Help w/ my Mattress Choice

Hey there! Love the site and have been shopping around. Hoping you can provide some commentary on my current mattress choice.

I tend to sleep well on most surfaces as long as they are not super soft.

  1. I’m currently favoring a mattress from the local Berkeley Ergo dealer. They have a mattress that they call their “promotional” version that they say they make specially from them. It’s 2 layers of springs and a very thin layer of latex covered with wool and cotton. To my eye, it seems exactly like their other version but just created to have a cheaper option to offer people. The queen version is 1K which seems like an amazing deal to me. This mattress feels very firm, but this doesn’t bother me. I like the idea that it’s well make, functional etc. Will it last as long as all-latex models? I figure that if it costs half as much, it’s just fine if it lasts for 10 years. Do you really want a mattress to last longer than that? If it turns out to be too firm, I figure I can buy one of their latex toppers after the fact.

  2. Flexus seem like they are just some latex wrapped in a cover. I found these comfortable to lay on, but the cover feels relatively cheap compared to other options. Overall, I’d say that I like the feeling of latex but I don’t believe that one can know much from laying on a mattress for 15 minutes. Basically, I tend to think they are all comfortable.

  3. PJs in LA makes a line of “latex” mattresses but they have about a 3 or 4 inch latex core surrounded by a lot of wool and cotton. These are very comfortable and feel very well made but I worry that all that wool and cotton will compress over time and become lumpy or uneven.

  4. Custom Comfort frankly seems way better in terms of quality and construction than all the other option, but the prices reflect that. I think I’ll pass just because I can’t justify 3 or 4 K.

Anyway, I was thinking of trying foam sweet foam and then making a decision. My tendency is to trust Berkeley, that has been around for a long time and everyone says good things about. Do you have any thought about avoiding the “promotional” version. They say it’s all the normal Berkeley components but they build it special for them out of whatever they have surplus of. The pure latex ones feel good but frankly I don’t see much of anything lasting for over 15 years. In my thinking, the covers themselves would be breaking down at the point and their is certainly no guaranteeing that any of these companies will be around that long to honor these sorts of guarantees. Better to my a high quality thing at a lower price now and then something new in 10-15 years. Thoughts? Thanks so much.

Hi jsjs54,

Hopefully you’ve had the chance to read the tutorial post here which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choices.

There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that you can use to make meaningful comparisons between mattresses.

I’m not sure of the specifics of the mattress you are describing but you may be referring to the Cantoni mattresses and if this is the case you can see my comments about them in this topic.

Their wool quilted cover is anything but “cheap” (wool quilting is more costly than most other types of quilting materials) and latex is also a more costly material but of course that has little to do with the type of cover or the “feel” that you may prefer. If you test a mattress for 15 minutes using the testing guidelines that are in the tutorial post then you will have the best possible odds of predicting how the mattress will sleep for you in the long term and good testing can be one of the most helpful and predictive parts of choosing a mattress although there are always a smaller percentage of the population whose sleeping experience is more difficult to predict (they are closer to the “princess and the pea” end of the scale than the “I can sleep on anything end of the scale”) and in this case the options you have after a purchase to exchange layers, exchange a mattress, or to do other types of fine tuning based on your actual sleeping experience or even to return a mattress if there are no other good options available may be a more important part of their personal value equation. I would also keep in mind that if you can’t tell which mattress is the best match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) then nobody else will be able to tell you either and PPP is the single most important part of the value of a mattress purchase.

Depending on the amount and thickness of the materials … thicker layers of wool or other natural fibers will compress more (and become a little firmer) under the heavier parts of the body or the areas where you sleep most often faster than the lighter areas of the body or the parts of the mattress where you don’t sleep as often. Over time though … (generally a few months) if you rotate the mattress from time to time, spend some time sleeping on the parts that you don’t sleep on as often, or as the other areas compress to the point where the compression of the natural fiber stabilizes, then the compression over the sleeping surface will even out to some degree. Because compressed fibers get firmer the effect of the compression is much less noticeable than the softening of foam materials because even if a fiber layer was still more lofted … it would still feel firmer when you sleep on in and compress it. Thicker layers of wool or other natural fibers tend to be firmer than the equivalent thickness of softer foam materials (including latex) but like any other choice of materials … for those who prefer the feel of sleeping on thicker layers of wool or other natural fibers or who prefer the temperature regulation of wool and other natural fibers, there would be no substitute that would provide the feel that they prefer to sleep on and nothing else will do.

