Does a dense, weighty, and possibly customizable mattress that may be at least slightly healthier than a traditional mattress sound good? Then latex might be for you.
If, however, you are on a tight budget, want to avoid all initial odors, or are looking for something widely available in stores for try out, then you may want to consider a different mattress type.
See how latex mattresses compare to other mattress types in 24 ways.
Findings are based on over 450 actual latex mattress owner experiences collected from diverse, credible sources. Learn more about our unbiased research methodology. At least 35% of owners in our research did not mention or know the brand, retailer or manufacturer of their latex mattress; data collected from such owners is included in only aggregate form below.
The ratings show how latex mattresses compare against the average mattress based on consumer experiences. For ratings on specific brands, see the following section.
|Owner satisfaction||b||Latex mattresses overall have 80% satisfaction. More.|
|Affordable||D||The average price of an all-latex mattress is about $2,100. See how latex compares to other mattress types on price.|
|Perceived value||C||Latex mattresses have above-average weight which tends to increase owner opinion of value. But the fact that overall thickness for at least two-thirds of models is below average tends to decrease opinion of value.|
|Durability / longevity||B+||The average lifespan of a latex mattress is about eight years. More.|
|General support||B-||Those with dunlop latex (at least for the base layer) tend to perform better than those with talalay.|
|Pressure relief potential||B||Models with talalay latex, especially in the comfort layer, tend to offer better-than-average distributed support and pressure-point relief than those with dunlop. (See here for general analysis of conforming ability.)|
|Easy to move on / get up off||C+||Models with dunlop latex in the comfort layer tend to offer less resistance to changing positions and getting up.|
|Less (back) pain||b||Medium and medium-firm models especially tend to perform above average in regard to reducing / preventing (back) pain. (See mattresses and pain relief for general analysis.)|
|Edge support||B-||Support for sleeping or sitting near the far edge of the bed tends to be neither a clear strength nor clear weakness. Thicker, firmer models tend to perform best.|
|No initial odor||C-||All-natural all-latex beds may smell of rubber initially, say at least 15% of owners. And organic varieties may have a "barnyard" odor initially due to the presence of wool.|
|Motion isolation||C+||Beds with good motion isolation absorb movement made by one person so as to not disturb another. Dunlop latex tends to perform better than talalay on this issue.|
|No noise||A||Latex mattresses are silent.|
|No sleeping hot||c-||Generally not a strength of latex mattresses as at least 10% of owners report a significant sleeping hot problem. Softer models appear to have more heat-trap complaints than firmer ones. (General analysis: mattress heat retention.)|
|Suited for all sleep positions||A||Latex mattresses often have a number of firmness options as well as customization. This provides a high likelihood of providing a suitable firmness and support level for all sleep positions.|
|Suited for all body types / weights||A-||Firmness and thickness options along with customization tend to allow the mattresses to be suited for people of large, average, and small size.|
|No topper needed||A-||Customization, several firmness options, and convenient layer adjustment / exchanges result in fewer owners needing to add a topper to improve comfort compared to other mattress types.|
|Good for sex||b||Latex mattresses, particularly those using talalay latex (more bouncy), generally rate somewhat above average on this issue. More.|
|Easy to handle, lift, move||d-||All-latex mattresses weigh 65-190+ lbs depending on size / model with the average queen weighing about 140 lbs. All-latex mattresses are denser than other mattress types and as a result even the thinnest model can have considerable weight.|
|No assembly||D+||The mattresses often but not always require assembly (see table below) by stacking the various (and often heavy) layers inside the cover and zipping closed.|
|Easy to maintain||D+||Rotating the mattresses head to foot and or rotating / flipping layers may be needed to maintain comfort & appearance. For models that do not come fully assembled (see table below) occasional to regular adjustment of the layers may be required.|
The following includes many of the more popular all-latex mattresses / sellers, especially those for which significant owner experience data is available. (Latex hybrids are not included below.)
All-latex mattresses have a latex core(s) and a latex comfort layer(s); in other words, they consist of latex from bottom to top. They are often available in two varieties: organic and non-organic / regular.
