Once you’ve decided that a natural latex mattress is the right choice for you, the next decision involves the Talalay vs. Dunlop method of latex mattress construction. There are noteworthy differences in the two styles of mattresses that may make a difference in which of the mattresses you prefer to purchase. And, you may even prefer a combination of both.
How Dunlop Latex is Made
Mattresses that are made of Dunlop latex go through a completely natural “manufacturing” process. The liquid latex serum is layered into a mold where it’s allowed to set. It takes quite a while for the solid latex to form. However, when the mattress is complete, it is firmer than the Talalay mattress, and retains its original shape longer.
People interested in a firmer mattress, or additional support while they sleep, often appreciate the Dunlop mattress as a first choice, as do people who want a longer-term investment in their mattresses.
What are the Benefits of Dunlop Mattresses?
The advantages of a dunlop constructed mattress include the following:
- All-natural construction
- Firm support
- Long lifespan
- Can be produced organically
Dunlop mattresses provide an impressive amount of support, making them a great choice for those who like a firm bed, or want the best mattress for back pain. In addition, the fact that there are fewer steps in the manufacturing process of Dunlop mattresses helps to keep the costs of making these mattresses lower, and is another important consideration to keep in mind as you compare mattresses.
How Talalay Latex is Made
Talalay mattresses are made with latex that is less dense, and require ammonia to be added into the mixture, so that it doesn’t congeal prior to entering into production. The Talalay mattress also has quite a few distinctive benefits to consider as well. Keep in mind that these mattresses are constructed in a manner that allows a little more air to flow through them than the Dunlop variety.
The extreme breathability of the Talalay mattresses makes them an excellent choice for people who tend to sleep “hot.” The softer support and top- level comfort is a great choice for people who have issues with pressure point pain when sleeping on firmer mattresses – primarily side sleepers.
It’s the price of Talalay mattresses, however, that often hold people back from making the purchase. Some people feel that the ammonia used in the construction does not fit with their preferences for all-natural constructions as well, even though the ammonia is baked out during the process. Those are judgment calls that individuals must make according to their own preferences.
What are the Benefits of Talalay Mattresses?
Some advantages of Talalay mattresses are:
- The density is consistent throughout
- The manufacturing process eliminates the consistency problems of Dunlop latex
- It's frequently seen as a more luxurious, refined choice of latex
- The aeration process also makes a bouncier, softer feeling of latex
When Talalay and Dunlop Come Together
Many people believe that they get the best of both worlds when merging the two manufacturing processes – Talalay and Dunlop – to get the best possible mattress that combines the support of the “Pound Cake” consistency of Dunlop latex with the comfort of “Angel Food Cake” consistency of Talalay latex.
The combined densities (a solid Dunlop core with a top Talalay comfort layer) make for a mattress that can last in excess of 25 years, while offering a truly blissful sleep night after night. (The PlushBeds Botanical Bliss, for example, contains a comfort layer of Talalay latex on top of two layers of Dunlop latex from Arpico).
In the great debate: Talalay vs. Dunlop, the one that really wins is the person who chooses the mattress that meets their needs for a good night’s sleep. Sometimes that’s a clear conscience, sometimes it’s a promising financial outlook, and other times, it’s simply knowing you have a mattress that’s built to last.
Advantages of Buying a Latex Mattress Online
- No Pushy Salespeople
If you've ever been out shopping for mattresses, you know how pushy the salespeople can sometimes be. Not to mention, it's hard to tell if you're even getting a good deal or not because they're usually more worried about the commission they're going to make than to really think about saving you money.
With online mattress companies, however, all the information and specs are laid right out for you right there online, so you can take your time and make an informed decision whether or not the mattress is suitable for you. You don't need to ask a salesperson for their advice, and you can even read various reviews online from other customers about that particular mattress. And, you can purchase your new mattress online without being persuaded to by all the "extras'' that go along with it, just so the salespeople can pad their paychecks.
- It's More Affordable
Since online mattresses companies aren't having to deal with paying out commissions on sales or dealing with overhead costs, they can offer their mattresses at a 25% to 50% cheaper price than brick-and-mortar stores. Most online mattress companies will even make your deal sweeter by offering free shipping and a nominal fee for returns, and not collecting sales tax.
- Longer Trial Periods
You usually receive a trial period of no more than 30 days with brick-and-mortar stores, since you're able to actually feel the mattress in the store before making your purchase. With online mattress companies, you can't feel the mattress before you buy it, so they tend to give you longer trial periods; typically 100 days or more.
- More Convenient and Simpler
If you're an avid online shopper, and love the simplicity and convenience of it, you'll love shopping for your new mattress online. Online mattress shopping allows you to compare prices easily against other mattress models without you having to deal with a pushy salesperson by your side. Not to mention, you can shop wherever and whenever you want, no matter what time of day or night it is. You can't do this with a brick-and-mortar store, since they have set hours. You also can't shop from your couch like you can when you're online shopping.
With delivery, there's a delivery window that mattress stores usually coordinate, which could become frustrating, and interfere with your day. Although certain online mattress stores do provide full-service-in-home delivery, most drop the mattress off in a tube or box for you to conveniently maneuver into your house.
- Returns and Delivery
Along with lengthy trial periods provided by online mattress stores, you also can enjoy nominal fee returns (only $149), although there are certain companies that charge you hundreds of dollars to ship your mattress back, so you'll definitely want to check before you make a purchase.
Free shipping is more common with online mattress stores than in-person. There are some exceptions, if you reside in the continental U.S., you can typically expect free delivery.
