As we already know, most of the mattress companies use memory foam or latex as their base construction material, and they both have their perks. It is a familiar match-up in the mattress industry to compare memory foam and latex
Memory foam mattresses are good for relieving pressure and providing additional comfort for people who like to sink into their a . It is not eco-friendly though and is slowly losing some popularity to latex mattresses. It has slower response time, but this equates to better contouring of the body, which is a plus in terms of added support. It is often considered good choice for people with back pain.
Latex mattresses, on the other hand, are good for its high durability, and use of natural products. It tends to be slightly more firm and is more responsive. Latex can minimize off-gassing and reduce odor retention to a minimum. Press hard and release on a memory foam mattress and you will see it springs back rather slowly whereas latex mattresses are springier and get back their shape pretty quick.
For added bounce, greater elasticity and responsiveness, the latex mattresses is probably preferable for an active sleeper. It is also great for sex. Most customers add that the added element of responsive bounce makes for intensified coital activities, but that is very much dependent on yourself, now isn’t it?
Latex Mattress Vs Memory Foam Mattress User Data
Since there were many latex and memory foam mattresses, we were able to go in and research user opinions and sample some graphs on the important points about these types mattresses. The samples are mostly taken from 3rd party forums, but also from retail sites like Amazon and then we also use opinions from our own forum. We feel the following graphs are close representations of the truth.
Memory Foam mattresses, in general, have superior conforming abilities compared to other mattress types. Conforming ability is the ability of the mattress to conform or adjust to the shape of the body, eliminating gaps. Weight distribution is optimal, and good for people who have lower back strains. On the negative side, a good conforming mattress lets you sink a little into the mattress and can cause some heat retention.
A mattress that offers good motion isolation will not cause motion ripples to be transferred over a larger surface area. If you are a heavy person and you toss and turn a lot, mattresses with low motion isolation will not cause much disturbance to the person sleeping next to you. On the flip side, mattresses with good motion isolation limits bounce, and this can be good or bad depending on the person's preference.
Generally mattresses that can provide better relief have better conforming abilities and sag less. This is also a little dependent on the firmness of the mattress and how heavy the sleeper is. A heavy sleeper with back pains would usually be well advised to opt for firm mattresses whereas an average person might prefer the medium-firm option.
Initial Off Gassing
Off-gassing is the gas or musty order that can be released by new mattresses during the first week. Off-gassing is considered harmless although rarely people report irritation and headaches. Latex has the best performance in this criteria.
As mattresses age, they tend to lose some of their shape and resilience that could result in sagging, thereby causing discomfort. Memory foams in general sag less than other types of mattresses, but Latex mattresses really shine here.
Latex mattresses tend to last longer than memory foam mattresses or other types of mattresses as they sag and soften less and are made using durable materials. Good Latex and memory foam mattresses can be expected to last 6-8 years in good condition and even longer.
Best Latex Mattresses (Our Picks)
Latex is a very good sleeping surface and offers a lot of the benefits of memory foam mattress without its drawbacks. Below are some of our favorite latex mattresses
#1 ZenHaven Mattress
You can't argue with 10" of the finest natural Talalay latex! The mattress is equipped with “zoned comfort layers", which works in giving extra support where you need it the most. This somewhat makes it also suitable for people with back issues. It also has 2 firmness levels in the same mattress which can be activated by simply slipping the mattress. Both those features are pretty unique. For a natural latex mattress and for what it offers, we think it is worth the money.
#2 PlushBeds Mattress
PlushBeds uses a combination of 3" Talalay latex + 6" APRICO Organic latex. It's a good mattress company offering plenty of options with heights ranging from 9″- 13″. With very good comfort, support, bounce, and cooling, it is hard to look past this 100% latex mattress.
#3 SleepOnLatex Mattress
Value for money latex mattress with the 2" natural Dunlop latex + 6" natural Dunlop latex wrapped in organic cotton. Slightly less bounce but good motion transfer. Offers superb response and good cooling.
Best Memory Foam Mattresses (Our Picks)
There are plenty of memory foam mattresses available and we don't intend to proclaim that the picks we mention below are the absolute best for everyone, but for us andmakea lot of the members in our community, the 3 memory foam mattresses listed here served well and received positive comments.
Good memory foam mattresses must not sleep hot, should have controlled or minimal motion transfer and should have optimal density. There should also be a favorable comfort and support tradeoff.
#1 Loom and Leaf Mattress
The Loom and Leaf mattress from Saatva is not just in our opinion the best memory foam mattress, but is also the top mattress overall, and yet we also consider it great value for money at $1099. It uses natural materials, has moderate hug/contour and gives a balanced feel with its quilted cover. It has the specs of the much more expensive Tempur-pedic, but at a much much lesser price.
