Latex Mattress

Hi, I was wondering if could recommend any manufactures/ retailers/ mattress Dealers in the Kansas City, MO regional area that sell natural latex mattresses. I am looking to purchase a new mattress and have been researching the benefit & differences between the Memory Foam & Latex Mattresses and have come to be undecided. Originally I was set on buying either a Temper-pedic or I Comfort memory foam mattress, but recently came across a latex bed at Hawn Bedding in Lee’s Summit, MO. I loved the mattress, but the only problem I had with it was that it was only an 8" mattress (6" of natural Dunlop latex & 1" of matting on both sides (flip able)). When speaking with the sales person he informed me that I would probably have to order custom sheets since the average sheet set is now 14"-18" pocket sheets. I did not have a problem with ordering custom sheets, but have since decided the mattress is thinner than I would prefer!
I was involved in a bad car accident a couple years ago and struggle with low back/ hip and neck pain daily. I contribute some of this pain to the inner spring mattress I am currently sleeping on. I am a side sleeper and prefer a firmer bed; I do not care for soft mattresses! In doing my research I have come across several retailers that claim to sell latex mattresses, but after speaking with someone I find out that most of these mattresses only have 1" to 2" of latex in the entire mattress. Also, several of the mattresses were made out of man-made or synthetic latex and if purchasing a latex mattress I would rather spend the money and have the added “green” benefits of natural latex. I am struggling to find a retailer/ manufacturers that sell the natural latex mattresses without all the added foam in my area. I have found a couple of websites, but am very nervous to purchase a bed without trying it out first (I am very picky about my mattress :). I have read several of your mattress forums and feel I have gained more knowledge about the mattress industry & different types of mattresses than when I first started looking, but still seem to be undecided. Can you please assist me?

Hi AmandaP … and welcome :slight_smile:

One of the most misunderstood parts of buying a mattress is the difference between pressure relief and spinal alignment. The part of a mattress that provides the pressure relief (often called “comfort”) is the upper few inches of the mattress called the comfort layer. The part of the mattress that provides the spinal alignment (often called support) is mainly the support layers which are under the comfort layers. Sometimes … a single layer does both (as in the case of a single 6" slab of latex which has an inch or so of quilting on both sides) where the top part of the layer is soft enough to provide pressure relief but the material quickly gets “firmer” as it is compressed more and so can also provide “support” (it stops your heavier parts from sinking in too far). Dunlop latex that is “soft enough” to provide pressure relief also gets “firmer faster” than other types of foam so it is often used in "single layer mattresses.

The “firmness” or “softness” of a mattress overall is really meaningless as each layer (or part of a layer) needs to be looked at independently. The top layers need to be soft enough and “elastic” enough to take on the shape of your body to distribute pressure while the support layers need to be firm enough to stop your heavier parts from sinking in too much and causing you to sleep out of alignment.

For example … the “ultra firm” mattresses sold by many major manufacturers may have ultra firm support layers (either an innerspring or foam) but will have “ultra soft” foam on top of this layer. Because you will “go right through” this ultra soft comfort layer … you will feel the firmness underneath it but if you are a side sleeper and need a thicker comfort layer … this ultra soft comfort layer will not provide proper pressure relief or hold up your more recessed body areas (like the lumbar). A mattress in other words needs to have BOTH soft parts for pressure relief AND firm parts for alignment. These 2 main “parts” of a mattress also interact and help each other do their main job. This interaction is also a part of both pressure relief and correct alignment. This is why it is so important to evaluate a mattress for pressure relief and spinal alignment separately rather than going by the “overall feel” of the mattress.

In the case of side sleeping … the softer comfort layer needs to be thicker than other sleeping positions to accommodate the more “recessed” parts of the body while side sleeping. It needs to be soft and thick enough to take on the shape of the body to distribute pressure but have enough “progressive resistance” to hold up the same recessed parts (like the lumbar) while the support layers “hold up” the heavier and more “protuding” parts like the hips.

In other words … looking for a “soft” or “firm” mattress in overall feel usually leads to choosing a mattress which either does not have correct pressure relief or provide proper alignment. Usually a “so called” firm mattress refers to the firmness of the support layers and does not take into consideration the need for the correct combination of pressure relief and spinal alignment with movement and changing sleep positions over the course of the night. Correct … based on individual needs … for both pressure relief and alignment is much more important than either “firmness” or “softness”.

In the case of side sleeping … a normal “starting point” for a comfort layer is about 3". This may be a 2" layer of softer foam which works in combination with the very upper part of a medium support layer or it could be a 3" layer of softer material which is over a firm or extra firm support layer. Overall, for most adult weights and sleeping profiles, a mattress should be about 8" thick to accommodate both comfort and support needs and changes of sleeping positions. A thinner mattress made of a material with very high “progressive resistance” like dunlop latex may work but will not be as likely to accommodate either heavier weights, changes in sleeping position, or less evenly distributed body weight. If it is indeed “too thin” for an individual, it may still work well with a 2" high quality topper over the mattress.

