Testing Latex Mattress

Hi Pheonix,

I have been reading the information on your mattress forum for the last few days and finally went to tryout a latex mattress. My wife and I decided we don’t want coil mattress anymore and my reading and opinions on this and WTBM indicated Latex would be a better choice. I am looking at 100% organic/natural latex as much as possible and you have mentioned ther eis no 100% Natural Talalay similar to 100% Natural Dunlop. However SleepEZ and few other places are selling 100% Organic Talalay. What gives?

Coming to the testing part. I am 200lbs side and back sleeper and my wife is 125lbs side, back and occasionally tummy sleeper. Being heavy I believe I need firmer support than my wife and we both want plusher comfort layer. I went to a Savvy Rest retailer and tried two combinations. I believe they both are serenity model. They did not have the ILD ratings but the mattresses I tried are 9’’ with the following configuration.

Mattress 1:
3’’ of Talalay at “Soft” firmness
3’’ of Dunlop at “Medium” firmness
3’’ of Dunlop at “Firm” firmness

Mattress 2:
3’’ of Dunlop at “Soft” firmness
3’’ of Dunlop at “Medium” firmness
3’’ of Dunlop at “Firm” firmness

When lying on the first mattress on my back, I felt pressure on my upper back and it was not comfortable. However when I slept on my side it was really comfortable. Then the sales person suggested I try the second mattress. When I first slept on my back It was better but I still felt some pressure. However after a bit I sunk in I guess and it felt much better and felt the pressure on my upper back was lot less. However I felt there might be little bit of pressure on my lower back. Changing to the side position, it was alright but definitely not as comfortable as the first mattress.

I am going to try more mattress over the next few days and am trying to understand better about the reasoning. The first one I assume is too soft to provide enough support for my upper back but provided good support for my lower back as it possibly sunk in more at my hips to get support from the second layer? Same reason in my side position as well as my body sunk in more and got better support from the layer below it as well as contoured better to my body?

On the second mattress the top layer provided better support for my upper back but may be a little too firm for the lower back? Similary I think its a bit too firm for my side position and did not sink in enough?

Appreciate your feedback as I navigate through the testing phase. Also should I be testing a differential construction instead of progressive construction like I did in this test?


Hi kionos,

I’m not sure where you read this (that there is no 100% natural talalay) because there certainly is (or at least that uses all NR without synthetic SBR in the mix). There is 100% natural Talalay and Dunlop as well as blended Talalay and Dunlop. Organic however is a whole different story from natural and there is no organic Talalay but two companies use organic certified natural latex to produce their Dunlop cores. This means that the cores are not certified as organic (there is no such certification) but the agricultural product (the natural liquid rubber) that was used to make the core is certified organic. Organic, natural, and green are widely used with a range of meanings but there are many mattresses that are labeled as “organic” that don’t use all organic materials only combinations of organic and natural and where an organic version of a particular material may not even exist. In many cases … organic and natural are used somewhat interchangeably and in many cases it means “the most pure version available”.

This probably has to do more with the nature of latex itself or with how you are sinking in than with actual pressure points because the upper back has less pressure points and more surface area to distribute the pressure than the side position. In other words it could be originating in an alignment that your back isn’t used to which could cause some discomfort whether it was “better” or “worse” in terms of actual alignment. Any change in sleeping alignment can take some getting used to in the short term whether it is better or worse in the long term. It could also have to do with the ILD of the latex and/or the shape of your back, natural posture, and even muscle tone and with the fact that a softer comfort layer may cause you to sink in more in the middle part of your upper back in kind of a “hunched” position which could be “translated” or felt as pressure.

If you push your shoulders forward and sort of hunch your back for example (while standing) or tilt your head forward and round your back and you feel anything similar or discomfort in a similar area then this would likely be the case. It could also be the other way around where your upper back has a memory of sleeping in a more hunched position from other materials or a less supportive mattress and the more supportive latex is keeping it flatter than it “remembers” and it may want to “hunch” more. I suspect though it is the first case. The fact that the Dunlop wouldn’t allow you to sink in as far and that this alleviated the issue to some degree seems to indicate this (you were lying “flatter” on the firmer surface layer on your back).

