Latex Mattress Buying Guide
Lately, latex mattresses have set the world on fire with their appealing appearance as well as their superior properties. If you’re making a mattress purchase decision, you’d probably see someone mention latex mattresses somewhere up there on the list.
We have slept on a wide variety of the different latex mattresses that are available on the market today. In this in-depth guide, we will walk you through the many aspects of a latex mattress to help you make up your mind when seeking for one.
We will help you answer questions about whether or not a latex mattress is what you need and how to choose one that perfectly caters to your needs and sleep preference. Last updated
1.What is a latex mattress?
In spite of the fact that memory foam mattresses are often considered the “King” of the mattress world, latex mattresses have hit the big time over the last few years.
While memory foam mattresses are popular in the US, latex mattresses are much more popular in Europe. According to some customer satisfaction surveys, latex mattresses are only surpassed by memory foam mattresses.
Originally, latex is a natural material harvested from rubber trees. Latex is used in many various products like gloves, balloons and mattresses.
Synthetic vulcanized rubber was created to supply the latex shortfall during the years of World War II. Since there are various types of latex as well as latex mattresses, consumers often find themselves in the midst of confusion.
In terms of responsiveness and bounciness, latex mattresses win against memory foam mattresses hands down due to the inherent properties of latex which promote good responsiveness and bounce vs “sinking down in foam.”
These natural benefits of latex which also includes the lack of heat retention are all attractive features that are making latex mattresses popular.
All-Natural latex mattresses are also perfect for those who are striving towards a more sustainable or organic lifestyle. The Avocado Green Mattress is an example of an organic latex and innerspring coil hybrid mattress that is very popular these days, as is the Brentwood Home Cedar mattress. The Zenhaven mattress is made up of 100% natural Talalay latex and is another great option.
2.Pros and cons of latex mattresses
Like an old saying, a coin has two sides, so even though latex mattresses offer many superior benefits, a couple of off-putting traits are also expected. Keep in mind it’s impossible for a mattress to suit everyone, so start with its pros and cons and decide if it’s going to be a good buy for you.
2.1. Advantages of Latex Mattresses
As mentioned above, a botanical latex mattress is capable of providing a cool and natural bouncy feel, durability, and lots of health benefits for its users . Latex mattresses that are certified organic & natural do not contain metal or harsh chemicals.
Comfort – One of the best things about latex mattresses is the ability to provide ultimate comfort to their users.
When you first lie down on a Latex mattress, you’ll experience a soft sinking sensation and the mattress will conform to your body’s contours.
However, instead of sinking down like you would with a memory foam mattress, your body will then be immediately supported with a buoyant feeling due to the natural springiness of latex.
This feature helps promote proper spinal alignment and pain relief. And since your body weight is distributed evenly, your blood circulation is also improved vastly.
Eco-Friendly and Healthy
- No rubber trees have to be cut down in order to harvest rubber milk. We still have them purifying the air and water while giving us latex saps at the same time.
- Natural latex requires the minimum amount of chemical to create while organic latex does not even use synthetic and artificially-produced fertilizers .
- The lack of impurities (petrochemicals, fire retardants, fillers, etc.) distinguishes latex mattresses from others on the market. These harsh components can cause headaches, respiratory problems or itchy eyes.
- Real latex mattresses (be it natural or synthetic) are generally solid and firm, making it resistant to bed bugs and dust mites while being ideal for sleepers with back pain.
Cool – The ability to balance the temperature according to your body’s temperature of latex also sets latex mattresses apart from other types. With a latex mattress, you won’t have to experience sleeping too hot or too cold anymore.
Longevity – Natural latex is also known for its extended durability making it second to none as far as longevity is concerned.
Motion isolation – Only second to memory foam mattresses, however their inherent bounce and responsiveness can cause some movement between couples sharing a bed.
Customizability – Many latex mattress manufacturers allow their customers to customize their mattresses to their specific needs. This feature is exceptionally beneficial for couples as it allows them to have their own side customized to their personal firmness preference, or the overall mattress to be firmer or softer by just turning it over, such as the Zenhaven mattress .
Little to no smells – latex will smell, well, like latex – but not have a chemical odor since it’s not made up of petrochemicals.
2.2. Common Complaints about Latex Mattresses
Compression issue – More common with thinner synthetic latex hybrid mattresses such as the Casper and Leesa that can compress under heavy sleeper weight and couples who share the same bed as well.