Another independent manufacturer that may be near enough to you and may be worth considering (besides Hawn of course) is …

http://www.lebeda.com/locations.html (In St Joseph)

Another option you have is to use local outlets to do some field testing (without regard to price) to find out the specific mattress construction, materials, and layering that works best for you. Once you know this it is a simple matter to “duplicate” that construction through an online manufacturer who sells DIY mattresses (mattresses where you choose the layering). For example if you know that a mattress with 3" of 19 ILD Talalay latex over 3" of 28 ILD Dunlop latex over 3" of 36 ILD Dunlop latex works great for you … then any mattress which has these same layers (or even slightly different layer combinations that provide equivalent pressure relief and spinal alignment) will work just as well regardless of brand.

There is a outlet near you for example http://www.eaglesrestnaturalhome.com/ which sells savvy rest mattresses and which gives you a choice of testing different layer combinations. While they (Savvy Rest) do not have the best prices … it would allow you to find out exactly what type of layering works for you so there would be little risk in ordering the same layering and materials online from a manufacturer who can provide the same layering and material at a lower price.

Even local mattress stores that sell “mostly latex” mattresses (that are almost always overpriced) will allow you to “zero in” on the best mattress construction and layering for your needs which you can then “duplicate” through a DIY manufacturer like some of the members here.

In the case of Talalay latex, most is a blend of SBR (manmade rubber) and NR (made from the rubber tree latex). Both are much superior to other foam types which use “less friendly” chemicals. Talalay is also available in NR (no SBR) although it is more expensive and may be less durable than the blend in the very softest ILD’s (around 14 ILD). Almost all high quality Dunlop latex is made from the more expensive NR since it is a less expensive maufacturing process and can still be less expensive than Talalay. I would certainly confirm this though to make sure that any Dunlop latex you are considering is NR. Talalay is usually preferred in comfort layers since it can be made softer than Dunlop and is more consistent in its softness throughout the layer. Either dunlop or talalay latex can be very good choices in a support layer and which type may work best for any individual really depends on the type, thickness, and ILD of the layering above it.

Hopefully this has helped and if you have more questions … don’t hesitate to ask.

Phoenix

Thank you for the great information and suggestions, I greatly appreciate it! I plan on going to St. Joseph in the next couple weeks to try the latex mattress at Lebeda. I will let you know my thoughts after I have visited :).

Also, I have found a couple online mattress retailers that sell all natural latex mattresses. After reviewing both of their webpages they both seem to have great feedback and similar latex products. Do you know have any information or experience with either of these companies and the quality of their products?

Again, thank you for the continued information and knowledge!

Hi AmandaP,

Thank you for the kind comments :slight_smile:

Yes, I am familiar with both plushbeds and habitat. Habitat isn’t actually “factory direct” since they don’t have or own an actual factory and their prices reflect this. Plushbeds is a “better than average” choice compared to most mainstream mattresses that many consumers end up buying but for most people they wouldn’t be in the same “value” range as many other component mattresses that use similar materials and components and have similar or better options available and are in a lower budget range.

For example, Plushbeds’ top of the line latex mattress has a 6" dunlop latex core and a 3" Talalay latex comfort layer with a wool/cotton quilting. These are good quality materials. They have a permanent “sale” which has never stopped (in spite of their “deadline”) which I find a bit gimmicky. While the price of $2149 (queen size) is better value than many retail stores or national brands, their “sale price” is still hundreds more than even the equivalent ALL talalay latex mattresses (Talalay is more expensive than Dunlop latex) sold by several of the DIY manufacturers that are members of this site.

Habitat also offers mattresses with good quality materials including a mattress almost identical to the one above however it sells for $2948 in queen size which is over $1000 more than equivalent mattresses sold by members of this site.

Overall their materials are good … their prices however are higher than many other Factory Direct outlets. They also do not have the same ability to customize a mattress as an actual manufacturer with their own factory.

Some of the factory direct manufacturers which are members of this site which specialize in Do It Yourself customized mattresses (of various types including latex) and/or specialize in shipping mattresses across the country, and IMO offer much better value include …

Several other manufacturing members of this site also make customized mattresses using latex and/or other materials which they ship across the country at a reasonable cost (see post #21 here) however they do not specialize in DIY constructions (where you choose each layer of your mattress and then can exchange individual layers if it is not quite right). Even with the higher shipping cost involved in shipping a whole mattress (rather than individual layers) … by most people’s criteria they would still offer better value than either of the companies you mentioned.

All of them have better value than Plushbeds and much better value than Habitat which along with their service, knowledge, experience, and reputation is the reason I invited them to become part of the founding membership here.

Hope this helps

Phoenix

The more I research, the more confused I get! We started out looking for a memory foam mattress or innerspring with individual coils…motion separation is a concern. The Serta iComfort felt very comfortable in the store, however we hjave not been impressed by what we have read online. Now we are finding several latex sets that “appear” comfortable. I would love to receive any information or feedback on the Englander Nature’s Finest latex mattress, or any latex that might be good to pursue.

Thank you!

Hi Golson22m,

I’ll share a few suggestions/ideas (in no particular order) that should help you “cut through” some of the confusion.

