How to Choose the Best Latex Mattress

How do you find the best latex mattress? Is there such a thing, or is it once again a matter of personal comfort and preference?

It’s really both. While the best latex mattress for you might be different than for your friend or relative because of firmness and comfort preferences, there are still some objective standards in evaluating what is truly the best choice. Think in terms of quality, durability, and all the characteristics that make latex mattresses stand out to begin with.

In other words, there are latex mattresses that definitely can’t be described as up to standard, yet they are being sold in big-box retail stores and online as the real thing.
Latex mattresses have had a jump in popularity recently, and mattress companies have definitely jumped on the bandwagon so they can cash in on this growing demand.

But the latex mattress models out there are NOT all alike, and many companies seem be to sneaking in some cost-cutting techniques without telling the consumers about them. So it’s possible that what you think you’re getting is not really what you’re getting. That’s why it pays to do your homework and be a smart shopper.

What Does the Best Latex Mattress Have that The Others Don’t?

Here are some features to look for when shopping for the best latex mattress:

  • A high percentage of natural (rubber-tree) latex throughout the mattress, including the core and the layers stacked over it — a 65-35 ratio is standard.
  • A thick inner core made of extra firm latex to offer support and durability — 6 to 8 inches in height is best
  • Good-quality fabrics that allow the natural ventilating properties of latex to work properly
  • A long warranty, at least 20 years
  • No “poly foam” anywhere in the mattress (see discussion below)
  • No visco or memory foam padding (unless you’re really sure you need it)
  • Good choice of firmness levels, but avoid the very softest — ultra plush or Euro top (unless are certain from experience that these soft sinky layers agree with you)

Why You Need to Avoid Poly Foam If You’re Looking for the Best Latex Mattress

Polyurethane foam (“poly foam”) is sometimes combined with latex for cost-saving reasons. But poly foam is a cheap substitute for latex that does not hold up. It does not have the unique cellular structure of latex that provide the main advantages of having latex in the first place. Poly foam is hotter, does not breathe, and does not have the resistance to dust mites, mold and other organisms that latex does. In addition, it is a 100 percent synthetic petroleum-based product.

If you are looking for a cheap foam mattress, poly foam is what you’ll be getting. It’s not all bad. It can be a comfortable sleeping surface for many people at a great price. IKEA and other stores offer some poly foam mattresses for less than $300 that are quite respectable.

But it just can’t match latex no matter how nicely it’s presented.
Combining the two materials is what doesn’t make sense. Purity is a main ingredient of the best latex mattress. So if you see a mattress advertised as “latex,” don’t take it at face value. Ask what the core is made from. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a straight answer, but keep asking. Even Sealy and Serta offer a poly core mattress, so a hot name brand is no guarantee.

And of course under no circumstance accept a latex mattress that has poly foam as a padding layer! That eliminates the advantage of buying latex to begin with.

Why Not Memory Foam?

The best latex mattress, with all the right stuff, might offer memory or visco foam as a padding option. But latex and visco really don’t go together. They respond differently to pressure, temperature and have different types of resiliency. If you really want a memory foam topper on your latex mattress, it’s best to buy one separately. Otherwise it’s best to get used to the feel of real latex. Only then can you determine if it’s your ideal mattress or whether you’d be happier on memory foam, or something else.

There are more technical details you must know to choose a truly high-quality latex mattress. To get started, see the article on how to choose best mattresses.

2 Responses to “How to Choose the Best Latex Mattress”

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  1. Latex mattress are always one of the great mattresses one can ever have 🙂 Our first mattress after marriage was, unfortunately, a scam. The manufacturers claimed it to be organic, but it wasn’t. Though we bought a new one for $2500, and it is extremely comfortable

  2. Carol Sterley says:

    I have a Simmons Natural Care mattress. After trying Sleep Number 3 times and other innerspring beds (awful), we bought this Simmons. I think it is the best bed I have ever slept on. I would give it 5 stars!

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