One sided mattresses

The only possible way a one-sided mattress can be a worthwhile consideration is if it costs half the price of a two-sided mattress.  Many people are told that a one-sided mattress or no turn mattress is a benefit.  We don’t believe this is the case and this article helps explain exactly what a one-sided mattress is.

one sided coil mattresses

Above:  The dreaded coil sprung mattress spring unit sometimes used with one-sided mattresses.

So what are the benefits to you?

Looking at the advertising material, it tells us that it removes the need for turning and are described as ‘easy care’. So far so good you may be thinking. In actual fact, there is simply no benefit to you but every benefit to the manufacturer. Manufacturers such as Eve, Simba and Made are all one-sided mattresses. They don’t make a big fuss about this on their websites and if you read on you will know why they don’t. In fact, we have a really detailed discussion on the new wave of boxed one-sided foam mattresses such as the Eve mattress that you can read here.

What are the benefits to the manufacturer?

It all started with the introduction of memory foam mattresses. People got used to not having to turn them and so manufacturers thought they could apply the same principle to all other types of mattress. Thereby, using half the normal quota of fillings and keeping their profit margins stable. The lifespan of the mattress is obviously directly halved so you will be out looking for another mattress a lot sooner than would otherwise be the case.

Turning a mattress does not feature high on everyone’s list of household chores, for elderly and infirm people it can be quite a challenge. This is why I say that for these type of mattresses you should be paying proportionately less than a traditional double sided mattress not equal to and certainly not more!

What are the exceptions to one-sided mattresses?

There are a couple of obvious exceptions as in the case of mattresses with memory foam or latex as the comfort layer. With latex being extremely durable and expensive it will rarely be on a double-sided mattress (unless it is one complete core). Having a double-sided latex mattress (utilised on a pocket spring unit)  is relatively pointless as latex is amongst the most durable product available and it will be better to replace (in time) rather than extend.  These are both valid exceptions for one-sided mattresses.

What if I can’t physically turn my mattress?

If you really are unable to turn a mattress regularly then there are options available to you. First, you can use a double sided mattress without turning it until the sleep surface becomes unusable (not ideal – but a valid compromise) You can then turn it when the first side has become worn and you will start again sleeping on the unused side. If this was a one-sided mattress – it’s off to the shops again.

Why are foam mattresses one-sided?

Hybrid mattresses by their very nature can only ever be one-sided.  This is down to the fact that progressive foams would be crushed beyond recognition if you turned these kinds of mattresses over.  We always advise the use of a turnable topper with these kinds of mattresses to help reduce this issue. This is the draw back with the Eve mattress, Simba and Casper models. They are all one sided so once that sleep surface settles, dips or sags that’s it. It’s game over for your new mattress.

Why are some sprung mattresses one-sided?

It also becomes a quality issue. No self-respecting manufacturer can claim a one-sided sprung mattress can be deemed as a quality product it isn’t. Savoir Beds, Vi-Spring and manufacturers of that ilk would not dream of producing a mattress that has upholstery on one side and not much at all on the other. It goes against everything they stand for.

The manufacturing process of one-sided mattresses also goes towards a logical explanation of why a one-sided coil sprung mattress can be seen as completely inferior. On one-sided mattresses, there is a sleep surface and an underlying non-sleep surface. Nine times out of ten this non-sleep surface will be nothing more than a saturn pad (The recycled grey material you may be familiar with) clipped to the spring unit. This will be all that is keeping the spring unit stable and preventing the springs from penetrating through the underside fabric.

I regularly see comments on the web that state non-turn mattresses utilise ‘new materials’ and springing systems in order that the mattress won’t suffer from the same settlement problems as other forms of construction may this is obviously nothing short of complete diatribe. There are only so many upholstery components that can be used in a mattress and I have not seen or heard of any component that is more durable than those currently used. If there were, do you not think that manufacturers would be using them on all their mattresses to ensure a greater degree of longevity?

A double sided mattress is far superior in all ways than a single sided non turn mattress. Obviously you wont be getting a quality product with a one sided sprung mattress despite how good some advertising is, and of course your purchasing decision  should take into account the asking price. Latex and hybrid foam being the exception. There are plenty of examples online of a two sided mattress being cheaper than a lower quality one sided mattress.