#2 Bear Mattress
The Bear mattress is a new entrant that has impressed some of our senior members in the community forumin oneand we decided to give this a closer look. It is a 10″ mattress built from 3 different layers.(6.5" high density support foam + 2.5" responsive memory foam + 1" graphite cell memory foam). What immediately stood out is that it is perhaps one of the best memory foam mattresses in terms of sleeping cool, credit to its graphite gel memory foam and special celliant cover, all of which results in better airflow than most other mattresses. It comes in only one firmness level, which is the medium-firm variant. Fan favorite here!
#3 Novosbed Mattress
This mattress has that traditional memory foam feel and offers very good hug and contour. Novosbed offers plenty of levels of firmness via their Comfort Kit. It is also a very good mattress for those with back pains as it provides good pressure relief. Easily makes it as one of our favorite memory foam mattresses.
Latex Mattress Analysis
Authentic latex foam is made from the sap of Hevea-Brasilenis tree (otherwise known as the common rubber tree) This extraction of liquid is similar to the extraction of maple from maple trees! Indeed, an interesting sight. Following the extraction is a harvesting process where excess water is removed through a thickening process, after which the product is shipped to companies that manufacture this latex.
The latex that is used in mattresses is raw, and has to be mixed with air before transforming into its solid state. This is done to provide a springy characteristic to the foam. Adding this latex into foam mattresses elevates the level of bounce, which is a unique characteristic of latex, and has been adopted by many mattress companies.
Natural Latex vs Synthetic Latex
Natural latex is the purest kind of latex, without any fabrication and uses the raw latex that is extracted from the rubber trees. It is highly supportive in nature, yet has a great level of bounce which calls for higher responsiveness in the mattress.
The synthetic latex is made from a blend of the natural tree sap along with a rubber polymer (which is man-made), hence a blend between natural and not-so-natural. One of the major advantages of 100% natural latex is the minimal amount of odor produced and an overall healthy use of materials.
If you’re one of them buyers who needs a mattress that is made completely from natural products, as healthy as they come, then a certified natural latex mattress would be the way to go for you. However, with regard to other aspects, such as feel, longevity and performance, all three of the latex types have similar results. Natural Latex mattresses are generally more expensive.
Types of Latex Foam
There are two main types of Latex foam that's widely used in mattresses, namely Dunlop and Talalay. Both these latex processes provide foams that extend just about the same amount of satisfaction but show different characteristics. Even though Dunlop was the first type to come into the market, Talalay has been steadily making its way up the ladder of success, gaining wide popularity over the years. Talay is the newer process, and the latex produced by this process is slightly softer with more uniform texture and is the more expensive one to manufacture.
Obtained by continuously pouring latex into a mold up to its mouth, rendering in a complete, finished piece of latex. This process permits the settling of material at the bottom at a good pace, usually resulting in one side being firmer than the other side. It is thoroughly durable and comes with a level of bounce that people have often found just right. A possible negative of Dunlop Latex is that it may develop consistency issues along the way, during the process of settling of materials when the latex is first poured into the mold. This is why the first process of pouring itself is considered very important in Dunlop latex.
Talay latex involves the use of raw liquid latex mixed with additives and curing agents and beaten and whipped into a frothy mixture before injecting into a latex mold.After this, any trapped air is extracted via a vaccum and the foamed liquid is layered throughout the mold to produce an open-celled structure that is consistent. Finally, to lock the cell structure and prevent any settling, the latex is flash frozen and Co2 is introduced the vulcanize and cure the latex.
Memory Foam Mattress Analysis
The introduction of memory foam was in the year of 1970 by NASA but only made an appearance in the mattress world in the late 1990s, where it immediately gained popularity for its ideal properties. Its biggest win was its property of being polar opposite to the classic innerspring and the exaggerated bounce of the springs.
This brought to the market a wider range of options, making it widely popular and immediately became an important component in many mattresses. Memory foam has incredible properties of providing deep compression support, body contouring effects and excellent pressure relief.
A memory foam mattress also has an outer layer of thick polyfoam which is meant to provide support. This component essentially makes for the foundation and the memory foam is primarily in the top layers called “comfort layers” (as opposed to the base layers considered the support layers).
There are many kinds of memory foam that are used in the top layers of polyfoam (more rigid, less viscoelastic). An important property that it must contain is 'viscoelasticity'. This property is of high importance, especially in the top layers, so as to promote efficient airflow and exchange of gases.
