Is a Flippable Mattress Right for Me?

A Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Flippable Mattresses

In This Article:
The Mattress Industry Picks a Side
What Is a Flippable Mattress?
The Pros and Cons of Two-Sided Mattresses
How to Find the Best Flippable Mattress



If you made your first mattress purchase around 2007 or later, you might not know that two-sided mattresses used to be the industry standard. Now, they're a rarity. 

But what prompted most mattress manufacturers to stop selling flippable beds? Though harder to find, are two-sided mattresses a better value? 

If the idea of a reversible mattress has piqued your interest, keep reading to learn how flippable mattresses fell from the mainstream, what benefits they offer, and why they're making a comeback. We'll also discuss how to find the ideal model for your unique needs if you do decide to make the switch.

To get started, let's take a brief look at mattress industry history. 

The Mattress Industry Picks a Side

Up until the early 2000s, virtually all mattress makers sold flippable beds. Two-sided mattresses weren't just common—they were the standard. But over the past 20 years, most preexisting mattress companies have transitioned to one-sided designs and discontinued their double-sided models.

What led mattress manufacturers down this road? 

Rapid technological advancement across the industry made flipping your mattress to extend its lifespan unnecessary. By the 2000s, single-sided mattresses made with higher-quality materials and more durable designs could last as long as a decade. Consumers no longer needed two sleepable surfaces solely for the sake of longevity. 

While this remains the case, some mattress companies once again sell double-sided mattresses, but for an entirely different reason. Now, select mattress brands offer beds with two different firmness levels on opposite sides. These flippable mattresses are designed for versatility, not just durability. 

What Is a Flippable Mattress? 

You guessed it; a double-sided mattress is one that has two sleeping surfaces on opposite sides. As previously mentioned, most premium flippable mattresses have varying firmness levels on the two sleeping sides.

As you shop for your new mattress, keep in mind that not all flippable beds offer this feature; some have twin sides made with the exact same construction and materials. We don’t recommend these models. If you want a single specific firmness level, you’re better off with a thicker one-sided mattress than a flippable one. 

What Makes a Double-Sided Mattress Different? 

Both single-sided and double-sided mattresses feature multiple layers for optimized comfort and support. Mattress construction varies by material and quality, but most one-sided mattresses have the following layers, in order from top to bottom: 

  • A cover or pillow top

  • A top comfort layer

  • One or more transition or support layers (optional, depending on materials and quality)

  • A base layer for structure, support, and stability
Diagram showing single-sided hybrid mattress layers

On the other hand, flippable mattresses are more like sandwiches. They feature, in this order: 

  • A cover or pillow top

  • A comfort layer
  • One or more transition or support layers (optional, depending on materials and quality) 
  • A core layer for structure and support
  • One or more transition or support layers (optional, depending on materials and quality) 
  • A comfort layer
  • A cover or pillow top
Diagram showing hybrid flippable mattress layers

The construction and materials used for each layer vary widely between mattress types, manufacturers, and models, but they serve the same purposes. Both single and double-sided mattresses come in a range of heights (thickness), usually between 8 and 15 inches. 

The Pros and Cons of Two-Sided Mattresses 

With a better understanding of mattress construction, you can now determine if a double-sided bed suits your sleep needs and preferences. All mattress types run the gamut in terms of quality, but categorically, two-sided beds have the following advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros

You’ll Use Every Inch of Your Mattress

If you regularly flip and rotate your mattress, you'll use every corner of your bed. All mattresses degrade with use, but intermittently changing where you sleep on the bed will evenly distribute the impact of natural wear and tear. 

Instead of sagging dramatically in one spot, the mattress will show only slow signs of age dispersed across both sides (left and right) of both surfaces ("front" and "back”). Flippable mattresses also don't develop craters and depressions as easily, as each surface has time to recuperate while not in use. This maintains the mattress's functionality for as long as possible. 

