Latex as a comfort layer

Latex can be a fantastic material when used as a comfort layer within a mattress. However, there are so many blends and types it can get very confusing for a customer to work out the quality components from the lower quality versions of latex. This article should assist you in finding out why you should consider latex in a mattress and what to look out for.

latex layer john ryanWhat’s the difference between:

  • Pure latex?
  • 100% latex?
  • Natural latex?

They are not the same as 100% natural latex.

How can latex get any more confusing?

100% natural latex as a mattress component has not yet come down sufficiently in price to make it a common or easily found component of mattresses in retail shops and outlets. The cost price to manufacturers of this material is still rather high and will, of course, be reflected in the price. As viable alternatives, 100% natural latex is blended with other components to produce products that offer a slight compromise in quality but can, therefore, be offered at an acceptable price.

To distinguish what term means what, this is the latex breakdown

  • 100% natural latex (has about 2-4% forming additives 2-4% soaping agents and 90-96% Natural latex)
  • Natural latex (has to contain at least 80% natural latex)
  • Pure latex (has to contain at least 20% natural latex)

To put this into some kind of perspective, these are the minimum quantities and in general pure latex used for mattresses will have at least 40% natural latex with the rest made up of synthetic latex and, the UK required, fire retardancy components.

Our latex range at John Ryan by Design we only uses two Latex blends

  1. 100% Natural Dunlop Latex
  2. 60% Natural Talalay Latex

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much initially about which latex manufacture method is used for the mattress deciding which is better is a little detail that has to be applied only when sorting out the wheat from the chaff. There are not that many latex suppliers and the production quality is taken for granted to be of a very high standard.  But then, who is to stop a rogue salesman telling you the latex contained in their mattress is 100% natural when in fact it isn’t.  That should be where your concern lies.

Also as a forewarning, the actual depth and blend of latex used in your mattress should be more of a concern to you than whether it is pure or natural. Also, is the latex used as an entire sheet or is it placed just in the central area? If you are looking at Latex mattresses then these are the questions that just have to be asked.

There are two ways that latex can be used in the construction of a mattress:

1.   As a solid slab of latex
2.  As a comfort layer generally on top of a pocket sprung system.

A mattress containing latex as a primary comfort layer will have to be at least 5cm to be beneficial. Your bodyweight has to sink into the material sufficiently leaving the underlying layer and/or pocket springs to offer up the additional support.  When used in conjunction with reflex foam and/or other premium wadding on pocket springs then the emphasis will be made towards a comfort bias and the depth may well be just 2.5cm (1″).

The benefits of latex as a comfort layer

The popularity of latex is growing year on year as people realise the benefit this material has over memory foam and people would rather spend their money on a more durable and natural product over synthetic man made foams. Firstly, latex has an instant rebound property and recovers as soon as you move to a different area of the mattress. Whereas, in comparison, memory foam will retain the indent your body made until it cools down and recovers. Latex does not need to be warmed up by body heat to be effective and does not have the heat retentive properties of memory foam.

In short, latex is the perfect sleep surface. The lifespan of a premium 100% natural latex is deemed to be well in excess of 20 years. Even pure latex can easily be guaranteed for 10 years. Dunlopillo is credited somewhat to be the market leaders in latex mattresses but in recent times, they don’t disclose the blend of their latex leaving it open to scrutiny. However, many people will recognise the older Dunlopillo latex mattresses from yesteryear that were 100% natural latex.

Latex core 18cm

One side or two sides?

When latex is used as a comfort layer it will more than likely be used on a non-turn one-sided mattress. The durability aspect of this component means that there really is no need to have it on a double sided, turnable mattress. Also, latex will never (normally) be used on a cage sprung mattress. Pocket springs or suspension springs will no doubt be the support system and all complimentary components will be premium. This is also true of the fabric covering. More often than not being entirely micro quilted polyester or a blend of poly/cotton with cashmere, silk or other extremely soft component. Latex for mattresses is manufactured to be cradling as well as supportive and so the fabric will be chosen to accentuate this property.

Our Fusion latex range of mattresses, however, are solid core 100% natural latex.  This means they are two sided like any high-end, hand made, traditional mattress and can be turned and rotated as normal. They also come with a matching two-sided 100% natural latex topper to help protect your mattress and increase the comfort layer of latex.

Fusion 1&20023 2

Is latex fire retardant?

It must be understood that only 100% natural latex without any other component apart from processing additives is the absolute best in terms of quality, but the price is usually the inhibitor. Aside from this, 100% natural latex is not naturally fire retardant and, therefore, it’s use in a mattress would be illegal unless a fire retardant outer layer was applied  to the mattress. Having natural or pure latex are the next two best options.  Please see here for more detail on the fire retardant methods used in Latex mattress manufacture.  At John Ryan, we use the either wool casing or a graphite layer method over the chemical spray as this adds unnecessary chemicals to a natural product.

Graphite latex (pure latex) is a product used by the vast majority of mattress manufacturers as a viable compromise to natural latex. It has a high content of natural latex (at least 40%) and expandable graphite has to be added (hence making it a dark grey colour) to comply with fire retardancy regulations. There should be no significant difference in overall comfort when used as an FR layer. It is also an ideal component as a supportive internal layer when natural fillings are used as primary layer.

What’s the difference between Talay and Dunlop latex?

There is huge detail around Talalay vs Dunlop with Latex and this is an area of specialism that we have written a post on here.  Talalay is softer and more expensive whereas Dunlop is more progressive and slightly cheaper.


The actual depth of the latex in your mattress is of vital importance.  The best latex mattresses will be solid core, fully turnable. If your mattress contains a latex layer than you need at least 5cm depth to make sure you get the full benefits and lifespan of the latex. We, however, at John Ryan By Design, are one of the only current UK suppliers of 100% natural solid core latex mattresses.  Our Fusion latex mattress range can be found in our shop here.

Need more help?  Then call our small friendly team on 0161 945 3757.

