Memory Foam vs. Latex: How to Choose the Right Mattress Type for You

When it comes to buying a new mattress, there are so many things to consider. From your comfort to your preferences, you want to make sure the mattress fits both your wants and needs. As you shop, you will find several choices available. What’s even more confusing is that aside from the brands and the mattress features, there are also different types of mattresses. They have their own advantages and disadvantages. Among the most popular types are memory foam and latex mattresses.

Latex vs. Memory Foam

Choosing your next mattress shouldn’t just depend on the brand and even the price. You should also take note of the materials. Latex and memory foam are both foam varieties that are used in mattresses. They are two of the most popular types and both have strong and weak points. But which one should you go for?

What’s in Your Latex Mattress?

There are two basic categories of a latex mattress: natural and synthetic. When a latex mattress is “natural,” it means it is from the sap of a rubber tree. The sap will then be put into a centrifuge to be beaten into liquid foam, which will be poured into a mold. In some processes, the liquid foam will be placed onto a belt tray where it will be steam baked after.

Not all natural latex foams are created alike. The ones with the best quality usually contain 95% pure rubber or even more. You will also find that there are some latex producers have acquired a certification for using organic latex. There is no such thing as 100% natural latex though because there are still antioxidants and additives used to create the latex foam. However, they are in very tiny amounts that are almost undetectable. These additives are safe though and there are no chemical flame retardants used.

Why Isn’t There 100% Natural Latex?

If you see a mattress claiming to have 100% pure or natural latex, the manufacturer is using incorrect language. If the latex foam is indeed 100% pure, this means that the rubber sap is steam baked without using additional ingredients. The result would be unusable goo, which could never be processed to create the latex foam. It is like using 100% milk to your oven and expecting you will get a fluffy custard cake to come out of it.

What about Synthetic Latex?

When a mattress uses synthetic latex, this means it contains chemical additives as well as oils that are petroleum based. Synthetic latex is also called blended latex because of the blend of materials used. There are latex foams with some rubber in them, along with other chemicals such as flame retardants and formaldehyde. Unfortunately, these chemicals have been proven to have dangerous side effects to our health. In fact, they can increase the risk of cancer, as well infertility, brain disorders (such as ADHD and autism), and obesity. Meanwhile, those with names, such as bio, soy, hybrid, or bio, also contain a small amount of plant oils.

Be careful in using synthetic latex, especially for your kids. The chemicals in the foam can travel to the air and dust in your household, generally through vapors when the mattress off-gasses or through the release of microscopic particles. These particles and vapors are on the loose in the air whenever the foam is pressed or when you use it. The microparticles join the dust flecks in your house and they act like microscopic sponges that absorb the chemicals. Parents should be careful, since children and infants receive the highest amount of exposure and the little ones can carry the highest levels of chemicals in their bodies.

How to Know the Difference between Natural and Synthetic Latex

The easiest way to determine whether the latex foam is natural or synthetic is to find out whether the mattress has received certifications for its materials. The certifications should come from independent and objective organizations.

What is Memory Foam?

Memory foam is actually a form of polyurethane foam, but has some chemicals in it. When there is a chemical reaction, which is due to trapped body heat, memory foam actually changes its shape. When heat is trapped in the mattress, the sleeper will feel how the foam conforms to his or her body shape. The formulas for memory foam vary depending on the brand; however, the manufacturing process is almost the same. There are just a few companies that aim to be unique in creating the memory foam mattress.

Just like latex, memory foam cannot be truly natural. It is true, however, that there are foams that are plant-based, which means that they are made from plant oils, instead of petroleum. This makes them more eco-friendly than the ones that are loaded with chemicals.

Memory Foam vs. Latex Pros and Cons

To make it even easier for you to choose between a latex and memory foam mattress, here is a breakdown of their advantages and disadvantages against each other:

