Down the Rabbit Hole I Go!

First off, Phoenix, thank you! This site is a tremendous resource and great help to many, including myself.


-I’m 6’1", 200 lbs and my girlfriend in 5’7" 115 lbs.
-We’re looking for a new mattress, and we have decided on a latex hybrid king.


  1. In researching, I discovered the Casper and, being local to NYC, we tried it out the other day. We both liked it, but I want to make sure we’re getting the best quality - not just a good deal and durability. After doing more digging, while Casper is certainly a “hip” company (Ashton Kutcher backs this marketing machine with sleek box packaging, e.g.) with what I would consider a decent product (Dunlop latex?), particularly for the price, I understand there are other online options (Tuft and Needle, Brooklyn Bedding, etc.). The Casper king runs $950.

  2. Our friend recommended we visit a local mattress company which also happens to be a member of your The Underground. They had a few 11" latex hybrids, each with 6" Talalay over 5" poly.
    a. My girlfriend preferred their plush (28 ILD over 36 ILD) while I preferred the soft (36 ILD over 28 ILD). The salesmen said she might want to try it with a mattress topper, but neither of us our big fans (it seems like it defeats the purpose of PPP, a bit…)
    b. More importantly, after just 15 minutes of trying these latex hybrids, my girlfriend made a comment about a smell in the showroom making her sick. She then told me she was having difficulty breathing and had to leave the store for fresh air; she was coughing and became lightheaded. VOCs perhaps?? I was quoted a price of $3,199.

  3. Going back to #1, I’m looking now more at Brooklyn Bedding and, specifically, the Aloe Alexis. It seems to have a “better” 7" poly base than Casper (2.17 lb vs. 1.8 lb) and more options for interchange with the two 3" latex layers (Is this a good thing? Should a mattress by configurable? Does it affect durability?) The price is $1,699.

  4. Finally, and for good measure, earlier tonight my girlfriend stumbled upon Marriott’s site (we’re both huge Marriott fans and love their - er, Jamison’s beds). They have an annual sale now at 30% off so their “Marriott Foam Bed (9” deep foam mattress with a 10-1/2" box spring)" runs $1,575. I’ve asked them for more details, but from what I gather it’s their standard “7” High Resiliency Ultra Premium Core used in the finest hotels worldwide" with a “Quilted to 1 1/2” Super Soft Convoluted Foam & 1" Hypersoft & Safe Slumber Quilting Fiber" or similar comfort layer…

So, I’m not really any further along. My thoughts are that Casper (#1) is a solid option, but it mainly geared toward the “conscientiousness consumer” - not someone like me who will spend whatever it takes to get the best. Having said that, why would I spend an extra $1k for a bed that makes my partner sick (#2)? Brooklyn Bedding (#3) seems like a good option, but are there others? And should I consider Marriott / Jamison in that mix?

And down the rabbit hole I go. I fully understand this is a personal decision and needs to be weighed on my own PPP scale, but I’m hoping you might be able to provide me some more considerations / details to each of the points above so I can pull the trigger with a bit more confidence.

Many thanks!

Hi idlewild,

Hopefully you’ve had the chance to read the tutorial post which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible choice.

Yes … there are many local and online options that may all be good choices for you but the goal of course is to decide on which ones are the “best for you” out of all the ones that are available for you to consider. If you follow the steps of the tutorial post then you will end up with some finalists that would all be good choices based on the criteria that are most important to you rather than making a decision based more on marketing information than anything else or without having a frame of reference to compare them. That’s not to say that the Casper wouldn’t be a good choice or even the “best” choice for you … only that you won’t know until you have some other qood quality/value mattresses to compare it with so you have a wider frame of reference. There is more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that may be helpful. “Hip” will have little to do with how well you sleep. :slight_smile:

Casper is an “all or nothing” choice because they only have one mattress. If it’s a better match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences), the quality and durability of the materials, and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are important to you than any other mattress that you are considering then this wouldn’t matter but any single mattress will only be the “best” choice for a small percentage of the population, a “good” choice for a slightly larger percentage, and an “OK” choice for a larger percentage yet so it depends on whether you are confident that it’s “the best” or a “good” or an “OK” choice for you compared to any other mattresses you are considering.

The good news is that they have a very good return policy so even though they don’t have any other options available … you would have the chance to try it and decide on whether you are in the percentage where it would be the “best” choice or perhaps at least a “better” choice for you compared to your other finalists. If it’s not then you can return it and choose another mattress.

