Latex-pros and cons


Here I am again Phoenix. Amassing clarity and info on your web site. (Hard to get lost)

I cannot stress enough how grateful I am for your help in purchasing my mattress. For 6 months now I am happily sleeping and my lower back pains have reduced almost to nothing. Thank you!
Now I am considering purchasing a mattress for my son and making sure that he gets a good night rest. Thank God, finally, yesterday he decided he is ready to throw his old almost unusable twin-size mattress. We replaced it with my old full-size mattress that is still in very good condition. My old mattress, for whatever reasons, was not good for my lower back and I do not want my son to develop any back issues. I would like to buy him a new mattress, however, here are some concerns.

  • Financial. I would not like to spend more that a couple hundred dollars for this purchase.
  • My son is sleeping mostly on his back and side and at 12 years old he weighs about 175 lbs. As he is still growing I would like his new mattress to last a long time. (I understand boys grow up to 18)
  • Due to my experience with latex mattress I am now convinced that this would be a great choice for him as well (Probably in full-size which I am aware that will add to the cost)
    I am not yet in a position to make this purchase straight away but I am heading in that direction and I would like to get started. I would greatly appreciate any help that you can offer.

Hello Jilau, and welcome to our forum,

Your budget of a few hundred dollars is not a lot for a whole new mattress … as you probably know … but if your old mattress is still in reasonably good shape you have some options that don’t involve buying a complete mattress.

If the top of your old mattress is still “flat” and reasonably firm on top (hasn’t “softened up” or started sagging) then you may be better off spending your budget on a good quality topper rather than a full mattress. The innersprings (I’m assuming that’s what it is) are probably still fine. Your son is a big young man and if you can I would probably recommend a latex topper about 2" thick. The softness of the latex would depend on your son’s body shape and preferences and I would probably take him to a few outlets that sell mattresses with a latex comfort layer and see what ILD (a measure of foam softness or firmness) works best for him. Usually an ILD in the range of 19 - 24 would work well. A slightly less expensive alternative would be to use HR polyfoam but I would only go in this direction if you absolutely can’t afford latex as it is not the same quality or as durable as latex … and the quality of polyfoam you would need would not be that much less than latex.

2" of blended latex in a full size should cost less than $300 and 3" (if he needs something thicker) should be under $400. Usually your best value is either from a local manufacturer or specialty shop that sells mattresses that are made locally or from an online source. You didn’t mention where you live but two of our manufacturing members specialize in selling online and both have great service and great prices. They are …

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When you are ready to make your purchase, if you let me know what city you live in I have an extensive list of outlets all over the country where your son could can test latex (or other) mattresses and toppers to find out what works best for him. We may even have a manufacturing or retailer member near you as well. If not, both of the online outlets I mentioned are great people.

I’ll be posting a list of our founding membership so far later on tonight.

If you have more questions … let me know and I’ll be happy to help you as much as I can.

Glad to hear your mattress is working out for you … there’s nothing quite like a great sleep :slight_smile:


Thanks to this website, I am becoming a mattress expert. I am close to making a purchase and have narrowed down to the two companies you listed in the last post (I live in Phoenix). I visited sleep ez this past weekend and tried out the latex mattress varieties. My current question/dilemma is that sleep ez has more of an ability to customize the mattteess. Each layer is 2.8 inches. I figured I would go with firm, medium, soft. However, I see in my reading that 6 inches of a base core seems the norm. In fact, does not seem to do the multilayers rather a thick base core and a 2 inch topper. I like prices and their bamboo cover, but not sure if this is best arrangement. I am not usually obsessive compulsive about most things, but I am planning to spend several thousand dollars and I want the ‘right’ mattress.

I plan to get an adjustable base. So, other dilemma is whether to go with two twin xls versus king. My husband I do not differ in our mattress preference. We like firm, not cushy. But, need some cushion for pressure relief. I am back and side sleeper; he is side and stomach sleeper. we are normal weight individuals, young, without health problems…just aching back and shoulders in the mornings with current outdated bed.

Can you render any opinions that may help with my decision?
Thank you.

Hi Sschuck,

In general terms, side sleeping needs the thickest comfort layer, followed by back sleeping, followed by stomach sleeping.

A “typical” starting point would be a 3" softer comfort layer with lighter, less curvy bodies needing thinner and heavier, more curvy bodies needing thicker.

Generally with men, the most “difficult” issue is letting their broader shoulders sink in far enough to align with their thinner heavier pelvis and with women it is preventing the wider heavier pelvic area from sinking in too far.

This would mean that a typical place that I would start from would either be @3" of a softer latex over a firm core (no medium) or 2" of a softer latex over a slightly less firm middle layer or core (the top part of the lower layer would make up for the extra inch). The first one would be what I have called a “differential” construction and the second would be what I have called a “progressive” construction. Either could end up perfect for you and your husband.

If you and your husband do not find that the same layering scheme works for you, then side to side zoning would be an option which either manufacturer could provide.

My best advice would be to use this as a guideline since there are also other “comfort and support” factors to consider and while “theory” is a good place to start, the fine tuning of ILD and thickness is always best done with actual “lay on mattress testing” in an unhurried environment with knowledgeable people to help you and testing all your normal sleeping positions.

You are fortunate that they are both in “testing distance” as like our other members, they both offer among the best value in America.

If you are considering a position adjustable base, then to my knowledge they are only available in 2 x Twin XL to make up a King size. There were some companies that used to make them in King but they no longer do. If you wanted to adjust each side separately then you would also need split twin mattresses of course.

Since both of these manufacturers offer such great value, I would consider it a matter more of preference and which construction was closer to a perfect fit for you and your husband including the more subjective “intangibles”. It would be difficult to “go wrong” with either one.

Hope this helps a bit and if you have more questions … feel free to ask.

PS … don’t forget to tell them you are a member here so they can give you your additional 5% discount :).


I was in a local department store today and found the icomfort bed and thought it felt very good. I hadn’t heard of it before so I decided to come home and do some research and now I’m just confused. I’m 5’10", 160lbs and have back and leg issues which require me to sleep on my stomach most of the time. Do you know of any local manufacturers in the Seattle area that might make a good alternative to the icomfort. I’d like something like it but would prefer not to spend $2000 if, like you say, the value isn’t there.
Thank you.

Hi Bill,

This thread should be helpful for you. I think a trip to Marysville would be well worth your time in terms of your choices, quality, and value.

Stomach sleeping and back issues are not a good mix with most memory foam mattresses as they will often let you sink in too far which leads to sleeping in a swayback position which can aggravate back issues. Memory foam is the least supportive of all the foams which is why it is only used in the upper layers of a mattress. The only iComfort which could even remotely be suitable for stomach sleeping would be the lowest end Insight and possibly the Genius (but it uses 2" of much lower quality polyfoam on top of the gel foam). Even these are not close to what I would call a good value mattress.

Of the three types of foam that are used in the comfort layers of a mattresses … I would avoid polyfoam completely unless you are in a much lower budget range and even then I would only consider higher quality polyfoam which is used by independent manufacturers but rarely if ever by national manufacturers. The remaining foam choices are memory foam and latex foam and you can read about them here and here respectively.

You should certainly be able to find a very high quality and value mattress within your budget from the factory direct manufacturers on the Seattle list.


Thank you Phoenix, this is great information. After doing some more reading and based on your suggestion that memory foam would be bad for my back and sleep style, it appears you would suggest a good latex bed for my situation? Thank you for a great forum, very helpful!

Hi Bill,

The best mattress for you (or any person) is not so much a brand or model but a type of construction. The Seattle list here would be a great place to start. They will have the choices that can help you find the best combination of pressure relief and support (spinal alignment) that is best suited to your weight and body profile.

In general terms … stomach sleepers do best with a thinner comfort layer than either back sleepers or side sleepers and this would normally be over a very supportive support core to prevent hammocking. The comfort layer … if you are a pure stomach sleeper … should be just enough to relieve the pressure on your more sensitive or bony parts while on your stomach such as your pelvic crest. Zoning where the middle of the support core is slightly firmer than the upper and lower third would also help to prevent your hips from sinking in too far.

If you spend time on either your back or side … then the comfort layers may need to be a little thicker to relieve pressure in these positions as there are more “pointy parts” and recessed curves that need to be filled in when sleeping in these positions.

Most factory direct manufacturers are expert in fitting a mattress to your unique needs and preferences. If I was in your shoes … I would start with the first one on the list (Slumberease) as I have talked with him enough to know that he knows his stuff, and manufactures quality mattresses that have great value. That and the other factory direct manfacturer in Marysville would make a trip there more than worthwhile. I doubt you would find significantly better value in Seattle.


Hi Phoenix,

(apologies if this is submitted in duplicate - i tried yesterday but I don’t think it went through)

First let me say what an incredible resource you provide here. Very shortly after we bought our last mattress I realized we’d made a mistake. We just toughed it out for a while, but then almost broke down, feeling we had no choice but to submit to the same exploitative sales process – and likely disappointment – again… and that’s when we found your website! Which in itself helped us sleep better, even on the bad mattress, because we had finally gotten our hands on the resources necessary to solve this problem!

