Latex vs. Memory Foam

Hi Phoenix,

Glad I found your site. It has been most helpful in doing research for a new mattress. I have been reading a lot of the posts about latex and memory foam.

We are upgrading our 6 year old Sealy “Spring-Free” Latex mattress (Pampas Model) to a king. It has sagged slightly, I am guessing due to the pillow-top fill that has been compressed, but overall it has been a great mattress…very comfortable. I was not as savvy 6 years ago, so I am not even sure it is 100% latex throughout.

We set out looking for a similar mattress, but in our travels, my wife fell in love with the i-comforts. I liked the feel of them also, but after reading about the heat retention, toxic off-gassing, high mark up price and the low density of the foam (4 lbs.) I would rather stick with natural latex or a blend. We are also not at the “twin bed stage” yet, so we want to choose something that we both like.

Because of limited floor space hardly anyone carries 100% latex any more in the showrooms in the Orlando/Brevard County area of Florida. We did go to the OMF in Orlando. I really like both of their latex models, but my wife felt that they were very bouncy. They were a little more bouncy than our current bed, which is not bouncy, but I liked laying on them. Is this bounce normal with 100% latex?

I know that there are some pretty reputable natural latex companies on the web, but we want to buy something locally, so we can test drive it in the showroom. I am very leery about buying something online without laying on it first.

Also, 3 more questions:

  • Are there any other factory stores in my area that you would recommend for 100% latex?
  • Would the IKEA “SULTAN EDSELE Natural Latex” mattress with the slatted wood base be a good choice?
  • Which (if any) of the Big “S” companies latex mattresses would you recommend?

Thanks for your help.

John c.

Hi johnc3001,

The Sealy Springfree mattresses contained significant amounts of polyfoam in the comfort layers and also used much lower cost mostly synthetic Dunlop which IMO is a lower quality form of latex. Most people who bought them … even though they were a better choice than many other mainstream options they may have had … had no idea of the amount of polyfoam that was in their mattress or the price they were paying for lower cost/quality latex. You can see an example of the current Stearns and Foster “luxury latex” collection here that is similar and has 5" of polyfoam (and a bit of latex) in the upper layers over their mostly synthetic Dunlop core.

Latex is a very resilient material so it would be more “springy” than other materials such as memory foam especially which absorb energy rather than return it but your experience at OMF may have been exaggerated because they show their mattresses on box springs that have “active” springs in them rather than the more normal rigid base. This can change the feel and performance of the mattress significantly. To get a better sense of what this mattress really feels like “by itself” in terms of “bounce”, you would need to test it on a rigid base (such as their adjustable beds).

Different layering and types and firmness levels of latex would be different but in general latex is the most resilient of the foam materials.

There are some very good options and other local manufacturers in the Orlando area which offer a wider range of options and I think would be well worth including in your latex research. Post #2 here has the “list” including Fox Mattress which is a member here :slight_smile:

This depends on what you are comparing it to. It uses a lower quality of latex (blended Dunlop) and is a single layer with less options for customizing the design in terms of balancing pressure relief and support but it is also a better choice than many other options. In your case and in your area … it would not represent your best choice in terms of quality or value IMO.

As you can see in this article … I don’t recommend any of the larger brands so the one word answer is “NONE”. In most cases what they offer as a “latex mattress” … like the Sealy Spring Free you mentioned earlier or the Stearns and Foster latex are not all latex at all and even in the cases where they do offer an all latex choice … they tend to be significantly overpriced or use lower quality materials compared to smaller independent manufacturers. If they do disclose the layering (which can sometimes be like pulling teeth) … some of the major brand models may be a better choice compared to other major brand models but none of them are in the same value range as many smaller brands or local or online manufacturers unless they are priced at a significant discount to their normal “sale prices” and knowing this would depend on knowing exactly what is in the particular model you are considering.

Hope this helps


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks for your quick reply. we will check out the Orlando places you recommended this weekend, and maybe the Daytona Beach locations next weekend.

Your site has been a great help. You are providing an excellent service for consumers.

john c.

HI Phoenix,

We finally made it to Daytona Beach to visit Fox Mattress and the Denver Mattress Company. Glad we made the trip.

At Fox we really liked the top of the line soft latex (2" of 23 ILD) over a firm core of latex (8" of 40 ILD), but it was a little pricey ($2600 for the king set). Their blend of latex is 80 to 90% natural.

At Denver MC we really like the Aspen Latex model, which had 24 and 32 ILD latex over a soy-based (urethane?) 4" base core. This model was a lot more reasonable, $1500 for a king set. They could not give a % of how much natural latex is in their blend, said that it varied.

The Denver MC Snowmass latex model was 100% latex except for a 1" layer of soy-based foam on top, but was a little too firm. Not sure why they would put this layer on top, isn’t the whole point of latex is to be laying right next to it? This layering kind of turned me off.

