Box springs can be expensive, heavy, and harbour allergy-inducing dust mites.
So unless the manufacturer specifically requires that you use a box spring with your mattress, then it might be better for your finances and your health to buy a mattress that can be used without a box spring.
That’s why I’ve put together this list of the 3 best mattresses that don’t require a box spring plus a buying guide so that you can find the best mattress and compatible frame as fast as possible.
3 Best Mattresses Without a Box Spring Reviewed
The best mattress without a box spring to buy online in 2021 is the Puffy Lux Hybrid because it suits just about every sleeping position and works with any frame.
Click the red buttons below to get money off the mattress and frame when you buy today.
1: Puffy Lux Hybrid – Best Overall
I have picked the Puffy Lux Hybrid as the best mattress to buy without a box spring because its qualities mean that it can cater to nearly every sleeping style and it works with any type of frame.
However, I recommend pairing the Puffy Lux Hybrid with one of the compatible frames on the Puffy website to ensure that the warranty for the mattress isn’t voided and that your comfort will be maximized.
Or click the red buttons below to learn more about the mattress and view the compatible frames now.
- Design: hybrid – memory foam over springs.
- Firmness: medium.
- Thickness: 12 inch profile.
- Side sleepers – the highly adaptive nature of the memory foam means that the surface of the mattress will contour to your exact body shape to help cushion and dissipate the pressure around your shoulders and hips when you sleep on your side.
- Front sleepers – if you sleep on your front then the memory foam will help to remove the pressure on your hips and ribcage whilst the surface tension and bounce of the springs will help to keep your hips in their proper alignment to guard against back pain.
- Back sleepers – as a back sleeper you’ll be able to enjoy the feeling of the memory foam wrapping around your spine and shoulder blades to remove pressure points whilst cradling your entire body to keep you in good posture.
- Combination and restless sleepers – the buoyancy of the springs allows you to switch positions easily whilst the memory foam can help to soothe the pressure points that may be contributing to your restlessness and frequent waking.
- Couples – the individually wrapped coils and dense memory foam do a great job of isolating movements so that you and your partner are less likely to wake each other up as you move around.
- Lighter sleepers – if you weigh less than 150 lbs then the memory foam will adapt to allow you to sink a little more into the materials so that your body weight is more evenly distributed and thus dissipate the pressure in your joints that may otherwise tend to build up in a firmer mattress with a less adaptive comfort layer.
- Skinny sleepers – if you have a lower body fat percentage then you’ll enjoy how the memory foam soothes away the discomfort on the more prominent regions of your body like your elbows, hips, knees, and shoulder blades.
- Allergy sufferers – the hypoallergenic mattress cover means that if you are sensitive to dust mites then you shouldn’t experience a flare-up when sleeping on the Puffy Lux Hybrid.
Whilst the Puffy Lux Hybrid can work with a box spring, it’s also designed to ‘work with any frame or surface’.
However, I strongly recommend pairing the Puffy Lux Hybrid with one of the following frames that you can buy on the Puffy website (click the button below to do this and learn more about each frame type) because they are guaranteed to be compatible:
- Puffy Foundation – this gridded platform base comes with a 101-night sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and can support up to 1000 lbs of weight; increase the airflow for a cooler sleep experience, is lightweight, doesn’t require any tools to set up, and guards against dust/mold/bed bugs.
- Puffy Bed Frame – the Puffy Bed Frame has a slatted wooden foundation for breathability, an integrated padded headboard for style, and is easy to clean.
- Puffy Adjustable Base – the Puffy Adjustable Frame is easy to set up, has dual massage zones, a universal headboard attachment, dual USB charging ports, and adjustable leg heights.
2: DreamCloud – Longest Sleep Trial
If you’re looking for a mattress that doesn’t require a box spring but also has a long trial period then I highly recommend the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress because it comes with a 365-night trial and a lifetime warranty so that you can test the mattress out through all 4 seasons to ensure that you’re comfortable in a range of temperatures.
