In the world of mattresses, latex mattresses have been gaining in popularity throughout the years, especially among sleepers who find themselves dissatisfied with traditional innerspring or memory foam mattresses.
Latex mattresses are known for their comfort, breathability, bounce, and responsiveness…they are also considered a more healthy option due to the availability (and relative inexpensive cost) of natural and blended latex, making it a popular choice for the environmentally-friendly sleeper.
This latex mattress review will help you navigate the world of latex and in the end, be a smarter (and better rested) shopper!
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Benefits of Latex Foam
Authentic latex foam is made from a white liquid that is extracted from the Hevea-Brasilenis tree…commonly referred to as the rubber tree. The liquid is extracted through a tapping method similar to extracting maple.
The latex is harvested, excess water is removed through a thickening process, and then shipped to companies who manufacture the latex. When used in mattresses, raw latex is mixed with air before coagulation to result in a springy latex foam. The addition of latex into foam mattresses adds a degree of bounce that is unique to latex.
See below for the response time of a latex mattress:
Below is another short gif showing the response time of a memory foam mattress. Note the differences between latex and memory foam. Memory foam tends to respond much slower.
Traditional foam or memory foam mattresses are known for their pressure relief and body-contouring. This pronounced contour may mean a slower mattress response time for an active sleeper. Another benefit of latex foam is its natural material composition. The properties of latex can minimize offensive odors and off-gassing, making it a good choice for sleepers sensitive to strong smells.
Natural vs. Synthetic Latex
All latex mattresses are made up of natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of the two. So what’s the big difference? Natural latex is as natural as it sounds. It is the most pure kind of latex and uses only the raw latex harvested from the rubber tree. This latex is supportive, yet has great bounce, which makes for a more responsive mattress.
A synthetic latex is made by blending a man-made rubber polymer with natural tree sap.
The primary benefit of 100% natural latex is the relatively minimal odor and healthier material construction. If you’re looking for a mattress that is as healthy as it can be going with a certified organic natural latex will be the best choice for you.
In terms of feel, performance, and longevity, natural, synthetic, and blended latex are all very similar. Synthetic and blended latex usually has a more notable smell (at least for the first several days). The primary benefit of synthetic and blended latex is simply the price. True organic natural latex is very expensive, prohibitively so for most sleepers.
Expect to spend $2-$4K on a 100% natural latex mattress. Similar performing mattresses made with synthetic or blended latex can be found for closer to the $1,000 range.
Types of Latex Foam
Between natural and synthetic latex, there are two main types of latex foam that can be made – Dunlop or Talalay. These two latex processes result in foams with about the same satisfaction ratings, but with different characteristics. Dunlop latex has been around for longer, but Talalay has been gaining in popularity over the years.
- Dunlop Latex – latex is poured into a mold until it is full, resulting in one complete piece of latex. This process allows material to settle along the bottom, usually creating a firmer feel on one side of the latex. Dunlop latex is extremely durable, while still maintaining the comfort and bounce that people love about latex. The only negative side of Dunlop can be the consistency issues due to the settling of material during the pouring process.
- Talalay Latex – only a small amount of latex is poured into a mold and then air is extracted. This creates a consistent open-cell structure in the foam. The latex is then flash frozen and divided into multiple sections of latex that are glued together to create the final form. The result is a foam with great bounce, cooling, response, and consistency.
New to the market is latex manufactured using the continuous process. This method creates a foam similar to Talalay, but does so using a conveyor instead of a traditional mold to form the foam. This eliminates the seams, while still creating a mattress that is more consistent than Dunlop latex.
Latex vs. Memory Foam
Another common head-to-head match-up is between latex and memory foam. These two materials are strong competitors in the world of online mattress shopping, but they provide very different feels.
The latex mattress will have the added bounce, elasticity, and responsiveness that is beneficial to an active sleeper. Some sleepers claim that the added bounce makes for enhanced amorous activities…but you can decide that one for yourself!
Memory foams provide deeper compression, pressure relief, and a slower response time. For sleepers who struggle with back pain or are overweight, the slower response time means more body-contouring, which can be a life-saver if that kind of support is a top priority.
GUIDE: How to choose a mattress
Latex mattresses are well-loved and growing in popularity every day. It may cost you more initially, but if bounce, response, balanced contour, and breathability are important to you, then a latex mattress just might be the right choice. For our top-rated latex mattress reviews, check out the following:
|10" natural Talalay latex||$1,899||Read Review|
|3" Talalay latex + 6" APRICO Organic latex||$1,799||Read Review|
|2" natural Dunlop latex + 6" natural Dunlop latex||$1,099||Read Review|
|2" Wool + 3" natural Dunlop latex + 7" 5-zone pocketed coils||$1,599||Read Review|
|2" TitanFlex foam (latex alternative), 2" TitanFlex foam, 6" support foam||$712||Read Review|
*Prices are Queen size + include any available Sleepopolis coupon codes