You don’t have to spend big bucks to boost the ambiance in your bedroom—adding a simple platform bed frame can be a game changer. It’s an easy and affordable way to support your mattress, and it will make your bed comfier to climb into and prevent mold from forming underneath. We spent weeks researching and testing bed frames to find our three favorites—each is easy to assemble, sturdy, stylish, and less than $300.
- Why you should trust us
- A minimalist metal bed frame that’s built to last: CB2 Simple Black Metal Bed Base
- A sturdy platform bed you can customize: KD Frames Nomad Plus Platform Bed
- An affordable and easy-to-move platform bed: Zinus Moiz Wood Platform Bed Frame (standard)
- Who should buy a platform bed frame
- What about IKEA?
- How we picked and tested
- The competition
Why you should trust us
I am a writer at Design Milk and since 2006 have been writing about home decor for a multitude of design-focused outlets, including Apartment Therapy, where I helped everyday people turn houses into homes. Before that I worked as an industrial designer for children’s toys and furniture. For Wirecutter, I’ve tested and recommended everything from clothing hangers, bedside lamps, floor lamps, alarm clocks, and sofas. I once slept in a $63,000 bed (for a single night), but I still think the bed that I share with two felines and my wife at home is the most comfortable in the entire world.
A minimalist metal bed frame that’s built to last: CB2 Simple Black Metal Bed Base
This is the only platform bed frame we recommend that has the option to add a headboard. The powder-coated, all-iron frame is also one of the sturdiest platforms we tried, and it looks and feels twice its price.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Buying Options
Best for: Those who want a low-profile frame that will last for years and that won’t easily move around or creak, no matter how restless the sleeper (or how vigorous the nocturnal activity).
Why it’s great: The CB2 Simple Black Metal Bed Base has a sturdy frame that’s easy to assemble and a low (9 inches tall), minimalist design that should look great in nearly any style or size bedroom, particularly those with low ceilings. The matte black, all-iron frame lives up to its name, forgoing any extraneous detail in favor of clean lines. The powder coating is thicker and more scratch-resistant than the finish on any other bed we recommend, and the frame looks distinctive and high-end, compared with many budget beds we considered (most of which were wood). And if you later decide you want to add a headboard, CB2 sells a variety of upholstered, wood, and metal headboards specifically designed to attach to the frame, which is great if you like to frequently switch up your decor. No other frame we tested offered so many options.
The CB2 was the simplest bed frame to assemble. With only eight main components, it had fewer parts to keep track of than other, more complicated beds we tested. Piecing together the frame took about only 40 minutes, but the CB2 was also the heaviest bed we assembled (so consider skipping arm day at the gym post-assembly). Still, this army of one was able to move each piece into place without expending too much sweat.
The CB2 frame required only eight bolts to piece it together (it came with a hex wrench to help) and an additional 16 bolts to secure the slats onto the frame and the center beam. Fourteen 2-inch-wide, ¾-inch-thick pine slats are attached to canvas strips, and they unfurled like a rope ladder, making them a little easier to manage than the many individual pieces on some other beds. And of the three beds we recommend, the CB2 had the least space (2½ inches) between the slats, which makes for a very sturdy build.
The finished bed is a comfortable, quiet, and impressively stable platform for most mattresses, with evenly distributed slat support—we didn’t feel any bumps or dips while resting on top. The frame’s weight (107 pounds for a queen) and low stance mean this model won’t slide around easily when you’re getting in and out of bed or changing positions, so squeaks and creaks are kept to a minimum. Altogether, the CB2 frame should bring out the best qualities of almost any mattress.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The most expensive of our three picks, the queen-size CB2 was around our price cap, but if you’re looking for a larger bed, know that the king version was $350 at the time of writing. The frame was also very heavy to move, whether assembled or in pieces. And our sample was missing a washer (the lone instance of a missing part out of all the models we ordered for testing). That didn’t stop us from putting the bed together, but without that washer there’s a greater possibility that the frame could loosen over time. Be sure to inspect all hardware before assembly (something we advise doing with any model).
|Materials||iron frame, pine slats|
|Sizes available||twin, full, queen, king|
|Warranty/returns||30-day returns only|
A sturdy platform bed you can customize: KD Frames Nomad Plus Platform Bed
This hardwood platform bed can support up to 600 pounds, and it’s the only bed we recommend that allows for custom staining or finishing.