Custom Comfort uses some manufacturing methods that require more time to build and their mattresses are two sided but as you mentioned they are also in higher budget ranges than other mattresses that use similar materials.

There are many mattress materials and covers that will last for much longer than 10 years (including most wool quilted cotton covers) but to some degree I agree that beyond 10 years the limiting factor in the useful life of a mattress may be changes in the needs and preferences of the person sleeping on it so any length of time beyond that would be “bonus time”. In many cases though “bonus time” by itself can be longer than 10 years and some of the mattresses you are considering would have a useful life that was closer to 20 years than 10. In any case … the weakest link in a mattress is generally the upper layers and a component mattress has some advantages because you can replace individual components or layers that soften or break down or if your needs and preferences change instead of having to replace the entire mattress.

All of the companies you are considering have been in business for much longer than their warranty so from this perspective there would be no difference to me. For me the quality of the materials is also much more important than the length of a warranty because warranties only cover defects … not how long a mattress will maintain its comfort and support or the durability of the mattress (see post #174 here)

The most important part of the value of a mattress is PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) and for this part of the value of a purchase you are the only one that can decide which mattress is the the most suitable choice for you based on your testing and experience. If you aren’t confident in your testing then the options you have after a purchase to fine tune or exchange the mattress or exchange individual layers or even return the mattress would probably become a more important part of the “value” of your purchase.

Outside of PPP … the quality and durability of the materials are the most important part of a purchase. In the case of all the mattresses you are looking at none of them have any weak links in their materials or design that I’m aware of. If you can list the specifics of all the layers in each mattress (see this article) I’d also be happy to make more specific comments about the materials in any of them but I don’t think that 10 year durability would be an issue with any of your choices.

Once you have eliminated the worst options or any choices that would be less suitable for you and you are down to finalists that are comparisons between “good vs good” … if there are no clear winners between them then you are most likely in a position where any one of them would make a good choice for you and a final choice would be a matter of “best judgement” based on all the objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.


Thanks for this great reply!

That actually isn’t the Berkeley mattress I saw. This one is labeled as Berkeley. It has on layer of individually wrapped coil spring and one one of micro coils and then a thin layer of latex over it. I can’t remember if the cover zips off like their other ones but the the materials definitely seemed like Berkeley’s usual stuff. The cover definitely looked like one of theirs. I’ll try to take a picture if I go back to the store.

This is what’s inside the PJ’s organic mattress which felt quite nice. Much less latex than the pure latex options but it did have a nice old school feel, probably b/c of all the other materials. And it’s flippable, which the Berkeley is not. The Berkeley is cheapest, but the PJ’s one is reasonably priced. What do you think of it?

Thanks again!

Hi jsjs54,

I don’t have any information about the thickness of the latex layers in the mattress or any specifics about the amount and thickness of the wool and cotton layers so it would be difficult to make meaningful comparisons with other mattresses but it uses organic Dunlop latex, cotton, and wool which are all high quality materials and there certainly wouldn’t be any weak links in the design or materials.


Firmness: Medium firm.
Sides: 2-sided.
Approximate mattress height: 7".
Comfort Layer 1 + 7: Certified organic wool.
Support Layer 2 + 6: Certified organic wool barrier insulator.
Comfort Layer 3 + 5: Certified organic cotton.
Comfort Layer 4: Certified organic latex.
Covering: 100% Certified organic cotton sateen.
Warranty: 10 years 100% non-prorated.
Available in custom sizes and comfort level. Price varies with customization.
For use with Ivy Organics Foundations. (Sold separately).

Hi jsjs54,

I saw the specs on their site but they don’t mention the thickness of the layers.

There is more about the most important parts of the value of a mattress purchase in post #13 here and there is more to the "value of a mattress than just the amount or cost of the materials but knowing the thickness of the latex or the amount of the wool or cotton can also help you to make more meaningful comparisons with other mattresses.


Ok… down to my final choices (I think).

  1. The PJ’s latex mattress which is 6 inches of dunlop latex w/ .5 inches of wool and cotton on each side. It’s flippable, which strike me as a major advantage. It’s also the cheapest of my 3 options. It’s made for them locally in LA. It’s the one in the picture above. They sell it in firm and medium firm and the difference between the 2 in the latex. Any questions I should be asking here?

