Latex Mattress Buying Guide

By Jacob Mathias on October 15, 2014

What is Latex

Latex is a naturally obtained form of rubber. It is a flexible content used in a variety of applications, which range from medical uses to making mattresses. In terms of mattresses, the Latex mixture is extremely contouring. It is created by handling the milky liquid from Rubber trees (Hevea Brasiliensis) and results in a fairly neutral and comfortable sleeping surface. Latex mattresses also provide a more sensitive, conventional experience with better support in comparison to other types of mattresses.

There are two commonly known types of Latex, Synthetic and Natural. Synthetic Latex is made with chemical based ingredients while Natural Latex is a milky substance harvested from Rubber trees. In the “Green Age”, Natural Latex is a preferred choice versus chemically-induced Latex. Keep in mind however, like most Natural products, they tend to be more pricey than Synthetic. To slope some of the cost and provide benefits of both Synthetic and Natural Latex, Blended Latex was born. Blended Latex synthetic/natural ratio varies per company, but is typically 60% synthetic and 40% natural and accounts for 70% of the Latex Market today. Be wary when you see on line companies claiming to be “100% Natural” as there are very few that are actually 100% Natural.

When preparing Natural, Synthetic, or Blended Latex, there are two different preparation methods used, Dunlop and Talalay. Each type has exclusive qualities of their own, which will be discussed later on.

What is Latex?
Why Choose Latex Mattresses

Why Choose a Latex Mattress:

Latex Mattresses are perfect for anyone and everyone, they’re healthier and last longer than traditional mattresses. Benefits include organic materials, they’re mold & mildew proof, dust-mite resistant, and hypoallergenic. You can also expect Latex to durable and last up to 20 years! Latex also does not sleep hot, it’s designed with air passage ways to assist in the cooling process, not retain heat.

Pros:

If you experience back problems, the firm properties of Latex mattresses are known to aid in your relaxation. Latex also comes in different comfort levels to fit your sleeping personality. If you are using a Latex mattress, you will not find as many additives or harmful substances. Consequently, you are less likely to breathe in toxins while you lie down to sleep or take a nap, thereby developing a better atmosphere for yourself or your family. The first and main benefit of Latex mattresses is that they are very relaxing and comfortable.

Cons:

The only downfall, if any, is that Latex Mattresses tend to be more pricey than conventional beds but less expensive than a Memory Foam bed. If the small increase in price is a huge factor in your buying decision, then Latex may not be the product for you.

Latex Manufacturing Methods:

There are two different methods of preparing Latex, Dunlop and Talalay. Dunlop is the first method used for Latex and Talalay is the new and improved. Talalay comes in Natural, Synthetic, and Blended while Dunlap comes in Natural and Synthetic.

Talalay Process:

The Talalay process is the new and refined method of creating Latex. It provides more consistent end products, various levels of softness, requires less raw material, and has a lower density than Dunlop. In the Talalay process, Latex is poured onto a pattern and aerated, then rapidly frozen to prevent the occurance of bubbles (consistency). Lastly, it is exposed to high temperatures, then washed and dried. Talalay is used for both comfort and support materials.

Dunlop Process:

The Dunlop process is the first and original method of creating Latex. It is less consistent but provides more dense products and can be less expensive than Talalay. In the Dunlop process, Latex is poured onto a pattern then cooked. Afterwards, the components in the pattern will negotiate and produce the end product. Dunlop can be used for both comfort and support, but more popular as a support layer. It is not used as often as Talalay.

 

How is Latex Made?
Why Choose Latex Mattresses

Price Comparison:

Below we will compare the variety of Latex types available:

  • Dunlop is the least expensive Latex you will find due its simplistic process. However, Dunlop is better suited as a support core material, not as a comfort layer material because it’s very dense.
  • Synthetic Talalay is step up in price compared to Dunlop. Unlike Dunlop, Talalay is available in a variety of softness levels which makes it perfect for comfort layer materials. It can be used as a support core material but not quite as often as Dunlop. Talalay is also used as a “Swappable” option for mattresses that have exchanging tops (mattresses with zippers).
  • Blended Talalay will be more expensive than Dunlop or Synthetic Talalay but cheaper than 100% Natural Talalay. It is considered the Best Value for purchasing a Latex mattress. Blended provides the benefits of both Natural and Synthetic Latex.
  • Organic/Natural Talalay will be the most expensive Latex you can purchase, but for the Eco-minded customers, the increase in cost is outweighed by the health and/or environmental benefits. Keep in mind, Organic and Natural Talalay return the same end product, we personally see no difference in choosing one over the other.

Shopping on the internet will generally get you the better deal, primarily because it’s easier to search all the competitors. If you do opt to purchase over the internet, be sure the company provides a guarantee and warranty.

Picking the Correct Firmness

Latex Mattresses are available in a variety of firmnesses to fit your sleeping habits, whether you’re a back, side, stomach sleeper or a combination of them. The best way to determine the correct firmness is to identify these 3 important factors:

  • Sleeping position(s)
    Are you a side, back, or stomach sleeper? Maybe a combination?
  • Weight
    Your weight is a huge factor on how firm your mattress needs to be. If the mattress is not firm enough, it may result in improper alignment.
  • Comfort preference
    This can be the most important factor to consider. Regardless of what studies show or what the majority enjoy, you know yourself better than anyone.

If you cannot figure this out by using our charts, feel free to contact us. We’re very experienced and can give you our best recommendation.

What is ILD?
ILD means Indentation Load Deflection, it is defined by using a machine which presses down on the latex (percentage vs height). The more it’s pressed, the lower the ILD, the softer the latex. The general rule of thumb is, the higher the ILD, the more firm the latex will be. Below is a helpful ILD chart for selecting firmness.

Latex Firmness Chart

Wrapping it up…

The buying cycle for a mattress is typically 5-10 years, so the choice to buy a mattress does not come very often. It is important that you choose the correct comfort that fits your sleep personality, whether it’s Memory Foam, Traditional, or Latex. In the event you are not comfortable with one of our Latex Beds, we offer our 120 Day Comfort Guarantee. Send it back and we’ll exchange it.

We hope this guide has helped you become more knowledgeable about Latex and what it offers. We wish to eliminate your confusion and make buying a Latex Mattress simple and fun.