Coils, Memory Foam & Latex, oh my! Need some suggestions.

Hi Phoenix,

First, I want to thank you for the wealth of information on this site - it is truly amazing and incredibly helpful for weary mattress shoppers.

Here is my situation, which has many facets of questions and confusion involved!

My husband and I are in the market for a king size mattress. We are both relatively small people: I am 5’4" and 115 lbs, he is 5’8" and 175 lbs. I am a tosser - I sleep primarily on my side and stomach, but sometimes on my back. He sleeps primarily on his side and back. We both wake up with upper back pain, and recently I’ve been having neck pain as well. We have been sleeping on regular coil mattresses, and after having a 5-year old Simmons replaced under warranty for sagging (it really started sagging after only 3 years), we are rather put off of coil mattresses. We are tired (pun intended) of not getting quality sleep due to our mattress, and want to make the best choice possible, especially if we will be spending well over $1,000 for a mattress.

My husband is convinced he wants memory foam, and I was too after a friend jumped on the Tempurpedic bandwagon early on and declared his love for it. However, my husband and I both sleep hot, and this is a big concern for me with memory foam. I am also concerned about the off-gassing - we have memory foam pillows that I could not sleep on for about a month because of the odor. My husband bought the gel/foam sales pitch of the iComfort line, and is convinced that is the mattress he wants. I think he is just tired of shopping and just ready to finally make a purchase (we have been sleeping in the guest room of our new house for 6 months!).

I think I am leaning toward latex, mainly because of my experience with a latex pillow growing up and what I have read on this site about durability. However, after reading about the local/regional options in my area (Raleigh, NC), it seems they are pretty limited for testing. I am having a tough time figuring out a way to test mattresses locally and translate my findings to possibly ordering online from one of the members of this site. Do you have any suggestions for me? I will likely check out Original Mattress Factory and the Healthy Back Store. I am hesitant to try The Organic Bedroom, because they bill themselves as a luxury outlet, and I fear falling in love with something I have no hope of being able to afford! But perhaps I can get some ideas? How should I approach this?

Additionally, my husband has declared that he is done shopping for mattresses and is not willing to test any others, even though he has not had a chance to try a latex mattress (the only latex mattress I have had a chance to try so far was from RoomandBoard). I have tried explaining the benefits of latex, but he is just done.

A few other questions:

I like the idea of the latex mattresses that have layers that can be changed, but my husband just wants someone to bring the mattress in, set it up and be done. How difficult is it to assemble a king size mattress that is shipped in layers? We would have to bring it to the second floor through a stairway with a low ceiling.

Also, our bed is a platform bed from Room and Board with steel slats/beams. The slats are about 2.5" wide and 4" apart - would we need additional support? The bed is designed to not require a foundation for the mattresses Room and Board sells, but I don’t know if it would be sufficient to satisfy a warranty for other mattresses.

I know this is a lot, but I thank you in advance for any feedback you can provide!

I stopped off at Original Mattress Factory on my way home and tried out their latex mattresses. The Latex Supreme was definitely too soft for our tastes. The Latex Foam mattress was better, but still seemed a little on the soft side to me. Their website indicates that their support core is 30-34 ILD, so I’m guessing that we will probably need something a bit higher ILD with a comfort layer? I’m also not exactly a fan of the polyfoam quilting as this seems like a weak link.

I’m feeling quite overwhelmed by all of the information and things to consider.

Hi dlireland,

I believe that a mattress is one of the most important purchases you can make and I don’t know of any other furniture purchase that can have as big an effect on your overall well being over the next decade or so. Because of this I think it’s important to do some initial research and some local testing to find the best possible quality and value that will fit your needs and preferences (for both of you). No matter how fatigued he may be with shopping … that’s not nearly as fatiguing as sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t match your needs and preferences for many years … or having to start all over again far too soon because your choice doesn’t turn out to be suitable or lacks durability.

There is a step by step set of guidelines here about how to find the best possible mattress for you (which I’m guessing you’ve already read) but it seems to me that you have an even more important step that needs to come before these which is agreeing between you what needs to be done next and unfortunately I can’t help you with that one :).

As I see it you have several options.

  1. Buying the mattress that your husband wants and paying the price both in terms of the initial cost of your purchase (it’s not very good value because of the materials in it) or in terms of how long it may last you and keep its comfort and support.

