Platform Bed vs. Panel Bed: What’s the Difference?

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 02/01/2023

Did you know that your mattress isn’t the only thing that affects your sleep? That’s right. The mattress foundation also matters.

You’ve probably seen panel beds and platform beds when shopping for mattress foundations or bed frames. But how do panel and platform beds differ? 

Let’s start the panel bed vs. platform bed debate and see which is best for you. 

What Is a Panel Bed?

A panel bed is a very traditional bed frame. Solid wood panels or metal rods support the box spring and mattress on most classic panel beds. 

A panel bed consists of a large headboard, footboard, side rails to frame the mattress, and wooden slats or metal bars with large gaps between them. 

Panel beds don’t look modern, but this mattress foundation provides plenty of support and comes in many styles. 

One thing: traditional panel beds require a box spring, which makes them more expensive. But if you, like most people in the world, have a spring mattress, you’ll likely need this frame. 

What Is a Platform Bed?

Platform beds, unlike panel beds, have a solid surface or very dense wood slats to support the mattress and are made of wood, metal, or both.

No box spring or other mattress foundation is needed for a platform bed, putting the mattress directly on the solid panel and saving you money. 

Platform beds tend to have a more modern look, mainly because they usually lack the headboard and footboard. Platform bed frames are typically used to create low-profile beds with sleek minimalist designs. 

Platform beds take up less room, but if the height bothers you, you can add storage under them to maximize the space and make the bed taller. 

Panel Bed vs. Platform Bed – Key Differences

Panel and platform beds are often confused, but they differ significantly. 

Here are some key differences to consider before making your choice. 


The mattress support is the main difference between these two bed frames. 

Panel beds can’t support a mattress on their own. Instead, panel beds require a box spring, a bunkie board, or a low-profile foundation.  

Platform beds, however, have built-in mattress support. It’s either a flat surface or a system of tightly positioned slats. The point is, platform beds work independently. 

How a bed feels to you depends on the base. 

Platform beds provide firm mattress foundations, making the bed feel more solid. 

Even with a box spring, a panel bed with spaced slats provides more flexibility and bounce. 


Always consider your room’s size when selecting a bed frame. 

Panel beds are usually slightly bigger and taller. Because of their traditional design, most panel beds tend to have a headboard and footboard, so count those into the dimensions. 

Panel beds are also taller because you need a box spring under the mattress. 

Platform beds are low, sleek, and space-saving because they don’t have box springs. 

Both types have adjustable bed heights, which is good news if bed height is crucial to you. But queen-size panel beds usually take up more space than platform beds with the same dimensions.


Hot sleepers need a cooling mattress, and their bed frame affects this. 

The wood or metal slats and box springs on a traditional panel bed allow air to flow through the mattress foundation.  

On the other hand, most platform beds trap heat and don’t let air pass through the one solid surface used to support mattresses.


Panel beds are for those who prefer a more traditional bedroom decor. Panel beds usually have wood frames with a striking headboard and footboard and can come in many different style options. 

They often have decorative features and forms, like tufted upholstery or sleigh beds.

If you want a modern, sleek bed for your sleeping environment, choose a platform bed frame. They usually have a low profile, a minimalist design, and few decorations. 

This isn’t set in stone. Some modern panel beds feature cutting edge elements, and some platform bed frames look like a standard bed.


Built-in storage can fit greatly under your bed frame. Possibly. 

Well, only if you have a platform bed. Panel beds lack underbed storage due to their construction, so there’s no place for storage drawers.

Besides the design element of visible drawers, many platform beds can also be made taller by adding storage spaces.

Mattress Type

The right bed frame also depends on your mattress. For example, most innerspring beds and some hybrids require box springs. In that case, choose a panel bed. 

However, memory foam and latex mattresses work best on the sturdy base of a platform bed. 

Always check the mattress warranties first, because they likely precisely specify the adequate support and bed frame for the mattresses. Especially if you’re getting a new bed at the same time.


Panel beds tend to cost more because they need a separate mattress foundation. Also, buying and maintaining a box spring takes time and money. 

Platform beds are cheaper if you’re on a budget. They usually cost less because you don’t need to add a box spring to support the mattress. 

Panel beds also usually cost more because of the extra materials for the headboard and footboard and the more elaborate design of the wood frame. 

Panel bedPlatform bed
SupportFlexible and bouncy Firm
SizeUsually bigger and higher bed frameUsually smaller and lower
BreathabilityMore breathable because of the slats and box springFirm surface offers no breathability
DesignUsually traditional, but with more design choicesModern and sleek, low-profile bed
StorageNo room for extra storageCan be used for storage
Mattress typeInnerspring mattressMemory foam, hybrid mattresses
PriceMore expensive because of the separate bed baseUsually budget-friendly

Panel Bed – Pros and Cons

Now let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of panel beds.


  • More design options  
  • Box spring adds to height, makes it easier to get out of bed
  • Box spring improves mattress’ lifespan
  • Flexible supportive surface
  • Breathability offers cooler sleep


  • A box spring makes it more expensive 
  • Box spring maintenance takes time and money  
  • Traditional looking, not very modern 

Platform Bed – Pros and Cons

Platform beds come with their advantages and disadvantages, too.


  • Budget-friendly because there’s no box spring
  • Possible storage space under the bed 
  • Modern designs 
  • A low profile is better for stability
  • Smaller 


  • The low height isn’t for everyone
  • Wooden platform beds can’t stand a lot of weight and can wear out over time 
  • Hard to move around 

Panel Bed or Platform Bed – Which One Should You Choose?

So, which one should you go for? 

It all depends on your preferences, comfort, and budget. 

If you need more support and comfort in your new bed, especially if it has coils, go for a panel bed. They have a traditional look, are taller, and offer breathability. 

Just be prepared to shell out some extra bucks to buy and take care of the box spring!

And if your mattress doesn’t necessarily need a box spring and you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option with modern design choices, a platform bed is suitable. It’s also smaller. 

If the low height of a platform bed is a problem for you, you can always get a bed raiser, extra storage, or even a box spring. This will affect the price, though. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Regular Mattress on a Platform Bed?

You can use any mattress type on a platform bed. It just needs to be the right size. So if you already have a mattress, a platform bed will support it just fine. 

Keep one thing in mind, though – if the mattress warranty clearly states what type of support to use, you have to follow it. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a voided warranty. 

Do I Need a Box Spring for My Mattress?

Not every mattress needs a box spring, but innerspring mattresses usually do. However, you should always check your warranty to ensure you use the correct bed base. 

Are Platform Beds Lower Than Regular Beds?

Platform beds are usually lower than other bed frames, but their height is also adjustable. You can add storage or a mattress base underneath if you want a taller bed. 

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s all you need to know about the panel bed vs. platform bed contest. 

What do you think? What do you prefer your bedroom furniture to be like? 

No matter what you choose, we wish you a good night’s sleep! 

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.