Latex mattress - 100% Natural vs. Talalay blend

Hi Phoenix,

First off, thank you so much for starting this website. It is so informative! We’ve been searching for a mattress for some time and finally have it narrowed down to two. I’m not sure which direction to go and need your help. My husband and I are both heavy people (250lbs), but really like soft beds. Neither have any major health issues other than i don’t sleep well mainly due to heat on our current pillowtop which is why we’ve settled on a latex mattress. We’ve found 2 beds from different manufacturers, one 100% natural, the other 60/40 Talaly blend. We have laid on the blend and it was very comfortable. The 100% natural is out of state so we cannot test. There is very little difference in price so that is not an issue. Here are the specs on both:

1st. 60/40 Talalay blend.
6" 24ILD talalay blend on bottom
2" 22 ILD talalay blend on top
3" 19 ILD topper

2nd 100% natural
6" natural dunlop core - need help deciding ILD - would like this to have approx same overall feel as talalay blend above
2" natural talalay on top
We would still probably buy the 3" 19ILD topper

Warranties and return polices are similar and from the research I’ve done both companies are reputable. I like the idea of 100% natural, but am not against a blend. I keep reading different things regarding synthetic and natural. Both claiming to be more durable. I know I already like the feel of the blend, but it seems like it should be less money than the natural. (There is only a $100 difference)

Any ideas of the route we should take?

Hi Cassie88,

There are 4 main “categories” of latex that you will encounter. This is because there are two main “types” of latex that use different production methods (the Talalay method and the Dunlop method) and each of these can be made with either natural latex (NR from the rubber tree) or a blend of natural latex and synthetic latex (usually SBR made from chemicals that are “similar” to NR). While there are variations in each method, the Talalay method is the most expensive method of manufacturing and NR is the most expensive material.

This means that you will generally encounter 100% natural Talalay, 100% natural Dunlop, blended Talalay, and blended Dunlop. There can be variations in each of these categories depending on the complex compounding formulas used by each manufacturer and different ratios of NR to SBR used in different blends. The exact formulas used by each manufacturer are a closely guarded secret.

In general though … 100% natural Talalay is the most expensive, 100% natural Dunlop and blended talalay are a little lower and are roughly the same cost, and blended Dunlop is the lowest cost of all. There is also a version of dunlop which uses “organic” rubber rather than just “natural” rubber which means it uses natural rubber that has been certifed organic. Because organic certification adds to the cost of a material (even if it is the same as “natural”) this would be in the same range as 100% natural Talalay. There is no “organic” Talalay.

There is more about the different types of latex in this article and for the more technically inclined … more about the differences between NR and SBR in post #2 here and more yet in post #2 here.

Overall … 100% natural Dunlop and blended Talalay are generally considered to be the most durable versions of latex (for different reasons as the article, posts, and links explain).

In terms of “value” … your first option uses blended talalay but uses thicker layers while the second uses natural Dunlop and then what appears to be natural Talalay (although there is some confusion in terminology and blended talalay is often called “natural” instead of 100% natural talalay). The first would seem to have better “value” based on the latex content along but there are many other factors in a mattress (such as the ticking/quilting used which can be a significant part of the cost) which can affect the price of the mattress.

This brings us though to the most important part of your choice which is the suitability of the mattress to your needs (pressure relief and alignment) and preferences.

Your first option has a VERY soft layering if the ILD’s are correct (which I would question). 24 ILD is normally used as a comfort layer and would very rarely be used as the main support layer in a mattress. This would be very “risky” in terms of alignment … although your own testing would be more accurate than “theory” and you could be the exception. I would test this very carefully for alignment in all your sleeping positions. This would be a very soft mattress with lower levels of support than would be the norm, particularly for your weight.

The second option would be much firmer in it’s “basic layering” because the Dunlop is usually firmer than the same ILD of Talalay (once you get past the first 25% compression). With the extra 3" topper this would likely be clloser to the first in terms of pressure relief but the support layers would likely be more appropriate or at least more “normal”.

