Which type of latex mattress is best for you?
See how to find the ideal latex mattress type and compare brands.
Recently, latex mattress brands have been seeing a resurgence in popularity due to increased demands for eco-friendly products and consumers’ quest for alternatives to spring beds. However, latex beds can be one of the more difficult mattresses types to research since they have different components and limited availability in local shops. In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of latex mattresses and pose a few key questions that may help you determine if this type of bed might be right for you.
Latex Mattress Pros and Cons
No one type of mattress is perfect for everyone, and latex is no exception. Latex foam has unique characteristics that may be either advantages or drawbacks depending on your perception. Here is a quick overview of pros and cons:
Natural options available
Can be expensive
Hard to research
Limited local availability
Potential for heat retention
Reduced motion transfer
Questions to Ask When Buying a Latex Mattress
To further help deduce if latex is right for you or which type of latex you may prefer, consider the following questions
What is your budget?
Latex mattresses happen to be one of the more expensive mattress types on the market, especially for 100% natural latex. On average, the cost of a natural latex mattress runs between $1500 and $4000 and synthetic latex runs between $300-$1200, with blends usually falling in the middle. This is because natural latex liquid is harvested from trees, and costs more to produce than synthetic, man-made latex. While natural latex is more expensive than synthetic types, the tradeoff is that a natural latex mattress will last longer, and provides unique eco-friendly benefits. Though synthetic latex does not possess the benefits of all natural products, they are still relatively durable and hypoallergenic
Latex foam made with the Dunlop process (where latex is poured then heated) is also cheaper than Talalay latex (which is poured, vacuum sealed, flash frozen then heated). Dunlop latex is found more often in the firmer range, and can be less consistent than Talalay latex. However, both types have similar owner satisfaction so difference appear to be minor. Both Dunlop and Talalay can be made with natural or synthetic latex material.
There are also hybrid options than can range from cheap to expensive depending on the brand. Hybrid mattresses are those that have layers of latex over regular foam or innerspring cores, however these mattress types may not have the support and durability benefits of all-latex beds, and tend to rate significantly lower on satisfaction.
How do you like your mattress to feel?
A crucial part of mattress satisfaction is choosing a bed compatible with your personal preferences. Latex mattresses offer a unique feel different from that of regular foam, memory foam or springs.
It is often described as springy or resilient, since latex immediately bounces back to its original shape after being compressed. However, latex foam is not bouncy like a spring bed. The cellular nature allows it to compress under a sleeper’s weight so it does not create pressure points like innerspring beds, and also prevents motion transfer so your partner’s movements do not disturb you. It is different from memory foam, which responds more slowly to movement and contours more closely.
In terms of firmness, latex beds can come in wide range. The base of a latex mattress is a latex core, usually of 6-8 inches, which is typically fairly firm. Additional layers can be added above the core to provide additional depth or softness. Dunlop latex tends to be within the firmer range, since the poured manufacturing process limits the range of customization. There are manufacturers that make Dunlop in the soft ranges, too, though. Talalay latex can range from firm to plush, and is most often used in upper layers or when a softer comfort layers are preferable.
It is important to note that the firmness of latex foam is often described as its “ILD” (indentation load deflection). Higher ILDs denote firmer foams, while lower ILDs are softer. Generally, 18-23 ILD is soft, 24-28 ILD is medium, 29-31 ILD is medium firm, and 32+ ILD is firm. Often latex mattress layers will have different ILDs, with cores usually ranging between 30-40 ILD and upper layers in the medium and soft ranges.
Do you have any allergies?
Traditional innerspring mattresses are not hypoallergenic, meaning that dirt, dust mites, mold, and mildew can get trapped in between the layers and open spaces of the bed. Natural and synthetic latex mattresses are considered much more hypoallergenic because the foam structure and material is not hospitable to dust mites and is resistant to mold and bacteria. If you have dust mite or mold allergies, a latex mattress can be an excellent choice, especially when paired with a hypoallergenic cover.
A small percentage of the population does have an allergy to natural latex proteins, often found in products like latex gloves. The latex foam used in latex mattresses typically contains little to no latex proteins after undergoing vulcanization and washing.
Latex mattresses have been sold for more than 40 years, and so far, the FDA has no reported cases of latex mattresses or beds causing allergic reactions or anaphylactic shock. If you do have a latex allergy, consult with your physician and if appropriate for your situation, request a sample of the latex foam from the brand(s) you are considering to test before buying.
