Please help with final NYC-area latex choices!

Hi Phoenix,

I have spent hours poring over your advice and have finally narrowed down my choices after visiting several NYC-area stores.

I love the idea of all-latex in theory (support, motion isolation and durability) and am now deciding between that and latex over coil. My two favorite mattresses are at Scott Jordan, which sells Berkeley Ergonomics. I like the “soft” versions of their all-latex mattress as well as the “Oslo” model, which has a 2-inch layer of talalay over coils. Both feel great to me and I am going to go back with my partner this week so we can decide on one of them. So, here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. if we like the latex-coil hybrid, we will buy the BE Oslo from Scott Jordan. I think it’s a decent value for great quality and not something we can buy online, as far as I can tell. Price is $1760.

  2. If we decide to go all-latex, I can’t shake the feeling that the price is a bit high for a bed that I can buy for much, much less money online. The BE model is 6" talalay base with a 2" talalay comfort layer, and the price is $2200. This looks identical to the Queen Plush Talalay Latex Mattress that Arizona Premium Mattress is selling for $1195. I am also looking at options from SleepEZ. The thing is, I am wary of buying sight unseen, so it would be helpful to know exactly the details of the BE mattress so I can make a direct comparison. How would you compare these mattresses?

  • Also, if we do all-latex I wonder if it might be better to buy one of the three-layer mattresses, since those sold online are a better value? The only comparable one I’ve tried in person is the Savvy Rest at The Clean Bedroom, which I liked somewhat but felt was either too firm or too bouncy, like jello. I preffered the more “solid” feel of the BE latex, which is 1" thinner.
  1. We need a new foundation/frame since we just have a basic steel frame for our POS coil mattress and box spring. I see that European Sleep Works sells their BE mattresses with adjustable/flexible slats, whereas Scott Jordan recommends plain slats on a platform bed. What accounts for this difference? I thought it was generally better to use a solid slat foundation with latex, so I am a bit confused. If we do flexible slats, what do you think about the IKEA Laxeby?

I think I am suffering from information overload, so I really appreciate your advice on this! I can’t wait to say goodbye to our saggy mattress and my persistent back pain.

Thanks so much!

Hi gp193,

To compare them you would need to know the type and blend of the latex … possibly the latex manufacturer (Latex International or Radium) … and the ILD of the layers in both mattresses. You would also need to know the specific details of the cover and have enough experience to be able to predict any differences that the cover will make. The closer you could match every detail of each mattress the closer they will be. Small differences in design or components can make a significant difference in feel and performance in some cases and be cumulative or in some cases they may cancel each other out (see post #9 here about matching mattresses)

Other than that, a more detailed conversation with an online manufacturer would be the most effective way to make comparisons with any of the mattresses they make that are a similar design or even a different design that was a rough “equivalent”. The more you know about the mattress you are trying to “approximate” and how suitable it was in terms of PPP … the more insights they can provide about how closely their own mattress may approximate it.

The difference is because different people have different opinions about what works better on average with each mattress (even very knowledgeable “experts” with many years of experience will have differing opinions based on different experiences) but your own personal testing will be the most important guideline. If you test a mattress that works well with a solid non flexing foundation then I would use a non flexing foundation under it because a flexible foundation can change the feel and performance of the mattress. On the other hand if you test a mattress that works well with a flexing foundation (box spring or flexible slats) then that’s what I would use under it so that what you sleep on is the same as what you tested. The most common choice for latex mattresses (with some exceptions) is a rigid slatted foundation that doesn’t flex. You can read more about rigid foundations and flexible foundations and boxsprings in post #1 here and the links to two more posts in the second paragraph.

All of the mattresses you are considering are choices between “good and good” and have no obvious weak links and when you reach this stage there usually won’t be any clear “winners” and your final choices will be about all the objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you rather than about “better and worse”.

When you look back on a mattress purchase many years down the road you will remember much more about how well you slept than relatively small differences in price (assuming you are making apples to apples comparisons) although of course the price you pay is always an important part of value as well.


