Need HELP with latex topper selection!

Hi all;

I’m new to posting here, though I’ve been reading other’s posts for over a month now. Long story short: I have a non-returnable FIRM innerspring. TOO firm. I tried the gap test, and I’ve got a decent size gap. I’m 5’4", 120 lbs; side-sleeper; lumbar disc issues. This mattress (stearns and foster) provides great alignment, but not nearly enough cushion for shoulders/hips. It’s got a very thin pad layer; the whole mattress is only 9" thick. I used to have sacro-iliac pain every morning and that’s all fixed but now I wake too early with mid-upper back muscle discomfort, plus pressure point soreness. I like a cushy feel, but don’t want to compromise my alignment. I can’t afford a whole latex bed, so I’m in the market for a topper. ASAP. My questions are:

Should I go for Talalay or Dunlop?

Some companies call 22-24 soft while others call it medium-soft or even just medium. How do I know what’s what?

Is a Dunlop soft comparable to a Talalay medium?

Should I go for 2" or 3"? What ILD?

Odors bother me A LOT. I don’t think I could take the vanilla-sweet smell, nor a strong rubber odor. Any advice which manufacturer has the least odorous latex?

Can someone please tell me what constitutes a quality cover? This is a big investment for me and I want to protect it.

I live in Asheville, NC, and don’t know of any places to try out toppers. I got some samples, but they’re too small for a true test. My mattress is so uncomfortable that I actually dread bedtime now. Any and all help is very much appreciated!


Hi There,
I have tried the 2 inch Latex Bliss topper and it is very comfortable, It is Talalay and I believe it is a 14 ILD which if i didn’t try it would seem too soft to me but on a very hard bed should work. I’m a bit bigger - 5’5, 140. Didn’t notice a smell even when I put my nose up to it but it was in a store and probably had time to air out if it ever had a smell.

I am looking for a latex topper too. My new bed is pretty firm but we do sink a bit because of the poly/memory foam top layer. It has a dead feeling and I want a bit of spring-back. The mattress is already 11 inches so I want only a 1 inch latex topper but the selection of 1 inch latex toppers is almost non-existent. I saw them only on Sleep Like a Bear and Foam Factory. FF has a good price but are elusive about the source of the latex and that makes me nervous. Anyone know any other sources for a 1 inch latex topper, preferably Talalay? Thanks.

Hi madinsomniax,

It sounds to me like your mattress is a good candidate for a topper … firm and less low density polyfoam in the comfort layers.

the choice between Dunlop and Talalay is a personal preference (like asking what should I eat today) but Talalay is typically available in softer versions that Dunlop toppers and I think that most people of your weight would probably prefer it.

Everyone has their own “definition” of what they consider to be soft and firm and different body types, sleeping styles, and perceptions can make a big difference in what someone “feels” as being soft or firm but for most people talalay in the 19 - 24 range would be considered soft and in the 28 - 32 range would be considered medium to medium firm.

They have a different “feel” and Dunlop isn’t as consistent across the surface as Talalay (it has a wider range of ILD’s in the layer because ILD’s are never exact) and has a higher support factor (gets firmer faster than Talalay as it compresses) which is just as important a part of how soft a layer feels as its ILD. I think it would be fair to say that for most people Dunlop in a particular ILD will feel firmer than Talalay and closer to the next step up in ILD. This is very approximate though because softness and firmness is very subjective.

I think you will find that it will vary even with the same manufacturer and Dunlop will usually smell like Dunlop and Talalay like Talalay but I don’t know of one that would consistently be much different from another (there may be but I don’t know of it).

A good manufacturer or retailer will have a good quality cover either that comes with it or that they recommend. Two of the most common are a stretch knit cotton or bamboo. It just needs to be thick enough (not for example like a mattress protector or a sheet over the latex) to protect it from air and light which will degrade latex faster.

The better options I know of in the Asheville area are in post #4 here but I don’t know which may carry toppers so I would call them before paying any of them a visit.

Post #2 here and the topper guidelines and online sources it links to may also be helpful.


Hi maryc,

The topper link in my last reply to madinsomniax may be helpful for you as well.

FBM doesn’t sell Talalay latex although they claim they do. As you can see in post #2 here and post #2 here I would be very wary in dealing with them or trusting that what they say they are supplying is accurate.

SLAB is the only source I know of as well that sells 1" Talalay latex toppers. Rocky Mountain and Nest Bedding sell 1" Dunlop toppers.


Thanks for the good tips though I’m afraid I’m still quite confused! I have a 3" blended talalay sample, 19 ILD, and my shoulders/hips seem to sink right through to the innerspring. I also have a sample that’s a 28, not sure if it’s dunlop or talalay, which feels a little too firm. So am I correct in thinking a 22-24 ILD might be a good fit? Or will the “sinkage” be less when there’s a whole pad on the bed?

My budget was $400 but I’m thinking I need to go up to $500. I checked out the links in post #2:

Ultimate Dreams on Amazon has a 19 ILD blended talalay with bamboo cover, king, for $379. Is the feel of 19 ILD universal to all makers? ( )

Next choice is Natural Comfort on Amazon, 3" talalay, 22-24 ILD, $469, NO cover. Description states: “100% Natural Talalay Latex with no synthetic and petrolium based fillers”. Does this mean 100% botanically derived? Seems a good deal if it’s a non-blended product. ( )

This one is on ebay, Haht Auction: 3" Puralux dunlop, 24 ILD (which they call medium), $339. I think Puralux is a blended product?
( ) has a 3" dunlop, 25 ILD, $389. I’m wondering if a 25 ILD dunlop might feel too firm, since the 28 definitely was. ( Latex Mattresses On Sale - Latex Mattress Toppers - Phoenix, AZ )

Am I on the right track with these choices, as far as quality and reputation? Many companies are selling king toppers in the $650-$800 range. Finally, and this is an important question:

Does anyone have any experience with Foam Order? They offer Natural Sense dunlop toppers for good prices, but I’m having trouble finding who makes Natural Sense? Their website says imported from Europe, but I’ve seen Natural Sense on other sites and they claim it’s USA made. Should I be wary of this brand? (I don’t want a product with fillers).

