All latex mattress: # of layers for higher BMI, topper for pillowtop feel


First of all, thanks to TMU for turning the mattress-shopping experience from something I hated more than car shopping to something that’s still a bit exhausting but in a productive way. I’ve especially been happy with the conversations I’ve had with several TMU trusted members. That said, there are two subjects on all-latex mattress configurations where I’ve encountered some disagreement between companies, so I’m reaching out to the site experts and/or other users with experience for some extra guidance

  1. Our BMI’s are 25.8 (185 lbs) for a 100% side sleeper, and 40.6 (275 lbs) for a 60/40 side/back sleeper. One place said that a 10" mattress would be more than thick enough, while another said that higher BMI and weight is well into the range where a 13" is more appropriate to avoid support issues. A 10" mattress would be well within our initial preferred price range, while a 13" is teetering on the edge of our max price. Any input on the suitability of a 10" mattress for that higher BMI? Would I be compromising support, or have we moved beyond that and more into a question of personal preference?

  2. We tried out a few latex mattresses in person at the only store anywhere near us with multiple latex options. We both liked a 14" with a Talalay pillowtop (Savvy Rest, Unity Pillowtop). This makes sense since we’ve always had pillowtop mattresses, including the S-brand euro pillowtop we currently have that is WAY too old. Unfortunately the variety in the showroom was not enough to eliminate some variables, particularly that 10" vs. 13/14" debate as well as the pillowtop vs. single cover layout. One place said that turning the top layer of the mattress into a topper to simulate the pillowtop is ideal for those coming from standard pillowtops. Another place said it would be preferable to have all the layers in one cover, and that as long as that top layer is soft enough it’s not recommended to have the separate topper. I’ve read here and other places that an unattached topper would better recreate that pillowtop feeling of being surrounded by the bed, but that does seem counterproductive to the floating sensation you’re supposed to get from latex. Is there any feedback from former pillowtop owners sleeping on a non-pillowtop latex mattress and still getting a sufficient plush feeling?

Also, going back to my first question, how likely is it that the fourth layer in that 14" mattress we liked would impact that initial comfort feeling we had during a short trial?

Thanks again, TMU!

Hey jkr19,

Welcome to the Mattress Underground :slight_smile: ! Thanks for your question.

Congrats on your new mattress shopping journey, jkr19 :slight_smile: ! Thanks for your kind words on the site, we are always happy to hear when consumers find the articles and resources to be helpful. I’m also glad to know that you are reaching out to several of our trusted memberswith questions for your mattress purchase research as they have many years of experience pairing users with materials and constructions best suited for their needs. While each manufacturer may express some differing points of view, please consider that they are deeply knowledgeable with the components of their specialty and that not all latex foams are sourced from the same suppliers and may have slightly differing densities/ ILDs and “feel”. With that said, let’s review your questions.

Thanks for including a bit of both of your personal statistics for consideration. Either a 10" or 13" thickness may be suitable for you both but without knowing more of the mattress’s construction, it’s difficult to answer your question. The basic functions of a mattressare to provide you with comfort in terms of pressure relief and support to provide proper spinal alignment. A latex mattress’s layers are composed of different degrees of both softness and firmness in the comfort and support layers. These degrees of softness or firmness is measured in either ILD for Talalay latex or density for Dunlop latex, with the lower numbers being softer/ more plush and the higher numbers being firmer/ more dense. With your question of the “suitability of a 10” latex mattress vs. a 13" one, what layering construction/ what latex foam(s) are you considering for each? Will you be using your current foundation or replacing it with a new one?

Good job on making store visits and testing mattresses, jkr19 :slight_smile: ! I’m happy to hear that you have COVID-safe showrooms in your area as being able to feel and experience a variety of mattresses gives you a better reference point when narrowing down your choices. It isn’t unusual to find a smaller number latex demo models as they are quite expensive to have on the floor. That’s good news that you did find in the 14" mattress with a Talalay pillowtop something similar in feel to your current “WAY too old” S-brand euro pillowtop for comparison.

The choice of having all layers combined into a single cover vs. use of a separate mattress pillow top is really a matter of personal comfort and asthetics, jkr19. The type cover used may influence the ability to feel the latex somewhat, as well as how soft/ plush the uppermost layer feels. When you mention that “One place said that turning the top layer of the mattress into a topper to simulate the pillowtop is ideal for those coming from standard pillowtops”, do you prefer the more traditional feel of a sewn-in mattress pillowtop? This construction differs in that there are padding layers sewn into the top surface of the mattress above the comfort layer. Is your current S-brand euro pillowtop an innerspring mattress? Another difference between an innerspring mattress and all latex is the type edge support used in the support core.

Using an unattached mattress pillow top could be a good way to go if you want a more plush feel or to feel more of the latex’s natural air circulation properties and responsiveness. Also, a separately enclosed comfort layer offers the ability to either upgrade or update your mattress’s comfort feel later, lengthening the life of your mattress setup. You would have the same option with an all-layers enclosed mattress too, providing a zippered cover is used. Do either of you have a preference for a certain firmness or plushness in the upper comfort layers?

Each inch of a higher quality material added in the comfort layer adds that much more comfort to the “feel” of the mattress, as well as adds durabilityto the comfort layer’s construction. With latex being one of the highly quality/ most durable materials either in a mattress’s comfort layer or support core, your choice between a 14", a 13" or a 10" mattress will depend on what your comfort and support preferences are. Hopefully, this helps some and perhaps other consumers who may be following your post will drop in and offer some of their experiences as well :wink: .

Good luck with your research and share your updates when you have time.