The slight increase in pressure on your lower back could have been because the “gaps” in the recessed lumbar curve may not have been filled in as firmly with the Dunlop (you wouldn’t be sinking in quite as far because Dunlop gets firmer faster with deeper compression).

There are different definitions and meanings of “support” but in essence it is the ability of a material to support weight and compress less with greater weight. With this definition … Dunlop in a similar ILD is more supportive in all areas because it will compress less with the same weight and will “stop” your hips and pelvis from sinking in as deeply. This type of primary support is the job of the deeper layers which “stop” further compression.

On the other hand … there is also the lighter more surface support or secondary support that comes from a material filling in the gaps in your profile and this lighter support (it wouldn’t be compressed as much under the recessed area of the lumbar) is also part of the picture. This type of support is primarily the job of the comfort layers which in ddition to relieving pressure also fill in the gaps in the sleeping profile and “help” maintain the natural ali9gnment of the spine. With the Dunlop … you wouldn’t sink in quite as deeply into the mattress and there would be less compressed material under your lumbar curve to help gently support it. If you imagine lying on a floor on your back for example there would only be air under the lumbar gap and there would be no support at all for this part of your spine although there would be great support under your hips/pelvis and under your upper back. Too much support under the lumbar gap is not comfortable for most people and too little that allows the spine to “sag” is also uncomfortable.

It may be worth trying the soft Talalay with firmer middle and lower layers to give you a more even flatter posture on your back and better deep support for your heavier parts and still have most of the pressure relief you need from the softer comfort layers.

So deep or primary support is first about “stopping” any sinking in of the heavier parts (the most important) and surface or secondary support is about “filling in the gaps”. Alignment is the goal in other words and the different types of “support” are the means to get there. It’s also worth mentioning that there isn’t a fixed line when primary support becomes secondary support and they work together in the complete mattress or sleeping system to produce good spinal alignment.

Yes … the second mattress would provide firmer more even support for your upper back and would also provide lessen how much your pelvis/hips sank down and this may not have allowed you to sink in quite enough to provide the same degree of “filling in the gaps” and the more gentle support that is usually needed under the lumbar curve. A thinner comfort layer would also put you closer to the deeper support layers and likely accomplish something similar by providing more even support to the upper back and better support/alignment to the hips/pelvis but not fill in the gaps as well or be as pressure relieving for side sleeping. In other words, the middle part or “hunch” along the spine of your upper back wouldn’t be able to “travel” as far before reaching the deeper support layers while the outer parts of your upper back would still sink in about the same. If you were to draw your shoulders back for example it would “lift” part of your back and the alignment would be flatter and more even. The goal though is that the mattress does with its combination of ILD’s and layer thicknesses this rather than your muscles.

Hopefully this made some sense to you and pointed to what could be happening (although without being able to see things with my eyes or be there in real time to see how certain movements or position changes affected you it’s difficult to know for sure). In other words … this is “educated” speculation :slight_smile:


Did some more testing and looking for some clarity. The first store I went to had the Unison mattress which is 4 2’’ layers glued together. Their “firm” version felt pretty comfortable but up int he price and the 4 2’’ layers part did not feel correct.

The second store had a 6’’ dunlop core (There is an Arpico stamp on the side of it) and I was told one is at 65 compression and the other at 90 compression. Not sure what they turn in to in ILD ratings but the 65 compression mattress felt pretty good on its own though my wife felt it is a bit firm. I put in a 2’’ topper on top of it and I thought I need it to be a little bit more firm. When I tried the topper on the 90 compression it felt too firm and wanted something softer than that. So I felt like I needed somewhere between 65 and 90 compression. They did not know how those numbers translate to ILD’s.

The third store has a 6’’ dunlop core at 32ILD and 28ILD. They said they procured it on their own from vietnam and not from one of the main distributors known in US. The 32 ILD felt firm to me and the 28 ILD felt comfortable on its own with out any topper. However my wife who likes it soft thought it was firm. We tried a 2’’ Natura topper (they guessed it could be 16-20ILD) and the 28ILD mattress still felt firm to her. Trying on a 3’’ Natura topper made it comfortable for her. I felt it comfortable as well but a 28ILD core didn’t sound right to me for a 200lbs guy. 3’’ Natura on the 32 ILD also felt comfortable to me. Could it be that the vietnamese latex they are sourcing is more firmer in general than say the dunlop latex from latex green or latexco?