Foam Order has a great clearance section with a king dunlop, 25 ILD, which they describe as soft. I’m curious if anyone’s tried this company, or Natural Sense products?

I need a topper really badly and I can’t afford not to get it right. Thanks a bunch!

Hi madinsomniax,

This would depend on what you mean by a “sample”. If it is a full topper and you are lying on it in the same position as you would when you are asleep then it would be a fair test. if it is only a sample and the pressure distribution is different from what it would be in your normal sleeping positions then it wouldn’t be an accurate test. a mattress protector, pad, or topper can certainly have an effect on a topper below it and reduce the ability of the latex to conform to your body to different degrees (depending on its thickness, firmness, and on how stretchable it it).

Yes … 19 ILD blended Talalay in the same thickness with one manufacturer will be very similar to 19 ILD Talalay with another although they may not share the same firmness ratings. Different covers will be the biggest variable in how they compare.

This seems to indicate that the Talalay they are selling is 100% natural yes rather than a blend of natural and synthetic. You can read about the differences between 100% natural Talalay and blended Talalay in post #2 here.

[quote]This one is on ebay, Haht Auction: 3" Puralux dunlop, 24 ILD (which they call medium), $339. I think Puralux is a blended product?
( )[/quote]

Yes … Puralux is blended Dunlop. I have had different feedback about the actual blend but it is probably between 50/50 and 20/80 (NR/SBR). You can read more about the different types of latex in post #6 here.

Only you can really know this because firmness and softness is subjective and relative to the individual. it would be firmer than 25 ILD Talalay though for anyone who compressed the layer more than 25% (which would almost always be the case with a topper) and for most people would probably feel closer to 28 ILD Talalay than it was to 24 ILD Talalay.

As a group I would say so yes and you have identified the differences between them accurately.

Natural Sense is 100% natural Dunlop which would be very similar to other 100% natural Dunlop toppers. They are sourced in Sri Lanka as far as I know (same country but a different supplier as Latex Green which is a popular source). I don’t see anywhere on their site which says they are imported from Europe but of course I may have missed it. Either way … it’s 100% natural Dunlop which is a good quality material. A forum search on foamorder will bring up more comments about them and I have found Alan there to be knowledgeable and helpful in my conversations with him.

While there are no “guarantees” of course … using the guidelines in combination with any personal testing you have done and conversations with each manufacturer can put the odds of choosing a suitable topper much more in your favor.


Thank you, Phoenix. It’s obvious you put a lot of thought and consideration into your answers.

After MANY hours of online/phone research and shopping, I’ve decided to just go test some latex out, in person. I called 18 mattress stores from and found a handful to try. If anyone else in the Asheville area is in my boat, this might help them:

Colton Mattress: 848 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC
Talalay only, by Latex International: 1 topper, 28 ILD: 3 beds, various ILD’s: can order anything you want.

Nest Organics: 51 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC
Talalay and Dunlop, by LatexCo, cert. organic: no toppers on floor but can order.

Sleepworld: 700 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC
Talalay only, Latex International, he mentioned Natura and Latex Bliss, may have other products: several ILD’s on floor, including

Erwin Hills Furniture: 507 New Leicester Hwy, Asheville, NC
Talalay, Latex International, only 1 bed on floor but each side is a different ILD. (If this happens to be in your backyard and you
(want to swing by one day.)

On another note, I sent an Inquiry regarding a topper to The Foam Factory:
This is the topper: The Foam Factory, Mattresses, Latex Toppers

These were my questions:
" Hi. Interested in your 3" talalay topper. Who is the latex manufacturer? Is this 100% botanically derived latex (ie: NO synthetic,
man-made, petrochemical based)? Thanks."

This was the reply:

 All of our Talley Latex foam mattresses and toppers are 100% natural and are made in Europe. 
 For competitive reasons we are unable to provide the name of our manufacture. 

 Best Regards,
 Foam Factory

From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Sunday, March 24, 2013 11:07 AM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Your [email protected] Contact Form Has Been Submitted

Maybe some businesses share this approach, but it’s the first response I’ve come across where someone flat-out refused to name their manufacturer. I’m not saying anything about this particular company’s latex, but I’ve read warnings to be careful with imported latex since it can contain clay or other fillers. Since they’re being secretive, I’m steering clear.

I also want to share that Colton Mattress said they only carry 28 ILD toppers because they’ve found much dissatisfaction with lower ILD’S in that most people were sinking right through to the underlying surface. Again, this is talalay. It would certainly be my experience with the 2x2’ 19 ILD sample I have.

Hoping some of this helps someone else out there!

Hi madinsomniax,

That’s quite some research … and thanks for sharing it with the Mattress Forum!

[quote]This was the reply:

All of our Talley Latex foam mattresses and toppers are 100% natural and are made in Europe.

For competitive reasons we are unable to provide the name of our manufacture.[/quote]

I’ve had several people report the same standard reply from FBM and of course they would love it if people believed it. As you can see from post #2 here and post #2 here though … they are selling Dunlop latex not Talalay and I believe their lack of disclosure is certainly not for “competitive” reasons but to make sure that people aren’t able to find out what they are really selling although there have been enough people disclose information about what they received to leave little doubt what it is.

Thanks again :slight_smile: