Is my understanding of Latex vs Tempurpedic correct? A little help needed

There is so much useful information on this website and online that I am very overwhelmed with how to make a good educated purchase on a mattress. I generally research for hours and several days to make a purchase like this.

I really need direct instructions so it doesn’t take me months to decide on what to purchase.

I live in San Diego. I am 5"10 180LBS and wife is 5’3 135lbs. I am 80% side sleeper20% back and she opposite 80% back and 20% side. Firmness on a scale of 1-10 (one being the softest) I would say 6-7.

We were both pleased with the Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme (Mor Furniture). CA King at $2899 + $200 credit towards pillows, foundation etc.

After coming home and doing 20mins of research I realized I would be making a very poor choice by purchasing a mattress with memory foam.

Today I went to Euro Flex (San Diego). They mostly sell latex talalay but had one demo model of a dunlop (very firm). Not a great place to demo because the selection of firmness was scarce and the lack of Talalay and Dunlop models. For reference a CA king 9in model was $3400+tax. The price seems very high to me, however, this was the first stop and have no idea how their price compares to their competitors or the what the market is for latex.

What I gathered:

Latex Talalay is being manufactured by one company is the U.S and there is nothing unique about purchasing from Euro Flex or any company that sells Talalay because I will be receiving the same exact product.

One of the reason why the big name manufactures do not manufacture 100% latex mattress is because it would be very easy for a competitor to replicate confront and feel. The materials and construction of the IComfort and Tempurpedic are unique and patentable where latex is the complete opposite.

Is my about opinion true?

Euro Flex uses 3 layer of latex ranging in different firmness. Is this industry standard?

What should I expect to pay for a CA-King latex mattress? I am a bargain hunter.

What other factors should I consider other than ILD, Dunlop or Talalay?

To be honest, I couldn’t really tell the difference between their medium/firm and medium/soft. It seems to be very difficult for me to notice the difference between a ILD 32 and 36.

Thanks for your time.


I think more than anything … one of the most important goals of this site is to help people find an outlet that has good quality, good value, and that you can trust to do exactly this. This is one of the reasons I focus so much on where to buy more than what to buy because it is certainly less time consuming and confusing than learning all about mattress specs and how they work together which can take years. The more the person guiding you knows about their mattresses and the more they are willing to help you … the less you have to know.

There is a list of some of the better options in the San Diego area in post #2 here. There are also some height/weight/body shape guidelines here and some sleeping position guidelines here but I would use these as a starting point only. With a knowledgeable person who knows how to fit you to a mattress … you won’t need these and “in person guidance” is always much more accurate than “averages” or “theory at a distance”.

While Tempurpedic is certainly good quality … I agree with you that is is not great value. Memory foam can be quite tricky because there are so many different formulations which each have slightly or sometimes significantly different properties but there are many high quality choices for those who prefer memory foam over other materials and they all share a “slow response” and some degree of temperature sensitivity in common. While I personally prefer more “fast response” materials or higher quality polyfoam (and so do the majority of long term mattress manufacturers) for those who prefer the slow response of memory foam … then at least there are good quality choices available that are equivalent quality and much better value than Tempurpedic. My personal opinion is that memory foam in thinner layers or in combination with other materials is a much “safer” construction. Again … local factory direct outlets or better sleep shops that sell alternative brands are the best sources and tend to have much better levels of knowledge, quality, and value and most importantly of all can help you make much better choices that are suitable for your own unique needs and preferences.

Many local manufacturers will not have a huge array of different layering and firmness levels set up on their showroom because a few basic models are generally enough for most people to make good choices … especially with specialty mattresses. These basic models will usually provide a good guideline for any adjustments that you may want for those manufacturers who will make mattresses that are different from their showroom models. Euro Flex has some good quality mattresses but their value is not in the same range as some other local manufacturers. I usually include all the local manufacturers on the lists I post though (unless there is a specific reason not to) because some may provide options that are different from others and each person’s “value equation” (the list of things that are more or less important including price of course) can be very different. In general though, they would not be the first choice on the list for most people in terms of value. A few calls along the lines of this article can help you narrow down your choices and help you get a sense of the outlets that “fit” what you are looking for the best, and have the knowledge, service, selection, and overall approach you are most comfortable with.

