reasonable compromise or not?

My first post here… couple weeks back wife nd I decided it was time to explore options for a ne wmattress. Currently using a sos o coil mattress that I helped out with a 3 inch decent quality latex topper. Obviously a patch for a bad situation. It’s time to replace.

After reading many articles and exploring on line options I found this place. We live near Charlotte NC and have gone through the listings there, and have narrowed our choices. While on line offers better pricing and more customization it still involves building the bed when it arrives and also buying something we haven’t personally tried. Not opposed to this at all but is still something for us to consider.

Visited one local place… pricing was pretty good but they have an absolutely no return policy and their mattresses are sealed 9no zipper). Just spoke with another local place today and will visit soon. My wife has the organic bug but I am open to other options (this means i’ll lose the battle) but in an effort to maintain costs my gut feel is using a blended (60/40 mix the 60 being natural) for the bottom firm layer seems to be a reasonable option so am curious how you feel about that or if it is saving pennies and costing dollars in long run.

we’ll have to go down the road of configuring a mattress to our needs as we both have shoulder pain that is not related to our mattress but no doubt can be made worse. Any suggestions here are appreciated!

Hi Jdavis37,

While you’ve probably already found this … I’ll include a link to some of the better options in the Charlotte NC area (listed in post #2 here and which includes one of the members of this site) for the benefit of those who may read this thread in the future.

There is more information about natural and organic latex (and blends) in this article and in post #6 here. If you are looking at Talalay … then the blend is actually 60% - 70% synthetic (depending on the latex manufacturer) not the other way around. Dunlop can have many variations between the blend ratio of natural and synthetic. There is very little difference between 100% natural Dunlop and “organic” Dunlop besides the extra cost of certifying the latex for the benefit of those who may value the actual certification itself rather than any meaningful performance differences between the two.

The suitability of a layer would have more to do with its softness/firmness and how it responded to your body weight and sleeping positions in combination with the other layers of the mattress (unless of course the type of latex was more important than its performance). My personal thoughts are that blended Talalay and 100% natural Dunlop are probably the best overall “value” in latex for the typical needs and preferences of most people with blended Dunlop being a good lower cost alternative to more expensive 100% natural Dunlop for those that are comfortable with the tradeoff between lower quality/performance (compared to other types of latex) and price.

The most accurate method of testing a mattress to find out how it meets your specific and unique needs and preferences is local testing (preferable with the help of someone with the knowledge and esperience to provide some good guidance).

If there are few sources available locally that are in the same “value range” … then an online purchase can make sense (I usually use about a 20% local “premium” as being comparable value to offset the increased risk of an online purchase but this would depend on each person’s risk tolerance). It is still beneficial to test mattresses locally however to get a clearer sense of the layering that may work best for you and which can act as a rough guideline for an online purchase (if the comfort specs of the mattresses you are testing are known which may not be the case because unlike “quality specs” these are not important with a local purchase where you can test the mattress). Some of the factors that may be important in knowing the different options that may be an important part of your “value equation” regardless of where you choose to make a purchase are in post #2 here.

A knowledgeable person with good experience will know what to suggest for your body type and sleeping positions and also any special considerations that may be important to you. If this is locally … it can be based on your actual experiences with testing mattresses. If it is online their suggestions will be based more on “averages” of other people in their customer base that may be similar to you. The more knowledgeable and experienced they are … the more helpful and “accurate” their guidance may be.

You have some very good choices within reasonable driving distance :slight_smile:



I feel fortunate to have some good choices within a decent driving distance though we are giving some thought to driving to Charleston SC to (prices there are a tad higher than the rest of options on our list but their flexibility to build a mattress is fairly good with good swap out options if needed). It is a 3 + hr drive each way though which to me is a fair distance to drive for a 45 minute mattress check! The first dealer we visited in Mooresville NC were very friendly and priced very very competitively for all latex. Only issue I had there was the inability to change ANYTHING after point of sale though they did offer to make their factory available to try out a couple beds in production. They are not out of play at this point though having a no return for any reason policy is less than inviting all else equal.

Today’s Charlotte dealer had said their blend was 60% natural and 40% synthetic. I guess there is no way for me to know for sure. I am less inclined to want to pay for the “organic” title than is my wife who is very opposed to the chemical aspects. From my perspective, the latex is sealed within a mattress cover and on top of that will be a mattress pad followed by a sheet. Just not sure the organic tag is worth much other than peace of mind for those (like my wife) who are concerned ( fearfully I think we both know how far my 49% of the vote will go on this).

I usually research things and at some point get caught up in " what is best" and then start to back off to determine the best price/performance point. if one were to use a synthetic blended talalay core at the bottom with 2 layers of natural talalay comfort layers on top and then laid down on a similarly made bed where the bottom layer was now all natural talalay, would there be any appreciable difference over say 10 years?

