Latex and memory foam mattresses are two of the most popular mattress variants available in the market. This article provides valuable information on the differences between the two.
A latex foam mattress, as the name implies, is a type of mattress made up of latex – a natural milk-like material harvested from rubber trees. Since rubber trees take 7 years to mature, some manufacturers use synthetic chemicals to produce latex foam mattresses, dividing this variant into three distinct categories: natural, synthetic, and blended.
The highest quality natural latex foams are made up of 95% natural rubber and 5% additives and antioxidants. Synthetic and blended variants, on the other hand, typically contain petroleum-based substances and chemical additives.
Meanwhile, a memory foam mattress is a type of mattress made up of polyurethane foam and chemical additives. Distinct for its ability to re-form its shape, a memory foam mattress reacts to trapped body heat and conforms to the body’s shape.
Despite claims made by manufacturers, “natural” or “organic” memory foam mattresses do not exist in the market as they are all made with synthetic substances.
Latex vs Memory Foam Mattresses
So what’s the difference between latex and memory foam mattresses?
Firstly, latex foam mattresses are manufactured in 3 distinct types: natural, synthetic, and blended. Natural latex foams are made with latex – a natural milk-like substance derived from rubber trees. Synthetic and blended foams are made of petroleum-based substances, natural oils, and additives. Memory foam, by contrast, is always made with polyurethane and other synthetic chemicals and is therefore not classified as a “natural” foam.
Furthermore, unlike latex foam, a memory foam mattress is capable of conforming to the body’s shape since it is designed to react to body heat. This special feature enables a deeper level of compression or body contouring, making it perfect for pressure relief. Latex foam, on the other hand, is firmer and bouncier, ideal for active bed activities.
The ability of memory foam mattress to re-form their shape slows down rebound time since the foam needs to adjust and re-heat once the body repositions, consequently leading to restlessness. Hence, latex foam mattress is better for active sleepers since it has a faster response time.
In terms of safety, latex foam is more hypo-allergenic since it is mainly made with natural substances. Plus, odorless off-gassing is typical for memory foams because of its chemical content. According to reports, long-term exposure to off-gassing can lead to respiratory problems and headaches.
|Latex Foam Mattress||Memory Foam Mattress|
Natural, synthetic, and blended types
|Not classified into different types|
Natural: latex and additives
Synthetic and blended: petroleum-based substances, natural oil, and additives
|Made with polyurethane and other synthetic chemicals|
|Natural or organic latex foams are available on the market||Natural or organic memory foams are not available on the market|
|Non-reactive to body heat||Reactive to body heat|
|Not able to conform to the body’s shape||Able to conform to the body’s shape|
|Firmer and bouncier|
Deeper level of compression and body contouring
|Ideal for active sleepers||Not ideal for active sleepers|
|Faster response time||Slower response time|
|Healthier option||Prone to off-gassing, which leads to respiratory problems and headaches|