What Is Dunlop Latex?
Dunlop Latex was developed in 1929, and is a type of latex production. It's typically constructed from 100% natural rubber tree substance, and then goes on to be foamed and set. During the manufacturing process, the mixture of liquid latex is poured into a mold, filling the mold entirely, and the mixture is then allowed to settle. This makes Dunlop latex softer on the top, and denser on the bottom, usually.
What Is Talalay Latex?
Talalay latex is a bit newer type of latex production, marketed as a more superior and advanced form of latex in some cases. During the manufacturing process, the liquid latex also is poured into a mold, however, only partially filling the mold. Then the mold is vacuumed, where the liquid latex expands filling the form. It's frozen at -20F to preserve the distribution of the mixture inside the mold. Then it's heated through the process of vulcanization.
Talalay latex thereby has a uniform type of consistency, but is less dense than Dunlop because of the aeration. It does typically contain fillers or synthetic ingredients, so it's not produced 100% naturally.
What Is the Dunlop Manufacturing Process?
The Dunlop manufacturing process consists of several steps:
- Manufacturers whip the liquid latex extract into a froth.
- They inject the froth into a mold to shape, and bake in a vulcanization oven.
- Once it's baked, they remove the shaped latex from the mold, and wash it.
- They bake the latex a second time to eliminate excess moisture.
This results in a fairly dense Dunlop latex. Its heterogeneous composition leads to sediment collecting below the foamier, frothier material, which could make it a bit bottom-heavy, with one side typically being a bit firmer than the other. This results in the Dunlop latex being commonly used as a latex mattress support layer, although there are certain models where it's used as comfort layers, too.
What Is the Talalay Manufacturing Process?
The Talalay process is a more intensive, newer method than Dunlop. It follows these steps:
- The manufacturers whip the liquid latex extract into a froth, and inject it into a mold (like with the Dunlop method), but they only partially fill the mold.
- They vacuum-seal the mold, expanding the latex, and gradually filling the mold.
- They flash-freeze the molded latex, pushing the carbon dioxide through the latex, making the latex foam more breathable and lighter as it solidifies.
- They bake the frozen latex.
- Once done, they remove the latex from the mold, wash it, and dry it.
These extra steps lead to the latex having a more homogenous consistency. It's fluffy and light throughout, and usually less dense and softer than the Dunlop latex. This is why Talalay latex is pretty much used as a comfort layer material exclusively. It lacks the density and firmness to serve as a support core element.
What are the Differences Between Dunlop and Talalay Latex Mattresses?
Talalay and Dunlop methods are both often used for creating latex crafted from a natural-synthetic blend, all-natural latex, or totally synthetic latex. In both methods, the manufacturers pour the liquid latex into a mold, harden it, and vulcanize it (this is where they heat-treat it with sulphur, which hardens it, and makes it rubbery). The primary difference is they vacuum-seal the Talalay latex in the mold, resulting in a more uniform particle density than what you'd get with the Dunlop process.
Both the Dunlop and Talalay latex methods produce the same looking latex foam that has "pin core holes" due to the mold. There are some differences, however.
Dunlop latex is generally more durable than the Talalay because of the higher density. With that said, both are very durable when you compare them to other mattress materials.
Dunlop is denser and firmer than Talalay latex. Frequently, this means Dunlop is used for latex mattresses' support core, while Talalay is used for the top comfort layers. Both, however, can be constructed to various firmness levels.
Dunlop typically costs less to manufacture, primarily because it's a less intensive process. This can frequently be shown in the new mattresses' final price, although the price-point difference is typically small.
- Environmental Sustainability
In general, latex, no matter what the manufacturing process, is more sustainable than other alternatives like memory foam. It's derived naturally from a sustainable source, and it's far more durable than the alternatives as well. This offers a lower environmental expense in the long run. Being slightly less energy-intensive, the Dunlop process might be a little more sustainable than Talalay.
- Temperature Neutrality
Generally, Talalay latex is more breathable than Dunlop latex, allows better airflow, and is less dense, resulting in Talalay providing a little better temperature neutrality, in most cases.
1. What are the Consistency Differences Between Talalay and Dunlop?
Dunlop latex provides you with a less refined feel. It's usually denser and heavier than Talalay, and has a less uniform consistency. But, the bouncier and softer texture of Talalay latex can make it longer lasting and less durable than Dunlop latex. We presented the analogy above, but it bears repeating. Dunlop can be akin to a pound cake feeling, whereas Talalay is like Angel Cake.
2. What are the Major Uses of Talalay and Dunlop?
Talalay is usually used as a top cushion layer whereas Dunlop, being a firmer latex, is usually used as a base core element.
3. Should I Choose Dunlop or Talalay in My Latex Mattress?
When mattress shopping, you'll have various factors to take into consideration. While the choice between Dunlop and Talalay latex is something you should definitely consider, it's typically not the top consideration.
Both manufacturing processes could generate durable, high-quality, and comfortable latex. Ultimately, the mattress's overall quality and manufacturer's reputation are usually more essential than whether the mattress uses Dunlop or Talalay latex.
With that said, you'll usually pay a little more for Talalay latex than you would with Dunlop, and it could last less. If you're seeking value, overall, Dunlop latex might be the more cost-effective option.
4. Which is More Eco-Friendly: the Dunlop Method or the Talalay Method?
The Dunlop method involves fewer steps, and is less intensive. This results in it having a lower environmental footprint. But, any mattress that uses exclusively natural or organic Dunlop/Talalay latex is believed to be a good choice for eco-friendly shoppers.
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