness in box spring beds are not properly standardized, which is why box spring beds from different manufacturers cannot be compared on the basis of their degree of hardness. A box spring bed that is run as an H3 model by one manufacturer may, for example, be more like a bed model with H2 by another manufacturer.

Which is better box spring bed or slatted frame?

This frequently asked question cannot simply be answered across the board. Ultimately, personal preferences and desires as well as subjective feelings are often decisive when it comes to assessing a sleep system. For example, those who “fall in love” with the special look of a certain box spring bed model will no longer wonder whether a bed with a slatted frame would be better for them if the selected box spring bed can offer everything they need in terms of sleeping comfort.

The quality of the respective beds or the respective equipment components for beds as well as their specific suitability for the user should always be taken into account. If the slatted frame and mattress are perfectly coordinated and meet the needs of the sleeper, this solution will be just as good as a box spring bed that perfectly meets the needs of the sleeper. Then only the individual taste counts in the decision.

Basically, it can be stated that the box, as a spring base, has the advantage that the lying comfort or functionality is given over the entire lying surface. With slatted frames, on the other hand, it is often the case that the spring effect is only optimal in the middle. Towards the sides, the strips can usually no longer fully develop their effect, which can somewhat restrict the comfort in these areas.

Box spring bed and upholstered bed

During the consultation we often hear questions such as “What is the difference between a box spring bed and an upholstered bed?” Or “What is better a box spring bed or an upholstered bed?”. Depending on the version of the box spring bed, the difference between an upholstered bed and a box spring bed is the structure alone. Visually, the differences are often only marginal.

As already explained in detail above in this article, the box spring bed does not have a slatted frame, but a box equipped with a spring core, which takes on the function of the spring base for the mattress. In addition, the box spring bed usually has a topper on top of the mattress, which is not the case with conventional upholstered beds.

The question of whether an upholstered bed is better or a box spring bed is better, just like the question about the box spring bed and slatted frame listed above, does not allow a general answer. Ideally, you take some time in advance to make a decision and try out different upholstered beds with conventional equipment and with a box spring system to determine your personal favorites.

Box spring bed and water bed

Anyone who deals more intensively with the choice of bed and the different bed types may also be thinking about purchasing a waterbed. At some point the question may arise whether a box spring bed or a water bed is better.

First some basic information about the waterbeds: A distinction is made between hard-side models with a water core that extends to the edge and soft-side models with a sturdy foam frame. Today, softside waterbeds are almost exclusively in demand, because getting up with hard-side beds is often very difficult due to the user sinking deeper into the edge area.

The basic structure of a water bed consists (from bottom to top) of a base, weight distributors (in the form of wooden crosses), a base plate, a foam frame, a heating element, a safety film, a water mattress and a cover.

Excursus on the history of the water bed

How the waterbed found its way into our bedrooms

As early as 3000 years ago, nomadic desert peoples discovered that on the often bitterly cold desert nights they could best sleep on water bags that let the sun heat them up during the day.

Well later in 1851, the invention of an “invalid water mattress” made by a certain William Hooper caused a sensation and a small revolution in nursing. The invention he had devised did not yet fully meet the desire for a “weightless” positioning of patients, but it came quite close to this. In 1873, the first development of a real “water floating mattress” took place, but this could not prevail due to insufficient durability, which in turn was due to a lack of materials and production processes that had not yet been developed at that time.

In 1885 the first mass-produced waterbed was brought onto the market, which also found its way into the “Harolds” mail order catalog.

In 1932 a “water bed for the prevention of decubitus” (decubitus = bed ulcer) was presented. This development goes back to CA Ewald, who used a water tank with a loose, thin rubber cover for his care bed. The acceptance for these new types of bed systems, which were supposed to simplify the care of bedridden patients, initially failed to materialize and did not show up until the late 1960s.

At the end of 1968, the era of the waterbed as we know it today began in California. It was a typical chance invention made by a couple of design students in San Francisco. Originally an improvement of the well-known beanbag with polystyrene filling was planned. The students took new types of plastic sheeting and filled them with water. However, since the water simply did not want to be brought into a “backrest shape”, they made a virtue out of necessity and turned the innovative seating furniture they had planned into a piece of furniture.

