Information overload and a too tight budget

Hi all,
I’ve now been researching mattresses for 4 months! Four Months! I know what I want: a 100% natural Dunlop base with a 100% natural Talalay top with wool and organic cotton BUT I need 2, a twin for my 3 year old son and 1 full or queen for myself and my budget is embarrassingly low. Plus we need beds to put the mattresses on. Boy does it add up! We are also moving in with my parents who need a new (budget) mattress and would rather they didn’t fill their home with toxins especially while we live there but they don’t “buy into” all my “natural BS”. It’s not an easy situation. So, any advice as I’ve searched and searched the internet and now this forum and keep getting frustrated. My parents are willing to look at Ikea: what is the general belief on the “safety” of their mattresses? I’ve heard they don’t use chemical flame retardants but how do i find out the level of VOCs and safety of their foams as I know my parents will not go for latex. Any ideas for my natural mattress on a budget? Even DIY adds up to almost $1000 and I’m not sure that’s for me anyway. Thank you for any guidance!

Hi amadden11,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! :slight_smile:

I would first start with the expertise of the members listed in post #21 here who are all very experienced and knowledgeable and specialize in providing the type of help and guidance on the phone that can help you make good choices. There are a wide range of latex options included in the choices there and I believe that all of them compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency.

There are also some lower budget latex and latex hybrid options that are listed in posts #3 and #4 here that are in “relatively” lower budget ranges (although some of these may be more than your budget).

For those that have an even more restricted budget then post #4 here and the posts it links to also include many of the better lower budget online options I’m aware of as well, but these generally will not be all-latex mattresses.

You may be able to save some money by building your own component latex mattress, and to that end you can look at the vendors in the component post here. However, creating your own DIY mattress does require a different set of skills and research and that may not be of interest to you as you mentioned in your post.

There are certifications for harmful substances and VOCs such as CertiPUR-US, Oeko-Tex and Eco-Institut that you can look for when looking at any mattress. There is more about these certifications and the posts it links to in post #2 here.


Thank you for your reply, I read everything and am still unsure of quite how to choose an online mattress, they all sound so similar but I’ve read your reply over and over, that no one can fell me how to choose since it’s such a personal decision. I guess my question about ikea was what their certifications are, if any.
One last question is if you or other readers have an opinion on this Charlston bed frame, I know I’ll need the “plus” for a latex mattress to have less than 3 inches between slats. Thanks.
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Hi amadden11,

You’re welcome! I think that you’re confusing “how” to choose with “what” to choose. You are correct that it is impossible for me to make specific suggestions for you regarding a mattress because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

The steps in the mattress shopping tutorial go into great detail of the steps to follow and how to evaluate any mattresses you’re considering.

However to make it a bit easier for you, in its simplest form … choosing the “best possible” mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then …

  1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP … and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or aren’t confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

  2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress (see the durability guidelines here).

  3. Comparing your finalists for “value” based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

When you can’t test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart and who can help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and “feel” of the materials they are using (fast or slow response, resilience, firmness etc.) and the options they have available that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked or other mattresses you are considering that they are familiar with, and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about “matching” their specific mattress designs and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else.

As price was a major factor for you, I linked to some of the best “value-priced” mattress options in my earlier reply. Did you phone any of those companies and ask them for their suggestions based upon your needs? They would generally be best suited to offer more specific advice based upon your requirements and what they have to offer you in their line that might be most appropriate.

You’d have to be specific about which mattress you were considering, as IKEA has quite a few different offerings. Unfortunately, they aren’t too complete with their details on any certifications that they might contain, and it might be a situation where you have to phone or email them for more complete information. I’m guessing you’re curious about polyfoam certifications like CertiPUR-US, or latex certifications like Oeko-TEX. Most latex you are likely to encounter will have a certification such as Oeko-TEX. There is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here, if you’re curious.

Yes, the plus option would be necessary and recommended for a latex mattress. I personally haven’t had an experience with this platform bed base, but perhaps some of the more knowledgeable members here have ordered one and can share their comments.


