platform bed vs metal frame (price, durability, softness, maintenance) - High Sun Mattress

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platform bed vs metal frame (price, durability, softness, maintenance)

Posted by High Sun Mattress on

Platform Bed Versus Metal Frame Bed

Canada, oh Canada, what manner of bed frame shall you choose? I understand. This is not among our nation’s major, debated issues.

To those who are trying to find the best bed, bed frame choice is an important first detail. To that end, the researched information below can be useful. Here are some points to consider.

Sleep is the body’s primary rest. The best bed, among other factors, assures the best sleep. The room setting, amount of light, room temperature and noise level are all important, but bed quality is the major focus. Proper, sufficient rest preserves our circadian rhythm.

Natural Rhythm

Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour cycle divided roughly into hours of light and hours of darkness. Bodily systems run biologically on this schedule, and rest is a critical part of this cycle.

Traditional beds are either solid, one-piece platforms or metal frames with legs. Optional headboard styles and adjustable mattresses are other personal comfort options.

The style of bed frame is an important factor for determining overall bed quality and comfort. Factors to consider are:
• Price
• Appearance
• Durability
• Softness
• Maintenance
• Mobility
• Flexibility


Metal Frames

Price is as always a top consideration for smart, frugal shoppers. Simple bed frames are available for less than $100, but these lower cost models do not usually have headboards.

Some online retailers lists these for less than $40. They are metal frames with horizontal metal slats, legs and a metal support slat running down the middle from head to foot.

More expensive models with headboards range in price from $300 to $400.

Even more expensive, nicer, adjustable versions of this metal frame can cost in the $600 range. Always compare quality with price to get the best possible product for the cost.

Platform Models

Platform beds, like their metal counterparts, have a wide price range from less than a hundred dollars to a thousand dollars or more. Walmart features a model for around $90 while Sleep Number has a model in the $1,000 range These platform beds are popular with those who require additional storage. Other owners say they like the firmer foundation feel, and platform beds just seem more permanent and stable.


Metal Frame Beds

The superior durability of steel is well known. The addition of metal slats bridges the rectangular frame’s sides and corners. An additional support in the middle of the frame from head to foot adds to the frame's rigidity. This support reinforces the metal slats and gives the frame unsurpassed sturdiness.

In the past, metal frames did not have this middle support. The metal slats were also too weak to support heavier or multiple sleepers. The newly reinforced models fixed that.

Platform Models

The platform bed frame reduces the distance between the bottom of the bed and the floor. This logically minimizes the support needed by other taller metal frame beds.
Center rails and slats do for the platform version what they do for the metal model.

Being closer to the floor makes for good bed frame durability. According to owners, platform beds offer their best sleep with a memory foam mattress. Memory foam mattresses have their own set of unique softness issues, but there are owners who would not have anything else.


Softness, like beauty, is often difficult to precisely determine. One person’s ‘way too soft’ is another person’s ‘just right’. Body type, fitness level and personal preference all go into one’s softness verdict.

While the frame setup itself is not soft, frame type does somewhat dictate the degree or kind of softness users will sense. Metal bed frames have a different kind of softness than the box-like platform frame.

Whether it is psychological or not, the space between the bed and the floor gives a suspended feeling. The user feels like he or she is sleeping suspended or elevated from the floor.

The platform frame physiologically feels more like a pallet on the floor, although a very plush pallet it is. The sense of sleeping so close to the floor reminds one of sleeping bags and camping tents.

Metal Frame Softness (Box Spring Setup)

The old cartoon of the metal wire sticking up through the mattress long ago disappeared. The advent of much improved box spring design and fitting more box springs into the frame give a more even, smoother feel and are vast improvements.

The modern box spring is a very different mattress than box spring mattresses of yore. Adding padded protection also greatly improved mattress comfort.

Box spring mattress pads also come in differing softness textures which ameliorate mattress firmness or rigidity

Platform Frame Softness (Memory Foam)

Few will argue the unsurpassed softness of memory foam. Like the commercial says, ‘it conforms to the shape of your body’. That may be the desired level of softness for many people, but others have complained that it is just too soft.
Some object to spending serious money only to find out they need a way to firm up their memory foam.


Maintaining your bed frame, metal or platform, is essential. Doing so not only keeps the frame strong and sturdy, but it gives the mattress a solid base. Giving the mattress a sound base extends the life of the mattress.

Normally, with proper use, checking your bed frame twice annually is sufficient. If you treat your bed like an indoor trampoline, more regular maintenance is a must.

Maintenance for Metal Bed Frame

The biggest maintenance drawback of metal bed frames is squeaks. These squeaks can be worse during our cold Canadian winters. With metal, it seems squeaks are inevitable. They develop over time through metal-to-metal contact.

As the frame receives the user’s weight, it gives slightly to accommodate the increased burden. Every time the frame does this, the metal goes back to almost its original position but not quite to its exact previous position. Over time, squeaks develop through this repeated process that creates stress wear.

Thankfully, however, there is a maintenance solution. The quick, easy fix is to apply metal lubricant to the area. If your frame is adjustable, use a wrench to tighten the squeaky joints. You can find other remedies here.

Other parts of the metal bed frame which need checking are the slats and the middle support rail that runs from head to foot. These can become warped or sag.

Once they warp or sag, they are more prone to detach from the main frame. Monitor your metal frame regularly for these potential repairs since mattress longevity depends upon proper support.

Maintenance for Platform Bed Frame

Since platform bed frames are generally wood or some wood-like material, squeaking is much less of a problem. The major maintenance issue with platform frames is breakage.
Breakage, especially a huge split down the middle of a panel, is a more difficult repair than a squeak. This repair requires either bracing the break or replacing the panel.

Bracing with 1 x 4’boards screwed into the lower side of the panel will do the trick if you use enough boards and enough screws. Slatted versions of this repair can be viewed here,

While this video is of a wood bed repair example, the same basic principles apply to a wood platform frame with slats. The main point is to show how complicated wood platform repair can be.

The other maintenance issue with the platform frame is the care, cleaning and maintenance of the headboard. You can handle this as a regular part of usual household cleaning just like any other piece of furniture.

As mentioned earlier, normal use does not usually cause platform frame breakage. Using the bed like it is a piece of gym equipment is usually the culprit. For the more athletic among us, find another outlet or piece of equipment to expend your excess energy and extend the life of your platform frame.

Mobility and Flexibility

Two final considerations for helping you select your bed frame are mobility and flexibility. I have included them together since they are interrelated.

A bed frame that is mobile is more flexible for changing locations and redecorating the room. Bed frames which are easier to move increase possible design options. Ever notice that the location of the bed pretty much dictates how people move within the room?

Check out any image of bedroom design, and you will see that the bed is the focal point around which every other accoutrement revolves.

Mobility and Flexibility of a Metal Bed Frame Versus a Platform Bed Frame

Since platform frames are heavier and more cumbersome to move, metal frames have the advantage. For those who are not constantly changing rooms and re-decorating, the platform frame is a better choice.

While platform frames are pretty much a place and forget choice, they can also be moved. It just takes more effort to move a platform than it does to move a metal frame, especially if that metal frame has wheels. Platform frames are just not designed to be moved frequently, so if you like to re-arrange your bedroom often, the platform frame might not be your best choice.