There are actually two companies that sell Talalay latex in North America. One is made here (Latex International) and the other is imported from Holland (Radium). Both are high quality materials and different manufacturers will have different preferences as to their supplier for many different reasons … but I wouldn’t hesitate to use either.

This is true to some degree although there are many different layering combinations that can be used in combination with other materials, manufacturing techniques, foam fabrication methods and different types of ticking and quilting that can make a big difference in the performance and feel of a mattress and how it fits each individual. It’s also true though that all the different mattress manufacturers (with few exceptions) also use common foam manufacturers and there are not many “proprietary” materials used in mattresses. The biggest reason that polyfoam or memory foam mattresses or more complex constructions are more difficult to “duplicate” is not because they can’t be or that the same materials (or the equivalent) aren’t available to anyone but because the larger manufacturers don’t like to release the information about what is in their mattresses. Their sales are based more on marketing techniques used in the subjective and highly managed environment of most showroom floors than on accurate information about the type or quality of materials they use in their mattresses that can be used for meaningful comparisons (which they do everything in their power to discourage). Again … local manufacturers or better sleep shops that deal with better local or independent manufacturers are much more open about their materials and can often “translate” a mattress into something similar that they make or sell that has much better quality and value.

In essence … the two main functions of a mattress are pressure relief and spinal alignment in all your sleeping positions and these can be achieved in any budget and with many combinations of material. The different materials have a lot to do with preferences (things like temperature regulation, breathability, motion transfer, overall feel, adaptability, and others) and of course with the durability of a mattress.

The most common layering with latex mattresses (in terms of the latex only not the other components that are part of most latex mattresses) are either 2 or 3 layers. There is a wide degree of differences though because the thickness of each layer and the mattress itself and the ILD (softness/firmness) of the layers as well as the type of latex, hw the layers are combined, and many other factors (and other materials or layers in the mix) can make a big difference in how the mattress feels and performs. The actual latex foam inside the mattress is just part of the puzzle.

In general … the most effective first step is to choose two or three local manufacturers or outlets and focus your attention on them. Talking to them on the phone first will give you a good picture of who carries the best value (as you define it) and has the best knowledge and service. Their advice and your personal experience is more important than “specs”. Things like Talalay and Dunlop and different ILD’s are more about preferences than whether one is better or worse. Your body will tell you which you prefer. The best direction and first step is always to first find the best outlets … then find the best mattress. The more they know … the less you have to know (although having some basic information from reading through the overviews in the mattresses section so you can ask better questions and have a sense of who really has good knowledge is always a good idea).

To be honest, I couldn’t really tell the difference between their medium/firm and medium/soft. It seems to be very difficult for me to notice the difference between a ILD 32 and 36

Most people will not notice a difference that is less than about 4 ILD and quite frankly there is likely about 4 ILD difference in different parts of the mattress or layer surface anyway (Dunlop may be even more). The upper layers that have lower ILD’s will affect the pressure relief and feel of the mattress more than the lower layers (for most but not all people) although the lower layers are primarily responsible for alignment and support so slightly firmer is usually better than slightly softer if two different mattresses seem to feel about the same.

To recap …

Step 1. Find the two or three best outlets that are close enough to visit that carry the types of mattresses (materials) you want to test and have the knowledge to help you understand and feel the difference between different types of materials they carry that are used in both the comfort layers and support layers of a mattress. The more they know and the more you can test different materials … the less you have to know ahead of time. If you are unsure you can call and “interview” them along the lines of this article.

Step 2. Go to these outlets and test the different combinations to find the general type of mattress that you prefer. While you may start out “wanting” to like certain combinations of materials … you may find that you “actually” prefer something different. Listen to your body and use the knowledge of the person you are working with to help you know the advantages and disadvantages of each material. Decide on the materials you want to focus on.

Step 3. Once you know the basic combinations you prefer … you can start to narrow down the specifics of each mattress with that general combination to find the ones that are the most suitable for your needs and preferences. Carefully test mattresses at these outlets (and spend at least 15 completely relaxed minutes on each good candidate) for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and Alignment, and Preferences) with the guidance of the people that are helping you. Decide on your top 2 or 3 mattresses.