  2. The Berkeley Ergonomics all latex model: This feels very comfortable to me and I have tended to like the look and feel of these mattresses in general. I would get one without the slatted base or the “topper” which I worry are gimmicks. I want something simple that will last a long time.

  3. Foam sweet foam or Flexus Still thinking about the right combo of layers but these both seem like good companies offering very similar products. I’ve been looking for contrary opinions on the internet and some seem to say that even the best latex can sag and form impressions. I guess you can always replace a layer with this.

So… I like that options 2 and 3 are component systems. I guess you could always replace something if they wear out by opening them. I also wonder if you could just flip the internal components even though they aren’t technically flippable. I like that the PJ’s one is simple and flippable. Frankly, I like the idea of latex but I’d rather pay 1/2 as much for something that will last 10 years.

Thoughts? Thanks!!

Hi jsjs54,

You already know the materials and the type and blend of the latex and there are no weak links in terms of quality or durability so if you are confident that this mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP then the only other things that I would want to know would be all the “other” parts of a mattress purchase such as any return or exchange options, anything else that is included in the price of the mattress, or any of the other parts of your personal value equation that are important to you. You can also read more about the pros and cons of a two sided mattress in post #3 here and the posts it links to.

I wouldn’t consider either the slatted base or the topper as gimmicks but more as optional parts of a sleeping system that would work better for some people, not as well for others and for others yet may make little difference one way or the other. For me they would be no different than any other component in a mattress or sleeping system that can have an effect on PPP and on the “value” of a purchase.

Anything can sag or form impressions to some degree if it isn’t a suitable choice for a particular person (such as choosing latex layers that are in a very soft range for a 300 lb person instead of firmer layers that would be more suitable) but latex will soften and sag and in general is more durable than any other foam material. There are also many online reviews where someone believes that they have an “all latex mattress” but in reality there are “other” materials in the mix and they don’t realize that the impressions in their "so called’ latex mattress are really coming from some of the other materials. There is more about the many variables that can affect durability and the useful life of a mattress relative to each person in post #4 here.

As you mentioned … the advantage of a component mattress is that you have good options after a purchase to fine tune the support or comfort of the mattress either by rearranging or exchanging layers and if one layer softens sooner than the others or if your needs and preferences chance down then single layers can be replaced without replacing the entire mattress.

You are looking at some great final choices (see post #2 here) and if you are confident that all of them would be an equally good match for you in terms of PPP and how well you sleep then none of them have any obvious weak links and you are in the fortunate position that any of them would make a good quality/value choice.


Hey there,

I wanted to give an update and ask for another round of advice.

I found a local manufacturer in LA after running into a mattress they had made at a local store and thinking it looked particularly well made. They are going to make me an all Tallalay mattress at a very reasonable price including a cotton and wool cover and a foundation.

I’ve read enough on this forum to know that you can’t advise me about what will feel right for me over the internet, but I’m curious to know if you think I’m making any obvious mistakes.

He will build using a 6 inch core, and then he can either do 1.5 on 2 sides (to make it flippable) or 3 on top. Seem like flippable is a good idea to me. Unfortunately he will cut the 1.5 inch pieces from one piece of latex so I can’t have varying softnesses on each side. Also, unfortunately, he can’t provide a zip off cover.

This mattress is so much cheaper than the other alternative I figure as long as I don’t go too soft, I can always get a topper. Also, I’m fairly flexible about what I can sleep on so as long as I get in a medium to medium firm ballpark, I should be ok.

He recommends the 6 inch core be a #32 and the 1.5 inch layer on each side be a #24 if I’m going to use Tallalay for the core. He actually recommends dunlop for the core but having spoken to the Berkeley fold, they say the dunlop cores are the only thing that has ever failed in their latex mattresses and that why they are all Tallalay now.

Does this sound like it will hit the “medium firm” mark?

Does this sound like a reasonable way to proceed? My only worry would be if you thought I was a risk for too soft somehow. Or if you strongly suggest doing 6 with 3 on top.

If I didn’t do this, I’d probably go with the Berkeley Ergonomics but that ends up being almost $800 more expensive so I’m feeling willing to gamble.

Any thoughts would be welcomed! Thanks!!

