Which is Best: Latex vs Memory Foam Mattress

Last Updated on June 17, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

Choosing a new mattress is a very important decision, as you will spend one a third of your life resting on a mattress. With foam mattresses becoming the bed of choice it can get confusing when researching the different offerings of foam. It is important to recognize the differences between latex vs memory foam beds to make an informed decision for a new purchase.

I. What is Latex?

II. What is Memory Foam?

III. Should one buy Latex or Memory Foam Mattress?

IV. Benefit of Buying GhostBed

I. What is Latex?

The latex mattress has been on the market since the 1950s, long before the NASA scientist invented memory foam was realized as a viable product to make a comfortable bed. When looking at latex one should understand that there are different types of latex mattresses to choose from as well. Original latex is a purely natural product vs the synthetic latex option. In addition to the types of latex are the two choices of how the latex mattress can be made using the Talalay process vs the Dunlop process.

Latex Construction

One should understand the difference between natural and synthetic latex when looking at mattress choices.

Natural latex: The natural latex is crafted from a raw substance from rubber trees that is then naturally handled to form the foam layers of the mattress.

Synthetic latex: A man-made rubber, known as SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber), is used to craft the synthetic latex mattress.

A pure-natural latex will be more durable and last longer than the synthetic option. Whether choosing all natural, synthetic or a hybrid of both, there are two common ways that a latex mattress is manufactured – using the Dunlop and Talalay processes.

Dunlop latex manufacturing process: Dunlop latex was the first on the market, crafted as a product that would have a more uniform feel and be longer-lasting. With this process latex is poured to fill an entire mold. Settling in the mold occurs that results with a denser foam at the bottom becoming softer on top. Dunlop can be performed using natural or synthetic foams or a blend. This process creates a firmer mattress than the Talalay process.

Talalay latex manufacturing process: With the Talalay process the mold is only partly filled by the latex. To finish air is vacuumed in to expand the latex to fill the entire mold. This method creates a latex that is not as dense with a more uniform feel throughout from top to bottom. This process cannot be achieved using all natural latex. The Talalay technique can be used blending natural with synthetic, or using 100-percent synthetic.

How does Latex feel?

A latex mattress will have more bounce, pushing back against one’s weight preventing a sinking in feeling. The bed made from latex will revert to its original shape very quickly after compressed by the body. Synthetic latex may have less bounce than its natural counterpart.

Latex Cooling Factor

The natural open cell structure of latex helps to prevent heat retention and allow for cooler sleeping. Latex that is crafted to be aerated allows for airflow throughout the mattress which, in turn, promotes even better cooling.

Latex Pros and Cons

There are pros and cons to consider when shopping for a latex vs memory foam mattress

Latex Pros Latex Cons
Environment Friendly
If going with the natural latex option, then one is getting a mattress that is best for the environment. They are crafted from sustainable rubber trees and when it comes time for a new mattress, the old natural latex bed can be recycled. It is very important to make sure that one is getting a 100-percent product with no synthetic materials if purchasing a latex mattress for environmental reasons.
More Expensive
If looking to save money, then the Latex may not be an option at all. These mattresses tend to be more expensive than the comfortable memory foam mattress. Often one can get the best of latex when purchasing a less expensive memory foam bed that incorporates a layer of latex as well.
Extra Firmness
Although there can be different levels of firmness depending on what type of latex mattress one buys, the latex bed is still generally firmer (gives you more support) compared to a memory foam mattress.
Can Smell Out of The Box
Upon unpacking one may notice a slight smell that latex can emit. Although it does disappear in a couple days after the mattress has had time to fully expand.
Cooling Factor
The holes viewed in the latex mattress material are what allows for the air to evenly flow throughout to allow for its great cooling capability.
Can Be Too Firm
Latex alone can be a bit too firm for some. It’s best to understand how firm you would like your mattress to be before purchasing it.
Bacteria and Dust Mite Resistant
Natural latex is innately resistant to bacteria along with mold and mildew. In addition, the rubber tress produce latex to fend off insects, making it a great mattress product that will naturally ward off dust mites. The density of synthetic latex foam can be a deterrent to bacteria and dust mites as well. It should be noted that if the mattress in placed directly on a floor or surface that already harbors these allergens then its resistant factors will be greatly challenged.

II. What is Memory Foam?

Memory foam was invented by NASA in the 1960s to protect pilots in a crash situation. The material is crafted from a polyurethane made with chemicals that form a dense energy-absorbing mattress.