  1. Avoid buying a mattress made by any of the major national brands such as Sealy, Simmons, Serta, Tempurpedic. While they are not all “bad” mattresses … none of them have good value when compared to similar mattresses made by smaller manufacturers. NONE

  2. Buy a mattress based on what is in it … never by the brand.

  3. Never buy a mattress on a “major sale”. Quality mattresses are available year round at great value and the so-called sale prices that are offered by most of the major stores and major brands (and even some of the smaller ones) are a complete gimmick. Sale prices of 30, 40, 50% or more off are a major warning sign.

4.Never buy a mattress on the same day you do mattress testing unless you are certain that you have found your perfect mattress at the best value available in the city where you live.

  1. When you are mattress testing … test for the two main functions of a mattress (pressure relief and spinal alignment) separately along the lines of the guidelines on this site Five steps to your perfect mattress - Overview - The Mattress Underground . Never test for the “overall comfort” of a mattress or go by what someone tells you is a “supportive” mattress. Comfort is mostly about pressure relief in the top layers and support is mostly about how the lower layers keep your spine in alignment. Both are different for everyone.

  2. Don’t get involved with all the intricacies of mattress innersprings and coil counting if you are considering an innerspring mattress. Most of what you will hear is not much more than a story designed to impress you so you will buy the mattress they are trying to sell. A mattress is not about coil counts … it’s about pressure relief and correct alignment and your “lie on bed” testing will tell you about both.

  3. Know that what you are buying is what you want. Don’t let warranties or comfort exchanges be a major consideration in your final decision as these too are mostly gimmicks.

  4. Focus your attention on local factory direct manufacturer outlets and outlets or smaller sleep shops who carry alternative brands and have a direct relationship with the manufacturer. These will generally have the most knowledgeable salespeople and will be more interested in helping you find a mattress that is perfect for your own unique needs instead of selling you something they can get you excited about with a (mostly misleading) story.

  5. Never buy a mattress with more than an inch of polyfoam in the comfort layers (upper softer layers) and the quilting combined as this will become the weak link in your mattress and it will likely be subject to early softening and body impressions. Warranties will not usually cover this. If you must break this rule because of an exceptionally low budget (a few hundred dollars), only break it with a local manufacturer or sleep shop like those in #7 who will tell you the exact specs of the foam they use (and why) and will tell you truthfully how long it will last.

  6. Decide on the midpoint of your budget (the price you want to stay under with everything included but could go a little over for your absolutely perfect mattress)

  7. When you are testing mattresses … you are looking for the type of layering that works for you regardless of how much a mattress will cost. Once you know the comfort layers and support layers that work for you … then and only then is the time to decide on which mattress in your budget is closest to what you need. Mattress testing is to find out what layering works. Mattress buying (when testing is over) is about deciding on the materials you will use for this layering so you can stay within your budget.

  8. Unless you know or can find out the exact layer by layer specs of a mattress you want to test … never test or buy a mattress from anyone who cannot or will not tell you exactly what is in it (from a spec sheet or cutaway).

There’s more but that should help you get past most of the biggest issues in buying a mattress. None of these guidelines are “absolute” of course but it is much better to stick to them than to try to find the rare exceptions where they may not apply.

In general terms … you will be looking at a comfort layer which is either memory foam (if you know for certain that you sleep well on memory foam regardless of its drawbacks) or latex (which is a much higher quality and more durable material). Polyfoam (more than 1") as mentioned in #9 should be an absolute last resort.

Also in general terms … you will be looking at a support core made of an innerspring, latex, or high quality polyfoam (high quality polyfoam is OK in the support layers as it’s denser and firmer).

Test for and then decide on the material and the thickness and softness of a suitable comfort layer based on your sleeping positions and overall body weight and shape following the guidelines on this site.

Once you know this … decide on a support layer under this which has a feel you like and which keeps you in alignment in all your sleeping positions.

Now you can make final decisions based on the “feel” and durability (the major legitimate difference in pricing) of different materials and the overall value available to you from different outlets.

Englander is a licensing group and their mattresses are made differently in different areas of the country (and are also under different names). Some of these have better value than other national brands. The ones (including Nature’s finest) that have more than an inch of polyfoam in the comfort layers I wouldn’t consider at all. The ones that have only latex or an inch or less of polyfoam in the comfort layer I would use for testing (they use Dunlop latex which is generally firmer than Talalay latex but can be a good testing ground). None of them are likely to be nearly as good quality/value as a smaller local manufacturer. Just make sure you know the layer by layer breakdown in the area you are looking at them.

If you let me know what city you live in … I’ll take a look and see if I know of any local manufacturers near you.

Also if you let me know your height, weight, and overall body shape … along with your normal sleeping positions … I’d be happy to give you some general guidelines for layering and construction that may work for you

I know this was rather long but hopefully it will help you avoid many of the “traps” out there.

Phoenix

Thank you…this is very helpful! We are in Rutland, VT and I am 6’1, 185 and my wife is 5’8, 145. She is mostly a side sleeper while I am predominantly side, but some stomach and back as well.

