Sweet Dreams! How to Choose the Best Bed Frame

The right bed is essential for getting a good night’s sleep. But with so many different configurations and options out there (box-spring, foundation, platform, adjustable base, headboard), it can be difficult to decide which bed frame will be the best for you. We’ve all heard horror stories of mattresses sagging to the ground and support legs snapping off shoddily constructed frames. We’re here to stop the madness!

It doesn’t matter how much money you’re willing to spend—when you’re buying a bed frame, you want to be confident you’re getting something that’s effective and sturdy.

Below is a primer on the most popular bed frame configurations out there and our experts’ recommendations, based on your sleep situation.

Box spring + metal bed frame

A box spring on a metal frame
A box spring on a metal frame

Amazon

A box-spring—or foundation, as it’s sometimes called—is one of the most common bed frame options.

“Foundations can have a fabric-covered or exposed wood frame, with a solid top or one made of wood slats,” says Ron Rudzin, CEO at Saatva, which makes luxury mattresses and adjustable bases. “Although they do add a bit of flex to the bed, their main purpose is to support the mattress and raise your sleeping surface to a comfortable height.”

A standard box-spring is around 9 inches thick, and typically rests on a metal bed frame. If your metal frame has holes or notches, you also have the option of attaching a headboard or footboard.

Platform bed frame

A platform bed
A platform bed

Zinus

“A platform bed will support a mattress without the need for a separate foundation,” Rudzin says.

Matthew Ross, COO of The Slumber Yard, a mattress review website, says platform frames are increasing in popularity, especially among millennials.

“They arrive in boxes, are extremely easy to assemble, and look premium,” Ross says.

But the main selling point of these frames, he says, is probably their affordable price point. The popular Zinus brand sells sleek-looking frames for as little as $150.

Although many inexpensive platform frames can be found on Amazon and Wayfair, high-end versions also exist. It’s difficult to say if a more expensive platform bed will last longer, but always try to buy a bed with a warranty, so you’ll have some peace of mind.

Adjustable bed frame


An adjustable bed frame has several hinges that can manipulate the mattress into different positions based on your sleep preferences. If you like to sleep with your upper body propped up, for example, you can elevate the upper part of the bed.

“A bed with an adjustable base makes it easy to get into the position that’s most comfortable for you, while keeping your body properly supported,” Rudzin says. “Today’s adjustables are sleek and sophisticated and loaded with extras.” For example, Saatva’s Lineal Adjustable Base has three massage settings and remote-controlled under-bed lighting.

He says a queen-sized adjustable base costs approximately $1,400. Most adjustable frames range from $1,000 to $3,000.

Which type of bed frame is best?

The overarching question we had hoped to answer is which type of bed frame is best. But it turns out there’s no one answer, and that everyone’s situation is different. Still, we knew there was more to learn, so we reached out to Joe Alexander, CEO and founder of Nest Bedding, an online mattress company.

“As long as [the bed frame] provides a breathable, supportive base, any one of the options you highlighted would be reliable,” he says.

Have kids who jump up and down on the bed?

“For a bed with a strong supportive slat system and sturdy center support, jumping on the bed shouldn’t be an issue, but jumping is not advisable,” Alexander says.

For those with mobility issues, Alexander recommends any bed frame that sits lower to the ground, which makes it easier to get in and out of bed.

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