If you’re in the market for a new bed frame, you’re most likely looking at either a wood or metal material to purchase. However, what are the significant differences between these two types of structures, and how do they compare?
Metal bed frames are durable, adjustable, and less expensive, while wood bed frames are attractively designed, easy to put together, and sturdy. These differences are often more pronounced in the lower price range as high-quality bed frames made of either material offer great durability and design.
For the rest of this article, I’ll give a deeper explanation of these differences, which choice is better for different circumstances, how durable each option typically is, and whether you even need a bed frame.
Several distinct qualities are typical for both metal and wood bed frames.
Generally, the more well-constructed the bed frame, the less significant material differences, but there are still some common advantages and disadvantages between the two.
Metal bed frames emphasize durability and a long lifespan, while wood bed frames emphasize a comfortable, sturdy, and stylish design. Both have disadvantages, such as squeakiness and unpleasant aesthetics for metal frames and price and weight for wood frames.
Let’s make a closer examination of the pros and cons of each type of frame to give you a better picture of common differences between the two.
Metal Bed Frames: The Pros and Cons
- Usually less expensive than wood
- Durable and typically lasts a long time
- Often more easily repaired
- Adaptable and easily customized
- More difficult assembly
- Sometimes squeaky
- Maybe less comfortable than wood bed frames
- Less aesthetically appealing
Wood Bed Frames: The Pros and Cons
- Stylish and complements most home decor styles
- Easy assembly
- Generally feature higher stability than metal frames
- Wide range of materials to choose from
- Often costly
- Heavier than metal bed frames
- More vulnerable to wear and decay
- Less safe (due to fire and heat hazards)
As you can see, they both have substantial benefits to offer while also having significant drawbacks. The appropriate option will depend on your situation.
Next, I’ll explain why and when you prefer one type of bed frame over the other.
Okay, so we know there are differences between metal and wood bed frames. However, how do those differences factor into which one is better? And how should you figure out which you want to buy?
These factors will influence the answer: Your budget, how long you need the frame to last, your style preferences, and the relative importance of sturdiness you like for your bed.
Metal bed frames are better if you need a less expensive and highly durable option, while wood bed frames are better if you want a sturdy frame that’s pleasant to observe. However, this isn’t always true; some metal frames are incredibly sturdy, and cheap wood bed frames are on the market.
Now, let’s look at each difference more closely, starting with a big one: Comfort.
Metal vs. Wood Bed Frame: The Comfort
Since comfort is one of the most prominent qualities people look for when choosing a bed frame, it’s essential to see if metal frames live up to that expectation.
Metal bed frames are usually comfortable, especially at a higher quality and price. However, a metal frame is often a less comfortable option to sleep on than a wood frame for cheaper alternatives. This comfort level is affected by sturdiness, strength, and weight.
The above makes sense intuitively. If a metal frame is lighter and less sturdy than a wood frame, the structure will naturally shift and move as you toss and turn during the night.
A lower comfort level can be frustrating as, if it gets noticeable enough, it may prevent you from sleeping.
However, a high-quality bed frame of any material will be comfortable.
Well-designed metal frames compensate for these differences from wood, and their manufacturers will specifically construct them to avoid comfort problems.
Plus, the relatively reduced comfort of a metal bed frame is often made up for in another area: Durability and longevity.
The added durability of a metal bed frame can give it a longer use life. How does this more prolonged period of usability compare to wood bed frames?
Metal bed frames can last significantly longer than wood bed frames. This durability is because of a lack of vulnerability to wear, rot, and splintering. This difference isn’t as significant for higher-quality structures of metal or wood.
As an organic material, wood will be vulnerable to breakdown and decay. Often, this takes the form of the material rotting after a long period of use.
Metal’s characteristic inorganic hardness makes it much less vulnerable to these factors, and it’s also not likely to split and fall apart the same way some woods (especially of a cheaper type) can.
Are Wood Bed Frames Stronger Than Metal Ones?
Wood bed frames have a reputation of being sturdier and support more weight than metal frames. However, is this true, and, if so, how significant is the effect?
Wood bed frames are typically strong, sturdy, and support considerable weight. The support structures of wood frames are generally of a more solid design than metal frames, but cheaper and poorly designed wood bed frames can also be weak.
One of the critical factors in the stability of wood bed frames is their stabilization design, which is often more sophisticated than that of metal frames.
The specific material of the wood also factors in, with solid woods being more stable as a rule than softwoods.
The cost of a solid wood bed frame can vary substantially, from the lower consumer end (which may have design faults and be less durable) to higher quality and more expensive frames.
There are solid wood bed frames at the lower price levels that cost under $200. These are usually lower quality, but even these frames can be perfectly usable over long periods.
On the other hand, more expensive solid wood bed frames can cost over $1200. The added cost often represents a significant quality advantage over cheaper beds, and costly wood bed frames are, for many people, the best type of frame money can buy.
Most people will probably be interested in a price point somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. This way, you can ensure your frame is still high quality while not going over budget.
Depending on your bedroom decor and how picky you are about your mattress support, you may not even need a bed frame.
One efficient and convenient alternative is to place your mattress on the floor, perhaps propped up against a bedroom wall. Not glamorous by any means, but it gets the job done.
For another example, you can place your mattress over an assembled stack of sturdy boxes and then using a sheet to cover up the frame substitute. The added sheet can disguise the fact that you’re not using a proper frame to support the mattress and give the bed a more stylish appearance.
To sum it up, metal and wood bed frames each have many advantages and disadvantages.
Which one is “better” will, by and large, depend on your budget, your personal preferences, and what exactly you need your frame to do.
Metal frames are generally cheaper and more durable but at the cost of strength and style. They’re a great option if your primary concern is getting a bed frame that works for a reasonable price.
Meanwhile, wood frames have high stability and support, but they aren’t necessarily the best for cost-conscious buyers looking for a long-term frame.