The DreamCloud mattress is also compatible with any frame (even a box spring) but also adjustable, platform, and slatted bases – compatible options of which are available to buy from DreamCloudSleep.com when you click the red buttons below.
- Design: hybrid – memory foam over coils.
- Firmness: luxury firm (medium-firm).
- Thickness: 14 inches.
- Heavier weighted sleepers – the DreamCloud is ideal for heavier weighted sleepers over 230 lbs because the medium-firm feel, deep 14-inch profile, and robust coil core combine to guard against excessive sinkage and keep you in good posture.
- Front and back sleepers – the increased surface tension and buoyant coil core can help to maintain a neutral spine and support your joints as you sleep on either your front or your back.
- Side sleepers – although this is a slightly firmer mattress, the adaptiveness of the gel memory foam means that you’ll still get excellent pressure relief if you’re an average or heavier weighted side sleeper.
The DreamCloud is compatible with a box spring/divan base, but if you don’t want to use a box spring then you can use a traditional frame, a solid/slatted foundation, or even an adjustable frame.
But I recommend buying one of the following compatible frames from the DreamCloudSleep website (by clicking the button below) to ensure that the frame and mattress will work together perfectly:
- Platform – the DreamCloud Platform Bed is a solid base made out of pine and natural spruce for durability with optional legs for a custom height and works with the DreamCloud mattress perfectly. Comes with a 50-night trial and a lifetime warranty.
- Metal frame – DreamCloud’s Metal Bed Frame is an optional extra that you can use in conjunction with the platform base (or even a box spring) for greater support and increased breathability (ideal if you need to sleep cooler).
- Bed frame with headboard – the platform base doesn’t allow for a headboard to be fitted so if you do want a headboard then go for DreamCloud’s specifically made slatted base that comes with a luxury button-tufted headboard.
- Adjustable frame – the DreamCloud Adjustable Bed Frame comes with 3 pre-set positions, a Zero Gravity setting, no-tool assembly, a 50-night trial, and a 3-year warranty for a fully customizable sleep experience.
3: Nectar Memory Foam Mattress – Most Affordable
If you’re shopping on a budget then I recommend going for the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress because it’s the cheapest mattress that I could find that doesn’t require a box spring, works with any frame, and can suit a wide range of sleeping styles.
Click the red buttons below to check for the latest Nectar mattress and frame discounts now.
- Design: memory foam (all-foam – no springs).
- Firmness: medium-firm.
- Thickness: 11 inches.
- Couples – the all-foam design of the Nectar makes it ideal for couples because the absence of any springs makes the mattress silent, whilst the dense memory foam absorbs shock waves so that you won’t wake each other up as you move around in the night.
- Side sleepers – although the Nectar is a medium-firm mattress, the memory foam’s ability to mold to your individual features means that you can still get comfortable in the side sleeping position and experience great pressure relief.
- Front and back sleepers – the touch of extra surface tension means that you’ll be well supported in the Nectar as you sleep on your front or your back.
- Skinny sleepers – if you have prominent bones and joints them the memory foam can help to soothe any discomfort on these pressure hot spots.
The Nectar mattress works with all frame types (box spring, divan, traditional, platform, and adjustable) but you should buy one of the compatible frames listed below from NectarSleep.com by clicking the buttons below to ensure maximum compatibility and comfort:
- Nectar Foundation – a highly affordable, high-quality, wooden foundation that’s built to last and comes with a 3-year warranty.
- Nectar Platform Bed – a bevel wood slatted platform frame to help increase breathability for a cooler sleep whilst giving you the choice of white, black, and golden oak styles to complement a wide range of decors.
- Nectar Bed Frame With Headboard – this slatted wooden frame comes with an upholstered, button-tufted headboard for style and comfort without the need for a box spring.
- Nectar Adjustable Frame – this frame is very easy to set up, has a 3-zone massage arrangement, allows for head and foot manipulation, is wirelessly controlled, and comes with a zero-gravity setting to help alleviate pain and discomfort.