Just putting thoughts on paper. Appreciate some comments specially the approximate conversion of 65 and 90 compression to ILD’s.


Hi ikonos,

Dunlop is a little bit tricky to translate to ILD because it is less consistent than Talalay and there is more ILD variation across the surface of the layer than Talalay. It is also firmer on the bottom of a layer than on top to different degrees (that can vary by manufacturer) so if you have a 6" core of a particular density of Dunlop … then a 3" topper cut from the top of the core will be softer than one cut from the bottom. it can also vary depending on which side is up. In other words … it’s best to think of Dunlop in “approximate ranges”.

This is made even more difficult when people are comparing Dunlop to Talalay because ILD is measured as the weight it takes to compress a 6" (in the case of latex) core 25% of it’s thickness using a 50 sq in compressor foot. So if a material takes 30 lbs to compress 25% … then it would be 30 ILD. The only place that Talalay and Dunlop would “match” would be at exactly the 25% compression point and Dunlop would be firmer as it was compressed more than Talalay and softer if it was compressed less. At best … ILD is an approximation … especially with Dunlop. While most Dunlop manufacturers sell their product by density … there are a few who do test for ILD such as Latex Gold here.

Having said all that … I think a reasonable approximation would be …

65 would be considered quite soft for Dunlop and probably in the range of low 20s or lower
75 would be in the range of mid to high 20’s or medium/soft
85 would be in the mid 30’s or medium/firm
95 would be very firm and in the 40’s or firm/very firm

See post #2 here as well for some more specific comparisons that may be helpful.

How firm any of these felt would depend on weight and body type, how much the material was compressed, and where in the mattress the layer was (which affects how much it compresses).

There are also some differences in Dunlop foam formulations that can make a difference and ILD ratings may not be comparable between different types and blends of latex.

Arpico is a high quality dunlop foam manufacturer and you can see the typical densities that they make here from 75 to 95 lbs but they could make a core in different densities as well.

So if it was 65 kg density it would be softer than a typical core (or softer than the “soft” that is listed on their site). If it really was this … then a single core would be soft on top and then get progressively firmer as you sank in deeper. The higher compression modulus of Dunlop can give it “soft on top but good support” properties.

Don’t forget too that thickness and ILD both have a significant effect on the softness or a layer or mattress. For example 3" of 28 ILD Dunlop on a floor would feel very firm (it would fully compress or “bottom out” which means it would get as firm as it could go under the heaviest part of the body) while 6" of the same material would feel softer and 9" of the same material would feel softer yet.

The 90 would be in the range of firm.

In the third store they are probably guessing at the ILD because Dunlop wouldn’t be that exact or have that small a difference. There would be a 4 ILD difference in a typical single Dunlop core much less two separate cores. These are more typically Talalay ILD’s when they are given that specifically and even then even Talalay (from LI anyway) uses an average of 9 separate ILD readings on a core to “rate” it. I would guess that the difference between the cores was more than 4 ILD because it would be unusual for a foam pourer to make cores that were that close together.

Viet Nam is a major latex producer (#5 in the world) but I’m not as familiar with any of the specific companies that make it and it’s less common to see it here. I was even talking the other day with a manufacturer who was working on importing Dunlop from Turkey. Viet Nam produces more rubber than Sri Lanka which is where Arpico and Latex Green are based.

I doubt that Vietnamese rubber of a similar density is significantly different in firmness from rubber sourced elsewhere if they were both natural rubber with no fillers.

I wish I could be more specific but unfortunately it seems that Dunlop ILD is often more the subject of guesswork in many cases and I would tend to trust my body’s perceptions more than someone’s “guess” about Dunlop ILD. While a particular manufacturer could tell you the relative firmness or softness of all the foams they carried and if they also carried ILD rated Talalay their Dunlop rating would be more accurate because they could use the Talalay as a point of reference. Without a reference point or between different manufacturers or outlets where the density isn’t known or who may not use "soft/medium/firm in the same way … it’s much more difficult to make comparisons.