Step 4. Assuming that your choices in #3 are roughly equal … look carefully at the materials in each mattress and note which ones best meet your different criteria and have the best combination of quality, value, and durability. Decide which of any tradeoffs are most important to you. Pay particular attention to any possible “weak links” in any mattress (the part of the mattress that will wear out first). I would also take into account the after sales service of the outlet in terms of what they are able to do if your choices aren’t quite right after you have slept on your mattress for a few weeks (although I would shop as if you only had one chance to get it right). All this depends of course on knowing what is in each mattress and may involve a couple of hours at home deciding on the pros and cons of each of your final candidates. While this can be the most fun (because you are usually down to all good choices) … it can also be fairly difficult to make the final “tough” choices. Avoid the tendency to get down to the level of fine detail that is mostly meaningless and make good choices impossible.

Step 5. Close your eyes, grit your teeth, and choose the one that best fits your “value equation” (all the tradeoffs that make a mattress “best” for you).


I have been to 6 store on that list today.

I nearly purchased the Healthy Back Bliss Essence. After completing the transaction, as I was walking outside the store I decided to look at the manufactures tag.

90% Talalay - 10% polyurethane

The Talalay used in all their products is a blend and not 100% natural. The sales rep let me remove the cover to see the material. 4 layers. I did not have a tape measure but my guess was,

1in premium Talalay
1in premium Talalay
1in premium Talalay
6in low grade Talalay
1in polyurethane foam

We were really happy with the comfort of this bed, but now unsure of the value we are getting and not sure if we should be concerned of the polyurethane.

Does any one have experience with the Essence or the Ethos Arrowhead model?


Blended Talalay is a very high quality version of latex which in this case is made by Latex International which owns Pure latex Bliss. There is more about the different types of latex here but in essence blended Talalay is more durable and more pressure relieving than 100% natural talalay (at least in the softer ILD’s), is less expensive, and has a longer warranty. It is also available in more firmness levels than 100% natural Talalay.

100% natural Talalay is denser, more supportive (in the same ILD) and more expensive and is normally chosen by those who want an all natural product for it’s own sake … not because it is a better performing product.

Both are Oeko-Tex standard 100 class 1 certified (safe for babies) for offgassing and harmful substances.

All Talalay latex is a superior product and they don’t make a “low grade” version.

Latex is a very elastic material and can tear fairly easily in handling and the polyfoam on the bottom was to protect the latex and to help prevent damage in handling. For some time now (Sept 2011) the PLB mattresses have replaced this bottom layer in all their mattresses (including their private label models like the Healthy Back) with a very high ILD Talalay latex but either way it would have no effect on the performance of the mattress. I talked with PLB this morning and the rep there said they would track down why the law tag at Healthy Back was still the old version (this could be an older floor model or it could be a wrong tag but she will confirm with me when she finds out). The top layer of the Healthy Back version of the Pure Latex Bliss uses Celsion latex which uses phase change materials to help regulate temperature and makes the Talalay (which is already the most breathable foam) a little cooler.

In other words … these are a very high quality mattress and have better value compared to mainstream mattresses that are anything close to the same quality.

Pure Latex Bliss also makes 100% natural versions of their mattresses but they are more expensive and there is no real performance advantages. They would be the choice for those who were willing to pay more for a more natural or “green” material for it’s own sake. There is also more about the difference on the Blissipedia page here.

The Ethos uses 100% natural Talalay (confusingly enough … blended is often called “natural” and 100% natural is often called “all natural” which leads to lots of confusion in the market) and is made by Diamond mattress which is a privately owned wholesale manufacturer which is also making high quality mattresses that also have good value (and of course this would vary between outlets). The Arrowhead is not one of the models listed on the Diamond website which means that it is also a private label. As with all mattresses … the retail outlet’s ability and willingness to provide a layer by layer spec sheet which shows the materials (the law tag only shows the percentage content) is important to make any kind of meaningful comparisons between mattresses.

