Latex vs memory foam mattress becomes a primary question in the early stages of mattress shopping. Memory foam has surged in popularity, but as we all get more health-conscious, latex gains popularity too.

Looking at Structure – Latex vs Memory Foam

Latex vs Memory FoamMade from the milk of rubber trees, latex mattresses feel more springy or rubbery than memory foam mattresses.

Latex mattresses may be made from natural latex, synthetic latex, or both, which is called “blended latex”. Natural latex feels softer and acts more resilient against bacteria, dust and mold but varies more in quality due to Mother Nature. Synthetic latex feels firmer than natural but offers greater durability because of the petroleum-based materials used to process it. Most latex mattresses, like our Pure LatexBliss mattress, contain blended latex.

Note that no mattress can be 100% natural because minimal amounts of sulfur or other additives must be used to process the latex (rubber). If you’re shopping for organic quality, ask your retailer what percentage of the mattress is synthetic versus natural. If you want to dig deeper into the processes used to manufacture the latex, check out Pure LatexBliss’ article Talalay vs Dunlop.

Also, latex mattresses made with fillers (tiny particles of clay or other materials mixed into the foam) will cost less but will also be stiffer and less durable. Lastly, the term “pure” may be used to describe higher-quality latex without fillers, whether it’s synthetic or natural latex.

Most latex mattresses contain 1 to 4 layers of materials. The thickest, bottom support layer, often called the “core”, typically provides 5 to 6 inches of dense (high quality) latex or polyurethane foam. The top layers contain softer latex or memory foam for comfort benefits.

Memory foam mattresses, on the other hand, are typically made from a visco-elastic substance derived from polyurethane. A few companies manufacture natural memory foam but most memory foam remains man-made. Memory foam mattresses feel plusher than latex mattresses.

As open-cell foam that responds to the weight and heat of your body, memory foam conforms upon body contact, which relieves your pressure points as well as motion disturbance from a partner. Once you exit your bed, the mattress cools and gets firmer again.

The softness or firmness of a memory foam mattress depends on the level of foam density used. Density levels in a memory foam mattress usually range from 2 to 6 lbs/ft3, with levels over 4 lbs/ft3 indicating a high-quality product. Denser mattresses will typically feel firmer and last longer but will also cost more.

Comparing Qualities – Latex vs Memory Foam

Of course, when studying the differences of latex vs memory foam, you want to weigh out the pros and cons. So let’s take a look.

LATEX MATTRESSES

MEMORY FOAM MATTRESSES

PROS

CONS

PROS

CONS

Firmer surface minimizes body impressions while offering optimal support

Firmer surface enables more motion disturbance

Synthetic foam offers softer surface for body conformance and optimal pressure point relief (good for back and side sleepers)

Chemicals used in processing make it less eco-friendly than latex

Offers greatest durability and life span (often 20-yr warranty)

Latex typically emits odor while off gassing

Synthetic foam resists bacteria, mold and dust

Body conformance may make sleeping hotter

Rubber naturally minimizes body moisture, providing warmth in the winter and coolness in the summer

Natural composition costs more

Foam minimizes motion disturbance

Foam surface may leave body impressions over time

Rubber naturally resists bacteria, mold and dust

Gel-infused foam mattresses – offer cooler sleeping

Low-density foam used in mattress core may lack back support

Natural composition requires little chemical use, making it more eco-friendly

Costs less than latex typically

Foam surface lacks support for stomach sleepers and is NEVER recommended for infants (due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome concerns)

 

When comparing latex vs memory foam, latex performs better overall but will likely cost more. Latex may enable more motion disturbance so you will want to test the bed out in store with a partner. If chemical use and eco-friendliness do not matter to you, you may enjoy a memory foam mattress.

Of course, it’s always best to give any mattress a 15-minute rest test in person before making your mattress choice!

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The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide