Extra firm latex matress

Thank you Phoenix , this is the best website about mattresses !
After doing a lot of research about mattresses , I narrowed it down to latex. I am 95lb , side/stomach sleeper and have problems with back pain. My chiropractor recommended the firmest I can handle. l Do prefer firm mattresses( like floor ) … In fact , I been sleeping on the floor for the past 3 months because I am afraid to buy a wrong matress again, but it’s getting to be really cold in winter :slight_smile: . I purchased one on sale 3 months ago and it was delivered to me without warranty label . And I had such a hard time trying to return it and store refused to reimburse me delivery charges. Even though it states that the label shouldn’t be removed under penalty of law.
Most of the mattresses I tried were too soft for me , I also didn’t like sinking feeling of tempurpedic or foam mattresses and decided to stay away from coils ( I heard that its not good for the body because of electromagnetic forces etc) .
I checked few websites : plush beds, flo beds , sleepez , habitat furnishings , matress.net etc. Some of them charge extra $$ for extra firm matress , some don’t carry extra firm others prices are way up etc. Because I live in small town in the mountains and had bad experience buying from a store , my option now buying on line .
Can you recommend the best online retailer to buy extra firm latex matress . I prefer organic if price is reasonable.
Also have you heard anything about people with wool allergy having problems with wool in the matress covers ? I do have wool allergy . Hope your reply will help others like me in search of extra firm matress :slight_smile:
Thank you !

Hi Nefertiti,

Your lighter weight and preference (and need) for a firmer mattress suggests that you may do well on a thinner mattress and even just a 6" latex mattress either quilted with a fairly thin comfort layer or wool.

This is not good to hear because it can be the sign of buying a used mattress and in most states it’s illegal as well. I would think they would be smarter than making any issues about a refund (including delivery charges) in these circumstances.

Memory foam is generally in the softer range unless it is a relatively thin layer over firmer base foam where the firmness of the foam below it comes through before you sink too far into the memory foam so I’m not surprised it didn’t fit your needs or preferences. There are also many others who are concerned with electromagnetic issues as well although this is a more controversial subject and is not something that most people are generally aware of or concerned about (cell phones for example would be much riskier). It’s certainly a legitimate issue though for those who are more aware of and concerned about electromagnetic fields and “pollution” in modern society.

You may have seen this already but some of the better value online options I’m aware of are in post #21 here. While they have differences in design and price ranges … all of them are members of this site which means I consider them to be among the best quality/value in the country and all of them are very knowledgeable and helpful. In some cases their sites may not show everything they have available so they are well worth talking to to see what they have available. Most of them would carry firm or extra firm latex though and some would also carry organic Dunlop latex (although I would question the benefits of “organic” latex over 100% natural Dunlop latex unless it is a strong personal preference. You would basically be paying extra for a certification rather than any really meaningful difference in the material itself. There is more about this in post #6 here. There is no organic Talalay latex currently made although like Dunlop it also comes in a 100% natural version which uses no synthetic latex in its manufacturing.

Yes … there are certainly others who are allergic or at least sensitive to wool that may have some issues even with mattress covers but in most cases the allergy is triggered by direct contact rather than in a quilting layer that is covered by the mattress ticking. It would also depend on the type of wool used (there are finer and courser types of wool) and also on the lanolin content which along with the scratchy nature of some wool and any chemicals used in processing is the reason for most wool allergies or sensitivities. Unless you are unusually sensitive though it probably wouldn’t be an issue for most people in a mattress (because it’s covered) but I would use your own discretion in combination with your conversations with each manufacturer about the thickness of their ticking material and whether any of their customers have had any “wool” issues. If you do decide not to use wool … then a cover without wool quilting (or using some other type of quilting) is usually an option although wool does have some good benefits including humidity control and temperature regulation which would make it well worth considering as long as you are comfortable with the idea. Some may even be able to send you a piece of the quilting/ticking material they use so you could test it for allergies beforehand.

Hope this helps.