The organic variety uses natural latex and cover material (usually organic cotton) grown without pesticides or herbicides. This variety also often uses a wool cover which allows the mattress to meet flame retardant standards without the use of PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). The non-organic / regular variety often uses blended latex and non-organic cover material (usually non-organic cotton).
|Flobeds||Foam Sweet Foam||Plush Beds||Savvy Rest||Sleep EZ||Sleep On Latex||Spindle||Zen Haven|
|$1050- $1630||$1100- $1975||$800- $1700||$1700- $3600||$600- $1250||$575- $595||$1100||$1300|
|$1600- $2530||$1600- $2775||$1200- $2300||$2400- $5100||$870- $2000||$745- $775||$1400||$1700|
|$1700- $2760||$1600- $2775||$1400- $2300||$2500- $5500||$950- $2100||$775- $795||$1500||$1900|
|$2000- $3060||$2000- $3375||$1500- $2600||$3300- $6700||$1200- $2520||$1095- $1395||$1850||$2500|
|Thickness (inches) 1|
|9, 12||10, 13, 16||6, 8, 9, 10, 12||7, 10, 13||7, 9, 10, 13||7, 9||10||10|
|Latex Type 2|
|natural talalay or blended talalay||natural talalay or natural dunlop or combo||natural dunlop, natural talalay||natural talalay or natural dunlop or combo||natural talalay or natural dunlop or talalay blend||natural dunlop||natural dunlop||natural talalay|
|soft, med, firm, x-firm, xx-firm||soft, med, firm, x-firm, xx-firm||soft, med, med-firm, x-firm||soft, med, firm||soft, med, firm, x-firm||soft, med, firm||soft, med, firm, x-firm||one side med, flip mattress for med-firm|
|Layers Custom- izable 3|
|yes, both halves||yes||no||yes, both halves||yes, both halves (not Roma)||no||no||no|
|cotton or organic cotton||organic cotton||organic cotton||organic cotton||cotton or organic cotton||organic cotton||organic cotton||organic cotton|
|Comes Fully Assem- bled 4|
|Easy Comfort Adjust 5|
|20 yr / 5 yr / 1 inch||30 yr / 30 yr / 1-1.5 inch||25 yr / 10 yr / 1.5 inch||20 yr / 10 yr / 1.5 inch||10-20 yr / 10 yr / 1.5 inch||10 yr / 10 yr / 1 inch||10 yr / 10 yr / .75 inch||20 yr / 20 yr / .75 inch|
|yrs 1-5 $75-
$150 for new layer, higher fee yrs 6-20
|90 days exch for 1 layer; ship fee||100 days exch for 1 layer; no fee||90 days exch for 1 layer; ship fee||90 days exch for 1 layer; $30 fee||100 days; ship fee*||365 days; no fee||120 days for mattress flip; no fee|
|100 days; $99 fee||120 days, must keep 30 days; $79 fee||100 days; $99 fee if within 30 days||no refunds||90 days; $99 fee||100 days; no fee*||365 days; no fee||120 days; $99 fee|
|Full Service Delivery 7|
|In Business Since|
|very good||very good||good to fair||good||very good||good to very good||good to very good||good|
|SLTD Rating 8|
|Owner Satis- faction / Sample 9|
|82% / 26||82% / 28||80% / 24||81% / 18||82% / 39||83% / 110||81% / 28||79% / 37|
|Flobeds||Foam Sweet Foam||Plush Beds||Savvy Rest||Sleep EZ||Sleep On Latex||Spindle||Zen Haven|
*When buying from Sleeponlatex.com, not Amazon.
1 Thicker mattresses are generally for those seeking a high mattress profile or for heavier / taller people. Persons of above-average size (230 lbs+) should probably avoid mattresses less than 9-inches thick.
2 Latex can be natural, synthetic or blended (a combination of the two). All have the same basic properties but differ in certain ways. Dunlop and Talalay are the predominant types of latex processing. 100% natural latex and blended latex can be made using either process.
3 All-natural latex beds often consist of several different layers. Layers Customizable means that there are firmness options for each layer when purchasing the mattress. These layers can also be removed and rearranged / restacked to adjust firmness and comfort at home as needed. Also, a layer can be exchanged for one of a different firmness if necessary, thus avoiding the need to return the entire mattress. Finally, a longevity advantage is also likely from mattresses with customizable layers.
4 Latex mattresses requiring assembly need their different layers properly stacked and enclosed in the mattress cover. Assembly usually takes less than one hour.
5 Easy Comfort Adjustment means that individual layers of the mattress can be removed and rearranged / restacked to adjust firmness and comfort at home as needed. Also, a layer(s) can be exchanged for one of a different firmness if necessary, thus avoiding the need to return the entire mattress.
6 The first number is the total length of the warranty. The second number is the length of the non-prorated period – the number of years the consumer will not be charged for warranty repairs or replacement. The third number is the minimum amount of sagging depth in inches that must be present for the warranty to engage; the smaller the depth the better the coverage. Also see mattress warranties: what to know.
7 Full Service Delivery includes the bringing of the mattress into your home, setting it up, and often for an additional fee, taking away your old mattress.
8 SLTD rating is Sleep Like The Dead's grade for a mattress company based on customer satisfaction, construction / specifications, customer service, BBB rating, time in business, warranty, marketing accuracy, specification disclosure, and access to and integrity of customer reviews on company websites.