We’re here to help

Speak to our small friendly team between 9am – 5pm and we’ll be happy to guide you through any questions you may have.

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  • Elaine says:

    Sorry to keep asking but we are looking for a new 4′ 6″ bed to replace our Dunlopillow (17 years old). Have tried a Salus 1500 retailing at £550 at present, it seems very comfortable but difficult to know how it will last. Says 5 year warranty. Cant’ really afford Dunlopillow again any suggestions as we really like the feel of latex (medium). It is a Connoisseur but now seems to be £1000 + for just the mattress. Anything with say pocket springing and deep latex top or alternative to Dunlopillow even if it last slightly less?
    Many thanks. Elaine.
    Hi Elaine, Let me give you my choice – The Origins 1500 Pocket Latex at £645 (Double). It also has a five year full repair or replace guarantee. Hope this helps in narrowing down your choce. John.

  • louise vardy says:

    I have a couple of concerns about latex as a material in mattresses related to breathability and possible adverse dermatological reaction. Assuming I don’t have a specific allergy to latex are my concerns in any way valid?
    Many thanks, Louise.
    Hi Louise. I remember reading an article [can’t remember where] stating that the risk of an allergic reaction to 100% Natural Latex is so rare it need not be a concern. The analogy of surgeons gloves being latex added credence to the statement. However, as latex is one of the most expensive natural components it stands to reason that there are latex blended products that may have petro/chemical constituents that could be the source of a posible allergic reaction. What these are or indeed could be I do not precisely know. Hope this helps and I would be interested to know what spurred you to ask this particular question. John.

  • Les Wiseman says:

    I am looking to replace our 8 year old kingsize Harrison Inspiration mattress, the softer half of which has become a bit too soft. It is on a slatted base, 3″ apart. I am 12 st and my wife 10st. We would prefer a mattress with medium, or slightly above, firmness. I am leaning towards the Sequence 2000 Latex, Origins Pocket Latex 1500 or the Artisans Naturals and would be grateful for your recommendations. I am impressed by your impartial advice on competitors’ products and would be interested to hear your views on the Yanis Organic Latex mattress which has also taken my eye.
    Hi Les. We always wonder when a question starts such as yours – why arn’t you looking to replace the mattress you have had for eight years with a similar one from the same manufacturer? It is obviously coming to the end of its useful life but you have had – I assume – eight or so years of comfortable nights. Or have you?

    You do draw upon an irrefutable fact which we go into at some depth on Soft, Medium or Firm Mattressses about how when selecting your mattress you should be looking at comfort coupled with longevity. Mattresses do get softer as time goes by. Selecting a mattress that you find perfectly comfortable from day one will of course get softer from that day onwards. In your case, if you had of selected a medium spring tension eight years ago rather than soft [and the difference in spring gauge between these two levels are not that vast] you would have probably been able to squeeze another year or two out of your current mattress.

    As for our reccomendation? We would most certainly suggest the Artisan 1200. This is as bespoke as you can get – not an off the peg model, but built specifically to your own individualised bodyweights. The Sequence Latex will be far too firm for your bodyweights. The Origins Latex would also be a contender but as you have Harrisons in the past The Artisan Naturals would be an ideal choice

    As for Yanis Organic latex? Not really too sure or informed enough to give an opinion. I was always under the impression that only Latexco International had the financial resourse to segregate and plant anew a rubber plantation that was able to be certified as organic. The processing equipment has also been duplicated in separate facility to avoid any cross contamination and so on. This has been an ongoing investment that has been a ten years or so process and I’m not too sure if anything came from it. And hence my sceptism about an organic latex mattress – they should come at a price.

    Secondly, Ryan and I are still rather old fashioned about mattresses. In our eyes, Vacuum packed mattresses do not represent a quality product. We like to see tailoring, tufting and tape edging. Not a zipped covering that takes no skill or craftsmanship to produce or assemble.

    Please give Ryan a call on the number above and he will be able to go through all the options with you. John.

  • Stuart says:

    Looking at the Sequence 2000 and Sequence 2000 latex, both in Kingsize.
    There isn’t a huge amount of difference price wise, I just don’t know which one to go for… I like the double sided nature of polyester topped one but I read on your site that Latex is “better” and that it should last me 20 years..

    Are we simply saying that if budget isn’t the main concern and all other things being equal, your Latex version is the better buy?

    Hi Stuart. Your final choice will depend on your weight. The Sequence Latex for example may be too firm for some people. Give us a call and we can discuss further. John and Ryan.

  • Anne says:

    I am interested in buying a new King size mattress with latex as the comfort layer and, after reading your article on the subject, decided that the Origins Latex 1500 would be the right one for us. However, I cannot see this in your list of available mattresses, only the Sequence 2000 latex, which I think would be too firm for our body weights. Please can you help.

    Hi Anne. We have temporarily removed our listing for the Origins Latex 1500 as we are experiencing an excessive delay on production. This is being resolved.

    We are also currently looking at introducing an additional model from another manufacturer that is similar to The Salus Latex based on a Foam Encapsulated unit. However and unfortunately, neither of these will be listed until January when all production / delivery issues are ironed out. John and Ryan.

  • Claire Jones says:

    Hi, I spoke to you today showing an interest in a 100% latex mattress and mentioned my concerns about whether it would be soft enough for me. You said you would be bringing out a new bed in a week or so that I may be interested in so I very much look forward to hearing from you.
    Hi Claire. We have now sourced what can be deemed as the best latex you can buy. Similar, if not identicle to the latex used by Dunlopillo in all their products.

    As with all other components, just because someting is labelled LATEX you really do have to know EXACTLY what kind / type it is. The latex that Silentnight et al describe as Innergetic latex does have a percentage of synthetic latex added and it is this breakdown of natural latex and synthetic latex that gives you an idea of the quality of the finished product. John and Ryan.