Thank you for your help!
Glenn

Hi Golson,

As a general guideline side sleepers would use about 3" - 4" of soft and shape conforming foam in the comfort layers.

All memory foam would qualify as “soft” in actual use even though it can be “hard” when it is cold. Memory foam should be at least 4 lbs density in any good quality mattress (density is the major factor in quality in memory foam even though it has nothing to do with softness).

Latex (unlike memory foam) can be made either soft or firm and in a comfort layer it can be as soft as 14 ILD (similar to the softness of memory foams) or as firm as 24 ILD (which is typically about as firm as most people are comfortable with in a comfort layer although there are rare people who may prefer even firmer latex on top).

People who are either heavier or curvier may prefer a thicker comfort layer as their “protuding parts” (such as hips and shoulders) may need more depth of cushioning to distribute their weight over the mattress to relieve pressure.

Heavier people may also prefer firmer foam in the comfort layers as firmer foam will feel softer to them than to those who are lighter. This applies mainly to latex foam since all memory foam would qualify as being soft (about 15 ILD or less).

Back sleepers would typically start with testing comfort layers with about 2" of foam in the comfort layers (there is less space to “fill in” when sleeping on the back) while stomach sleepers need the thinnest/firmest comfort layer of all since it is the flattest sleeping profile. For those who sleep in multiple positions … they should test for pressure relief in their “curviest” position (on the side for combination side sleepers) and then use the thinnest/firmest comfort layer possible to accommodate the flatter sleeping profiles.

The biggest danger with stomach sleeping is a “swayback” sleeping position where the pelvic area sinks down too far into the mattress leading to a hyperextended arch in the lower back and probable backaches. This is most common in mattresses which are designed purely for side sleepers and are used for stomach sleeping.

Support layers under the comfort layers are designed to keep the heavier parts from sinking down too far and of course should be firmer than the comfort layers. The middle layers of a mattress (or the upper inch or two of a single support layer) often play a dual role. If they are a little softer they can contribute to and help the comfort layer with pressure relief (they can help make up for comfort layers which are a little thinner than normal for a certain sleeping position). If they are firmer they can contribute more to the support qualities of a mattress and holding up the heavier parts more effectively.

People who are taller/thinner and lower weight can also often use a slightly thinner comfort layer as it is easier to spread their weight around on the mattress (there are less spaces to fill in).

So you would likely be looking at a comfort layer in the range of 3" and if possible a little less (if less relieved all your pressure points) with a firm middle and lower layer. A 2" comfort layer would likely need a slightly softer middle layer to help with pressure relief. Either method can work equally well depending on how the layers interact with your unique body shape and weight distribution. Thinner and firmer as I mentioned would be “kinder” to your back (lumbar area) when you sleep on your stomach.

Unfortunately there are no independent mattress manufacturers that I am aware of in Vermont. It is one of the very few states without one. In cases like these … it is usually best to test mattresses using local stores to help you “nail down” the layering that works best for you using the guidelines on the site. Once you are fairly clear about the layer combinations that work for you … then your best value by far would be to order online through one of the members here who specialize in mattresses where you can choose your own layers and who offer a low cost way to exchange a layer if any need adjusting. This way you can “duplicate” almost any mattress that you find works for you locally using higher quality materials at a much lower cost.

I did take a quick look at some of the local mattress outlets near you and http://www.vermontbedrooms.com/ carries Natura mattresses which have various layers of latex in them with known levels of thickness and softness so these would be particularly useful in mattress testing if you were looking at latex as a comfort layer … even though they do not have good enough value to actually purchase IMO.

Phoenix

Thank you, again, For some very helpful information. Now, how do we find out about the specs that you list? Can I get information that is so specific as to rate the various layers?

Vermont Bedrooms was our first stop and the place where we initially were leaning toward memory foam as their Simmons felt rather comfortable.

Thank you, Glenn

Hi Glenn,

While Natura doesn’t list the actual ILD’s of the layers in the many different models they carry … they do a good job in showing the layering and materials on their website. There are also many dealers around the web that have “approximate” descriptions of the softness/firmness and the layering of their different models. Some dealers will even tell you the more specific specs. Overall, a person’s specs about weight, body shape, sleeping positions, and preferences … along with this more general information available about specific Natura (or other) mattresses … combined with personally testing which of their models provide someone with good pressure relief and support … will give enough “inferred” information to make informed and more accurate choices when buying a mattress online.

Other latex mattress manufacturers that make great testing grounds (because the specific materials and layers used including ILD is readily available) include Jamison and Pure Latex Bliss. These would make even better testing grounds if they are sold nearby.

The more informed and open that an outlet is about the layers and materials in a mattress (even in different materials than those you may be considering) … the easier it is to “translate” into the type of materials and layers you are looking for.

The most important part of mattress testing is to test each mattress separately for pressure relief and spinal alignment, (in each sleeping position) and overall “feel”, as feedback on each of these specific areas can be really helpful in deciding on the best layering arrangement for each individual. This specific type of feedback about mattresses in which the construction is either generally or specifically known is far more “accurate” than the overall “too soft” or “too firm” or “comfortable” type of feedback that is more difficult to “translate” into which of the functions of the mattress (and which layers that provide that function) need to change to be more suitable for each individual.

The more specific information that can be provided … and the more that is known about each mattress you test … The easier it is to make final “construction” and “value” decisions once the testing is done.

Even feedback on the specific Simmons mattress that you found comfortable (hopefully including or “translating” comfortable into pressure relief and alignment terms) may help “point” in the right direction.

I’m certainly happy to help in any way I can in the “translations”.

Phoenix

Thank you, again. We will take this information with us when we go looking again, hopefully next weekend.

Glenn

Hi Golson,

Good luck in your field testing. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback along the way.

Phoenix

OK…did some testing today and are still overwhelmed! My wife really liked a Simmons Memory foam (Indigo Point), while I did like this also, I leaned toward the Englander Latex matress. We also liked (not as soft as my wife would like though) the Sealy “Meditation” and the Natura “Solace” latex mattress. One of my concerns about the Englander (which does have 90 day comfort guarantee and 20 year full warranty) is that the support layer is high-density soy-based perma-support. I haven’t heard of his in any of my online research. Below is what we found on these mattresses. Thank you again for this great resource!

Glenn

Englander Daisy Pillow Top: $1700
Cover - Aloe Vera
Quilting - Multi needle quilted to a triple layer of soy-based ultra foam plus Firesafe fibers
Pillow Top - 1" pure, natural rubber latex
Core - 4" pure, natural rubber latex laminated to a 6" high-density soy-based perma-support base

Simmons Indigo: $2000
Stretch Knit Fabric Cover with Evenloft
Layer of Flame Retardant Fiber
Layer of 1" NxG Memory foam with GelTouch™ Technology in the center third
Comforpedic® Plush Core
Layer of 3-1/2" NxG Memory Foam
Layer of 6-1/2" 24ILD Suspension Support Foam
3" Contour-Flex Edge Support providing 360º Foam Encasement
Triton Foundation

Sealey Embody Meditation $1688 (for floor model)
Support Core - 7" Interlock Poly Core
Specialty Foam - 4" Talalay Latex
Fabric - Body Climate by Polartec

Natura “Solace” $2400
Cashmere blend ticking
Furnishes sumptuous comfort that’s natural, breathable and healthy

4.2 lbs Pure NaturaWool™
Reduces tossing and turning from temperature fluctuations
Improves circulation by buffering pressure points

All-natural cotton
Serves as an all-natural fire barrier

1" Convoluted Dunlop latex (blended)
Enhances contouring, supple support

4" 3-Zone Talalay Latex (blended)
Delivers targeted shoulder, hip and lower leg support
Absorbs motion transfer so couples can sleep together undisturbed
Reduces exposure to dust-mites and other allergens

4" Dunlop latex
Unifies consistent feel across the whole body

2" Coconut coir
Provides a firm, breathable base

Hi Glenn,

When you see the word “soy based” or “bio foam” or similar words … what they are talking about is a polyfoam or memory foam (memory foam is just polyfoam with additional chemicals to make it into memory foam) where a small amount of the petro based polyols (one of the ingredients in polyfoam or memory foam) has been replaced with a plant based polyol. It is memory foam or polyfoam which is being “spun” as being green.

Englander Daisy Pillowtop

This is the layer I would be concerned about. Many of the Englanders have up to 2" of polyfoam above the latex. Others don’t (although I suspect this is one that does). I would want to know how many inches is in the triple layer of polyfoam both so you could know if you were lying on latex or polyfoam and how likely it is that the polyfoam will compress over time. Higher quality polyfoam (soy based perma support) in the support core is usually OK for a lower priced mattress (polyfoam is much lower cost than latex). It’s in the comfort layer where polyfoam should be completely avoided … or at a maximum 1". This is always something worth checking with the retailer’s spec sheet which the manufacturer provides them.

Simmons Indigo

A description of the mattress is also here which shows that the memory foam is only 3.5 lb which is a lower quality/density material. It only has 24 ILD support foam as well (usually support foam “starts” at about 28 ILD and is usually firmer). As in all national brands … I would pass it by as poor value. I would also guess that the support wouldn’t be nearly firm enough for you and probably not for your wife either … even though she is a side sleeper. There’s just too much lower quality soft memory foam on top of this and IMO its a recipe for foam breakdown.

Sealy Embody Meditation

The comfort layer is made of “smart foam” which is firmer than talalay latex and is made of Dunlop with “inserts” in it. This is a good pointer to what works for you however I would tend towards a slightly thinner layer of softer talalay with either a firm polyfoam core (like this has) or a latex core.

Natura solace

The Solace uses a thicker wool quilting over the latex than the other two. This makes the latex firmer (less able to take on the body shape) and as the wool compresses … it gets even firmer yet. In effect it acts like it is slightly thinner and firmer even though its initial “feel” may be soft. While this mattress is nice in terms of having one side soft (more suitable for your wife) and one side firm (more suitable for you) … There is quite a thick layer of latex on top even with the wool quilting (1" convoluted dunlop which would be soft and then a 4" zoned comfort layer). This “side split” is also available on many online DIY all latex mattresses if you choose to go in that direction.