  2. Both of you test mattresses together so that if you test other materials (such as latex) or look for a memory foam or gel memory foam mattress with better quality/value that you both know it’s what you want. It doesn’t seem like he wants to do any further testing though based on your comments.

  3. Agree between you that you will choose the mattress. This to me is also risky because your husband may not like your choice (latex and memory foam are very different) and then you once again are in a quandry about what to do next.

The components come in several boxes and while latex is heavy … it is no problem for two people and it would go up stairs and around corners under low ceilings without any problem. The assembly process is also straight forward and any two people should have no problem with it.

I would never buy a mattress on the same day as you are doing any testing so you can check to see if something similar is available to you with significantly better value either locally or online. All your local testing can be valuable whether you make a purchase there or not. The Organic Bedroom has some good latex options but they will also likely be significantly higher priced than similar options that are available online (or perhaps others that are available locally as well) so you can test mattresses there and then compare what they carry to other local and online options. Local is always “safer” than online and is well worth a “premium” IMO but if the premium is too high and they are significantly higher than other similar mattresses that are available online (I use a general guideline of about 20% but of course this is up to each person) then your local testing there can also help you make better choices.

IMO … the gaps are a little bit too far apart for a latex core but should be fine for mattresses that have a non latex core. They would be OK for the short term but in the longer term its better to have something more supportive underneath to prevent the latex from compressing into the gaps. Something like this could make a good choice between the bed and the mattress to even out the support or you could add some extra slats if that was possible.

They put their mattresses on an active box spring which will make them feel softer than they would on a firm slatted foundation. It may be worthwhile testing these on one of their adjustable beds or a firm surface that was rigid like your bed because it will likely change the feel.

The 1" quilting layer is not really thick enough to be a “weak link” because it is already very soft and further softening with a layer this thin wouldn’t have any real effect. My general guideline for a quilting layer is that in the range of an inch is usually fine. Thicker than that (2" or more) is when softening can lead to alignment issues.

So hopefully you have the chance to do some further testing but most importantly decide between you what the “best” next step is so that both of you are on the same page and that he’s OK with sleeping on a mattress that uses material that he’s never tried (or perhaps agrees to try one or two latex mattresses) … even if you end up doing most or all the legwork :).


Thanks for your detailed response! I have talked my husband into doing some testing :cheer: , and today is the day due to our very busy schedules lately. We’re going to Original Mattress Factory (I’ll ask to try the mattress on a solid foundation), Healthy Back Store, and The Organic Bedroom if we have time.

Do you know anything about the Celsion material in the Healthy Back Store’s Bliss Pure Latex mattresses? The say that it is “a temperature regulating material which absorbs heat and disperses it later to perpetually keep you at an ideal temperature as you sleep.” It sounds great, but I am wondering if it actually works, if it is something that you would in fact want in a latex mattress, and if it has a strong initial chemical odor. These mattresses look to be a fairly good local option, but I haven’t really seen anything like Celsion offered in other latex mattresses I have been researching.

Also, I think that the iComfort Genius was the model that we liked in terms of firmness. Again, I’m not a fan of sleeping “in” a mattress, so I’m leaning toward latex instead of memory foam. Do you have suggestions for layering in a latex mattress that would produce a similar feel as the Genius (without the sinking in, of course)?

If our local options don’t suit our budget, I am thinking we might go with a online source such as Sleep EZ. They seem to have a good value in our price range, and the layer exchange policy seems to be fair in case we need to utilize that.

Thanks, again!

Hi dlireland,

Celsion is the old name for what is now called Talalay GL fast response by the manufacturer Latex International. It is also used in the Pure Latex Bliss mattresses and they now call it “Active Fusion” fast response. It contains a phase change gel that is added as microcapsules in the latex to add to the natural temperature regulating ability of Talalay latex.

Phase change materials are one of the three main cooling technologies that are used in mattresses which you can read more about at the end of post #4 here.

While Celsion (Talalay GL fast response) is effective as a layer (and Talalay latex is already among the most breathable types of foam) … the temperature regulation of a whole mattress (as opposed to a single layer) will depend on a combination of many factors including how deeply you sink into the mattress, how closely the material rises up and conforms to your body, the breathability of the layers in your mattress, the type of material used, the ticking and quilting of the mattress, the type of mattress protector you use, and the type of sheets and bedding you use, and of course on the person themselves and environmental conditions. All of these have a cumulative effect. You can read more about the factors that can affect the sleeping temperature of a mattress in post #2 here.

