Wanted: Ultimate Latex Comfort at Reasonable Price


I discovered this site (how many times have you heard this) last week and am very grateful that I did. Prior to finding this site, I had been I had been to Macy’s (I live north of Boston) and Jordan’s furniture. After the Macy’s visit, my wife and I were more than a little confused, after testing out Tempur-pedics, Sealy’s, Simmons, etc. We then went to Jordan’s - where the salesman was significantly more helpful and knowledgeable than the salesman at Macy’s. At Jordan’s, I thought I liked the Sealy Optimum; that is, until I tested some Prana mattresses - which I loved! I, obviously, did not love the prices, which were in the $6000 area (for a king size).

After finding this website, and reading up on your suggestions to others in the Boston area to look at local manufacturers, my wife and I visited Gardner Mattress yesterday; I have also spoke to people at Worley Beds, and Portland Mattress Makers on the phone. We tested the latex beds at Gardner and they just were not as comfortable as any of the Prana mattresses. We also tested the Gardner Ivory Plush Top mattresses, and their mattresses which had 2 and 3 inches of latex over coils - which I thought were more comfortable than their just latex mattresses. I then called both Worley Beds and Portland Mattress Makers; their latex beds were constructed, more or less, with the same amounts of latex (and ILDs) as the Gardner mattresses.

Looking further at the Prana mattresses, it appears that they have more latex (and layers of other materials) than the Gardner, Worley, or Portland Mattress Maker latex beds. The king size Gardner latex mattress was $2,899 (less a 10% discount and included a frame and foundation) - which is not cheap. However, I would hate to spend that much money, knowing there is a much more comfortable mattress out there (at least the Prana). My question for you, is whether there are other manufacturer’s around the Massachusetts area which make a mattress similar to the Prana mattresses? I haven’t spoken with anybody at Custom Sleep Design, yet. I will call them; unfortunately, they are about 2.5 hours away. Any other suggestions?

Hi Phoenix,

One other point. In one of your posts, you indicated that Prana was a good mattress but that it did not represent a good value compared to other manufacturers’ mattresses - who used the same materials. I also read your response to labella on April 9, 2012, in which you told labella to try not to “match” the Prana and, instead, to start from the beginning and testing for “pressure relief, posture and alignment, and your preferences just like you did with the Prana and not try to “duplicate” another mattress from memory. Matching your needs and preferences is much more accurate than matching another mattress … especially if the materials they use are different”.

I’d rather not start from the beginning. I’d rather find another latex mattress having the same luxurious comfort level as the Prana, at a less expensive price - while meeting my pressure relief, posture and alignment preferences. I believe I could find another mattress that met my “needs”, but I want to have my cake and eat it too! And besides, the comfort of the Prana cannot easily be forgotten.

I really look forward to hearing from you.


Hi dogged58,

The Pranasleep mattresses that are carried at Jordans are from 14 - 16" thick in total and out of that … 1" on the bottom is a 1.45 lb firm polyfoam (which is a stabilization layer) and then the real issue is that they all have about 3" layer of soft polyfoam of unknown quality/density over the latex in the quilting (NOTE Jordans now lists the density of these layers here and 2" are 1.5 lb polyfoam which on the edge of the amount of lower density polyfoam quilting layers than I would consider). In other words … you would be sleeping more on polyfoam not just on latex and the latex content would be about 4" less than the thickness of each mattress.

While polyfoam can have a great showroom feel and it can have a legitimate use in quilting layers … it becomes critical to know the density of the polyfoam because in the typical densities that are used … polyfoam is much less durable than latex and subject to much more rapid softening. In a mattress in this price range … I would would normally prefer to have no more than about an inch or so of lower density polyfoam in the quilting and I would look for true HR polyfoam in the 2.5 lb range and above for any amounts more than that and even here I would question why they are using a cheaper material instead of higher quality ultra soft latex in the top layers of the mattress. No matter how a mattress feels in a showroom … how it feels in a year from now when the lower quality materials have softened and how it feels even further down the road in your day to day use is just as important when you are looking at a mattress in these price ranges (which are significantly overpriced IMO). Latex mattresses with the same amount of latex and with any type of “feel” you may prefer are available in King size for well under $3000. Some like the Custom Sleep Design models will be more because they are specifically customized to all the specific measurements, “specs”, and preferences of each person on the mattress but even here they are significantly less than the Prana models. None of these would have the same “weak link” of thick layers of polyfoam on top of the mattress.

