How To Buy A Latex Mattress Without Getting Ripped Off By Retail Stores And E-Commerce Web Sites

…And How To Get The Best Deal From A Reputable Online Dealer

latex mattress reviews

For 14 years, MattressReports.Com has been the web’s most reputable source for unbiased and honest reviews about mattress options and helps consumers wade through the confusion when it comes to buying a bed. Recently we’ve been acquired by Habitat Furnishings, the web’s most established factory direct retailer of pure latex mattresses and latex hybrids. Their commitment to excellence and their experience in the mattress industry since 1994 has established them as the best source for as advertised, pure latex beds using zero polyurethane foam. Habitat has sold over 500,000 mattresses and continues to be the most forward thinking bedding company on the web. With endless five star reviews (real, not cherry picked) and thousands of repeat customers, along with their streamlined approach to purchasing a great latex mattress, we hope you’ll consider them if you’re interested in a pure latex mattress.

Natural Latex is still the hottest trend in the mattress industry right now. There are dozens of companies selling latex mattresses, but how do you choose the right one? And, why has interest in latex grown so much recently? Why would you buy one vs. a conventional mattress like a polyurethane foam bed, innerspring, or a memory foam mattress? And which brands are better than others?

What’s All The Hub-Bub About Latex Mattresses?

Read on to discover everything you need to know about latex mattresses, and we’ll arm you with all of the information you need. I became involved with mattress reviewing after a bad mattress shopping experience left me feeling like I‘d been had. I’ve been writing reviews and helpful blogs ever since.

I’ve seen latex mattresses make a roaring comeback in the last few years, and I think a lot of it has to do with consumers becoming bored with conventional bedding options, and being overwhelmed with too many mattress choices, many of which are made using mystery materials that are cloaked in names like "Dream Foam", "Wizard Gel", or other foggy descriptions that never seem to tell us what the material is actually made of. But the biggest reason these days people are hunting for pure latex is more about having a clean, green, chemical free mattress.

Mattress fads come and go, and many are way over-hyped in the media as being "the coolest thing on the planet", such as the Casper mattress, made using a couple layers of relatively inexpensive polyurethane foam, wrapping it in a fancy cover, and getting news headlines in the Wall Street Journal, Gizmodo, and other trendy publications. Companies like them have done very well, thanks to intensive social media ads, and using low cost ingredients in their beds, which allow for big budget advertising.

And then there's memory foam, originally created by NASA for fighter pilots to absorb shock and G-forces, and for a long time it was the only really interesting alternative to polyurethane foams, yet unfortunately, the material tends to sleep hot, and smells bad because it's made with urethane foam and often sandwiched together using formaldehyde based glue, and you have to dig your way out of it, and on and on. Even memory foam, which has taken a wild ride in the last ten years, is starting to slowly fade away in popularity. Off-gassing VOC’s and other noxious materials have always been problematic with these kinds of urethane foam, and there is plenty of convincing evidence that some folks are extremely sensitive. However, in all fairness, memory foam has a vast following, and if you are not looking for a natural material as the primary ingredient in your bed, it’s probably the second best alternative.

All natural latex beds have in fact, been around since the 60's, and many Americans grew up on Sears latex mattresses (no longer available). It can be synthetic, a blend of natural and synthetic or all natural, but in any form, it is bouncy, elastic, stretchy, yielding, and you don't get hot, and you don't have to dig your way out of it.

Latex mattresses offer excellent pressure relief, and distributes weight loads laterally, or sideways, rather than straight down. That's what provides the floating like sensation you feel. You can buy natural latex or the synthetic variety, and they tend to be indistinguishable, although folks looking the botanically derived variety can find it several places online. Even synthetic latex rubber is safe to use too, as it is not urethane foam, which is used in the production of memory foam, and contributes to the bad, VOC like odor.

As far as exposure to hazardous substances goes, I would say that the greatest concern when you buy any mattress has to be the use of toxic adhesives, which set very rapidly, rather than drying slowly, because in high volume production operations where you are stamping out hundreds of mattresses a day, efficiency and minimal time invested means more money to the manufacturer.