So I finally chose my mattress. Sleeping on a crappy old mattress for months and suffering the soreness from it pushed me to leap on a flash sale Sleeping Organic was having (I signed up for email lists and found many companies have better sales that way). I spoke with Tess from sleeping organic a few months ago and loved how knowledgable and friendly she was, I also loved the choices they have and even the look of their mattress that I kept going back wishing they were more affordable. Well, with the flash sale, a multiple mattress discount and a woman named Alex whom I spoke with the 3rd time I called… The price was very comparable to the other online sites I was considering. So, it took 3 weeks and 3 days to arrive, which I didn’t love, but I understand. Set up was simple and the mattress is beautiful and the smell is a slight latex odor I can barely detect 1 week later. The free pillows have a stronger odor so I’m letting those air out a bit before I am able to put my face so close every night. 1 thing I’m a bit disappointed in is the “100 days of complimentary layer exchange” isn’t in fact “complimentary” because I have to pay $65 to ship back a later, Again, I understand the cost to ship such a big package but it’s quite deceiving. I am only 110lbs, a side sleeper and both Tess and Alex recommended firm Dunlop/medium Dunlop/soft Tallalay composition and it’s a bit too firm for me. I called to exchange and was told it would be $65 to ship back my firm layer. This mattress is so beyond my budget anyway, I can’t do that right now so I’m wondering the consensus on whether latex softens up considerably over time like most mattresses do? It’s not unbearably firm, in fact maybe it’s better for my back, but it’s not as soft and cozy as I’d like. Would love some thoughts. Overall I do highly recommend sleeping organic I just wish I did a bit more looking into the best composition for my body type. I know the man I spoke with from sleepez recommended all soft Tallalay, I was a little surprised by that. Thanks again for all the help from this website!

Hi amadden11,

Congratulations on your new mattress! :cheer: You certainly made a good quality choice, and that’s an excellent tip about signing up for notifications about flash sales.

I’m glad you were able to assemble your mattress with minimal fuss. It really is quite simple with component-style mattresses, especially once you learn the “trick” of sending a slight "wave’ through the layer to help move/reposition it. Latex odors tend to dissipate quite quickly (a semi-sweet or “vanilla-ish” smell is the most common descriptor). As your nose is closest to the pillow, you may wish to take the product out of its casing and place it near a window or a box fan to help dissipate the odor if you are sensitive to it.

Looking on their web site, they seem to be very transparent with the explanation of their return/exchange policy. On their home page they list the 100 Night Sleep Trial, with a layer exchange program where a “new layer is shipped to you for a small fee”. The 45 Night Return Policy on the same page also states you can “return any mattress within the first 45 nights for a flat $99 fee”. On their Exchange & Return page, they outline their comfort exchange and layer exchange plan and mention both a refundable $100 deposit and a non-refundable $65 fee for your first layer exchange. Many stores choose not to incorporate the potential exchanges of a small percentage of customers as a fixed cost into everyone’s purchase (effectively having everyone subsidize returns), and they may charge a small feel to assist in defraying/covering part of the cost of an actual return.

You bring up a good point that it is always important that when making a purchase (online or in-store) to be completely familiar and comfortable with any potential return/exchange policy, in the unfortunate event that your purchase doesn’t turn out as well as you had hoped.

You’re correct that all foams, even latex, will go through an initial “break-in” period where they will soften slightly. Latex will tend to change the least, as compared to polyfoam, and you’ll tend to notice this mostly within the first few months or so, and more so in the upper layers and the mattress encasement. You do have 100 nights to test this out, as you stated. Additionally, you’ll be “adjusting” to your new mattress, with some of your “learned alignment” from your old sleep surface. Overall, many people do tend so skew too plush versus look support/alignment, but as you stated the good alignment can be better for your back. There is some great information in this PHD thesis by Vincent+Verhaer (who is one of a group of researchers that I greatly respect) about the importance of good spinal alignment that clearly indicates that for healthy individuals it has the single biggest effect on the depth and quality of sleep and recovery for healthy individuals. Having proper alignment doesn’t necessarily mean that a mattress needs to feel hard like a board, which I know it does not in your current situation.

I’ll be interested in learning how your mattress feels for you over time and what, if any, changes you might make.