If you are in the market for natural latex mattresses, terms like Dunlop latex and Talalay latex can create confusion. They are, in fact, the two types of natural latex available in the market.
Natural Latex Mattresses
Natural latex mattresses from brands like PlushBeds are made from 100% organic latex that is GOLS certified for its quality. Natural latex is chemical-free, and much more beneficial to the environment than memory foam.
Organic latex mattresses are highly durable, and made using sustainable practices. Unlike synthetic latex, the organic variety is free from nasty chemicals, allowing deep restorative sleep throughout the night.
What is Natural Latex?
Latex is derived from the sap of the rubber tree. Rubber tappers get liquid latex from rubber trees that are then processed into solid form by adding gelling, foaming, and vulcanizing agents.
Latex mattresses are resilient and can last for a long time.
Natural Latex vs. Memory Foam
Natural latex, when turned into latex foam, can have the look and feel of memory foam. However, they differ in the following ways:
- Latex foam provides more elasticity and bounce than memory foam in mattresses, making it a popular option for people who frequently move around in their beds at night.
- Latex foam is more porous than memory foam, and allows better circulation between foam particles. Latex mattresses are more breathable, and can help you sleep cooler than other mattress materials like memory foam.
- Unlike memory foam, latex mattresses can be 100% natural, making them a sustainable option. However, not all latex mattresses are natural. Some can be made using synthetic latex, or a blend of the two to make a cheaper mattress.
What is Dunlop Latex?
Dunlop latex is made by turning liquid latex into a foamy froth that is poured into a mold to set into a solid form. In the Dunlop process, the mold is filled in one complete pour, resulting in a denser bottom layer with a softer layer at the top.
How is Dunlop Latex Processed?
Dunlop latex has been around since 1929, and is energy efficient and easier to process. When turned into a mattress, it can provide excellent support and motion restricting properties.
Here is an outline of the Dunlop process:
- The liquid latex sap is turned into a foamy froth.
- The latex foam is poured into a mold to be shaped and baked using the vulcanization process.
- The shaped latex is removed, washed, and baked to remove excess moisture.
In Dunlop latex, the natural sediments gather in the bottom of the mattress with a lighter, less dense frothy layer on top, giving the latex mattress varying density. Dunlop latex mattresses are bottom-heavy, and can provide extra support and motion restriction in sleepers.
Pros and Cons of a Dunlop Latex Foam Mattress
Because of the way it is made, Dunlop latex is heavier in the bottom with a softer upper layer. The pros and cons of Dunlop latex foam mattresses are:
- Dunlop latex is less expensive than Talalay latex because of the way they are made.
- Dunlop process is a less energy intensive, and the more environmentally friendly option.
- Dunlop latex is more dense and firm, providing excellent support while sleeping.
- The Dunlop method makes more durable mattresses.
- The Dunlop process can create 100% natural organic latex mattresses, an excellent option for people looking to sleep organic.
- Dunlop latex is more expensive than memory foam.
- Dunlop latex does not provide temperature neutrality as the Talalay latex option.
What is Talalay Latex?
Talalay latex is a newer and more advanced form of superior latex. It is made using the sap from rubber trees that are partially poured into a mold, and vacuumed to fill up the mold through the expansion of the liquid latex. The latex foam is then flash frozen at -20F to preserve the latex foam distribution in the mold, and later solidified using the vulcanization process.
Talalay latex mattresses are more uniformly dense, and provide more breathability. However, they offer lesser support than the Dunlop latex mattresses. The Talalay method technically uses a chemical for congealing, because it must be done close to the plantation where the latex is extracted from, but the chemical is eventually evaporated.
How is Talalay Latex Processed?
The Talalay method is a more intensive method of processing latex mattresses. Processing Talalay latex involves the following steps:
- The liquid latex extract from rubber trees is turned into a foamy froth, and poured into a mold following the Dunlop method; however, here, the mold is partially filled.
- The mold is then vacuum sealed, causing the latex foam to expand and fill up the mold completely.
- The Talalay latex is then flash frozen, allowing the flow of carbon dioxide through the latex foam, making it lighter, porous, and more breathable in the process.
- The frozen latex is then baked using the vulcanization oven, and washed and dried.
The extra processes in the Talalay method of vacuum sealing and flash freezing allow the Talalay latex to be more porous and breathable than the Dunlop latex. Talalay latex is softer than Dunlop latex, and can be used as a mattress topper. It does not have the density and firmness of a Dunlop latex mattress.
Pros and Cons of a Talalay Latex Mattress
Talalay latex mattresses undergo an intensive manufacturing process, making them lighter and more breathable than the Dunlop variety. Here are some pros and cons of getting a Talalay mattress.
- Talalay latex goes through an intensive process that makes them softer and fluffier. They can be a great option as a mattress topper.
- Talalay latex is more porous, and provides better temperature regulation than Dunlop latex. It is great for hot sleepers.
- Although not as durable as Dunlop latex, Talalay latex can be more durable than other available mattresses materials.
