The Latex Mattress Core

latex rubber tree

The core of the latex mattress is what gives the mattress form, shape, and definition. Without a proper core, there is no latex mattress. Currently there are two manufacturing techniques used for making latex mattress cores. They are Talalay and Dunlop. Dunlop mattresses are firmer and denser than Talalay mattresses, while the Talalay mattresses are softer and not quite as supportive. These differences are the direct results of the mattresses’ manufacturing by latex mattress manufacturers.

Dunlop Latex

The Dunlop method for creating a latex mattress core has been around since the 1920’s. During that time, many people have enjoyed the benefits of those first pioneers. The Dunlop mattress manufacturing process involves whipping the latex mixture into a frothy foam and pouring it into molds that are then steam baked.

Most Dunlop mattresses that are in today’s marketplace are 100 percent natural latex mattresses. Blended and synthetic mattresses made with the Dunlop process don’t provide the same quality and consistency as natural latex.

Dunlop mattresses are dense, firm, and long lasting. The manufacturing process exposes the mattress to less air than Talalay mattresses, and that allows Dunlop mattresses to outlast and outperform Talalay mattresses over time. Though there are variations in how firm or soft both mattresses are, Dunlop processes creates firmer mattresses than the Talalay process is capable of producing.

Once upon a time, there was a great deal of criticism over settling and inconsistency in the Dunlop mattresses. The settling caused one side of the mattress to be denser than the other. Today’s process, however, has eliminated settling, by and large, in order to create a consistently firm mattress.

Then there is the price tag. Dunlop mattresses are generally less expensive because there are fewer steps involved in the manufacturing process. If you’re looking for a mattress that’s priced well, dense, firm, and built to last, you really can’t go wrong with a 100 percent natural Dunlop latex mattress. Not to mention that it is an eco-friendly, green mattress.

Talalay Latex

In contrast, the Talalay process involves the additional step of freezing before heating the mattress. This creates a spongier mattress with more air pockets that doesn’t have quite the firmness capabilities of its Dunlop counterpart. This may be the most significant difference between the two; however, there are additional differences to consider when making your purchasing decision.

One area where the Talalay mattress is impressive is in the area of pressure relief. The Talalay process creates a more malleable, elastic mattress. Though it still maintains medium-firm support, this mattress hugs curves and really does conform to the body in an impressive manner. That isn’t to say that Dunlop mattresses aren’t accommodating to curves, they are, it’s simply that the Talalay mattresses provide a little more “give.”

The Talalay system for manufacturing latex mattresses isn’t as old as the Dunlop method. While some may argue that it’s newer technology, newer isn’t always better. The Dunlop process has been around many years and is still in construction today because it’s so effective, despite a newer method having been created.

latex mattress core
6″ Dunlop core with overlaying 2″ Talalay comfort layer

Which Makes the Better Core?

Generally speaking, when it comes down to making a choice for the mattress core, Dunlop is the clear winner. To create a mattress that lasts a very long time (in excess of 20 years time), the firmness, durability, and strength of Dunlop latex is the key to a solid latex mattress core. But, that doesn’t negate the many wonderful pressure-relieving benefits of Talalay latex foam. In fact, a comfort layer of 2-4 inches on top of a solid 6-inch Dunlop core is a fantastic combination of the two latex mattress manufacturing processes, and will provide years of sleeping bliss night after night. It’s a perfect marriage of the old and the new technologies.

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