Variety

The best flippable mattresses offer two firmness options. For example, a bed may have a softer side with 4/10 level firmness while the opposite surface has 7/10 level firmness. While anyone can benefit from having two options in one mattress, dual-firmness mattresses work particularly well for: 

  • Growing Children and Teens– 

  • How plush or hard a mattress feels is determined by the type and density of materials used and how much the sleeper weighs. Mattresses contour with pressure. The more weight pressing down on the mattress surface, the more it gives in and the softer it feels. In other words, mattresses feel harder for lighter sleepers, such as children, because the surface doesn’t contour as much beneath their bodies.

    For that reason, many kids need medium-soft or soft mattresses to feel any cushioning comfort. However, as they get older and grow, the bed may start to feel too soft and allow them to sink too far into the mattress. With a flippable childrens mattress, kids can graduate from the softer side and switch to the firmer surface that offers more support. 

  • Other People Experiencing Change–

    Growing older isn’t the only circumstance that may change your sleep preferences and needs. For example, weight fluctuation, pregnancy, and injuries can all impact what firmness level feels best for you for the time being. 

  • Combination Sleepers–

  • The position you sleep in also affects how you experience a mattress, so people who sleep on their side, back, and stomach often have different mattress firmness preferences. Generally speaking, stomach sleepers benefit from the firmest mattresses, while side and back sleepers typically enjoy medium-firm options. 

    But what if you change your preferred sleep position or don’t favor one over the others? For combination sleepers, having two options in one mattress makes bed shopping that much easier. You don’t have to choose—you can buy a double-sided bed and flip it over as frequently or infrequently as you want. 

    Cons

    Many Models Don’t Offer Enough Support 

    When shopping for a flippable mattress—or any mattress—you have to do your due diligence to ensure you choose a high-quality product. If you don't, you could end up with a bed that adversely affects your health. 

    With double-sided mattresses, you have to look out for low-quality models that sacrifice support for utility. Some flippable models lack the core strength to provide sleepers ample support on two sides. If the manufacturer uses cheaper materials or doesn't add structural reinforcement to a double-sided mattress, neither side will fit the bill. 

    Smaller Selection

    Fewer mattress companies sell double-sided mattresses than standard mattresses, meaning you have fewer options and less diverse choices. If you have very particular needs or preferences, you may not find a flippable mattress that ticks all your boxes. 

    How to Find the Best Flippable Mattress for Your Needs 

    If you’re sold on switching to a reversible mattress, you still have a bit more research to do to find the bed that fits you best. Fortunately, comparison shopping for a flippable mattress isn’t all that different from browsing for a standard mattress. We recommend you take each of the following factors into consideration before making a purchase:

    • Make and Material– As with one-sided mattresses, you can choose a flip mattress made with coils, foam, latex, or a hybrid with both coils and either latex or foam on top. In general, hybrid models make the best flippable mattresses because they boast the benefits of two types of support systems. 

    • Firmness Levels– With a double-sided bed, you get to select two ideal firmness levels based on your sleeping position, weight, and contouring preferences. If you need help choosing, check out our mattress firmness scale guide.
    • Additional Features– What additional mattress features are most important to you? Listing these out can help you decide on the make, materials, and which brand to buy. A few common features and benefits that shoppers look for in mattresses include cooling capabilities, organic or sustainably sourced materials, antibacterial properties, compatibility with adjustable bed frames, etc.

    • Customer Service– Make sure the mattress seller you choose offers excellent support services like free shipping, a lengthy sleep trial, and free returns. Any new mattress is a major investment, and you want to make sure you’ll have all your bases covered should you face any problems. 

    Need more guidance on how to choose the right mattress for you? Head over to our complete Mattress Buying Guide.

    Conclusion

    Flippable mattresses may not be the most popular model on the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re inferior to single-sided mattresses. Many people simply don’t know they have the option or believe the misconception that they cost significantly more. Now that you know what’s out there, you may never go back to a single-sided bed.