In the end, I think that latex is really about the most comfortable sleep surface out there -- supportive yet cushy at the same time. It also does not sleep hot, a real problem with many consumers. It is great for side sleepers with painful joints, perfect for back sleepers, since it does not have the wet sand feel of memory foam. It doesn’t mash down like quilted innersprings and other mattresses stuffed with poor quality foam layers or other filler.

Latex has much more of a buoyant, uplifting quality to it than other materials, which keeps you from having to dig your way out of a rut or gulley when you want to turn over on your bed.

Natural Latex allows you to effortlessly roll from side to back or side to belly, which prevents disruption of natural sleep patterns. Side sleepers, or people who toss and turn tend to sleep much more deeply in consistent REM sleep, because latex properly supports and distributes weight, relieves pressure points by spreading load horizontally rather than downward like cheap urethane or high density slab foams, increasing pressure and pain.

One important thing- pure, botanical based natural latex has some unique properties that synthetic latex, and, of course, synthetic foams do not have, is the amazing anti-microbial and naturally occurring dust mite repellant qualities of the material. It also resists mold, mildew, and will not develop ruts or depressions like petroleum based polyurethane foam will.

Latex is made using a unique technique, called vulcanization, meaning using steam and heat to rapidly solidify the liquid foam into the jiggly solid version. There are two processes used to convert the liquid, hand collected rubber tree milky sap into the solid form.

The most time tested and standardized technique is the Dunlop method, which yields a more supportive and slightly firmer latex, ideal for bottom layers that provide underlying support. The Dunlop method of solidifying latex has been around for 70 years, and you can find Dunlop mattresses still out there today that are in perfect, factory like condition.

A more recent technology for solidifying the liquid latex is used in the Talalay process, essentially the same general technique, except it includes a flash freeze step which suspends smaller air bubbles in the mold immediately before it is rapidly heated to solidify the latex, resulting in a slightly softer, but equally supportive feel. Ideal for those top comfort layers and provides a softer, cushier, and wonderful velvety finished feel. It’s also best suited for the top layers of a latex mattress, and the Dunlop latex is ideal for a base, or substrate layer.

How To Shop For A Latex Mattress…What To Look For And What To Avoid.

If you start shopping for a latex mattress, you'll want to know a little bit about foam density to feel a bit more confident when talking to sales people. The unit of measurement which gauges the softness or firmness of natural latex is ILD (Indentation Load Deflection), which is a term that's tossed around a lot, but don't be intimidated by it, as it is the one tool you can use to compare one manufacturer's mattress to another. It basically is the amount of weight it takes to depress a piece of latex one inch when one square foot of weight is placed on it.

Most manufacturers use natural latex ranging from 18-19ILD for a softer feel (especially the top layers), and 26-30ILD, for a firmer feel on the bottom, but often manufacturers use combinations of various layers to create more specific sensations of support. Many times, these ingredients and their combinations are trade secrets with many companies.

Also, many people get concerned about allergies from latex, especially latex. Synthetic latex and natural latex both tend to be hypo-allergenic, and far more people have negative responses to urethane (memory) foams that latex, because of chemical sensitivities rather than allergy issues.

Also, there are now companies who are creating mattresses designed to be more price sensitive by offering a hybrid mattress, which will have a section of latex on top as the comfort layer, and a supportive base layer which provides the foundation for the mattress. These are also worth looking at, though, if you can spring for an all latex mattress, since you get more of the good stuff top to bottom.

And, if you buy a pure latex mattress from a smaller, boutique vendor without a lot of overhead, you’re going to get a better bed, because they don’t need to compensate all of the middle men, distributors, and factory reps, who drive mattress prices through the ceiling. The big foam mattress companies also have limited warranties and return policies, too, another red flag.

I’ve seen plenty of latex hybrids out there, and I think that there is a marketplace for Latex Hybrid mattresses if you want to save a little money. You typically get a two inch layer of latex on top of a synthetic layer of foam beneath, often very closely calibrated to feel like the bottom layers of a natural latex mattress - not quite the same feel, but I’ve tried some that were pretty close. Just make sure that the underlying foam is one of the cleaner, greener, non-toxic foams like a Certi-Pur recommended foam.