Thank you , Phoenix for such informative and fast reply. I will check few more of the manufactures you mentioned in your post.
I read that all molds for latex come only in 80’‘’ , so does it mean that CAL kIng size has additional 4’’ glued at the end ? Is it better to get CA king for for most people , who are above 5.5 ‘’ ?
Also I don’t want to lead away from the main topic…You mentioned that selling mattress w/o warranty label is illegal in some states. I bought mine from store in Oregon and it was delivered to me in northern CA. Are those states listed as illegal sales w/o warranty label.
The store told me that matress was brand new, showed me invoice from factory when matress was purchased and even promised me that they will get another warranty label mailed to me from manufacturer.
The store owner told me that it was not a big deal to receive a matress w/o warranty label and " it happens all the time" But after all of that I felt uneasy about keeping the matress. I thought about calling BBB , but just don’t like conflicts . But might still do it :frowning:
Thank you

Hi Nefertiti,

Yes this would be true for latex that is poured in a mold and there would be an extra 4" glued on the end. The glue is very strong and non toxic so it wouldn’t affect the mattress. As to getting a Cal King … perhaps if you were well over 6" it could be a benefit (I’m 6’5" and sleep quite comfortably on a queen size which is the same length as an Eastern King) but I think for most people that were less than this the extra width of an Eastern King would have more benefit than the extra length and narrower width of a Cal King.

Also I don’t want to lead away from the main topic…You mentioned that selling mattress w/o warranty label is illegal in some states. I bought mine from store in Oregon and it was delivered to me in northern CA. Are those states listed as illegal sales w/o warranty label.

You can see the list of states with various tagging laws here. There are more details here about what each state requires. Unfortunately Oregon seems to be one of the states without them although California does.

Where there is a law … it has to be attached to the mattress when its sold (not a separate tag sent to you afterwards) as proof that it applies to the mattress being sold. An invoice also says nothing about the mattress they sold you.

While it may be a legitimate mistake … it certainly shouldn’t happen “all the time” and I would say that it’s not a minor deal either when there are so many people selling used mattresses as new. If I was the retailer I would certainly be concerned enough about it in combination with an unhappy customer that I wouldn’t hold out for a delivery charge in the circumstances. My concern would depend to some degree on the reputation and integrity of the retailer but it would certainly be one strike against them.


Thank you again ! Really , your site and answers are the best from all I checked around.
Sorry one more question :). I been checking different latex mattresses websites about their ILD /firmness. Is ILD number pretty standard , meaning ILD =30 firm from one manufacturer equals the same firmness from another manufacturer if it lists it at 30 ? Or does it warry , and ILD =30 could be very different from another manufacture’s ILD -30 ? Like the unfortunate matress I purchased before had ILD 30 , so at least I know how 30 feels .
Then For example, one company lists their firm mattress with ILD -35 , another company firm-ILD 30 , and another company firm -40.
The highest firmness ILD I found was 44 at sleepez for extra firm. So does it mean that I will get the firmest mattress from SLeepez based on their highest ILD number ? And I think Flobeds stated that ILD above 35 is not good for the body because of pressure points .
Ok hopefully this is the last question and I can finally decide on the mattress :slight_smile: . It’s getting to be very cold sleeping on the floor :))
Thank you

Hi Nefertiti,

The answers to your questions about ILD may be a little bit more complex than you hoped.

ILD in latex is usually measured with a 6" thick layer of foam and it’s basically the weight that it takes to compress a 50 sq in round metal foot into the foam by 25% (which would be 1.5"). This is different from polyfoam which is measured with a layer of foam that is only 4" thick so it would only be compressed by 1" (and the ILD number would be lower than latex). So first of all latex ILD is not directly comparable to polyfoam ILD. Some latex manufacturers also produce cores that are a different thickness which would also produce a different ILD rating compared to testing ILD on a 6" core. There are also different testing protocols for ILD so in some cases the ILD would be tested at 40% compression instead of 25% compression which would also produce a different result.

Different materials including latex have a variance across the surface of the 6" core so in one place it may be say 24 ILD and in another part of the core it may be 22 or 26. the ILD rating is usually an average of the range across the surface. Blended talalay has less variance (+/-2 or so) than Dunlop which may vary by more (+/-4 or so). 100% natural Talalay can have a larger variance than blended Talalay.

You can see the ILD range here for Latex International’s 100% natural Talalay (expressed as N1 - N5) and the target ILD’s for their blended Talalay and Talalay GL is on their site here.

You can see the ILD range for Radium100%naturalandblendedtalalayhere.

You can also see some of the ILD’s for different densities of Latex Green’s 100% natural Dunlop in post #2 here.