My question is, in your opinion, is the $1100 price difference worth it for the all latex model at Fox? also, what is the longevity of these soy-based (urethane?) foams (1.8 lb. density), and does it off gas like traditional petro-based foams?

Another question, what type of mattress pad do you recommend? Every place we visited had a different recommendation.

Thanks again

John c.

Hi johnc3001,

I’m not sure which type of latex this has (Dunlop or Talalay) but in general a higher natural latex content increases the price of the latex in both dunlop or talalay. It also contains more latex (10" vs 8") and the ticking fabric and foundation may also be different as well. There are many parts to a mattress that account for a final price besides just the foam inside (and the ticking/quilting is often one of the more expensive and in some cases most important components).

The Snowmass has an inch of polyfoam in the top layer (which is good quality 1.8 lb polyfoam) and also has 2" of polyfoam at the bottom of the mattress. The 8" of latex is in between these.

The reason some manufacturers use thin layers of polyfoam over the latex or in the upper layers or the quilting (besides the lower cost) is to adjust the performance and “feel” of the mattress. Latex is a very resilient material and some people prefer a “feel” that is less resilient and closer to what they are used to. It is also an inexpensive way to quilt a mattress compared to say wool or other higher cost materials. I normally recommend that there is no more than an inch or so of polyfoam in the upper layers so that any foam softening will have little effect on the mattress as a whole. The Aspen has an inch of supersoft polyfoam under the top 2" of latex so it would be softer (for most people).

Soy foam (which is just a word for polyfoam) is not as durable as latex and will soften faster (depending on it’s density) which is why it’s important to keep the amount of it small (if at all) in the upper layers which are most prone to softening and wear. While latex is known for having less offgassing and has passed a higher certification standard than most polyfoam (it is OekoTex certified), most of the polyfoam that is made in the US has been tested for harmful compounds and VOC’s through the CertiPur programand would be considered safe by most people. Both will have an initial odor and latex will either have a kind of “vanilla” smell (talalay) or a slight “rubber” smell.

As to whether the difference in price is “worth it” … this would depend on each person’s “value equation” and on the differences between the mattress components and perhaps most important on how well each worked for what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). If two mattresses had identical components and were $1000 different then of course the one with the best “value” would be clear but when you are comparing different mattresses with different features and components and design … then part of the decision would be how well each would meet your needs and preferences in both the short and long term and the importance to you of any differences between them that were part of the difference in price.

Both are good value compared to “mainstream” choices. As you probably know, I think very highly of the quality and value of the mattresses that Rick builds but which has better value to you and best fits your “value equation” is of course personal preference and would be based on any differences in performance as well as differences in materials and construction.


Hi phoenix,

Thanks again for your quick response.

I think we are leaning more towards the top of the line all latex model at Fox. The latex that they use is Talalay. It felt the best in our tests and there were no pressure points noticeable. Also, the cover and quilting and handles seem to be of very high quality, as opposed to the Denver Mattress covers. They feel and look cheap, similar to the I-Comfort covers, and had a tendency to bunch up as you moved on them. Also, like the I-Comfort, there are no handles on the sides, which would make spinning and moving these heavy foam mattresses even more difficult.

We have few weeks to decide, so we may go back again to both places before we make our final decision.


John c.

Hi johnc3001,

The differences you mentioned in both the quilting/ticking material and the type of latex (and likely some other differences as well) certainly would account for the differences in price and quality.

It’s great when people have choices between “good and good” instead of the much more common (in mainstream brands and mass market outlets) choice between “not so good and worse” and also have the information they need to make meaningful comparisons.

You probably already know this but just in case … if you do decide to go with Fox Mattress, make sure you let them know you are a member here so they will give you your 5% discount on the mattress.

I hope you have a chance to let us know what you end up with :slight_smile:


Hi Phoenix,

We finally decided on the Deluxe 10" latex over latex model at Fox. We are very happy with our decision. My only concern is that the floor model we test drove seemed softer or more cushy than our new mattress. Will the new latex mattress break in over a period of time?

Right now we just purchased a mattress protector from one of the links you had posted on your site. I guess that our other alternative would be to purchase a mattress pad, to increase the softness.

i am glad that we decided against the dunlop latex model at IKEA and the 8" firmer latex model at Fox. I think that both would have been too firm for our liking.

Thanks again for all your help.

John c.

Hi johnc3001,

First of all … congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

A floor model will always feel a little softer (depending on how long it’s been on the floor) than a new mattress which hasn’t yet had the chance to break in. Latex and other higher quality materials won’t soften nearly as much or as rapidly as lower quality materials but all new mattresses go through an initial period where the foam will have some initial softening to some degree and the other components such as the ticking will stretch and soften a bit. this is completely normal.

With higher quality materials … this initial softening will be less and the ongoing softening will also be much slower so the feel and performance of the mattress will last much longer than a mattress that uses lower quality materials where both the initial softening and the ongoing softening is much more rapid.

Hope this helps … and you made a great choice IMO!