In its simplest form, a latex foam mattress is one that has been manufactured using the collected and processed sap of a rubber tree as its internals, instead of using traditional bedding technology like air or springs. They are widely considered to be the best mattress for back pain, most durable, natural and healthy. They are also popular for those with allergies because the hypoallergenic organic material makes them the healthiest and most eco friendly mattress on the market.
There are three different types which are used to populate a mattresses inner core. On the outset each type has similar characteristics such as the springy feel and firmness, but differ greatly in price, overall quality and longevity:
The organic latex mattress is basically made of processed tree sap, or serum, which is a sticky milky fluid found in the rubber tree. It is collected by a process called “tapping” which means incisions are made into the bark of the tree, the fluid then flows out and is collected ready to be refined using a chosen processing method. It is rare to find a 100% natural latex mattress for sale in retail outlets and showrooms because they are relatively expensive compared to other types due to the cost involved in extraction and manufacturing. If you’re after a natural latex mattress the best place to look is online as there will be much more choice and at much cheaper prices.
Synthetic means it’s a man made material, which is made by polymerizing a monomer such as styrene that has been emulsified with surfactants. The result is a material that behaves in a similar way to the organic material mentioned above. The synthetic option is widely available and much cheaper than the natural alternative but has a shorter durability and is not as firm.
Blended is literally a mixture of organic and synthetic; usually 80% synthetic and 20% organic, however the mixture could also be a 50% equal mix, but to cut costs, most commonly the synthetic part makes up the majority. Beware of some manufacturers who claim to be selling a blended latex foam mattress but don’t quote the percentage of natural content. The blended type is common, relatively cheap, and offers a good balance of the two aforementioned types in terms of build quality, durability and value for money.
There are three main categories or types; each has its own unique design and structure and so performs differently to its peers. Below we identify and discuss each one:
This literally means the whole mattress from top to bottom and edge to edge is made of latex, whether it be 100% natural, blended or synthetic, dunlop or talalay; there could be one or more layers, but the trait is that there are no other layers (apart from the flame retardant cover). Unfortunately these are usually less common in the marketplace and more expensive. On the positive side they provide good motion isolation and have no off-gassing issues. They also provide exceptional orthopedic support which also makes them the undisputed best mattress for back pain relief.
As the name would suggest this type is a multiple layered design which has a thinner top layer of latex over a thicker foam base which is usually visco memory foam. These are slightly more available than the above but depending on the thickness of each layer would determine the overall price you pay. They are cheaper than an all-latex mattress, but are still great for joint pain or reducing back problems, and provide good motion isolation.
Here you’ll find the opposite of the above, which is a thinner visco memory foam top layer over a thicker latex base. In a multiple layered design it’s also commonly seen to be inserted in-between the foam top and a foam base platform, if so this layer could be as little as 2 inches thick.