June 9, 2014
Disclosure: This site receives a payment from Amazon, Naturepedic, Spindle, or Zenhaven when you purchase a product using any links to those companies in this article.
One of the better materials being used in mattresses (and pillows and mattress toppers) is latex. Latex started to be come a big part of mattresses about a decade ago and many higher-end mattresses will use at least a layer of latex. Other mattresses will have latex as its primary ingredient. Here we will take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of latex to help you decide whether a latex mattress is right for you.
As always, the two most important features of a mattress are comfort and support. For an in-depth look at how to check for comfort and support, check out my mattress buying guide, particularly part one. With that out of the way, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of latex.
Pros of latex
- Durable. Latex is very durable. It is excellent at resisting body impressions and tends to always spring back to its original state
- Supportive. Latex contours to the shape of your body while remaining very “buoyant,” keeping you floating on top of it rather than sinking too far into it
- Temperature neutral. Latex does not easily change its temperature (in scientific terms, it has a high specific heat; it takes a lot of energy to increase the temperature each degree). This means it does not sleep hot or cold, and the firmness is not affected by room or body temperature. This leads to less tossing and turning to try to find a cooler spot on the bed.
- Hypoallergenic. While every mattress still needs a mattress protector to help protect against allergies, latex is naturally hypoallergenic, which adds another layer of protection against allergens.
Cons of latex
- Price. Latex is one of the more expensive materials to put in a mattress, and therefore latex mattresses tend to be the most expensive ones out there. If you find an inexpensive latex mattress, be very wary. They either mixed the latex with more “binder” to dilute the actual latex, or they just use a thin layer of latex on top of polyurethane foam. Real latex will cost you
- Pressure. While latex can be decent at relieving pressure, it is not as pressure relieving as some other alternatives, like memory foam. This depends in part on the type of latex being used (dunlop tends to be harder, talalay can be soft or firm). When trying a latex mattress, be mindful of the pressure on your shoulders and hips. When trying a latex pillow, make sure you don’t feel too much pressure on your head.
- Motion transfer. Once again, latex is decent at separating motion from one side of the bed to the other, but it is not as good as memory foam in this regard. Latex has a “bouncy” feel and some of that bounce can disturb your partner if you’re not careful.
Where to buy latex mattresses online
Latex mattresses are becoming less common in retail stores, but you can still find some online.
My favorite option is from Spindle Mattress. This all-natural latex mattress is about half the price natural latex mattresses elsewhere, and they have a 365 day comfort guarantee where they’ll replace layers in the mattress for free if you’re not comfortable. (And if they can’t make you comfortable, they will even refund your money). Here is my Spindle review.
Another good option is consider the Zenhaven. It’s more expensive than the Spindle, but there are a few extra “bells and whistles” that go along with it.
If you’d prefer an all-organic latex mattress, with all of the certifications to prove it, the Naturepedic Trilux is for you. It’s even more expensive still, but it’s 100% organic, and not merely “natural.” That’s an important distinction to some. (Here is my Naturepedic review)
Some latex accessories to consider
If you’re interested in latex bedding, but don’t want a new mattress right now, here are some accessories to consider.
If your mattress causes a little too much pressure, or is a little too hard, or sleeps too hot on the surface, you can add a latex topper to the mattress. Here is a two inch latex topper on Amazon that gets great reviews (though I haven’t tried it personally).
If you’re tired of flipping your pillow over to the “cool” side several times during the night, or if you’re tired of buying new cheap Walmart pillows every 6 months, or if you have a dust mite allergy, consider getting a latex pillow. They tend to be fairly “springy,” but they keep a neutral temperature all night and are extremely durable. I’ve had a latex pillow since 2008, and it’s in nearly the exact same condition it was when I first purchased it. If you want to try a latex pillow, here is one on Amazon. It gets great reviews, but make sure you buy the correct version. Under “color,” you can choose high loft, low loft, firm, or plush. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re a side sleeper, get the high loft; back or stomach sleepers should get the low loft. If you have a soft mattress or like soft pillows, get the soft version. If you have a hard mattress, or like firm pillows, get the firm version.
Latex is a great material in mattresses. It adds longevity, support, and temperature neutrality to any mattress it’s in. A lot of latex’s drawbacks can be mitigated by using other materials in the mattress, such as memory foam. But, the key is still to try out the mattress, check for proper support, and check for comfort.
Just because a mattress has a lot of latex in it, or a blend of latex and memory foam, it doesn’t mean that it’s the right mattress for you. To see if you like latex, it might be worthwhile to get a latex pillow and see how that works out for you, and if you like it, you can be more confident in getting a latex mattress.
Thank you for reading. If this guide helped you, please share it with your friends and family.