  • Randie says:

    Slept on a King Koil Club Class the other week and it was the first time I awoke WITHOUT back pains. (Think it was a 1600 pocket with pillow top.) So I am shopping for a new mattress but there are too many out there and I’m confused by coil sprung, pockets springs, etc. Read all the people here that are impressed with your product. Would the Sequence Latex 2000 be the closest you have? Thanks.

    Hi Randie. I would suggest you hunt out the mattress that has impressed you. King Koil Club is part of the Kaymed hospitality range and it would be prudent to use this as your starter point on finding your new mattress. The one thing that stands out in this range is that there is only one model that utilises pocket springs as the support [The Club Pocket] the rest all utilise an open coil [bonnell] spring – the cheapest type of spring support.

    Our Sequence Latex is built to be firm and without knowing your bodyweight I couldn’t say whether this would be suitable or not. We also do two other models of latex – one on a 1500 pocket spring unit – micro-quilted and suits the majority of people. We also have a foam encapsulated pocket sprung mattress [both these will be added to our range during mid Jan].
    Please feel free to call us and we can talk through your options. John and Ryan.

  • Heidi Moss says:

    Hi .
    I’m looking for a replacement mattress as ours has died!` We recently went to a local shop to feel which support is better for us. We both liked a Hestia v3000 pocket sprung with 70mm memory foam top. We both like lying on our sides which i read pocket sprung is best for as well as weight differences; we have a sizeable weight difference between us (19 stone and 10st). My husband struggles with his back, the mattress was medium firm which felt good for both of us. There was also a Hestia v2000 which also felt good, I’m not familiar with this brand. I’ve also just read that you think memory foam tops will shorten the length of the mattress. What would you recommend?
    Many thanks for your help

    Hi Heidi. I can’t seem to recall ever saying Memory Foam tops would shorten the life of a mattress. I am a keen advocate of toppers (of any sort) on all mattresses. I prefer the feather and down ones over all else though, and memory foam would be my last resort! Are you referring to my built in pillowtop remarks? [Here]

    As you rightly picked up on, pocket springs are the best kind of spring support for all kinds of sleep positions, have been for a hundred years or so and (calico encased) is still the system of choice for all premium manufacturers.

    Hestia as a brand is targetted to retail stores only (very unlikely you will see them for open sale on the internet) The finish and detailing on their premium range is relatively high. – The content ..? I would be inclined to do some basic comparisons particularly if budget is an issue. I would be grateful if you could furnish me with prices you have been quoted for my own interest. I believe you mean the B3000 (Latex and natural fillings – actual quantity not given as is the case with many manufacturers!)The V2150 has 70mm of memory foam on 2000 pocket springs (I am assuming you are meaning this as the V2000).

    In any case, there is one aspect of your comment that really does need to be taken seriously – the weight difference between you and your husband. It is going to be very difficult to find a mattress that is equally suitable for you both. If he has the matttress that has the required support for him – you are going to find too firm. And, vice versa, what is comfortable for you may be too soft and unsupportive for him. I am assuming their L3000 or B3000 is utilising Air suspension pocket springs – this arrangement to me seems perfectly adequate for your weight differences. I would however get the absolute lowdown on the B3000 model – you need to know if the filllings are substantial enough to withstand your husbands weight for a good number of years without prematurely colllapsing. Also, as a point of note, there are some Terms and Conditions that state the maximum bodyweight for a particular mattress is UP TO 18st.

    You do not mention size. It is always a good idea when replacing to get the biggest bed your room can comfortably accommodate. Just because you had a double size (very small for two people sharing) does not mean you have to stick with that size. A Kingsize (5′ x 6’6) should be the minimum for two people sharing.

    Finally, as a shameless personal plug, I would put our Artisan Naturals up for your consideration. This would be built precisely for you with both your requirements in mind – Medium (1.42mm) Calico springs on your half of the mattress and Extra Firm (1.70mm) springs on your hubby’s side. Hope this helps. John and Ryan.

  • Heidi Moss says:

    Hi John and Ryan

    Thanks for your response. I was referring to your article you hyperlinked – the sentence re the memory foam will need replacing but the pocket springs will still be okay to continue.

    The Hestia v2150 mattress we saw was £649 for double and the hestia v3000 was £699. I was looking at your origins 2000 pocket latex mattress. One for the pocket springs, two for the latex topper (which your sites advises is a better topper material than memory foam for longevity) and three because when we tried them in the shop my husband steered away from any mattress which didn’t have a topper.

    I think we are okay with a double as we tend to sleep close together.

    I guess for us the important thing then is the weight difference and his back. When we tried non topper mattress’s he found they hurt his back.

    would you still recommend your artisans naturals over the origins? I’m not sure about getting a split medium/firm – i think i prefer slightly firmer feel than my husband did in the shop, so not sure if this would work for us?
    Kind regards

    Hi Heidi. As you are looking for a double mattress then a ziplink option is out of the question. The weight difference is absolutely key. It is no good getting a mattress that fits your budget that will be fine for a few months then starts to degrade prematurely. The Artisan Naturals at £845 can be made with dual spring tensions for the perfect support, obviously the fillings contained are premium, but as your husband has a preference for Pillowtop, it would be in your interest to invest further to provide a removable topper in order to have his perfect comfort layer. Not only will this be the ultimate in mattress protection but the mattress will be as new many years down the line. John and Ryan.

  • Steve says:


    In your Latex article you talk about “100% natural”, “natural” and “pure” latex. Your latex beds don’t say which of those categories latex is used, only that the latex is “talalay”, which I think is a process rather than a type.
    Can you explain what category of latex (not that I’m doing a wheat and chaff exercise, just interested) your beds have?
    Thanks, Steve.
    Hi Steve. Good question. This particular post was started when we noticed mattress descriptions were using the terms Natural latex / Pure latex / 100% Natural. At that time we could not find any factual info on the differences. Even now it is difficult to tell for sure which latex product is the best available.

