Latex vs Memory Foam

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There are so many types of mattresses on the market that it can get quite daunting at times when choosing the right one before you start parting with your money. In short, the main types which exist are latex, memory foam, spring, and air. Each one has its characteristics and price, so it’s worthwhile knowing the difference between them.

According to recent surveys, the best option in terms of owner satisfaction is the memory foam, with the latex mattress as the number two choice by slight margins. Therefore, the analysis and comparison of latex vs. memory foam is an important one to make for any consumer during the decision making phase.

Latex vs Memory Foam

Like with anything there will always be benefits and disadvantages, some unique selling points and some things to watch out for. It’s important to know the pluses and minuses before you conclude your decision as to whether you want a latex mattress or foam; therefore we have listed some pointers for you below and compared the two including where possible the similarities and differences.

Latex Or Memory Foam: The Two Compared

Warranty

Like with memory foam, most latex mattresses come with lengthy warranties, usually, 20 years is the most common for the former and 25 years for the latter.

Transportation

Both types are usually vacuum sealed, rolled up and compacted, so easily transportable. If purchasing from a retail outlet, it may fit in the trunk of your car so is very convenient.

Allergies

Latex is non-toxic and naturally resistant to allergens and dust mites which means it’s safe for you and your environment. Traditional viscoelastic foam is full of chemicals whereas latex mattresses aren’t, making them a better option for the health-conscious or those with allergies.

Body Heat

Latex is temperature neutral, so your mattress won’t trap body heat while you sleep and make you hot (which is common in some memory foam mattresses). Instead, latex mattresses will maintain your body temperature at whatever your body naturally sets itself to without the mattress having any influence.

Durability

Latex is quite soft and springy, so it tends to spring or push back towards the sleeper. This is great because instead of creating indentations on the surface it pushes back thus increasing life and longevity. Memory foam is similarly resistant but less durable in the long run.

Back Pain

Back pain in the morningAs above, because it pushes back rather than give in slowly, many of the latex models are commonly regarded as the best mattress for a bad back. Ones that contain high percentages of natural latex tend to be firm but maintain that springy feel, so when it pushes back towards you, your body is almost lifted and gives a supportive yet plush sensation, which in turn relieves pressure points and reduces joint pains. Memory foam mattresses provide back pain relief too by way of pressure point relief but are less supportive due to the lack of springing sensation.

Sagging

Due to the rubbery material they are made of, a latex mattress compared to any other types is less likely to sag (if at all), are more durable, and longer-lasting overall. Other mattresses will sag after a shorter number of years especially spring.

Cost

Unfortunately, due to high manufacturing costs, the high price is relayed back to the consumer. In general latex mattresses are the most expensive compared to others which follow closely behind.

Side Sleepers

A side sleeping womanUnlike latex which is ideal for treating back pain, the best mattress for side sleeping is memory foam due to the way foam molds to the body sides contours. A latex mattress can be comfortable too but will provide more of a firm surface which may not be the best mattress for overweight people sleeping on their side.

Availability

Again, possibly due to high costs and lower profit margins, latex mattresses are not as widely available in retail outlets and showrooms, whereas various spring and memory foam mattresses are available in abundance.

Heavy

Latex mattresses tend to be very heavy compared to others such as memory foam, air and innerspring. Some can weigh in excess of 100 pounds, especially the all-natural latex models.

There you have it. Now you know the main differences between latex vs. memory foam, which are notably the two best selling mattress types. Hopefully, this will help you decide which is best for you.

6 Responses

  1. We have a sofa bed, and it seems no matter how you lay you can feel that metal rod in your back, straight through the mattress! I got a memory foam topper on sale at Elder Beerman’s a while back, it was kinda pricey (about $ 90) but it was soooo worth it. Your back will thank you, especially if you or someone else is sleeping on the sofa bed more than one night. I got a relatively thick one with little triangle-looking things jutting up. Its quite thick so it doesn’t fold in with the sofa, so storage is kind of a b*tch, but still worth it. Good luck!

  2. Great comparison of the two! I’d probably take either of them over the old spring mattress I have. Of the things you compared, I think that back pain is the biggest factor for buying a mattress. No one wants to wake up sore and cranky. I’d probably have to go with the latex on that since it is more supportive than the memory foam.

  3. I have been trying out a Nest Alexander Medium memory foam bed. Chronic back pain for 20+ years.

    Owner said memory foam is better for back problems. I am still not getting any relief. He says Latex pushes back whereas memory foam absorbs and supports.

    I had a premium coil mattress (McRoskey) with maximum padding before this. Was happy with it for about 5 years. Where do I go from here? Suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi Harold,

      Sorry to hear about your chronic back pain.
      The general consensus is that memory foam is good for back pain. The owner is correct in what you’ve mentioned.
      However, going forward, perhaps you should try latex if coil and memory foam has been of no luck.
      You could try the DreamFoam – Ultimate Dreams Eurotop, they offer a trial period and let you choose how soft or firm you want.
      Hope this helps.

      1. thanks Lindsay. I think I am totally over memory foam and the heat. Dream foam looks really nice – I think they are made in the same factory as the current mattress I am not keeping.

      2. memory foam responds to your bodies temperature. This is not ideal for nighttime support. We all head up where we are heaviest and when those areas, (ie: shoulder to hip) compress further your back support is gone and you will be forced to rotate more frequently impairing your 90-120 minute sleep cycle. Healthy sleepers still need to move throughout the night also. In fact a number of studies state that healthy sleepers adjust or change position approximately 20-50 times a night. The idea is it should not wake you up. With visco elastic polyurethane, (memory foam, or tempur foam) you have to wait for those indents to fill back up and that can wake you throughout the night. Latex far outperforms any memory foam in terms of pressure relief and proper support given try it in store and pick the proper firmness. Don’t let the marketing smoke and mirrors fool you.

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