Sure way to tell between natural and blended latex?

Hello all,

Firstly, I’m glad this site exists and that I found it. Its a great wealth of information.

I ordered a few sample squares of natural talalay latex and a few blended talalay latex squares from one vendor. I did this to see if I could notice the difference between natural and blended.

I really can’t.

They feel, look and smell virtual the same out of the box.

Besides the reputation of the manufacture/seller. How can I make sure that few hundred dollars more I spend is really for 100% natural latex and not some kind of “sucker tax”?


You really won’t be able to tell unless the label which identified it was still on the latex (they are put on the original 6" core). They look and feel too similar for most people without a great deal of experience to know the difference.

I have a set of samples of all the types of Talalay made by Radium for example and while I can tell the difference in the softness levels in each one of course … there is no obvious way to tell the difference between blended and 100% natural

You are really dependent on the reputation and integrity of your retailer or manufacturer.



The reason I asked is, I have been to several mattress retailers within acceptable driving range.
Most of the retailers that carry latex mattresses seem up front and honest, and on the very high end of the $ scale.

However, there are a couple retailers I have visited that did not usually stock 100% natural latex but could special order the mattress, at a few hundred dollar more premium. Although they had limited knowledge of the mattress and just said “it made exactly the same as the regular latex/foam mattress, but with 100% natural latex.” The prices even with the special order premium where darn good. However, the sales guys where the “hard sell” type, and left a foul taste in my mouth.

I ordered the samples in hopes of armoring myself from the possibility of being the patsy. Unfortunately that idea did not bear fruit.

I did find some info on differences between 100% natural and blended latex from this web site HERE. However, there really not practical to a mattress shopper.

A snippet from that page for reference:

“To recognize synthetic and blended latex, look at the latex sample provided.
SBR will yellow with age
SBR will crumble with age
SBR will tear and pull apart, particularly on the sides of the sample
SBR will retain a chemical smell for many months after being produced”

I found that after an airing out of the samples I ordered. (the samples I ordered came in one box and all shared the same smell) I could sort of tell natural from blended. Wile the 100% natural latex just smelt like a “bag of rubber bands” the blended has other olfactory “notes”.

The “tear and pull” test the article describes works. I can pull on a small portion of a corner and the 100% latex and it stretches much more before ripping.(between the same ILD’s) Although, that test is impractical to preform on a retailers floor model.

Well I thought I would share that info as it seems to hold some truth.

Thanks again Phoenix for your help and the great site for mattress shoppers.


Pretty sure that blended latex is actually more durable the natural latex and as I understand it there is no chemical smell. I imagine Phoenix can comment further. I wonder if that page is referring to 100% synthetic vs. a natural/synthetic blend.

Scroll to the bottom of this page.

I am going to buy from here. Even after shipping, way cheaper than what I can get locally.


You can read more about the differences between blended and 100% natural Talalay in post #2 here. They both have a sweet type of smell (like vanilla or sugar cookies).

There is more about the different types of latex in post #6 here and more about the differences between NR and SBR and some reference links in post #2 here.

Natural Dunlop will have more of a “rubber” smell that can be a little more persistant and will vary from product to product (like all natural materials).

Synthetic Dunlop doesn’t have what I would call a “chemical” smell at all (I just smelled a layer of mostly synthetic Dunlop that I own and the smell is very nondescript and you have to try hard to smell anything) but the smell of latex can can also vary by manufacturer and formulation.

Latex is a very durable material whether it is synthetic, blended, or 100% natural and for the most part they all have the same Oeko-Tex testing for VOC’s and harmful substances. As you mentioned natural rubber is more elastic and has a higher tear strength than SBR (synthetic rubber).