So, we’re in the Chicago area and we took a trip to the Beloit Mattress Factory in Beloit WI. Nice people. The woman we talked to was very helpful, but incidentally seemed not to have much use for the ILD numbers and technotalk. “Just try ‘em.”
We’re keen on the latex. I’m mostly a stomach sleeper and by far the more sensitive one; my wife sleeps mostly on her side, usually very deeply and happily, which causes me some envy - she outsleeps the cats, if you can believe it. She is small and I am of average height & weight.

Anyway, I am curious if you had comments, general or specific, on the following set ups:

  1. Nature’s Rest level II: 6" firm 36 ILD Talatech foundation with 2" soft Talatech topper. King set $1789, dual king $2089 (with foundations)
  2. Silouhette: 6" Talalay latex base with 3" of 5.5 pound Avela visco-elastic (memory) foam. Price same as above.
  3. mI-comfort: gel bed. 2.7 pound 50 ILD base, a transition layer of 2.3 pound 19 ILD HR foam, and then 3 in layer of Adapta-gel gel foam. King set $1549, dual king $1738.

We both liked the first one quite a bit. However, twice, on two different trials, I almost feel asleep on the second one (with the memory foam topper). Despite that, I can’t ignore the suspicion that the memory foam will be great in the short term but will give out too soon. I’m split on the dual king vs king. The obvious advantages are portability and the option to change one out independent of the other. The extra money is not trivial, but not a huge issue (given that previously we nearly surrendered to a tempurpedic purchase).

Your advice appreciated. Many thanks in any case.

Hi ked,

Beloit is very open about the materials and layering in their mattresses so it’s easy to know the quality of the layers. Once this is known … then it really is a matter of deciding which ones are best for you in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Preferences).

All three of these mattresses use very high quality materials in all their layers but the materials are different and would cater to the needs and preferences of different people.

The Nature’s rest level ll uses latex as both the support core and the comfort layer. This would be a more “on the mattress” type of feel and the top layer of latex would be similar in ILD to the other two but would be more supportive. Because this only has 2" of foam over the support core and latex is a very supportive material … this may be the most suitable for stomach sleeping. You are closer to the support layers with this one. The question here would be “is the thickness of the comfort layer enough for your wife’s pressure relief needs?”

The silouhette has a 3" comfort layer of high quality memory foam rather than the 2" latex layer of the previous choice. This would be a more “in” the mattress feeling and would be an in between choice in terms of the comfort layer. Perhaps better for your wife but a little bit not as good for stomach sleeping.

Finally the ml-comfort has an ultra firm base and then uses a high quality combination of polyurethane foam underneath 3" of the new gel foam in the comfort layer (this is a new material which is also very durable and IMO the best of the gel/memory foam combinations that are coming to market). This has the thickest comfort layer of all which would be great for side sleeping but would perhaps require caution for a stomach sleeper. It would also be somewhat “in between” the feeling of more traditional memory foam and latex.

The Avela memory foam being 5.5 lbs is very high quality and would be more durable than most memory foams so durability would not be a major factor here although it is true that memory foam is not as durable as latex or perhaps the new gel foam material either. All of these 3 comfort layers use very high quality materials. It is also true that most memory foam will have an initial softening in the first few weeks of use but this is not as evident with the newer generation of more breathable memory foams than it was with the older more closed cell memory foams.

So in essence … the women is right. The best way to make your choice would be to test each mattress for both pressure relief and for spinal alignment. My tendency for you would be towards “thinner is better” but only personal testing can really tell which one meets your need for pressure relief and alignment and also has the “feel” that both of you prefer.

In terms of a split king vs a king … this would be more a matter more of preference and whether your choices “match”. There are certainly benefits as you mentioned including any possibility of whether you at any time plan to use an adjustable base which could either be adjustable for the entire mattress (if you had a king) or each side independently (with a dual king). Motion isolation on each of these mattresses would be good for all three but of course a split king would be more so than a king. The advantage of a king of course is the consistency of the sleeping surface. All in all I personally would tend to prefer a king but this is only me and each person may have a different set of preferences that are important to them which need to be balanced against the extra cost.

All 3 of these choices are great quality and value but for someone who spends a lot of time on their stomach I would tend towards the first two choices. Having said this … your personal testing would also be the most accurate of all.


I have a mattress very similar to the ml-comfort. The mid layer is the only thing different. 1" latex.

I also sleep on my stomach and have had no problems so far. 5 nights.

From what I’ve heard, the ml-comfort is suppose to be a little firmer than what I have.