What all of this is pointing to is that your wife certainly likes (and probably needs) a softer comfort layer than you do (because of her primarily side sleeping and lower weight) however you will both likely need a reasonable firm support core (her to stop her hips from sinking in too far and you for the same reason … especially on your back or stomach). If you can find a 3" comfort layer that works it would be preferable over 4" or more.

http://www.benningtonfurniture.com/itemBrowser.aspx?action=attributes&ItemType=Furniture&Category=Mattresses&Brand=Mattress%201st carries some house brand mattresses (mattress 1st made by Serta) with latex and memory foam. I would phone them first though to make sure they have spec sheets to make sure about any polyfoam on top or you won’t know what you are lying on.

http://www.burlingtonbedrooms.com/matts.htm Carries Innomax mattresses who makes both latex and memory foam that may have good value. I would also call them first to make sure about what they carry because Innomax also makes airbeds which I would not consider.

Sleepy’s in West Lebanon is about an hour away but they do carry Pure Latex Bliss which are excellent latex testing grounds. (NOTE ADDED LATER: Unfortunately they don’t carry these any more and there are no other mattresses that I would seriously consider here)

The picture is starting to get clearer … and with a bit more testing it should get clearer yet.

Phoenix

Thank you! Your feedback is very helpful. Bennington Furnture is actually where we tried the Embody Meditation. They also had the Sealey iComfort. I will call them about the mattress you mentioned and also check back on the inches of Polyfoam in the Englander.

Thanks again!
Glenn

Hi PC88,

I changed this to a new thread so that others in the San Jose area will have an easier time finding it. Hope that’s OK :slight_smile:

The list also includes the better options I’m aware of as far south as the Salinas, Monterey area and as far north as Burlingame.

In addition to this list … there are also some good options available a little further north in the San Francisco list here.

Bay Bed & Mattress - FAQ A member here of this site. Factory direct manufacturer in Santa Cruz. Specialize in latex over innerspring “choose your own layer” mattresses. I have talked with them enough to know that they use the best quality components and offer great value, quality, and service and I believe compete well with the best in the industry. I think very highly of them and recommend that anyone within driving distance makes a point of paying them a visit.

Nest Beding Palo Alto, San Francisco, Albany, CA (and others outside the area). They are a member of this site and are knowledgeable, experienced, and transparent and carry a range of mattresses including latex, memory foam, and latex and memory foam/pocket coil hybrids. They have also put a great deal of time and effort into carrying mattresses that are good quality and value. I have also talked with Joe the owner on many occasions and he is passionate about what he is doing and left a larger manufacturer that had a somewhat exaggerated focus on “green” mattresses to form his own company because he wanted to “do it right”.

https://www.foamorder.com/ San Rafael, San Pablo, CA. Local factory direct manufacturer. I have talked with Alan here and he is committed to providing high quality materials and mattresses. Tends to focus more on the benefits of Dunlop latex over Talalay and some of the Talalay information here is I believe is somewhat inaccurate. They also make memory foam mattresses. Also well worth including in your research as they have some good options with good value. Their Natural Sense mattresses are also available at stores in Concord, Arcata, and Albany, CA.

http://www.mcroskey.com/index.shtml Factory direct “high end” manufacturer in Palo Alto and San Francisco. They hand build some very high quality mattresses using innersprings, natural and synthetic fibers but they also carry a premium price.

http://www.salinasmattress.com/ Factory direct manufacturer in Salinas. I have talked with the owner John and he uses some very high quality materials including latex, 5 lb memory foam, and higher density polyfoam. Good quality and value, mostly 2 sided (even with latex) and will also custom build. Good people

http://remsleepsolutions.com/ Factory direct manufacturer in Salinas. I have talked with Randy the owner here and they make some high quality memory foam mattress using high quality materials. They sell primarily through trade shows but have two company showrooms and a few retail outlets as well. He is very knowledgeable about mattress materials and committed to good quality mattresses and customer service but they also carry a more premium price compared to other smaller manufacturers that make similar mattresses so I would make some careful value comparisons.

http://www.thefutonshop.com/ San Jose, Los Altos, San Mateo, San Francisco, Concord, CA. Carries a huge range of futons of all kinds including innersprings, latex, memory foam, polyfoam, and organic wool and cotton.

https://www.gingerich-built.com/ Monterey Mattress. Independent factory direct manufacturer in Monterey. I would call first and check some pricing with a “rough description” of what you want as when I was talking to him about latex mattresses (core and comfort layer) the prices he quoted me seemed out of line.

https://www.thenaturalmattressstore.com/ Factory direct manufacturer in Los Gatos, Palo Alto, San Rafael, Walnut Creek, San Francisco. Makes a range of high quality latex/innerspring hybrids and all latex mattresses (including component latex mattresses) that can be customized both before and after a purchase. Worth a visit.

https://www.naturallyorganicsleep.com/ Burlingame. Local manufacturer that makes various “choose your own” layered latex mattresses with various different types of zip covers. Good quality and value. They also carry PalmPring, Pure Latex Bliss, REM Sleep Solutions, Restonic, Natura, Magniflex, Easy Rest, and Savvy Rest mattresses

http://selectsleepmattress.com/ Union City, Danville. Local factory direct manufacturer. This is a component mattress where you can “build your own” mattress by choosing a Bonnell coil, pocket coil, or HD polyfoam for a support layer and either memory foam, latex, or high density polyfoam for the comfort layers along with your choice of ticking/quilting for a cover. Good quality materials and good value. The owner used to be a licensee for a major manufacturer before starting on his own and building directly for consumers and is knowledgeable and clearly “mattress people”.