Thank you so much for your advice, which was very helpful. I wanted to give an update on our decision.

We went back to Scott Jordan today to try out all the Berkeley Ergonomics beds. We were torn between the latex/coil model and the full latex. I thought I would share my thoughts on this because it may be similar to what others have experienced upon trying latex for the first time. At first, the soft latex/coil model felt the best, as it was most similar to the Stearns & Foster plush innerspring we are currently (not) sleeping on at home. However, as I spent more time on it I could tell it just didn’t have enough support and stability for my achy lower back.

The all-latex beds, at first try, felt too firm and bouncy. After spending more time on them I finally had an “aha” moment about the latex. For me at least, a firm latex bed is more comfortable than a firm innerspring because it has such superior point pressure relief. I found that I could comfortably lay on my side on the firm latex without having hip pain, which happened on the firm coil models. I also noticed upon standing up that I felt taller - which means my back is properly aligned and supported!

So, we ended up buying the all-latex bed with one side soft and one side firm. We really couldn’t decide on one firmness so we bought the split bed with the intention of trading sides during our 30-day test period. The final price for the mattress was $2100, plus tax and delivery. We also bought a beautiful cherry platform bed with slat supports.

Although I know we could have bought a latex mattress online, to us it was worth the premium to test out exactly what we were getting. Plus, I thought the price was reasonable enough, as far as prices go in NYC.

We will get our new bed in 2-3 weeks and will post an update then! Fingers crossed…

Hi gp193,

Thanks for the detailed feedback and insights and I think you have described the differences between a latex and an innerspring core very well. A latex core can take some getting used to if you are used to an innerspring and while it can be a matter of personal preferences … there are many people who sleep on a mattress with a latex core that would never go back. It has a point elasticity and a combination of softness and firmness that is quite unique.

You also did some great research and recognized the value and lower risk of a local purchase that you can test the specific combination of layers and components as being an important part of your personal value equation as well. As you also mentioned … the “standing taller” feeling you are referring to can be a good indication that your spine is in alignment and decompressing.

I think you made a great choice and most of all … congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your feedback when you’ve had the chance to sleep on it for a bit.


We just received our new bed this weekend and I thought I’d drop in for an update. We’ve used it for two nights so far.

We got our Berkeley Ergonomics all-latex mattress, my side soft and my partner’s firm. Upon first laying on it, my first thought was “wow, this is hard. But it feels very supportive on my back.” Right now, I feel like I am laying on a gym mat or a hospital bed, which, though supportive, doesn’t have that “aahhh” feeling I was hoping for with our new mattress.

I am going to give the bed at least a week before I make any adjustments, as there are a few variables affecting the feel of it. Right now, I feel that the bed is too hard for me to sleep comfortably on my side. While it’s supportive on my back and my lower back pain is better, it is uncomfortable on my shoulders and hips when I roll onto my side. Here are some things that I think might be making the bed feel so hard compared to what we tested in the store.

  1. It’s brand new. Supposedly it will get a bit softer as we break it in, after about a week.
  2. Mattress protector: we are using a thin, membrane-type protector since we need to protect the bed from liquid (toddler is often in bed with us). I wonder if the protector is causing a more solid feel to the surface of the mattress.
  3. Sheets: we are using regular cotton sheets and I suspect a stretchy jersey sheet might feel better.

I liked the cuddly feel of our old Stearns & Foster mattress. I am considering adding a topper or a cushy mattress pad to recreate that feel somewhat. However, after shelling out an arm and a leg on latex the last thing I want to do is completely disguise the latex feel of the bed.

Thanks again for your advice!

