Natural, Synthetic, or Blended: A Guide to Latex Mattress Benefits
by Arina Smith Green Business 30 May 2018
The latex mattress is among the most comfortable available in the market today. A lot of people like them for their various health and comfort benefits. There are also lots of customization as well as layering options for latex mattresses. Because of this, latex mattress brands are perfect for people with specialized sleep needs.
There are various materials used in the production of latex mattresses. They can be made using all natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of both. For latex blends, ratios differ for each manufacturer. Each of these materials offers its own unique benefits when compared to one another. For example, LatexBear product lines utilize the best of both materials depending on the growing necessities of the majority.
What is Natural Latex?
To get a better understanding of latex mattresses, we must first discuss their individual components. First up is the latex itself. Contrary to what a lot of people believe, real latex actually starts as a natural material. It is made from the sap of rubber trees that are commonly found in Asia. These trees are also commonly found in South America and take a long time to grow.
First, sap from rubber trees is harvested like how maple syrup is taken from maple trees. Surprisingly enough, a single tree can be used for up to 20 years. A small part of the bark is cut off, which allows the sap to flow freely. This sap is collected by the bucket loads and transported to different manufacturing facilities.
After the sap is harvested, it undergoes either the Dunlop or the Talalay process. There is no superior method among these. However, each of them treats the material slightly differently. Simply put, the Dunlop process produces a stiffer product, while the Talalay process produces something softer.
It is true that mattresses made using purely latex material have more advantages. For instance, they have better cooling properties than other mattress types. They also have good firmness and support distribution. However, this mattress type has become rarer to find over the years. This type of mattress has also gotten far more expensive.
This could be due to the various processes needed prior to getting the final product. Also, because natural latex meets quality standards set by institutions such as ecoInstitut, Greenguard, and Oeko-Tex. To counteract this, mattress manufacturers have introduced products using a blend of latex and other materials.
The only glaring downside to natural latex material is its price point. It is more on the pricey side, as previously mentioned. The solution to this is to add other things to the natural material. You need not worry though, as these additives still mimic the properties of natural latex. What they do is that they make the overall product cheaper.
Is Synthetic Latex Any Good?
Over the past few years, researchers have found a way to create synthetic latex material. This non-natural variant of the material attempts to mimic most of the natural one’s qualities. For the most part, it does well in doing so. However, it still cannot match the comfort and durability of natural material. Synthetic latex material also off-gasses, meaning it could let off a chemical smell over time.
Synthetic latex material is commonly made using styrene butadiene rubber also known as SBR. This may not be the best choice for those with allergies or sensitive skin. Other materials are also used in making synthetic latex, but none are as popular as SBR. It is uncommon to find synthetic latex that meets quality standards such as those mentioned above.
There are actually some advantages of synthetic material compared to the natural thing. However, these do not outweigh the benefits of natural latex compared to synthetic material. For instance, synthetic latex is resistance to heat, aging, abrasion, and softening. Synthetic latex also allows for a variety of firmness options.
However, most people, including experts, still believe that going natural is better. This is in spite of the steeper price point of the natural material. This is why synthetic latex is mostly used as an additive to create blended latex. This also minimizes the potential disadvantages of using a purely synthetic material in the mattress production process.
Blended Latex 101
Blended latex is marketed as the best of both worlds. It has most of the advantages of natural latex, but near the price of the synthetic material. This is the most common type of mattress material being sold these days across the world.
Blended latex is perfect for those looking to dip their toes into sleeping on latex mattresses. This is because natural material maintains a high percentage of the support natural latex offers. However, it does so at a more competitive price point. Once these people get good results, they could be encouraged to spend on an all-natural mattress.
This is achieved through a variety of ways. However, it is most commonly done by adding chemicals and synthetic latex during the molding stage. The usual ratio of these materials is 70% natural latex and 30% synthetic latex. Doing this significantly reduces the cost of the final product.
It is usually more durable than going the all natural route. The use of blended latex also allows for more firmness options. Blended latex can have seven or more firmness levels, which suits a wide variety of people. The firmness of these mattresses can also be adjusted per side; perfect for people who sleep with a partner. This is achieved with the added benefit of the better overall consistency of firmness.
On the other hand, when compared to synthetic latex, it uses fewer chemicals in the production process. It also has less off-gassing, meaning less of an off smell. The more synthetic material is used, the cheaper the product will be in the end.
It is more common for blended latex mattresses to use the Talalay process. This helps for the final product to be softer, as adding synthetic material may produce stiffness.
What Does These All Mean?
Before you take out your hard-earned money and buy the latex mattress of your choice, do your homework. Latex mattresses, even if they are all named similarly, may still differ in some aspects. Take into consideration your level of comfort. Since you will be sleeping on it, choose what works for you.
Make shopping a personal experience. But because YOU want it, and not because somebody pushed you into it. Just because natural latex worked for your friend doesn’t mean it would 100 percent work for you, too. As we always say in here, different strokes for different folks.
Are you more of a natural latex kind of person? Or are you going to go with synthetic latex? Would you want to have the benefits of both synthetic and natural in one blended mattress? Don’t forget to also consider the wants and needs of your partner, if you’re going to be sharing the bed with somebody. If the two of you have different needs, perhaps you can work on a compromise and meet halfway.
We hope that this article has helped you learn more about what goes into latex mattresses. Now, you should know more about the benefits of each type of material used. This should help you in your quest to find the perfect mattress for your sleeping needs.