Hi jsjs54,

[quote]I found a local manufacturer in LA after running into a mattress they had made at a local store and thinking it looked particularly well made. They are going to make me an all Tallalay mattress at a very reasonable price including a cotton and wool cover and a foundation.

I’ve read enough on this forum to know that you can’t advise me about what will feel right for me over the internet, but I’m curious to know if you think I’m making any obvious mistakes.[/quote]

Talalay latex is a high quality and durable material so I don’t see any obvious mistakes in terms of materials no (assuming that the mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP) but other than that it would be helpful to know who you are dealing with. Who is the manufacturer?

I don’t think that different firmness levels on both sides would be useful anyway because you would lose the benefits of having a two sided mattress that you can flip (if you had two different firmness levels you would probably only end up using the one that was the best “match” for you). There is more about the pros and cons of two sided mattresses in post #3 here and the posts it links to.

[quote]He recommends the 6 inch core be a #32 and the 1.5 inch layer on each side be a #24 if I’m going to use Tallalay for the core. He actually recommends dunlop for the core but having spoken to the Berkeley fold, they say the dunlop cores are the only thing that has ever failed in their latex mattresses and that why they are all Tallalay now.

Does this sound like it will hit the “medium firm” mark?[/quote]

It’s always interesting to me because you will find many different opinions throughout the industry and with different manufacturers about “Talalay vs Dunlop” comparisons and there will be just as many that would tell you the opposite and others yet (which is closer to where I am) who would tell you that the choice between then is more of a preference than a “better/worse” choice (see post #7 here).

As far as how it would feel to you … there really isn’t any such thing as a universal “medium firm” because it will depend a great deal on your body type, weight distribution, sleeping positions, frame of reference, and individual perceptions and “medium firm” can be very different for different people. With heavier body types it may be a little closer to the softer end of the medium range (and I would probably use a firmer core) but with more average body types it would be reasonable to think that it would probably be somewhere “in the range” of medium firm for most people.


Great. Thanks so much!

I’m 5 foot 7 and way under 160, probably closer to 150.

I could go for the the firmer dunlop core or I could stick with this configuration.

I know that it’s about personal preference but given that I’m going to roll the dice, I’d love your best speculation. Or is this just too close to call? What would you suggest as the “safe” option?

As I’ve said, I do well on sleeping on many different surfaces. I just don’t love the extremes: super mushy or super hard.

Thanks again!

Hi jsjs54,

I really can’t feel what you feel or see you sleeping on a mattress so I would rely on your own careful and objective testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post) to decide on which mattress is the best “match” for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) much more than on any specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).


Thanks for the reply.

I just read through this thread which I feel like addressed many of my questions:

I’m going to stop by Electropaedic beds tomorrow which seem to have something close to what I want to order.

I forgot to tell you that the LA company is Sleep Air Mattress (SAM) and they see to be an exceptional value.


Hi jsjs54,

There is a lot of fairly detailed and technical information in that topic … and I’m glad it could help you :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your feedback after your visit.

Yes … I agree that they are a good quality/value choice.


Went and tried the mattresses at Electropaedic which seem to closely match mine.

There are made w/ all Tallalay.

There 9 inch firm is 1 inch 19, 6 inches of 32 and 1 inch of 19.

There 9 inch x-firm is 1 inch 24, 6 inches of 34, and 1 inch of 24.

They say this is the blended latex though they will give your the purer latex at the same price.

I’d say that I could sleep on both of these beds. Latex is weird in the way it seems to respond over time. I’d say the firm felt a touch too soft at first but when I lay in it for a few minutes is starts to feel really good. And the x-firm felt great at first but when I lay in it for a few minutes it starts to feel a touch too firm.

They also have an 11 inch model which they said was 2 inches of 24, 6 of 32, and 2 of 24.

I’d say this was pretty close to just right but maybe a touch too soft.

Given that I’m planning on 1.5 inches of 24, 6 inches of 32, and 1.5 inches of 24, I figure it should be a touch firmer that this model and so just about right. It is amazing how much difference and inch can make in the overall feel. It’s subtle but definitely present.

They said that it’s the top layer, the 19 vs the 24 that will make the biggest difference in the feel and the core layer makes some but less.

Anyway, I figure, based on this that I’m probably good to order the one I was planning on. The only concern is that they said this was 70/30 blended Tallalay and my guy said mine was not the organic stuff but was 98% pure tallalay. Both have latex made in the US.