Excessive weight – Natural latex is a lot heavier than synthetic latex due to its natural composition and high density. The floppiness in structure of latex makes the heaviness even more noticeable.
Firmness – Many people feel that Latex mattresses are more on the firm side and it takes some time for the body to adapt to the firmness. This can be a pro or a con, depending on the individual. Firmness is determined by the Impression Load Deflection (ILD). The higher it is, the firmer the latex.
Expensive – With all the costs to growing rubber trees to manufacturing latex and everything in between, no wonder natural latex is expensive. That’s also the reason the reason why so many latex mattress manufacturers take advantage of the term natural/organic to empower their marketing campaign.
Latex Allergy – Some people are allergic to natural latex.
3. Tips When Choosing a Latex Mattress
3.1. Types of Latex Foam and the Composition of a Latex Mattress
4 Types of Latex Foam
There are 4 types of latex foam: natural latex, organic latex, synthetic latex and blended (hybrid) latex
- Natural latex is made from the sap of rubber trees so it is chemical-free and contains no synthetic counterparts. The production of natural Latex is complicated and expensive so you can expect to pay top dollar for an all-natural Latex mattress. If you’re buying a natural latex mattress, ask for proof (certifications) that it is 100% natural.
- There is also organic latex made from the sap from rubber trees that have been grown organically, meaning without using pesticides. So basically organic latex is natural latex, but more eco-friendly and healthy to its users. An organic latex mattress must have a GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) certification.
- Synthetic latex is made from Styrene Butadiene Rubber which has some superior advantages over natural latex, like softening, heat aging, regardless of durability. However, in terms of comfort, support, spinal alignment, longevity,.. natural latex wins hands down.
- Blended or hybrid latex is a combination of natural Talalay and synthetic latex. Blended latex can last longer and contains less chemicals than synthetic latex while having a considerable diversity in firmness options and being cheaper than natural Talalay. The ratio of natural to synthetic latex is usually 70/30 or 60/40. The more natural latex the mattress contains, the more expensive it will be.
2 Processes Used to Create Latex Foam
In addition, we would like to talk about 2 different ways to make latex mattress foam, the Dunlop process and the Talalay process . Dunlop is considered the traditional processing method, while Talalay is a bit more modern method of latex production that involves 2 extra steps.
A noticeable disparity of the two processes is the feeling that they bring to the foam. Particularly, Dunlop latex feels firmer while Talalay latex feels softer. This is also the reason why Dunlop latex is used as a base core component while Talalay latex is used as a top cushion comfort layer.
3 Types of Latex Mattresses
Latex mattress manufacturers offer 3 different types of latex mattresses to their customers: All latex mattress, Latex over memory foam mattress, and Memory foam over latex mattress . Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
- Every part of the All-latex is made from 100% of latex (could be natural, organic or synthetic). It provides good motion isolation and exceptional orthopedic support due to its material, however. All-latex mattresses are generally more expensive. (The Zenhaven mattress or Spindle mattress are examples of all-latex mattresses).
- The type of Latex over foam mattress has a multiple layered design with the top layer made of latex and the bottom layer made of memory foam. This arrangement promotes back pain relief and eliminates motion transfer. Since the top layer is latex, there is little to no smell/off-gassing. (The Ghostbed mattress and PangeaBed mattress are examples of this.)
- The Foam over latex mattress often has very little latex in its design to cut costs.
Latex mattresses are in general firmer than many other kinds of mattresses. This is true to a certain extent as the more natural a latex mattress is, the firmer it will be. For example, Talalay latex is softer because it contains more synthetic latex. However, never confuse firmness with hardness.
In order to identify the correct firmness for yourself, you need to take these 4 factors into consideration:
Personal preference – The first and foremost important factor. Some people like the feel of latex, that of sleeping “on top of” their mattress and the floating sensation, while others like to sleep “in” their mattress, which is the feeling most associated with memory foam mattresses.
Sleeping positions – Do you sleep on your back, your stomach, your side? Or are you a combination of all 3 of them?
A side sleeper may want a mattress with a more plush feel that supports their sides better (especially their shoulders and hips).
A back or stomach sleeper commonly would choose firmer mattresses so their legs and lower back don’t sink down during sleep which can cause them to feel immobilized upon waking up.
ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) – Mattress manufacturers use ILD as an indication of firmness, the higher the ILD, the firmer the latex mattress will be.