Visited Soaring Heart and Seattle Mattress Company today. So far I was only considering 100% natural Dunlop for the core and after trying out Talalay Core’s at Seattle Mattress it entered in to contention. We tested a 32 ILD 6’’ and a 36 ILD 6’’ 100% natural Talalay mattress encased in a Cotton/Polyster blend fabric. I am assuming there is more cotton or wool wrapped around the latex as I was told there is a 3/4 inch on either side of the mattress making it a 7.5’’ mattress. I felt comfortable with out any topper on both of them and my wife felt 36 is slightly on the firmer side. We then tried a 3’’ 19ILD Talalay topper which is also encased in similar fabric adding 0.5’’ on either side making it 4’’ in total. That made it comfortable for my wife as well. It was comfortable for me as well but I thought it was a bit on the softer side for me and thought may be I need a higher ILD on the topper.

At soaring heart we tried a 6’’ Firm 100% Natural Talalay and a 6’’ Firm Organic Dunlop. In both cases the latex is encased in a cotton cover, then wrapped with a wool wrapper and then placed in organic cotton zipped cover. We were told they both are about 35ILD. Both felt slightly firm and surprisingly my wife felt the Dunlop felt softer than Talalay. The we tried a 19 ILD 2’’ topper that is wrapped in wool (a good amount of it) and placed in a organic cotton zipper cover. Both felt really comfortable with the topper.

In both the places the same 35/36 ILD Talalay felt different because of the quilting. However the Vietnamese Dunlop from Bedrooms n More (Presumably 32 ILD) felt very different from the Soaring Heart Dunlop (Firm, presumably 35 ILD or so) we tried today. I am assuming they both should be about the same Firmness and should feel more or less same?

Just because of the consistency should I seriously consider 100% Natural Talalay for the core over 100% Natural Dunlop? I am thinking about a 6’’ Core + a 2’’ or 3’’ topper. I know I may not have asked a proper question other than putting out my thoughts but really appreciate some guidance.

Hi ikonos,

There have been quite a few discussions recently about ILD and how it relates to latex, but especially Dunlop latex. In essence … most Dunlop is made to density not to ILD and the ILD translations are in some cases all over the map and just guesses. Both Talalay and Dunlop layers and cores have a variety of ILD’s across the surface which can vary from spot to spot over the surface of the material but in general Talalay has a narrower range of ILD variance while the variance in Dunlop can be more (and can also vary from top to bottom). In other words … “exact” ILD’s don’t really exist in either material and it’s best to think of each core or layer as a “range” rather than a specific ILD but the range of variance in Dunlop is more than Talalay. The most accurate way to compare Dunlop of the same blend would be by comparing density (usually expressed as kg/m3) and 100% natural Dunlop would typically be in a firmness range of about 65 kg/m3 to about 95/m3. There are also some differences in different Dunlop formulations that can also have an effect on the range of ILD’s of Dunlop made by different manufacturers even in the same density but the most accurate comparison method would usually be density.

You can see some rough comparisons between Dunlop density and ILD in post #2 here.

This variance in ILD could be part of why the Dunlop felt softer to your wife than a similar ILD Talalay. Different people feel things differently as well so this could also just be a difference in subjective perceptions because of the time in between testing each (most people don’t remember subjective impressions very accurately). Dunlop has a higher compression modulus than Talalay (because it is denser) which means it gets firmer faster with deeper compression than Talalay. The “equal” point between them (if they both have the same ILD) is 25% compression and with more compression than that Dunlop would be firmer meaning that it would take more weight to compress it as much as Talalay. Less than 25% compression would mean the Dunlop was softer than the Talalay but most upper layers are compressed more than 25%.

The Seattle Mattress site says that they use a natural fiber fire barrier which would normally be wool but they don’t say that for certain. I’m sure they would tell you if you called them.

Most of the choice between Natural Talalay, Blended Talalay (which is what Seattle Mattress is using), and Dunlop is really a matter of preference. This page along with post #6 here has more about the different types and blends of latex. If you are interested in the more technical aspecs of NR (natural rubber) and SBR (synthetic rubber) then post #2 here and post #2 here go into a great deal of detail and have some links with more detail yet.

The “most” natural of the latex varieties would tend to be 100% natural Dunlop.

