Can I Use My Old Box Spring with a New Mattress?

The information in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. [Read our full health disclaimer]

Updated on September 19, 2023

A new mattress comes with new comfort but might also include extra costs. If you are asking, “can I use my old box spring with a new mattress?” This article can show you what the right option is for you. 

Here’s a straight answer: you can use your old box spring for a new mattress. However, this depends on several factors that affect your box spring quality and how your new mattress fits in.

What is a Box Spring? 

To understand the necessity of a box spring, we need to go back in history a bit. Mattresses used to be made from materials like horsehair, cotton, wool, and metal springs without foam in them. 

Although they were long-lasting, they didn’t have great support. Over time, they formed a padded layer, becoming firm and rigid, not plushy or soft. To combat this problem, the industry introduced box springs. 

Ancient box springs were wooden slat structures and springs supported with padding layers and upholstery. When you lie on the bed, your weight will compress the flexible steel spring grids in the bed, which compressed the springs in the box spring. The compression created a softer feeling because it allowed your body to sink further into the mattress.

Box springs were made to increase comfort and support. Even though the best mattresses nowadays come in different forms, such as memory foam mattresses, spring mattresses, latex mattresses, innerspring mattresses, and hybrid mattresses that have shock absorbers and adequate support, they are still widely in demand.

A box spring will add movement and flexibility to your mattress because of its bouncy qualities. The bouncy surface is a huge selling point that keeps buyers coming back for more.

Another one is that it helps to reduce wear and tear on your mattress since you go in and out of your bed to do things other than sleeping. You can climb into your bed to sit or to play. 

The box spring absorbs some of the stress and reduces the mattress’s pressure, thereby increasing its lifespan. It is important to note here that more modern materials will have less of this issue.

Nowadays, most box springs don’t contain real springs. There are a few that have this, but they are extremely rare. 

Modern-day box springs still boast of the typical wooden slat structure. The only difference is that they are lightweight compared to the older ones used for the bed foundation. 

In the past, box springs were strong enough to support legs, and some buyers went as far as screwing legs into them! This explains why your retailer and mattress company might insist on a metal bed frame with a minimum of 3 supports. 

Still, a box spring is an adequate support system, and modern ones are easier to move around since they generally have a semi-flex metal grid.

Determining if you can still use your old box spring requires some sort of due diligence. It is usually beyond what you have at home. There are a few things to watch out for.  

How to Know if Your Box Spring is Right for Your Mattress

Your old mattress and box spring might have made the perfect bed for you, but a new mattress, while exciting, can come with its own demands that weren’t an issue with the old one.

Here’s how to know if your old box spring and new mattress are fit for each other. 

Check if Your Box Spring or Wooden Slats Gives 

Many old box springs were designed with springs in them. The less technical explanation is that anything designed like this provides what is referred to as a “give.” 

In other words, this means movement. If your new mattress also “gives,” you might have a combination that doesn’t work so well. What you’d have is a bed that might be too soft because of the coils. 

Depending on your needs, this might not be an excellent fit for you. Another issue with old box spring coils is that they begin to squeak after some time. 

Check for Body Impressions

Depending on how long you used your old mattress, it could have body impressions. Beds sometimes form this after repeated prolonged use. When this happens, the body impressions occasionally get transferred to the box spring as well. 

An old box spring with existing body impressions or gullies formed by weight imbalance is not a good option. This is because the new mattress will begin to fill in the existing imperfections. The new mattress will then inherit body impressions prematurely, which means you might have to change it sooner than you should. 

Check for any soft spots or compressions by pushing in with your hands. Run your hands along the box spring and see if any place is significantly more delicate than the other. Make sure the firmness is generally even around the whole mattress for adequate support. 

Check Your Old Box Spring’s Age

About a decade and a half ago, the industry began to produce a different type of mattress support: immovable grids instead of coiled box springs. These grids are called foundations.

Foundations are sturdier, thereby providing a better shock absorber for the mattress. An old box spring feels different from a foundation, which is what is available in the showroom. This means your bed can feel much more different than it did at the store if it’s not sitting on a foundation at home. 

An easy fix here is to confirm if your box spring is less than ten years old. If it is, you might have a foundation, which barring any damage, is a perfect fit for your new mattress.

You can confirm this by checking if there are any sags or dips on the old support. Get a straight edge level to see if the corners and sides feel different and less supportive than they should. 

Check Your New Mattress’s Profile

A new mattress is designed to have a much different profile from the older ones. A new foam mattress will likely have a higher profile and will be typically deeper. A new mattress doesn’t fit correctly on an old box spring because of this profile. 

A new high-profile mattress can be too high for an old box spring that wasn’t designed for a high profile. The bed will be too high, making the bed uncomfortable to get in and out of.

Newer foundations come in different heights, so you can always find one that is the perfect fit. However, an old box spring already has a size that might not match your new purchase. 

Check Your Bed of Choice

Not all beds need a box spring or a mattress foundation. Some obviously do, such as the collapsible metal types, but with the advancement in bed technology, not all beds need foundational support. If you have a platform bed or a reinforced metal frame, you won’t be needing a box spring, new or old. Check your bed type to determine this. 

Check Your Foam Mattress’s Warranty

Some mattresses’ warranty specifically requires you to use a box spring. Most warranties have specific requirements so that a mattress is adequately supported. They typically have a type of base they find preferable. If you use a foam mattress with this particular sort of warranty, you might not be able to use your old box spring. 

If the retailer tells you that you need to get the same brand of box spring engineered by the mattress producers, you might want to pay attention so you don’t void the mattress warranty.

Should I Get a New Box Spring? 

With all the innovations like foam mattresses and innerspring mattresses, an adjustable wooden frame platform might be more befitting than a box spring. 

If you have a bed or warranty that requires you to include a box spring in your setup, you want to be sure you are ticking all essential boxes. 

Thankfully, this didn’t always mean buying a new box spring. As long as you aren’t breaching any contract expectations, an old one could work just as well. You don’t have to get a new box spring if all the conditions for adequate support above are well met.

Bree Taylor - Lead Editor

Lead Editor

Bree is an interior designer with a passion for helping people improve their sleep quality.

She specializes in creating comfortable and functional bedroom spaces that promote a good night’s rest.

When she’s not testing mattresses or helping people get the best rest possible, Bree loves to travel and explore new cultures.

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