The Ethos line includes models that use 100% natural Talalay with no polyurethane and also models that use both blended Talalay and polyurethane (the Talalay is on the surface and the poly is in the lower layers). They also use tufting instead of glue to secure the layers and also include wool quilting in the ticking (wool is very breathable but will also affect the feel of the latex more than just a stretch knit without quilting).

Both of these manufacturers (Pure latex Bliss and Diamond) are what I would call high quality manufacturers that use higher quality materials in their mattresses, make better value choices than the vast majority of the mainstream manufacturers that dominate the market, and are also much more transparent about what is in their mattresses.

It may also be worthwhile to call a few of the local manufactures on the list now that you have a general guideline of what you are looking for (softer talalay over firmer talalay … or perhaps even Dunlop) but of course it would be your preference if you wanted to focus only on 100% natural Talalay. Some time on the phone along the lines of this article can save you a lot of travel time and help you focus on the manufacturers and outlets that make or carry what you are looking for in the budget range that you want.

Hope this helps


Thank you for the information. My thought process was that 100% natural talalay would be a superior product than a blended, but now understand that is not the case. I received great information from Healthy Back and highly recommend anyone in the market to visit this place first before going anywhere else (this was out last stop).

I went to these stores in this order; Euro Flex, Escondido Mattress, Pure-Rest, Mattress Makers (this place is a joke. Stay away), Al Davis Furniture, and Healthy Back.

For other members that see this post I have no problem sharing my experience with any of these companies.

The sales staff at Healthy Back are not paid any type of commission, so it was great to get what I felt to be an honest opinions and facts about their products from the staff.

A Healthy Back rep contacted me today to explain the models on the floor are old models. He explained that they use to be manufactured with the a 1in polyurethane foam bottom, but have since replaced the foam with a talalay product. He even offered to provide me with the contact information to their Pure Bliss rep.

I found it very interesting that all the outlets/stores I stopped at that some required a foundation/box spring while others did not.

I will be purchasing either the Essence or Diamond product. My only concern is am I really getting a quality product for $3k+.

My wife and I are currently on Step 1! We’ve tried a few local, big name stores (iComforts, Tempers…) but after reading through many posts here I think we’d like to try some of the latex mattresses as listed here in this posting.

We live in Rochester, MN. How do we go about finding stores in our area that carry products such as these? Traveling within a 100 miles (Minneapolis area) isn’t a problem.

Also, we are going to try the latex mattresses offered by The Original Mattress Factory this weekend. They offer Talatech Talalay. Is this a quality product?

Thanks. The info has been wonderful so far.


Thanks for the feedback! Personal experiences really add to the value of the information in the forum :slight_smile:

I talked with PLB this morning (she was actually the PLB rep for Healthy Back) and she confirmed that this must have been a floor model with the “old” construction. I also agree with you about the quality of the staff at Healthy Back and I have talked with several of their outlets and always been impressed with their knowledge and willingness to help.

You will find this throughout the industry. Part of the reason for this is that mattresses and foundations are tested together for the burn test to pass the fire code and part of this is that many outlets want to sell the foundation with the mattress. Some manufacturers will even make a particular foundation a requirement for their warranty when all that is really needed is a “suitable” foundation. In some cases an innerspring is an active part of the design of a sleeping system and is part of the design but in most cases a suitable “generic” innerspring or firm semi flex or non flexing foundation (depending on the type of mattress) is all that is needed.

This would depend on the actual layers of the mattress and on what comes with it (such as a foundation). The PLB Essence is certainly a better than average value when compared to anything like it in a mainstream mattress (it would compare to the PLB Nature if you did a google search but it has a Celsion upper layer though which is a more premium and cooler sleeping version of Talalay latex) but it may be more than many comparable mattresses made by local manufacturers.

The Diamond Ethos is probably better “value” ($2699 for the set). It uses less latex but includes the foundation and also uses wool quilting which is an expensive material. They also use inner tufting instead of gluing the layers together which can be used to affect the feel of the mattress (it compresses the materials) even though the glue used in most high quality latex mattresses that use it (including PLB) is non toxic. This is just a materials comparison though between “good and good” mattresses and even more important is how well each mattress “fits” you for Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and your Personal preferences about how it feels when you lie and move on it (with your partner if you have one). Over the course of a decade (or likely more with a higher quality mattress) … the difference in price between two high quality mattresses may not be nearly as important as how well the mattress works for you. A mattress has a bigger effect on your overall wellbeing than any other furniture purchase you will make and this is also a big part of the value of a mattress for each individual.