*At the time of publishing, the price the 1 last update 2020/05/31 was $221.*At the time of publishing, the price was $221.
Best for: People who need a sturdy bed frame and DIY enthusiasts who want the option of personalizing the raw wood to match any style.
Why it’s great: The poplar hardwood KD Frames Nomad Plus Platform Bed is customizable (if you’re open to DIY) and one of the strongest wood bed frames we found—it can hold up to 600 pounds. That’s likely a conservative figure considering that the Nomad Plus features two sets of slats that form something like a rib cage. None of the other frames we tested offered this weight-bearing design, although all of our picks were nearly as strong (the wood Zinus we recommend below is rated for up to 500 pounds). The KD Frames bed also had two more slats than the other frames, for a total of 16 beefy, 2-by-1-inch hardwood planks. Between each piece there’s just a 2.8-inch gap (second only to the CB2 frame’s 2.5-inch span), which contributes to the bed’s strength. Add up those specifications and you’ve got a 68-pound platform bed frame that former Wirecutter tester Kevin Purdy said could withstand “energetic jump-ons and 190-pound body slams” with confident indifference.
Because of its weight, the Nomad Plus requires more time and care to assemble than some lighter-weight softwood or veneer beds we tried in this price category. It also means you shouldn’t feel any wiggle or wobble when you settle into bed. The Nomad Plus shipped with a lot of pieces, so although the instructions were clearly laid out and assembly was straightforward, there were dozens more slats, sides, and pieces of hardware to keep track of compared with our other picks.
The Nomad Plus is the only unfinished bed frame we recommend, and it’s a great choice for DIY enthusiasts who want a customized look. The blond wood is nice on its own, but it also takes stain or paint well, giving you the option of personalizing your frame. The straightforward silhouette also lends itself to whatever creative design you may come up with. Without any treatment, the frame over time will patina slightly in direct sunlight.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for This bed frame is also taller than any other frame we recommend: It’s 15 inches high, with 11½ inches of clearance. This means you’ll have a little more storage space underneath it than with other beds we recommend here, and KD Frames also sells a replacement set of 18-inch legs ($30), which will raise the clearance to 14½ inches. At either height, there’s plenty of room for storage bins, which is a perk for anyone looking to take advantage of space under the bed. For matching under-bed storage, KD Frames sells rolling drawers that are outfitted with wheels for smooth and easy access (and they work with the Nomad). If you regularly host guests and sometimes need room for one more, a Roll-Away Trundle Bed twin frame adds an additional hideaway bed underneath.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The bare wood of this model is susceptible to nicks, cuts, pen marks, cat claws, and other household agents of destruction. We’ve also found this frame’s availability to be somewhat inconsistent, but the company has always been communicative and honest about timing, which is why we’ll continue to recommend this bed.
|Materials||kiln-dried tulip poplar hardwood|
|Sizes available||twin, twin XL, full, queen, king|
|Warranty/returns||five-year warranty; unlimited return window, as long as the box is unopened (shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer)|
An affordable and easy-to-move platform bed: Zinus Moiz Wood Platform Bed Frame (standard)
This simple, stylish platform bed frame is the lightest of any model we recommend, so it’s easier for one person to assemble and move on their own, but we’ve found that its stock can be unreliable.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for May be out of stock
*At the time of publishing, the price was $147.
Best for: Anyone on a budget and those who have steep stairs, long hallways, or narrow doorways.
Why it’s great: We think the Zinus Moiz Wood Platform Bed Frame is a good-looking and practical choice for someone moving into their first apartment or anyone who’s apt to change addresses often. Zinus makes two versions of this bed: standard and deluxe. They’re nearly identical in design, but the standard has narrower rails (3.5 inches, versus the deluxe’s 5.75 inches) and is slightly cheaper. We opted to test the deluxe version, but we think most people will be just as happy with the standard. Either frame is light enough for one person to move (the queen-size standard Moiz weighs 58 pounds, and the deluxe weighs 65 pounds), and each assembles quickly into a stable and supportive platform for most mattresses. We’ve noticed that Zinus tends to have trouble keeping all sizes of both versions in stock so if you find the right size in the version you want, don’t wait.
