Categories: Mattress

Compared: Latex, Memory Foam, Air, Water, and Innerspring Mattresses

There are essentially five major players on the market today when it comes to mattresses. Each one represents its own set of strengths and weaknesses. While you’re exploring your options, it’s a good idea to look at a few of the pros and cons of each mattress type so that you can make a more informed purchasing decision.

Latex Mattresses

Latex offers buyers a “green” mattress choice. The latex mattresses themselves are made from rubber tree sap. The mattresses offer firm support that is adjustable by adding or removing comfort layers from the mattresses to make them firmer or softer. It is even possible to make one side of the bed softer or firmer than the other. The 20+-year warranty and longevity of a natural latex mattresses make them the greener choice, and because they are biodegradable they aren’t taking up as much landfill space.

With all the benefits that sleeping on a natural latex mattress, its no wonder that they can be more expensive than other mattresses on the market today. Latex mattress allergies are a concern to some as well, however direct contact with the latex isn’t likely (because of the mattress fire barrier and cover), and only those who have the most severe latex allergies should completely avoid a botanical latex mattress, as for the most part they are hypoallergenic.

Memory Foam Mattresses

You may remember the commercials hitting televisions everywhere when memory foam mattresses first entered the marketplace. They involved a lovely model walking on one side of the bed with a wine glass standing undisturbed on the other side. That absorption of movement is one memory foam’s largest claims to fame. The other is the firm support it provides the human body. The best memory foam mattresses contour to the shape of the human body in order to relieve pressure points while still providing adequate support.

The downside to memory foam is that it that inferior memory foam mattresses are widely known for sleeping hot. Now that we’ve learned that cool environments are better for sleeping and the best temperature for sleep hovers in the range of 60 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s even more important to purchase a memory foam mattress that has a built in air flow control system that helps you sleep cooler.

Air Mattresses

The adjustability of air mattresses is what sets them apart from many other mattresses on the market today. It only takes the press of a button to adjust the mattress to almost any level of firmness or softness. If this is important to you, some models have two different levels of adjustability (one for each side of the mattress). These mattresses are also lightweight, making them easier to move than almost any other mattresses available. That’s an important concerned for military families and others who move frequently.

One of the downsides of these mattresses is that they have mechanical parts that can, over the years, break. Additionally, after time, the air often begins to leak requiring repairs, replacements, or steady adjustments to maintain the appropriate sleep number. For these reasons, always purchase a high-quality digital air mattress that comes with a warranty.

Water Beds

Water mattresses have been around for quite a while. Long ago, there were referred to as “waterbeds”. Today, buyers have a choice between the traditional free-flow waterbed mattresses that require frames to keep them in place and frame-free water mattresses. They offer varying degrees of support according to the amount of water used in them while also offering maximum fluidity and comfort in the form of pressure point relief. Heat is never a complaint with water mattresses as the water cools the mattress.

While the pros of waterbeds are significant, so are the potential cons. Most people find that waterbeds actually run cold and require a heater to warm them up. Also water is heavy, meaning that additional support is needed to support the weight of the bed and the mattress. Also, water is damaging in the event of leaks or if the bladder erupts altogether. Some rental or lease agreements expressly forbid waterbeds for these reasons.

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring mattresses have traditionally been a popular best selling mattress, although that is changing as the word gets out about the many benefits of sleeping on a natural latex mattress. Innerspring mattresses offer the widest range of price points, making them popular with consumers and abundant in showrooms across the country where people can go in and try them out before they buy.

While they provide solid sleep for many people, they simply do not have the same quality features consumers find in other mattress types. The biggest negative about innerspring mattresses is the fact that these mattresses are not friendly for the planet at all. They have a relatively short shelf-life, meaning that every six or seven years they’re bound for a landfill somewhere, and you’re out shopping for a new mattress. They’re also made with petrochemicals by-and-large, leaving some powerful off-gassing not found in latex mattresses.

When compared with all the other options available, latex mattresses do more than hold their own. They show that they really are light-years ahead of the competition. Not only are they the greener choice, but the twenty-plus-year lifespan gives them a significant edge. See for yourself what the big deal about all natural latex mattresses are and what it can mean for your ability to enjoy truly restful sleep night after night.

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    Amber Merton

    Amber Merton is an accomplished writer on the topics of green living and sleep. Her work has been covered in numerous online publications. Amber has been a regular author on the PlushBeds blog for the past 7 years.

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