Hi gp193,

Once again it seems you’ve been doing some good research and already identified some of the variables that could be involved in the firmness of your mattress :slight_smile:

[quote]I am going to give the bed at least a week before I make any adjustments, as there are a few variables affecting the feel of it. Right now, I feel that the bed is too hard for me to sleep comfortably on my side. While it’s supportive on my back and my lower back pain is better, it is uncomfortable on my shoulders and hips when I roll onto my side. Here are some things that I think might be making the bed feel so hard compared to what we tested in the store.

  1. It’s brand new. Supposedly it will get a bit softer as we break it in, after about a week.
  2. Mattress protector: we are using a thin, membrane-type protector since we need to protect the bed from liquid (toddler is often in bed with us). I wonder if the protector is causing a more solid feel to the surface of the mattress.
  3. Sheets: we are using regular cotton sheets and I suspect a stretchy jersey sheet might feel better.[/quote]

All of these and a few others (including your pillow) can certainly make a difference with shoulder and upper body firmness issues (see post #2 here). The break in period and adjusting to a new mattress can take up to about 90 days or so but in most cases less than 30 is more the norm.

If your protector is fairly tight and creating a “drum like” effect then it can certainly affect how easily you sink into the top layers of the mattress. The sheets can do the same although this is less likely.

Overall the first step is time and then if you need to make further fine tuning adjustments then the good news is that this is possible.

When you have a mattress that works well for alignment on your back but creates pressure issues on your side and you have eliminated other options … then the “best” approach is to look at the top few inches of the mattress (in the range of 3" - 5" depending on body type and sleeping positions) and then make changes that can soften up these top layers “just enough” to allow your shoulders to sink in a little more. Depending on the specifics of your mattress … this could involve a slightly softer top layer, a slightly thicker top layer (adding a topper) or a softer innerspring all of which can affect the performance of the top few inches of the mattress and how well it “allows” your shoulders to sink in just a little more without significantly affecting the deeper firmness under the pelvis.

If a topper or a mattress pad is not too thick … it can affect the surface feel but still won’t be thick enough to “disguise” the feel or performance of the latex. If you use a fiberbed type of topper (such as a wool topper or a polyester fiberbed) … it can “feel” cushy on top but it may also affect the ability of the latex to contour to your body so it may not “allow” your shoulders to sink in more but it can help with “point specific” pressure relief. This would be a 'feel" based form of softness more than a “pressure relief” form of softness (you can read more about the different types of softness in post #15 here).

The key with most changes is “just enough” but no more so that the balance between pressure relief and alignment/support is maintained.



Thanks again for your prompt and excellent feedback. As the top layer on my side is as soft as I can get and I can’t exchange it for a thicker layer, I think I am going to look into toppers/mattress pads to accomplish the cushy surface feel I’m looking for. I was very happy to hear from you that using a pad/topper won’t necessarily disguise the feel of the latex underneath. I have seen a lot of options online and I am not sure whether to go with wool or synthetic, and how thick. What is the maximum thickness you would suggest so that I don’t diminish the benefits of the latex? Do you think the wool would feel too hard since it compresses more?

Hi gp193,

Every layer in a sleeping system will affect all the other layers to different degrees and the “feel” of any combination in the surface layers is also very subjective so nobody else can really say with certainty what you will feel on any specific combination. The “feel” of a thicker wool topper on top of your mattress will be combined with the layers below it and each of them will work together and contribute their individual properties to what you feel.

A thicker wool topper will feel firmer than soft foam layers for most people because it doesn’t distribute pressure over a wider surface area as well as a foam and will also reduce the amount the latex underneath the wool topper will compress and contour to your body especially with softer foam layers. In other words it will contribute it’s own type of softness under pressure points but may make the layers below it feel firmer … especially if the foam layers are softer.

I would generally tend to avoid a material or component that you aren’t familiar with and hadn’t tested in person so you know how it “feels” unless you are willing to take the risk that you won’t like it or it has a good return policy. The “best” option would be to test a wool topper in the store over the specific mattress you have so you could feel how the combination feels to you.