Shop Affordable Home Furnishings & Home Goods - IKEA Pal Alto. See post #3 here for more about their mattresses.

http://www.sc41.com/ Soquel, CA. Direct retailer for the Berkeley Ergonomics line of mattresses. These are a line of mattresses that includes all latex, latex over innersprings, and microcoil mattresses. They have good quality and value and the staff at the outlets that sell these mattresses are knowledgeable and helpful.

http://www.californiamattress.net/store-location/ Campbell, CA. Carries a range of high quality mattresses including Organicpedic, Pure Latex Bliss, Naturepedic, and Diamond but some of these are also in a more premium price range so make sure you make some careful value comparisons here.

http://www.sleephavenbedding.com/ Redwood City, San Mateo, CA. Carries Englander, Diamond, OMI as well as some mainstream brands I would ignore. I would also make some careful value comparisons here with their more premium latex mattresses.

http://www.diamondmattress.com/Diamond-Mattress/Default.aspx is a regional wholesale manufacturer based in Rancho Dominguez that makes a complete range of mattresses using all types of materials that have some good quality and value (depending to some degree on the prices of the outlet). They have a store finder on their site which will help you find the outlets that carry them that are closest to you.

The Ethos Refresh Medium by Diamond Mattress

This is the type of mattress construction I like and would be a good choice for someone who preferred the feel (or price) of latex over an innerspring as long as the model was good for both pressure relief and alignment. I like that the latex is on top without a lot of “junk” over it.

Simmons NXG 200

This has 1.5" of PurFoam (polyfoam) under 2" of lower density memory foam which is more low quality foam than I would suggest in any mattress. Like all the major manufactures … it is also overpriced and not very good value (compared to a mattress using similar materials made by a local manufacturer or available online). 2" of 3.5 lb memory foam and 1.5" of low density polyfoam is just not the kind of materials I would want in this price range. While it is not directly comparable to the Ethos in terms of feel because they use different comfort materials, there is no doubt that the Ethos is a higher quality mattress and would certainly be my choice between these two if they were equal in terms of pressure relief and alignment and anywhere close in price.

You have some good choices “in the area” but since many of them are not quite next door … I would certainly do some initial research on their sites and on the phone and then plan a trip to include the ones that interested you the most.

While I haven’t looked at every store in the area, there is little to nothing at places like mattress discounters or sleep train or famous mattress that I would even look at much less consider. At sleep world the only brand I would use for testing and reference would be the various Englander models (making sure that I saw the spec sheets to make sure they didn’t have more than an inch of polyfoam in the comfort layers).

Hope this helps.

Phoenix

Hi Phoenix,

Thanks so much for the references and prompt response! Much appreciated!

Phoenix: I thnk we have hit a bit of a dead-end! Bennington Furniture does not have the “mattress 1st” in stock. Burlington Bedrooms can get the Innomax but does not have any in the showroom. And Sleepys lost their inventiry in Tropical Storm Irene and just reopned today but oly has a line called, “Dr. Breus” in stock. They are unsure of when they will have the Pure Latex Bliss again. Godnick’s Furniture got back to me on the Englander and said that the quiltng is 1 1/2 inches. They had one next to the one we tried with only a half inch, but it wasn’t very soft or comfrotable. How do we find a latex that has a soft top that is not polyfoam?

I feel like we took three steps backwards today.

Thank you, Glenn

Hi Golson22,

Ouch … that’s not good news.

The first thing I should mention is that no matter what they say … the Dr Breus is overpriced and is not what could reasonably be called a latex mattress. A quick look at the law tag will show the amount of latex that is in each model (and this is by weight and because latex is heavier than other foams it actually “overstates” the amount of latex in terms of thickness) is not so great. The Dr Breus “story” is what you are paying for with this mattress … not the materials which are much cheaper and lower quality than even a sale price that has been bargained down would indicate. It has more polyfoam than latex. I’m not saying its a “bad” mattress (although I wouldn’t call it great either) … only that it is poor value.

The first thing I would do is to test certain mattresses for pressure relief that are mostly latex in the comfort layers or memory foam in the comfort layers to get a good sense of the type, softness, and thickness of the comfort layer you need. Test for pressure relief on your side (the position where pressure relief is most important) and while you are completely relaxed try to sense any pressure points on our hips and shoulders. Move a little bit with your hips and shoulders or turn to your back and then to your side again to sense if you can feel a firmer layer underneath the comfort layer that is uncomfortable when you move or if the transition into the firmer layers is more gradual.

