If you’re new to the mattress shopping scene, you might not recognize some of the materials found inside the beds you’re seeing. What the heck is latex foam, and why is it inside of a mattress? Is memory foam still the same as it was in the ’90s? It’s likely that there have been some general changes and updates made to mattresses since you’ve last purchased them. This post will explain what each foam is, its benefits, and why you might choose one over the other. Continue on below to find out who wins in the latex vs. memory foam debate.
What Is Latex Foam?
Contrary to its name, you shouldn’t envision a black, shiny, stretchy piece of foam. Instead, it’s more comparable to a rubbery sponge. It’s squishy but also supportive and breathable at the same time.
There are two types of latex foam: natural/organic or synthetic. Natural and organic latex foam is sourced from nature—the sap of an Hevea brasiliensis, to be more specific. It’s then baked in a super-sized oven and made into a solid, comfortable piece of latex foam. An organic latex foam mattress has to be made with 95% organic materials to be granted an organic certification, and we know there are a significant number of you who really value this.
Synthetic latex foam can be found in beds like the Original GhostBed. It’s made in a factory and doesn’t have quite the same benefits as natural and organic latex foam. However, with that being said, it’s cheaper and turns out feeling very, very similar to natural latex. You may be more inclined to purchase this type of latex foam if you don’t see the value in eco-friendly natural and organic latex.
- Natural and organic latex foam is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. This helps protect against dust mites, pet dander, mold, mildew, and bacteria.
- Perforated during the manufacturing process, making it more breathable.
- Natural and organic latex foam is non-toxic and free of parabens, fire retardants, mercury, lead, and other harmful chemicals.
- All latex foam is more durable and supportive than other foam materials.
What Is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is one of the most popular mattress materials used and was invented by NASA all the way back in the ’70s. If you remember that one commercial that aired through the ’00s where a woman jumped up and down on a mattress with a wine glass on top of it, that was memory foam. It’s technically a viscoelastic polyurethane foam, a plastic polymer with a few extra added compounds, making the pressure-relieving and slow-responding foam we know today.
Memory foam used to have a reputation for sleeping warm because it tended to retain heat in the center. However, brands have stepped their game up when making these guys. Now, memory foam beds are often infused with gel or copper to help with temperature regulation.
- Pressure-relieving, especially around your joints.
- Can promote a comforting, hug-like feel that a lot of sleepers enjoy.
- Absorbs motion very well, so you don’t feel your partner as much when they move during the night.
- Tends to be more affordable than latex foam.
Which One Is Better: Latex Or Memory Foam?
We’d love to give you a straight answer between memory foam vs. latex, but it’ll ultimately depend on the qualities you deem most important and the type of feeling you’re going for. One of their major differences is how they feel—bouncy versus slow-responding. Price points can also vary, too, considering latex foam is a bit more expensive to manufacture.
If you want an environmentally friendly mattress made with sustainable materials, we suggest a latex foam mattress. You should also consider latex foam if you sleep hot and would benefit from a more breathable mattress. Allergy sufferers or people who want an ultra-clean bed may also really enjoy a latex foam mattress because of its hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties.
We recommend memory foam beds to people who want a softer, more pressure-relieving experience on their mattresses. It’s good for people with joint pain because it cradles those pressure points in a way that latex foam won’t since latex foam is typically so bouncy and supportive. Another reason to choose a memory foam bed over a latex foam mattress is that, for the most part, memory foam is more affordable.
Too Long, Didn’t Read?
When trying to decide between a latex vs. memory foam mattress, consider their differences and which characteristics appeal to you most.
|Pressure Relief||Memory foam|
|Motion Isolation||Memory foam|
The main difference is in how they feel and how they’re made. Memory foam is slow to respond to pressure and remembers the shape of your body for a moment. It also tends to cost less. Latex foam is very bouncy, durable, more eco-friendly, and has hypoallergenic/antimicrobial properties.
This will depend more on your sleeping position and the firmness of the foam you’re sleeping on. With that being said, latex foam tends to be more supportive and firm. Therefore, it might be a better contender for folks with back pain.
Yes, latex foam is a durable and supportive foam that can withstand more wear and tear than memory foam and polyurethane foam.