How to Buy a Mattress Without a Box Spring
Below is a full walk-through that shows you how to buy a mattress without a box spring and choose the right type of frame.
What is a Box Spring?
A box spring is a type of bed base that consists of a cloth-topped wooden frame with springs inside of it and is typically placed on top of a wooden or metal bed frame to act as a ‘brace’ .
In the UK, a box spring is usually referred to as a divan base and typically sits on castor wheels rather than a frame beneath it.
Box Spring Benefits
The potential benefits of using a box spring include:
- Creating a barrier between the bed frame and the mattress to increase the height (potentially making it easier to get in and out of bed).
- Increasing the level of support (especially if you’re using a cheap innerspring mattress) – which may also be beneficial for heavier weighted sleepers and/or those with back pain.
- Reducing the strain placed on the bed frame and the mattress to increase the lifespan of both items.
- Absorbing shock better (which can help to reduce wear and tear on the mattress – especially if you’re a heavier weighted sleeper, sleep as a couple, and/or are a restless sleeper that tends to toss and turn at night).
- Increasing ventilation and airflow so that warmer sleepers can cool down, whilst also lessening the chance of mold growth that could potentially lead to an allergic reaction.
Box Spring Drawbacks
Some of the possible cons of using a box spring include:
- Being incompatible with some mattresses (which could be the case with some newer memory foam, latex, and hybrid mattresses – but not always).
- Harboring dust and dust mites in the cavity which could potentially cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Adding extra weight to the overall structure of the bed (which could make moving it more challenging).
- Costing extra – some mattresses may require you to buy the box spring separately.
- A broken or worn-out box spring can cause your mattress to sag – potentially resulting in back pain and discomfort.
Do You Need a Box Spring?
Before you buy any mattress, you should specifically check if a box spring is required because some companies will void the warranty if you do not use a box spring when you should and vice versa (many mattresses in a box do not require a box spring and may in fact become damaged if one is used).
Otherwise, you may want to consider using a box spring if:
- Your bed frame is designed to hold a box spring.
- You want a taller bed.
- You need more support.
- You sleep hot and need more ventilation.
1: Choose the Mattress
When buying a mattress without a box spring, the most important step is to choose a mattress that’s ideally suited to your body type and dominant sleeping position because the mattress is what’s going to be the most influential factor on how comfortable you’ll feel.
And whilst comfort is subjective, you can increase your chances of feeling happy in your mattress by choosing the right firmness and design – as specified below:
The firmness of the mattress describes how hard or soft the mattress feels when you lie on it – with mattresses potentially being available in extra-soft, soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, firm, and extra-firm.
If you’re a front, back, or side sleeper in the 130 – 230 lbs category (around 80% of sleepers) then you’ll more than likely feel comfortable in a ‘medium’ firmness mattress.
Although you might prefer a medium-soft if you’re a 130 – 150 lbs side sleeper, or a medium-firm if you’re a 200 – 230 lbs front or back sleeper.
Firm and extra-firm mattresses are typically best for heavier weighted front and back sleepers over 230 lbs, whilst soft and extra-soft mattresses often work well for lighter weighted side sleepers under 130 lbs due to the better pressure relief.
In addition to the firmness, the layering structure and material design of the mattress can affect how comfortable you’re likely to feel – as summarized below:
- Memory foam – memory foam mattresses excel at providing contoured pressure relief that favors side sleepers, skinny sleepers, and lighter weighted sleepers; but is typically not the best choice for warmer sleepers due to memory foam’s tendency to sleep hot.
- Latex foam – natural latex foam can provide similar pressure relief to memory foam but is much more breathable and therefore a better choice for warmer sleepers, whilst the extra bounce makes it better for sleepers that like to change positions often during the night.
- Hybrid – a hybrid mattress consists of a spring core and a memory foam, latex foam, or polyfoam top layer to provide what is arguably the best type of mattress overall due to the exceptional balance between support and pressure relief that will suit front, back, side, and combination sleepers – as well as single sleepers and couples too.