    The latex currently used in The Origins Latex 1500 / 2000 is Graphite Latex – this is a blend of 40% natural and 60% Synthetic. The depth used (6cm – in two layers of 3cm) has to be taken into account in relation to the blend mix. We were of the mind that using more ‘product; created a better overall built mattress [for the price] than using a lesser quantity of a higher ratio of natural and synthetic blend.

    As a sidenote, we have desperately been trying to find the actual data of Innergetic Latex as used by The Silentnight Group in many of their latex products. This is a material that does not categorically state whether it is a blend of natural and synthetic OR entirely synthetic. Another product, Talalatex (British Vita) carefully phrases the marketing material without specifically stating whether this is a blend of sorts OR entirely synthetic.

    We are currently looking at introducing a model that contains the same latex as used in Dunlopillo mattresses. This will either be one [zoned] solid core ‘based’ on the Dunlopillo Classic – Royal Sovereign. At the moment, and as far as we can currently ascertain is that this is a combination of 85% Natural and 15% Synthetic (inc stabilisers).

    Finally Steve, digging down to the nitty gritty of latex and all the possible composites is extremely difficult. Ryan and I can only pass on what we currently know. We did ask FIRA of the legal definitions of Pure Latex / Natural Latex / 100% Latex and even though their response to our definition of breakdowns was questioned – they have been ‘unable’ to give a precise clarification.

    You are right in questioning anything we say, and people should be questioning every manufacturer and retailer the same way. If anyone can add any pertinent information to help untangle this latex web, we would be so grateful. John and Ryan.

  • Ian says:

    Hell J+R,
    Firstly just wanted to say how incredible it is that you take the time to answer questions about mattress purchasing in general without any “hard sell”. It’s partly because of this that I’m interested in buying from you.

    You mentioned to Steve (Feb 29th) that you “are currently looking at introducing a model that contains the same latex as used in Dunlopillo mattresses”. Does this mean you’re about to produce an all-latex mattress soon?

    I’m looking to replace my Dunlopillo mattress of at least 15 years of much appreciated use so I am very keen to know if and when..?
    Thanks in advance. Ian

    Hi Ian. Thank you. Funnily enough it was only today that I was speaking to my latex man! Our Origins Pocket latex can now be upgraded (description changed by next week). Our solid core latex matts will be trialled in a few weeks time. I will mail you direct as I get to know more.

    A point to note, the latex used today by Dunlopillo is not the same latex as was used 15 years ago. I used to have a Dunlopillo latex matt and they are not the same. What the differences are I cannot say with any degree of certainty – the supply chain is completely different. I would be grateful if you could do some digging to find out what ‘they’ say about the change that has happened bearing in mind that you are looking to replace an old Dunlopillo with a new one, the reasons why the change, and what the significant differences if any are.

    [Update: June 2012] I have now finalised the meeting with my Latex source and I have come to the conclusion that it is currently not feasible to proceed with this project. The reasons are many and varied but the main one is that I feel the cost price of the latex component offered is still kept at an artificially inflated price which makes it inconceivable to proceed.

    If you are still considering the Dunlopillo mattresses we feel you will be getting a quality product – albeit at a price that in our opinion could reasonably be offered for much less.

    Thank you for your continued interest and I am really sorry this did not pan out as we anticipated. In time we hope to reinvestigate this project and hopefully .. succeed. John and Ryan.

  • sarah wimborne says:

    I bought an ergoflex memory foam mattress – I found it very comfortable but got really stressed about the amount of potential negative health issues being bandied around in connection with these mattresses. I then researched and have bought an Essentia Beausomment mattress from Canada at around £2800. This is sold as a healthier alternative to memory foam – a latex core with a ‘natural’ memory foam top. This is sitting on a brass bed with some chip board as a base. This new mattress feels quite soft and I am getting a degree of back discomfort. I really like the idea of a healthy mattress, but wonder if I can do anything to make it more comfortable Do you know anything about these mattresses and would it be better on a different type of base. I am hoping you don’t mind me asking this question, but you seem to be full of excellent knowledge and advice.
    Many thanks Sarah.

    Hi Sarah. I had a quick look at this particular mattress and am a bit taken aback at the price you were willing to pay for what is essentially a latex mattress. Even the top of range Dunlopillo Coronation is <>£1800 by comparison. Your concerns about Memory Foam are indeed well founded by anecdotal evidence such as headaches, irritation etc, and it comes as no surprise that companies who have a vested interest in Memory Foam products will of course counter claim.

    For the price you paid for this particular mattress I would be inclined to see what the retailer suggests. The description states this to be on the firm side which does’t match up to your comment, but of course an overall firmness can only be gauged by the [body]weight applied. For example, if you are 26st you will be finding the mattress too soft (or more precisely – un supportive). A 10st bodyweight by comparison will obviously find it firmer. Hope this helps. John and Ryan.

  • Darren says:

    John Ryan,
    Is there any up date to your post 15/03/2012 reference a solid latex mattress…I’m thinking of buying a latex mattress and I’m waiting patiently to see the spec of yours…

    Hi again Darren.
    We have now sourced the latex that is used by Dunlopillo and have a manufacturer in place ready to do the finishing. I anticipate that this will be completed and ready for retail by May.

    For your part I would like you to let me know which mattress you would have preference towards. Initially we are looking to develop an equivalent to the Dunlopillo Harmonize Nouveau and Harmonize Renaissance as our minimum standards.

    Please feel free to call me on 07999 007 000 anytime if you have any pertinent information re Dunlopillo products, any concerns or indeed any questions. This has been an extremely long road for us. The latex market is shrouded in absolute secrecy and it has been extremely difficult to find the right people, the honest detail and the best product. John and Ryan.

    [Update: June 2012] I have now finalised the meeting with my Latex source and I have come to the conclusion that it is currently not feasible to proceed with this project. The reasons are many and varied but the main one is that I feel the cost price of the latex component offered is still kept at an artificially inflated price which makes it inconceivable to proceed.

