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Metal vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Pros, Cons, & Differences

metal vs wooden bed

Choosing a bed frame may seem as simple as picking the most durable and comfortable one. But the decision instantly gets more complex when you start to question which type of bed frame is better. So, do you go with metal or wooden bed frames?

Since various factors go into the answer, there’s no exact way to determine which material is better. For example, metal bed frames are better for those that prioritize affordability and low maintenance, while wooden bed frames offer more versatility and sustainability.

Plus, other elements influence your choice of bed frame materials. That includes capacity for support, noisiness, adjustability, assembly, safety, and design options. Here’s a complete comparison of metal vs. wooden bed frames to help make a wiser decision.

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Overview of Metal Bed Frames

metal bed frame
Image Credit: Piqsels

Metal bed frames are known for their longevity and low-maintenance nature. Let’s discuss the build, maintenance, and types of metal bed frames.

Build

Metal bed frames are typically built from robust materials such as iron and brass. However, in brass bed frames, only the headboard and footboard are brass, while the rails are typically made from steel.

You may find metal bed frames that are 100% or only brass-plated steel. When a brass bed frame is considered 100% brass, it’s typically 70% copper and 30% zinc. Most brass bed frames are plain and straightforward, but you may also find options with porcelain finials.

Similarly, iron beds have steel rails and iron headboards and footboards. Most modern iron bed frames consist of heavy-gauge steel tubing, solid bar stock, and cold roll, with a beech wood-sprung slatted base and steel framework for support.

Maintenance

Metal bed frames are fairly easy to clean and maintain. Like any bed frame, they will accumulate dust and dirt over time, but you only need a moist cloth to wipe it off. Cleaning your metal bed frame consistently can help you maintain a brand-new shine.

However, metal bed frames are vulnerable to rusting after coming in contact with moisture. So, keeping your bed frame dry and clean is crucial as the rust spreads fast and is nearly impossible to remove.

Additionally, metal bed frames heat up quickly, so it’s not recommended if you live in an area with a hot climate. In the winter, the cold metal can also provide an unexpected shock, so it’s best to keep your metal bed frame covered.

metal bed frame in the room
Image Credit: Piqsels

Types of Metal Bed Frames

The types and designs offered by metal bed frames are limited. Most wrought iron bed frames have a straightforward, sleek design consisting of plain bars, a rectangular headboard, and no footboard.

Certain metal bed frames may include cushioning on the headboard, but you won’t find options for additional storage in intricate designs like a wooden bed frame.

Pros
  • Low maintenance
  • Lightweight build
  • Adjustable for various mattress sizes
  • Long-lasting and reliable
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Rusts easily
  • Can be noisy

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Overview of Wooden Bed Frames

wooden bed slats without a mattress in the room
Image Credit: Alexandr Serebrynnikov, Shutterstock

Unlike metal bed frames, wooden bed frames offer various designs and styles, along with customizability and sustainability.

Build

Wooden bed frames are built from various types of wood, including hardwood, softwood, or composite wood. While plywood and fiberboard are great examples of composite wood, they may contain synthetic materials such as adhesives. Other than that, they don’t have the natural wood frame look and are vulnerable to damage, but they’re more affordable.

Maple, cherry, mahogany, oak, and walnut are more durable hardwood options. Hardwood is typically considered the best option for bed frames due to its capacity for support and reliability.

On the other hand, softwood options include pine, cedar, and fir, which lack strength but are easy to shape. Weathered oak is a popular option for wooden bed frames as white ash water is applied to the wood grain to protect it.

Maintenance

Unfortunately, wooden bed frames are somewhat high maintenance. Using the wrong cleaning products, forgetting to clean the frame, or exposing it to moisture can lead to rot and even a termite infestation eating away at your bed frame.

The best way to clean a wooden bed frame is with a damp cloth, followed by a dry cloth. You must also only use wood-friendly cleaning products, as others may contain ammonia or solvents that could scratch the bed frame.

It’s also worth noting that dragging your wooden bed frame around can compromise its structure. Lifting it instead is best, but wooden bed frames can be heavy.

wooden platform bed with storage
Image Credit: Nastya Sensei, Pexels

Types of Wooden Bed Frames

Luckily, wooden bed frames have a lot of variety in designs and styles. For example, rattan beds have a high headboard, bold silhouettes, rounded feet, and wraparound lattice. Meanwhile, slatted bed frames have a traditional, straightforward design.

Wooden bed frames also often come with additional storage in underside drawers. You can even find wooden ottoman bed frames, which lift your mattress diagonally to expose under-bed storage space.

If you’re looking for a wraparound lattice, high footboard design, a wooden sleigh bed frame may suit you best. Wooden bed frames also come in day bed, divan, trundle, loft, canopy, and futon designs.

Pros
  • Robust build
  • Easier to assemble
  • Mostly customizable
  • Sustainable
  • Various wood options
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Can be a fire hazard
  • Vulnerable to termite infestations

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Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Durability

In terms of durability, metal bed frames undoubtedly take the cake. Most wooden bed frames last seven years, but you may be able to make them last 10 years with sturdy slats and proper maintenance.

On the other hand, metal bed frames can last up to 20 years, especially if you’re careful about their maintenance. You can prevent early rusting by protecting the metal bed frame from moisture and cleaning it regularly.