Further, it has a recognizable feel and pressure results in a deeper compression, which allows for the contouring effect and overall hug provided. Memory foam is not very responsive in nature, and takes a few seconds before it responds (duration of which depends on the specific type of foam).
This slower response is a valuable attribute in some ways, and the contouring effect is why many customers even choose memory foams to begin with. Its additional property of being viscoelastic help's provide the right amount of contour along the natural curvature of your body. This further leads to the avoidance of unnecessary pressure points and provides optimal support to the body. To put it simply, it lulls and cradles the sleeper in a unique way that other innerspring or latex mattress cannot.
Heat retention could be an issue. Earliest versions of memory foam struggled with the formation of hotspots and heat retention. This, however, has changed in the past 25-30 years, wherein memory foam technology has made great strides to minimize these issues.
What makes for the best memory foam
Now that you’ve gotten an overview of the characteristics of memory foam, let’s take a peek at some of the technical aspects that make memory foam better or worse, and mind you - this is subjective.
A memory foam’s thickness plays an important role. Memory foam mattress is able to provide its best performance when its thickness is more than 3” or more in its comfort layer. Heavy people will generally prefer overall mattress thickness(including support layers) between 9" to 12" whereas lighter people will be happier with 8" to 10" overall thickness. In most scenarios, different firm materials are layered together so as to provide the ideal support factor and comfort level.
Additionally, having more than 3” of thickness extends a smooth transition into the support layers, without creating an awkward fall into it. If the composition of the comfort layer is less than 4” in thickness, heavier sleepers could likely experience to dip into the support layers, encountering the “support wall” at the bottom layer which is relatively hard.
Mattress Thickness Large Person Small Person 6" Poor Fair 8" Fair to Poor Good 9" Fair Good 10" Good Good to Fair 12" Good Fair 13" Good Fair to Poor
The measure of density is essentially its weight. In order words, it is the amount of actual foam material built into the layer. Most people confuse density with thickness; this is a common misconception.
However, density does have a large effect on the longevity of the mattress, in that the higher the density, the longer it is likely to survive potential wear and tear. While that is an advantage, it does come at a price. The high the density, the more probability that the sleeper will have a warmer surface to sleep on.
The ideal PCF (pounds per cubic foot) for a memory foam mattress lies between a 3.0 and 5.0 PCF. Mattresses above 5.0 tend to sleep relatively warm. Mattresses within the range of 3.0-5.0 PCF, however, provide greater longevity and durability with just the right amount of density so as to prevent potential heat retention issues.
Different types of memory foam
There are many different types of memory foam in the mattress manufacturing industry. Companies, in particular, have been coming up with many innovative blends to maximize the efficiency and make the foams more responsive in nature and sleep cooler.
To facilitate this, memory foam has made with different types of materials so as to make it more responsive and cooler. In the following section you will find some important derivations of memory foam, ie, components included within it, to increase overall efficiency. On a side note, it is interesting that only a handful of the different types of memory foams are actually being incorporated into the mattresses sold.
The standard/traditional memory foam
Memory foam is usually envisioned with a classic feel or a traditional type of memory foam that extends that deep compression support that many adults prefer (and particularly beneficial for the heavier sleepers), and a more discrete contouring effect around your body. The traditional memory foam is also composed of a higher density. As we saw in the previous section, the density of memory foam is measured in PCF, or pounds per cubic foot. Most traditional memory foams have a density ranging from 4.-7.0 PCF which can provide that classic feel that memory foam extends. Further, since the density is relatively high, the longevity is almost guaranteed to be longer.
Open-cell memory foam
Traditional memory foam is more of a closed-cell production, wherein the density is higher (as the molecules are closely packed), and leaving less room for air circulation to occur. This is not the case in open-cell memory foams that extends a similar feeling to the traditional memory foam but is different in its manufacturing process, wherein tiny air pockets are injected directly into the foam. This causes ample room for airflow to occur, and a faster response time as a whole.
Gel memory foam
Gel memory foam or gel-infused memory foam mattresses are getting increasingly popular. This is because of the advancement in performance its use has caused. This gel is incorporated within the memory foam in various ways of which we will discuss in short:
The first type of incorporation includes making tiny beads of gel which are then dispersed evenly into the foam during the process of fabrication. If required, the gel can also be added again to the foam in its liquid state during its manufacture. To ensure the cohesive spread of the gel throughout the foam, the gel has to be infused during the early stages of fabrication
The liquid integration of gel in our opinion is somewhat better, in terms of performance. The gel material is better introduced and dispersed into the mattress. Some companies make use of certain gel pads that promote optimal cooling. The gel’s cooling effect is found within its very composition, which is designed to absorb heat energy, and then disperse it, reducing the chances of hot spots being created.