    If you are still considering the Dunlopillo mattresses we feel you will be getting a quality product – albeit at a price that in our opinion could reasonably be offered for much less.

    Thank you for your continued interest and I am really sorry this did not pan out as we anticipated. In time we hope to reinvestigate this project and hopefully .. succeed. John and Ryan.

  • Jess says:

    Hi there, thanks for your very informative website.

    My husband and I are looking for a new mattress and bed, and found the Dreams Zen Rejuvenate Mattress (king size £1049) to be really comfortable for us.

    One of our concerns though was that the bed felt as though it had a camber and we were tipped towards the edge. The salesman explained this was probably due to customers sitting on the edge of the mattress and thus squashing it. We tried lying on it ‘upside down’ ie feet at head end – and it did seem a lot better. Have you any comment or advice regarding this please? We are thinking of buying a metal bedstead so need to decide on straight or sprung slats and I guess this could also affect the ‘camber’.

    How do you think that the Origins Pocket Latex mattress compares with the Dreams one? Obviously there is a big price difference. We weigh approx 11 and 14 stone, and my husband has had slipped discs. We currently have a 6cm memory foam topper which has really helped him but has now degraded and seems to make me far too hot, so we thought latex would be better.
    Many thanks

    Hi Jess. First of all, I want to point out that our main post above has become somewhat dated and will be completely revised in the coming weeks. The bulk of the information is still quite factual but we have now learned everything we need to know to provide an accurate overview of ALL latex products. Getting to the absolute nitty gritty of the secretive world of “latex” was no easy ride.

    If you, or indeed anyone else is considering latex as a mattress you really do have to start by looking at the best available. This of course means Dunlopillo – the market leader. Study their website and see how their 12 models are managed by content from the cheapest model [Deep Cocoon 3 <>£700.00 King] to their top of range [Tempsmart Coronation <> £1300.00 ]. It would then be worth your while hunting out a Dunlopillo stockist to see / feel the difference between these models and the polished turd you saw at Dreams!

    Asking us to draw a comparison between our Origins Latex and The Dreams Zen Rejuvenate is rather insulting – to us! – although I do assume you mean: How come Dreams can charge over £1000 for a mattress of dubious quality compared to ours with a retail price of less than £700. for a considerably better build? That is what you meant isn’t it?

    So let’s see if the extra £300 can get you significantly more mattress.

    The Dreams Zen Rejuvinate: [£1049.00 KS: 4/12]
    [Official Specifications]
    Pocket sprung mattress (2400 count) | 1000 Mini Pocket Springs | Key filling: Latex | Quilted finish with soft touch knitted cover | three rows of side stitching for additional support [END]

    John Ryan Origins Latex 1500: [£670.00 KS: 4/12]
    [Official Specifications (edited) Full Details Here. 1500 Pocket Springs | 2.0cm Reflex Foam | 6cm 60/40 Latex | Quilted finish with soft touch knitted cover | three rows of side stitching (does nothing for edge support) [END]

    The Zen Rejuvinate is a pillow top construction [Read our views] and in the description there is no indication if this contains the entire latex content or not. The second thing that should of been to the sales asst at Dreams is to question him/her of the ACTUAL DEPTH of latex used in this particular mattress. Is this important? Absolutely. It’s the most important part of deciding who is giving you more for your money. We use 6cm and as this is the component where the bulk of your money is going it is the most crucial question you should be asking.

    So what does the 60/40 mean? This is the breakdown of the actual latex blend [all latex mattresses use a blend – even Dunlopillo] and if Dreams tell you what ratio of natural and synthetic they use in the ZR I’ll be rather surprised?

    Finally Jess. Latex pocket sprung mattresses like a flat surface. A valid comment from a reader of ours stated that they tried a solid core Dunlopillo mattress and felt completely different on a sprung edged base and a rigid platform top base. Hope all this helps, and please feel free to add further comment, particularly if you can find out intrinsic detail of any mattress mentioned above. John and Ryan.

    Hi John & Ryan

    Thanks for answering so quickly – I really didn’t mean to offend! You’re right, we were suspicious of the Dreams mattress and its price tag!

    We will try out some Dunlopillos and then come back to you to see what would suit us best. If the Origins Pocket Latex is too firm (we like a soft-ish bed) and we added a topper, would this make it softer and do you recommend a particular one? Or do you do a softer latex sprung mattress to start with?
    Thanks again

    Hi Jess. No offence taken at all… It was such a good opportunity for me to be rather melodramatic.

    When you start looking at latex mattresses in detail you will see that there are all sorts of densities and combinations. I ask you to start at Dunlopillo because they produce all the conceivable variances there is and then you will be better placed to see which one will be the most suitable for you. Incidentally, I do not think they do a latex on pocket spring arrangement – this arrangement is of course purely produced to provide a latex product at an affordable price. “Solid Core” latex mattresses is the ultimate construction, and as you will soon see, there is a price attached.

    When you go to try out the Dunlopillo range, start at the most expensive and work your way down (rather than the other way round) Firmness levels are based on the combination of two differing densities of latex laminated together. The core of all their “solid latex core” mattresses are fundamentally the same – and will be zoned in either 3, 5 or 7 areas. The three zone core for example will have a firmer middle section for your hips and a softer zone for head and legs. Obviously the 7 zone core will have more individual zones.

    Bear in mind that the core is just one density of latex – it is the pinholes (arranged in zones) that will make this feel softer or firmer. The larger [diameter] the pinhole the softer it will feel, the smaller the firmer it will feel.

    Know also that their bottom of range is The Cocoon Luxury 3. This is an arrangement of latex on a zoned Foam core. Even Dunlopillo will not be as open as they should be with detailing their specs – For example The Cocoon Luxury 3 is described as ” .. featuring a deep layer of Dunlopillo latex” they do not tell you how deep this layer actually is and it will be up to you to ask these rather crucial questions to see where your money is going.

