Advice sought for combining new mattress and topper

First time poster.

Firstly, thank you Phoenix for facilitating such a wonderfully useful resource in The Mattress Underground! In the two weeks I’ve been browsing the site, I have learned a great deal about what makes a good mattress and, just as importantly, unlearned some things I thought were fact. The best part is that it’s done here in an easy, un-hyped and non-promotional way. I genuinely feel like I’m getting not only good and accurate info about bedding but I’m getting it with little bias toward any particular manufacturer. That’s very welcome, especially after one has spent any time in one of the large brick and mortar vendors that sell mattresses.

I’m in the market for a queen latex mattress for myself and my wife. She is about 5’4” 130 pounds and I am 5’11” 240 pounds. We both prefer softer feeling mattresses. In fact, I just cannot sleep on a very firm mattress. On those occasions when we’ve stayed at the home of friends or in hotels that have firm mattresses, it’s been a poor night’s sleep for me.

To give you an idea of what feels good to me based on laying on some mattresses briefly last weekend:
Pure Latex Bliss Pamper – much too firm and unpleasant to me. PLB rates this a 5 on their plushness scale.
PLB Nature – firm but acceptable in the short-term at least. PLB rated at 8.
PLB World’s Best Bed – very plush and nice, spinal alignment seemed okay. PLB rated 10.
Pranasleep Vinyasa Firm – almost acceptable – perhaps a bit too firm
Pranasleep Vinyasa Plush – felt wonderful but too plush – poor spinal alignment

I’ve been impressed by what I’ve read about the quality and value of Dreamfoam Bedding’s Ultimate Dreams mattresses and am tending towards buying one of theirs. Up until yesterday, it was probably going to be their Eurotop model with the latex in their level 7, which I believe is 24 ILD. I would discuss it with their experts beforehand first, of course, because while my wife would probably love it, it might be so soft that I’d bottom out to the base foam. Buying the Eurotop would give me the advantage of changing out the latex if I found I’d ordered too firm or soft.

I say “Up until yesterday” because I had the good fortune of being able to purchase at a great price a barely-used PLB 3” all natural topper, which I believe is 14 ILD. So now the mattress I buy will be combined with the topper if it makes sense.

So Phoenix, I’m looking to bounce my current situation off of you and your site’s readers to get input. I’m guessing the topper combined with the UD Eurotop #7 and its 3 inches of 24 ILD would be too soft for me resulting in poor spinal alignment. Now that I have the topper, I’m also inclined to get the Ultimate Dream Ultra Plush mattress instead of the Eurotop and save a few hundred dollars. FWIW, PLB’s site indicates that their 3” topper combined with their mattress will raise the plushness rating by 3 on their scale; e.g a Pamper will feel more like an 8.

I welcome any feedback and thanks for reading.


Hi danielrhall,

Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile:

The first thing I would probably do is confirm whether the topper you have is the all natural (100% natural latex) or the natural (blended latex) version. Almost all of the PLB toppers are either the natural version (which uses blended latex) or the Active fusion fast response(with phase change gel) version. If it is really “all natural” talalay then it would probably be N1 which could be anywhere from 14 ILD to 20 ILD (it’s not as consistent as the blended) and in ILD’s that were this low would probably also be less durable than the blended Talalay.

I think that a 3" 14 ILD topper (blended) or N1 (100% natural) of almost any material would be fairly risky for someone of your weight and would probably be more suitable for your lighter wife. This would depend to some degree on your weight distribution and body profile which will determine how evenly you sink into a mattress. Some people also have a wider acceptable range of spinal alignment before they will notice both short and long term “symptoms” of sleeping out of alignment. A softer thicker topper will also be less durable with your higher weight … even with blended latex and especially with 100% natural latex and many manufacturers would hesitate to use it (especially in combination with other soft materials) for someone who was heavier. Many aren’t even comfortable with 19 ILD for higher weights … especially with thicker layers because the softening of a thicker layer will have a bigger effect.

In any case … from your preferences it’s clear as you mentioned that you prefer softer mattresses and if you are confident that you aren’t risking alignment issues then it may still be OK. I would make certain that you have tested for alignment though because alignment is not as easy to “feel” in a showroom (some suggestions for testing for alignment are in post #11 here).

I don’t know the details of the Pranasleep mattresses because they all use fairly thick polyfoam quilting layers on top of the latex (I don’t know the specs of the polyfoam they use) which will add some softness to any latex that they use regardless of ILD.

As far as I know … the old PLB Nature uses 2" of 19 ILD over a 1" 28 ILD. In the new models … the 1" layer is now 2" and the top layer is now Active Fusion fast response and the closest ILD to 19 ILD in this material would be 21 ILD which along with the thicker middle layer would likely produce a similar feel but I don’t know that for certain.

