Best Type/Size of Latex for Topper

I’m on information overload here. I’m looking to soften an overly firm Beautyrest Legend mattress. Right now i have a 2" dunlop latex topper (19 or 20 ILD) which i purchased from Walmart (Classic Brands made in China?). It felt a little squishy at first, but it was better than my mattress. It formed impressions pretty quickly and while it’s still better than my mattress, I’m getting a lot of pain in my back (herniated discs) when I sleep on my stomach. I’m generally a stomach/side sleeper. The topper has alleviated some of the shoulder pain I was getting when sleeping on my side. I was told that Walmart probably uses cheap latex and that’s why it failed so quickly. I’m looking to replace it, but want something that’s going to be comfortable and last. I have a king size bed, weigh approximately 190 lbs and my husband is 215. I don’t like an overly squishy feel - I need just enough to relieve pressure from my shoulders when side sleeping, and enough support for my back when stomach sleeping. One salesperson recommended a 3" 28 ILD dunlop - he said it would last longer than talalay with our weights. They didn’t sell a 2", so I’m wondering if a 2" would suffice. There seems to be a big difference in price between the 2" and the 3" and if I will be okay with one that costs less then I’d rather get the cheaper one. Also, wouldn’t a firmer talalay do the same thing? Some people claim that talalay is more durable, some say dunlop is. Some say 2" is good, some say 3". I’m so confused. I’ve spent so much $ trying to get comfortable.

Hi lotus65,

Part of the reason you will have so many different opinions about a topper is that nobody else can know for certain what type of topper will work best for you in combination with your mattress and your body type and sleeping positions. The same topper may work well on one mattress and not on another and for one person and not for another. In many cases it can involve some trial and error and making choices that have the “best odds” but just like anything else … “best odds” don’t always mean your choice will be successful.

Having said that … the topper guidelines here and the posts it links to have some guidelines that may be helpful in choosing a topper based on your experience on the mattress by itself and also includes some good sources for toppers.

If you are uncertain or have a history of multiple toppers that haven’t worked for you then it would be a good idea to take any return or exchange policies into account so that you still have options available if your topper/mattress combination isn’t a good match for you.

When you are a combination stomach/side sleeper it can be much more difficult to make a choice that is suitable for all your sleeping positions. Side sleepers need thicker/softer comfort layers to relieve pressure points but stomach sleeping is the most risky sleeping position and needs thinner and firmer comfort layers to prevent the pelvis from sinking in too far and sleeping in a swayback position. In these cases it’s generally best to have “just enough” thickness and softness in your mattress/topper combination to relieve pressure points on your side (and no more than absolutely necessary) so that there is less risk when you sleep on your stomach.

Your pillow may also be affecting you and stomach sleepers will generally be better with a much thinner pillow or no pillow at all. They can also benefit from using a thin pillow under their pelvis and lower abdomen when they are sleeping on their stomach.

A pillow that can be “scrunched” and made thicker or thinner can also be a good choice for people who sleep in multiple positions.

You can read more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here. Talalay and Dunlop have a different “feel” see post #7 here) and the choice between Talalay and Dunlop is mostly a preference choice rather than a “better/worse” choice.


Thank you for your reply. I did read the posts you referenced. Thank you for all of the information. I think my best bet might be to see if I can find a retailer in my area where i can actually feel what the difference is. I live in Long Island, New York and I think I came across a thread with retailers in NYC.

Would you tend to agree about the Walmart topper that it was probably made with cheap material? I’m concerned about longevity and durability of latex in general.

Hi lotus65,

The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in the Long Island area (with links to the NYC area as well) are in post #4 here. They include Talalay and Dunlop options that you can test (assuming they are in reasonable driving distance).

Latex in general is the most durable of all the foam materials and it has a long history of lasting decades in some cases (see the video here for one example).

I don’t know the specifics but I believe that the Classic Brands topper is blended Dunlop (partly synthetic and partly natural latex) which is usually less durable than 100% natural Dunlop when it’s made in a mold. It could also be connected to long periods of compression either in shipping or in a warehouse because Dunlop is more susceptible to this than Talalay. Finally it could also be that you received a defective product because even blended Dunlop should last much longer than yours appears to have lasted. How deep are the impressions when you put it on the floor (you can measure it with a straight edge or with a string stretched from side to side across the impression).

It’s important to check it on the floor or a firm flat surface because latex is very heavy and flexible so it could also be “following” or sinking into a soft spot in your mattress.


I don’t think it’s my mattress being that it’s a fairly new mattress, but I will check with the topper on the floor. I know it does still have indentations on the bottom third from being rolled up when I originally received it – so much so that if I flipped the topper around I would be able to feel the bumps with my upper body.

As to support and comfort, what is the difference between 2" and 3" (besides1"!)? I think I’ve found a topper I want to get, but there is a somewhat significant difference in price between the two. Would a 3" be as supportive, and alternatively, would a 2" be as good at relieving pressure points? I have issues with both - I need support for my lower back but my shoulders kill me if my sleep surface is too hard.