When you are in doubt and can’t test a topper in person then the “best advice” would be to rely on knowledgeable people who actually make or sell what you are looking for and who will have the most knowledge and experience about how their topper may feel on various types of mattress underneath the topper (although to some degree they may be guessing if they don’t know the specifics of your mattress). There are many versions of wool toppers (just like other components) which can feel different from each other. There is a list of manufacturers who make wool toppers in many densities and thicknesses in post #3 here that would be well worth talking with if you are looking to add a wool topper to your sleeping system.

I would tend to first sleep on your mattress though for a few weeks and then decide on how you want to change it based on your actual experience on the mattress because what you feel in a few weeks may be different from what you feel now.


I am back with a one-week update. Amazingly, while at first my “soft” side of the mattress felt to hard, now I think it’s TOO soft. It just feels a bit to squishy and I think it’s not supporting my back quite enough. Funny how things change!

I tried sleeping on the “firm” side last night and was surprised that I found it pretty comfortable. I still thought it was pretty hard, and I really didn’t sink in much, but it was very supportive. I think that if BE sold a “medium” version I would definitely swap for that. So, now I have to decide whether I want to exchange my soft side for a firm layer. I think I may opt to do that and just buy a cushy mattress pad to soften it up, since I would really enjoy the extra spine support.

Just for comparison’s sake, do you know the ILD #'s of the latex that BE uses? I am curious to know how far apart the two different layers are in terms of technical specifications.

I might also consider buying a 2" medium layer to switch out for my soft layer, rather than exchange with Scott Jordan. Is it possible to buy a piece of talalay somewhere that is 1/2 of queen size? If I knew the ILD #'s of our current layers I could hazard a guess as to what I would prefer that is in between the two.

Thanks, as always!

Hi gp193,

I don’t know the ILD of their latex no … but it’s only 2" so the firmness or softness of the support system underneath it will also play a big role in how firm it feels. When a comfort layer is thinner then more of the “feel” and firmness of the layers or components below it will “come through” the top layer.

Most often no but you could buy a twin XL (which is 38" x 80") and then cut it down to a split queen 30" width with an electric knife.

There are also several manufacturers that sell a split queen mattress that would probably also sell you half of a queen size layer and some latex suppliers may be willing to do the cutting for you.


I did a little more research today and I’m feeling a bit confused about where to head next. I slept on the firm side of the bed for a second night and was pretty comfy, but overall I still think it’s a bit firm for me.

I called Berkeley Ergonomics and the woman I spoke to was very helpful and talked to me a while about the mattress we bought. She said that the soft side is ILD 24 and the firm side is ILD 38. I’m pretty certain the core underneath the 2" comfort layer is also 38. From what I understand, 38 is considered extra firm and 24 is more of a soft-medium. When I told her my weight (140) she said she thought the softer layer would be best for me, especially since I’m a woman and have heavier hips. Unfortunately, BE only sells the mattress in two versions so I can’t exchange for a medium type layer.

Anyhow, here’s what I’m considering now:

  1. Stick it out on the soft side and hope I come to like the soft layer
  2. Exchange for a firm layer and buy some sort of topper or cushy pad to go on top
  3. Buy a piece of medium latex from an outside company. I did some price-checking today and I found a place that would do it for around $100. Honestly I hate to spend a single $ more on this very pricey mattress! I would have to hazard a guess about which ILD to order. I want something in between what we have now, so I think that would be 30-32.

To be quite honest, now I wish that we had bought one of the 3-layer beds from an online source like On the other hand, I valued having a chance to try the mattress in the store and only now, after sleeping on it for a week, do I really understand what I do and don’t like. Now I wish I had more flexibility with respect to comfort exchanges. How frustrating!

Hi gp193,

I think that the “best” suggestion would be to give the mattress 30 days before deciding on any changes. There is an initial break in period and also an adjustment period over this time where what you feel on the mattress can change (as you’ve discovered already).

Once you have spent a little bit more time sleeping on the mattress so your experience is a little more predictive of your longer term experience then it would be time to consider any changes.