In addition to this … the latex particles in Dunlop settle more in manufacturing so a 3" Dunlop layer that is cut from the bottom half of a 6" Dunlop core can be firmer than a 3" layer cut from the top half and the top would be softer than the bottom of the layer while with Talalay it’s more consistent from top to bottom so it doesn’t matter as much which part of the core a thinner layer was cut from. All the layers cut from a single core will be rated the same even though they may not have exactly the same ILD.

Most people don’t sink exactly 25% into a layer and different types of foam … including latex … get firmer at different rates (this is called their compression modulus also know as sag factor or support factor) as you sink into them more. For example it takes about 3x as much weight to sink into a Talalay layer to 65% than it does to sink into it to 25% (a 24 ILD core would take about 72 lbs of force on the compressor foot to sink in 65%) but with Dunlop it takes about 4x as much weight to sink into the core 65% (which would mean that with 24 ILD Dunlop it would take about 96 lbs on the compressor foot to sink in 65%). This means that Dunlop feels firmer than Talalay for anyone that sinks into a layer more than 25%. Polyfoam would generally have a lower compression modulus than either although HR polyfoam has a compression modulus that approaches Talalay latex.

Talalay is usually accurately measured or at least it’s within a fairly narrow range of the listed ILD but I have seen many Dunlop layers clearly mislisted in terms of the rated ILD (usually rated as being softer than they really are). Some of this is because they use a different system in some places. For example see the Latex Green site for example where they show KGF (kilograms of force) which some people seem to list as ILD when it is much different and lower than the actual ILD. Some Dunlop manufacturers only sell their Dunlop by density and “word ratings” rather than ILD. With Dunlop it’s probably more accurate to compare by its density than by it’s ILD unless someone has specifically measured the ILD somewhere along the supply chain. Of course to make a rough Dunlop to Talalay comparison you would need the accurate ILD of both and then you could assume that the Dunlop will feel firmer if they are roughly the same ILD.

So the bottom line is that Talalay is fairly consistently rated (especially blended Talalay) and would be roughly comparable between manufacturers and suppliers. Blended Talalay is the most consistent and 100% natural Talalay would have a wider ILD range. Talalay is often measured in 9 - 15 different places on the core and then averaged and rated by the “official” rating that the average is closest to.

Dunlop ILD on the other hand would likely be more correctly rated in a range by better manufacturers or suppliers, especially those that sell both Talalay and Dunlop, but may often be misrated by others. For example if you see one layer of Dunlop that is 85 kg/m3 density and rated at low 20’s ILD range and another one at the same density that is listed at mid 30’s ILD range you know one of them is probably wrong (and probably the lower one). The accuracy of the rating depends on the source and their knowledge of latex foam and on whether the ILD is a real measurement or just a guess or “mistranslation” from other methods. Dunlop latex that is accurately rated as being in a certain range (it’s never a single number in reality) will also feel firmer to most people than Talalay of the same ILD range unless you only sink into the layer exactly 25%.

In addition to all of this … the “word” ratings can vary widely between different sources and different people have different ideas of what firm or soft is so I would take these with a grain of salt. Either ILD in Talalay or ILD (if it’s accurate) or density for Dunlop (see post #2 here as a reference) would probably be the best way to compare relative firmness between different Dunlop layers and sources if they are the same type and blend of latex. If two layers are a different type or blend of latex then ILD ratings may not be comparable between different layers.

If you are testing a mattress locally then none of this really matters because what you feel when you test a mattress will be more important than any ILD or comfort specs although it may be more important in an online purchase if you know the specific and accurate ILD of all the layers in a mattress you have tested locally (as well as all the other information and specs that will play just as big a role in how a mattress feels as ILD) and you are looking to make an online choice that is somewhat comparable to what you have tested locally.

I think that FloBeds was probably talking about using more than 35 ILD in the comfort layers (which would be too firm for most people to sleep on directly) because they sell firmer latex than that in their support cores as far as I know and there would be no reason to limit a support layer to 35 ILD.

So the best way to get a more accurate idea of the relative ILD’s is to deal with better manufacturers or sources who will usually list their latex more accurately. I think that both Flobeds and SleepEz along with other members of this site would qualify as “better” or more accurate sources.

So hopefully this wasn’t too complex even though it’s never as simple as I and most others would want it to be.


FYI in our name brand shopping experience we found that Stearns and Foster makes an Ultra Firm which is indeed just as it should be. I did not investigate what was inside exceptionally close, but if you have a local Mattress Firm store you might want to try one. The one they had was called Adele.