Latex vs. Spring Mattress: What’s the Difference?

 

If you are in the market for a new mattress, you have seen that there is a huge variety of options out there. Latex mattresses are suitable for everyone, but especially for people who need or enjoy a firmer mattress.

There are a bunch of choices for what kind of latex mattress you can pick. There are two options I want to discuss in particular. The all-latex mattress and the hybrid latex mattress. What are they and why should you pick one or the other?

 

What Are All Natural Latex Mattresses?

 

The idea of an “100% natural” latex mattress is misleading. Any company that claims to sell a 100% pure latex mattress may not be transparent. Here’s why. Latex is the milky white sap of the rubber tree. If the trees are grown organically and the sap is harvested organically, then this latex may be 100% pure and natural at this point.

If you want to be sure you’re purchasing an organic latex mattress, check for the GOLS certification. This is the Global Organic Latex Standard that requires a product to have more than 95% certified organic raw material.

Once the sap has been harvested and transported back to a factory, the manufacturing steps can begin. This is the part that separates the types of latex available to you. There are two types, Dunlop and Talalay. Once the latex enters the factory, it’s whipped into a froth, poured into molds, covered, and baked, quite literally like a cake.

Talalay latex is vacuum-sealed and flash-frozen before it’s baked to give it a more consistent cell structure and uniform feeling. This makes it a plush and luxurious option. It gives softer support for your pressure points to give pain relief where you need it. Dunlop latex mattresses are denser and ideal for someone looking for sturdy, firm support. It can be layered though to feel softer. The Talalay latex brings extra comfort and a hefty price tag!

Now that your latex has been classified as Talalay or Dunlop, we can move on in the manufacturing process. This is the part that makes it impossible for a latex mattress to be truly 100% “all-natural”. Curing agents must be added to the mixture for the baking process to make those comfy layers. It’s the only way to turn sap into latex foam.

The latex mattress can still end up being up to 97% pure latex, but to be totally honest, there are always curing agents. You can check to see that the curing agents are relatively harmless if you are worried about that aspect. But in general, there is no need for worry, the additives are usually harmless.

Latex mattresses have benefits and downsides, depending on your sleeping position needs. We’ll talk about these pros and cons later though. Let’s first take a look at another option for a mattress that includes latex in the materials, along with something else.

 

What Are Hybrid (Innerspring) Mattresses?

 

Hybrid latex mattresses have become popular because they combine the comfort of a latex mattress with the support of an innerspring mattress. The pocketed spring coils allow for reduced motion transfer as well which is ideal if you share your bed with a partner.

A true hybrid mattress must have a coil base with at least 2 inches of latex foam on top. Many companies out there will try to sell their mattress as a “hybrid” because it is made with two or more materials, but double-check that they have met the true standard.

Spring mattresses will generally have a comfort layer, core support structure, and a base layer. There’s latex foam in the comfort layer and the base layer. The springs form the core support in the middle. If your mattress is using a variety of materials, there might even be a transition layer of firm foam in between the comfort layer and the core support structure to add cushioning from the “innerspring” part of your latex hybrid.

spring mattress

Keep in mind that the updated models for latex spring mattresses today use a pocketed coil style so they feel much more comfortable than traditional innerspring mattresses. You can find a luxurious option that combines all the benefits you’re looking for with a latex mattress plus the added structure of springs. I’ll talk more about those options later.

The attraction of spring mattresses is that you get the comfort layers that latex or foam can bring without sacrificing the bounciness of an innerspring mattress. The downside is that it’s usually a little more difficult to find natural or organic innerspring mattresses. The beds also tend to be heavy because of the variety of materials. This can make transportation/delivery difficult.

 

Benefits of Latex Mattresses

 

  • Pain-relieving: The firm, but flexible nature of the material means that you will find enough support for your spine, but also some relief for your pressure points that make contact with the mattress. The flexibility will allow the mattress to contour to your joints without putting extra pressure on them. Of course, you’ll have to be sure to find the right firmness level for your sleep style to know that the mattress is not too firm.

 

  • Hypoallergenic: The natural material lends itself to many benefits such as being hypoallergenic, antibacterial, naturally resistant to mold and mildew, and flame-resistant. These qualities make it a great mattress choice for someone with allergies. Latex material is also naturally dust mite resistant.

 

  • Eco-Friendly: Your organic latex mattress was likely sourced from a sustainable farm that used good practices. The rubber trees where they get the natural rubber sap, or latex, can be used for up to 30 years just for rubber harvesting. That’s sustainable! Organic latex also doesn’t require a bunch of chemicals during the manufacturing process, besides the generally harmless curing agents, so there’s limited off-gassing and contaminated water from manufacturing.

 

  • Firm but flexible: As mentioned before, the bouncy nature of latex gives it an edge in the market where people aren’t sure if they prefer a firm mattress or a softer feeling. You can get both in a latex mattress depending on how many layers you choose for your mattress.