Hi lotus65,

That sounds like it was damaged during shipping or storage from being compressed and is defective.

With two toppers that are the same ILD (a measurement of the firmness level of the material) a thicker topper will be softer than a thinner topper. Thickness and firmness level both affect the softness of the topper. Softer toppers are more pressure relieving but more risky for alignment (they can allow the heavier parts of your body to sink down too far relative to the rest of your body which can put your spine out of alignment) while thinner toppers will keep you closer to the firmer support layers in your mattress but will be less pressure relieving. Different materials also compress differently and become firmer at different rates as they compress more deeply. There is more about the different specs that can affect softness and about the balance between the conflicting needs of pressure relief and support in post #4 here.

The key with adding a topper is that it is “just enough” in terms of thickness and softness (in combination with the softer foam that is already in the top layers of your mattress) to provide good pressure relief in your most pressure prone sleeping positions so the risk of alignment issues is lower.


Thanks for your help Phoenix…the “just enough” part is the tough part…I’ll figure it out eventually.

Hi lotus65,

Given that you are a stomach sleeper I would tend towards a little thinner (2" would be fairly “standard”) and given that you are on the heavier side I would probably tend towards the firmer side of the “soft” range. While there isn’t any formula you can use because of all the variables involved … this would be in the range of “a little to a fair bit” of extra softness.

I would also keep in mind that in most cases Talalay ILD’s would tend to be a little bit more accurate than Dunlop ILD’s and in a similar ILD range that Talalay will “feel” a little softer than Dunlop.

Of course each person can be different and the only real way to know if a topper will work for you would be to sleep on it but this would have reasonable odds of success.


Okay, so I just took my topper off of my mattress and laid it on the floor. The good news is it’s not so much my topper. Visually it looks pretty flat for the most part - slight indentations where we lay and at the bottom where it was rolled up. The bad news is it’s not my topper. I’ve had my Beautyrest Legend Firm since August of 2012 - roughly 1 1/2 years. It was my third “comfort exchange” from Sleepy’s, so I’ve been struggling to keep this one and stay comfortable. At first I though it was just me. I had back surgery in July of 2012 and thought maybe there was just no mattress that was ever going to be comfortable enough for me. I called it “princess and the pea syndrome.” After reading through this website and various others I see that I’ve probably just been making bad choices in mattresses.

After removing the topper this morning, I measured the indentations on my mattress. At first it was roughly 3/4". Then I laid on the mattress for 10 minutes and re-measured. That time it was 1 1/4" inches. I’m sure if I measured it after sleeping on it all night the measurement would be much higher. The weird thing is that despite the fact that my hips are sinking so low, the mattress is still too firm for my shoulders - I wake up in so much pain. So what to do now? After reading all of the complaints against Simmons, I know that they wouldn’t honor a warranty unless the impressions were more than 1 1/2" and even then it’s doubtful. After spending approximately $5,000+ between my current mattress and the comfort exchanges, the last thing my husband will want to hear after a year and half is that we need a new mattress. I’ve thought about cutting the mattress open and replacing the comfort layers with some higher quality latex, but not sure if that will save me much money over getting a new mattress in the long run.

Whoever it was that was considering the Beautyrest Legend Firm from Sleepy’s, I hope you didn’t end up getting one, and if you’re still considering it, DON’T DO IT.

Hi lotus65,

Unfortunately this is far too common in the industry with mattresses that use lower quality foams in the comfort layers where the foam softens and breaks down (without visual impressions) much too quickly. It’s one of the reasons I would always make sure you know the quality/density of all the foam in a mattress and I would also avoid the major manufacturers who either won’t disclose this information or who use lower quality materials than many other smaller more independent manufacturers.

The impressions would also need to be “unweighted” after the foam has had the chance to recover which is the one reason that so many warranty claims are rejected. There are also other exclusions in most warranties (such as even a small stain on a mattress) which will void a warranty. There is more about warranties in post #174 here. “Virtual impressions” and the loss of comfort and support due to foam softening is not considered to be a defect that is covered by a warranty unless it’s deeper than the warranty exclusion … even if it means that the mattress needs to be replaced.

While there are no “good” options for a mattress that has soft spots or is sagging … post #4 here has a few suggestions that may be helpful … at least on a partial or temporary basis.

That’s good advice … and I would also expand on it to include all the largest manufacturers or any mattress where you can’t confirm the quality of the comfort layers in the mattress.


I’ve been looking around a bit with regard to mattress surgery. It’s intriguing, but with all of the work and trial and error does it really save any money?

Hi Lotus,

If it’s successful it can save you a substantial amount vs buying a completely new mattress although your mattress won’t have a “finished” look to it.

If it’s not successful of course then it can cost the amount of the layers you purchase (although in some cases you may be able to re-use these either as part of a component mattress or as a topper on a new mattress).

There’s more about mattress surgery in post #2 here and the links it includes.