100% natural Talalay is a more expensive material and is slightly less pressure relieving and in the lower ILD’s is potentially less durable than the blended Talalay. both are Oeko-Tex certified which means they have been tested to the same standards (standard 100 class 1) for harmful substances and offgassing.

If someone wanted a 100% natural Talalay latex for it’s own sake and the possible lower durability (in lower ILD’s) and higher cost wasn’t important … then it would make a good choice for their particular “value equation” (the things that are worth paying for and most important to each person). In Dunlop … 100% natural is generally considered a better product in terms of durability and performance than a blended Dunlop.

Talalay and Dunlop also have a different “feel” with Dunlop being denser and less lively (think angel food cake vs pound cake) and Talalay being more “springy”. This is primarily because it has a lower density and a different more round cell structure. There is more about the difference in “feel” between the two types of latex in post #7 here.

So the best “value” in latex, at least for most people, would tend to be either blended Talalay or 100% natural Dunlop. I would make the choice between the different “good” options (natural and blended Talalay and natural Dunlop) based on what was most important to you and on which “feel” you preferred.

I hope I answered most of the questions that you seemed to be thinking about but if I’ve missed anything feel free to ask.



Thanks for the quick response. I did read most of those links you mentioned above and because of some of those reasons I was initially leaning towards 100% natural Dunlop for the 6’’ core and either a 100% natural Dunlop or a blended Talalay for the topper. I was leaning towards medium/firm core with a 2 or 3’’ topper in 22-24ILD. Thanks for the tutorial on Dunlop firmness comparison. I didn’t fully catch it from your previous post. Should the density be available on the tags?

I think you might have discussed it before but how different does a 6’’ core feel compared to two 3’’ cores of the same firmness in 100% dunlop or talalay? Along with local stores I am considering mattress.net and sleepez and the core thickness is one of the primary differences between those two online vendors. I haven’t approached sleepez to see if they can provide a 6’’ core instead of two 3’’ cores but wanted to know how different they will feel.


Hi ikonos,

All else being equal (Density, ILD , type of material etc) … cores that are made up of two or more layers of the same material will be slightly softer than a single core if they are unglued. In the support layers, it’s less likely that the difference would be noticeable. In most cases … multiple layering allows for progressive firmness levels (say medium over firm) which can be used to adjust the firmness level of the support and how quickly it becomes firmer. In the case of say two 3" layers of M/F, it would get firmer faster than a single 6" M layer because the more it was compressed the more the lower layer of F would come into play. A single layer would “firm up” more gradually with compression than (which can be part of the design goal with a thinner comfort layer for example). There is greater flexibility of design with the multiple layers and if they are loose it creates more “fine tuning” options for the customer. The advantage of a single layer core is it’s simplicity of design and possible lower cost (less fabrication). One isn’t any “better” than the other in terms of performance or quality … they are just different in terms of the number of design options and choices they allow.

Yes but the tags are often gone by the time they get to the consumer (or are cut into thinner layers) so I wouldn’t count on this but the manufacturer should know the density.


Hi Phoenix,

Thanks to your help I think I finally narrowed down to two vendors and was hoping you could help with the choices available.

Seattle Natural Mattress/Mulligan Mattress

  1. Certified (Oeko-Tex) organic mattrress with 6’’ of Dunlop core and 2’’ of Dunlop comfort layer and Organic Cotton zippered cover. I can customize his/her side at the core level for a king mattress.
  2. I can test it and order exactly what I want. I was told if I like Firm (80-85 weight range) they can even accommodate me if I want a 80 weight instead of a 84 weight as they can handpick the mattresses.
  3. I was told its zero patch latex.
  4. I was going here with a Soft topper (Not sure of the weight here. 65?) over Firm core (80-85 weight) and possibly 80 on my wife’s side and 85-90 on my side at the core.


  1. Their 8’’ special with 100% Natural Dunlop core (3’’ + 3’‘) + 100% Natural Talalay topper and 4 way zippered stretch cover which is 60% cotton and 40% rayon. Again I can customize his/her side at the core level and in the two core layers. In another post you mentioned their special is a solid 6’’ core + 2’’ topper, however I don’t think that is the case. IIRC shawn mentioned it s 3’’ + 3’’ + 2’'.
  2. I can not test it personally but order it based on my testing so far. However they said even for Dunlop they order based on ILD’s and their suppliers provide them based on that. So I can not really chose the exact comfort levels but hopefully they wont be far off. (Biggest factor other than price)
  3. Comes with 2 free standard pillows. (king pillows cost an additional $40)
  4. I would be going with a F/M/S for my wife and F/F/S for me.

