Enjoying a good night’s sleep mainly depends on the type of bed you use, and latex mattresses are undoubtedly the top-notch choice then and now. Latex has been around since the 1920s, and the Dunlop process was introduced in 1926, while the Talalay latex foam processing followed several years after. Latex foam mattresses are one of the most established and trusted beds and highly preferred due to their durable, long lasting, tried and true features. That being said, it’s vital to do proper research to choose the best latex mattress for your needs.
Top 10 Rated Latex Mattresses of 2017
6 things to keep in mind while shopping for latex beds
Latex Mattress and its Advantages
Latex mattresses are made from materials collected from rubber tree sap, processed, and used as construction content instead of the conventional bedding technologies such as springs and air. Latex is highly recommended and popular foam of choice and below mentioned advantages, are sure bet to secure a best sleep and rest.
Pain Relief: One of the many advantages of latex foam is its responsiveness that ensures pain relief and better back support. The ability of latex to provide back support and alleviation from pressure pain is through determining how latex responds to pressure. Use a weight that is going to act as a scaled down version of the human body and represent parts like a hip or shoulder or other pressure points and see how the foam reacts. When the weights are taken off, they will show the response rates of different foams. Compared to memory foam, latex immediately goes back to its original form while it takes time for memory foam to return to its flat surface from the indented form due to the pressure of the weight.
Hypoallergenic: Latex is made up of natural materials, the crème de la crème of mattress foams and one of the most highly recommended features is its eco-friendly content, ensuring healthy and safe use even for those that have sensitive skin or may have adverse respiratory reactions and allergy. Natural latex is known for its safe and natural contents that are derived from the sap or a rubber tree, and the manufacturer of this product does not include any chemicals or additives.
Minimal Heat Retention and Off-Gassing: The best latex foam mattresses are designed to provide a cool and comfortable sleep with their ability to block heat retention; thus body heat is not absorbed and rather distributed throughout the foam for a ventilated result. The natural materials of the latex foam also ensure no gas emission or off-gassing with the initial use of the mattress since most latex mattresses are CertiPUR-US certified thus the beds have low VOC or Volatile Organic Compound which is known as the source of gas emission or the initial chemical smell in mattress beds.
Durability: Latex is known for its quality and longevity, and with the right care and maintenance, your bed would last for decades, potentially between 15 and 50 years maximum. To determine the sag factor of latex, it is best to look into the ISO 2439:2008 standard of measurement which determines the capacity of latex to return to its original shape when it was subjected to loads, weights, or pressure. According to ISO 2439, latex is as high as 4 or 5, and anything that is greater than three is known to offer exceptional resiliency and comfort, making latex resistant to sagging and softening over time.
Types of Latex
The 3 main types of latex include:
Organic or all-natural latex is derived from the processed rubber tree sap or serum. The milky, sticky fluid that is taken from the rubber tree through a process known as “tapping” or making an incision into the tree bark and letting the fluid flow out to collect a sufficient amount. Natural latex is the most expensive type due to its rare and laboriously longer process of extracting the materials and manufacturing them into mattress foam. The more natural the latex foam is, the more expensive is the cost. However, it is the ideal mattress type if you want an eco-friendly and healthy bed. Be careful as nowadays many so-called “Natural Latex” Mattresses are often Blends of Synthetic and Natural, look for certifications that always help.
As the name implies, this type of latex foam is a blend or combination of both natural and synthetic materials, often 80% synthetic and 20% organic but there are also mixtures that have 50% balanced mix. Compared to all-natural and organic latex, blended foams are much cheaper and quite common or highly preferred due to the ability to retain the durability and quality of natural latex but with good value for money. Make sure that you choose a manufacturer that quote the percentage of the synthetic and natural contents of their products as the cost of the mattress would highly depend on the amount of natural latex the bed has.
- Synthetic – human-made
The human-made mattress is made from artificial materials that are manufactured through polymerizing the monomer content such as styrene and emulsifying it with surfactants. Synthetic latex mimics the qualities of natural latex foams, but it is significantly more affordable compared to its natural counterpart. The difference is also in shorter durability and lower firmness level of the mattress.
Two of the most important terms you would encounter when choosing the best latex foam are Dunlop and Talalay, and these are the 2 primary processing methods used in the manufacture of this type of mattress beds.
Dunlop: The traditional process of making latex foam is done through pouring the materials on a baking sheet and baking the extracted liquid rubber tree sap into a solid form. The process could be inconsistent, so there is a possibility of producing sediments that create hard and soft surfaces which make it less smoothed out. Dunlop latex is a bit denser and firmer, and when you press on the layer of Dunlop, you feel more resistance or support.
Talalay: The rubber tree serum or sap is flash freeze and baked into solid foam, giving the latex a consistent and even form and the finished product is also washed 5-7 times after production. The washing process gets rid of soap and proteins in the foam and creates a more yielding and springy effect compared to Dunlop and Talalay could also have a more hugging or embracing and natural springiness feel, making it best for people with pressure point problems and soreness. In every level, whether it is firm, medium, and soft, Talalay is consistently softer than Dunlop, so Medium Talalay is always plusher compared to a Medium Dunlop and so on. The best way to determine the best type of latex for you is to try different combinations or you can ask for samples of Dunlop and Talalay latex blocks to understand the materials better. Talalay latex is relatively more expensive compared to Dunlop due to the longer and more meticulous, tedious process that the foam undergoes during manufacturing.
Latex is primarily used in high-end mattresses thus you should be willing to pay extra cash. Moreover, different types of latex also have significantly varying prices such as Talalay latex which is costlier compared to Dunlop, only because the manufacturing process of Talalay takes twice longer. Natural latex is more expensive compared to the synthetic and blended types thus all natural latex beds are the most expansive ones. So you need to set a budget in advance and try to find the best product within it.
What are the Pinholes About?
The marks you may see on the sides of the cross section of latex mattress are made from the perforations when the foam is “cooked” and small rods are inserted into the latex mix to ensure it is cured consistently throughout when the latex materials are baked. When you see holes in your latex foam, it’s just a natural tendency due to the manufacturing process. The pinholes on the latex foam make it breathable and not heat retentive, and unlike memory foams that require pressure and heat to mold, latex only requires pressure for it to respond to the pressure or weight.
Certifications and Warranties
Latex foams are natural and hypoallergenic and most reputable and trusted brands come with a corresponding certification to ensure the quality and safety of their products. One of the most trusted certification labels is the CertiPUR-US certification that guarantees the latex foam is free from any hazardous materials such as ozone depleters, formaldehyde, and heavy metals such as mercury and lead. The Oeko-Tex Standard is another certification to look for as it guarantees the quality of the fabric materials that are used as cushions or covers of the latex bed. Some others labels bring extra trust. Look for these names; Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) GreenGuard, Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), Cradle to Cradle. Of course, there are some others, but we’ve listed most important ones
Latex mattress beds are built to last, and manufacturers warranties may range between 10 and 25 Years Limited Warranty. The coverage of the warranty protection includes manufacturing or material defects, significant indentations, and other imperfections, depending on the manufacturer’s terms and conditions.
Latex mattresses are highly recommended because of the top-quality features that make them ideal for all types of sleepers, whether you sleep on your back, stomach, and side. These beds are customizable, and the layers can be configured to cater to your needs, weight, sleeping position, and preferences for a firmer or softer sleep surface.