12" of latex is plenty of room to design almost any type of feel and performance into a latex mattress that you may wish and more than this is a matter of overkill IMO. While the Pranas are inside this range of latex … they add unneccessary materials to the mix that may actually lower the value of the mattress. Cost can also be reduced by using blended Talalay rather than all natural which can be significantly more but may actually be less durable in the softer ILD’s than the blended.

The other manufacturers on the Boston list have a wide range of latex mattresses from very soft to very firm and everything in between. Some of them, unlike the Prana which has “fixed” layers, can even use custom layers when they build a latex mattress. The type of customization possible takes another step up with the CSD which uses custom zoning on each side of the mattress in addition to custom layering. Even the Pure Latex Bliss mattresses which “top out” at 12" (and are carried by Worley) have a wide range of layering choices from softer to firmer and with an additional topper of 2-3" of 14 - 15 ILD (which would approximate the soft thick polyfoam that is in the Prana) can be made as soft and “plush” as you may wish. They even have a foundation which has an additional 4" of Talalay which is an option with their “Worlds Best Bed” … and none of the better options would use this kind of thick lower quality polyfoam in the top layer of their mattress (perhaps around an inch or so at most in some cases).

You have many options available in a very wide range of choices in your area. By the time you get to testing these … your memory of the “feel” of the Prana will be approximate at best (feel is a subjective factor and is like trying to describe “nice”) so you would in effect be starting over again anyway and looking for something that fits a memory rather than a more side to side real time comparison which would be more accurate. If you do decide to test some of your choices at the other manufacturers in the area … then it may be a good idea to re-test the Prana that you preferred so that at least your memory of it was refreshed to a degree. Dont forget too that what you “like” in the showroom may not be the same as what you “need” in a mattress over the long term. The ideal is to make sure you have both your needs and preferences in the same mattress in the budget range you prefer and with a better manufacturer or outlet … they will help you with both.

If in the end though … if nothing seems to “work” as well as the Prana for whatever reason … then of course the Prana is your only option and then the specific “feel” may be worth the several thousand dollars it may take to have it. Each of us needs to decide what is most important based on our own “value equation”. Some people will even buy a mattress that costs $40,000 like a top end Hastens and part of their definition of “value” is that they are buying a work of art as much as a mattress. In objective terms or by any practical standard … it would be difficult to justify the prices of the Prana when there are so many alternatives available that don’t have the same “weak link” or limitations as the Prana and that can be designed to feel any way you want.

I should also mention that Gardner tends towards firmer mattresses based on feedback I have seen and there will be many softer options among the other manufacturers that you have access to. I would talk with the other manufacturers in the area and do your best to describe the more subjective “feel” of the Prana and then ask them what they have or build that may compare that would be worth testing. They will tend to give you honest and more objective answers.

Hope this helps … and most of all I hope it encourages you to do some further testing because IMO … there are many better options available to you.


Hi Phoenix,

First, I’d like to say how overwhelmed I was with your incredibly in-depth response. I especially appreciated your insight regarding the top layer on the Pranas. Also, I’ve had further communications with Worley’s (Martha - who has been extremely helpful), since receiving your response - and plan on visiting this weekend, hopefully. I’m very interested in testing out their own mattresses, as well as the Pure Latex Bliss mattresses they carry. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Thanks, again.


Hi Phoenix, I have been reading this site for a few months now and am absolutely blown away at the amount of mattress related knowledge you have. Thanks for this site and being so helpful.

I found this particular post because of my search for Prana. My wife and I have been sleeping on a Bob-O-Pedic now for 5 years (my side is firm, hers is “plush”) and we have come to despise it. I have lower back issues and am sinking into the mattress much further than I used to and have been waking up in pain for months, so we started our search for a new mattress by visiting Jordan’s (with the knowledge that most of their stuff is pretty overpriced).

We both loved the Prana (though of course who knows what it will actually feel like to sleep on). At $4000+. My budget unfortunately is only around $1000, so I looked at your list of recommended vendors and have been reading other user posts related to Latex mattresses and I think for us it makes sense to go the “cheap” route with an Ultimate Dreams king size latex. I’m wondering how to best emulate the feel of the Prana. Is there a topper you’d recommend to give it that plush feel while maintaining the support we need? Preferably something that doesn’t retain heat like memory foam.

Thanks for any recommendations.

