Not any latex mattress will suit every sleeper. That’s because each sleeper is completely different, with different weights, shapes, favourite sleeping positions, and firmness preferences. Which means that choosing the right mattress for you is subject to your own unique needs.
With no ‘one size fits all’ approach to mattresses, we haven’t presented one overall best latex mattress. But we have presented a selection. This narrows your choices, giving you the information you need to choose the best mattress for you.
What is a latex mattress?
Latex mattresses are known for their supportive nature, with more spring and bounce than other mattress types. They don’t retain much heat and are breathable, allowing for a comfortable night’s sleep during hot Australian summer nights. Plus, latex mattresses are incredibly durable, representing a lasting return on your investment.
For eco-conscious sleepers, latex mattresses can be all-natural and chemical-free. Natural latex mattress is dust mite, mildew and mould resistant, so it also makes them a great choice for sleepers with sensitive skin or allergies. However, with natural latex produced by the para rubber tree, it’s a premium material, with a premium price tag.
The quality – and price – of a latex mattress will depend on the type of latex used. It could be a latex blend that includes a synthetic, chemically-produced latex equivalent, or it could be 100% natural latex.
Retailers may offer ‘latex’ mattresses which turn out to be mattresses containing a 2cm top layer of synthetic latex on top of a memory form or pocket spring unit. When it comes to latex mattresses, not all latex is the same.
How to Choose and Buy a Latex Mattress?
Here’s what to consider when choosing a latex mattress:
1. What’s the material composition?
Latex mattresses are either made of 100% natural latex, or of a blend of natural and synthetic latex. Blending latex dilutes the natural latex, reducing the buoyancy of the mattress and making it less comfortable. However, 100% natural latex is the more expensive option, so you’ll need to consider your budget.
2. Is it certified?
Worldwide certifications apply to the latex manufacturing industry, such as Oeko-tex. Latex mattresses should ideally be tested and certified to a safety standard. This guarantees their quality, durability, elasticity and that they don’t contain any harmful substances or safety risks to the sleeper or environment.
3. What’s the processing method – Dunlop or Talalay?
A latex mattress is produced in one of two ways: the Dunlop or the Talalay method. The Dunlop method uses a gelling agent to set the latex and maintain the consistency of the foam structure. This is washed off at the end of production.
The Talalay method uses similar steps, but flash freezes the moulded foam to set the structure before vulcanising it, rather than using gelling agents.
The two methods result in a slightly different mattress feel. The Dunlop method results in a firmer-feeling mattress and forms a single block the size of the mattress. Adding a topper on top of the main mattress core creates a softer-feeling.
The Talalay method results in a softer-feeling mattress and is more expensive to produce. One method isn’t better than the other. Be guided by your firmness preferences.
4. How many pinholes?
Latex mattresses are punctuated by pinholes. This provides airflow, keeping the mattress cool and allowing moisture to escape.
They also contribute to the firmness of the mattress, with the size and number of pinholes impacting on the comfort and firmness.
Some latex mattresses arrange the pinholes differently in different parts of the mattress, providing areas of softness and firmness, while others have a uniform arrangement. Again, this comes down to personal preference and how much support your body needs.
5. Is it single layer latex mattress or multi-layer?
Some latex mattresses are one layer, while others consist of two or more layers. Multi-layer mattresses can be personalised to your comfort level. Different levels of softness and firmness can be stacked to create your ideal sleeping experience. These levels can be changed at any time, so you can try different combinations.
However, if these layers aren’t properly laminated together, they’ll shift and move, which means you’ll need to regularly restack and realign the layers. If you want to avoid this, a one-layer mattress may be a better choice.
6. What is the best latex mattress cover material?
Ensure that the latex mattress cover material is breathable, durable and flexible. Natural fibres, like cotton and wool, are better at wicking moisture and allowing airflow than synthetic materials.
The cover needs to be durable because a latex mattress can last over 10-15 years. A flexible fabric allows the latex to fully contour to your body.
This makes cotton and wool ideal choices. For the most natural cover, go for certified organic cotton which is free of chemical pesticides and dyes.