One Sided Mattresses? Can’t Flip Mattress Rant

I am pretty frustrated with the mattress industry. I have been in the sleep business since 1970 and a retailer of mattresses and bedding since 1972. Now that the Private Equity Firms (the wonderful folks that helped bring about our recent financial troubles) bought up all the major mattress companies (Simmons, Sealy, Stearns & Foster – owned by Sealy – Spring Aire, and Serta) the industry has taken a “consumer be damned” attitude. The introduction of “Can’t Flip” mattresses in 2000 has been a slap in the face to consumers who can now expect three to five years out of their new mattress, a third of what can be expected from the two sided version.

Like many industries, mattress have been going through a period of cheapening the products. Another industry where companies have been mostly purchased by Private Equity Firms is appliances. It used to be you would buy an appliance expecting it to last 20 years or so. If something broke, a repairman would come to your home and fix it. Now, if you get five to seven years from the appliance you are lucky, and forget the repair. Parts aren’t available.

The reason companies make can’t flip mattresses is cost. The profits on them are too great to go back to two-sided mattresses. The companies can save 25-30% by not including the second side cushioning layer,the expensive part of most mattresses. They didn’t pass this savings on to the consumer (some can’t flip mattresses sell for several thousands of dollars), just used the savings to increase profits and then resell the company to another investment firm. Simmons has now has been sold many times. The added benefit is that the consumer is back in the marketplace in three to five years (or they put up with a saggy, uncomfortable bed).

When we deliver new mattresses to customers we offer to take away and recycle, if possible, their old mattress. Recently, on a day when we delivered 10 new mattresses we took away three can’t flip mattresses, all from one of the best known “S” brands, all just three years old and all completely worn out. Not even homeless shelters or charities will take mattresses so saggy so they ended up in a landfill. These were not inexpensive mattresses retailing locally for over $2000 each. One would think that such worn out condition after just three years would be covered under warranty but these companies deny all but the most extreme breakdowns.

The stores that sell can’t flip mattresses will tell people that these companies don’t make two-sided models anymore and will give all kinds of mumbo jumbo reasons for it. What they don’t tell you is that most of them do make two-sided models; they just don’t sell them to the consumer. They make them for the hotel/motel industry because hotel/motel owners know what products hold up and will avoid one-sided mattresses. They don’t last. Doesn’t that just show the manufacturers true stripes?

That’s my rant and is why my store will not sell “can’t flip” mattresses. In order to be sold on our floor, mattresses need to have two sleeping surfaces or have zipper access to the inside so that components can be flipped or refreshed. It is not right to sell mattresses that wear out so quickly. A consumer should be able to expect their new mattress to last and be comfortable for 8 to 12 years or more  and longer for 100% botanical latex mattress models.

Jeff Garfield
Bedrooms & More, Seattle

67 thoughts on “One Sided Mattresses? Can’t Flip Mattress Rant

  1. Love this blog. We had a Sterns & Foster double sided mattress that was the absolute best. When we replaced it I said I wanted comparable and got a horrible Sterns & Foster that we ended up returning. Was told that the one we originally had was a presidential anniversary model that was no longer made and that they were not made double sided anymore due to the weight issue. We had two mattresses after that and the final one got such gullies that they showed when the bed was made. We switched to talalay latex and and also went up to king size. Absolutely love it but how the heck to you even rotate a king size latex mattress let alone flip it? We live in Naples, FL. Thanks so much for your help.

  2. Just bought a non-flappable and so far so good. But wondering about a year or so of sleeping in the middle with no option to flip and even out any potential sagging. Was told by two stores that flippables were no longer available. Go figure! Dumb me?

  3. Just incredible. I’ve even talked to people who were told by sales people one sided mattresses last longer which flies in the face of logic. Simply twisting/spinning a mattress only makes a problem that was on your side of a bed become a problem for your partner.

    Flippable mattresses always have and always shall provide consumers with best value especially when bought from independent local manufacturers that routinely buy only American components.

  4. GRRRR! I hate the new mattresses. I have one sided pillow top mattress which used to be comfortable, now there are two canoes with a ridge/mountain in-between my husband and myself. I will NEVER buy a one sided mattress again. I will forever boycott the major manufacturers who have decided they don’t give a c*** about their customers comfort and since I have three teens, I will make sure that they understand that if they buy one of those pieces of c*** that they will be wasting their $$$$. I hope that your company continues to have the philosophy of never selling one-sided mattresses because companies like yours will have an impact (hopefully negative) on the companies that don’t really care about the customer’s comfort. I think ranting about something as important as a good night’s sleep is good. I was so happy to find your rant and be able to post about my issues. I will definitely check out your mattresses.

  5. This blog is on point. I bought a new mattress three years ago. Now I wish I would have kept my old one. I hate that you cant flip the mattress. Its the worst. The price is too great for the poor quality.

  6. I have an old 15 yr plus double sided that i started sleeping on again. Woke up fine. Meanwhile, the 3 yr old non flipper has dips from where hubby sat every day and where i slept. Never again.