Hi robr,

It would be difficult to emulate the Prana because it’s a very different construction and has 3" of polyfoam over the latex. I’m not sure which of the Ultimate Dreams mattresses you are looking at but probably the closest you could come would be to “rate” the Prana you slept on a comfort scale from 1 - 10 (Ultra firm sleeping on the floor to ultra plush sleeping on a cloud) and then talk to Chuck to help you make an approximate match to your assessment as accurately as the two of you can figure out. I don’t think Jordans provides enough information about the comfort specs of the Prana to be any more specific than that and even if they did the designs are probably too different to really match them. In other words you may need to match your subjective perceptions of the relative firmness of the Prana comfort layers with the firmness options they have available. Depending on your confidence that you can match the feel of the Prana … you may also want to consider either their Eurotop on Amazon or one of the mattresses on their main site which has exchangeable layers so you can exchange the top layer for something firmer or softer if you need to.

As you mention the other option would be a topper and if you do decide to go in this direction I would first order the mattress as close as possible to your preference and then let your actual experience on the mattress help you decide how far away you are from your “ideal” and then choose the topper that you think may be best using the topper guidelines here and here.

I would always deal with only one variable at a time and let your experience on the mattress help you make your best topper choice.


Thanks Phoenix, I just placed an order for the eurotop latex king size with a firmness of 6 from chuck. fingers crossed. i slept on the floor last night, didn’t get much sleep. looking forward to the new mattress! my wife doubts the ability to buy a mattress online without having tried it (and i doubt the ability to determine much from laying on a mattress in a store for 10 minutes). hopefully i will prove her wrong.

Hi robr,

I think that the most “accurate” way to test a mattress is with objective testing where someone has some good guidance and has learned how to test a mattress specifically for Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and their Personal preferences. It’s rare however that consumers do this and if they test mattresses in a showroom based on how “comfortable” a mattress feels to them … then the odds are very high that they will likely make worse choices than even random chance alone would indicate (see this study). In other words … to some degree both of you are right IMO.

Other than objective local testing … then a mattress that has the option to make adjustments in comfort is a way to reduce the risk of an online purchase and can be a very good idea when there is little available locally that has similar quality or value.

In quality/value terms you’ve certainly made a great choice and you also have the ability to sleep on it for long enough to evaluate whether you need to change your comfort choice which is available at a very reasonable cost.

So I think you did well … and congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

I’m looking forward to your feedback and the “results” of your discussion with your wife when you’ve received it.



Based on your responses to this thread it seems like you aren’t very hopeful for being able to emulate the PranaSleep.

Why is that? Given the specs provided by Jordan’s one would think it would be possible to recreate the bed, and while at it, replace the low density foam with a more durable foam.

Here’s what Jordan’s lists:

Polyester rayon knit cover with Outlast
FR Fibers
3/4" 2.5LB Soft poly foam
1" 1.5lb Soft poly foam
1" 1.5lb Soft poly foam

Comfort Layers:
1" PranaSleep Performance Latex
2" PranaSleep Performance Latex

Support System:
6" PranaSleep Performance Core Talalay process

1" 1.45LB Firm poly foam

Is it the 2" of 1.5lb Soft poly foam in the quilt layer that troubles you? Can’t we reconstruct this mattress using better quality foam?

I really loved the way this mattress felt, but hated the price tag. This was the most comfortable mattress I have tried so far. I seem to like the foam on top of layers of latex. I just don’t want a foam that is going to breakdown too soon.


Hi thecountofzero,

You can read more about some of the challenges involved in trying to “duplicate” another mattress and the difference that smaller seemingly insignificant differences can make in post #9 here. You can also read more about some of the specifications that can make a difference in how a mattress feels and performs in post #2 here. In general you would be much better off assessing every mattress you test to a common set of criteria than using a more subjective “target” like the feel or performance of a specific mattress as your guideline.

If you were able to find out the exact type of materials and all the quality specs AND the comfort specs of a mattress (such as ILD) and the cover and quilting (including the quilting pattern) were the same then it would be a close approximation but in most cases, except with very simple designs, you either won’t be able to find the information you would need in enough detail or you won’t have access to exactly the same layers and components to be able to duplicate another mattress. The specs you listed don’t include all the “comfort specs” you would need or some of the other specs (such as resilience and compression modulus or even the quilting pattern of the cover/quilting) that you would need to match the different layers and that can make a difference in how a mattress feels and performs.

In terms of quality and durability and the risk of foam softening and the more rapid loss of comfort and support yes. In terms of how it affects PPP or the “showroom feel” of the mattress no, because you can test for this in a showroom but of course the showroom feel won’t last if a mattress uses lower quality materials … especially in the comfort layers. In terms of the “value” of using low cost materials in a premium priced mattress instead of using higher quality more durable materials or the “value” of the mattress as a whole it would depend on each person’s personal value equation and how it compared to other mattresses you were considering based on the criteria that were most important to you. My main caution or concern would be based on durability and the “value” or wisdom of using low cost less durable materials in the comfort layers of a mattress in this price range.