Do you prefer a natural or chemical-free lifestyle?
One of the biggest draws of natural latex mattresses is that they are both eco-friendly and usually free of toxic chemicals found in some other mattress types. Natural latex is sourced from latex trees in a sustainable manner (similar to the maple syrup process), and the living trees help counteract the emissions produced during manufacturing. They also do not use petroleum products like regular poly and memory foams.
Synthetic and blended foams are not quite as eco-friendly, but often still have less potentially harmful chemicals than polyurethane foams (though synthetic latex does contain petrochemicals).
Certified organic Dunlop latex is considered optimum for people looking for clean and eco-friendly beds, since the latex is grown organically without chemical pesticides and produced without harmful chemicals as well.
Options paired with organic cotton covers and which use natural wool fire barriers as opposed to chemical flame retardants are also ideal for natural-minded shoppers.
Latex Mattress Comparisons
The table below compares natural, synthetic, blended, and hybrid latex mattresses to highlight the differences (statistics based on survey results from SleepLikeTheDead.com and reviews online):
|Latex Type||100% Natural||Blended/Synthetic||Hybrids|
|Longevity||8-15 years||7-10 years||6-10 years|
Comparison of Latex Mattress Brands
Keeping the differences in mind between the the various latex mattress options, here is an overview of the leading brands available in retail stores and online. We compiled the various specifications for each brand (type of latex used, process, covers, price, warranty, etc) and researched reviews on retailer websites and third party consumer review websites for consumer satisfaction information.
|Brand||Owner Satisfaction||Queen Price Range||Latex Type||Cover Type||Customizable||Thickness Range||Returns/Warranty||Where to Buy|
|Astrabeds||94%||$1799-2999||Organic Dunlop||Organic Cotton||Yes||7"-13"||90 days/25 yrs||Online|
|E.C.O.||81%||$589-649||Blended Talalay over Poly Foam||Cotton/Poly Blend||No||8"-10"||None/None||Online|
|Flobeds||81%||$1779-2899||Natural & Blended Talalay||Organic Cotton||Yes||9"-12"||100 days/20 yrs||Online|
|Habitat Furnishings||84%||$1199-3199||Natural Talalay & Dunlop||Conventional/Organic Cotton||No||6"-9"||365 days/20 yrs||Online|
|Ikea||83%||$399-1199||Synthetic & Blended Dunlop||Cotton/Blend||No||5.5"-7.6"||90 days/20 yrs||Ikea Stores|
|Savvy Rest||78%||$1369-5829||Natural Talalay & Organic Dunlop||Organic Cotton||Yes||6"-12"||90 days/20 yrs||Online, Some Stores|
|Simmons Natural Care||70%||$1099-2499||Blended Latex over Poly Foam||Tencel||No||9.5"-10.75"||NA/25 yrs||Online, Dealers|
|Sleep EZ||75%||$750-2900||Natural & Blended Talalay, Dunlop||Conventional/Organic Cotton||Yes||6"-12"||90 days/20 yrs||Online, AZ stores|
|Stearns & Foster Luxury Latex||74%||$1599-2999||Blended Latex over Poly Foam/Latex||Cashmere Blend||No||13"-16"||NA/20 yrs||Online, Dealers|
Buying Latex Online vs In Stores
Blended, synthetic and hybrid latex mattresses are usually available from larger mattress retailers and department stores, however all-natural latex mattresses can be harder to find in local shops. Latex mattresses are one type that is typically more widely available online and cheaper online compared to similar retail options.
Buying a mattress online does pose a few concerns for some people, but as long as you ensure the mattress you choose is returnable/check return fees and check reviews, risk is often no more than buying locally. In fact, many online latex retailers offer better return policies than local showrooms. Latex beds with unglued layers also allow owners to swap for firmer/softer layers rather than ship the entire bed back.
Deciding whether or not a latex bed is right for you can involve a little research and introspection. For those who place greater value on natural products, allergen resistance, durability, or support, latex can be excellent choice.
Just be aware that not all types and brands of latex beds are created equal. Take some time to become familiar with the terminology and types, and always check “under the covers”. When shopping for a latex mattress, the more you know the better equipped you will be to compare options and come away with the best bed and best value.
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