Both blended latex and 100% natural latex are considered to be very “safe” materials and both are usually certified by reputable certification agencies in terms of offgassing and safety.

My decision would likely depend on which I believed would provide the best combination of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Preferences). They would seem to have similar “value” (assuming that the comparative cost included the 3" topper in your second choice and assuming that the other components are also similar).

No matter what the value or quality of a mattress … if it is not suitable in terms of PPP … then its value would not be nearly as important.


Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. I might have written the ILD down incorrectly on the blend. I will definitely check it out. I was planning on getting the mattress topper from the 1st manufacturer regardless of which mattress we buy so yes, the overall price is very comparable between the two. I guess it just comes down to buying locally or buying an all natural product.

Thanks again for all your input.

Hi Cassie88,

I personally believe that if you can buy something locally that you have actually tested … then this is a big plus and less risky than buying an unknown or less known construction.

Having said that … each person places a different value on different things such as “natural” materials … even if they have the equivalent “safety” and in this case the materials have similar value even though they will perform and feel differently and one is more “natural” than the other.

These types of “tradeoffs” are more of a preference issue than a “value” issue and there is no right or wrong in what is most important to you.

On the one hand there is something you know that is blended talalay … on the other hand is something you haven’t tested which is more natural but you haven’t tested … and both seem to have similar value.

Tough choices of course … but only you can decide which one best fits your overall “value equation”.

At least your choices are between two good options which is a nice place to be :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for all your input. We ended up going with the 60/40 blend from my local manufacturer and was able to save 5% on the entire purchase thanks to mentioning the Mattress Underground. The ILD on the 6" layer is 28 not 24 as I had originally stated. I know that’s still fairly soft, but the bed felt heavenly and being side sleepers I am hoping it will work for us. At least we’re buying local so it will be very easy to swap out for a higher ILD if necessary.

Since you obviously know your mattresses very well, I was wondering if you possibly know anything about sheets? I sleep very warm and have heard that bamboo sheets are very good for this. From what I’ve read, I really need 100% bamboo, not bamboo/cotton blend. I haven’t found anyone locally that sells 100%, but have found a few online with a very large price range. Most of the sites don’t really have any reviews so I can’t tell who is good and who to stay away from. Would you happen to know of any reputable vendors? or possibly another material that would also serve us well?

Thanks in advance for your help.


And I wish I could remember… but there was a store in Jamaica that sold 100% Bamboo stuff too. Our cruise stopped there for a day.

Who needs memory with Google??? Cariloha was the store. They have store in Key West and Vegas too.

Hi Cassie88,

Congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

It would be nice if you could mention who you bought from so that others from your area can benefit from your experience and feedback as well.

As you have discovered … “bamboo” sheets are usually made in either a blend with cotton or polyester. They are very soft and wick moisture very well and are strong and breathable. I should also mention that bamboo is a form of viscose fiber (like rayon) and there is somewhat of a greenwashing story attached to them. Cellulose/viscose types of fibers like bamboo, eucalyptus, wood pulp or others are neither natural or synthetic and are more “in between” or artificial. A google search on “greenwashing bamboo fiber” will bring up many links including here and here and here (and the further links they lead to). Post #11 here also has some good information comparing cotton to bamboo. There is also a good article here about the many types of viscose fibers (such as bamboo, beech, eucalyptus, and other regenerated cellulosic fibers).

This webpage about different types of cotton sheets and how they compare to others (including bamboo and other viscose fibers) also includes some great information and some specific recommendations and links to other good sources of information as well and would be well worth reading for those that are looking for good quality/value cotton sheets.

They also have a very good article about linen sheets here as well.

Post #26 here along with post #3 here also has more information and links to more resources and information about sheets and bedding.

The “true” thread count of a fiber and the weave pattern it uses are also an important part of the breathability, strength, and feel of the fabric. There is some good information about thread count here and here and about thread counts, weave patterns, and fabric types here and also good explanations of the various types of fibers here and some of the pros and cons of each here.