That’s understandable but really too bad. My wife and I were also blown away by the Prana at least in the showroom, but the price tag was ridiculous and who knows about longevity. As I mentioned I did order from Chuck, but to be honest we really aren’t all that impressed. I’m sure the quality is great, but the comfort on a scale of 1-10 I probably wouldn’t give more than a 5 or 6. I look forward to the hotel stays when I have to travel for work where the mattresses are typically much more comfortable.

Hi robr,

Just out of curiosity … if you liked a “mostly latex” mattress I wondering why you ended up ordering a mattress with only 3" of latex (you can see some thoughts about an all latex mattress vs a latex/polyfoam hybrid in post #2 here).

While of course comfort and how a mattress feels is always subjective and unique to each person and has nothing to do with the quality of the materials … you may have been able to get closer to the “feel” of a “mostly latex” mattress like the Prana by choosing a mattress that contains more latex in the upper layers or is “all latex” itself or perhaps even by adding a topper.

You may also be able to change the “feel” of the mattress you have with a layer exchange as well.


Probably because I really have very little clue in what to buy (especially without laying down on it first) other than all the research I did here. I did buy the eurotop specifically to keep my layer swap options open, but I’m just still feeling like I’m not sure I’d make things any better and would be out $100. I knew the risks and it was an improvement over what I had, and Chuck was excellent to work with. I have only myself to blame but if I knew I could improve things for sure, then I’d definitely go for a layer swap or topper.

Hi robr,

An option that may be worth considering is talking to them about a “layer exchange” that either used a slightly firmer layer or a slightly softer layer.

This way you could test both layers in your mattress to see if one was better than the other. You could also try the new layer in your mattress for a few days and use the layer you have as a topper (if the new layer was slightly firmer) or use the new layer as a topper on top of your mattress (if the new layer is slightly softer) to see if you prefer the “feel” of two layers of latex (somewhat similar to the Aloe Alexis which has two layers of latex) and if that’s closer to the “feel” that you prefer.

The worst case is that you end up with the same comfort layer as you currently have and return the new one in which case you would be out the exchange cost.

The best case is that either the new layer is better by itself than the single layer you now have and your exchange cost leads to better sleep over the next decade or so or that you find you prefer the feel and performance of having two latex layers (in which case you could just pay for the extra layer) and your “new purchase” leads to even better sleep over the next decade or so.


Thanks Phoenix, perhaps after my tax return I’ll invest in that test.

So here we are a bit over 3 years later. Mattress shopping again. I’m sinking into this mattress like I did with my old Bob-O-Pedic and have been waking up with pinched nerves and bad lower back pain that lasts the day. The last few days I’ve been sleeping with my head at the foot of the bed and kind of diagonally so I’m laying across an area that hasn’t broken down.

I don’t really know what to buy at this point. My wife wants to go try mattresses, but my experience shows that what feels great now may not feel great after a few nights sleep or may just break down. I’m starting to think that the latex and foam mattresses just don’t have the longevity of springs no matter how much you spend or who makes it. I shouldn’t have to buy a new mattress every 3-5 years.

I did sleep on the most amazing mattress ever at the Premier Inn in London, and they sell them but the shipping to the US is probably cost prohibitive. Also I don’t know how long they last.

Hi robr,

I’m sorry to hear that you are not enjoying your UD Eurotop mattress after three years and that it seems to be too soft for you. All foams soften a bit over time, and the mattress you chose was a bit on the softer side of the comfort scale, and wasn’t an all-latex, but one with a poly-foam core, so it could be this gradual softening that doesn’t agree with you. It could be that based upon your experiences while traveling that you’d be better served with a mattress using more traditional springs for the support unit versus a polyfoam core, and then firmer comfort layers above that spring unit. Latex is the most durable of the foam padding materials used in a mattress, so if I had to make a more educated guess it would be more the overall plushness and combination of materials with the support core chosen in your past two mattresses that are working against you. If you don’t wish to us latex for a comfort material, higher density polyfoam (1.8 lb or above) might also be worth considering.

If you do decide to test items locally, which is preferable for many individuals, just make sure to find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in any mattress you are considering, just like we discussed a few years ago. If you need to refer back to any of the steps, just click on the link here for the mattress shopping tutorial, which has been revised since our previous conversations.

If you come up with more specific questions about something you see, I’ll do my best to answer them for you.