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Don’t worry, this isn’t one of those articles that gives you eight completely different mattress options, leaving you more confused than when you arrived. I think you’ll finish this guide feeling fairly confident that the mattress I suggest is the best on the market.
So what exactly should a great mattress accomplish?
A perfect mattress should, in theory, accomplish the following things:
- Promote restful sleep by being comfortable and pressure relieving
- Offer customization options to find your Goldilocks level of support both before and after purchase
- Made of a breathable material that doesn’t impede natural body temperature regulation
- Remains uniformly supportive over a long period of time
- Returns energy to the body during movement to limit frustration and muscular heat output
- Made of non-toxic materials that won’t off-gas into the home
I think we can all agree that this all sounds ideal, so what achieves this?
Is Latex Better Than Memory Foam?
First, let’s examine why latex is a better choice than memory foam.
Latex Has Better Rebound and Pressure Relief
While memory foam is well known for its pressure-relief properties, a soft Talalay layer is equally good at this. The advantage of Talalay is its ability to rebound extremely quickly, and its consistent pressure relief over time. Meaning, it won’t sink lower over time or change its properties much with temperature.
Latex Doesn’t Get as Hot as Memory Foam
The production process for Talalay latex creates a resilient open-cell structure with thousands of tiny intersecting bubbles in the structure of the latex. This results in a very breathable structure capable of supporting natural body temperature regulation much better than memory foam.
While some synthetic foams attempt to replicate this feature, they all fall short of what Talalay latex accomplishes. They also become far more susceptible to degradation as they open the cell structure of the foam.
Latex Lasts Much Longer than Memory Foam
Latex is well known for its durability, and you can be sure that the structure of your latex will remain consistent over many years; as opposed to memory foam, which is well known for its inability to remain consistent over time.
Latex Mattresses can be Replaced for Cheaper
Another benefit of most latex mattresses is the layered design, meaning that years down the road if/when your comfort layer begins to degrade, you can easily replace it, rather than the whole mattress.
Latex Doesn’t Off-Gas Like Memory Foam
Any synthetic foam-based mattress will be off-gassing toxic chemicals into your home for many years, with the bulk of the off-gassing occurring in the first month or so. I would certainly avoid using any foam for your children’s beds. [R]
So we know latex beats memory foam right? The only con really is that it’s heavier and costs more.
Is Latex Better than Springs?
When it comes to the battle between innerspring support cores vs latex, there are several things to consider.
Latex Mattresses are Customizable
Many latex mattresses have the advantage of aftermarket customization. Both before and after you receive your mattress, you can swap layers out to dial in that perfect level of support. Springs simply cannot achieve this ability of personalization post-sale.
Latex Mattresses Fit Adjustable Bed Frames Better
While springs and latex are both very resilient and bouncy, latex has the advantage here due to its ability to mold to adjustable bed frames much better.
I’m a huge fan of sleeping in the zero-gravity position, which I talk a lot about in this article. And latex just works so much better for this.
Talalay vs Dunlop Latex: Which is Best?
So, when it comes to latex you have two choices, Talalay or Dunlop.
Dunlop is the cheaper, older method for producing latex. Liquid rubber is poured into a mold and left to harden, it’s pretty much that simple.
While Talalay is the newer more advanced way to make latex. The mold is vacuum sealed and flash frozen, resulting in a more consistent density.
Talalay is superior to Dunlop for a number of reasons:
- It provides better airflow and breathability. See video example 1 and example 2. (volume warning on #2)
- It has better elasticity, giving the material better durability as well as energy return.
- Because of the production process, Talalay cores offer much better density consistency than Dunlop.
The Best Latex Mattress on the Market
After an extensive amount of research comparing dozens of companies, I believe FloBeds offers the best all-Talalay latex mattresses on the market.
Their vZone option is the king of personalization when it comes to mattresses. On top of that, they have a layer recommendation calculator based on your body weight to take the guessing out of layer ILD selection.
They also offer a unique, convoluted top comfort layer that tends to produce more effective pressure relief than a flat layer will.
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How to Take Care of Your Latex Mattress
Once you have spent some of your savings on a decent mattress, you might want to make sure you’re keeping it in good shape.
FloBed mattresses have removable covers made of stretch-knit cotton and wool batting.
- Every 6 months or so, vacuum the cover, pat it off outside and allow it to sit in the sun for a couple of hours.
- You can spot-clean the cover with cold water and mild soap if desired and line dry. Don’t machine wash it or put it in the dryer.
- While the cover is off, don’t allow direct sunlight to shine on the exposed latex. If sun exposure is unavoidable, place some sheets over the latex until the cover can be put back on.
- Your latex layers do not need to be flipped or rotated, so no worries there.
It should be mentioned that the mattress options presented in this article are made from 100% latex, and no fillers or synthetics are used in their production, as is sometimes the case with cheaper Talalay.