Retail example of a one-sided mattress description

Bear in mind that some descriptions on the internet and in a store will not inform you whether a particular model is one-sided or two-sided. This is a classic example of an online description from Dreams for their Omega mattress £779.00 Kingsize Product Code: 131-00327 May 2013

“If you need the support a firm mattress provides, our Omega mattress is the ideal choice. The springs in our Omega mattress distribute weight evenly, supporting your body in any position and eliminating “roll together”. With layers of upholstery for added comfort and finished with a traditional Belgian damask cover, our Omega offers great value for money.”

Specifications: – 1000 Pocket springs – Belgian damask cover – Comfort grade 3 – Medium

If you have read our post know your GSM times table you will understand what is also so blatantly lacking in this description. If you haven’t read it yet, then do so, it will save you a fortune! What is also missing from this extremely limited description is any kind of notification as to whether this particular mattress is one-sided or two-sided. If a consumer was completely unaware of the pitfalls of the one-sided design manufacture they would not even notice this blatant omission until it was too late.

Other One Sided Mattress Models

All of the below are one-sided mattress models as examples of how widespread one-sided mattresses are! In some cases this is because they are made of foam, however, we always recommend that these models need a turnable two-sided topper to mitigate against this. It is worthwhile noting whether the new mattress you are looking for is onesided and double check that for the money there isn’t another more suitable alternative.


As you read through this site you will see that general theme is not to take things at face value. You really must question what you are being told. There is a good indicator to watch out for, though. If a mattress manufacturer is proud of the product they are offering up for sale, there will be reams and reams of descriptive information given informing you of such. To complete a purchase, based on the scant information as offered in the above example, means you’re purchasing a product without knowing exactly what you’re buying.


View Comments
  • Micheal Tomas says:

    But surely the bulk of the cost to the manufacturer is the labour element of making the product. Producing a one sided mattress cost just as much as a 2 sided mattress, as the cost of the filling is hardly the earth. If its one sided what do they put on the underside? Nothing? I think not. There is filling on the underside, so not really a massive cost saving there. Also the 1 sided mattress tend to have more hard wearing fillings which generally cost more then on a double sided. Your article is rather 1 sided excuse the pun.
    Hi Micheal, Thanks for your comment. Apart from the general exceptions I mention for one sided mattresses (latex, memory foam) adding additional fillings as you rightly say, would not neccessarily cost the earth. And it is precisely this measly approach to manufacturing that to me seems so wrong.
    As for the fillings being more hard wearing on a one sided mattress than two sided, I dont believe they are are and would like to hear of or see examples of this.. My article may appear to be one sided for the reason that I genuinely cannot think of any positive benefits a one sided mattress has, in particular when you rightly conclude the cost price to manufacture is not that substantially lower.
    As for the underside, you are correct, there is some kind of filling, but generally just enough to keep the upper spring unit stable – and at times this can only be the addition of an insulator pad finished with a stitchbond non slip cover. Finally, I would love to hear if other readers has anything positive to say about one sided mattresses particularly if you can justify the retail price in comparison to a similarly specced two sided mattress. Excellent comment. John.

  • Dave Elkins says:

    “First, you can use a double sided mattress without turning it (not ideal but a compromise) You can then turn it when the first side has become worn and you will start again sleeping on the unused side.”

    Not very good advice as it will Void nearly all guarantees. 2 sided mattresses should be turned regularly.

    Also I can’t seem to find the under £200 pocket sprung mattress for sale on your site. The one that you cut open. Do you sell it?

    Hi Dave. Fair comment. In context, the comment I make about using a double side mattress without turning was made as a further objection to one sided mattresses. I reiterate: There are no benefits to the consumer for a one sided mattress. Using a double sided mattress without regular turning was for the benefit of the consumer who really would have difficulty in turning a mattress on a regular basis. Perhaps elderly or infirm. Given the choice of a one sided NO TURN or a double sided TURNABLE mattress the consumer would be getting more value for money – Long Term – in the double sided mattress.

    As for voiding the guarantee? Pehaps. Judging by the myriad of complaints on the internet particularly targetted towards the big stores, it seems that no matter what you do (or dont do) they will find a reason (usually hidden in the reams of small print) to wriggle out of their obligations.

    In the real world, not many people turn their mattresses on a monthly or bi monthly basis. I don’t and neither does Ryan – we simply dont have the time. We do however posess a fairly decent mattress, well protected and we know only too well that missing a turn every few months or so will not cause the mattress to suddenly collapse in a heap on the floor.

