Are you wondering what type your next mattress should be? Nowadays, there are different types of mattresses made from a variety of materials, which makes it that much harder to choose among so many different products.
Latex mattresses and foam mattresses are two popular choices among people who are searching for the bed of their dreams. Although both types are high-quality mattresses that can provide adequate body support, they are rather different in a lot of ways, from price to technological features and beyond. Latex and memory foam has proven to be great materials for pillows, providing proper head and neck support, while memory foam is also very convenient for mattress toppers.
That’s why here I will give you the basics on how to settle the showdown of latex mattress vs. memory foam mattress so you can make an informed decision and choose the best possible mattress for you or your loved one. Let's dig in!
What Are Memory Foam Mattresses?
Memory foam mattresses, as their name says, are made from memory foam. This is a very durable and very malleable material that is made mainly from polyurethane foam. Memory foam mattresses are very dense and great at absorbing pressure. That's why when you lie on a memory foam mattress, you'll notice how undisturbed you'll be if your partner is one of those sleepers who turns throughout the night.
A good memory foam mattress will usually contain several layers of foam of different densities and sizes. The three basic types of memory foam mattresses are traditional foam, open-cell foam, and gel memory foam mattresses.
Traditional memory foam mattresses use a closed-cell technology, which means that it traps heat and that the polyurethane foam is designed to adapt to the sleeper's body.
The open-cell memory foam mattress consists of an open-cell structure, as the name suggests, which allows for better airflow in the mattress. Better airflow means better temperature control and makes this type of mattress ideal for hot sleepers. Moreover, this type of memory foam mattress is usually softer and not as dense as the traditional memory foam mattress.
Lastly, the gel memory foam mattress (also called gel-infused memory foam) is like a regular memory foam mattress with the addition of gel pods to the top foam layer. This allows for even better temperature regulation during sleep, better body support, and also more bounciness.
Even with their internal differences, what you can expect from these memory foam mattresses is their softness and the ability to adapt to unique body shapes. Their structure allows them to allow for equal bodyweight distribution, which, in turn, will reduce pressure from aching parts of your body.
The shortcomings of traditional memory foam are that it tends to allow for heat retention because of the nature of the polyurethane foam material and its high-density properties.
Memory foam mattresses usually come in a medium, medium-hard, and hard firmness level, and they last for about 8 to 10 years on average. You can find these mattress types in different price ranges, and you can choose from affordable and mid-range all the way to luxury models.
What Are Latex Mattresses?
Latex foam is produced from both natural and synthetic sources. Latex foam from natural sources is obtained from rubber trees—the sap is taken from the trees, made into a froth, and then baked to produce latex foam. This means that latex foam mattresses are usually free from heavy chemicals often used during mattress production, which makes them a very good eco-friendly mattress choice.
Synthetic latex can be made from several different synthetic materials. The one used the most often is Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR), which is a type of plastic considered a substitute for natural rubber.
Latex foam mattresses are made via two different methods and with two different latex materials: Talalay latex and Dunlop latex. The Talalay process usually results in softer latex foam mattresses, while the Dunlop process results in firmer ones.
Latex foam does not adapt as much to the body as memory foam does. It's more springy and bouncy, and it's considered more durable than polyfoam materials, lasting for about 10 to 12 years on average. In addition, latex foam mattresses allow for better temperature regulation than memory foam ones, but they're also more expensive (good ones cost $1,500 or more).
Memory Foam Mattress vs. Latex Mattress
Now that you know the basics of memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses, we can move on to comparing them and talk a little bit about how they fare when posed next to each other.
Pressure Point Relief
One of the most important things to consider when buying foam and latex mattresses is how good a job they're doing when it comes to pressure points and pressure relief of aching body parts such as the neck, shoulders, hips, and back.
In this case, memory foam fares better, mostly because the polyurethane foam allows it to adapt to different body shapes so well. However, it also provides adequate body support. The molding quality of memory foam allows the body to sink into the mattress, and its density doesn't allow for the spine to become misaligned. Latex also does a good job in this category, following the body contours to a certain extent, but not as good as memory foams.
Stomach sleepers should perhaps opt for the firmer mattress—a natural latex or synthetic latex mattress is firmer than its memory foam counterpart, while Dunlop latex is even firmer than Talalay latex.
Memory foam performs less well when it comes to heat retention. Latex certainly does a better job in regulating temperature for sleepers.
Manufacturers have thought of different ways to improve the tendency of foams to retain heat. For example, they've been known to implement an open-cell structure to the mattresses as well as add cooling gel.
Latex mattresses are considered to be more durable than memory foam ones. If a memory foam mattress lasts for 6 to 8 years or 8 to 10 years on average, a latex mattress will last 7.5 to 8.5 and 10 to 12 years on average. That's why the warranties that come with latex mattresses usually give a longer warranty compared to the foam ones.
As you can see, whether you choose memory foam or you choose latex foam depends on several different factors. Latex is generally firmer and adjusts less well to the body, although it does not cause heat retention. Memory foam is good at following your body's contours without becoming too saggy or too soft and retains its original shape when you get off the mattress. Pressure relief is a high point for both memory foam and latex, helping to increase sleep quality for different kinds of sleepers.