Mattress Guides

What is Latex Density?

Learn how latex density can make or break mattress quality.

By Alex Reale

Different types of latex mattresses have become very popular sleep options over the years due to their cooling abilities, high durability, organic composition, hypoallergenic properties, and overall higher level of quality. There are many factors that contribute to latex mattresses’ excellent reputation, but one of the most important aspects is their density.

Latex density has a hand in every other mattress benefit. Did you know that density can impact a mattress’s temperature, durability, and performance? How exactly does it do this? Read on to find out.

How is Latex Density Measured?

Density, in general, measures weight per unit of volume. In most materials, such as the ones you may find in natural or synthetic latex beds, this density is expressed as pounds per cubic foot (PCF). This measurement is determined by calculating the weight of one cubic foot of material. That means that a latex mattress that is 100 pounds and measures 20 cubic feet will have a density of approximately 5 PCF.

Fortunately, you may not need to do this calculation on your own with your mattress. Mattress manufacturers will oftentimes include the density of their latex and foam mattresses on their website, along with the types of materials they use in their construction.

Mattress density can be categorized into three categories: low, medium, and high. Depending on the size and material used, a mattress can end up in any one of these categories.

Material Low Medium High
Polyurethane foam material Under 1.5 PCF 1.5 – 1.7 PCF Above 1.7 PCF
Memory foam material Under 3 PCF 3 – 5 PCF Above 5 PCF
Latex/latex foam material Under 4.3 PCF 4.3 – 5.3 PCF Above 5.3 PCF

How Does Latex Density Affect Mattress Quality?

As mentioned earlier, latex density has an impact on every other aspect of mattress quality, including durability, comfort, pressure relief, responsiveness, cost, and more. 

Cost

Mattresses with a high density rating are generally pricier due to the high cost of the materials used. However, while the mattress may be costly upfront, their long-lasting durability means that you can go years before you need to replace them, so you can end up saving money in the long run.

Durability

A mattress with a higher density is much more durable and likely to withstand years of proper use. Latex mattresses often have very high density, meaning that they can outlast most other mattress materials such as memory foam. You can have peace of mind knowing that your mattress won’t lose its structural integrity for years to come.

Mattress Weight

The higher the density of a mattress, the more it will weigh. At the same time, you need to remember that latex mattresses are generally much heavier than their foam counterparts.

Conforming

A high-density mattress will closely conform to the shape of your body to provide amazing support. Low-density mattresses can cause you to sink into the surface without adequate conforming. No matter what, it’s important to know that latex in general is a moderately conforming mattress material, even at its highest density. 

Pressure Relief

Similar to conforming, high-density mattresses are recognized for their superior pressure relief. If you want to avoid aggravating pressure points, especially as a back or stomach sleeper, it’s recommended that you go with a higher-density latex mattress.

Temperature Regulation

It’s important to find a mattress that won’t cause you to overheat at night. Latex in general is a great temperature-regulating material, but density can have a significant impact on this feature as well. 

High-density latex mattresses can cause body heat to be trapped due to restricted airflow, so a low-density option may be better. Overall, if you want a mattress with ultimate breathability, regardless of density, it’s a good idea to go with a latex model. 

Latex Density and Mattress Firmness

There may be some confusion when it comes to mattress density versus mattress firmness. While these aspects are very similar, they are not the exact same thing.

Mattress density refers to the specific components in the bedding, while firmness is in reference to the overall mattress feel. With mattress density, you’re looking at quantifiable scientific data that is established via calculating dimensions and weight. 

On the other side of the coin, firmness is a subjective component that is typically measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The main difference here is that density is universal while mattress firmness can mean different things to different people.

It’s important to note that mattress density can still have an impact on mattress firmness. Generally, the higher the mattress the density, the more firm it will be. However, mattress materials also have a significant impact on mattress firmness (for example, latex will be less firm than a memory foam mattress, and foam will be less firm than innerspring). 

How to Choose Latex Density

A low-density organic latex mattress will be great for side-sleepers and hot sleepers. A medium-density, medium-firm mattress is great for back sleepers and relatively hot sleepers. A high-density firm mattress is best for back or stomach sleepers, and people who want extra pressure relief and conforming as well as motion isolation out of their bedding.

With so many mattress types and densities to choose from, it can get overwhelming, but if you know exactly what you want, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.