Zinus obviously engineered this frame with easy assembly in mind. Although it has more parts to piece together than other models we tested, the Moiz also includes the most straightforward, step-by-step instructions of any bed we recommend, a rarity with most DIY furniture. There are also identifying stickers affixed to each of the major parts. Unpacking and assembling the Moiz took us 40 minutes, about the same amount of time the CB2 model took, and we were pleasantly surprised by several small details not always found at this price: individually sealed packaging for hardware, the inclusion of extra parts, a ratchet wrench, and pre-drilled parts.
Despite its light weight, the Moiz bed frame is plenty sturdy. It sits atop thick, 8-inch-long legs, which lift the bed frame to a height of 14 inches (an inch shorter than the Nomad, but 6 inches taller than the CB2), and it includes a steel center rail with three legs to add stability in the middle. Compared with the CB2 frame, the Moiz has two fewer support slats, for a total of 12, but we didn’t feel any discernible difference in support. They’re laid out with 3 inches between each piece, which is within the range we like to see. Velcro strips keep the slats securely attached to the frame’s side rails.
At this price it’s not surprising that the frame is veneer, rather than made from solid wood. To Zinus’s credit, the veneer grain is consistent, smooth, and matte, resulting in a handsome Scandinavian platform that should look good whether your tastes run modern, traditional, or eclectic. But the Moiz will undoubtedly be susceptible to dings and scratches over time, like any softwood furniture, and odds are good it won’t last nearly as long as CB2’s powder-coated metal frame.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: One of the Velcro strips designed to hold the slats in place arrived twisted and stapled incorrectly. This doesn’t hinder performance, but we heard a small crinkling sound when leaping into bed, caused by the strips of Velcro shifting.
|Materials||pine frame, plywood slats|
|Finishes/colors||natural wood (veneer)|
|Sizes available||twin, full, queen, king|
|Warranty/returns||five-year warranty; 100-day return policy|
Who should buy a platform bed frame
Everyone should keep their mattress off the floor. And a platform bed frame offers an affordable, slat-based system designed to work with spring, foam, or hybrid mattresses, without the need for a foundation or box spring (but you can add one if you prefer a higher bed surface). The slats add support and keep the bed from sagging, and—along with the bed frame’s height—allow the mattress to “breathe,” preventing mold and mildew from forming underneath. Platform bed frames are also usually lighter and easier to move and simpler to assemble, and they generally veer toward a clean and contemporary design, compared with traditional for 1 last update 2020/05/31 bed frames. And when you’re up off the floor, it’s easier to climb in and out of bed.Everyone should keep their mattress off the floor. And a platform bed frame offers an affordable, slat-based system designed to work with spring, foam, or hybrid mattresses, without the need for a foundation or box spring (but you can add one if you prefer a higher bed surface). The slats add support and keep the bed from sagging, and—along with the bed frame’s height—allow the mattress to “breathe,” preventing mold and mildew from forming underneath. Platform bed frames are also usually lighter and easier to move and simpler to assemble, and they generally veer toward a clean and contemporary design, compared with traditional bed frames. And when you’re up off the floor, it’s easier to climb in and out of bed.
If you have a bed frame you like but the slats are bent, broken, too thin, or spaced farther than 3 inches apart, you can buy a “bunkie board,” which drops into the frame. Zinus makes a slat-replacement board for any of the twin, full, queen, and king frames we recommend (not just those made by Zinus). One Wirecutter writer uses such an insert in his queen-size IKEA Malm bed, and he told us he found the assembly easy and the fit snug.
What about IKEA?
You may be wondering why we don’t recommend any platform beds from IKEA. The Swedish manufacturer sells several low-profile bed frames with slat support, but most of IKEA’s $300-and-under bed frames include headboards and footboards (aside from the single-size Utåker daybed and the overbudget, aluminum-base Delaktig). In previous years we tested a few of those, but this time we focused on simple platforms for the sake of cost and ease of assembly. We may revisit IKEA’s offerings in the future.