There is no doubt about the quality of both of your choices but as you mention $3000 is a lot for mattress only, even for a King size that uses high quality materials. I would make sure you were happy with every aspect of the mattress and that you had compared it to similar mattresses both locally (on the phone now that you know the basic construction you are happy with) and online to make a few “value comparisons” to make sure you are happy with the price.

You mentioned in an earlier post …

I would make a few comparisons to some of the latex mattresses offered in post #21 here and use them as a “value reference” (value in terms of materials/price).

I would also talk with (and depending on the outcome of the conversation visit as well) Los Angeles Adjustable Beds Phoenix Latex Mattress if you haven’t already and I would also consider giving a call as well (they are on the Los Angeles list but are in Lake forest and may be worth talking to as well).

These are to help you in your “bargain hunting” so you have better value references and perhaps some “ammunition” for “making an offer”.


Hi harleynut,

Post #182 here includes the better options in the Rochester and Minneapolis/St Paul area that I know of. My first step woud be talking with Chuck at which is right in Rochester and is a manufacturer that I think highly of.

Original mattress factory is a regional factory direct that also makes high quality products with good value. Talatech latex is the trade name for Talalay latex made by Latex International and is a high quality material. They only have two different versions of latex mattresses and both have the same support core and one adds extra foam on each side of the core. They also have one memory foam mattress which they recently came out with that also uses high quality memory foam.

I would also be aware that the specialty mattresses (memory foam and latex) they have on the floor are set up on an active innerspring which will affect the performance and feel of the mattresses compared to the more common foundation choice for these types of mattresses which is a firm non flexing foundation. I mention this because if you test these mattresses on a rigid foundation (such as an adjustable bed) they may be more or less suitable for you than they are on a more active innerspring.


I ended up pulling the trigger on the Essence model. $3560otd included Cal king, foundation, protection cover, 2 pillows, delivery and tax. No interest for 36 months and 90 day money back guarantee was a huge plus.

I should’ve taken the time to visit but I am so burned out from this whole process.

The Essence was noticeable more comfortable to us than the Diamond product and would required a topper to satisfy my wife which I did not like.

I will add more to this post tomorrow.


Congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

I completely understand the “mattress burn out” feeling and have experienced it myself. Sometimes it’s just time to pull the trigger and start sleeping better!

IMO … you made some good decisions for all the right reasons (especially making sure your wife was happy :)) and with the testing you have done I’m confident you will enjoy your new mattress for a long time to come. Thanks for sharing all your feedback and reports with us along the way … it really does help others that are just starting what you have just completed.


Thanks for the referral to Chuck. We will definitely stop in there. My wife just talked a couple of her friends and they highly recommended Rest Assured. We’ll let you know how it goes.

I was looking over the latex mattresses on the Restwell site referenced in the other post. It says “Latex Foam Rubber” but I can’t really find any specifics. Where can I find more details on what this product is? We are planning to stop in there this weekend as well.

Hi harleynut,

The Restwell site has more generic information about the mattresses they make and only indicates that they use good quality materials. They make the mattresses for RoomandBoard which use Dunlop latex so this is likely what they use in their own line as well although most manufacturers have access to any material they choose to use. They make a range of mattresses including latex, memory foam, and innerspring/polyurethane but you would need to call them to find out the details of any of the specific mattresses they make.


Any recommendations on bedding? I was thinking the Costco Kirkland brand but not sure if I need something better or more breathable?

The Healthy Back store have their own line of protection cover and sheets. Any experience or reviews?


Bedding (in terms of sheets, blankets, mattress pads, etc) are certainly not my area of expertise but like mattresses I think that knowing the qualities of different materials and fabrics (breathability, temperature regulation, strength, quality of materials etc) and the integrity and knowledge of the outlet we are buying from (so we can trust the descriptions attached to the product) can be just as important as our choice of product.

Of course the advantage of an outlet like Costco is that they can have good value and their return privileges are excellent if we end up making a mistake.