    You will soon see that “firmness” is dictated by the density of the top layer of latex that is laminated to the core. The lesser density blend (say 20/80 or 40/60) will be softer than say a 60/40. It will be unlikely they will use a 80/20 or 85/15 as a top layer as it is these densities that will be used to make up the core.

    Obviously, this is only the bare bones of what you need to know prior to being at the mercy of the salesman. You really must be ready to question everything you are told – If there is a difference between one mattress retailed at £800 and another retailed at £1000 you must determine exactly what extra you are getting for the £200 more. It could be as simple as a different kind of fabric, and it will be up to you to judge whether it is WORTH the extra money being asked – many times it may not be. Remember, the most expensive part of any of these is the actual latex itself. If you have any any questions whatsoever, please add further comment.

    Finally Jess, you may well find your perfect mattress at Dunlopillo and I hope you do, although seemingly expensive they have seriously come down in price over the past few years. But it will show you the difference between what is deemed as quality and the PT you originally saw at Dreams!

    As a forewarn, we are shortly going to be introducing our own small (mid to high end) range of solid core mattresses based on the Latex Bliss range and maybe Dunlopillo!. Hopefully these will be ready for retail by mid to end June. If you wish to be updated as and when these are produced and launched let me know. John and Ryan.

    Hi Guys,
    Wow, speedy reply again…dont you lot sleep?
    We will be very interested in your new range and can struggle through to the end of June. We have found the high end pillow top matresses to be the most comfortable in the showrooms. We found a Sealey Sydney yesterday at Benson’s Beds (Fosse Park, Leicester) that was lovely, but the reviews on the web were terrible with huge problems of sagging only after weeks of use. No wonder they offered us a great deal with a bed frame of our choice, con artists every one…
    Will your new range be of a similar firmness/softness to the Sydney and the Dreams Zen Rejuvenate which, again, felt great in the showrooms? I hope so as we’re sick of choosing ‘Polished Turds’ and are now losing the will to live!! 😉
    Kind regards, Jess & Andy

    Hi again Jess and Andy. The reason I ask you to try out Dunlopillo is twofold. One to realise what real latex is, and two, to see how different combinations work to get the feeling you want. Just to get the Zen Rejuvenate out of your system you have to know two things. One – What is the depth of latex used in this particular mattress? and two, what is the type?

    I’m going to assume that the latex is Innergetic latex – This is a good comforting blend, the ratio is completely unknown [except to a handful of people] and so it will be obvious the salesman, if asked this question will just gawp! Although Innergetic (if that’s what it is) is pricey, there has to be a viable depth for longevity and of course comfort.I would phone Dreams customer service rather than asking in-store [0844 556 5500].

    The pillowtop on the ZR does not look particularly deep so knowing what the makeup of this mattress is from the springs upwards will give you some sort of indication of where your money is going.

    Finally, our new range will be equally comparable to Dunlopillo and Latex Bliss products, NOT Benson’s or Dreams. It is important you do your research so you know when we bring our products to the table you will know if it’s a bargain – or not. John and Ryan.

    [Update: June 2012] I have now finalised the meeting with my Latex source and I have come to the conclusion that it is currently not feasible to proceed with this project. The reasons are many and varied but the main one is that I feel the cost price of the latex component offered is still kept at an artificially inflated price which makes it inconceivable to proceed.

    If you are still considering the Dunlopillo mattresses we feel you will be getting a quality product – albeit at a price that in our opinion could reasonably be offered for much less.

    Thank you for your continued interest and I am really sorry this did not pan out as we anticipated. In time we hope to reinvestigate this project and hopefully .. succeed. John and Ryan.

  • John says:

    Hi, We have purchased a kingsize OBC bedstead (not yet delivered ) This is our first bedstead and are not sure which mattress would best suit. We both loved our old Myers adromeda which was purchased in 2004 and had 650 springs in 150cm (not sure what that means), I would say it was quite a firm mattress. We tried some mattresses and liked the firmness of the Sleepezze backcare 800 although a little worried it may be too firm. I quite like the look of your Artisan range but we are open to suggestions.

    Hi John. So sorry for delay in replying. This one slipped through.

    As I’ve said countless times, it is your bodyweights that determine what support (springs) is best for you, and then tailor this with the correct upholstery (comfort).

    A realistic budget is also important. It is pointless looking at all mattresses in all price ranges – you will get really frustrated and just end up sticking a pin in a long list of possibilities and hope for the best.

    Use our product list as your starting point. And use The Artisan Naturals as a model we say can’t be beaten for price and quality of build. We don’t want you (or anyone) to blindly take our word, we give you this detailed information in order that you can do adequate comparisons and buy wisely. John and Ryan.

  • Sharon says:

    Hi, we have tried to track down a stockist of Latex Mattresses so we can see what they feel like, as you suggested, but all the stores in the Manchester area that you said may stock them, no longer do As a result we have not made any progress on that front. Are the Latex Toppers and Mattresses you mentioned you were in process of producing, any nearer to completion for purchasing?

    Hi Sharon. I’m sure they have to be around somewhere. We are having to wait till mid June before we can do anything about our solid core models and after that it will take about six weeks to be online. John and Ryan.

  • Philippe says:

    Hello Ryan and John,
    First of all, thank you very much for providing the wealth of information. Very useful indeed!
    I’m pretty much decided on a pocket sprung + latex for my next mattress. I am 5’5″ and my weight hover between 13.5 and 15 stones. My budget, I would say is £500-700. I am seriously considering your Origins Pocket Latex 1500.
    I think I am after a relatively softer feel but I am slightly concerned that 1500 springs is a little borderline considering my weight? Didn’t you have also a 2000 springs+latex, which would be more suitable for me?
    Hi Philippe. I think for your budget The Origins Pocket Latex ticks all your boxes. We do have a 2000 model (not on site) but this is reserved more for people of a greater bodyweight than yours. There is enough latex as primary layer to balance out your weightload as well as adequate support from the springs.