I had originally thought going dunlop in the bottom might be a better option thought that degree of variability in a mattress build thus far is very rare. offers that degree of mix/match though I guess at some point offering too many choices can turn into confusion!

I had originally priced out Sleep EZ and found the prices there very good along with great policies. They remian very much in play though their cheap prices I first saw was comparing Talalay Blend with Dunlop Natural. Even then going all organic with 100% natural talalay was NOT that much more. I guess this is where it starts to get dicey. Regarding dunlop, is it possible to get anywhere near the outer layer comfort people ascribe to Talalay? I ask because both our shoulders have issues and we need good pressure relief.

Ok yet another question… mattresses that offer split firmness settings which are NOT glued… how stable are they compared to a single solid layer, in general. Want to make sure there isn’t atendency to move about.

This is proving interesting to say the least. It may well be that I am perfectly ok with using a blend in the bottom of mattress and go natural and or organic elsewhere. We have other projects and don’t need to tie up a fortune here but that said a well made bed is an important thing ( fearing we may get pulled into the adjustable bed market given how many pillows my wife uses to prop up her head and feet at times).

Going back to local dealer 1 my concern there is without any return/alteration policy it seems a bit of a risk to buy and then 90 days later realize it is too soft. Not much I can do to fix too soft with a sealed mattress. dealer 2 that we will visit in next 2 weeks seemed more able to make alterations down the line if needed though he uses some type of material to fix the layers together. At least the mattress cover has az ipper for access unlike dealer one.

Appreciate the help on this and your site. LOTS of good information. It may be we have to drive to Charleston to get a better feel for differences between dunlop and Talalay if we feel we need to get to that level. May be we find a bed in 2 weeks that is simply good enough!

Last question… bed thicknesses. If we go on line we can get a 13/12 inch bed for about price we can buy a 10 inch bed locally. Does the extra 3 inch layer really come into play or is it conceivable a well made/balanced 10 inch bed is good enough in comparison. Thx again!

Hi Jdavis,

The return policy of a store is a “hidden cost” of a mattress because it’s factored in to the retail price based on the experiences and return percentage of the store. Good local testing can reduce or even eliminate the need for a return policy … especially if you err on the side of firmness which can be “fine tuned” with a topper or mattress pad. This is one of the tradeoffs involved in each person’s “value equation”.

If the latex is Talalay … then they almost certainly have their numbers reversed. If it’s Dunlop … then it’s more likely. Either way … almost all latex has no “safety” or “chemical” issues and has been tested for harmful compounds in the latex and for offgassing.

If the latex really is organic (and they should be able to show you the USDA organic certification for the latex) … then it can legitimately be called organic (and in this case the term “organic” would be real and not just a descriptive marketing term). If the organic Dunlop (there is no organic Talalay latex) is made by Latex Green (which produces both types) … then the “chemical” difference or the “safety” difference would be very little if anything at all IMO but I also understand the 51%/49% principle in relationships and that 51% is a overwhelming landslide majority :slight_smile:

There would be little noticeable difference for most people if the ILD was the same but the Natural is a little denser material so it may feel just a slight bit firmer and more “solid” with deeper compression. Using 100% natural Talalay on top may slightly compromise durability because blended talalay in softer ILD’s is probably a little bit more durable than the equivalent 100% natural Talalay layer. Latex International who makes both types only has a 10 year warranty on their all natural Talalay and a 20 year warranty on their blended Talalay (although the blended wouldn’t be twice as durable IMO). In the firmer ILD’s that are typically used in a support core … this durability difference would disappear IMO but there is no “proof” of this so this is more speculation based on my research and "connecting the dots) and the warranty would still be half as long. Durability is also a combination of many factors … not the least of which is where in the range of pressure relief and support the mattress is for the individual when it is new. If someone buys a mattress that is “on the edge” of providing adequate support and alignment … then even a small amount of softening can put them over the edge while for someone who was more in the middle of their acceptable support range then smaller amounts of softening would make little difference and for them the mattress would be more durable.

I agree that too much analysis (especially without reference points where you have actually tested the combinations you are thinking about) can lead to “paralysis by analysis”. Dunlop support cores with Talalay comfort layers are fairly common … especially online … but this would vary by area and what the stores there were carrying.

As you know … SleepEz is a member here and they have great value and options. They carry blended Talalay and 100% natural Dunlop which are the latex options in their regular line and 100% natural Talalay and “organic Dunlop” (made by the same company as the 100% natural Dunlop) in their “organic” line. They don’t “promote” the organic Dunlop as being organic for the reasons outlined in post #4 here earlier today although it’s the same material that others call organic.