Unfortunately, wooden bed frames are vulnerable to termites, which eat one-fifth of an ounce of wood every day. You can prevent termite infestations with the help of certain practices, but they’re all relatively high maintenance compared to metal bed frames.

metal bed frame
Image Credit: Mirage_studio, Shutterstock

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Price

Metal bed frames are undoubtedly cheaper than wooden options. Most bed frames range from $200 to $2,000, depending on the mattress size. Metal bed frames are usually on the lower end of this spectrum, as you may even find metal single bed frames for as low as $40.

Higher-end metal bed frames may cost as much as $300, featuring intricate wrought iron designs, rails, and a painted finish. On the other hand, wooden bed frames are typically in the $500 to $2,000 range.

Wooden bed frames on the lower end will use soft or composite wood and have a plain, undecorated build. Meanwhile, luxury wooden bed frames over $2,000 will use weathered hardwood, high-end polishes, and elegant upholstery.

If you’re on a budget, metal bed frames may be suitable, but it’s worth noting that wooden bed frames work well with any kind of interior design. Metal bed frames, however, require a certain minimalistic aesthetic to blend in perfectly.

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Capacity

Surprisingly, metal bed frames have a higher capacity for support than bed frames. In fact, they can hold up anywhere from 250 to 5,000 pounds, especially if they have adequately-spaced slats and high-quality iron construction.

Bed frames with too much space between the slats cause strain on the mattress, leading to damage in the future. Meanwhile, most wooden bed frames cap out at 500 pounds, but you may find certain platform wooden bed frames that can hold up to 900 pounds.

If you opt for plywood bed frames, you’ll have to put up with non-durability and a capacity as low as 200 pounds. Other than that, wooden box spring bed frames have a 300-pound capacity, but it’s best to look for a 450-pound capacity in any type of wooden bed frame.

metal bed frame
Image Credit: Ground Picture, Shutterstock

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Noise

Wooden bed frames are relatively quieter than metal bed frames. Even when new, metal bed frames tend to creak whenever you move around or sit down on them. So, you’ll find yourself trying to sleep still more often to prevent creating noise.

As they get older and rustier, metal bed frames get even noisier, creaking at every minor movement. They can also create irritating scraping sounds when in direct contact with tiled or hardwood floors, so we recommend covering the feet with cushioning to prevent such sounds.

On the other hand, wooden bed frames are better at guaranteeing undisturbed, noiseless sleep. However, wooden bed frames with poor construction can lead to the same amount of noise, including creaking, squeaking, and even popping.

If your wooden bed frame makes too much noise, it’s possible that it has loose joints rubbing against each other whenever the bed moves, resulting in a creaking sound. In this case, it’s best to send your bed frame to the carpenter to tighten all loose joints.

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Adjustability

If you have children, you may often change mattress sizes. It starts with a small twin-sized mattress and leads to a full queen-sized bed as they become teenagers. Unfortunately, since mattresses are already expensive enough, buying a new bed frame every time can be unaffordable.

In terms of adjustability, metal bed frames can be pretty disappointing. You may find certain adjustable metal bed frames on the market, but they typically don’t include slats, which can compromise the frame’s integrity.

Contrastingly, wooden bed frames offer various adjustability options. That includes frames with varying sizes, head and foot elevations, split bed frames, and more.

Bedroom Tv Mount
Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Assembly

Metal bed frames typically come pre-assembled, but the most you may need to do is put the slats in place. Their lightweight build also makes them easy to carry and maneuver. However, moving them in and out of your home can be tricky since you can’t collapse metal bed frames for portability.

Rarely, you may come across a metal bed frame that you’ll need to build from scratch, such as the ones from Ikea. However, these options can be unnecessarily complicated, requiring endless nuts and bolts to get the job done.

On the other hand, wooden bed frames typically do not come assembled, but the assembly is much simpler than metal bed frames. It’s easier to find wooden bed frames that require no tools or materials to assemble; you’ll just need to snap the parts into place to build the bed.

Metal Bed Frame vs. Wooden Bed Frame: Safety

When it comes to bed bugs, these pests do not have a preference for either wooden or metal bed frames. Instead, they’re attracted to any kind of used furniture, including your dressers, nightstands, and baseboards.

However, other safety factors may help you make a wiser decision about the bed frame material. Of course, wooden bed frames are more flammable, resulting in a house fire if unattended near a candle or other flame.

Other than that, wooden bed frames are also vulnerable to termites. Once it turns into a termite infestation without your knowledge, it can compromise the integrity of your home’s structure.

It’s also worth noting that metal bed frames expose you to electrical pollution or electromagnetic fields (EMF). As a result, you may suffer from disturbed sleep and health issues like headaches, muscle cramps, insomnia, nightmares, and depression in the worst-case scenario.

Overall, the safety issues of metal bed frames are much less substantial in comparison to wooden bed frames.

metal wood frame in the room
Image Credit: yampi, Shutterstock

 

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Conclusion

Metal and wooden bed frames have different durability, prices, capacities, weights, noisiness, assemblies, and adjustability. These factors can help you determine which material is better for your wooden frame, but the choice ultimately relies on personal preference.

If you prefer something long-lasting and easy to maintain, metal bed frames may be able to offer the required durability and simplicity. However, those that prefer versatility and sustainability can benefit from the various design and adjustability options offered by wooden bed frames.


Featured Image Credit: (L) Ground Picture, Shutterstock | (R) vitamin design, Pixabay

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