PPP is always about a sleeping system and it would make little difference whether it’s a mattress or a mattress/topper combination if you are in good alignment and have good pressure relief in all your sleeping positions, and it also is a good match for all your other personal preferences in terms of how it “feels” and “sleeps”. In other words there is really no such thing as “defeating the purpose of PPP”. A topper also has the advantage of being replaceable without having to replace the entire mattress if your needs or preferences change down the road or if it softens or breaks down before the rest of the mattress (the top layers of a mattress are generally the weakest link of any sleeping system whether they are inside the mattress cover or outside it).

You can see my comments about this in both of my replies in the other topic you posted in here. I would be concerned if this had happened to me as well and something similar actually did with a memory foam topper I purchased at one time … (see here) although I don’t know why I was sensitive to that particular topper and not to other types of memory foam that I have had no issues with.

The materials in the Alexis are higher quality, more durable, and more costly materials than the materials in the Casper mattress (they use blended Talalay latex which is a more costly material than synthetic latex and both are more durable than 4 lb memory foam). As you mentioned it uses a higher quality/density and more durable polyfoam in the base layer as well. Although the base layer isn’t normally the weakest link in a mattress in terms of durability … it can still make some difference, especially for those that are in higher weight ranges. Most “should and shouldn’t” questions are more about your own personal preferences than anything else and they depend on whether they would be a good thing for you. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here and there is also more about all the variables that can affect durability and the useful life of a mattress relative to each person in post #4 here and the posts it links to.

If for example you know that you prefer sleeping on talalay latex compared to other types of foam materials or combinations then if you have a latex mattress that needs to be fine tuned for firmness/softness but you know that it’s just a matter of changing the firmness level and not a matter of changing the material to something else because you know you prefer Talalay latex then having the ability to exchange layers for a different firmness gives you the ability to make firmness changes to the mattress without having to start all over again and find another mattress that uses the same materials in a different firmness level. Having one layer that you can exchange can often be all you need but in the case of the Alexis you can rearrange the layers or change either the top layer (which is more about pressure relief) or the middle layer (which can have some effect on both pressure relief and support as well). In other words … it would be a matter of whether you preferred to be able to return a mattress and find another one that was similar in a different firmness level or you would prefer the ability to fine tune it. Component layers also give you the ability (like a topper) to replace individual layers down the road instead of replacing the complete mattress. Which one was best for you would depend on the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you. If a mattress was perfect from the start then it wouldn’t matter much (outside of being able to replace individual layers down the road) but if you sleep on the mattress and you discovered that it wasn’t ideal for you then it’s a great option to have available. It would be something like having the ability to choose between several different mattresses that were the same design and used the same materials but have different firmness levels based on your actual sleeping experience rather than your “in store” testing.

The same value guidelines would apply here. The most important part would be how this mattress compared in terms of PPP and the materials you prefer to sleep on. The second most important part would be to know the type and quality of all the materials in the mattress (see this article) so you can identify any weak links in the mattress. In this case I would be very cautious about the 2 1/2 inches of polyfoam and the fiber in the top layers of this mattress and I would make sure that you find out the density because it’s very likely that this would be a weak link in the mattress in terms of durability (the guidelines I would use are “no more than about an inch or so” of lower quality/density or unknown quality materials in a mattress). Buying a mattress where there is more than about an inch or so of lower quality or questionable materials can be very risky because lower quality materials can soften quickly and you can lose the comfort and/or support that was the reason you purchased the mattress in the first place much more quickly than a mattress that uses higher quality materials … and the loss of comfort and support isn’t covered by a warranty (see post #174 here).

While it’s certainly a “better than average” choice compared to most mainstream mattresses that most consumers would otherwise end up purchasing … a mattress that is marketed as “one size fits all” is mostly geared to consumers that are in a hurry and don’t have the time or wish to make careful comparisons based on all the criteria that may be most important to them or those where finding the “best” match for them may not be as important as finding something that is “good enough”. It could still end up being the “best choice” for you but for most people the attraction of this type of mattress would be more about the simplicity of shopping for a mattress that was “probably good enough” than it would be about finding the best for them.

I can’t tell you which mattress would be best for you and only you can answer these types of questions based on all the criteria that are most important to you but once you have read the tutorial post and the links in this reply you will be in a much better position to know “how” to choose between any of your finalists. If you can’t identify a reason that any particular mattress is “worth” $1000 more then for you it probably wouldn’t be. You have many good options available to you either locally (see post #2 here) or online (there are links to several lists of the better online options I’m aware of in the tutorial post) but you will always be the only one that can make a final choice between them. Hopefully this reply (which included many of the links in the tutorial post just to give you a “sample”) will be helpful :slight_smile:


Thank you for the detailed reply.