    Apart from your mattress, the alternatives I have in mind are 2 Healthbeds mattress. The Paris 2300 has 5 cm of 100% natural latex (Celsion) on top of 2000 pocket sprung with 300 sprung open coil base which offers edge to edge support. Not much details about fillings apart from “lambs wool, cashmere and silk fillings”. Hand tufting and side stitching.

    There is not that much a difference between the latex used on The Paris compared to our Origins, Celsion is from Latex International – Our latex is from Latexco. Our blend is 60 / 40 and the Paris is described as 100% natural ! I would be inclined to question this as primary layer latex using a higher ratio of natural latex would be rather firm. Cannot find description outlining the wool, cashmere and silk fillings you mention.

    The other one is the Monet 1500, which has a 5cm foam (don’t know about the quality) + 2cm 100% natural latex on top of 1500 pocket sprung.
    No comparison.

    I have to say I am tempted by the Paris, since it looks like high quality latex and the number of springs seems adequate for my weight. Also, I can get it for the same price as your Origins Pocket Latex 1500. On the other end, the down side is they seem to only guarantee the mattress for one year only and the depth of the latex layer is less than yours… Do you have any comments regarding number of springs vs my weight? What do you think of memory foam+latex top layer? Is this just a trick to save money on a full latex layer? Many thanks in advance!

    The ballpark price I have found for The Paris is in the region of £800 (Kingsize) which extends your budget somewhat. As for the memory foam and latex combo, it’s all price relative more than a trick. Keep in touch. John and Ryan.

  • Philippe Gautier says:

    Hello again,

    I am almost ready to make a decision, but have one or two more questions, hope you don’t mind! I am after a double mattress (and I can get the Healthbeds Paris 2300 for £695, that’s why used it as a comparison to your Origins Pocket Latex 1500).

    Could you explain to me the rationale behind “Having two layers of latex is fundamentally better than using one layer of 6cm depth.”? I haven’t really seen that anywhere else… Are the 2 layers right on top of one other?

    Hi again Philippe. We work on the theory that multi-layers of component is ‘fundamentally better’ than using one block element. We think when your bodyweight fully compresses the top layer, the second layer should instantly become utilised, and then the third layer and so on until the main spring unit takes the strain. This is known as progressive support and a build method we favour. Bearing in mind that both layers of latex we use is the same 60/40 mix it may NOT have any progressive support qualities whatsoever, but we stick to our multi layer ethos – ? We don’t have access to factual data like this and so we would be incredibly interested to hear from people who could shed any light on this multi layer – same density theory.

    I’m still a bit confused about pocket-spring number… I’ve read in several places that the more springs you have the more support you have and therefore it will have a firmer feel. But on your pages, you say “The more springs in your mattress means the more comfortable / supportive it will be. Less springs means the mattress support will be firmer”. Is that not contradictory?

    It would be contradictory if not taken in context. I am well aware that this site needs updating, This site represents the bulk of my notes which I started publishing about three years ago. During the intervening period I started to add notes about calico pocket springs which have completely different characteristics to mass produced pocket springs which form the bulk of my comment. In addition to this we have become acutely aware of pretty much all supply source of pocket springs to industry, and therefore a need to generalise may at times be necessary. Obviously, a need to match the spring count to the end user is key. An 18st person will have completely different requirements to a 10 st person. Secondly, 1000 pocket springs is deemed to be a low count – 2000 count quite good. That’s mass produced pocket springs.

    For calico encased the average diameter is 45 – 50mm and therefore there can only be room to contain approx 1500 pockets on one layer. We take our leads from the best manufacturers – Vi Spring don’t base their mattresses on zillion trillion spring counts, neither do Savoir, neither do Hastens, neither do Marshall and Stewart. Once again, access to valuable data such as this is also hard to come across. As spring type is the only thing that can differentiate one manufacturer from another you will get 100 different answers from 100 different manufacturers to this particular one question.

    I forgot to say in my previous message that I usually sleep on the side/on my stomach. Not sure how to describe it. Let’s say that I sleep more or less in the “first aid recovery position” (if that makes sense?), with one arm under my pillow and my head. I’m a very bad sleeper and toss and turn a lot all night, but I’m working on my insomnia problem (and replacing my mattress is part of it).

    I realised that my existing mattress is probably too firm as I was having pins and needles symptoms recently, forcing me to change position more often. Buying a (cheap) 5cm memory foam topper helped a lot, which made me realised that I’m after a much softer feel for the comfort layer (and I guess 6cm latex is very good!).

    6cm is good – but it’s not as good as 18cm. You see, latex on a pocket spring unit is the best compromise to an all latex mattress (such as Dunlopillo). If your 5cm latex topper is comfortable enough, why not just change the underlying mattress which I assume has had it? A lot more affordable considering you already have the important part – the latex comfort layer.

    Finally, one of the additional benefit of the healthbeds, as advertised, is that they are hypoallergenic and dustmites resistant (which could also be a plus for me), but I am not sure if they are treated or if all latex beds are naturally like that (and therefore yours too).
    Blah, Blah …Blah. No offence Philippe, what I see here is one long paragraph of blurb from manufacturers and retailers taking up at least one paragraph using the space where they should be telling you what’s inside the mattress. I accept your question was about a specific model, but this phrase is evident in the great bulk of descriptions for all mattresses. ALL latex used for mattresses in this country is FR (Fire retardant) by law and is also naturally Hypoallergenic – as is the bulk of all components. The latex we use has a spray FR treatment. Some latex has graphite added (graphite latex) as the retardant this is known as a filler (less latex is used).

    I still think the Healthbeds is a very good deal, but on the other hand, your “Love It or Return It Guarantee” is very tempting! I am going on holiday on 27/6. Do you think if I order in the next few days this mattress could be delivered before that?

    Sorry, we are currently working to between two and three weeks. Bank Holidays and Jubilee have set us back a little, but we’re looking forward to a long weekend!! It would be interesting to hear who wins out.