Body weight and profile height
- Like we always preach, firmness is highly weigh dependent, how hard a mattress feels has a lot to do with your weight. Softer mattresses tend to get compressed under heavy weight. The mattress has to be firm enough to provide proper spinal alignment.
- A higher profile mattress height allows weight to be distributed better.
Cooling effect – Pinholes are designed in hopes of making the mattress sleep cooler and enhancing hygiene as they allow moisture and heat to escape as well as air to flow in easily. The result is improved airflow and circulation.
Firmness – Pinholes play a significant role in determining the firmness level of the latex mattress. Aside from the materials used, the number, size, arrangement of pinholes in certain parts of the mattress help achieve a specific level of firmness and comfort.
This is called creating comfort zones in a mattress, and can help make different parts of the mattress feel more or less supportive depending on the bodypart being supported during sleep.
A cover is what finishes up your mattress. Generally, there are 3 types of materials used in mattress covers (mattress pads): cotton (organic and conventional), wool, and polyester. Covers that are made up of 100% cotton (preferably organic) are the most ideal due to their softness, breathability and health benefits.
3.5. Flame Retardant
All mattresses on the market have to pass the Federal flammability test in order to protect their sleepers in case of fire. In many mattresses, fire retardants are made with harsh chemicals.
The best thing about natural latex is the fact that they are naturally flame resistant, hence there is no need for additional chemical compounds.
Certifications are the documents that demonstrate the real origin as well as the quality of the mattress. They help clarify any misleading information about the makeup of the latex mattress. Make sure the bed is certified before you make any decision.
- GOLS: Legally certified organic to US standards.
- Oeko-Tex and Eco Institut: Certified that there is no hazardous chemical involved in the production.
3.7. Warranty and Trial
Natural latex can last up to 4 decades so if you’re looking for an all-natural latex mattress, the warranty should be no less than 10 years, some retailers offer a 20 year warranty.
Trial periods generally vary from 30 days up to 200 days, depending on the mattress retailers so ensure you make the most of it and take advantage of sleep trial return periods.
Prices vary greatly depending on the brand, latex type, distribution model, etc.
Mattresses from more established brands are generally more expensive than those from the younger ones. Some premium in-store latex mattresses can cost over $5-10,000 or more.
Some brands that offer 100% latex mattresses are Spindle , Zenhaven , and PlushBeds. Latex hybrid mattresses include ones such as Zonk’d, Leesa, GhostBed, and the very affordable and comfortable Freedom Sleep mattress.
Nowadays, you can buy a new latex mattress online for a fraction of the cost. Buying from a physical store gives you the chance to check for support and comfort, which is something you can’t do online.
However, most online retailers offer free trial periods so it’s no longer that big of a deal and the price is so much better compared to purchasing in a store as you end paying more than you would at an online store due to higher markups.
Summary on Choosing a Latex Mattress
We hope this guide on what to look for in a latex mattress and the many options and choices available on the market today is helpful to you if you decide to choose a latex mattress.
In the end, you often get what you pay for, so choosing a 100% all natural latex mattress will cost more than a latex foam hybrid, but last you much longer and provide you with a much better overall value for your money.
The recent boom in online mattress retailers also has lowered the cost of purchasing an all latex mattress significantly, with prices available online that are 20-25% cheaper than comparable models in a store.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask and we’ll do the best we can to help!
Here Are Our Top Picks for Latex Mattresses:
100% Natural Latex Mattresses:
($1899 for a Queen size. Click here for the best price on a Zenhaven.)
The Zenhaven, manufactured by Saatva, is made up of 100% American sourced Talalay latex and comes in at a fraction of the price of the in-store latex beds. It is 10’’ thick and offers two firmness options in the same mattress: Luxury Plush, which scores 5-6 out of 10 on the firmness scale (10 being the firmest), and Gentle Firm, which is around 7-8 out of 10.
Both sides have the same cover and comfort layers and you can opt between the two firmness options simply by flipping the mattress over.
The Zenhaven offers a buoyant and pressure-relieving sleeping surface and provides a nice degree of push-back and contouring to the body. It sleeps cool due to its latex nature and works well for both side and back or stomach sleepers.
Its cover is made of 100% organic New Zealand wool that serves as a natural regulator of temperature, aids in cooling, and adds to the overall comfort and luxuriousness of this mattress.
