European slat adjustable bed frame

I have lower back isues and need support (either primary or secondary). I’m getting a firm coil innerspring mattress (from a store credit) and putting a 3" latex topper on top. I’m getting a custom topper with 4 sections (two sections for each sleeper). The upperbody shoulder head area will softer than the lower.

Do you think a European adjustable slat box frame can help fill-in the area of my lower back to give that area more support, or is this just a gimick system that can not be noticably felt through the 13" of mattress? Will the Latex be enough anyway if configured correctly?

The one I’m looking at is like the picture found here:


Hi Prof,
I hope your topper is just what you need. Seems like a reasonable solution to me.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of chatter about flexible slat systems online (or else I missed them in my searches), so I’d like to chime in a bit about the subject.

I just bought a flexible slat system for a Cal King from European Sleepworks ( and can’t wait for the bed parts to be delivered. I live near their shop, and can attest to the fact that the slat system is a very noticeable improvement for all of the mattresses that they carry in their showroom (independent steel coil topped with latex or full latex)… however, they warned that the system wouldn’t be as useful for other types of mattresses such as regular coil and especially would not be recommended for memory foam. Too bad for your needs, Prof, but for anyone else out there looking into buying a full latex mattress, I would definitely check them out. I have been doing a lot of (mostly online) mattress research and hadn’t considered the flexible slat system until we happened upon it by chance while looking for a local latex mattress retailer. I might be more in love with the slats than the mattress!

Also, curious to know if anyone has tried this place that Phoenix mentioned in another post:
It’s about 50% of the cost of sleepworks slats, but doesn’t look as adjustable. On the other hand, metal seems like a good idea for heavy mattresses.

I will post back when we have slept on the new (Brooklyn Bedding 10" latex) mattress and European Sleepworks’s slat system for a while, but since our current bed is so awful, I can’t imagine that we’ll have anything bad to say. Can only go up from here.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with your purchase. I’ve spoken with one of the guys at Brooklyn Bedding and he was a really easy going, very down to earth straight shooter. I’m looking forwad to hearing about your experience with the slats.


Hi Prof_Admiral_H_Nelsonm,

I think that sleepmommy’s comments are accurate and helpful (Thank you :))

I’ll try to add a few more details that may help you as well.

The first “rule” I would use is to buy a mattress or “sleeping system” with a configuration that you have tested. If you tested a mattress design with a solid non flexing foundation and it provided you with good PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences), then adding a flexible layer underneath the same mattress may have unpredictable effects that in theory could be either helpful or detrimental. Adding unknown variables compared to what worked well when you tested a mattress would be risky IMO. In most cases … foam mattresses are designed to work best on a solid non flexing surface where the foam does the work of providing pressure relief and alignment.

Flexible slats will also have a different effect with different types of mattresses.

There are different types of innersprings and their feel and performance will each be affected differently with a flexible slat base (or a box spring) underneath them.

Innersprings in general don’t absorb the energy of compression which goes right “through” them so even with thicker mattresses an innerspring will compress the flexible slats or box spring underneath it (energy in the top equals energy out the bottom).

Pocket coils though act independently so these would be most suited to a flexible slat system because the slats will affect the area more directly under heavier compression so you can use them for more accurate “fine tuning”. Innersprings that are connected together with helicals act more in “groups” and the effect of a flexible slat system or box spring will be less specific in terms of the area they affect and because the lighter compressed springs will be “holding back” the springs that are bearing more weight … the effect of a flexible slat system will be less.

Latex on the other hand absorbs some energy with compression (about 20% - 30% hysteresisdepending on the type of latex) which means that the thicker the mattress the less energy comes “out the bottom” of the layer compared to the energy of compression on the top and the less effect the flexible slats underneath them will have. In general, because latex is so flexible, they will be effective up to a mattress thickness in the range of about 6" - 8" or so although this would also depend on the weight of the person and the compression forces on the mattress. Once the mattress/person combination becomes too thick … the effect of the flexible slats would be negligible. In Europe where flexible slat systems are more common … mattresses also tend to be thinner.

Polyfoam is “stiffer” than latex so the maximum thickness where a flexible slat system would have a meaningful effect would tend to be less.

In general though … I would stick with the design that your personal testing has shown you to be most effective and if you haven’t tested a specific combination then I would consider an “unknown variable” (or in your case two since you are considering both a topper and different foundations) to be somewhat risky and use the knowledge and expertise of the manufacturer or retailer of a component that you are considering to help you make a “theoretical” choice whether a flexible slat system may be helpful or detrimental in terms of PPP with the particular mattress design you are considering using on it.

I probably would personally limit going in that direction “in theory” to either pocket coils or thinner latex mattresses if I went there at all.


I agree with Phoenix’s thoughts toward thinner mattresses in this type of sleep system.

I looked very seriously at European sleep systems early in our bed shopping. My wife and I have had some experience with them during travels in Europe and were impressed. One of the characteristics is a thinner mattress (7-8" is not uncommon), usually of “cold foam” and likely zoned through the hip and shoulder area. These mattresses had a similar feel to latex in terms of the type of support offered.

The mattress and slat (or pod) base work together as a system and generally the slats can be adjusted for firmness based on your needs. I could certainly feel the difference in support as I stiffened or softened the hip slats. I think that would be substantially lessened in a 12+" mattress for the reasons Phoenix described. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be a good base but I’m not sure you’d get the full benefit from that type of base.

I’m a fan of this system approach but it is as rare in the USA as it is prevalent in Europe. If I went this direction I would take the whole system approach and buy a mattress that is designed to go with the base.


Well, the three of you have certainly pointed me in the right direction. Thanks for the valuable insight!