Latex Mattress Review- How To Buy A Pure Latex Mattress Without Getting Scammed... And Who We Recommend As A Dealer.

As the web’s biggest go to source for quality, academic information on many different kinds of mattresses, we get a lot of shoppers studying our reports once they discover how difficult it is to shop for a genuine, pure latex mattress.

Because it is a natural material that contains no polyurethane like most of the popular foam mattresses sold today, it remains one of the most popular options for bedding, especially for folks who are looking for the healthiest mattress they can find. There are dozens of companies selling latex mattresses, but how do you choose the right one? And, why has interest in latex grown so much in the last four or five years? Why would you buy one vs. a conventional mattress like an innerspring, or a memory foam mattress? And which brands are better than others? Ready to buy now? Visit our MBG club page and check out our portfolio of vetted dealers that offer a great selection of bedding options. Stop pulling your hair out and click here to shop now!

What’s All The Hub-Bub About Latex Mattresses?

Read on to discover everything you need to know about latex mattresses, and we’ll arm you with all of the information you need. I’ve seen latex mattresses make a roaring comeback in the last few years, and I mentioned,  I think a lot of it has to do with consumers searching for mattresses that are cleaner and greener, made using safer ingredients that don't contain petroleum base ingredients. It’s also an extraordinary material too, being highly responsive, cradling and soft without that sinking in sensation that memory foam delivers, it's resistant to dust mites, mold and bacteria, and it's very sturdy, not prone to bucketing or depressions. Natural latex, especially, outperforms almost every other kind of foam with regards to durability and lifespan.

The best benefits that a pure, botanically derived mattress can deliver are unique to the material, and you won't get these benefits with any other kind of mattress. Pure latex is naturally anti-microbial, resists dust mites, mold, and mildew, because of the acidity of latex, and the scent, which smells more like baked goods to humans, sends microbes, dust mites, and mold spores running for cover.

Because of its unique cellular structure, latex foam does not compress, ever over long periods of time. It retains its wonderful springy and buoyantly spongy qualities for decades longer than synthetic foams, making it the most durable material available for bedding use. It won't turn yellow, which is a by product of oxidation, and it won't pill or dry out over extended periods of twenty years of more. Ever open a couch cushion and notice the yellow crumbs and the brown edges? That's synthetic polyurethane foam, which, typically after 5-8 years, will slowly begin to oxidize and fall apart. Natural latex does not perform like the petroleum based foams commonly used in bedding today. Check out this video, filmed by Arizona Premium Mattress Company, that shows a fifty year old mattress being cut open. It's almost unbelievable to think that after half a century, the pure latex foam inside is still in perfect condition.

The Astonishing Durability Of Pure Latex Foam (This Is Dunlop Latex) After 50 Years!!

Interestingly, latex beds have in fact, been around since the 50's, and many Americans grew up on Sears latex mattresses, which were carted home by the millions as the baby boomer generation was being born. It can be synthetic, a blend of natural and synthetic or all natural, but in any form, it is bouncy, elastic, stretchy, yielding, and you don't get hot, and you don't have to dig your way out of it.

I’ve seen latex mattresses make a roaring comeback in the last few years, and I think a lot of it has to do with consumers becoming bored with conventional bedding options, and being overwhelmed with too many mattress choices, many of which are made using mystery materials that are cloaked in names like "Dream Foam", "Ultra Foam", or other foggy descriptions that never seem to tell us what it actually is. But mostly, today's consumers are looking for healthier, safer materials to sleep on. Natural Latex is a plant based material that does not off-gas VOC's, since it contains no petroleum based products like most mattresses contain these days. It costs a bit more, but that's the trade-off.

Incredibly, latex beds have in fact, been around since the 60's, and many Americans grew up on Sears latex mattresses (no longer available). They were reasonably priced, lasted forever, and felt great. Latex can be synthetic, a blend of natural and synthetic or all natural, but in any form, it is bouncy, elastic, stretchy, yielding, and you don't get hot, and you don't have to dig your way out of it.

Latex mattresses offer excellent pressure relief, and distributes weight loads laterally, or sideways, rather than straight down. That's what provides the unique, signature floating like sensation you feel with pure latex. It's excellent for sidesleepers, back sleepers, or belly sleepers, because it pushes up against your body rather than permitting it to sink, it doesn't sleep hot, and is the best pressure relieving sleep surface imaginable.

You can buy natural latex or the synthetic variety, and they tend to be indistinguishable, although folks looking the botanically derived variety can find it several places online. A pure, botanically derived latex mattress, or a natural latex mattress, also has many added benefits that petroleum based mattresses do not. Natural latex is anti-microbial, repels dust mites, will not turn yellow and begin to crumble over time like polyurethane foam beds will always do, and will not develop indentations or ruts over time.

Best of all, you won't have to deal with that chemical smell often associated with non-latex mattresses. Years ago, natural latex was expensive, but thanks to new plantations and better technology for processing the liquid latex harvest from the rubber trees, the prices for pure latex mattresses have slowly dropped over the last few years. So why buy a chemical bed, when you can get a safe, clean, eco-friendly mattress that won't make you sick?

