Sorry for the dull topic!
We are trying to order beds and mattresses to be delivered when we arrive but I am confused by what seems to be on offer. In the U.K. we would just buy a sprung mattress and that would go on the bed slats, job done. When trying to buy in the US all I can see in Target, for example, is a Casper mattress which is very expensive or a foam mattress and both say they need a box spring. What does this mean?

Oh, mattress isn't a dull topic, and a good mattress on a comfortable bed which you cannot wait to fall onto is the best thing to end each day.

Good quality mattresses are expensive, but we've never skimped on that since 8 hours of good sleep every night for 10 years is more important to us than saving a few hundred dollars -- 29,200 hours are a lot of time to learn why one mattress is better than another!

If Target (or any store) only offers one or two brands, it would be better to shop at mattress stores or furniture stores with mattress department where you can try rolling around on one mattress after another for hours on end.  That's where and how most people shop for their mattresses, unless they order them online as we've done a couple of times when we bought Marriott and Westin Heavenly mattresses (we knew about the level of comfort and quality of those hotel mattresses firsthand, so we didn't need to try them at stores.)

One-sided mattresses do not need box springs.  However, many manufacturers require a box spring or solid platform (slats are not solid) to validate the warranty.  The reason?  Mattresses that are placed on uneven or insufficiently supported surface would not perform well, would become prematurely sagging, and do not last their own guaranteed lifespan.

Thank you for the info. So does that mean we wouldn't actually need box springs if it's just about the warranty. I would usually buy mattresses in person but we have an empty rental house and my husband has two weeks to get it ready for me and the kids to arrive so we want to get as much stuff ordered and on it's way for when he arrives next week. Can you recommend any online stores?

The only two times we ordered mattresses online were directly with the hotels.  Both Westin and Marriott require box springs and are expensive or very expensive. 

You can always order from Amazon to have it arrive in 2 or 3 days with Prime (you can ask to use your friend's membership if you haven't had your own yet.)  Shipping is free both ways, so it's a good saving if you need to return or exchange. 

I cannot recommend a specific brand because it's personal preference anyway; what I like on a mattress may be your idea of nightmare, or vice versa.  :joking:

Memory foam must have solid foundation, so if your bed has wide spaced slats, stay away from that type of mattress, with or without warranty.

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