Confused about Latex

My husband and I are trying to figure out which mattress to purchase (it was easier to buy our house than to buy a mattress)!!! We have slept on my sister’s Stearns and Foster (a couple of years ago) and it was the best mattress we have ever slept on. I believe the new version of this mattress is the Villa Geovanna Plush Euro Pillowtop Luxury Latex sold by Macy’s. We have tried it out in the store and it feels so comfortable but I’m so confused about all the different types of latex (dunlop vs. talalay) and not sure what it’s made of and can’t seem to get a salesperson who knows the answer. It’s also horribly expensive $3,500 for King size). I have looked at another mattress made by Jamison bedding at a high end furniture (Verbargs in Cincinnati, OH). This mattress ($2,700) was also comfortable (I think made of talalay latex and some foam) but it didn’t have a Plush topper so it wasn’t quite as comfortable. Can you give me your opinion on why there is such a big price difference if they both are latex and if you know anything about the Stearns and Foster as well as the Jamison brand I’m speaking of?

Hi RooMacIV,

The first place I would suggest starting your research is post #1 here which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best choices … and avoid the worst ones.

Stearns & Foster is one of the brands I would avoid. Their luxury latex mattresses use a “smart latex” support core which is mostly synthetic latex (which is the lowest cost version of latex) but most importantly they use fairly thick layers of lower quality polyfoam over the latex core so you would be sleeping on polyfoam not latex. A mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials inside it and the polyfoam in the upper layers would be the weak link of the mattress and is subject to more rapid softening and breakdown than higher quality materials. The loss of comfort and support that comes from the softening and breakdown of lower quality foam materials isn’t covered by a warranty. I would avoid any brand (major manufacturers in particular) where you aren’t able to find out the quality of the materials in the mattress. Without this information you won’t be able to make meaningful comparisons or make informed buying decisions.

You can read a little more about the different types of latex in this article and in post #6 here.

I would avoid Stearns and Foster completely and brand shopping is really not a meaningful way to shop for mattresses. All manufacturers can use the same or similar materials inside their mattresses. Outside of your own personal testing for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) to make sure the mattress is suitable for your body type and sleeping positions, knowing the quality of the materials inside a mattress is the only way to make meaningful quality and value comparisons between mattresses. you can’t feel the quality of the materials when you are lying on the mattress in a showroom because lower quality and higher quality can feel the same. The difference is that lower quality materials soften, compress, or break down much more rapidly.

You can read more of my thoughts about Jamison in post #2 here but in general they would be better quality/value than the major brands. A forum search on Jamison (you can just click this) will bring up many more posts that mention them or some of their mattresses.

Since you mentioned Cincinnati … some of the better options and possibilities in the area I’m ware of are listed in post #212 here.

Higher prices and lower quality materials in similar budget ranges is typical of major brands and is part of the reason I would suggest avoiding them. They advertise much more and dominate the market through their massive presence in chain stores and mainstream retailers and most consumers don’t know how to make meaningful comparisons when they purchase a mattress so most people end up buying a mattress based on brand and “showroom feel” alone without regard to the quality of the materials in the mattress.


Hi RooMacIV!

Is it ok to discuss prices here? I’m no expert, but I have been shopping around for natural (dunlop) latex mattresses (King). I know that I found a couple of companies offering 9" king size with really nice organic cotton/wool quilted covers for under $2400.

And they throw in complementary latex pillows :slight_smile:

$3500 seems high for just a mattress. We elected to “build our own” out of components to further save $$$. Waiting for delivery of our latex cores & cover! So excited!!!

Hi buttercupbety,

Absolutely :slight_smile:

SleepEz is a member here which means I think very highly of them and that they compete well with the best in the industry.

I also think highly of Brandon at Sleeping Organic (sleepingorganic) who is also very knowledgeable and helpful and is also a member here.

Once you know the materials that are in a mattress (in the case of latex the type and blend of the latex and the details of the cover) you are in a much better position to make apples to apples comparisons and evaluate the “value” of a mattress purchase based on your personal value equation which is all the objective, subjective, and intangible factors that are most important to you in a mattress purchase. In the case of the two you mentioned you are certainly choosing between “good and good” which means a final choice can be difficult (which is a lot better position to be in than when a final choice is easy because one mattress is clearly lower quality or value).

That’s especially true when $3500 buys you a lower quality mattress with a less flexible and customizable design than the $2400 :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your feedback when you receive everything.


We went to one of the stores that you suggested (Snuggles in Florence, KY) and the man (Mark Roberts) was very knowledgeable and patient with us. They didn’t have any 100% latex mattresses but they did have one Jamison (Marriott collection with latex and foam) but it was not that comfortable. They also had another brand (Boyd) that was a mixture of foam and latex. Have you ever heard of this company and do you have an opinion?? We thought the mattress was comfortable but a little pricey ($3399). We went back to Verbarg’s in Cincinnati and are leaning towards the Lady Lark by Jamison (10 inches of latex (and 2 inches of foam). The cost is $2658. I really miss the feeling of a pillow top (like the one on the Stearns and Foster) but i’m, staying away from that company after additional research. If we go with the Jamison, can you suggest a topper that would make sense and not require me to spend that much more money but still get that comfy pillow top feel?

Thank you so much for your advice. Your website is amazing, truly amazing!!! :wink: I’m astounded at the lack of knowledge most salespeople have when it comes to mattresses!

Hi RooMacIV,

Regardless of the name of the manufacturer … a mattress is only as good as the quality of its construction and the specifics of the materials inside it so I would need to know the details of the materials in the mattress to make any meaningful comments about it. I would be a little careful though about the Boyd mattresses because some of them use a material called “engineered latex” which isn’t latex at all but polyfoam which has been fabricated to “feel” like latex. On the face of it it seems that this would be on the pricey side if it was a polyfoam/latex hybrid. A forum search on “Boyd” (you can just click this) will bring up many more comments about them.

I’m not sure what size you are looking at or if it includes a foundation but if you do decide to go in this direction I would make some good value comparisons with other similar mattresses in the area or online.

The “feel” of a mattress is subjective and there isn’t a formula that can be used to choose a topper but there are some topper guidelines and links to other posts that may be helpful in post #8 here. It’s normally more effective and less risky to choose a mattress that already matches your needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) because choosing a topper that you haven’t tested in combination with the mattress it will be used on can be almost as difficult as choosing a mattress because there are so many unknowns, variables, and preferences involved. I would keep in mind that the most important part of a mattress purchase is that it provides you with good alignment and pressure relief in all your sleeping positions and “feel” is the subjective part that is unique to each person. The more soft foam or other materials you add to the top of a mattress the greater the risk of alignment issues.