While I am no expert on bedding … if I was going for the “best” combination of coolness, durability, feel, natural sources and methods, and “value” … I would be leaning towards linen (flax). Silk would be one of the most cooling fabrics as well but both of these are in higher budget ranges.

In the same way as mattresses … I would also tend towards purchasing from outlets and manufacturers that are the most knowledgeable and open about the different fibers and the pros and cons of each. There is just as much misinformation “out there” with various fabric materials as there is in mattresses. For me … if certain qualities were important to me and I really wanted to know that what I was buying would perform in the way I wanted it to … I would make who I was buying from and their level of knowledge and the information and education they provide just as important as the actual product choice I was making. Making choices based on the “misinformation” or misleading specs that are so common may lead to a “price” that initially seems to be better but it can also lead to buying something that doesn’t have the qualities or “real specs” or materials you are looking for and what you believe you are buying may be different in either actual materials or performance than what you were hoping for. In some cases what you buy may be OK but because you didn’t know exactly what you bought you may also not ever know what you are missing and “could have bought” (that could have “worked” for what you wanted even better).

A few examples of outlets like this (among many others) that have a variety of products and knowledge about different fibers and fabrics and the differences between them are here and here and here. These are of course just some examples of many others who are more about helping their customers make better choices and are focused more on real value than on price alone.

Of course I haven’t done any extensive price or “value” comparisons but having good information so you know you are really comparing apples to apples (instead of “real” apples to something that “looks like apples”) can make “value shopping” much easier and more effective.

Hope this helps.


PS: I will add some of the other posts and threads in the forum here from time to time so there is one central post that links to many of the better or more interesting posts and topics about sheets.

There is some interesting discussions about silk and linen sheets in this thread and this thread. There is also a review of the Linoto Belgian Eco-Linen sheets here.

Some feedback about sheets that some of the other members are sleeping on and like is in this thread (and I encourage any of the members here to add their own feedback about sheets they are sleeping on and like).

There is some information and options about sheets for thinner mattresses in post #3 here

Some discussion about cotton percale sheets is in this topic

Some information and feedback about Intellatex sheets is here.

Wow - great research! I just read this thread and the others you linked to about sheets; and I wish I had read them yesterday, before going shopping. I purchased 2 sets of the Brookstone Intellatex sheets from a discount store ($60 for a King set). I asked about the return policy on sheets that have been washed so I could return them if they shrink, So if they don’t work out, at least I’m covered. I plan to try one fitted sheet on the mattress when it arrives, then wash that set to check if it shrinks too much. If they don’t work out at least- Thanks to you- I will know where to look next. Either way I will post some feedback. Thanks again!

Hi Centaurita,

I’m looking forward to your feedback when you receive your sheets. It would be great if you could post your comments in the Intellatex topic here :slight_smile:


Update -the Brookstone sheets are wonderful to sleep on and I believe much cooler than my other cotton sheets. However, I am still in search of the “perfect” sheets.
Two reasons:

  1. The elastic is not strong enough OR they are just too deep for my 14" mattress. My Target organic sheets fit better.
  2. The top wide hem is very wrinkly (I do not iron sheets).
    I have only washed them 3 times but so far they have no pilling and seem to be very good quality material.
    Bottom line: If they hold up for 6 months and still feel good, I will probably go looking for more of them if I haven’t found any better ones.

Sorry for stopping by your side as I need to correct you about the Brookstone policy. As the mattress is washed you cannot return it back to Brookstone and keeping in mind the Brookstone Return Policy the 2 sets of the mattress are only returnable when they are in original conditions and in the 30 days return policy.

@bayslarry - Your comment seems to be in reference to the purchase of Brookstone sheets posted above by @Centaurita, but it states that they were purchased at a discount store so the applicable return policy would have been with that of the store allowed and not Brookstone’s own policy.