- Regular spring – a regular spring mattress typically lacks the durability of a high-quality hybrid mattress but can be a lot cheaper – potentially making it the best choice if you’re shopping on a budget.
2: Select a Compatible Frame
Once you’ve selected your ideal mattress, the next step is to find a compatible frame.
I highly recommend buying the mattress and the frame at the same time from the same company to ensure that they are both compatible and you won’t void the warranty.
Here a quick summary of the most common types of bed frames that you can use instead of a box spring:
A platform bed is a raised base that consists of either a solid support area or a spacious slatted or grid structure made either from wood or metal.
Solid platform bases are a good choice if support is your main objective, whilst a slatted/grid structure is typically better if you’re a warmer sleeper looking to stay cool thanks to the better air circulation and breathability.
Most platform beds require you to buy the headboard separately but some also have headboards included.
A slatted bed frame consists of metal or wooden slats that are a few inches apart – allowing for breathability and airflow that can benefit warmer sleepers and discourage mold growth on the underside of the mattress.
An adjustable bed frame allows you to manipulate the angle of your sleeping surface to potentially alleviate issues like back pain, snoring, and sleep apnea whilst also helping to make it easier to get in and out of bed.
Most adjustable beds can be fitted with a headboard (usually bought separately).
One of the biggest issues with buying an adjustable base is getting a compatible mattress to fit – so check out my list of the best compatible adjustable bed frames and mattresses to make the process easier.
A Murphy bed frame allows you to fold the mattress up against the wall to save space – it’s best to buy the Murphy bed frame and mattress as one to ensure maximum compatibility.
3: Protect Your Money
Now that you’ve chosen your ideal box-spring free mattress and compatible bed frame, you should look at the sleep trials and warranties for both the frame and the mattress (they are often different for each item) to ensure that you have some recourse if you’re not happy with your purchase.
A sleep trial allows you to test out the mattress or frame for a specified number of nights to ensure that you are happy and return them for a refund or exchange if not.
Typically, you’ll find that the mattress has a longer sleep trial than the frame – I suggest looking for a mattress with a good sleep trial that lasts for at least 3 months to ensure that you’ve got enough time for the materials to adjust to your physical characteristics and dominant sleeping position.
A warranty allows you to get a repair or replacement if your mattress or frame is defective – with mattress warranties typically lasting longer than that of the frame.
The industry standard for a mattress warranty length is 10 years, but you should also look at the fine print to ensure that the coverage is ‘non-prorated’ so that you won’t have to contribute to the cost of repair/replacement (which is the case with ‘prorated’ coverage).
Here are the concise answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding box springs and mattresses.
What is the Best Mattress to Use Without a Box Spring?
The best mattress to use without a box spring is one that fits your physical characteristics, dominant sleeping position, and is compatible with a non-box spring frame – with the Puffy Lux Hybrid being an excellent choice because it has the capacity to suit a wide range of sleeping styles.
Can You Use a Mattress Without a Box Spring?
If the mattress manufacturer or company doesn’t specify that you must use a box spring then you should be able to use that mattress without a box spring – check the specs to find out which frames are compatible and which surfaces should be avoided (such as the floor) to avoid voiding the warranty.
Is it Better to Have a Platform Bed or a Box Spring?
A solid platform bed base may be better than a box spring if the mattress is heavy (common with all-latex foam mattresses and some hybrids) because it can provide more support but a box spring may be better if you need more breathability and airflow to help you sleep cool (which may be required in the case of an all-foam memory foam mattress) – check the product specs to find out the best frame for your specific mattress model.
Conclusion: Go For the Puffy Lux Hybrid
Unless you have a specific need for the DreamCloud or the Nectar, then I highly recommend going for the Puffy Lux Hybrid because I think this is the best mattress without a box spring due to its versatility and its ability to cater to such a wide range of sleeping styles.
Click the button below to learn more about the Puffy Lux Hybrid mattress now.
Sources and References
 Wikipedia – Box Spring. Accessed 10/11/20.
Image Attribution and Licencing
All images used as part of a private affiliate agreement with each vendor.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.