Latex vs memory foam mattress: it is not easy for most people to know which one to choose. They each have their own merits, but also their own negatives that could exclude potential buyers from making that choice. It is important for anyone purchasing a mattress to fully understand what they are buying and why they are doing so. Let’s first have a look at what each of these are so you can make your choice based upon hard facts rather than opinion.
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What is Latex Foam?
Latex foam is not the same as synthetic foams such as polyurethane. It is a milky protein, produced by what is known as a para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) which originally grew naturally in Brazil. Since then, its seeds have been distributed and cultivated worldwide, including several Asian countries. When converted into a foam, 100% pure natural latex is soft and like most other proteins is prone to bacterial attack and degradation.
Latex can also be manufactured synthetically provide a more suitable material for a mattress. For that reason, there are several different types of latex containing various proportions of natural and synthetic latex and some additives to improve its antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties.
The latex foam in your mattress can contain from around 6% – 10% additives and even foams labeled 100% natural latex will have around 20% synthetic in the mix. Think of gold: pure gold can be anything from 9 carat to 24 carat. Just like gold, latex is latex, and you have to know the percentage of pure latex and synthetic + additives. That understood, latex foam is widely used in mattresses and pillows, and is an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin who are subject to allergies other than a latex allergy.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a synthetic foam manufactured from polyurethane and usually with heat-sensitive materials. There is no ‘natural’ memory foam. They are all synthetic since they involve synthetic polyurethane polymers in their manufacture. The foam is manufactured to be relatively hard, but it is sensitive to pressure and body heat. It conforms to your body shape providing support where you need it.
Areas such as hips and shoulders are properly supported without the excess pressure that many feel. If you normally experience pain due to pressure on certain parts of your body, then memory foam can help relieve that by reducing that pressure. The foam reverts to its original shape when the pressure and heat are removed.
Different brands of memory foam can work in different ways according to the additives used, but the general concept is the same with them all. All memory foams are synthetic and viscoelastic, and may contain additives such as latex, corn proteins and other natural or synthetic substance to modify its properties.
Latex vs. Memory Foam Mattress: Which is Better?
So which is better? How do you choose between a latex mattress and memory foam? Most people asking this question are doing so for very good reasons. It is difficult to make a decision based upon the relative claims of manufacturers or vendors of each. You may receive believable information from those offering both latex and memory foam mattresses because they will have no vested interest – they are offering you both so you can generally trust the information they are providing.
It is also a very difficult question to answer for other reasons. A latex mattress and a memory foam mattress have been designed for specific purposes. Latex is intended to offer a more natural foam than polyurethane or any other form of synthetic polymer foam that can release chemical fumes when you are sleeping on it.
Memory foam is designed to help those who have difficulty sleeping on a mattress that hurts them on certain pressure points. Among these are those suffering arthritis of the hips, or have had a recent hip or knee replacement. Memory foam offers support for these joints without the excess pressure involved with a firm flat latex foam mattress.
Here are my ratings, comparing a memory foam vs. latex mattress:
Ratings: Latex Mattress Vs Memory Foam Mattress
The latex mattress and memory foam options leaves many people unsure which would be best for them. If you find the information above confusing, then here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of each type of mattress. These ratings have been accumulated from a number of sources and focus on the more important aspects of a latex mattress vs. memory foam.
|PROPERTY||LATEX FOAM||MEMORY FOAM|
|Pressure Relief||Excellent||Very Good|
|Blood Flow (Less restriction)||Fair||Excellent|
|Odor (VOC Emission) ***||Excellent||Fair|
** Motion Transfer: This refers to the way that one partner affect the other when they move on the mattress. A memory foam mattress will have a lot less effect on your partner should you move about on the bed at night.
*** Odor: Latex should generally be free of emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can provide an odor from the mattress. The polyurethane, that is the basic polymer used for memory foam mattresses, can emit such odors, though they do so only for first few days. If you leave the memory foam mattress for 3-4 days before using it then it should then be odor free.
So which mattress should you choose? The memory foam vs. latex mattress discussion has been continuing for some years now, and each has its own adherents. It is often a question of which type of mattress people are familiar with. However, if I condense the relative properties of a latex mattress and memory foam, it might make your decision easier to make.
Latex Mattress vs. Memory Foam Mattress
Here are the benefits of each in perhaps an easier to understand format than my table above. Check out what you would like most with your new mattress, then select the one that meets most of your preferences:
Memory Foam is Best If:
- You have arthritis or any other condition that hurts your hips or other areas of your body when you sleep on a normal spring or foam mattress
- You regularly sleep on your side, when you can you get painful hips and shoulders
- Your sleep is disturbed by your partner when he or she moves about on the bed at night.
- You love to feel yourself sinking into your mattress.
- You tend not to get hot at night and wake up sweating.
A Latex Mattress Might Suit you Better if:
- You like a buoyant bouncy mattress
- You tend to get hot at night
- You do not sleep on your side
- You prefer a firm mattress that you do not sink into
- You suffer no joint pains where better support would help you for your back, hips, knees and other joints would help you sleep better
Check out this video for more details of latex vs memory foam mattresses:
Conclusion: Latex Vs Memory Foam Mattress
The discussion between a latex mattress and memory foam will continue, but what about you? Which is best for you right now? You likely need to make a quick decision if you are looking to purchase one or other of these two most popular types of mattress.
I have provided you with the information I have, and have presented both sides of the latex vs. memory foam mattress debate. There is no solution that suits everybody! It is important that you read all I have to say on this discussion and make your choice based upon your own specific circumstances and needs. Make sure you test your mattress in the store before purchasing – you can then purchase it online from Amazon at a lower price than your local mattress store would be able to offer.