9 Sample sizes are not large enough to provide statistically valid satisfaction rates.
Natural-latex mattress companies often strongly imply in their marketing that natural latex is healthier and safer than synthetic (human-made) bedding because it is natural.
While a case can be made that natural latex is at least slightly healthier and safer than commonly used synthetic bedding, such as polyurethane foam, this advantage is not due to the naturalness of the latex.
Something is not better merely because it is natural anymore than something is better merely because it is synthetic. Every substance – natural or synthetic – must be judged on its own merits, not prejudged on the basis of whether it came from nature or from humans. In some cases a natural substance may be superior to a synthetic substance, and in other cases a synthetic substance may be superior to a natural substance.
The above may come as a shock considering the wide acceptance of the notion that something is necessarily healthy, safe, and better if it comes from the wholesome bosom of Mother Nature. While Mother Nature can surely be life giving and nurturing, she can also be the opposite.
Consider that many of the most harmful-to-human chemicals are 100% natural, such as botulinum toxin A, tetanus toxin A, diphtheria toxin, and muscarine. Botulinum is the most deadly toxin known and is a million times more deadly than the most deadly synthetic toxin (dioxin); five pounds of botulinum could kill every person on earth. And then there's asbestos, arsenic, and mercury among other deadly natural substances.
And many people think of plants with their naturalness as being synonymous with health and purity. Indeed, many latex mattress companies use the image of leaves or greenery in their marketing to convey a sense of well being and safety. The truth is that many plants are toxic and potentially deadly to humans and animals.
To promote the idea that natural necessarily equals health and safety, as almost all latex mattress companies do, is irresponsible and reckless in the opinion of Sleep Like The Dead. The idea can cause people to drop their guard to the potential dangers of natural substances and to needlessly raise their guard to the potential benefits of synthetic substances.
The latex in latex mattresses can be natural, synthetic or blended. (Blended is a combination of natural and synthetic latex.) Natural latex comes from the sap-like extract of rubber trees. Synthetic latex is made by polymerizing a monomer that has been emulsified with surfactants. Synthetic latex has, however, the same basic properties of natural latex.
Based on our collected owner experience data, natural latex mattresses rate about 15-20% higher in overall satisfaction than blended or synthetic. 100% natural latex, however, is usually more expensive than blended or synthetic. In addition, natural latex appears to perform somewhat better than the blended and synthetic varieties in regard to longevity and resistance to compression / development of body impressions.
Be aware that some manufacturers / retailers say their mattresses are natural latex even if the product has only, say, 30% natural latex with the rest being synthetic.
|Natural Latex||Blended Latex (Natural / Synthetic)||Synthetic Latex*|
|Owner satisfaction||Good||Good to Fair||Fair|
|Source||Rubber Tree||Rubber Tree and Styrene, Butadiene (Petro- chemicals)||Styrene, Butadiene (Petro- chemicals)|
|Elasticity / responsiveness||Good||good to Fair||good to fair|
|Won't compress / form body impressions||Good||Good to Fair||good to Fair|
|Quality consistency||Fair||Good to fair||good|
|Allergic reaction potential||highest||moderate||Little or none|
* Ratings based on partial estimate.
Dunlop and Talalay are the predominant types of latex processing. The Dunlop process has existed for many decades, while Talalay is newer. 100% natural latex and blended latex can be made using either process.
Based on our collected owner experience data, Talalay and Dunlop latex mattresses overall rate virtually the same in owner satisfaction. Dunlop is often better suited for those seeking a more firm and supportive mattress, while Talalay is often better suited for those seeking a softer and more conforming mattress.
Another difference is that the Dunlop method produces one piece of latex while the Talalay method (for sizes other than twin) produces latex in sections which then must be glued together. Some owners complain that lying on the glued seams is uncomfortable.
How they are made: For the Talalay process, a tiny amount of latex is poured into the mold. Air is extracted to evenly distribute the foam liquid inside the mold which creates a consistent round, open cell structure. The mattress core is flash frozen to lock the cell structure in place and to prevent the particles from settling. For the Dunlop process, the molds are fully filled, air is not extracted, and there is no flash freezing.
The comparison shows what tends to be true for Dunlop- and Talalay-processed latex.
|Motion Isolation||good to fair||fair|
|Springy / bouncy||low to moderate||moderate to high|
|Conforming to body||Fair||Good|
|Sleeper sinks in||low to moderate||moderate|
|Heavy person friendly||good to fair||good to fair|
|Light person friendly||fair||good|
|Won't Compress / Form Body Impressions||good to fair||Good|
|Consistency of firmness throughout core||Fair||Good|
Latex mattresses overall have 79% satisfaction vs 73% for the average mattress.