I’m leaning more toward to Aloe Alexis now (Marriott/Jamison less due to unknown, Casper due to “one size” and lower comparable quality, and my local mattress shop due to price / potential health issues).

Further questions:
In researching Brooklyn Bedding:

  1. I noticed that you can split the king mattress so that one partner can change the firmness compared to another. To me, this is pretty poor and would lower the quality of the mattress overall. (I spoke with a salesman that told me to make sure I’m getting a non-bonded / single piece of latex).
    a) Is this true (does splitting a king mattress to accommodate different preferences “cheapen” the mattress or in any way affect the quality)?
    b) Do you know if Brooklyn Bedding ships non-bonded latex?

  2. I came across some pretty disturbing Yelp reviews here that make me question both their product and customer service. What other companies offer a similar business model (high quality, online-only / lower cost) and product line (latex) that I should consider? Money is not an object.

Thanks again!

Hi idlewild,

The option to have a different design on each side of a mattress is a significant benefit to many couples that have different needs and preferences and in no way lowers the quality or durability of the mattress. As you can see in the first part of post #2 here it is one of the most effective ways of designing a mattress that a couple doesn’t have to compromise on their firmness choices in terms of PPP.

No … it’s not true and it would be the other way around. It would be an option that for people who need it would increase the value of the mattress. There is also more about the pros and cons of split layers in post #2 here but the salesperson you were talking to was giving you some misleading information (probably because they don’t offer a side to side split mattress).

It depends on the type of latex you are talking about. All Talalay is made in either twin XL or queen molds so other sizes (such as king) would be two pieces glued together. The glue that is used is an elastic latex based glue that is very strong and durable and is undetectable (see post #2 here). Molded Dunlop on the other hand often is often made in larger mold sizes (such as king) and the layers won’t have a glue seam. Continuous pour Dunlop also is made on a belt in larger sizes and also wouldn’t have a glue seam although both of these will usually have a glue seam in cal king sizes. In king sizes they offer either split layers for those who would prefer it or a single layer.

As you can see in post #13 here I pay very little attention to mattress reviews (either good or bad) because they will tell you little to nothing about whether a mattress is suitable for you or the durability or useful life of a mattress. I took a look at the yelp reviews you linked and since there are only 5 of them (out of many thousands of mattresses they have sold with an exceptionally high percentage of satisfied customers) I will share some more detailed comments about them.

Two of them are 5 stars and are happy with their mattress (which would also be the case with an unusually high percentage of their customers but other people experiences also won’t tell you whether any mattress would be the “best” match for you).

One is 4 stars and is happy with the mattress but is complaining about a legitimate policy that is there to prevent fraud (the deposit required to replace the mattress and to protect a manufacturer from shipping out a replacement and the customer keeping the original mattress which happens more often than most customers would suspect). They probably aren’t aware that most of the industry requires that a customer pays for shipping costs to return a mattress for warranty issues and that they are only being asked for a refundable deposit. Had they purchased from most other manufacturers they would be out of pocket for a warranty issue.

Two of the reviews are 1 star …

One of them is completely unclear about what their issue really is because it’s certainly not true that their mattress would be a “sagging mess” because latex is the most durable foam material in the industry no matter which manufacturer uses it in their mattress. In the unlikely event that it was true then it would be a legitimate warranty issue (all materials have occasional defects) and Brooklyn Bedding would replace it. It is much more likely that it is some type of comfort issue that they are misrepresenting as a quality issue either because they don’t know any better or because they actually have the intent to do so. They are also complaining about not being able to return the foundation when it was clear when they purchased it that it’s not returnable (which is also common in the industry because it can be used under another mattress as well). If for some reason they decide that it would be best to return the entire mattress for a refund then that is also an option they had (unlike much of the industry which only allows comfort exchanges and not refunds) and there would only be a $200 shipping charge which was also clear when they purchased the mattress (you can see their exchange and return policy here) and would have or at least “should” have been part of their personal value equation when they made their purchase decision.

