Latex vs Memory Foam: Which Is Better?

9 min read
9 min read

Buying a new mattress can be overwhelming. You might get confused with the different terms. Which one would be the best for you? Don’t worry. This blog will take you through a comparison of the two most popular mattress types- latex vs memory foam.

You will know everything about these two mattress types ranging from their construction to pros and cons. After all, you should be well informed while buying your bedding. So, let’s get started.

What Is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is a synthetic foam made from polyurethane. Some chemicals are mixed with polyurethane to give it a viscoelastic nature, which makes it soft and cozy.

NASA developed the first memory foam to offer extra protection to the pilots and passengers of space ships. Gradually, mattress manufacturers began to use it for bedding. And, memory foam mattresses are at the peak of popularity today.

Let’s see how memory foam works. Memory foam contours to your body, giving a snug and cozy feeling. Its viscoelasticity makes it respond to pressure slowly. Thus, it is also an excellent shock absorber.

If you get disturbed at night by your partner’s movements, a memory foam mattress can be your savior. Because of its ability to absorb shocks, memory foam mattresses can prevent motion transfer. That means you or your partner will not get disturbed if the other person moves in bed. So, get ready for a sound sleep.

Memory Foam Mattress Construction

Memory foam mattresses can contain several layers depending on the level of firmness and support the manufacturer wants to give. However, there are three common layers in all memory m-foam mattresses.

  1. The comfort layer- It is the topmost layer on which you rest. This layer adjusts to the contours of your body, giving a body-hugging feeling. It is this layer that gives you a comfortable sleep.
  2. The transition layer- This is the intermediary layer that lies between the comfort layer and core of the mattress. It is thicker than the top layer.
  3. The core- The core of the mattress is its innermost layer. It decides how firm your mattress will be. It is usually the thickest layer. In hybrid mattresses, however, the core consists of springs and coils instead of memory foam.

Thus, there are multiple types of memory foam mattresses depending on the construction. Let’s look at the three most common types.

Traditional

Traditional memory foam mattresses are the most popular in the market. Though they feel soft and cozy, these mattresses tend to trap body heat. So, you will feel uncomfortable if you tend to sleep warm.

Open-Cell

These mattresses have open cells that allow airflow to keep you cool. Thus, open-cell mattresses are softer and less dense than traditional memory foam mattresses.

Gel-infused 

Gel-infused memory foam mattresses are an excellent innovation. The gel is infused in the foam to provide a cooling effect. And it circulates in the mattress to wick off your body heat.

What Is Latex Foam?

Latex foam is a natural foam. But, what is latex made of? Well, latex is made from the sap of rubber trees. Thus, it’s 100% safe if you are allergic to synthetic materials.

These days, you can also get synthetic latex. It is made from petrochemicals and is a low-cost alternative. You might get the same feel as natural latex but it is not durable. Moreover, it’s not suitable for hyperallergic people.

You can also get blended latex which is a mixture of the two. It offers most of the benefits of natural latex at an affordable price.

Latex Mattress Construction

A latex foam mattress is made by a process called vulcanization. It is a chemical process of hardening liquid rubber by heating it. There are two distinct ways in which you can do this- Dunlop and Talalay. 

Let’s check out the difference between Dunlop and Talalay latex.

  1. Dunlop process- In this process, the sap from rubber trees is poured into the mold at once, leaving no space for air. So, the mattresses formed are firmer and denser.
  2. Talalay process- In this process, the sap is poured into the mold in such a way that it leaves space for air. So, these mattresses are less dense and give a softer feel.

 

What Is the Difference Between Latex and Memory Foam Mattress?

Now that you know the construction of these mattresses, let us look at the difference between latex vs memory foam mattress. Though both are foam mattresses, there are several differences between the two.

Edge Support 

If you sleep on the edge of your mattress, you would want it to provide firm support. You will get that kind of support in a memory foam mattress. But, a latex mattress is softer at the edges and might give you a feeling of rolling off.

Responsiveness

The responsiveness of a mattress is its bounce. You can test it by dropping a ball on your mattress. If you drop a ball on a memory foam mattress, it will stay there. But, if you do the same on a latex mattress, it will bounce back to you.

 So, latex is more responsive than a memory foam mattress.

Latex mattresses have a harder and firmer surface that offers greater bounce. So, it is better for active sleepers as the bounce will allow you to move freely. Memory foam mattresses are good shock absorbers. They will give you a snug feeling and undisturbed sleep even if your partner moves a lot in bed. 

Breathability 

Memory foam mattresses are dense and less breathable. Thus, they tend to trap body heat and make you comfortable if you sleep hot. However, latex mattresses are breathable and keep you cool.

Motion isolation

It refers to how easily the mattress transfers motion. Memory foam mattresses take time to respond to impact. Thus, they are good at isolating motion. You won’t even realize if your partner moves in their sleep.

Latex mattresses are, however, bouncy and can’t isolate motion. So, you are likely to get disturbed by the movements of the one sleeping next to you.

Pressure Relief

If you are looking for pressure relief on your joints, memory foam mattresses are the best option. They will provide adequate cushioning to your knee and hip joints, keeping all pains at bay.

Latex mattresses might, however, feel a bit firmer and put pressure on your joints. So, if you are confused between latex or memory foam, go for the latter to say goodbye to your joint pain.

Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Mattress

Pros 

Is Soft and Cozy

Memory foam mattresses adapt to the contours of your body when you lie down. Thus, you get a snug and cozy feeling. This body-hugging effect ensures you get a comfortable sleep at night.

Relieves Pressure 

Since memory foam mattresses adjust to the contours of your body, they don’t put pressure on your joints. So, you won’t get troubles from joint pain. Moreover, these mattresses are excellent for side sleepers since they require extra softness to relieve pressure on their shoulders and hips.

Isolates Motion

Memory foam mattresses are viscous. That means they take time to respond to force. This feature makes them excellent shock absorbers. So, you won’t get disturbed by the movements of your partner at night and vice versa. The impact of the movement will get absorbed and not dissipate throughout the mattress.

Hypoallergenic 

Memory foam mattresses have a dense structure that doesn’t allow dust mites and other allergens to accumulate. That’s good news if you are prone to allergies.

Cons

Retains Heat

It is one of the major complaints against memory foam mattresses. They are not breathable and tend to retain your body heat. So, you will have a tough time if you sleep warm.

Emits Odor

Memory foam mattresses might have an unpleasant smell when new. It happens due to the breaking down of volatile organic compounds in the mattress. However, this smell vanishes within a couple of days.

Responds Slowly

Memory foam mattresses take time to respond to pressure. Thus, you might feel stuck in your bed while trying to move at night. 

Pros and Cons of Latex Mattress

Pros 

Bouncier 

One of the latex mattress benefits is its bounce. If you like bouncy beds, these mattresses are the perfect choice for you. Due to the bounce, you will feel on top of the mattress instead of sinking into it.

Keeps You Cool

Latex mattresses are super breathable and don’t retain body heat. Thus, they keep you cool throughout the night. What else do you need on a hot and humid summer night?

Eco-friendly 

Latex mattresses are made from the sap of rubber trees and are 100% organic. So, they won’t leave any negative impact on the environment.

Cons

Heavier

Latex mattresses are the heaviest mattresses out there. The high density increases their weight. You are going to have a real hard time while moving them from one place to another.

Too Much Bounce

We talked about bounce while looking at the advantages of a latex mattress. However, too much bounce can disrupt your night’s sleep. How? Well, if your child or partner keeps on moving in bed, you will have trouble falling and staying asleep. That’s because your mattress will keep bouncing and distribute the motion throughout it.

Expensive

A good quality queen size latex mattress can cost you around $2000. That’s a huge investment and is a lot more than other types of mattresses. 

Limited Availability

You might consider buying a latex mattress due to its benefits. However, some types of latex are rare and you won’t get them easily in stores.

How to Choose Between Latex and Memory Foam Mattress?

Choosing between memory foam vs latex mattresses should not be a problem. Your choice will depend on your preferences and any medical conditions you might have.

You should go for a latex foam mattress if – 

  • You are conscious of the environment- Natural latex is organic and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. However, synthetic latex and memory foam contain petrochemicals that might harm the environment.
  • You love bouncy beds- You will get a good bounce on latex mattresses, unlike a memory foam mattress. The bounce will also allow you to stay on top of the mattress instead of sinking into it.
  • You want a durable bed that resists sagging- Latex is denser than memory foam and doesn’t sag easily. A latex mattress can last up to 15 years.

You should go for a memory foam mattress if –

  • Do you want a soft mattress- Memory foam mattresses are viscoelastic and adjust to the contours of your body. Thus, they give a snug and cozy feeling.
  • You have a tight budget – You can get memory foam mattresses at all price ranges. Their price ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to a thousand dollars.
  • You have joint pain – A memory foam mattress will provide adequate pressure relief to your knee and hip joints. Thus, all your pain will vanish.

But what about back pain? If you compare latex vs memory foam for back pain, the latter is better. That’s because memory foam helps to keep your spine in its natural alignment and prevents pain.

Latex vs Memory Foam Pillow

A memory foam pillow will give you a snug and comfortable feeling as your head will sink into the pillow. It is perfect if you wake up with neck and shoulder pain.

A latex pillow, however, has a greater bounce. Thus, it might not feel comfortable and soft as your head will stay put on top of the pillow.

Latex vs Memory Foam Mattress Topper

How will you choose between latex foam vs memory foam topper? The kind of mattress topper you choose depends on the type of feel you want to add to your mattress.

If you want a bouncy feeling, you can go for a latex topper. However, if you want something firmer, a memory foam topper is the right choice.

Latex is a natural coolant. So, if you tend to sleep hot, choose a latex mattress topper over one made of memory foam.

Final Word

Now that you know the difference between latex vs memory foam, you can make an informed decision. Go ahead and bring home the right mattress for you so that you get that sound sleep.

Memory foam mattresses adapt to the contours of your body and keep your spine in its natural alignment. Thus, they are better for back pain. Latex mattresses might feel too firm if you have back pain.

Memory foam mattresses are better for side sleepers since they require extra pressure relief for their hips and shoulders. Latex mattresses don’t provide adequate pressure relief.

Natural latex is 100% organic and doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. Thus, it’s healthy to sleep on. However, synthetic latex might contain harmful chemicals.

Latex mattresses are dense and heavy. So, they don’t sag easily.

A memory foam mattress can cost anywhere between $300 to $1000. But, a latex mattress is more expensive and can cost you up to $2000.

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Find out if a memory foam, hybrid, or latex mattress is the right mattress choice for you.

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

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Sleep Coach

Authored by healh experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians