Latex vs. Foam

First, thanks for this great website! I think I’ve learned more than I thought there was to know about mattresses. Great job!

We are trying to figure out what mattress is best for our needs. Right now our biggest concern is motion isoaltion. I used to be a deep sleeper, but after having 2 kids, I wake to every move my husband makes at night. We currently are sleeping on a queen sized, Simmons Beautyrest pillowtop that’s about 11 years old. I am 5’1" and about 110 lbs, and I sleep primarily on my back and occasionally on my side. My husband is 5’10", 190 lbs, and sleeps mostly on his side and sometimes his back. We both like sleeping cool. We are upgrading to a king to help with movement.

We initially decided that latex was the way to go, even though memory foam is best for motion isolation, since we read that memory foam gets hot. We checked out a local place in Seattle called Bedrooms and More, privately owned for 40 years. They gave us the run down on latex and it seemed pretty sound and we layed on several mattresses to get a feels for what we liked. In the end, we settled on this one:
Whitman Firm (2-sided, flippable mattress)
Support System - 6" 100% Botanical Latex (Dunlop) Firm ~32ILD
Comfort Layers - 1/2" 100% Botanical Latex (Talalay)
Quilt Layer(s) - 100% New Zealand Lambs Wool Whispershield Fiber Fire Barrier (70% Dacron/30% Rayon)
Fabric Cover - Organic Cotton

After we got home, I read some more from your site, and I realized that back/side sleepers should have a deeper comfort layer (this one only has a ½ inch). Even though we both seemed comfortable laying on it at the store, I wonder if over time, my husband will get sore since the comfort layer in less than optimum? Any advice on this? The mattress is also about $2000, so it’s an investment for sure and we want to be sure before we spend this kind of money. Otherwise, we’re pretty confident this is a good product from a reputable store.

We also decided to check out another local store called Seattle Mattress Co. What they showed us in terms of latex seemed comparable to what we already tried. The main differences being that they used all Talalay in both the support and comfort layers, plus they have a removable topper. The removable topper could be an advantage if we go with a platform bed, since the the topper will never be on the bottom side of the mattress, before being flipped. Not sure that makes a difference when no foundation is used besides the platform bed. However, it concerned us regarding motion isolation. We were about to leave the store when the salesperson asked us to try a different bed…gel memory foam, which we had never heard of, but fell in love with after laying on it for 15 minutes. It was cool, supportive, and we felt absolutely NO movement! Here is the info:
Blue Essence 11" mattress includes an additional layer of high support memory foam:
2" layer of Eco-based Gel Memory Foam
2"-5# Hi Support Memory Foam
1" Latex Enhanced Support Layer
6"-1.8 High Density Foam

Now we are confused, since we had never heard of the gel-infused memory foam before and are not sure of its durability. Also we aren’t sure if the polyfoam is high quality and if it will last over the long term. It comes with a $2000 price tag, which also seems high based on reading your site. Do you have any information or advice about this mattress? We don’t want to love it in the store and then despise it a month from now.

Finally we are considering (to save money and again for motion isolation) buying a platform bed and forgoing the foundation/box. Is laying a latex mattress directly on a platform bed a better choice for motion isolation? What about the foam mattress?

Thanks ahead of time for any advice you have.

For a Gel memory foam, I’m actually quite curious about this one.

This is from Brooklyn Bedding a reliable seller (sponsor of this site).

Hi bkim,

This is their newest offering and like all their mattresses I think it has great value. It uses good quality materials and for those who are comfortable with the risk of an online purchase that can’t be returned it is great value compared to other similar mattresses. Their description says it is similar in "feel’ to the Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe and in their comments to me they told me they purchased a Cloud Luxe and designed it to mimic the feel and that it is very close but not quite as soft.

So for those that the Cloud Luxe fits their needs and preferences and are comfortable with their terms for an online purchase … it would make a great value choice IMO.

I will be interested in the first review of this mattress by a member here :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,

Do you have any more thoughts on the question in the original post? Thanks!


Hi Needforsleep,

As you probably suspected, I missed the original post and only read the second one … sorry.

In case you haven’t seen this … the Seattle thread with some of my comments about some of the retail outlets and manufacturers there are in post #2 here.