How does these two products compare on the merits of one another.

On the pricing level SNM is about 25% more expensive than SleepEZ once everything is considered but I understand they are different products and SleepEZ organic mattress line is more expensive than the Special or even SNM product. Appreciate your comments.


Hi ikonos,

Your choices are not quite “apples to apples” and hopefully I can do some justice to the differences between them that may be important to you in making your decision.

Organic Dunlop vs 100% natural Dunlop:

The word “organic” is used in many ways in various descriptions on the internet and has many shades of meaning besides the technically correct use of the word. In general it is used to describe a mattress that uses more organic materials than another mattress that uses materials that may be completely natural but not certified as organic. In some cases … materials that are not certified as organic may actually be superior and more “pure” and offer better quality or value than those that are certified as organic. An example of this is Pure Grow wool which is not certified organic but uses organic farming methods that are superior to many “organic” alternatives. They just haven’t had these methods certified. Even local food products may use organic farming methods that are better than products that have the organic certification but have not been “certified” by a certifying agency because of the extra cost that the certification adds to the product regardless of quality.

In the case of Dunlop latex … the certification is for the raw latex and certifies that the raw latex itself and farming methods used to produce the raw latex are organic. This means that the main raw material (but not the only one) used to make a latex core is certified. The core itself though is not certified as organic (each separate product from raw material to finished product and the methods used at every step along the way to produce them need to be certified in order to be “technically” labelled as USDA certified organic). Dunlop latex cores that use all NR (natural rubber) and no SBR (synthetic rubber) are still only in the low to mid 90’s in terms of percentage of rubber that is used (there are other materials needed to make the raw latex into foam) so the core itself is not certified organic even though the raw latex in it is. Even if there was an organic certification available for a latex core (which there currently isn’t) and a mattress used all certified latex cores and certified organic covers that used certified organic cotton and wool … the mattress itself wouldn’t have an organic certification so it couldn’t be technically labelled as “organic”.

EDIT: There is now an organic latex certification called GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) and several manufacturers (CoCo latex, Latex Green, and Arpico) manufacture certified organic Dunlop latex cores (see post #2 here). You can also read more about the different “levels” of organic certifications in post #2 here

Of course this level of detail becomes overwhelmingly complex so in most cases the manufacturers use the word descriptively more than technically.

The main benefit of a latex core that uses certified organic raw latex (and there are three companies that produce this (Latex Green, CoCo latex, and Arpico) is that the raw material and farming methods used to produce the latex have been certified. The certification has little to do with any difference in quality or performance between 100% natural Dunlop and Dunlop where the natural rubber used is certified organic. For some people this added level of cost for a “certified” material may have some value and for others … the fact that both are 100% natural is good enough and the extra cost of the certification isn’t worth it.

For a manufacturer that offers Dunlop though that uses certified raw latex … this means that the latex layers they use will be more expensive than those that only use 100% natural latex. Some manufacturers know that many consumers are attracted to the organic “label” to various degrees and the added cost of the latex layers are worth it because they attract people who “buy organic” regardless of any real difference in materials and the extra expense and they believe that the extra expense of these materials and the extra customers it brings them are worth the tradeoff of the customers they may lose because of the extra cost and higher prices this involves. Of course there are also many mattress descriptions that completely confuse 100% natural and “certified organic” and in this case they would use orgaic in a different context meaning “it’s natural”. This is where specific questions can be valuable for those who want to know exactly what is technically “organic” and what is just natural.

All of this (the importance of the “organic” certification and label) and the actual level that this certification involves (raw material, latex layer, or the whole mattress itself) is part of each person’s “value equation”. I personally would hesitate to pay for an organic certification that added to the cost of what I was buying when I wasn’t convinced that it provided any meaningful benefit over another product that was only “100% natural” but equally “pure” but that is only my personal “value equation”.