  7. agreed – we still sleep on a 20yo double-sided mattress I flip every time we change the sheets – springs still fine – only the top padding under my hip has compressed so I’m starting to feel some pressure against my hip – but not enough to rush out to replace it yet

    yeah I’ve heard the pitch from stores – ‘they don’t make double-sided anymore’ – lies – a local guy who sells by the truckload gets them made to his specs, and only sells double-sided – that’s what I’ll buy again

  8. Wow I really believed the guys at Sle**** when they said you can’t get the 2 sided mattress and I must be gross to have not needed a mattress for 14yrs on the contrary I said I’m here for my teenaged son who’s 6’2″ and 300lbs I had bought him a mattress (1sided) 1yr ago not realizing what I had bought until it was delivered I kinda felt ripped off but I thought I’ll give it a shot maybe it is as great as the salesman had convinced me it was, haha jokes on me. Needless to say I am disgusted with these 1 sided mattresses and me and my husband will continue flipping and turning our 2 sided mattress for as long as possible cause to this day it’s still so comfortable, no lumps or bumps the man who sold it to me told me to flip and turn it every 3 months and it will last for ever I believe him. Anyway my son got the 1 sided mattress with a 5yr warranty (I paid extra for)I guarantee he will ruin that mattress, 1 sided mattresses are not made for big people and are crap. I’m sorry I didn’t look online and just believed that guy at Sle**** I no were I’m going when I need a new matress.
    Thanks for this site so informative.
    Leigh-Ann from Long Island

  9. Great info. We have waited too long to replace our indented pillow top latex Englander. I hope to get up to Seattle to check out your mattresses. I am going through a cancer battle right not so I might have to wait a while for finances. In the meantime I was wondering if I could just flip our latex pillow top and buy a good mattress topper. I also thought it possible to remove the pillow top but not sure if the indents are mostly in the pillowtop or extend past the pillowtop. I was thinking one of these procedures would be more likely to have success because of the foam construction rather than coil. Not sue who weight read this but I know you as a bed retailer needs to sell mattresses but any tips on this idea might get some of out of a jam for a while. Thanks

  10. You nailed it in your blog. I totally agree with you about private equity firms which are destroying our nation. It is not just the mattress industry but all aspects of our life, new developments funded with PE $$$. They could care less about a community. I have three friends who all bought mattresses at the same time as I did,we paid top dollar for different pillowtop one sided mattresses and all of us are miserable due to the sinkholes that happened almost immediately and we are all single so the bed isn’t getting that much weight for such caverns to appear. I also think the pillow-tops are so heavy that it is hard to make the bed let alone turn the mattress. I have mattresses that flip that have been in the family for centuries and are still fabulous save their size, say a three quarter bed when a queen is desired. I cannot believe consumers cannot have impact on the industry and get back to quality mattresses being made. How can we make a difference, any suggestions?

  11. Omission is a lie by definition. if one deals with someonexwho by character is a liar, what can one expect? two stores, 5 different mattress manufacturers snd still sagging after 3 nights. Our 41 year old mattress was better. chuch those dust mite commercials and in my opinion keep your old masttress until it dies. Bottom line pay or else.

  12. Was researching whether I could flip my 2 year old Stearns and Foster mattress and stumbled onto Jeff Garfield’s “mattress rant”. So, now I know why this thing looks like it is sagging already. After researching different types of mattresses and brands, I bought a S&F because they were supposed to be such good quality. Don’t remember the salesperson discussing the finer points of the one sided vs two sided mattress (maybe he did/maybe he didn’t). He did call the model I bought “the rock” because of the level of firmness. Went ahead and paid … you guessed it… $2000. Figured it would last 15 or so years. Couldn’t believe my eyes when I first noticed the sag about 6 months ago. I have actually been in denial until reading Jeff’s blog. Now it all makes sense. This really makes me angry. It took me months to pay off this thing. What a piece of c—!

  13. Great info. We have waited too long to replace our mattress top latex. I hope to go to Seattle to check out your mattresses. In the meantime I was wondering if I could just flip our latex pillow top and buy a good mattress topper. The price is too great for the high quality. Thanks for your post.

  14. I have a Serta perfect sleeper that is “unflippable” I still do flip it though! I use a memory foam mattress pad on it when flipped to the other side. It’s a little firmer, but I don’t mind going back and forth. Screw the man, and buy a mattress pad or egg crate or memory foam (that’s really what the padding is made of anyway). Flip your unflippable mattress!!!

  15. I’ve learned so much from your blog. Like the others here, I have an expensive ‘no flip’ Simmons Beautyrest Pillow Top Plush that is shot after two years and causing me back and leg problems. Is there any way to get a few more months or more out of this piece of junk before I have to buy a new mattress. You did say, if I’m not mistaken, that flipping it to the other side and using a substantial topper is possible. Are there any hazards when doing that? What type of topper is best? Are the springs (individually wrapped) the same on the bottom side as the top? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  16. Wish I had read this blog before purchasing a mattress yesterday – Yes, a no flip pillow top and I even asked for it to be soft! Sounds as if we have made a big and expensive mistake. Our old mattress must be 20 years old and is still like new although I have felt a bit guilty about using it for so long. I’m not sure if we can cancel the order now.

  17. Whoa! I’m loving this blog. I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said. I don’t have to pay more money for things that just wears off easily.

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