Hello, I’m new to this forum and feel very fortunate that it as well as “themattressunderground.com” exists. Using the site, I’ve done my research and am now looking for alternative or local independent mattress manufacturers who sell factory direct or through through smaller sleep shops with knowledgeable staff are the best source of quality and value in a mattress. Can anyone recommend such a resource in the Boston, MA area? Thanks, much.
You are fortunate to live in the Boston area because you have many good choices available to you. The better options and possibilities I’m aware of in the general area are listed in post #2 here and there are some links to posts and threads with feedback about many of them in post #2 here.
Hi Phoenix -
Wow! That’s incredibly helpful. I will visit some of these manufacturers soon and report back what I find. Your site and forum are incredibly useful and helpful. Just what I was looking for. Thanks for doing this.
You’re very welcome and I’m glad the information here could help.
I’m looking forward to your feedback and of course any questions you may have along the way.
Hi Phoenix -
Well, I’m about to make a decision to buy two synthetic latex mattresses from Neal at Spindle Mattress. I visited him last Wednesday and tried out both natural and synthetic latex mattresses, firm and medium. I was really impressed with each bed I tried and landed on a medium comfort layer. Next decision is to choose between natural latex and synthetic latex. Between the two I expected to like the natural better, but preferred the “less springy” feel of the synthetic. Neal mentioned to me that there was a time when he would not have considered for himself or recommended to customers synthetic latex. But he fully endorses synthetic now (in fact sleeps on one after much trial and error customizing a mattress for his particular needs), believes that the major difference between natural and synthetic is personal preference, and recommended (at my request) a synthetic medium mattress based on my time with him (he was great).
However, I’m influenced by something I read on your this site indicating the synthetic latex should be avoided (follows):
“Both natural latex and blended latex are very high quality materials, however purely SBR (synthetic) latex does not have the same high quality and should be avoided. While it may still outperform many other foams, compared to the widely available blended and natural latex, it does not measure up.”
Neal’s production method only includes Dunlop construction, so I assume his synthetic mattresses to be SBR (I could be misinformed, though). According, I was interested in whether you could expand on the excerpt from the site above. I could just as easily go with natural latex because this was very comfortable as well, but, all other things equal, I preferred the feel of the synthetic.
Additionally, I would be grateful for any advice you may have on pillows (side sleeper) and protective mattress covers.
Thanks much and love the site.
Your question is an interesting one and part of the “evolving” answer is in a reply here to the quote you mentioned … but I should add a few additional comments as well.
In general terms … outside of a preference for more natural materials … natural rubber is more elastic, durable and higher performing material than synthetic rubber (Styrene Butadiene or SBR) but each has some strengths over the other. There is more in post #2 here about some of the differences between them and how they each age.
Having said that … there is also continuous research into latex compounding and both the actual composition of synthetic rubber (the blend of styrene and butadiene) and the additional chemicals and methods that are used to alter it’s feel and performance when it is compounded and manufactured.
The Mountaintop latex is manufactured with a continuous pour method on a belt rather than in a mold which results in a more even and consistent product which can also be made in softer layers than is usually found in Dunlop that is made in a mold. It has only fairly recently become available for use on a more widespread basis (outside of Sealy mattresses). Their testing also indicates that their synthetic Dunlop is as durable as their more natural versions and in my conversations with them they also told me the same thing in person.
Sometimes however foam testing which simulates long term experience with short term tests doesn’t reflect real life experience and only time will tell for certain if their synthetic latex really is as durable in the “real world” as their testing seems to indicate but like Neal (and some other manufacturers I’ve talked with who are also carefully considering it) I am cautiously optimistic … perhaps a little less than Neal but optimistic nonetheless. The only version of their synthetic latex I would tend to avoid (at least for the moment) is the firmest versions which I don’t believe have the same durability as the firmest versions of 100% natural latex but they are working on this as well and Neal doesn’t use them in his mattresses.
What I can say with some certainty is that it is a good quality and durable material that has a good “feel” and I would choose it over most polyfoam and the benefits of its much lower cost would certainly make it an attractive option if you like the “feel” of the material as well … even if over time it ends up being a little less durable than the all natural versions.
There are a few basic “needs” in a pillow depending on body type and sleeping positions but outside of the basic “needs”, pillows are a much more personal choice based on preference than even mattresses and in many cases (including me) people’s personal preferences in a pillow can change over time. There is more about pillows and links to more information and resources in the pillow thread here.
There are also several main types of mattress protectors and each has it’s own pros and cons that are a “tradeoff” and would depend on the properties of each type that are most important to you. There is more information about the different types and some sources of each that can help you choose between them in post #89 here.
PS: I’ve changed the page with the original quote to reflect some of the newer information in the market and it now reads (and thanks for bringing it to my attention :)…