If this is your biggest concern then memory foam or gel foam would have the best performance in this area. Latex is also very motion isolating by most people’s standards but it does allow some vibration to come through and would be less motion isolating than memory foam (or its variant gel memory foam). Latex is a resilient and elastic material and returns most of the energy when it compresses while memory foam has much higher hysteresis (absorbs energy) and is less responsive but more energy absorbing.

Latex is generally the coolest of the foam materials (memory foam, polyfoam, latex foam) and Talalay latex is more open celled and more ventilating than Dunlop latex. There are many factors involved in sleeping cool however which includes the foams used in the top layers of the mattress, the quilting and ticking layers, how deeply you sink in to the mattress, the mattress protector, the sheets and bedding, and any temperature regulating technology used in the mattress. All of these work together to control temperature and one layer can sometimes negate the layers below it so it’s important to make sure that all the layers work together. Temperature regulating combinations of materials are more effective than single “pieces” of the puzzle.

There is more about sleeping cool and the factors that are involved in post #2 here which also includes a link to a post about the three main technologies or methods used to regulate temperature (including different types of gel materials).

By my estimation this would be on the firm side for a side sleeper but each person is different so one person’s firm is another persons medium or soft. The 6" core in this mattress is more in the medium range than firm though which may be why it was OK for you.

There doesn’t need to be an actual separate comfort layer in a mattress as long as the top surface is soft enough to form a cradle that is deep enough to redistribute weight and relieve pressure. For example a soft 6" Dunlop core may work well for some people even though it has no comfort layer at all because the top inch or two would be soft but as you sink in deeper it would rapidly get firmer so in this case you would have more of a “comfort zone” (the top part of the layer) and a “support zone” (the deeper part of the layer) all in the same layer. In most cases though … there is a separate comfort layer but how thick and soft it needs to be is greatly affected by the layers below it.

You can read more about the different types of construction that can affect all the other guidelines (including the thickness and softness of a comfort layer) in the “putting the layers together” section. Easier yet though is to bypass the more complex mattress design theories and to test carefully and “believe” the feedback from your body using the guidelines as a reference only. If you were completely relaxed on the mattress (like the pre-sleep state) and spend at least 15 minutes lying on it and there was no sign of pressure then it would likely be fine for you but I would make sure of this because it would be on the firm side. A mattress like the Woodlawn would be more typical for a side sleeper but personal testing always trumps “theory at a distance”.

This would be a different feel from the Dunlop and I like removable toppers because they can be replaced without having to replace the whole mattress (upper layers wear out faster than deeper layers even in latex). The advantage of a two sided mattress vs a topper is that it will add to durability (the upper layers are only used half as much) and longevity.

Again … this is something you could test for in the store to make sure that the degree of motion isolation is acceptable to you. It would be better than other types of mattresses but not as good as various types of memory foam and your own preferences would be the most important factor.

Gel memory foams are the latest “rage” in mattresses and almost every manufacturer is making a version because of the success of the Serta icomfort (which is much lower quality mattress but has a nice showroom feel and a price tag that is too high). the Therapedic gel foam lineup uses good quality mateials and is one of the better ones available from a major brand. There is more about gel memory foams and the different types used in post #2 here. The Therapedic uses the type of gel memory foam that has the two materials mixed together rather than adding gel as particles (which is a less desirable method).

Seattle mattress tends to be on the high side in terms of “value” though and in the testing I did in Seattle I generally found that they were not in the same “value range” as Bedrooms and More or some of the other Seattle options even though they are a manufacturer. As an example … a retail store that I think very highly of (not in Seattle though) carries the Blue Essence here for a pricing reference (their prices are very good).

So overall it would seem that a gel foam mattress would be a good choice for your needs and preferences and it seems that you prefer it over latex. While latex would be more durable … the gel memory foams and other higher quality materials in the Blue Essence also are durable materials. There is no “junk foam” in this mattress and even the base layers are good quality.

All foam mattresses are fine on a platform bed which doesn’t need a foundation (it’s optional for height). It wouldn’t make any difference to motion isolation though because they would both be a firm rigid base with no movement. The platform bed should have rigid, non yielding slats that are no more than about 3" apart (this has better ventilation than a solid surface although there are also many people who believe a solid surface is fine) and a center beam with support to the floor.

You have a few other good options in the Seattle area but you have already done some good testing so far and it seems that based on your preferences the Therapedic would be a good choice at the right price IMO.

The goal is always to narrow things down so you are choosing between good and good and I would make a few more calls to some of the outlets on the list (and ask them about any latex or gel memory foam mattresses they carry and visit the ones that are most promising). I don’t think you’re quite there yet but you’ve made a good start and identified some of your preferences and the differences between materials so you are making more informed choices.


Thanks for your quick reply. It’s encouraging to hear the Therapedic mattress is good quality since that’s the one we preferred, but hadn’t heard much about. Maybe we’ll try and talk them down in price if possible. The Therapedic manufacturer is local in WA so it would be nice to get it at a local store for a better price though. Otherwise, we’ll have to keep shopping. We’ll check back in when we get out and try these things. Thanks!

Dear Phoenix,
First: thanks for a terrific site! After many days of researching your knowledge base, I believe I’d ultimately like a latex-foam mattress. However, because I’m returning my Serta Memory Foam bed for the second time (in 18 months – terrible sagging) to Badcock, I must choose from their limited selection. They offer one latex-composite bed made by Badcock Legends with the following description:

“The quiltless, smooth top design of this queen mattress features bamboo fabric, 3” breathable high quality talalay latex foam, a 2" high density support topper and 7" two layered high density convoluted base foam. Luxurious unquilted bamboo fabric puts right on top of total comfort, talalay latex is the most durable and comfortable latex available and the support foam has breathability to ensure a comfortable sleep tempertaure. You will love this latex foam mattress! 20 year warranty. The 9" wood foundation features a sturdy 9" universal wood constructed foundation, a thick white cotton blend quilted border and a chemical free natural fire barrier. "

Price is $1300 and I would pay $600 on top of my trade-back value for the Serta (they are crediting me the full price). The 3-inch Talalay SOUNDS good to me but I wanted to get your thoughts.
My second option would be an near-even trade on a decent inner spring coil mattress WITHOUT MEMORY FOAM. I do have an Aerus Natural 3" Memory Foam Topper that can go on either bed. (or my guest bed if I don’t need it with the latex bed).
Any direction you can provide would be sincerely appreciated.
Many thanks,

I’m assuming this is the badcock

They really don’t give you much details.

Hi vinedresser,

As bkim mentioned they don’t provide all the details but at least there are a few.

There is 2" of polyfoam over the latex (unknown quality/density which I would want to know) which is a little more than I would prefer and then 3" of talalay latex (good quality material) and this is over a 7" polyfoam base layer (again the quaity/density is unknown and I would want to know). This is probably among their better values and while I would prefer to know the density of the “unknown” foams … at least it appears to be in a reasonable “value” range especially considering that it includes a foundation.

As for your second option … I would need to know the details of the foam and the layering of the mattress to really have a meaningful opinion so there’s not much I could say there.

The latex hybrid is probably the way I would go … especially if you can find the details of the polyfoam layers and of course providing it “fits” you in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). Without being suitable for your needs and preferences … the quality and value of a mattress doesn’t mean anything but they are “on the edge” of having better value IMO



Thank you for the quick and enlightening response. After 5 months of deep, conflicting and confusing research – I finally have some answers and direction. (This is a fabulous forum).
I’ll get the quality/source of the polyfoam and meantime, here are the specs of my second-choice mattress:

"Serta Astoria Queen Plush Mattress & Foundation

The queen mattress of this set features a 704 Freeflex innserspring unit, total edge foam encasement, cool balance fabric, advanced comfort quilt and zoned convuluted foam. This plush mattress conforms to your body and responds to pressure for superior support, extends the sleep surface and eliminates “roll off” issues, regulates body temperature, cushions the body and relieves and reduces pressure points all while working to relieve tossing and turning. 10 year warranty on mattress. The queen 9" StabL-Base double beam foundation provides consistent support and lasting durability to your mattress. Unique construction isolates the impact of your sleep partner’s movements. "

Again, my sincere thanks for all.

Yes, that’s it. And the link to the Serta Astoria I just mentioned in separate note is:

One last but important note on my sleep situation: I have acute long-term (11 years) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with ongoing Fibromyalgia issues and other joint and bone injury pain. So I need a supportive base with a cushioned top. Hence, why I ordered this topper Aerus Natural 3" Memory Foam Topper w/ 300TC Sateen Cover - . It’s scheduled to arrive today so I will definitely share my experience with it over the next few weeks.
Thanks again to everyone!