Is there any reason to suspect that what I’ll get will wind up feeling dramatically different? I could just order from them, but they cost several hundred dollars more. They said they would price match but I’d feel bad doing that to the other guys who have been so nice. Other than that, they seem to be practically identical. I’m pretty sure they are using the exact same top material and wool. I even wondered if SAM made their mattresses they are so much alike but that couldn’t be since SAM only has Tallaly latex in a firmness up to 32.

Any thoughts? Thanks so much!

Hi jsjs54,

You seem to have a good handle on things with your testing so there isn’t too much I can add that your testing hasn’t already told you :slight_smile:

This is a fairly common comment about latex because it has an unusual combination of softness, contouring, and resilience but is also very supportive and firmer when you sink into it more deeply.

This is also very true and the top layers of a mattress will have much more to do with pressure relief and the “feel” of the mattress when you first lie on it but the deeper layers can also make a difference in how you feel when you wake up in the morning (see post #4 here for more about primary and secondary support and their relationship to pressure relief).

The difference that layer thickness makes can also be surprising to many people because thicker layers can “act” softer than thinner layers in the same ILD. There is more about the different specs that can affect how soft a layer or a mattress feels (besides just ILD) in post #4 here.

If they are both using Talalay made in the US then they would both be from Latex International. There is more about the difference between 100% natural Talalay and blended Talalay in post #2 here but in very general terms 100% natural Talalay will be heavier (about 30%) and a little more “supportive” and blended Talalay will be a little more pressure relieving. The blended will also be more durable in the softer ILD’s than the 100% natural.

I’m looking forward to finding out how everything works out for you once you have put everything together and have had a chance to sleep on it.



Last question…

If I decided to take the manufacturer’s recommendation and use dunlop for the core, what should I tell him in order to make sure that dunlop was slightly firmer that the 32 Tallalay I’ve tried and closer to the 36 Talallay?


Hi jss54,

I would keep in mind that Dunlop and Talalay ILD’s aren’t exactly comparable and also that ILD’s aren’t exact (especially with Dunlop … see post #6 here) but I would tell him the criteria that you mentioned here so he can choose which of the cores that he has available that he believes would come closest to your preferences.


Wanted to give an update that my mattress arrived and it is extremely comfortable. It all worked out well. Only issue is some unraveling on a chain stitch of the quilting. I’ve been trying to ignore it but I think it makes sense to get this taken care of early and the folks at Sleep Air Mattress have been great about it.

I’ve read all the mattress pad threads but I’m still not clear on if the St. Dormeir or that type of wool cover is more liquid / stain proof than the downright all cotton pad I bought. I hate to spend that kind of money on something that will only last a couple of years. I’m happy w/ the quality and feel of the cotton bad but I worry a bit about stains since the stretch cotton top on the mattress would clearly suck up any dirt. Also, is there any reason to cover the bottom of the mattress? I worry it’s exposed to dust coming through the slats under the bed but it seems silly to rap the whole thing up so it can’t breathe. Maybe just lay a simple sheet over the slats before laying the mattress down?


Hi jsjs54,

Thanks for the update … I appreciate it.

Wool is more water resistant than cotton but it would depend on the thickness of the mattress pad you have. A mattress pad will absorb more moisture than a thinner stretch knit cotton protector but the only way to really compare them for water resistance would be to pour some water on each one and see which one keeps the water from going through the longest which isn’t really practical if you only own one of them.

The St Dormeir would be more water resistant than a stretch knit cotton mattress protector but it may not be more water resistant than a cotton mattress pad which has thicker layers of cotton batting however the thicker mattress pad will also have a bigger effect on the “feel” of the mattress. If I had to guess I would say that the St Dormeir would probably be “more” water resistant than the cotton mattress pad you have but I don’t know for certain. The St Dormeir should also last much longer than 2 years (the warranty is 3 years but wool is a very durable material and should last longer than that).

This is really a matter of “best judgement” based on your own knowledge of how much you perspire at night, the likelihood of any accidents or spills, how you feel about the better temperature regulation of wool, and on how your mattress pad affects the “feel” of your mattress.

The biggest reason to use a mattress encasement would be for allergy reasons or to protect against bed bugs (see post #2 here). Dust coming through the slats isn’t something that would normally concern me but there is no harm in putting a sheet over the slats if it’s something that you are concerned about.