Mattress Type



Latex Latex mattresses have been around for so many years now. The first latex mattresses appeared around mid-1950s. The fact that they have been available for such a long time until today just shows that they are a trusted mattress type. Although natural latex is the recommended latex mattress over synthetic ones, natural latex is definitely very expensive. You should expect that you will pay several thousands for high-quality natural mattresses.
Latex mattresses are quite known for being durable. While it is true that latex mattresses still depend on the materials and how they are processed, they can last for at least 10 years. There are even some latex mattresses that remain durable for 15 years. Many manufacturers claim that they are eco-friendly. If you are worried about your carbon footprint though, you should examine the latex mattress you intend to buy. There are actually several manufacturers that will not tell you exactly what is on their mattress. Even the ones that are called eco-friendly have a combination of materials that make the mattress a synthetic type.
Some people prefer latex, especially over memory foam because the former conforms to the shape of the body without allowing the sleeper to sink into the mattress. This way, the sleeper won’t get that “stuck” feeling that most memory foam mattresses give. When you go to a local bed store, it is quite difficult to find a latex mattress. Since latex is from a natural source, they are rarely available in stores. This is also another reason why they are expensive.
Latex mattresses don’t really give off any odor, especially those that use natural latex – even when they are new. If you’re looking for a mattress that can help you with your back problems or other aches, latex may not be the type for you.
Heat isn’t a problem with a latex mattress because they can remain cool even during warm nights. However, compared to innersprings, latex can still produce more heat. For those with restless partners, latex is mediocre especially when compared to the ability of memory foam to stop motion transfers.
Memory Foam Although memory foam isn’t as old latex, it is currently the second most popular type of mattress next to innerspring or coil mattresses. Many people are choosing this type of mattress and most of them are happy with their choice, which proves that memory foam isn’t just hype. Memory foam and other foam mattresses mostly use synthetic materials. There is no doubt that these materials can cause distress to our health. If you want to make sure you’re safe from toxic chemicals, go for a mattress that has received a certification, such as from the CertiPUR-US.
Memory foam mattresses, unlike latex mattresses, are easy to find. Whether you go to a store or you want to buy online, you have several choices. More choices mean that it is much easier to find the right kind of mattress that best suits your needs. If you live in a region with a warmer climate, memory foam won’t normally help. These mattresses tend to be become hot as they retain heat, mainly because they conform to the shape of the sleeper’s body. There are, however, some mattresses, with improved airflow and breathable designs so you sleep cool at night.
Memory foam isn’t as expensive as latex. Because of the availability and the abundance of materials and widespread use of some technologies in manufacturing the mattress, you don’t have to spend an inordinate amount of cash just to have a decent quality mattress. Odor is a common cause of complaint when it comes to memory foam. Expect to smell a little bit of the escaping gases from the mattress the first time you open the package. This can last for a few hours to a few weeks. There are some mattresses though that are careful in reducing mattress smells, so you may want to read reviews about a certain mattress’ off-gassing period.
For those who want a plush feel, memory foam is a great option. Some latex mattresses are softer than others, but if you want contouring and hugging, memory foam is indeed superior in this aspect. Compared to the strength of latex, memory foam is a little bit less durable than the other. If you want a long-lasting memory foam mattress, go for one with a good warranty. This way, you can easily make claims when there are problems with the mattress construction and others.
For those with restless partners, memory foam is the most ideal type of mattress. They are designed to eliminate motion transfers, so you can barely feel the movement of your partner. This helps you sleep better and more peacefully at night. Contouring is one of the most popular traits of a memory foam mattress. For some, however, this can be a problem. It can result to that “stuck” feeling. It is rare to find a responsive mattress that returns to its normal shape in an instant. Normally, it takes about a minute, which creates a problem for those who move a lot at night.
When it comes to relieving pressure points, memory foam is so effective that it is the most recommended mattress type for people , especially those with lower back pain. Sagging is a common complaint with memory foam mattresses. Even though it is great for people experiencing body pains, a saggy mattress can actually be the cause of the problem.

Is Latex for You?

The choice of whether to go for a latex mattress or not depends on your preferences and your needs. Consider the pros and the cons mentioned above to know if it is the right mattress type for you. Just as with any product, there are attractive advantages and unpleasant disadvantages. Find the latex mattress that best suits your needs since these mattresses aren’t created equal.

Best Latex Mattress: Astrabeds

Astrabeds offers a collection of organic, all-natural mattresses using latex foam. Since they are organic, the mattresses don’t contain any chemicals that may be toxic to our health. There are several styles available as well as multiple firmness options. What’s more, the latex mattresses from Astrabeds start at just $1,299, which is much more affordable than other latex mattress brands out there. If you’re looking for natural latex mattress, you don’t have to look any further than Astrabeds.

About the HarmonyBed

What sets HarmonyBed apart from other latex mattresses is that it is customizable. It is luxurious with three layers, each with three inches of latex foam. Since it is customizable, you can arrange the layers based on your preferences and requirements, so that you get extreme comfort for a good night’s sleep. There are different sizes available from queen to California king and each side of the mattress can be customized in terms of firmness:

Soft: Ideal for side and back sleepers who want to feel as if they are sinking into the mattress with 18 to 22 ILD

Medium: Great for people who sleep on their side and is the most popular firmness option with 24 to 30 ILD

Firm: Recommended for back sleepers who want a sleeping surface that is extra firm with 38 to 42 ILD

ILD or Indentation Load Deflection refers to the amount of weight that can cause an inch of impression on the latex material per one square foot.

