Everything You Need To Know About Latex Foam

latex foam
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Latex Foam

Latex foam is an intriguing mattress material because it is the opposite of memory foam, with a porous surface, rapid response time, and lots of bounce.

The generalised compression of latex foam provides a supportive feel without sinkage, contouring without that sinking feeling.

One of the unknown facts about latex foam is there are natural and synthetic types, which can confuse you when buying a mattress.

This article explores everything you need to know about latex foam, providing insight into its construction, feel, and who it suits best.

Let’s jump in!

Natural latex versus synthetic latex

Natural latex foam is made from the sap of the rubber tree via tapping, which does not contribute to deforestation because it extracts sap while the tree is alive.

Latex foam is made by taking the latex sap and whipping it with natural anti-clogging additives into foam. It is then poured or injected into a mould and baked, creating a solid foam. The extent of the whipping and the types of additives used determine the density of the final foam, which can be soft or firm.

Synthetic latex foam is made from styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR), a petroleum-based rubber that mimics the feel and performance of natural latex. It is a plastic that acts like natural foam, borne from the requirement for cheaper mass production and anti-allergy qualities (natural latex is an allergen).

Giltedge Beds Shine 2000 Mattress.
Pictured: Giltedge Beds Shine 2000 Mattress

Natural latex is superior to synthetic latex.

Natural latex is superior to synthetic latex in performance, longevity, and support categories. However, it is more expensive to produce.

Because it’s a better product, natural latex is found in the best mattress brands, including Giltedge, Shire, Millbrook, and Sleepeezee.

Many natural mattresses use latex foam, and many eco-conscious mattress brands use it alongside synthetic materials to enhance performance.

What latex foam feels like to sleep on

Latex foam is firm and bouncy, springing back immediately when you move. This responsiveness makes it easier to toss and turn, and many people prefer the feeling of being ‘on’ the bed rather than sinking into it, as with memory foam.

Latex foam’s significant advantage over memory foam is its structural integrity under load – latex foam does not deform at the edge. This video (skip to 1:10) demonstrates what we mean, with latex foam experiencing no roll-off.

Video credit: Spindle Mattress

Another advantage to latex foam is breathability, with the foam’s porosity letting heat and moisture escape with minimal ventilation.

To sum up, latex foam mattresses are bouncy, offer excellent support, and are breathable. Latex is also offered in different densities, so some mattresses have squishy soft foam on top of denser support foam.

Which is better, memory foam or latex?

Everything You Need To Know About Latex Foam

Both have their pros and cons. Latex foam is bouncy, breathable, and supportive, and memory foam is squishy, body-contouring, and soft. Latex foam is better if you want a responsive mattress; memory foam is better if you want deep pressure relief.

Is latex foam eco-friendly?

Natural latex foam is considered the most eco-friendly foam in mattresses because it is a 100% natural product from renewable sources. Natural latex is biodegradable and recyclable, so it has a minimal carbon footprint.

On the other hand, synthetic latex foam is not eco-friendly because it is made from petrochemicals. However, providing it is in the correct facilities, synthetic foam is recyclable into other products, like rubber crumb sheeting for construction.

If you are eco-conscious, natural latex foam is the way to go.

What are the disadvantages of a latex mattress?

If you’ve made it this far, you probably love the idea of a natural latex mattress, but there is one disadvantage to consider – cost.

Natural latex mattresses are around 20-30% more expensive than synthetic ones, and some are 50% more. It’s crucial to shop for deals – we have an enormous range of latex mattresses at great prices.

If you enjoyed this article, read our piece on how a natural mattress can improve your sleep.

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