Categories: Mattress

Natural Latex Vs. Synthetic

If you’ve weighed all the benefits of buying a latex mattress over a traditional mattress, you’re now left with the decision of the type of latex you should buy: natural latex vs. synthetic. As a consumer, it’s important to have an understanding about the different qualities of each of these products in order to make the best purchasing decision when replacing your worn-out set.

Natural Latex

As its name suggests, natural latex is free of any chemicals. It’s considered a green option, especially when it’s 100% natural latex. In other words, there are no man-made materials in natural latex. Natural latex is produced from the milky type sap of the rubber tree, known as Havea Brasiliensis. Similar to how maple-syrup is drained from the tree, latex is drained from the rubber tree. Latex mattresses, latex pillows, and latex toppers are all created from this substance.

Latex mattresses are growing in popularity among consumers and the hospitality industry because they are durable, hypoallergenic, biodegradable, and dust mite resistant. Natural latex mattresses help to promote a healthy sleep environment.

Natural latex can be produced in two main ways: Dunlop and Talalay

Dunlop process – In the Dunlop process, waters and bubbles are mixed with the sap from the rubber tree to produce a solid latex foam. The Dunlop manufacturing process has been used since the early 19th century, and results in a firmer bottom side of the end product.  Overall, Dunlop tends to be denser and firmer overall.

Talalay process – Before heating (i.e. baking), a flash freezing process is added, which essentially helps to freeze and stabilize the bubbles. The Talalay latex manufacturing process is newer than the Dunlop process. Talalay is a great choice for a more pillowy feel, but is available in various firmness options.

Synthetic Latex

As its name suggest, synthetic latex contains man-made ingredients, but contains the same molecular compound as natural latex. Synthetic latex is petroleum based, and made from Styrene-Butadiene Rubber (SBR). Synthetic latex can be less resilient and elastic than natural latex. In most cases, synthetic latex costs less than natural latex. While quite durable, synthetic latex is a bit less durable than natural latex. Like natural latex, synthetic latex stays cool at night, and supports your body’s back and joints. Some, but not all, synthetic latex products are hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites. Some mattresses are comprised of a blend of natural and synthetic latex, to arrive at a synthetic latex blend.

But the best part of a natural latex mattress is the quality of sleep it provides! No more tossing and turning, like sleeping on a cloud with plenty of support at the same time.

Synthetic latex mattresses might feel pretty decent at first, but in the long run these beds can break down and get flattened (compacted) easier than natural latex does.

Ultimately, whether you choose natural latex vs. synthetic latex is based upon a number of factors including personal preference and budget. But keep in mind, natural latex far outweighs conventional mattresses in terms of quality of sleep benefits, health benefits, and environmental benefits.

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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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