    As for the illusive £200 mattress? I’m afraid our minimum standards go a little higher than that. The point of the video on the home page was to prove the point that for a budget of around £200 the difference in substance and quality between a well known branded mattress and a completely unknown independant manufacturer is all too plain to see. I must admit it has been well over a year since that particular video was made and to find a 1000 pocket sprung mattress to retail for that price is now vitually imposible. But .. the actual point of the video is still very much in evidence whether it be £200 or £1000 etc. Good questions. John and Ryan

  • Lisa says:

    Hi John

    We bought a Kingsdown Sleep System (one sided) mattress from a well known retail park seller about 6 years ago, having been persuaded by the initial softness of this well padded mattress and the sales hype where you lie on a computer-linked mattress and it tells you the best one for you. It felt both soft and supportive initially and we were pleased with it although the padding made it rather hot. However within less than a year the padding had compressed substantially leaving a pronounced hump in the middle of the mattress and deep hollows where we sleep. Over the last year it has got really bad, the padding has compressed so much that it feels as if I am sleeping on the springs and we need a replacement very soon.

    We are not very large people (my husband is 6 ft and 12 stone and I am 5’4″ and 10 stone) I sleep in the recovery position and hubby is a side sleeper mostly.

    Turning the mattress is not an issue as we are able bodied and can manage this.
    can you advise? We have a reasonable budget and are thinking about your Artisan Natural.

    Hi Lisa. No doubt you have also done a Google search on the Kingsdown / Sleep to Live products – and no doubt I do not have to reiterate the summary of responses !

    It’s unfortunate (and wrong) it happened and personally I would attempt to make a claim on their lifetime guarantee just to prove a point and log your dis-satisfaction (unlikely it will get you anywhere).

    It’s interesting to note that these products are not available anymore on Bensons website (all links to Sleep to Live products return a product not found error). We haven’t been in Bensons for a while and not too sure whether these products are advertised in store only.

    Finally Lisa. Take a trip to a good mattress retailer such as Furniture Village / Barker and Stonehouse / John Lewis etc and try the Vi Spring models. This will give you some idea on what a good mattress consists of. Once you find a model that you like (completely disregard the price)give us a call. John and Ryan.

  • Sheila says:

    Hi. A few months ago my mother (92) bought a double Slumberland ‘Burnham Posturelux’ mattress from Dreams (!) in their ‘sale’. She bought a new base , dearer than the Slumberland one, as well but it is a different make as she wanted a lower one. The mattress is still on their website at an incredible non-sale price. It is a non-turn mattress and hollows have started to appear already – my mother is a small person and not overweight. She says it is still comfortable at the moment. I don’t know anything about the fillings. Any thoughts,comments, advice from you about this mattress would be very welcome. Thank you.

    Hi Sheila. I really do hope your mum did not pay this advertised price for this mattress [£1649.00: KS: May 3rd 2013] it is vastly overpriced for how it is built and I have a feeling this will be a Half Price Special in a few weeks time – disgraceful.

    The key fillings are described as Polyester and Foam (weights and measures unknown) and therefore without this detail I am unable to speculate what has happened. It is worth bearing in mind that for a mattress with this retail price I would not really expect an abundance of Polyester – See our description of the Artisan Bespoke as to what you should expect of a mattress with this retail price.

    I would however be inclined to contact Dreams direct to voice your dissatisfaction and in the meantime add a topper to your mums mattress to stop it deteriorating any further. Please let us know how you get on. John and Ryan.

  • Lynne Cheetham says:

    We are looking to purchase a new base and mattress and at the moment are being drawn towards the Sealy Madeline or Genoa 1200 Pocket Collection (same bed, different name depending on which website you look on).

    It supposedly got the which best buy mattress although that is not why we looked at it, we had already tried it by the time we found out.

    I was just wondering what you thought of this mattress for someone with a fairly iffy back who weighs around 4 stone heavier than their partner who weighs 13st.

    Its just a nightmare trying to decide if a bed you have laid on for just a few minutes will be comfortable after a few nights never mind a few year’s.

    I have also read a few comments on the web about Sealy beds having a sagging problem so that’s a worry as well.

    We have also tried the Silentnight 2800 Latex luxury but that has pillow top which looking at some of your previous comments does not seem like a good idea.

    The Silentnight 1400 natural luxury is also in the running at the moment.

    I would be grateful for any input you can give me


    Hi Lynne, welcome to the confusing world of beds and changing names brands and models! If I start by answering the first part about which reviews. I would always use your discretion when using a review site to review whether a mattress is ‘comfortable’. What you need to be doing is looking at sites which contain details to which you can compare mattresses, ie the components, fillings and depths of layers. One persons comfort is another persons discomfort. If a shop or site can’t tell you whats in their mattresses, I’d question whether its the right retailer for you.