How we picked and tested
A platform bed frame should be compatible with most foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses. But even a cursory search online will provide a dizzying number of lookalike options, many constructed with cheap softwoods or insufficiently spaced slats prone to squeaking and creaking or even letting the mattress sag over time. We looked for platform bed frames that hit the sweet spot between affordability and durability—with a dash of the 1 last update 2020/05/31 good looks thrown in—and that we could assemble ourselves with only the tools included in the box. With that in mind, here are features every buyer should look for in a platform bed frame:A platform bed frame should be compatible with most foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses. But even a cursory search online will provide a dizzying number of lookalike options, many constructed with cheap softwoods or insufficiently spaced slats prone to squeaking and creaking or even letting the mattress sag over time. We looked for platform bed frames that hit the sweet spot between affordability and durability—with a dash of good looks thrown in—and that we could assemble ourselves with only the tools included in the box. With that in mind, here are features every buyer should look for in a platform bed frame:
- Priced at $300 and under
- No headboard (but we appreciated the option to add one)
- Supportive slats, spaced no more than 3 inches apart
- A good return policy and warranty (favoring hassle-free, no-fee returns and warranties beyond a standard 30- or 90-day “substantial defect” policy)
- Adaptable, modern design
After assembling each bed, we favored models that had these features:
- Easy enough for one person to assemble, disassemble, and move
- Arrived in boxes one person could handle comfortably up stairs and through narrow halls and doorways
- Easy-to-follow instructions
- All necessary tools included
After assembling several bed frames, we found that you’ll want at least 3 feet on all sides to work with. And we recommend taking stock of all the tools and hardware you’ll need before getting started. When piecing together the CB2 frame, we discovered too late that we were one washer short, which really, ahem, threw a wrench in the process.
The “no more than 3 inches apart” slats guideline is particularly important because many mattress manufacturers, including Leesa, Casper, and Purple, won’t honor a warranty claim if your frame doesn’t provide sufficient support. According to Jeff Chapin, co-founder and head of product design at Casper, the 3-inch spec isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, since the dimensions of the slats themselves—particularly their thickness—matter more to the overall stiffness of the base and support for the mattress. Chapin notes, though, that “3 inches apart” is easier for shoppers to remember than more complex thickness specifications. (Why have slats at all? They permit airflow and help keep mold from growing underneath the mattress—something I discovered firsthand in an unplanned science experiment in college.)
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for We ordered the Andover Mills Maxen Wood Platform Bed Frame from Wayfair and discovered it’s a rebranded carbon copy of the Zinus Moiz (the only difference upon inspection was slightly different packaging, but both were clearly marked as Zinus models).
The Zinus Justina Quick Snap Standing Mattress Foundation was quite easy to piece together into a handsome-looking upholstered foundation. No tools or hardware are required because each of the frame’s 16 pieces snap into place with a rubber mallet (which is included). But we had to cross this option off our list because of the 6-inch gaps between each of the 11 support beams. We didn’t notice those wide gaps when our test mattress was on the frame, but we were warned by Leesa representatives that the wide gaps would void a Leesa warranty because over time the mattress could sink through the gaps and deform.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for We built IKEA’s Hemnes bed in lieu of testing the more universally known Malm, because the Hemnes bed is made with solid wood instead of veneer, and it looked more traditional. The build experience was a familiar IKEA afternoon of screws, holding bolts, and dowels—and reading the instructions multiple times. The package had dozens of pieces and little hardware bits to contend with (annoying if you need to reassemble a frame), and the bed wasn’t very comfortable; the slat base was too flexible. The Lönset slat base has slats that are just over ¼-inch thick, and though they’re tightly placed, at 1¼ inches apart, the net effect is a less firm, flat support for a mattress. And friends and co-workers with IKEA bed frames have noted broken or slipped slats. You can replace the slats in the Hemnes (and the Malm) with a prebuilt bunkie board, but that’s an additional cost. We think our picks are a better value. If you’re ordering a lot of IKEA furniture already and you particularly like the look, a Hemnes or Malm will probably do just fine.
The metal Ollie Bed Frame from LexMod is affordable, claims to offer good support (with a 1,300-pound weight limit), and has slats that (according to a posted company response to a customer question) measure 3 inches wide and 3½ inches apart. But it seemed to be frequently out of stock for online ordering, as did other models we considered from the brand.
The Handy Living Platform Bed Frame is a common type you’ll find at many retailers and sites, with curved wooden slats nested in rubber holders hammered into the metal frame. In our tests it was easily the most annoying frame to assemble, with instructions that seemed poorly proofread or translated. In assembling, disassembling, and then trying to reassemble the frame, we managed to break two rubber holders by bending the plastic pegs that sink into the frame. Ultimately it held a mattress, but with a feeling of sinking under pressure. The three-star Amazon reviews tell the tale: “not horrible,” “not a long-term solution,” and “okay,” along with quite a few mentions of busted slats.
Jeff Chapin, co-founder and head of product design, Casper, phone interviews