Are they harder/firmer/less comfortable without a box spring under the mattress?
Never slept on one, but I imagine it's similar to putting the mattress directly on the floor. Slept very comfortably like that for a number of years when I was much younger. My sister still does and she's 70.
It all depends on the mattress - many "box springs" are just wood slats with some padding and a cover, no "spring" to them.
Most platform beds have slats the mattress rests on, and if they are resilient, you get a bit more give to the mattress. Mine is solid, and it's just like any other mattress.
We love our platform bed. It's a Scandanavian Design teak bed that we bought in the 1980's. The mattress sits on top of wooden slats. We love it - there's no movement or bounce. I can barely stand to sleep on a standard box spring and innerspring mattress at this point in time.
I do have trouble buying fitted sheets, howevever. Seems like they're all "super-sized" for the pillow top mattresses and they're too loose on my bed. So I just tuck the extra fabric under the mattress. I also can't buy standard queen-sized bedspreads because the bed is close to the floor. So we use a duvet cover and a down insert.
Ours is very comfortable as well. Our mattress sucks but the platform is perfect.
I have the Charles Rogers Zen platform bed and love it. It doesn't have slats; the base consists of two removable solid panels covered in fabric that are placed on the frame. The fabric provides a slight amount of cushion, but not much, so the platform itself is firm and doesn't flex the way some slats do. I made my own mattress using latex from foambymail.com; six inches of firm latex for the base with three inches of soft latex on top. The mattress is encased in a cover that zips all around. A Cuddledown pillowtop mattress pad is on top. It's the most comfortable bed I ever slept on. I don't like very firm beds and this one is perfect for me. The only change I would make if I were doing this again would be to use a 2 inch latex topper instead of 3 inch because the mattress pad also adds cushyness and sometimes it feels a little too soft. I've had the bed and mattress for about three years and they both look brand new.
We slept on a platform bed for years - literally a carpeted plywood box with a mattress on top (give me a break -it was the 80's!) and were quite comfortable. As lazygardens said, a lot will depend on the mattress you use. If it's a mattress you already own, the best test would be to put it on the floor ans sleep that way for a few nights as a test. If it's to be a new purchase, it will be as much of a cr@p shoot as buying any mattress set. One things I loved about ours.... no dust bunnies underneath and not opportunity to store things we didn't really need anyway!
We have 3 beds presently and no box springs. Two are slats and the other a solid platform. Our slats are thick hardwoods so don't flex and provide great support. I guess the solid platform is akin to mattress on the floor. Can't tell if it really makes a difference as each bedroom has a different type of mattress, but all are very comfortable.
There's a whole school of thought touting the health benefits of natural latex mattresses and avoiding metal springs so your bed does not become a conductor of electro-magnetic energy. You can read up if of interest, but that seems a good reason to switch from box springs.
I really like our king platform natural latex, but only because my side is extra firm. I find DH's medium to be too soft. It has a king topper so, other than the difference in firmness, you can't tell each is on its own platform. This system allows for separate preferences and is much easier to move than the king single mattress in one guest room. It's also easier to deal with than the queen mattress in the other guest room. The other advantage is the reduction in costs if one twin needs to be replaced.
Our whole family has slept on platform beds for many years. Our king sized bed was a locally made semi-replica of a Thos Moser style pencil post canopy bed, and our kids beds are Ikea and homemade loft beds. We use firm Ikea platform mattresses and recently purchased some natural latex and sheepswool mattress toppers to make them a little more plush. I will never go back to a boxspring, I never really understood the point of them.
We just got a platform bed for the first time. Love it. It took a little while to get used to being closer to the floor, but it's extremely comfortable.
It's not the platform construction that changes anything if it's a well-made bed. The mattress is the key factor to comfort.
I have a platform bed from Room & Board. Metal slats (they don't budge; no creaking or feeling they'll slip, like my co-worker's Ikea bed that has collapsed a few times as her mother tossed and turned!). The mattress (designed to combine a boxspring and regular top mattress construction) came from Room & Board, too. Quite comfortable. I'm sure if you didn't know beforehand there was no boxspring, you wouldn't even notice a difference. I've also had no problems with sheets fitting; when I got the bed, I bought a few sets of white-on-white patterned sheets from Marshalls/HomeGoods and they all fit perfectly fine. They'll last my lifetime if not beyond!
And there are platforms that are very low, or not so low. My mattress is slightly higher than some other regular mattresses, so I don't feel low to the ground.
I imagine that when the more recent platform beds came out on the market, people looked as suspiciously at them as they did when mattress companies started to offer low-profile boxsprings as an alternative to traditional ones.
I had a platform bed all through high school and up until I got married. I had a really good mattress, and since I tend to like firmer mattresses anyway, I always found it very comfortable.
DH and I now sleep on a mattress on top of a low profile "boxspring", which really isn't a boxspring at all. We have a pillow top on this one (slightly softer than what I had been used to) but love it too.
Are all platform beds low to the floor? Maybe the term I should have used is captain's bed, but they are basically the same as neither has a box spring under the mattress.
Thanks for all the replies. Now I'm leaning that direction more than ever.
I had one for years. It creaked a lot, but other than that, I was very happy with it.
I agree with Pammy. We have a platform bed in our RV. We had a custom mattress made - decided if we were going to use the RV, we were going to be comfortable! We needed a queen size mattress - but 6 inches shorter - hence the custom. We got a great mattress and I can't tell the difference between being on the platform and being on boxsprings. Ours is not low to the floor.
I do not have a low platform bed; it's a tall steel frame and the space under the bed is about 18 inches, but there is also no box spring. The mattress is a Select Comfort/Sleep Number mattress on top of plywood, which covers the slats of the bed frame. This really works for for DH and I, as DH does not like to "climb up" out of bed, the way one does when sleeping low to the floor, and I get the airy "empty space" style, instead of the visual clutter and heaviness of an unnecessary box spring. (I really love low beds, and would have one if it was just me, but I gotta admit it is nice to slide out of bed basically into a standing position :-D