 

  • Responsive: Latex mattresses contour to your shape when you lay down, then bounce right back after you get up or switch positions in your sleep. This is what we call a “responsive material”. Unlike memory foam that holds the previous position for a while before regaining its shape, the latex is responsive enough to contour, then recover quickly to allow you to find a comfortable position without falling in your own bump!

 

  • Temperature neutral: The natural open cell structure of latex allows more natural airflow and circulation. This reduces the temperature in general, making it ideal for hot sleepers. It also keeps the moisture levels in the mattress low so that you have less of a chance of mildew build-up.

 

  • Customizable: Some latex mattresses are made up of latex foam layers with different densities. These layers are interchangeable to enable you to adjust the firmness level to your needs. You can also choose different comfort levels for you and your partner. If you’re interested in a customizable mattress, check Spindle Mattress.

 

 

  • Cheaper than innerspring mattresses: The mattress market is constantly changing, but in general, natural latex mattresses are cheaper than hybrid latex mattresses. The process of production and variety of materials in a hybrid latex mattress make it significantly more expensive for a high-quality mattress.

Benefits of Spring Mattresses

 

  • Quieter than other mattresses: Thanks to the individually wrapped metal coils, or pocketed coils, a hybrid latex mattress is much quieter than regular innerspring mattresses. Forget about your grandma’s squeaky old rusted innerspring mattress in the attic; these mattresses are designed to be almost unnoticeably silent.

 

  • More freedom of movement = more support: The pocketed steel coils in could mattresses are made to be flexible to contour to your pressure points and give you maximum support. Unlike a solid material like pure latex, the hybrid style of the mattress has more freedom of movement to form the correct support for you. The coils will bend to your needs.

 

  • Eco-friendly: Innerspring mattresses give you an opportunity to remain eco-conscious. These mattresses can still be eco-friendly despite the variety of materials used. You can buy a mattress from a company that supports fair trade and sustainable sources such as recycled steel and organic latex. For example, the Avocado Mattress uses recycled steel.

 

  • Less motion transfer: The individually wrapped coils give you the benefit of less motion transfer which is ideal if you sleep with a partner. Less motion transfer may also mean less interference with your own sleep when you shift at night.

 

  • Comfort: You get the best of both worlds with a latex mattress and an innerspring mattress in one. The latex is softer and contouring while the coils of the innersprings give bouncy support.

 

  • Ideal for all types of sleepers: The mattress can satisfy all needs whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper. The mattress can be ordered at a variety of firmness vs. soft levels to suit whatever you need. The comfort layers of latex on top of the coils in the middle can be layered to give a softer feeling if you want.

 

  • Breathable: The layers of latex will be less than the layers of innerspring in the middle. The innerspring, supportive middle will be able to promote air circulation because it’s not nearly as dense as solid latex all the way through. You’ll find that this aids in cooling you off when you sleep and allowing better air circulation for hygiene purposes. You will not need to air out your mattress as much as you would with an all-latex mattress.

 

latex vs. spring mattress

Latex vs Spring Mattress: Which One Is Better?

 

While both latex and innerspring mattresses have their pros and cons, when it comes to the question of which one is better, there really isn’t a clear-cut answer. When choosing the right mattress type, take into consideration the following:

 

The Type of Support You Need

 

It is reasonable to claim that in some cases you will get more support from an innerspring mattress while you’ll feel pressure relief on an all-latex mattress. The innerspring mattress is ideal in some cases when you need more support and latex will be better when you want pressure relief. However, the all-natural latex mattress is a more bouncy mattress with a smaller price tag.

 

Your Weight

 

Most innerspring mattresses tend to work well for larger people as the coils will keep them from sinking too far into the mattress. If you’re lightweight, latex mattresses offer just enough support to keep your spine properly aligned.

 

Your Sleeping Position

 

As natural latex mattresses tend to offer more body contouring and are not as firm as spring mattresses, they’re a great choice for side sleepers. However, if you’re a back or stomach sleeper a spring mattress may be a better choice for you as it usually offers firmer support.

 

Whether You Sleep Alone or With a Partner

 

If you’re looking for a mattress to sleep with your partner, go for an innerspring mattress. Spring mattresses have less motion isolation so you’re less likely to feel your partner moving while you sleep.

 

There is no clear winner when it comes to innerspring vs. latex mattresses, but you are certain to get a high-quality product regardless of your preference.

buying a new latex mattress

Conclusion

 

As we’ve discussed, you can choose between several styles of natural latex mattresses. The all-latex mattress made of organic materials offers unique benefits and the innerspring mattress also offers its own plus sides. The choice is up to you and what you need. The mattresses are suitable for almost all sleepers and can offer plenty of support and comfort.

If you invest in an organic mattress, make sure that the other bedding products you choose are also organic. Consider buying organic sheets, an organic cotton mattress protector, and a natural mattress topper. Your pillow should also be made from organic materials such as wool or kapok to reduce your exposure to toxic chemicals to the minimum.

About the Author Kamila Flieger

My name is Kamila, and I'm passionate about researching non-toxic, organic products for the home. I believe it's so important to create a safe and healthy environment for our families, and I enjoy helping others do the same.

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