Certified Oeko-Tex:

This is very different from an organic certification and involves testing the material for harmful subtances and offgassing. All Talalay latex (blended or natural) is Oeko-Tex certified and all the higher quality Dunlop is also certified by Oeko-Tex or another equally reputable certifying agency such as LGA or Eco-Institut. This is a “safety” certification rather than an “organic” certification. If a mattress has high quality latex fom a reputable manufacturer … then safety is not an issue.

Both manufacturers offer this so this would be a “wash”

Both manufacturers likely use the same suppliers (Latex Green and/or Latexco) although I don’t know this for certain and both would likely have the ability to hand pick a specific density level variation within a range. Because there is a wide variance across the surface of a Dunlop core though regardless of density … details that are this fine are questionable in terms of value. A 1 kg difference in density is very unlikely to be within the perception range of anyone and the ILD consistency across the surface of the layer itself would be much larger than this anyway regardless of the density chosen. IMO … this may be getting to levels of “analysis” that are mostly meaningless. There is value though in lying on a local mattress that is a little too firm or soft and having the manufacturer make adjustments to change it with the benefit of knowing exactly what you are lying on and which direction you need to go and which layer to change.

Again … the choices of customizing the layers would be similar between them although SleepEz also offers the ability to add Talalay to the mix (which may or may not be important to someone). The advantage of doing this locally is that you can actually test the differences to see what you can feel and what you can’t.

I would assume that this means that the latex doesn’t have voids or other “imperfections that have been patched” but I don’t know for sure.

With their 8" special … you have the choice to add Talalay which is a personal preference between materials that have a different feel and properties. If you prefer Talalay over Dunlop then for you this would be a “value added” choice in the same way that if you prefer “organic” over “100% natural” then for you this would be a “value added” choice.

The SleepEz special also uses 2 x 3" layers instead of a single 6" core which for some people offers more flexibility in terms of the combination of the core layers they can use. This added “flexibility” of the properties of the core layers (for example using M/F would be different from a 6" layer of either medium or firm) may also be important to some and if it was it would offer another “value added” option. For an online purchase a more “fine tuned” customization after purchase may be more important for some but one is not any “better” than another in terms of quality. For someone where a single core or the ability to choose it’s firmness level is all they really need then the added flexibility of two layers would have less value and not be an issue.

If I said this somewhere then it was not accurate. If you have the link to the post that says this then I should correct it. There are other members here that do offer a similar mattress with a single 6" core and a separate comfort layer but SleepEz is not one of them.

The cotton/rayon stretch knit cover is a very attractive choice for many people and there have been comments that it is one of the nicest covers they have seen. Rayon (or other cellulosic or viscose fibers such as bamboo, eucalyptus and other “artificial” fabrics) are very popular and for some they are a preference over a cotton ticking. Bamboo for example is strong, breathable, and has a very nice hand feel which is one of the reasons it is so popular. Both would make good choices although and again … for some the “completely natural” benefit of cotton may be a preference over anything that uses natural raw materials (like the different types of viscose fibers) but are processed and turned into a fabric in “less than natural” ways.

I personally believe that Dunlop ILD’s are “approximations” because of the variations throughout the material and because of the limitations of an ILD measurement itself which is only measured at a specific percentage of compression (usually 25%). If a supplier uses them accurately (and each manufacturer of course knows how they order their material) then of course this has it’s advantages as well even if it sometimes creates a tendency for consumers to make comparisons that are based on a belief that the ILD’s are more accurate in real life than they really are or to make comparisons that end up being different from what they expected. ILD’s in Talalay are more consistent but even they are in a “range”. In the end … the expertise of a manufacturer themselves and their knowledge of the materials they use can be much more valuable than only using ILD’s as a basis of comparison between different mattresses or materials.

This is another “value added” benefit that would be more important to some than others. For those who like latex pillows … it would certainly be a bonus.

If this “approximates” your testing … and you are OK with or prefer the differences between Talalay and Dunlop in the comfort layer … then these would be good choices IMO.