Astrabeds Harmony uses an all-natural approach for latex mattresses. Free from toxic chemicals, this mattress helps you sleep cool while repelling allergens. You sleep without worries at night, particularly if you value your health. The latex mattress is certified to be organic by several organizations, including Control Union, Global Organic Latex Standard, and the Global Organic Textile Standard. The certifications that Astrabeds has acquired prove that the latex mattress doesn’t have the following add-ons:

– Harsh chemicals

– Chemical retardants

– Formaldehyde

– Carcinogenic components

– Anti-fungicide

– Petroleum fillers

– Pesticide-treated cotton

This organic latex mattress doesn’t have any synthetic blends to make sure anyone sleeping on the mattress is safe and happy. What’s more, the mattresses from Astrabeds are backed with a long comfort guarantee of 90 nights. If you’re not satisfied with the mattress you have personalized, you can exchange it for another mattress with a different firmness level. Additionally, there is a 25 year warranty that’s longer than the industry standard, which is 10 years. Free shipping is also provided anywhere in the contiguous United States.

Is Memory Foam for You?

There is indeed a lot of hype surrounding memory foam mattresses. This is probably one of the reasons why you’re considering this type of mattress. Based on surveys, memory foam has a high satisfaction rating of about 80%. While it is true that satisfaction varies by brand, this number means you have a 4/5 chance of being pleased with your new mattress. The rating is high because there are numerous advantages based on comfort and features. There are a few drawbacks and it is important that you know about them before you buy.

A memory foam mattress could be the right mattress for you if:

– You have joint or back pains

– You have a problem sleeping at night that you toss and turn a lot

– You want relief from pressure sores or points

– You have a problem with pillow top and innerspring mattresses because they’re not too comfortable and they have durability issues

– Your partner moves a lot and such movements wake you up at night

If you have decided that memory foam is the right type of mattress for you, you surely have a lot of options on the market today.

Best Memory Foam Mattress: Amerisleep Revere

The Amerisleep Revere is a 12 inch memory foam mattress with a high rating. As mentioned, there are numerous options if you do decide to go for this type of mattress. But what’s really interesting is that Amerisleep Revere is quite unique. Unlike other memory foam mattresses, the Revere is made from natural materials, so it is free from toxic chemicals and allergens.


The Amerisleep Revere comes in different sizes, including queen, king, and California king. Before you buy, make sure to take measurements of your room first. The mattress is made from three inches of Bio-Pur memory foam as the top layer, which is for eliminating pressure relief the moment you lie down. Additionally, it is for a much cooler and more comfortable sleep. The so-called Bio-Pur foam is an exclusive type of memory foam with advanced features that is designed to be more breathable and with the ability to pull away heat from the sleeper’s body. The result? The sleep surface is much cooler and this is maintained all through the night, even during warmer months.

Below the Bio-Pur memory foam is the other proprietary foam called Bio-Core, which measures nine inches. This layer is for providing support for the sleeper. Since it is much thicker than ordinary foams, it is very effective in providing deep compression support.

Aside from the exclusive foams, Revere has a cover that’s constructed with Celliant apart from the other materials, namely polyester and spandex. Comprising 21% of the ingredients, Celliant has been shown to promote a much cooler sleep. This material has the ability to convert body heat into infrared light, which has been clinically proven to intensify the flow of blood throughout the body. Such benefit leads to the body carrying more oxygen, which then results to reduced pain and an overall restful sleep. Celliant can also help you sleep faster because of the extreme comfort and the unmatched coolness. You will certainly wake up feeling refreshed, more alert, and with more energy.

Firmness and Support

The Revere mattress is considered a medium firm mattress, which means it is not too soft and not too firm. It provides adequate amounts of support because of its firmness, but it is not too firm that you will feel increased pressure points as you sleep.

Other Details

Amerisleep Revere has a limited 20 year warranty, which helps protect the owner from manufacturer defects. You can test the mattress at home for a total of 90 nights and you can have your money in full refund if you’re unhappy with it. The mattress has a high satisfaction rating with many customer reviews. This means that the mattress has made its owners very happy and there is a high chance that you will also be content with it upon your purchase. What’s even more attractive is the price of the Revere mattress. Considering all the features it has, along with the fact that it is only among the few mattresses manufactured using green means, it is a budget-friendly option.

Amerisleep Revere starts at $899, which is proof that the company is notorious for slashing prices on their mattresses, but not compromising the quality. See for yourself how this memory foam mattress performs and you will definitely notice its difference from traditional foams out there.