Buy a Properly Made Natural Latex Mattress, Not A Bag Full Of Pads That Shift Constantly

Very importantly, I recommend a company that laminates or glues their layers together using a non-toxic adhesive. Many companies employ a scam which is quite deceptive, when selling their latex beds - they sell an unglued mattress which contains several layers that stack one on top of the other, so you can “switch out the layers” to get different feels and combinations. Cheaper to make, cheaper to sell.

It all sounds good, until you get this bag full of layers of latex delivered, stack them inside the accompanying bag, and sleep on it for a few nights. You’ll find yourself unzipping the cover, and constantly restacking and realigning the layers because of shifting during the night.

I suggest buying a finished product. I’ve read a lot of complaints about these kinds of beds, and because latex is highly flexible and stretchy, it only makes sense to buy something that is properly glued together to prevent migration and shifting.

Buy From A Company That Gives You A Decent Trial Period And Warranty

Since there are so many choices on the web selling latex mattresses, it all comes down to a few things to consider- but without a doubt, the best choice, usually has something to do with a money back trial. Most companies now offer them, typically 90 or 180 day trial periods. Look for a company that gives you the longest amount of time, and allows you to return the mattress for whatever reason, without questions.

Typically, there may be a small return fee, of $50 -100, which is fair, since the retailer has to pay someone to come to your house and pick up your mattress.

Recommendations On Where To Purchase

To sum it all up, here’s a quick bullet point list that will help you quickly determine what to look for to help you get the best deal on a pure, plant based, all natural latex mattress:

  • Make sure you are offered a decent return guarantee, at least 90 days.
  • Get a latex mattress with a decent cover, like cotton or bamboo.
  • Buy a latex mattress that uses non VOC adhesives to avoid fumes and toxins.
  • Get a decent warranty, I’d say at least 15 years, with 5 years minimum free replacement if the mattress fails in any way.
  • Consider sites that offer true third party reviews that link to outside sources.
  • Buy from a site that is at least 10 years old- many sites go out of business in 2-3 years, and then you are stuck with a warranty that is useless.
  • Buy a latex mattress that is top to bottom latex with no synthetic foam base, to insure you get the maximum benefit all the way down, and don’t bottom into something that will break down over short periods of time.
  • If you do consider a Hybrid, make sure the warranty covers it for 10 years or more.

As you can see, buying a latex mattress isn't so easy. Ask lots of questions. As an example, Habitat Furnishings has been selling pure latex mattresses longer than any other retailer online. This means that their proprietary recipe has been carefully tweaked using customer feedback from thousands of customers. This kind of crowd sourcing to perfect a mattress design is very important and probably the most valuable consideration, because the mattress you’ll buy has worked for a vast number of satisfied customers.

Habitat is known for their stellar customer service, their direct, no nonsense information and personal style, and their simple, three mattress lineup. And also that they are very clear about what they sell (their latex mattresses) and they have a strong mission statement as to why. They also offer the longest money back return I found -- a 120 day money back trial.

And, they have a rock solid reputation -- they are a member of the BBB with an A+ rating and guess what? - they’ve got a reasonable return charge of $99, if you don’t like your mattress, and they make it easy, using a nationwide service that will pick up the mattress if you wish to return it within their 120 day trial period, which seems overly generous, but they actually have reviews that mention how easy it is to deal with their staff.

So, if you are interested in finding out more about latex mattresses, I think you will learn a lot by Checking Out The Habitat Furnishing Latex Mattress page. Their video about their latex mattresses is great also, and you can read real Latex Mattress Reviews right on their page, which is hooked up to something called Power Reviews. Everything appears to be tied to an outside, legitimate third party source. They offer three models without confusing you, or overwhelming you with too many choices.

Or, if you prefer talking with someone, I noticed that they do offer live phone customer service 10am to 5pm Eastern Time, Monday - Friday, at 800-313-2591. All of their staff have years of experience and an in-depth knowledge of natural latex mattresses, and they can help you see if latex may be a solution for your particular sleep needs.

I have found that not all companies selling latex mattresses offer phone service, or when you call, you find yourself talking with someone on a cell phone who has very little knowledge of the products they sell. They also employ a great chat system which is turned on most of the time (unlike other companies I checked out).