    You have mentioned a bad back and the fact you and your partner are of different weights. This will cause you the most trouble as trying to get a suitable bed, with the exception of a zip and link, is very difficult. That said it can be done for example a solid core latex mattress is fantastic for accommodating two different weighted sleepers without one person rolling into the other, but latex mattresses are outside the budget of the models you have mentioned.

    The Madeline and Silentnight 2800 Latex luxury you have tried state they are a latex mattress but in reality at the £300-£500 price point I would guess these contain at best synthetic latex in very small amounts. Latex is a fantastic material but is expensive due to its benefits. You may have noticed the models never mention the blend of latex or the depths, you must question this! At this price point I’d recommend avoiding latex as its wont be of sufficient depth or quality to have any real benefit. You would be better off buying a higher quality pocket sprung traditional bed than trying to get a latex mattress at this level. The silent night miracoil 1400 luxury again has a very vague description and minimal content and I think you would be best looking at our Origins range for a far superior mattress for your money Lynne. For your requirements a quality Latex Mattress is more in the region of £900+ for a kingsize.

    That’s the negative out of the way though Lynne, I’m sure if you give us a call with your requirements we can advise on a suitable mattress that far surpasses the models you have looked at. Our traditional range will allow you to get much more mattress and comfort for your money given your price point. I hope that helps and we look forward to helping you further if you need it. Lee (John Ryan Contemporary)

  • Audrey says:

    I’m also in the market for a good mattress and divan. As the previous lady my partner is roughly 4 stone heavier than my 13.5 stone and we are both 6ft plus. I tend to get lower back and/or shoulder discomfort.
    We have been looking at the natural filled (silk, wool, cashmere and latex) king size Silent Night 2800 latex with a price tag of £999 reduced! I’m also after a divan with either a full ottoman or half with two drawers at the top however I’m now completely stumped on the one sided or two sided mattress. Having read quite a bit from your website now the gsm as well. If however you’re supposed to try before you buy for 10/15 minutes to ensure the right firmness where can I try your mattresses as a comparison?
    Thank you

    Hi Audrey, If you are looking at mattresses with natural fillings (upholstery layers) then our Artisan range is worth viewing on the site, although none of those mattresses contain latex. You will notice from our site that the various models in our Artisan range are comparable to various models in the Vi-Spring range. We are able to use Vi-Spring as a comparator because, like us, they do disclose the full details of the amounts of upholstery used by way of GSM (grams per square metre). With regard to the “try before you buy” situation, we would advise that trying a mattress for between 10/15 minutes in a store is no substitute for the 6 to 8 hours per night that the average person spends on a mattress. As we are internet based we would suggest that you visit your local Vi-Spring retailer to obtain an indication of the similar feel to our Artisan models. Before we make any recommendation regarding our models we take into account body weights, preferred feel and of course, budget. We endeavour to match the mattress to the customer and in 95% of cases we get this right. For the other 5% there is our 30 day love it or return it guarantee, which should not be viewed as a try before you buy option, because as I say, we do everything to match your requirements. We only sell divan bases and do not make ottoman bases and for Latex mattresses, please view the John Ryan Contemporary site. If you require any further information, please call either Marie or Gary on our office number. Kind regards Mike.

  • Paula says:

    Side/recovery pos. sleeper looking for medium double mattress. I was quoted £699 in Bensons for the Silentnight Mirapocket Ultimate twin layer 2000 spring with memory foam – over my budget – so I found Silentnight Mirapocket Moscow 1200 spring on Amazon for £299, which seemed a reasonable compromise between price/no of springs.
    However, based on your tips, it seems neither is good value. Both have quilted tops, not tufted, the Moscow has no side stitching, both no turn/one sided.
    So I had another look at Bensons, and concluded the Sleepmasters Diamond Pocket Deluxe 1000 spring double sided tufted hand stitched for £249 seems like much better value?

    Hi Paula,
    I would re-iterate that we would not advise the purchase of a mattress with a quilted top known as “pillow top”, because of the limitation that this places on the life-span of the mattress.

    I am unable to make any recommendation in respect of the other mattress that you refer to, as there are no specific details provided in respect of the upholstery layers used. All that is provided is a very vague description. All of our mattress descriptions provide a full breakdown of the upholstery layers by way of GSM (grams per square metre) meaning that you know what you are purchasing.

    I note that you have a limited budget, which may place our products out of your reach, but based on the limited information available, would suggest that the last mattress you found is better value as it is double sided and not a pillow top. I hope that this helps, kind regards Mike.

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