Next you want to test the models which worked for pressure relief to check on alignment. This is about making sure your hips don’t sink down too far, that your shoulders sink in far enough, and that there are no gaps under your waist/lumbar (it should not be easy to slide your hand between you and the mattress). On your side your spine should be straight, on your back and stomach it’s especially important to make sure that your pelvic area isn’t sinking down too far and that your spine is in its natural “S” curve and there are no obvious “out of alignment” areas (hips too low or shoulders too high).

When you have tested for pressure relief and alignment and narrowed down your choices to a few … then its time to add in your preferences (such as how good it “feels” overall). Finally you can compare the value of your final choices in terms of the quality of materials (latex is more expensive than quality memory foam which is more expensive than polyfoam) and their durability and other choices like the ticking and the quilting to get a sense of which has better value.

Testing specifically for pressure relief (on your side while completely relaxed for several minutes) and for alignment in all your sleeping positions (again while completely relaxed so the mattress is holding you up not your muscles) will give you a much more accurate sense of what you need than the overall “comfort” of a mattresses which is usually an initial subjective impression and will change over time when you sleep on it for a while.

While its always nice to be able to test specifically with the layers and materials you want to choose … any testing will help in terms of pointing in directions. If you have a good choice locally that also has good value … then a local purchase is possible. If you found a good choice locally but the value is not so good … then this mattress and your testing can serve as a rough blueprint for an online purchase which will have much better value.

To test memory foam mattresses … I would use the iComforts and the Tempurpedic cloud and contour lines. Remember you are looking for which ones are OK for pressure relief and alignment, not an “overall feel”. To test for latex … I would use the Natura models and the Englander models (again testing for pressure relief and alignment). Which models don’t provide good pressure relief and alignment is just as important to know as which ones do as all of this points to what is best for you.

As long as the mattresses you are testing has a layer by layer description (either from the store or available online if they don’t have it or won’t give it to you) which these ones do, then all your pressure relief and alignment feedback will be valuable.

After this a much clearer picture will emerge of the layering that works best for you and then it’s much easier to make final decisions based on subjective factors and value … or to make an online purchase that “fits” your blueprint.

Phoenix

We have spent some more time looking, although not a lot of options near us. Here is what we have found:

NaturaPedic Sensation (my wife and I both liked this a lot… $2,000)

The eco-friendly Sensation Mattress gently echoes your unique curves to reduce late night tossing and turning. The plant-based memory foam and 3-zone Talalay latex topper provides targeted shoulder, hips and thigh support to ease the high tension areas of your body, while the plush Dunlop latex core ensures whole body comfort. With a luscious helping of cozy NaturaWool™ to regulate temperature by wicking away moisture, you’ll stay dry and cozy throughout the night. A fresh, satiny soft and off-gassing free organic cotton blend ticking tops up the comfort. Healthy indulgence that you’ll feel good about.

Organic cotton blend ticking

Furnishes sumptuous comfort that’s natural, breathable and healthy

4.2 lbs Pure NaturaWool™

Reduces tossing and turning from temperature fluctuations
Improves circulation by buffering pressure points

Natural cotton fire barrier

Meets and exceeds all Canadian & US flammability standards

1" Plant-based foam

Provides cushioning support across the whole mattress surface

3" Plant-based memory foam

Absorbs motion transfer so couples can sleep together undisturbed
Reduces exposure to dust-mites and other allergens

2" 3-Zoned Talalay latex (blended)

Delivers targeted shoulder, hips, and thigh support
Absorbs motion transfer so couples can sleep together undisturbed
Reduces exposure to dust-mites and other allergens

4" All-natural Talalay latex

Unifies consistent feel across the whole body

Englander Daisy Pillow Top (both liked best of Englanders…$1700)

Cover: Aloe Vera

Quilting: 1.5" Multi-Needle Quilted to a triple layer of soy-based ultra foam plus firesafe fibers

Pillow Top: 1" pure, natural rubber latex

Core: 4" pure, natral rubber latex core laminated to a 6" high-density soy-based perma-support base

Warranty: AA-20 year non-pro-rated

Englander Liberty ($1400)

Cover: Aloe Vera

Quilting: 1" Multi-Needle Quilted to a triple layer of soy-based ultra foam plus firesafe fibers

Core: 4" pure, natral rubber latex core laminated to a 6" high-density soy-based perma-support base

Warranty: AA-20 year non-pro-rated

Englander Memory Foam Village ($1000)

Cover: Lyocell Double Knit Cover

Core: 3" of soy-based Visco elastic memory foam laminated to a high-density eco-friendly perma-support foam base

Warranty: A-15 year non-pro-rated

Englander Malibu Foam Boxtop ( $1200)

Quilting: Multi-Needle Quilted to a triple layer of bio-based ultra foam plus firesafe fibers

Boxtop: Bio-based polyfoam

Build Up: Netting
Bio-based polyfoam
Bio-based polyfoam
Bio-based polyfoam
Bio-based polyfoam

Unit: 660 body print 3-zone
Marshall coil unit with special steel edge supports

Warranty: A - 15 year non-prorated

This is a much harder process than I had anticipated! Thank you for all of your help!
Glenn