Best Latex Mattresses of 2021
Latex is a material derived from the sappy extract of rubber trees. When processed into a foam for mattress layers, latex contours gently and feels naturally springy. This makes latex an intriguing alternative to people who don’t enjoy the close “body-hug” of memory foam. Latex also absorbs a minimal amount of body heat and sleeps fairly cool, and the material resists the deep body impressions that often plague mattresses with foam layers.
To create our list of the top latex mattresses sold today, we conducted rigorous in-house testing on dozens of mattress models. These included assessments for pressure relief, temperature regulation, edge support, and odor potential. Since our testing team consists of individuals with varying body types and preferred sleep positions, we were also able to evaluate how comfortable and supportive each mattress feels for different sleeper groups.
Who Should Buy a Latex Mattress?
Latex mattresses are a good fit for many customers. People who want cushioning without excess sink and those who tend to sleep hot often love latex beds. With its considerable bounce, a latex mattresses is great for people who want to effortlessly move on the bed to switch up their sleeping position or engage in sexual activity. The durability of latex makes it a good material for people over 230 pounds and a popular choice among shoppers focused on finding a long-lasting mattress.
What to Look For in a Latex Mattress
We’ve already covered the central characteristics of latex mattresses: bounce, moderate conforming, and limited heat retention. For some customers, these are a major benefit, but for others, there can be insufficient contouring or motion isolation.
As with all mattress types, latex mattresses have benefits and drawbacks. Mattress companies try to construct their products to cut down on those drawbacks, but those initiatives often have mixed or minimal impact.
When considering latex mattress options, it’s worth zooming in on the factors most likely to determine whether you wind up with a bed that you love. We’ve described these factors below, and you should think about which ones have the highest priority for you.
- Price: The price tag of any latex mattress is a crucial consideration because it has to fit in your budget. While latex beds have traditionally been among the most expensive, their price has come down in recent years without sacrificing quality. Promotions and coupons can frequently help you score a great deal.
- Sleeping Position: How you sleep has clear bearing on what mattress will best serve your needs. Latex is great for combination sleepers who change positions frequently. With less sink, it often is great for back and stomach sleepers. Slightly softer latex beds also tend to work well for side sleepers.
- Mattress Type: This guide includes both all-latex and latex hybrid options. The performance is similar in most cases, although an all-latex bed may be more durable. Latex hybrids typically have the best edge support. Consider whether you have a preference for one of these types and then shop accordingly.
- Contouring: While latex does cushion the body, it doesn’t have the deep contouring that comes from a material like memory foam. Talalay latex tends to be slightly softer and more contouring than Dunlop.
- Quality Materials: Most latex mattresses are built with significant emphasis on quality materials. This includes the latex itself, which is most often natural, as well as the other elements. Finding a mattress with higher-quality materials translates to better performance and durability. Many latex beds feature one or more organic materials.
- Firmness Level: Firmness is crucial to comfort, so you want to select a mattress that aligns with your preferences. If you’re not sure, consider a mattress with a reversible firmness design or that offers options for a comfort exchange.
- Motion Isolation: Motion transfer is when you can feel someone else move on the bed. Because of its bounce, latex tends to transfer more motion than materials like memory foam. Despite this, it insulates enough motion so that most people who share a bed aren’t disturbed by a partner’s movement.
- Pressure Relief: When your body is properly cushioned, including at major pressure points, it helps hold your spine in a healthy alignment during the night. Latex offers most sleepers excellent pressure relief through moderate contouring and prevention of excess sinking into the bed.
- Edge Support: A reinforced perimeter helps to keep the mattress from collapsing around the edge. Latex provides better edge support than most all-foam beds but will still compress more around the edges than in the center. Firmer models and latex hybrids usually provide the best edge support among latex mattress options.
- Temperature Regulation: Latex doesn’t build up heat the way that most foams do, and many companies aerate the latex with small holes that permit extra airflow. Latex hybrids resist heat buildup even more because of the ease with which ventilating air moves around the springs.
- Noise: All-latex mattresses make virtually no noise, so you have little likelihood of being awoken by sounds from the bed. Though modern designs have cut back on squeaking from coils, a latex hybrid may be a little bit noisier than an all-latex bed.
How Does it Feel to Sleep on a Latex Mattress?
Thinking about what it might be like to sleep on a latex mattress? These core characteristics help give you an idea:
- Spring Into Action: When you move on a latex mattress, the material quickly bounces back to its full shape, providing a spring-like feel. This exceptional responsiveness makes it easy to move around on the bed when you’re changing sleeping positions or taking part in intimate activities.
- A Little Hug: Latex has a modest amount of contouring. It doesn’t have the significant sink of memory foam, but you will notice a light hug. For many customers, it’s just enough to feel supported, stable, and comfortable.
- Keep Your Cool: Latex does not accumulate heat like memory foam, and its more moderate contouring means that air can move more freely around your body to keep your temperature steady.
What are the Different Types of Latex?
All latex materials have similar performance characteristics, but they aren’t all created equal. In the following sections, we’ll explain the types of latex so that you can better understand the descriptions that you’ll find of latex mattress options.
Natural latex is made by harvesting sap from rubber trees and then converting it — through processes of curing, molding, and baking — into a rubber product.
Natural latex is not 100% sap, though. Some agents must be added to the curing process, so the “natural latex” label can be used as long as those other agents make up 5% or less of the material.
Various forms of natural latex is what you’ll most often find in mattresses, and it exhibits the traits of bounce and softness that customers expect from latex.
Also known as Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR), synthetic latex is made with chemical inputs rather than rubber sap. Many of those inputs are derived from petroleum.
Synthetic latex also has bounce and some softness, but it tends to be less durable, provide less comfort, and offer and less well-rounded performance relative to natural latex. It can also have a noticeable odor.
Historically, synthetic latex was much less expensive than natural latex, but it is tied to the price of oil, which is no longer a low-cost commodity. Very low-cost latex beds may still utilize this material, but these beds usually pale in comparison to natural latex options in terms of quality.
As indicated by its name, blended latex uses both liquid from rubber trees and chemically-produced rubber inputs. The ratio of the blend is often listed, such as a common mix of 30% natural latex and 70% SBR.
Despite some marketing to the contrary, blended latex is rarely a “best of both worlds” offering. It usually involves more synthetic than natural latex and offers few benefits, except perhaps a lower price, than a mattress made with 100% natural latex.