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

58 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

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