If you want a luxurious, hypoallergenic latex model, made of the highest-quality, eco-friendly materials, then the Zenhaven is a perfect choice for you. It comes in at $1899 for a Queen size, but you can get the best price on the Zenhaven by using the link above.
($1349 for a Queen size. Click here and use our code: talk5 to save 5% on a Spindle.)
The Spindle is made of 100% natural Dunlop latex which can be customized to suit your needs and sleep preferences based on your questionnaire answers. It is unique in that the company sends it as a customized parcel of three latex layers, which you can assemble at home according to your liking. If it happens that the combination of the latex layers you have received does not suit your needs, Spindle offers the option to swap out the layers until you finally find those that will be perfect for you.
The spindle offers a very comfortable top layer that is soft, but responsive enough to react immediately to pressure and ensure excellent pressure relief and extraordinary comfort without causing the feeling of being stuck in the mattress.
The organic cotton and wool cover provides a luxurious and gentle feel thus contributing to the overall comfort that the Spindle mattress offers. Besides this, the wool wicks away moisture, and along with the latex layers, helps the mattress sleep cool and creates a cool and pleasant sleeping surface.
With Spindle, there is no excessive motion transfer and it provides a nice amount of bounce, contouring, and support to the body which makes it ideal for all sleeping styles.
The Spindle is priced higher than most mattresses we have tested due to its latex nature, coming in at $1349 for a Queen. However, this is a reasonable price given the quality materials used in its construction, and it is only a fraction of the prices of the in-store latex beds.
You can use our code: talk5 and save 5% on this mattress.
Latex Hybrid Mattresses:
($599 for a Queen size. Click here and save $50 with code MFT.)
Freedom Sleep is a new affordable mattress proudly made in the USA. It is a comfortable mattress coming in at an affordable price that appeals to a wide majority of sleepers.
This bed is a 10″ thick memory foam and Avena latex foam mattress made up of 4 layers with a soft cover featuring a patriotic red, white, and blue design that perfectly befits a mattress that is proudly made in America.
The Freedom Sleep comes in the “universal comfort” firmness option scoring 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale (10 being the firmest). The top comfort layer which utilizes Avena latex foam does a good job at providing responsiveness and push-back and preventing you from sinking into the foam layers underneath, while the foam transition and support layers do a good job at adapting to your body weight and contouring your body during sleep.
The mattress offers enough give in the top comfort layers to relieve pressure points in shoulders and hips and has enough firmness necessary if you switch to your back or stomach. In addition to this, the Freedom Sleep mattress has a very soft and comfortable exterior that works together with Avena and gel-infused memory foam layers to provide a comfortable and balanced feel in most sleeping positions.
The mattress also prevents the build-up of heat and sleeps quite cool due to its breathable cover, Avena latex foam, and the gel-infused memory foam used in its construction.
The Freedom Sleep mattress is priced very well given the quality it delivers, and it comes in at $599 for a queen (or $549 after using our MFT coupon).
($1399 for a Queen size.Click here for the best price on Avocado. )
The Avocado mattress is a new luxury latex and coil hybrid mattress handcrafted in the USA without petroleum-based polyurethane foam, without toxic flame retardants, without dangerous pesticides, and without risk from volatile chemicals and gasses.
It uses only green, eco-friendly ingredients in its construction and it is a blend of eco-friendly, natural, and organic ingredients that create a healthy, comfortable, supportive, and cool sleeping environment.
This bed is also an excellent choice for those sensitive to off-gassing and those suffering from airborne allergies due to its all natural design that prevents any off-gassing and the appearance of dust mites. The Avocado has a soft cover made of all-natural latex, wool, and organic cotton, and offers an optional pillow for those who prefer a plusher feel.
The Avocado is an 11″ mattress which comes in at a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale (10 being firmest) and provides exceptional comfort and support for all sleeping styles, as well as enough bounce and responsiveness coming from its latex and innerspring hybrid construction.
This bed sleeps quite cool due to the latex materials and pocketed coil system used in its construction which allows a good airflow, prevents the build-up of heat, and eliminates the sticky sweaty feeling that some of the mattresses tend to cause.
The wool and organic cotton used in its cover create a breathable surface, serve as natural regulators of temperature and aid in cooling to provide a cool and comfortable sleep.
Coming in at $1399 for a Queen, it is a little pricier than foam mattresses but less than all latex mattresses in general. For an all organic, high-quality mattress this is a great price and surprisingly low given the luxury materials used in its construction.