With a 2" comfort layer a big part of what you feel will be the layers below the top 2" so the comfort layer alone would only be part of this. I would also agree that 24 ILD is much more in the range of what you are likely to do best with at your weight.

I would also keep in mind that “feel” is quite subjective and can change over time and even with changing circumstances and that any actual symptoms you experience on a mattress are a more reliable indicator of whether something needs to change than “feel” alone.

Even terms like “supportive” have different meanings because one of the main functions of a mattress is to keep you in good alignment which means that some parts of the mattress need to “allow” you to sink in more (less supportive) and some parts heed to “stop” that part of the body from sinking in too much (more supportive). All of this varies with body type and sleeping positions as well as individual perceptions. what you “feel” on the mattress or how far it feels like you are sinking in is usually relative to what you’re used to and part of the “sleeping memory” which your body has become used to.

The top layers are more about pressure relief and the “secondary” support that fills in the gaps in your sleeping profile. It’s not the layer that is supposed to be “supportive”. If you make this firmer then it may not be as pressure relieving or fill in the gaps for your lighter body weight as well. The deeper layers are the layers that are meant to “stop” your heavier hips from sinking in too far. If your base layer is 38 ILD then it’s very unlikely that your hips are sinking in too far with only 2" of latex above it although this can vary with body type and sleeping positions.

Outside of what the mattress “feels” like … are you experiencing any specific symptoms when you sleep on it?


You know, I just had the same thought this morning about waiting to see how the bed feels after close to 30 days. At this point I’m feeling a bit like the princess and the pea.

As far as actual symptoms, when I wake up on the soft side my back feels slightly stiff. This is the big problem I had with our old saggy bed. Also, I feel a bit of pressure on my bottom hip when I lay on my side. Basically, when I wake up in the morning I feel just a bit “uncomfortable” all over, but still much better than with our old bed.

What I liked about the firm side is the feeling that the latex really filled in the gap of my lumbar area when I slept on my back. That is what’s missing for me on the soft side and why I considered switching to a medium firmness. What it feels like to me is that the latex isn’t pushing up against my back enough, and when I’m on my side the soft layer compresses too much against the firm core underneath it and ends up creating pressure against my hip. I would theorize that it would help to have some sort of transition layer between the soft and firm, but unfortunately that’s not an option with our bed.

Long story short, I will stick it out for a while more and try removing the waterproof protector, as I wonder if that’s creating a drum effect with the soft latex.

Can anyone else relate to my experience?

Thanks again, Phoenix!

Hi gp193,

Removing the protector and eliminating it as a possibility is a good idea but giving the mattress a few weeks when it’s new is usually the best idea. It will also get you past the point where its easy to “overthink” things with a new mattress and then you can let your body tell you what if anything needs to change or be fine tuned.


You are absolutely right about overthinking! I seem to have that tendency in other areas of life as well :slight_smile:

This is the last week in my 30-day exchange period and I think I’ve decided to keep my soft comfort layer. The firm side is nice when my back is tired, but it’s just too hard for sleeping comfortably overnight. There is one thing that is bothering me, and I’m not sure how to rectify the problem. When I sleep on my side, I feel pressure on my bottom hip. I only have this problem on the soft side. Could it be that the comfort layer is too thin?

I also tried removing the membrane-type mattress protector since it was feeling hot, and that helped a bit with the feel of the mattress. Now it conforms to the curve of my body a bit better. However, I really do want to keep the mattress protected from accidents. As I see it, I have two options and I’m not sure which to pursue. It’s also tricky because I can’t really test any new products in the store.

  1. find a padded mattress cover that will add some cushion to relieve the hip pressure. I am really hesitant to change the feel of the latex because I like how it feels without much bedding in between.
  2. add a soft latex topper

Any advice?