Memory Foam Construction

High-density polyurethane foam mixed with other materials is what forms memory foam – also known as viscoelastic foam. Viscoelastic foam is a man-made substance designed to respond to one’s body temperature and weight in order to conform to the individual shape of each individual. There are also more natural versions of memory foam crafted from plant-based elements instead of petroleum byproducts.

Memory foam mattresses can be constructed for various levels of firmness and allowing for different bounce options. These types of beds can also be crafted by mixing in other materials that will lend to comfort – such as latex and gel.

The best constructed memory foam mattresses are not pure memory foam. To prevent the too-soft-sinking-in-heat-retaining feeling of the original memory foam beds, the new memory foam mattresses are constructed from layers of different foams. Each layer uses a foam with its own featured attributes, as well as different densities and thickness.

How Does Memory Foam Feel?

The recovery time for memory foam can be slow with less bounce. This makes memory foam great for those suffering from aches and pains as it works to contour the body for full support of pressure points. These same body conforming quality also reduces motion transfer to prevent a bed mate from waking a sleeping partner when moving.

Memory Foam Cooling Factor

The original memory foam mattresses presented a cooling problem trapping heat as they contoured to the body. Manufacturers have rectified the heat retention issues to create memory foam mattresses that are also cooling. Adding aerated foam along with gel infused memory foam layers creates the ultimate cooling memory foam mattress.

Memory Foam Pros and Cons

Is great as memory foam mattresses are it is important to weigh the pros and cons before purchasing.

Memory Foam Pros Memory Foam Cons
Back and Side Sleeping
The memory foam mattress is the best for assisting with aligning the spine for those who sleep on their backs or side. As the foam contours to each body it allows for optimal spinal alignment that works to reduce pain upon waking.
Possible Heat Retention
The original memory foam mattresses were known to cause hot sleeping. So, those looking at older models may want to rethink their bedding choice and opt for a new memory foam mattress that is specifically designed for cooling comfort.
Most Preferred Bed
With a mattress that conforms to each individual body memory foam has become the bed of choice for those seeking soothing sleep and pain relief. Even with two sharing the bed will each receive their own unique contouring by the memory foam. The conforming properties are also what prevent motion transfer to upset another when a mate is moving in bed.
Stomach Sleeping
Stomach sleepers may find the contouring of a memory foam mattress to not be as comfortable. Although this factor may also aid stomach sleepers to move to the healthier side position.
Cooling Factor
The holes viewed in the latex mattress material are what allows for the air to evenly flow throughout to allow for its great cooling capability.
Can Be Too Firm
Latex alone can be a bit too firm for some. It’s best to understand how firm you would like your mattress to be before purchasing it.
Pressure Point Alleviation
The memory foam body contouring ability work to alleviate pressure on the joints and bones to reduce pain. This is great for those with hip and neck pain as well as arthritis sufferers. With those sick in bed for a long period the memory foam can help with circulation and to fight off bed sores.
May Experience Smell
People may notice a smell when the memory foam is freshly opened. This off-gassing effect though does not have the same complaints as the long-term smells that some experience from the latex mattress. Once the memory foam mattress is aired out any odor should dissipate quickly
Allergy Relief
Memory foam is known to be hypoallergenic and serves as a wonderful option for those who have fabric allergies. Anyone who suffers from an allergy caused by fibers will want to consider a memory foam mattress. with its dense construction memory foam deters allergy inducing bacteria as well as dust mites.

III. Should One Buy Latex or Memory Foam Mattress?

Both latex and memory foam will provide comfort for sleepers so it depends on one’s preferences as to what to buy.

Memory foam is overall a great choice that one will get for the dollars spent. The most affordable option also allows for proper spinal alignment and pain relief. It proves excellent for keeping bed mates from disturbing a partner. In addition, the newer memory foam mattresses provide excellent cooling abilities to keep from sleeping hot.

For those with money to spend and who seek a bed with more bounce that is all natural may want to opt for the natural latex mattress. This durable choice will provide support, cooling and is environmentally sustainable.

III. Benefit of Buying GhostBed

GhostBed utilizes both latex and Memory foam to get an ideal blend of both. Under its soft plush cover is a 1.5-inch aerated latex foam layer above its 2-inch cooling gel memory foam layer. The latex works to pull heat away from the body while also providing a nice bounce feeling to complement the memory foam. GhostBed’s proprietary gel memory foam also works to keep heat away for cooler sleeping. For ultimate support GhostBed has a 7.5-inch high-density base that provides for excellent spinal alignment.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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