In other words … it can be one piece of the puzzle but its cooling effects (or in this case temperature regulating effects because it affects temperature in both directionis) can be either enhanced or diminished by the other layers and components of the mattress or bedding you use and by your choice of softness/firmness.

Talalay latex has a kind of “sweet” smell when it is new that some people have likened to vanilla and other to “sugar cookies” and all types of Talalay latex are Oeko-Tex standard 100 class 1 certified (safe for close contact with babies) for harmful ingredients and offgassing.

Memory foam and latex are about as different as two materials can be so one can’t really be translated into another. The “feel” and firmness of the Genius comes more from the very firm polyfoam layer underneath the gel memory foam than it does from the gel memory foam on top so I would use your personal testing on latex mattresses as a better reference point than the “feel” of a memory foam mattress where the layering uses completely different materials and firmness levels.

Online manufacturers can act as a great “value reference” for a local purchase as long as you are comparing apples to apples. I have often suggested that a “premium” in the range of 20% for a local mattress that is similar may be a good guideline in terms of comparable value because a local purchase is less risky (you can test the specific mattress you are buying for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) and you also have the value of local “real time” guidance (if the retailer is a good one like Healthy Back) but of course the actual number where it is worth considering an online purchase vs. a local purchase would depend on each person’s “value equation”.


Hi, Dlireland. Question: as you have a RoomandBoard platform bed, you presumably had one of their mattresses – wondering why you were dissatisfied? We have a R&B memory foam mattress and platform bed, and we’re very satisfied.

copyace: We do not have, and have never had, a RoomandBoard mattress. We purchased the bed from them as a new bedroom set (moved from a 1br to a 2br), so we did not have a mattress for this bed at any point. We did not purchase a mattress from them because my husband was not able to travel to a store to try them out (the closest store is a 5 hour drive or a plane ride away). I’m sure if we had one of their mattresses we wouldn’t have a problem with warranty, but even they sell platform boards for their beds - I only wish I had known how far apart the slats were before purchase so I could have taken that into consideration. It is not a huge deal as there are work arounds. We might just build our own platform boards since the cost to ship R&B’s platform boards to us would double their cost.

We spent a lot of time at the Healthy Back Store and have decided that latex is a bit too springy for our tastes. I felt as though I was engaging alot of muscles to balance on my side on the latex model that was there, and we both felt pressure points coming through. The staff threw a latex topper on the bed that made the pressure points a bit better, but the springy feel was still a little off-putting. My husband really didn’t like the feel at all, and there was more motion transfer that he desired. We tried out a few of the Tempurpedic mattresses, and we both really like the Tempur-Cloud Supreme Breeze. This model seems to have a faster response foam in the comfort layer that I actually liked, and we both felt great pressure relief and alignment on this mattress.

Healthy Back staff has offered us some nice incentives to purchase from them, and we are leaning in that direction. With these incentives, their return policy, and the fact that they are local, we think that the cost is worthwhile.

Hi dlireland,

I also believe that a local purchase and testing has “value” and this is especially true when you are dealing with a better retailer that has the knowledge and experience to help you make good choices. All my dealings with various Healthy Back outlets have been good ones in terms of their level of knowledge and openness and their willingness to help and it’s good to see that your research and “value equation” includes the objective factors of the mattress materials as well as the more subjective and intangible factors that can be just as important.

Have you tried their Sleep System memory foam mattresses? I don’t know the specs of the foam they use (which I’m fairly certain they would give you) but I would suspect that they are better value than the Tempurpedics if one of them “fits” your needs and preferences. While there is no doubt about the quality of the Tempurpedics (except for the Simplicity line which uses low quality memory foam) … they carry a significant premium compared to many other memory foam mattresses that use similar quality materials and have similar performance and benefits.


It is interesting that you mentioned the Healthy Back Sleep System memory foam mattresses. We did not test them in the store because we did really like the cooling aspect of the Breeze line. However, when I called to order our mattress today, the staff mentioned that the manufacturer may not be able to deliver the size we need prior to when we need it, so now we are considering the Healthy Back Sleep System 10. I will probably go by the store to test it this evening. The staff mentioned that we could always use their exchange policy to get the Tempurpedic if we ended up not liking the other mattress. There is a significant price difference, so it would be to our advantage for that mattress to work out!

I will try to find out the specs of the Healthy Back mattress and report back so you can have the information for future reference.