I personally believe that local testing and purchase has a “premium” attached to it and I personally pay more for the “accuracy” and lowered risk of a local purchase. When this “premium” is more than about 20% or so though … then the benefits of an online purchase may take on greater “value” which offsets any additional risk. Of course the risk is also affected by the flexibility, ease, and cost of any exchanges that are offered. Each person may place a different level of importance on different things and the level of either real or perceived risk tolerance may be different but this is part of each person’s value equation. In this case as well … part of the difficulty is that the most meaningful comparison would be with similar materials but if the “organic” materials are not as important to you … then the lower cost of 100% natural may be more important to you and a manufacturer that offers this as a way to bring down the cost may increase their value even if the actual comparison is not based on the cost of the materials themselves.

Hopefully this has “explained” most or all of the differences between them and gives you the “tools” to weigh all the tradeoffs that are involved in making your “best” decision. I always feel great when people are down to making final choices that are comparing “good with good” rather than “better with worse” and you are certainly in this position. Final choices can be the most difficult of all especially for those where there are many factors that they are considering besides just price but if you eliminate the differences that are less important to you and focus on the ones that are the most important … one difference at a time you will end up with the best choice for you.

If I’ve missed anything … feel free to post with more questions :slight_smile:


Phoenix, Thanks for the explanation. I want to give credit where it is due and I have not mentioned it in my earlier post. On their website it says “Seattle Natural Mattress carries USDA certified organic natural latex”. About the zero patch latex you are right on what they mean. They don’t offer latex that is defective and patched later.

Hi Iikonos,

Yes … they are clear that their latex cores use raw materials that contain USDA certified raw latex and in fact this would really be all that most people want to know but in a technical sense the core itself is not “certified USDA organic” because such a certification doesn’t exist for a latex core … only the raw agricultural latex that is the main ingredient in the core itself is USDA certified. It is a more expensive material for a manufacturer to include in their mattress than the “equivalent” uncertified 100% natural Dunlop and this is of course is part of the cost and price of the mattress.

NOTE: See my previous reply for more information about GOLS certified organic cores which are now available although they are not USDA organic certified which is an agricultural certification not an organic certification for a final product.

Just for clarity as well … the small voids and imperfections are in no way a “defect” (within reason of course) but they are more cosmetically appealing and specifying this “grade” can add to the manufacturers cost and the price of the mattress. These types of imperfections are also more apparent when a full core is cut in half and the cutting itself can cause small nicks and tears or expose small voids that are not visible in the full core. It is more expensive for a manufacturer to specify a core that has fewer imperfections and this too will affect the price of the final product even though it is not (again within reason) a performance issue.


Can you clarify what would make a latex layer a “factory second” from the grade you describe above? What would you think the price variance would be between the grades and how would a consumer tell the difference in grades?

Hi Kopavi,

It’s not so much a “grade” but a level of variance or tolerance that a manufacturer can specify. For example they may order 24 ILD that has a narrower ILD tolerance than someone else who orders with a wider acceptable ILD range. I have no idea of the specifics that would qualify a foam as a “factory second” or the price it would sell for but it would involve defects that affected the performance of the layer or had ILD’s that were outside the range of a manufacturers specifications. Foam that was partly collapsed or pincores that were way out of alignment would be examples. A manufacturer can specify any degree of “tolerance” that they wish when they are ordering and more exacting tolerance requirements cost more.

So it’s not just “first” and “seconds” but a variety of specifications that a mattress manufacturer can specify. Polyfoam is the same where a manufacturer can order materials within a certain ILD or density tolerance and the narrower the tolerance the more the material costs. None of these are “factory seconds” … only narrower tolerances.

In general though … if you are dealing with a reputable manufacturer you will not be getting “seconds” which would affect the performance of the mattress and their reputation. This is important because a consumer wouldn’t be able to tell because the inside of a mattress is hidden from them and if it’s not they wouldn’t likely have the experience or knowledge to know any different. In these things you are reliant on the manufacturers integrity.

Two very good resources that you could talk with that are very familiar with ordering latex from many sources if you want to know more about this are Ken at mattresses.net and Shawn at SleepEz and they would probably be able to provide more details of the different ways or tolerances that a manufacturer can order latex. They both also cut latex foam so they can tell you about the differences between the surface of a full layer and what they find when a core is cut. You can see a page on the SleepEz site here that talks about this as well.



Where is the third store where you see Vietnam Dunlop latex cores?

Best regards,