Factors that Will Affect Your Choice

There are differences and similarities between memory foam and latex. As you continue your shopping experience, you will see that it’s all about your preferences and requirements. You want to make sure that the mattress you buy will perform well for you, with high quality materials and overall build, and is of course affordable or right for your budget. All these are indeed difficult to assess, which is why you should take a look at the following factors and determine which between the two is your mattress type:

You Prefer a Memory Foam Mattress if…

You Prefer a Latex Mattress if…

You want a more cloud-like feel with a floating sensation. You want a more solid feel that is somewhat springy or rubbery.
You want superior pressure relief. You don’t really have special needs when it comes to getting rid of pressure points.
You have serious back pain, especially in your lower back. Your back isn’t your priority and you don’t have any kind of pain.
You want better hug and contouring. You don’t mind that the mattress follows the shape of your body before returning to its original shape. You want a more responsive mattress that returns to its real shape after you lie down on it.
You share a mattress with a restless partner whose movements wake you up in the middle of the night. You want a more bouncy mattress that will allow you and your partner enjoy more amorous activities.
You don’t have a problem with sleeping hot. You want a much cooler surface because you either live in a warmer climate or you tend to be a hot sleeper.
You want a durable mattress that can last up to 10 years. If you want a longer lasting one, you’re willing to go for a high density memory foam mattress. You want a mattress that is so sturdy that it can last up to 15 years.
You’re flexible with the pricing, but you want something that’s more affordable than latex. You understand that latex mattresses involve high production costs, so you are not worried about the price.

As with other products, there are variations in quality when it comes to both latex and memory foam mattresses. It is therefore important that you research on the quality of the mattress itself as well as its characteristics before you buy. For instance, even though latex is considered the more durable type of mattress compared to memory foam, some memory foam mattresses are superior when it comes to their lifespan because of the materials and construction method used.

How to Get the Best of Both Worlds

As mentioned, there are a number of similarities and dissimilarities with latex and memory foam mattresses. Many consumers would go for a memory foam mattress mainly because of features like motion isolation, pressure relief, and the much more affordable price. However, there are also others who want this type of mattress, but are used to sleeping on a spring mattress. If you’re among them, here’s a solution for you: get a hybrid mattress.

Best Hybrid Mattress: Saatva

A hybrid mattress has one main purpose: to combine the advantages of two mattress types, while trying to eliminate their drawbacks. There are a handful of hybrid mattresses around, but Saatva is one that truly stands out. It has a coil on coil construction, which makes it easy for the mattress to prevent sagging over time. The mattress has more sleep surface than other mattresses because it has a foam encased edge, meaning it has quite durable edges.

Right now, there’s only one Saatva mattress available, though this mattress model comes in three different levels of comfort:

1. Plush soft is for those who want to feel as if they are wrapped around their bed. If you’re a side sleeper, this one is the recommended firmness level, especially if you always feel that your arms become numb when you wake up.

2. Luxury firm is neither too soft nor too firm. It is considered “just right” by many people and is the recommended firmness for couples as well as those who constantly change sleep positions at night. So if you’re a combo sleeper, meaning you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, this may be the right firmness level for you.

3. Firm is for those who want a mattress that lets them stay on top rather than be enveloped in the bed. Those who sleep on their back or stomach will find this mattress quite comfortable.

One problem with a spring mattress is its inability to reduce motion transfer. Since this is a combination of spring and memory foam, you’d be glad to know that it does keep movement very well isolated. Tests have shown how this mattress doesn’t move whether you change your positions, you move around your side of the bed, or you get on or off the bed. This way, your partner will not be disturbed. This is all thanks to the coils, which have been wrapped individually and are away from each other. They are also suspended in the mattress, so as not to encourage vibration. This makes the mattress a great option for those who are light sleepers or those who have restless partners.

Sleeping hot is also not a problem with the Saatva mattress. It allows air to circulate around the mattress due to the way its coils are constructed. Once again, if you’re a light sleeper, a hot mattress will not only wake you but will also keep you awake at night. Saatva mattresses are designed to dissipate heat and with the organic cotton cover, the sleeper will stay dry and cool. The mattresses are well constructed and Saatva estimates that they can be usable for at least 12 years.

When shopping for a mattress, it does help to get to know which type of mattress to go for. You do have several choices, but this is not always a good thing. As long as you have made your research and you are well aware of the pros and cons of the mattress type you want to buy, you have a high chance of being satisfied with your purchase. Whether you purchase memory foam, latex, or even a hybrid mattress, you should educate yourself about how the mattress will be able to meet your needs as well as your wants.