There are some great sources of information about bedding, fibers, and fabrics and some of them are listed in post #7 here.

From my perspective … the Costco Kirkland Signature Supima sheets seem to be both good quality and good value (assuming the description is correct). The thread count is specified as single fiber, Supima cotton is high quality, and sateen weave is soft. The reviews on the site are also worth reading though because they can give some hints of how they may feel (some find them warm with the higher thread count and some have mentioned that they seem very thick for single thread count sheets). Of course the advantage of Costco is that we can find out for ourselves without risk.



Bedding (in terms of sheets, blankets, mattress pads, etc) are certainly not my area of expertise but like mattresses I think that knowing the qualities of different materials and fabrics (breathability, temperature regulation, strength, quality of materials etc) and the integrity and knowledge of the outlet we are buying from (so we can trust the descriptions attached to the product) can be just as important as our choice of product.

Of course the advantage of an outlet like Costco is that they can have good value and their return privileges are excellent if we end up making a mistake.

There are some great sources of information about bedding, fibers, and fabrics and some of them are listed in post #7 here.

From my perspective … the Costco Kirkland Signature Supima sheets seem to be both good quality and good value (assuming the description is correct). The thread count is specified as single fiber, Supima cotton is high quality, and sateen weave is soft. The reviews on the site are also worth reading though because they can give some hints of how they may feel (some find them warm with the higher thread count and some have mentioned that they seem very thick for single thread count sheets). Of course the advantage of Costco is that we can find out for ourselves without risk.

I don’t have specific experience with the Healthy Back bedding line (and they also carry Dreamfit and others) but I do know that I have always been impressed with Healthy back itself and the knowledge and service or their staff in the outlets I have talked with. Of course … sometimes it can be a matter of knowing the types of questions to ask (such as what type of cotton) which can say more about a sheet than thread count. Thread counting in sheets reminds me of coil counting in a mattress … it’s part of the story but not the whole story and can be both helpful and misleading depending on the “rest of the story”.


After 3 nights on the new mattress I wake up with a sore back. It’s much firmer than the floor model. I do like the support and feel comfortable when I lay on it but sleeping on it for 6-7 hours is no fun.

We are waiting for the correct foundation to get delivered but doubt it will improve the firmness with the mattress being 10" think.

Can I expect the softness to improve over time? If so, how long?

I have 90 days to return for a full refund and with the hype of the Ultimate Dreams mattress and price point I am thinking of giving them a shot.


Typically I would give any new mattress a few weeks as an adjustment period because the differences between the new mattress and what you were sleeping on previously can take some adjustment.

Typically … a sore back can be the result of alignment issues but this would depend on the area of soreness and on the specific type of soreness. This could mean for example that your heavier parts could be sinking into the mattress a little further than is ideal for your height, weight, body shape, and sleeping positions.

It may be helpful if you could describe the “symptoms” a little bit more specifically to know whether this was more of a pressure relief issue or an alignment issue (which symptoms of “lower back issues” tend to point to while upper back issues could point to something else).

All foams will go through an initial softening over the first 90 days or so and the cover materials will also loosen and stretch to some degree but latex will do this less than other types of foam. The initial softening of latex is less and the more gradual softening over time is also slower than other materials (which is why it is more durable and keeps it’s initial feel for longer). Any difference in feel when the new foundation comes would depend on what the mattress is currently lying on and whether it was similar in firmness and rigidity to the foundation that will be replacing it. The base or foundation that a mattress is on can have a significant effect on the feel and performance of the mattress … especially with latex which is much more flexible than other materials and will “follow” the contours of what it is on more than other materials. Is the mattress currently on the floor or on something else?

Either way though … it’s important to give any new mattress some time so that the muscles and ligaments that have “adjusted” to less pressure relieving or supportive mattresses can “loosen” and adjust so that better alignment can be more comfortable in the long term. Better alignment isn’t always comfortable right away when the body is used to sleeping in an out of alignment position. Even if you end up switching to something else … it would be important to know how well your mattress works when you have gone through the initial adjustment as a more accurate guideline to any further “fine tuning” adjustments or even a replacement.