From the beginning of the 80s to the end of the 90s of the 20th century, numerous developments took place, which have significantly shaped the quality and range of the waterbeds available today.

Which is better for your back – a water bed or a box spring bed?

Even if you can read in many places on the Internet about how well the waterbed affects sleep and health, this has not been medically proven.

While the body of the reclining person is supported and carried by conventional bed systems with mattresses and slatted frames as well as by the box spring bed with innerspring box and mattress, with a waterbed it is the case that the body often “sags” like in a hammock, which then describes everything weightless lying will. Often, for example, the legs are higher up in the water bed, as the middle of the body is heavier and so sinks deeper into the water mattress. This can, but does not have to be, an advantage or a disadvantage.

With box spring systems as well as with an optimal combination of slatted frame and mattress, the back is supported precisely, which is not done in the waterbed, which adapts completely to the body without offering the necessary resistance at the same time.

Advantages and disadvantages at a glance


  • convinced waterbed users swear by the system
  • good pressure relief
  • relatively allergy-friendly
  • no precise body support
  • Poor ventilation as it is a closed system
  • additional electricity costs for heating
  • additional maintenance costs due to water treatment
  • very heavy, the water has to be drained for adjustment or when moving
  • there is always a risk of leaks

What are box spring waterbeds?

There are also offers for box spring waterbeds on the Internet. These sleeping systems are water beds that are equipped with a bed frame that gives them the appearance of a box spring bed.

Box spring waterbeds have no spring base or, in general, no innerspring at all. This also makes no sense with a movable water core or a sleeping pad filled with water in the bed.

What is the difference between box beds and box spring beds?

Sometimes you “stumble” over the term “box bed” in advertising inserts or with beds offered online or in furniture stores. Anyone who has not yet dealt with the subject of the “box spring bed” may quickly assume that it is a synonym, which, however, is not the case.

In the term box bed or box bed, the “spring” is missing and this is also the case with the equipment of this type of bed, which is often offered very cheaply. The box beds also have a three-part structure. There is a supporting frame or box, a mattress and a topper. In contrast to the box spring bed, the box does not have a spring core, but mostly only (relatively simple) foam padding. The other components of the box bed are often only made of cheaper foams.

Except for the look and the three-part division, there are no real similarities between a box bed and a real box spring bed.

How well the ventilation works in a box bed is questionable. The quality of the lying comfort must also be doubted. If you have few demands on your sleeping place, have no problems with your back and do not value a typical, springy lying feeling, you may be satisfied with a box bed. However, a clear purchase recommendation cannot be made.

What are box spring mattresses?

The term “box spring mattress” is used to identify a specially constructed spring core mattress. Accordingly, it is not a synonym for the top mattress in box spring beds.

Box spring mattresses are very high compared to normal spring core mattresses with a height of around 30 centimeters, which results from the fact that they have two combined spring cores inside.

Two different types of spring cores are often used in box spring mattresses – for example an area-elastic Bonell spring core (below) and a point-elastic (mini) pocket spring core above.

The box spring mattress has its first spring base thanks to the double spring core. In addition, box spring mattresses are combined with matching slatted frames. When deciding on a box spring mattress, it should be ensured that the mattress can sink at least 4 cm into the frame of the bed frame, so that a secure position is guaranteed.

Due to the double spring core in the box spring mattress, the result is a particularly resilient, comfortable lying feeling, which is similar to that of a box spring bed. The special height of the mattress increases the entry height of the bed and thus provides additional comfort.

In combination with a slatted frame matched to the box spring mattress, an alternative to the box spring bed is available, which offers similar advantages. Ideal, for example, if there is a good bed frame that needs to be retained.

What is box spring upholstery?

In the area of ​​upholstered furniture production, box spring upholstery is a multi-layer spring core structure. Analogous to the box spring bed, where the box and mattress usually have a spring core, the living area or the (sleeping) sofa in box spring design also has at least two spring cores inside. The spring cores support each other in their function and ensure a very high level of comfort. Analogous to the structure of box spring beds, there is often a topper-like support for upholstered seating furniture, which is fixed or loose over the spring core system and can be made of different materials.

Box Spring Beds and Conventional Beds