The “old” beautiful (again according to specs listed online) had 3" of 19 ILD and 2" of 24 ILD (which would be replaced by the Active Fusion fast response on top and an extra inch in the middle layer).

The World’s best bed has the same overall thickness as the Beautiful but has an extra inch of the softest material in the top layer and an inch less in the middle slightly firmer layer.

I would be tempted to test the Pamper (which has 2" of Active Fusion fast response on top which I would also assume is 21 ILD) with their 3" topper on top of it to see how well that worked for you. If it worked … then you would have some sense of how your topper would feel on a firmer mattress although even the Pamper has 2" of soft latex on top. I believe the Pamper used 40 ILD base foam (which is firmer than the other models and probably firmer than the ultimate Dreams as well).

The challenge for your higher weight with adding a 3" topper that is that soft is that it’s difficult to predict how much you will “go through” it and feel any firmer layers below it. In the case of the Ultimate Dreams … what you feel would depend on how much you “go through” the topper and the quilting layer combined and feel your choice of latex below this. The support layer is also polyfoam and probably doesn’t “match” the latex support layers of the PLB. The 1.5" quilting layer in the Ultimate Dreams would lower the effective ILD of the top layers compared to what the ILD of the latex itself would indicate.

So all in all … matching your topper/mattress combination to what you have tested would be more of an apples to oranges comparison with so many variables that you would be guessing more than anything else. I personally would tend to talk with Chuck about it (he will know more about how a very soft 3" topper may feel on the various choices and how much the quilting foam may affect this) but I would tend towards a fairly firm choice in the range of at least 32 and possibly higher because you are really choosing a transition layer between the comfort layers (your topper and the quilting foam) and the firmer support layer rather than a comfort layer itself which is what people would be choosing if they were going to sleep directly on the mattress itself. You will feel more of the latex layer ILD you choose than your wife because of your higher weight (she won’t “go through” the topper and the quilting foam as much if at all). Generally a mattress would be chosen before a topper and the topper would be chosen to fine tune the mattress based on how close it was to your pressure relief and alignment needs.

I wish I could be more accurate but unfortunately there are too many variables to do much more than guess.



Thanks for your helpful response. I called PLB today and what I have is indeed their all natural unblended latex topper rated at 14 ILD.

Regarding my mention of the PLB and Pranasleep mattresses that I tried…I’m not so much trying to match those beds’ feel exactly. I just wanted to give an idea of what felt good to me. BTW, it was the latest PLB mattresses that I tried out, at Hubbington’s Furniture (they are in Hampton and Barrington, NH). As I think you know, Sleepy’s, who have lots of stores in NH, are no longer a PLB dealer as of about six months ago.

I’ve heard back from Chuck at Dreamfoams Bedding and he shares the same concern you mentioned with using the topper on too-soft of a latex comfort level within the bed. Instead, the bed’s comfort level should be chosen such that it’s performing more as a transitional support layer. It’s his feeling that I’m only going to feel the topper and not the bed’s comfort layer anyway. He suggested their level 6 plushness, which is 28 ILD, or even a little bit firmer, which aligns with your recommendation of 32 ILD.

My initial hesitation with choosing just the Ultimate Dreams mattress without a topper is that I believe it would feel too firm to me unless I chose a very soft three inch comfort layer, and then with my weight I’d probably “go through” it. If I did still opt for the Eurotop, it would at least afford the opportunity to swap the comfort layer for something firmer if needed, but then that’s probably going to reduce my comfort. Regardless of which plushness I choose, I might just get the Eurotop anyway because that mattress also facilitates flipping the comfort layer as well as completely replacing it down the road and I like having those options. Presumably the base foam layer will outlast the comfort layer especially given the density of the UD support foam. I had wondered if the additional amount of base foam in the Eurotop added support or durability, but other posts I’ve read here indicate that Chuck has said the difference is aesthetical only.


Hi danielrhall,

Yes … the Eurotop does have this additional advantage of flipping and replacing the layer that will tend to wear out the fastest. I think that you will feel more than just the top 3" of the mattress … especially with a 14 ILD and your weight … but the topper along with the quilting layer would certainly be most of what you feel. The topper itself is the layer that would wear out the fastest and more quickly than the latex in the mattress itself though. The topper will increase the durability of the latex in the mattress by absorbing most of the mechanical stress from repeated compression.

The thicker layer does have one additional benefit that most people wouldn’t really feel but would come into play more with higher weights which is that it would compress from soft to firm a little more gradually which can be of some benefit for higher weights and sleeping styles … even if the “feel” would be the same. There is more about this in post #39 here.