Hi vinedresser,

The “specs” on the Serta only provides the “names” of the foam but they don’t provide any meaningful quality specs or the thickness of the layers. Worse yet you won’t be able to get any meaningful specs because Serta doesn’t generally provide them. The odds are very high that the layers over the innersprings are low density polyfoam though and this is exactly the type of mattress where the comfort layers have low quality materials which will soften and degrade much faster than higher quality materials. This mattress is nowhere near the quality of the previous latex ultra you linked and even if it provides you with the pressure relief and alignment you need in the showroom … it will lose the comfort and support of a new mattress much too quickly and this isn’t covered by any warranty.

I wouldn’t even take the time to try to find out the exact specs of this mattress because you probably won’t be able to get them and the end result would be that it isn’t worth purchasing or exchanging for IMO anyway … no matter how it may feel in a showroom.

I fixed the link on your topper (it included the dot after it). This is a fairly thick topper if the mattress already has some thicker layers soft foam on top (I don’t know the ILD of the polyfoam or latex on the latex ultra). I would normally tend towards a little thinner topper unless there was clear evidence that 3" was what you needed (after sleeping on whichever new mattress you end up with). 4 lb memory foam is mid quality and a little faster responding and less temperature sensitive and Aerus is also very breathable so from this perspective it’s a good choice but depending on the mattress its going on it may be a bit on the thick side. If a topper is too thick in combination with the comfort layers of the mattress it is going on … especially with memory foam … then it can put you too far away from the support layers of a mattress and have the potential of misalignment. Your body will tell you though how well it works.

So I would first try your new mattress (whichever one you end up with) by itself for a few days (it might be OK by itself but the worst case is that you may get a better sense of what needs to change) and then add the topper if necessary to see what changes it makes. Walmart has a good refund policy if it turns out you need something a little thinner.


Everything is coming together all of the sudden, thanks to your wisdom. Seriously, I unpacked the topper today and realized it was probably too thick. I’m going to try it on my grandmother’s bed, which is a 7-year-old, low-profile Serta “Perfect Day” mattress that feels like 100 percent prison wire (not an option to let it go because of family ties, which I respect). It’s in the guest room so it rarely gets used but I still want my guests to sleep well, of course. Does that seem a good decision since there’s no cushioning at all to this older bed?
I’m finding the newer Serta beds either increasingly poorer quality or quite overpriced (such as with the iComfort, as you point out on another Topic).
Sorry for the typo in my Topper link. This is my first time posting to the Underground so I’ll try to be more careful. You certainly have a stellar community and knowledge base here. Helping people get quality sleep (not to mention great values) is a most noble endeavor and I hope it helps YOU to sleep better. :slight_smile:
Best Regards,
Vinedresser (searching for a skinnier topper)

After reading your advice about innerspring revival and mattress surgery (including adding a latex topper), I realize the “prison wire” (ok, that was drama) looks indeed to have its integrity and would greatly appreciate a quality topper without much surgery at all. She was a small woman, just like my mom and myself (meant to mention I’m 5’5, 120 lbs and this Serta “Endurance Memory Foam” bed I am trading in sagged in just 9 months – the second go-around. Yowser.

Hi vinedresser,

That would probably make more sense because if the mattress is very firm but still flat then an extra 3" would certainly seem more appropriate than on a mattress that already had some soft layers in it. 4 lb Aerus is a good “mid quality” memory foam that is a little less temperature sensitive and motion restricting and more breathable (cooler) than most memory foams and for those who like a “slow response” feel it would probably be quite comfortable on a firm mattress.

[quote]I’m finding the newer Serta beds either increasingly poorer quality or quite overpriced (such as with the iComfort, as you point out on another Topic).

this Serta “Endurance Memory Foam” bed I am trading in sagged in just 9 months – the second go-around. Yowser. [/quote]

Yes … once again this is because of low quality foams that just don’t last (but have a great profit margin if you attach a good “story” to them). While they may not always leave an impression when you are off the mattress … they soften much too quickly.

I would probably do some topper research to get a sense of your options but I would tend to wait until you had slept on the mattress so you have a better sense of what you may need and more specific “symptoms” that you want to “fix” if there are any.