Box spring is a term used to describe any number of support foundations for mattresses but in a more technical sense it is referring to a very particular type. This can bring a little confusion to your search for the perfect low profile box spring, so what follows is a brief description of the major design types, and their various advantages and disadvantages.
A standard box spring uses a “coil on coil” design, often referred to as a coil spring design. Stiff metal coils arranged in rows inside the box provide support to the mattress. If you’re not into bouncy beds, then this is not the support for you. The coil springs allow the mattress to flex when weight is applied. This makes for a softer surface but unfortunately creates a lot more bounce. The softer support is also not compatible with the more modern flavor of mattress, which are designed with a solid support in mind so your mattress probably won’t last as long. As you may have guessed, the coil spring design is on the wane and getting harder to find.
The semi-flex grid is comprised of a wooden base with low gauge metal wire arranged in a tight web on top. This design is for those who like a little more softness in their mattress as it allows for some flex and bounce, but not as much as the coil-on-coil design. Semi-flex grid box designs work great with thick foam memory mattresses but are unfortunately quite a bit more expensive than other designs. You should also avoid them if you have a mattress of thinner design.
Zero-deflection foundations are currently the most common design as they work well when partnered up with most modern mattresses. They offer maximum support and minimize motion transfer across the mattress, an excellent option if you or your partner changes position a lot during the night. Most zero-deflection designs are made up of wooden slats but a few will use metal wire supports. A layer of fiberboard is placed over the slats or wire support to prevent sagging. Zero-deflection designs are both light and durable and are preferred by most mattress manufacturers operating today.
Perhaps the most important considerations you can keep in mind while searching for the best low profile box spring is the type of mattress which it will be supporting and your required level of comfort. While a solid support will add years to the life of the mattress it’s not much good if those years force you to sleep on an uncomfortable bed. Many mattress manufacturers also have certain requirements in the type of base they will be used on and will not honor any warranty agreements if you choose the wrong type – so that is something you should keep in mind.