The other 1 star review is just plain ridiculous and the reviewer is saying things that are patently absurd. There are only two sources of Talalay latex in the world which is Latex International and Radium. Both of them are high quality and durable materials and there are no “lower quality” sources of Talalay latex. Their law tag they themselves linked makes it clear that the mattress was manufactured in Arizona (and the cover in Utah) and for some reason they are implying that the address of the mattress manufacturer needs to be the same as the address of their material suppliers (which is in Connecticut for the latex and Utah for the cover) which of course is nonsense. All latex has an initial odor which dissipates fairly quickly to levels that most people wouldn’t notice and for most people it isn’t an issue at all even at the beginning (see post #2 here). Like all latex (Talalay or Dunlop) it has also been OekoTex certified for VOC’s and harmful substances. Some people are just more sensitive to the initial odor of latex or to other smells than others and there are also some differences from batch to batch. I have no idea about their zipper issue because their latex hybrid mattresses all have a zipper which is how you can access the latex layer if it needs to be exchanged. The bottom line is that this reviewer is very “confused” to say the least.

Normally I wouldn’t go into this much detail about individual reviews but since there were only a few yelp reviews I thought I would use them to make the point about why mattress reviews (good or bad) can be very misleading and are among the worst ways to choose a mattress.


Or, I could just find a new partner. :stuck_out_tongue:

So, for those buying a king size mattress, Talalay = higher quality latex, but it will always be bonded (unnoticeable) and Dunlops = lower quality, but it can be in a single piece. Correct?

Thanks for the comments about the reviews. I agree: some people are incredibly sensitive.

Regarding my other question: can you offer a list - or, more likely a previous post (I searched but didn’t find anything) - with a list of higher-quality / reputable mattress companies that ship direct-to-consumer (Casper, Brooklyn Bedding, etc.) that offer hybrid latex combinations?

Thanks again, Phoenix.

P.S. What’s your day job??

Hi idlewild,

I don’t treat one as being better or higher quality than the other, they are just different. There is more about the different types and blends of latex in post #6 here and more about the differences in “feel” between Talalay and Dunlop in post #7 here but the most effective way to know which one you prefer would be based on your own local testing or experience.

The tutorial post includes this link to a list of the members here that sell mattresses online that include many latex and latex hybrid options. Posts #3 and #4 here also includes some of the better lower budget latex and latex hybrid options I’m aware of as well.

With the hours I spend with answering posts, researching, talking with retailers and manufacturers, and all the other parts involved with maintaining The Mattress Underground (about 16 hours a day 7 days a week), it would be difficult to have a day job even if I wanted one :slight_smile:


I just received the following information from Marriott on their bed:

“The Marriott Foam Bed has a 7” thick high-density polyurethane foam core (density 1.75-1.85) with a 2" multi-quilted foam topper. IFD is 36-41. It is manufactured by Jamison exclusively for the hotels and is currently on sale for 30% off. This sale ends September 29th. The king size mattress measures 76"W x 80"L x 9"high. The foundation measures 10" high and is made to complement the mattress."

So to me, and from what I’ve learned here, the foundation density is decent, not great. Also, the “multi-quilted foam topper” isn’t latex and at 2" thick it is a bit of a durability/longevity risk.


Hi idlewild,

The 7" 1.8 lb polyfoam core (the .5 lb variance either way is a normal variance for any polyfoam material when it is manufactured) is a good quality material that is inside the guidelines I would normally suggest for most people that aren’t in higher weight ranges. They don’t mention the density of the 2" multiquilted foam topper but if this is a lower quality material it would be “on the edge” of the thickness I would be completely comfortable with before there is a potential weak link in the mattress (I would want to know the density for any top layers that are 2" or more).

For the sake of reference you can compare this to two of the polyfoam mattresses that are made by two of the members here.

The first one is the Dreamfoam 12 in 1 customizable here (you can also purchase this in all sizes directly from the Dreamfoam site). It is a component mattress that has 3 x 3" layers of 2 lb polyfoam (a total of 9") in 3 different firmness levels and a quilted cover with a different firmness level on each side that can be customized in 12 different ways by rearranging the layers or using the other side of the cover after a purchase. If it’s purchased from their site then it also has a 45 day return policy (see the bottom right hand corner here for the specifics). Their price ranges from $289 for a twin to $499 for a king. They also have a pillow bonus for the members here.

The second one is the Tuft & Needle 10" mattress here (it also comes in a 5" version). It uses a combination of 1.8 - 2 lb polyfoam layers. It has a single firmness (what they call medium firm). It can’t be customized after a purchase so it’s an “all or nothing” purchase but if it’s not a good match in terms of PPP then they have a free return policy. They provide a 6.5% discount for the members of the forum (which can’t be stacked with any other discount that they provide) and their trial period is also extended to 60 days from 30. Their price ranges from $300 for a twin to $600 for a king.

Neither of these have any weak link in their design (or are “on the edge” of having a weak link).

These will give you two “somewhat” similar mattresses that you can use as a comparison.