- The Talalay method is more cumbersome, and has a higher price point than the Dunlop method;
- The Talalay method involves intensive processing that is less eco-friendly than the Dunlop method.
Dunlop vs. Talalay Latex Mattresses
Both Dunlop and Talalay latex is used to make organic latex mattresses. Both manufacturing processes use liquid latex from the rubber tree that is frothed and poured into molds, and then solidified through the vulcanization process, transforming them into latex mattresses. Because of the molding process, both latex mattresses have pin holes on the surface of the latex foam.
However, Dunlop and Talalay latex mattresses can have differences as follows:
Dunlop foam is made by a simple manufacturing process by turning liquid latex into frothy foam, and hardening them to produce denser and firmer 100% natural latex mattresses. On the other hand, the Talalay process is elaborate, and uses chemicals to vacuum seal and flash freeze the liquid latex to make it softer and fluffier.
The Dunlop process of making a latex mattress produces a firm, denser, and heavier latex than Talalay latex. As the sediments in the Dunlop method stay in the bottom, the mattress has a distinct heavier bottom layer, and a softer top layer.
In the Talalay process, the liquid latex is vacuumed and flash frozen with carbon dioxide passed through it to get a more porous and bouncy layer. A Talalay mattress has a uniform soft feel, and there are no distinct layers in the mattress.
While Dunlop latex can be springy as it returns to its original shape after removing the weight, Talalay latex is softer and bouncier, providing greater responsiveness on shifting weight.
The Talalay process makes latex mattresses that are more breathable than the Dunlop latex mattresses. Passing carbon dioxide through the natural latex can create more pin holes on the mattress layers, improving breathability.
Talalay latex mattresses, unlike Dunlop latex, are more porous, allowing trapped body heat to filter out, making you sleep cool at night.
Dunlop latex mattresses are denser, more resilient, and less susceptible to deterioration with time. Although both latex mattresses are durable compared to other mattress materials, a typical latex mattress can last for seven to eight years.
Both Talalay and Dunlop mattresses can emit a faint vanilla-like smell when new. Natural latex mattresses are made from organic latex that emits less off-gassing odors than other synthetic mattresses.
Dunlop latex uses a more eco-friendly manufacturing process than Talalay latex mattresses. But both Talalay and Dunlop mattresses are natural latex mattresses that are more sustainable than synthetic ones.
Because of its less intensive manufacturing process, Dunlop latex can be slightly less expensive than the Talalay mattresses.
Dunlop latex has solid foam that provides a better support layer than Talalay latex, and is preferred by those who want a firmer mattress with better motion control.
Are the Best Latex Mattresses Dunlop Latex or Talalay Latex?
If you are in the market for a natural latex mattress, you need to consider several factors like mattress reviews, price point, cooling properties, your preferred support level, and if you want 100% organic mattresses.
Your decision to get Dunlop or Talalay latex mattress would depend on your personal preferences, and budget. You can get a firmer Dunlop mattress if you want pressure relief, or consider a comfortable mattress made from natural Talalay latex to get rid of body heat.
You can also get a natural latex mattress built with a blend of Talalay and Dunlop latex to get a perfect mattress that meets all your needs.
Tips for Choosing Your Latex Mattress
Before you buy a natural latex mattress that suits your lifestyle, here are some tips and information that you might consider:
- Pure latex is derived from the rubber tree, and is known for its resilience, comfort, and breathability factors. While you are probably looking for 100% natural latex mattresses, few companies actually sell them.
- Other than a few premium brands like PlushBeds, most companies sell blended latex mattresses that have some level of chemicals in them. To avoid confusion, check the labels to buy the natural organic latex mattress you desire.
- Certified sleep coaches prescribe organic latex, as they can be incredibly breathable, and more comfortable than memory foam mattresses improving your sleep health.
- Look out for GOLS certification to ensure you get an authentic all-natural 100% organic latex mattress.PlushBeds make latex mattresses using 100% natural organic latex that is GOLS certified for its purity and sustainability.
- Organic latex is typically made from rubber trees that are sustainably raised using eco-friendly pesticides and farming practices.
- Organic hybrid latex mattresses are built with a comfort layer usually made from natural organic latex and a core support layer built with a fabric-encased coil.
- All natural latex mattresses have layers of natural latex built with a comfort top and a support core. They may also have covers made from sustainable fabrics like cotton and wool.
- Check the reviews. Websites like Slumber Search have great insights on what the best mattress is for what you are seeking.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking to invest in a natural latex mattress, you have three options-Dunlop, Talalay, or a combination of both. Before deciding what works best for you, consider that the differences between Dunlop and Talalay latex are not substantial.
While Dunlop latex is more supportive, Talalay latex can provide better responsiveness and bounce. Dunlop foam can be a bit firmer, but Talalay foam gives you the necessary comfort.
Before buying, make sure your organic natural latex mattresses purchase has a return period of at least 90 days. That would give you enough time to decide whether the ratio of Dunlop and Talalay is suitable for your comfort.
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