See mattress type comparison to learn how latex compares to other types.
All-latex mattresses tend to perform above average in regard to lifespan. The longevity of an all-latex mattress with customizable layers is helped by the fact that any of the various layers that make up the mattress can often be replaced by the owner with a new layer sent by the manufacturer / retailer.
In other words, if the mattress loses support or sags, it may be possible to correct or at least lessen the problem by merely replacing a layer. Without this ability, the entire mattress would have to be replaced or repaired. Longevity is also helped by the fact that the various layers can often be rotated and or flipped individually thereby allowing for more even wear.
About 10% of latex mattress owners report within the first three years of ownership that their mattress has significantly compressed in the area where they mostly sleep resulting in a body impression(s).
A body impression can cause the mattress to have an uneven sleep surface which can limit natural movement of the sleeper. Body impression development is most common on a mattress shared by two people as they are more likely to sleep in the same area of the bed regularly. Body impression development, however, does not necessarily cause the mattress to be generally unsupportive or uncomfortable, just more restrictive.
Latex mattresses are not widely available in stores, and most are available only online. Return hassle can range from low to high depending on the seller and whether the mattress comes in customizable layers. Customizable layers can usually be rearranged at home to adjust the firmness level thereby minimizing the need to return any or all of the mattress. Learn more about the pros and cons of buying a mattress online.
Most latex mattress warranties are for 20 years, while some less expensive models may have 10-year warranties. The 20-year warranties are often prorated which means that for half of their warranty length, usually 10 years, the mattress owner will pay a percentage of repair / replacement costs. Non-prorated means there is no cost to the owner to repair / replace the mattress for the length of the warranty assuming certain conditions are met.
The most common latex mattress durability complaint is that they compress or develop body impressions. As a result, "compression depth" is an important term which refers to how much (in inches) the mattress must compress / sag before warranty coverage begins; the smaller the number, the better the coverage. Most latex beds require 1" to 1.5" of compression to occur before coverage begins which is average or better compared to the typical mattress warranty.
Warranty length is not often an accurate indicator of how long a mattress will last. See mattress warranties: what to know for complete analysis.
Two terms you may come across in your latex mattress shopping are density and ILD.
Density refers to how much a piece of latex weighs. It is calculated by taking a cubic foot of foam (12″ x 12″ x 12″) and weighing it. If it weighs four pounds, then the density is four lbs / ft. If it weighs three pounds, then the density is three lbs / ft. High density often translates into good durability and lifespan.
ILD stands for Indentation Load Deflection and refers to latex firmness. ILDs of 14-22 are often considered soft; 23-29 medium; 30-37 firm; and 38 and higher extra firm. Most people prefer an ILD of 25-35.
The consensus (or near-consensus) among latex mattress retailers regarding latex mattress foundations is as follows:
1. A foundation is not needed but can be used if an increased mattress height is desired.
2. A slat foundation is acceptable if the slats are no more than eight inches apart.
3. Placing the mattress on plywood, such as a platform bed, is acceptable.
4. Whatever is used as a foundation must not sag, lack support or have irregularities.
You should discuss the foundation requirements of the latex mattress you purchase with the retailer / manufacturer. An improper foundation can void the mattress warranty as well as undermine comfort / owner satisfaction.
Latex mattress toppers can provide at least some of the benefits of a latex mattress at a fraction of the cost.
Like latex mattresses, latex toppers tend to offer an effective combination of softness and support resulting in above average pain- and pressure-point relief. Unlike most other topper types, latex toppers can be used to soften or firm up a mattress.
See latex topper ratings for more information based on 1,500+ consumer experiences.
The following is not a substitute for medical advice. Consult a health professional if you believe you may have a latex allergy.
True latex allergy is a reaction to certain proteins found in natural latex. Reactions to natural latex are rare, affecting no more than 3% of the population. Symptoms can include itching, hives, sneezing, breathing difficulty, and nausea. True latex allergy can be caused by latex mattresses (Dunlop or Talalay) containing natural or blended latex.
It is also possible to have a reaction to latex, such as a skin rash, which is not related to the latex itself, but rather to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers claim that such chemicals are washed away and pose no health or allergy threat.
Finally, keep in mind that latex mattress retailers may not accept returns due to latex allergy.
While latex (especially Talalay) has similarities to memory foam, it also has noteworthy differences. For example, unlike memory foam, latex often responds nearly instantaneously to movement making it easier to change positions and get up off the bed. Latex also has little if any of the squishy, pudding-like feel that some memory foam can have. Learn more: latex vs memory foam.
Ratings are based on over 450 latex mattress owner reviews and experiences collected from diverse, credible sources. Learn more about our research methodology and why you can trust our mattress reviews.