This depends on the actual ILD of the Dunlop (vs ILD’s that are often listed incorrectly) but it is much less common to find it in ILDs that are as soft as the ILD’s that are often used in Talalay comfort layers. In the same ILD as Talalay … Dunlop will feel firmer because it is denser and gets firmer faster with deeper compression (ILD is measured at 25% compression and a comfort layer will be compressed more than this). There are some versions of Dunlop which are legitimately in the upper teens in ILD but these are much less common and in most cases “soft” dunlop would be in the range of mid 20’s (and would be somewhat variable acrosss the surface of the layer because Dunlop is not as consistent as Talalay). Each manufacturer would know the characteristics of the Dunlop they carry and be in the best position to compare it to the Talalay they carried.

Latex is very “sticky” and doesn’t tend to shift over another layer. With a split top layer though you would need some type of quilting layer in the cover to even out the split (so an unquilted cover wouldn’t be as suitable). If for some reason the latex shifts (such as moving the mattress) … then its an easy matter to unzip the cover and shift it back but this isn’t an issue in “normal” use.

Some manufacturers will change out a layer (rather than a whole matress) in the first few months (and some like Verlo will do it at any time in the first year) even with a finished cover. If the mattress doesn’t have any adjustment or exchange options or the manufacturer doesn’t offer a layer changeout and re-sweing the cover … then accurate testing for support is very important and again …erring on the side of firmness is the wisest move.

It would depend on the layering of the mattress (assuming we are talking all latex in both cases?) but in general more than 9" or so of latex isn’t necessary unless there is a specific reason to go thicker. Some of these reasons are a much higher than average weight (a thicker mattress will be more adaptable to different sleeping positions and go from soft to firm more gradually which can be helpful with higher weights that need firmer layers), a mattress construction that uses some type of zoning that needs a thicker mattress to accomplish the design, a two sided design with latex on both sides of the support layer, or a preference for the softer or more gradual “feel” of a thicker latex mattress. If you are considering an adjustable bed … then a mattress this thick may not conform as well to the bed in it’s more extreme positions. I would have a hard time imagining the need for more than 12" of latex though and even this would need a compelling reason for me.

If you are comparing the “commodity value” of a 13.5" latex mattress with say a 10" latex mattress … I would make darn sure that they were both exactly the same type of latex and that the 13.5" version didn’t have some other materials in it besides just latex so that you are making an apples to apples comparison if for some reason you were considering the thicker mattress.


THx Phoenix…

One correction to my sloppy writing earlier, I had meant to write a 12 or 13 inch mattress since some use thicker covers, etc… essentially I meant a 4 later mattress. Seems most local mattresses thus far have been 3 layer and the only one we tried out seriously felt a tad soft for my tastes but could easily be ordered in a medium medium firm line up (natural talalay). If we re-visit that store to buy I would go that route and could always add a softer topper if I had to given this mattress is non returnable and very difficult to replace a layer ( mattress would have to be returned, new cover bought and new layer bought and if that change wasn’t right, another repeat…).

You now have me pondering about the blended Talalay for the outer layers. If it is more durable and less costly aside from the chemical aspects, perceived or otherwise, it seems the blend may offer enough benefit to consider. Is starting to sound like we may need to visit sleepingorganic in Charleston given the variety and customizablity they offer. Might be only way to compare dunlop and talalay and various firmness options. I’m 6 ft 1 and weigh about 200 to 204 pound range and wife is 5 ft 6 and medium sized.

This discussion has given me reason to reconsider at least considering a blend on outer layer/s. Looking forward to seeing more beds for real soon!

Hi Jdavis,

OK … that makes more sense.

Generally a 4 layer mattress would be worth considering either for higher weights (heavier than yours) or for people who either wanted more layering flexibility (for exchange or re-arranging) or who preferred the more “gradual” feel of a thicker mattress (which “firmed up” a little more slowly with compression).

My personal opinion is that blended Talalay and 100% natural Dunlop are probably the best “value” in terms of cost/benefits in latex although this is of course only my opinion and many others may legitimately disagree.

I also think it’s a good idea to test as much as possible. In my own experience … all the words in the world can’t replace what someone actually feels on a mattress and this provides a much more accurate reference point for all the information that can be overwhelming. While it’s certainly not really convenient to take a longer drive for testing combinations you are interested in … I think in the end it is probably a time saver because it “cuts to the chase” and can save a lot of time with research and testing mattresses at outlets that don’t have what you want to test or which can’t tell you what you are lying on. At least it only needs to happen once a decade or longer :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to more of your feedback and hearing about your experiences as the journey continues to a final decision.