Hi gp193,

If the comfort layer works well on the firmer side and not on the softer side it’s much morel likely that your hip pain is not so much from the firmness or thickness of the comfort layer but from the amount you are sinking in on the softer side. It may be that your hip joint isn’t in neutral alignment on the soft side and this is causing some strain on the joint (muscles and ligaments) which may be the cause of your discomfort rather than actual pressure. If you were feeling the discomfort on the firmer side then it would be more likely to be a pressure issue which could be related to the firmness or thickness of the comfort layer.

Most mattress protectors will have some effect on the ability of the foam layers underneath them to contour to your body shape as well as affecting sleeping temperature in some cases. It may be worth considering a stretch knit cotton protector which is very stretchy (like a jersey sheet) and may have less effect than one of the semi breathable protectors and also allow more airflow which would be cooler than the semi breathable membrane protector. Of course the down side is that it only absorbs moisture and isn’t water resistant or waterproof. There is more about the pros and cons of different mattress protectors and some links to some sources in post #89 here.

Based on your experience it seems like changing both sides to the firmer core may be a better solution (since it seems to work well for you). A padded mattress pad may reduce the ability of the latex below it to contour to your body even more and make it a little firmer.

If you were experiencing pressure points then this could be a good option but again it seems like the thickness / firmness of the comfort layers don’t seem to be the issue if the firmer side of your mattress is working well for you.


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks so much for your advice. Just to clarify, I don’t think the firm side is going to work for me because I can’t sleep comfortably on my side - my shoulder hardly sinks in enough. I think I want to keep the soft side but I’m trying to figure out the hip pain issue. Are you saying you think it’s an alignment problem? Since we have the firm base core and a 2" comfort layer, I am doubtful that I am sinking in so far that I’m out of alignment. Rather, I’m afraid I’m not sinking in enough. This is why I am wishing I had ordered from sleepez where I would have a 3" comfort layer. If I were to add a latex topper now, it would be different than having a thicker comfort layer because the mattress cover would be in between the top two pieces of latex.

I will look into finding a thinner, stretchy mattress cover as well.

Hi gp193,

There’s no way for me to really know this based on “theory at a distance” because I can’t see you on the mattress or feel what you feel but based on speculation it would make sense to me if you are feeling the “symptoms” on the softer side but not on the firmer side. If you were feeling the symptoms on the firmer side then it would be more likely to be pressure related because firmer layers are more likely to cause pressure issues while softer layers are more likely to cause alignment issues.

If the firmer side works well for your hips but isn’t thick/soft enough for your shoulders then it may be worth trying an extra inch or two of latex as a topper which would allow your shoulders to sink in a little more while still being able to have a firmer support layer.

The deeper layers of a mattress are for primary support which “stops” the heavier pelvis from sinking down too far while the upper layers are for pressure relief and are meant to “allow” the lighter shoulders to sink in far enough to relieve pressure and also to fill in the gaps in the sleeping profile (generally the waist on the side or lower back for back sleepers) which is more “secondary” support.

Some of the other factors that would be worth considering so you can rule them out as a possibility are in post #2 here.

The first step though is always to talk with the retailer or manufacturer where you purchased your mattress because they will generally know more about the mattresses they sell and the options they have available and would also have more experience in making suggestions for their customers that had purchased the same mattress and were in similar circumstances as you.


I’ve decided to keep my mattress as it is - on my side, a 6" firm core with a 2" soft comfort layer. I since the core and the comfort layer are the same ILD on the firm side, it wouldn’t really make sense to add a topper on the firm part of the mattress since I effectively already have a soft topper on a firm base. I think all I really need to work out now is the mattress pad/protector. I removed the membrane-type protector because it was too hot, and I was very surprised how much it changed the feel of the mattress because it is thin and pretty stretchy. I really want to keep the mattress protected from my toddler so either we will just live with the current protector or find a wool one. Out of the wool mattress pads available, which do you think would do the least to change the feel of the mattress? I am guessing the St. Dormeir but I’d appreciate feedback from those who have firsthand experience.

Thank you, as always!