While we're talking about hazardous substances used in mattresses,  I would say that the greatest concern when you buy any mattress has to be the use of toxic adhesives, which set very rapidly, rather than drying slowly, because in high volume production operations where you are stamping out hundreds of mattresses a day, efficiency and minimal time invested means more money to the manufacturer. Pure latex mattresses can be laminated using water based adhesives, which do not contain formaldehyde, VOC's, or heavy metals. They take some skill to work with, but when you buy a natural latex mattress, you should buy it with a clean adhesive, as well. 

In the end, I think that latex is really about the most comfortable sleep surface out there -- supportive yet cushy at the same time. It also does not sleep hot, a real problem with many consumers. It is great for side sleepers with painful joints, perfect for back sleepers, since it does not have the wet sand feel of memory foam. It doesn’t mash down like quilted innersprings and other mattresses stuffed with poor quality foam layers or other filler.

Latex has much more of a buoyant, uplifting quality to it than other materials, which keeps you from having to dig your way out of a rut or gulley when you want to turn over on your bed.

For quality of sleep, Natural Latex allows you to effortlessly roll from side to back or side to belly, which prevents disruption of natural sleep patterns. Side sleepers, or people who toss and turn tend to sleep much more deeply in consistent REM sleep, because latex properly supports and distributes weight, relieves pressure points by spreading load horizontally rather than downward like cheap urethane or high density slab foams, increasing pressure and pain.

And, if you buy a pure latex mattress from a smaller, boutique vendor without a lot of overhead, you’re going to get a better bed, because they don’t need to compensate all of the middle men, distributors, and factory reps, who drive mattress prices through the ceiling. The big foam mattress companies also have limited warranties and return policies, too, another red flag.

Latex is made using a very unique process called vulcanization, meaning using steam to rapidly solidify the liquid foam into the wonderful, jiggly solid version. We'll get into the nitty gritty on that below.

 

How To Shop For A Latex Mattress…What To Look For

If you start shopping for a latex mattress, you'll want to know a little bit about foam density to feel a bit more confident when talking to sales people. The unit of measurement which gauges the softness or firmness of natural latex is ILD (Indentation Load Deflection), which is a term that's tossed around a lot, but don't be intimidated by it, as it is the one tool you can use to compare one manufacturer's mattress to another. It basically is the amount of weight it takes to depress a piece of latex one inch when one square foot of weight is placed on it.

Most manufacturers use natural latex ranging from 18-19ILD for a softer feel (especially the top layers), and 26-30ILD, for a firmer feel on the bottom, but often manufacturers use combinations of various layers to create more specific sensations of support. Many times, these ingredients and their combinations are trade secrets with many companies.

Also, many people get concerned about allergies from latex, especially latex. Synthetic latex and natural latex both tend to be hypo-allergenic, and far more people have negative responses to urethane (memory) foams that latex, because of chemical sensitivities rather than allergy issues.

And, there are now companies who are creating mattresses designed to be more price sensitive by offering a hybrid mattress, which will have a section of latex on top as the comfort layer, and a supportive base layer which provides the foundation for the mattress. These are also worth looking at, though, if you can spring for an all latex mattress, since you get more of the good stuff top to bottom.

I’ve seen plenty of latex hybrids out there, and I think that there is a marketplace for Latex Hybrid mattresses if you want to save a little money. You typically get a two inch layer of latex on top of a synthetic layer of foam beneath, often very closely gauged to feel like the bottom layers of a natural latex mattress - not quite the same feel, but I’ve tried some that were pretty close. Just make sure that the underlying foam is one of the cleaner, greener, non-toxic foams like a Certi-Pur recommended foam.

 

Buy a Properly Made Mattress, Not A Bag Full Of Pads That Shift Constantly

Very importantly, I recommend a company that laminates or glues their layers together using a non-toxic adhesive. Many companies employ a scam which is quite deceptive, when selling their latex beds - they sell an unglued mattress which contains several layers that stack one on top of the other, so you can “switch out the layers” to get different feels and combinations. Cheaper to make, cheaper to sell.

It all sounds good, until you get this bag full of layers of latex delivered, stack them inside the accompanying bag, and sleep on it for a few nights. You’ll find yourself unzipping the cover, and constantly restacking and realigning the layers because of shifting during the night.

I suggest buying a finished product. I’ve read a lot of complaints about these kinds of beds, and because latex is highly flexible and stretchy, it only makes sense to buy something that is properly glued together to prevent migration and shifting.

Buy From A Company That Gives You A Decent Trial Period And a rock solid Warranty

Since there are so many choices on the web selling latex mattresses, it all comes down to a few things to consider- but without a doubt, the best choice, usually has something to do with a money back trial. Most companies now offer them, typically 90 or 180 day trial periods. Look for a company that gives you the longest amount of time, and allows you to return the mattress for whatever reason, without questions.

 

 Pure Natural Latex avoids many issues related to the use of poor synthetic substitutes

Natural Latex allows you to effortlessly roll from side to back or side to belly, which prevents disruption of natural sleep patterns. Side sleepers, or people who toss and turn tend to sleep much more deeply in consistent REM sleep, because latex properly supports and distributes weight, relieves pressure points by spreading load horizontally rather than downward like cheap urethane or high density slab foams, increasing pressure and pain.

Harvest from a tree called Hevea brasiliensis, the raw, liquid latex is converted to solid form using a unique technique, called vulcanization, which employs massive Belgian Waffle style machines using steam to rapidly solidify the liquid foam into the jiggly solid version.

 The Dunlop method of Latex processing

The most time tested and standardized technique is the Dunlop method, which yields a more supportive and slightly firmer latex, ideal for bottom layers that provide underlying support. The Dunlop method of solidifying latex has been around for 60 years, and you can find Dunlop mattresses still out there today that are in perfect, factory like condition.

The newest technique, called the Talalay process, is essentially the same general technique, except it includes a flash freeze step which suspends smaller air bubbles in the mold immediately before it is rapidly heated to solidify the latex, resulting in a slightly softer, but equally supportive feel. Ideal for those top comfort layers and provides a softer, cushier, and wonderful velvety finished feel.

Also, many people get concerned about allergies from latex, especially latex. Both synthetic latex and natural latex both tend to be hypo-allergenic, though the pure, natural version is ideal, and because it is typically rinsed with drinkable water and squeezed multiple times after it is manufactured, the small, powder size latex proteins that cause latex allergies are washed away, making it the perfect hypoallergenic sleep surface.

 

Understanding The Difference Between Talalay And Dunlop Latex

Shopping for pure latex mattresses is pretty easy, especially considering there are far fewer options than the mass produced synthetic foam beds which are now flooding the marketplace. You'll find that there are two different "types" of latex. Keep in mind that they are made from exactly the same sources. Liquid latex is tapped from rubber trees, collected and transported to large facilities where the liquid rubber is heated up in what looks like a giant, steam powered Belgian waffle press, where it is vulcanized into a solid. The solid form is the finished product, and retains its jiggly, giving, buoyant, and uplifting characteristics that make it so desirable.

Dunlop latex is the most tried an true method of making latex cores, or the rectangular blocks that are cut into various sizes. It is converted straight from liquid to solid, rinsed, squeezed, and then sent off for production. Talalay latex starts out the same way, but the ovens are equipped with a flash freeze apparatus that immediately solidifies the latex after it has been vulcanized by steam into its solid form. This allows for greater control over the bubble size that forms in the Talalay material, thus allowing the manufacturer to better control the densities and formulation. That is why Talalay makes a better top layer, or direct body contact layer, since it can be of varying precisely controlled densities. Dunlop latex, because it is the battlefield tested variant of natural latex (as shown in the above video) make an ideal base layer to the perfect latex mattress. 

Also, there are now companies who are creating mattresses designed to be more price sensitive by offering a hybrid mattress, which will have a section of latex on top as the comfort layer, and a supportive base layer which provides the foundation for the mattress. These are also worth looking at, though, if you can spring for an all latex mattress, since you get more of the good stuff top to bottom. 

 Liquid Latex Being Hand Collected From The Rubber Tree, Hevea brasiliensis

Liquid Latex Being Hand Collected From The Rubber Tree, Hevea brasiliensis

Buy From A Company That Gives You A Decent Trial Period And Warranty

Since there are so many choices on the web selling latex mattresses, it all comes down to a few things to consider- but without a doubt, the best choice, usually has something to do with a money back trial. Most companies now offer them, typically 90 or 180 day trial periods. Look for a company that gives you the longest amount of time, and allows you to return the mattress for whatever reason, without questions.

Typically, there may be a small return fee, of $50 -100, which is fair, since the retailer has to pay someone to come to your house and pick up your mattress.To sum it all up, here’s a quick bullet point list that will help you quickly determine what to look for to help you get the best deal on a pure, plant based, all natural latex mattress:

  • Make sure you are offered a decent return guarantee, at least 90 days.
  • Get a latex mattress with a breathable outer cover, like cotton or bamboo.
  • Buy a latex mattress that uses non VOC adhesives to avoid fumes and toxins.
  • Get a respectable warranty, I’d say at least 15 years, with 5 years minimum free replacement if the mattress fails in any way.
  • Consider sites that offer true third party reviews that link to outside sources.
  • Buy from a site that is at least 10 years old- many sites go out of business in 2-3 years, and then you are stuck with a warranty that is useless.
  • Preferably, buy a pure latex mattress with a Dunlop base layer (so it'll last 50 years!) and a Talalay latex top layer or layers.
  • Buy a latex mattress that is top to bottom latex with no synthetic foam base, to insure you get the maximum benefit all the way down, and don’t bottom into something that will break down over short periods of time.
  • If you do consider a Hybrid, made using a combination of latex and synthetic foam, make sure the warranty covers it for 10 years or more to protect you against the failure of any non-natural components.

Most importantly, find a company that has strong BBB ratings, preferably an A rating, with good third party reviews. If you have chemical sensitivities, allergies, or are prone to get headaches caused by fragrances or odors, a natural latex mattress, top to bottom, might be your best choice. Migraine sufferers also tend to do very well on a latex mattress.