One Sided Mattresses? ‘Can’t Flip’ Mattress Rant

Woman raises her fists & shouts in a rant about "can't flip," one-sided mattresses

I’m pretty frustrated with the mattress industry.

I’ve 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 the U.S.’s recent financial troubles) bought up all the major mattress companies (Simmons, Sealy, Stearns & Foster [owned by Sealy], Spring Air, and Serta) the industry has taken a “consumer be damned” attitude. The introduction of “Can’t Flip” or “No Need To 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 two-sided mattresses.

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Like many industries, the mattress industry has gone through a period of cheapening the products in order to save on manufacturing costs. Problem is, they market the cheapened product as a benefit to consumers — which couldn’t be further from the truth.

Think about the home appliance industry, another industry where companies have been mostly purchased by private equity firms. Depending on your age, it used to be that you (or your parents or grandparents) would buy an appliance — a fridge, a washer/dryer, an oven — 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 or won’t be available.

Mattress companies make “can’t flip” or “no need to flip” mattresses to save on their own costs, NOT to give you a better night’s sleep or make your life easier.

The profits manufacturers make on selling half a mattress are too great to go back to two-sided mattresses. Companies can save 25-30% by not including the second side cushioning layer, which is the most expensive part of most mattresses. Companies don’t pass this savings on to the consumer. After all, as you may have noticed if you’ve done some research, some “can’t flip” mattresses sell for several thousands of dollars! They’ve just used the savings to increase their profits and then resell the company to another investment firm. Simmons, for instance, has now has been sold many times over. The added benefit (to them) of selling “can’t flip” mattresses is that the consumer is back in the marketplace every three to five years for a new one — or they put up with a saggy, uncomfortable bed, and the achy back and body that can result from it.

At Bedrooms & More, 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 — they retail locally for over $2000 each! Wouldn’t you think that such dramatic wear and tear after just three years would be covered under warranty? But no. These companies consistently deny all but the most extreme breakdowns.

They have PLANNED for the failure or obsolescence of their mattresses after 3-5 years. It’s how they do things now.

Retail stores that sell “can’t flip” mattresses often 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 this: most manufacturers DO make two-sided models, they just don’t sell them to the consumer. They make them only for the hotel/motel industry because hotel/motel owners know what products hold up and will avoid one-sided mattresses, knowing that they won’t last more than a few years.

Doesn’t that just show the manufacturers’ true stripes?

That’s my rant and this 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.

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76 Comments on "One Sided Mattresses? ‘Can’t Flip’ Mattress Rant"

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Kathleen
Guest
Kathleen
2 months 18 hours ago
Finding this article and blog was such a great discovery. So Jeff Garfield thank you for posting this and giving us all a page to air our feelings about the “no flip mattress.” The whole situation is very upsetting and the bedding companies only think of how they can make more $$$$$. Our “no flip mattress” has sagged on each side and the middle of the mattress has not. We are left with an uneven top to our mattress, and it is very uncomfortable. Now don’t laugh too hard, but the sales clerk told us to rotate the mattress 4… Read more »
Evelina
Guest
Evelina
2 months 3 days ago
Thank you so much for this, you are absolutely spot on. Now I know why my one sided mattress only lasted three years, and was utterly destroyed with springs falling out of it (seriously!) by the time I disposed of it last week. I couldn’t understand why it had gone so quickly because you’re correct in saying that, years ago, mattresses used to last. I couldn’t recall when my parents or grandparents, back in the day, had ever replaced theirs so often. I’m so glad I bought a two sided one to replace it, and that was before reading this… Read more »
Blake Garfield
Member
2 months 3 days ago

Thank you. Yours is a story we hear everyday. Spread the word.

Debbie
Guest
Debbie
7 months 11 days ago

We purchased a latex mattress back in May, and love it!! I will never have any other kind of mattress.

Abby
7 months 4 days ago

So glad to hear this, Debbie!

Ray
Guest
Ray
7 months 14 days ago
I went to a mattress store and was surprised to see all the fancy mattresses.Salesman told me they don’t do “two-sided mattresses” no more, so no more flip.I tried all of them at the store, and none of them really satisfied me, went to another store same story.None of them had the “sinking” feeling where you feel like “aaaahh…close the lights!”.The softest ones were the thick pillow-top, and while they are soft, the feeling is not the same as a flip-mattress that has the sinking feeling.The pillow-top mattress doesn’t feel like one single block of sinking softness.You can still feel… Read more »
Deb
Guest
Deb
9 months 22 hours ago

Ok I purchased a non flip mattress .. Hate it , but I have 1 year to return it . We have been on it for 5 months. We have been back to the company, my hips Hurt all the time. Trying to decide. We bought one of the memory foam and are thinking going back to a spring mattress, — but still like you said all no- flip mattresses. We live in Tulsa, ok how would we find someone locally that has your dedication to quality? Please help

Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

Hi Deb,
Tracking down mattress stores with our philosophy is unfortunately hard to do. Good news is that we have lots of great mattress that we can ship to you. We’d love to have you visit us here in Seattle, but we can help talk you through selecting a mattress over the phone.

Tim
Guest
10 months 16 days ago

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.

Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

We love hearing that kind of feedback!

Pamela
Guest
Pamela
10 months 18 days ago

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.

John
Guest
John
11 months 22 hours ago
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)… Read more »
Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

When you’re on a saggy mattress, and need to milk a few more weeks, months or even years, I’d suggest taking a towel and folding it in half, and placing it across the middle third of the mattress below your hips to crown the middle of the bed. It will create the feeling of firmness where it has been lost. One or two bath towels should do the trick.

James
Guest
James
11 months 13 days ago

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!!!

Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

Agreed. It can help undo the sag that has been created and get you more than double the life out of the mattress. Good thinking.

Cristina
Guest
11 months 17 days ago

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.

Janet
Guest
Janet
1 year 19 days ago
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.… Read more »
Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

If it’s a coil mattress, I’d recommend flipping it anyway. Put a thin topper on the side that is not upholstered. It will extend the life of the mattress, and you might even be able to flatten out the sags.

frustrated consumer
Guest
frustrated consumer
1 year 19 days ago

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.

Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

You’re dead on. Using a mattress for as long as possible is better for the world and your pocketbook.

Rosita
Guest
Rosita
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago

Support the people who are making products like ours. Buy that two-sided mattress. Shop at that independent store. Skip the chain. Skip the Private Equity products. Vote with your pocketbook.

John Mason
Guest
John Mason
1 year 2 months ago
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… Read more »
Blake Garfield
Member
7 months 2 days ago
It is possible to open up a mattress and remove the worn out layers. It can be very labor intensive, and is not always successful. In most mattresses, the layers are glued together, and the process of tearing them apart can leave the remaining layers feeling lumpy. Note: Before you start, you should know that the second you cut into the mattress, you have voided your warranty, and it is no longer going to be flame resistant to the degree that it was intended. If you’re careful, and can isolate the failed layers and remove them, what you’re left with… Read more »
Leanantj@optonline.net
Guest
Leanantj@optonline.net
1 year 4 months ago
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… Read more »
Frank
Guest
Frank
1 year 7 months ago

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

Rox
Guest
Rox
1 year 7 months ago

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.

Maria Alvarez
Guest
Maria Alvarez
1 year 7 months ago

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.

steve
Guest
steve
1 year 7 months ago
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… Read more »
Dan L.
Guest
Dan L.
1 year 7 months ago

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.

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