Sprung slat vs solid slat – Which is best for my bed?

Your bed frame is more important to the quality of your sleep than you might think. If you have ever tried to sleep on a mattress placed on the floor, you will know that the feel of your mattress is dramatically affected by the bed base you choose. So how do you decide between sprung slat vs solid slat bed bases?

What are bed slats?

Bed slats are the long, narrow lengths of wood found on slatted bed bases. These planks are attached across the width of the bed frame, creating a surface that your mattress can rest on. Slatted bases are popular, but it is not always apparent that there is a big difference in the support provided by the two main types of slatted bases – solid and sprung.

What is the difference between solid and sprung slats?

There are many different types of bed base, including solid slatted, sprung slatted, solid platform and sprung platform beds. Each bed base type has its benefits and downsides. The main difference between a sprung slat vs solid slat bed is that while sprung slats have some give, a solid slatted base is rigid. Solid slats also tend to extend the full width of the bed frame, whereas sprung slats usually come in two rows, joining in the middle. These features give each type of bed base advantages and disadvantages.

Sprung bed slats

Combining flexibility and lower price, a sprung slatted bed base can be just right for some sleepers. Sprung slats are often made from flexible, slightly bowed wood. Sprung slats clip into brackets along each side of the frame, or are attached to each other with ribbons. King, queen, and double bed slats are also connected by a centre support rail in the middle of the bed.

Their curved shape adds spring to the surface your mattress rests on, helping to extend the lifespan of your mattress. This flexibility also absorbs the sleeper’s weight and movement, reducing pressure points and creating a softer feeling bed. So, if you prefer more cushioning, sprung slats can be a good option. 

Advantages

  • Affordable.
  • Provide some flexibility, which makes your mattress feel softer.
  • Flexibility also helps your mattress last longer.  
  • Often easy to assemble yourself, although some models require a reasonable bit of elbow grease to get the tensioned slats into each bracket.  

Disadvantages

  • Cheaper slats can be unfinished and rough, which can damage upholstery. 
  • Sprung bed slats problems include being prone to slipping off the frame, creating a large gap underneath the mattress.

Solid bed slats

Solid slats are made from individual lengths of timber, metal or plastic. They are straight, without any bend or curve, and can be screwed to the bed frame or attached to a ribbon and rested on the bed frame. They create a sturdy, supportive base and tend to make mattresses feel firmer. For an even firmer bed, solid slats can be paired with a firm mattress. However, the combination of their inflexibility and the gaps between each slat can damage the structure of your mattress over time, causing sections of it to slump into the gaps.

Advantages

  • Makes mattresses feel firmer, which can be an advantage for some.
  • Solid slats provide a better surface for pocket sprung mattresses, which work best on a flat surface. This is because each spring is independent from the others. For each spring to respond to your body’s movement and weight it needs a solid surface underneath it.

Disadvantages

  • Creaking can be a problem.
  • Lower quality than a solid platform bed. 
  • Gaps between each slat can be too large (over 7 cm), which allows sections of your mattress to sag into the gaps. This can damage the mattress and make sleeping comfortably very difficult.
  • Thin, round metal slats apply a lot of pressure where they touch the mattress, which can damage the mattress and create an uncomfortable bed.

How can choosing the right bed slats affect my sleep?

Your sleeping position can strongly influence the type of bed you find most comfortable. For example, side sleepers tend to prefer softer beds with more pressure point relief, due to the strain it can put on your hips and shoulders. If you prefer a softer bed, then sprung slats can provide added cushioning alongside a softer mattress. 

Back sleepers, on the other hand, often need a slightly firmer bed to support their spine in a neutral position. For back sleepers, opting for solid slats creates a firmer bed that you should find more comfortable. 

How to choose a mattress based on your bed slats

Even with the perfect mattress, any bed can be uncomfortable if your bed base is letting you down. Pairing the right bed base with your mattress helps ensure you sleep comfortably. Your bed base can also affect the condition and lifespan of your mattress. For example, very firm mattresses can be damaged more easily on sprung slat bases compared to mattresses with more give. 

Can adjustable beds have a slatted base?

Yes, adjustable beds can have a slatted base, but not just any slatted bed base will do. Adjustable beds combine a specialist adjustable base and an adjustable mattress that can move comfortably with the bed base. The base can be slatted, which gives you access to adjustable beds at a lower price, but there are some disadvantages to a slatted adjustable base.

Are solid or sprung slats better for an adjustable bed?

Both solid and sprung slatted bases provide reasonable support for an adjustable bed. But for both kinds of slatted base, the movement of an adjustable bed makes the slats more likely to move around and create gaps in the bed base. 

A solid platform bed, made from a hardwood panel, is much better at supporting you and your mattress as it moves to the positions you choose. Avoiding common sprung bed slats problems such as sagging and movement, solid bed bases last longer than slatted bed bases, and extend the lifespan of your mattress too. Read our guide to find out more about how adjustable bed bases work

Still not sure which bed base is best for you?

With so many options available, it’s not hard to feel unsure about which bed base is right for you. Speak to one of our team members for expert advice on adjustable bed bases and how they can help you sleep well.