    Sorry for this very long message! Feel free to remove it from the comment or to move it to a more adequate category… Philippe.

    Very interesting questions Philippe. But, it is better to keep to one specific topic. This gives me room to add a more detailed response. Your question about dustmites and hypo-allergenics could be fun to answer ..! John and Ryan.

  • Karen Cook says:

    G’day, I stumbled onto your website because I’m in the process of deciding what mattress to buy. Can anyone confirm if Latex mattresses are hot to sleep on hear in as it is a common complaint about them?

    Hi Karen. Heat from a mattress is quite subjective. There are numerous ‘complaints’ re memory Foam mattresses and the heat aspect which is the number one concern. However, there are also comments from people who do not see this as a problem and even some people will say that is is entirely unnoticeable.

    The same is true with Latex. True, there are some comments saying that latex is a heat retentive component, but in the main it is deemed to be unnoticeable. Any heat problems associated with any mattress can be combated with the correct bedding. It is pointless to expect a cool sleeping environment if you are using the heaviest tog duvet in the midst of Summer. John and Ryan.

  • Lim Yeow Keng says:

    Hi John,
    I am from Singapore, what’s your comment on Dunlopillo- Firmrest Plush?
    Feature it have areas below:
    -Clipped pocketed spring system
    -Talalay latex
    -Plush top design
    -Using Nano Silver in Talasilver
    I have try the mattress, feels good, with a good support on the back & had a layer of latex within the mattress.
    What’s your comment on the features & the product? For old people do you think is suitable? Both age 70 yrs old. Thank you.
    Lim Yeow Keng

    Hi Lim. I must admit this has been an eye opener for myself and Ryan. Prior to your question we were quite adamant that Dunlopillo only produced solid core latex mattresses – not latex on a pocket spring unit – but this particular specification uses the term ‘Clipped Pocketed Spring System’ which is a term we have not before come up against. [Update: A manufacturer friend of mine says that this could mean the process of hog ringing (clipping) all the pocket springs together to create a firmer bed of pocket springs.]

    The Dunlopillo Firmrest Plush is not available in this country, and as far as I can fathom is only available in Singapore. The image used on the [Dunlopillo Singapore] site does not seem particularly inviting and I am assuming the retail price would be significantly less than the prices we have to pay in the UK (would be so grateful if you could give us an indicator of how much a latex mattress costs in Singapore as you are a lot closer to the latex production company).

    Sorry we cannot give you any more detail than this but your comment has certainly been interesting for us. John and Ryan.

    Hi John,
    Thanks for the speedy reply.
    The Dunlopillo mattress cost around S$1599+ S$30 delivery fee.
    You can find the details at or go into promotion
    Warmth regards. Lim Yeow Keng.

    Hi again Lim. That translates into around £800. I must admit I am still reeling from the knowledge that Dunlopillo has used pocket springs as a means of support. I would have been adamant that they only utilise solid core latex as a means of support. So there you go. We all learn something new every day, Thanks so much. John and Ryan.

  • Jessie says:

    Hi John,
    i have a real challenge for you.

    I currently have a 14 year old Tempurpedic matress on a divan base , which needs changing. I’m Looking for a double matress and base. I weigh 11 stone.

    I have a spinal injury affecting, lower back and neck. I also have Fibromyalgia and M.E.

    The Tempurpedic seemed good for lower back problems but I have always found it a bit on the hard side, although better once it warms up. With Fibromyalgia everything seems too hard and causes pain on pressure points and just generally.I want a warm cloud!

    With M.E I have to avoid chemicals- so will not be buying another Tempurpedic from all I have read about offgassing.

    What if anything can you suggest to fit all these different problems and requirements. My spine needs something to support an injury but pliable enough to mould into the spinal curve. The Fibro requires something as soft as air and the M.E means I need something as free from chemicals as possible.

    I am looking at latex, but worried it might be too hard.

    I have looked at Essentia but don’t think their claims can be backed up.

    What do you think of latex as a choice for both softness AND support?
    What would be the best base, a divan or slatted wood? I would prefer the wood option to avoid the chemicals in a divan.

    I have looked at Abaca matressess which claim to be organic latex,or as near as possible to be. The Raglan with a firmness rating of 3 on scale of 1 to 5 looks promising. Thought I had found the answer. BUT for fire retardant it is covered in organic mohair and wool. In clothing, I itch badly anywhere near wool even over the top of something else! Would this apply in a bed?

    The Ramsay doesn’t mention wool but I assume it must be there to meet fire regulations. It is rated 4 out of 5 for firmness.

    What do you think? I have read you saying about your problems with getting natural latex, so do these claims stand up?

    Any reccomendations that can meet all these differing requirements? I expect to pay a hefty price but for a decent chance of sleep and less pain, I will pay as much as I possibly can, about £2000.

    I am so hoping you have some ideas and I think it is very kind of you taking so much time to anwer people’s questions.. Buying the right bed is more complicated than finding the right house to put it in!

    Hi Jessie. Indeed you have set a challenge and one that is not easy to approach.

    Your questions and concerns are numerous, and to respond fully with sound reasoning would and could replicate the size of this site once over again. Fibromyalgia and ME are both crippling conditions by themselves, to be struck with both .. I cannot even imagine how debilitating that must be.

    There are two models on the market that I think may be suitable for you and worthy of further physical investigation. Both come from Vi Spring and are built around a predominantly wool upholstery which coupled with a premium responsive spring unit should give you the mattress you crave. Please understand that this is not a definite recommendation of product or manufacturer but a means to a starting point for you to carry out your own enquiries.

    The first model is The Vi Spring Elite:
    [Official Description] 1.52mm wire springs, 56mm in diameter, sewn in individual calico pockets and hand-formed into a honeycomb-nested unit. Upholstered with 1,350gsm bonded British fleece wool and cotton. Overlaid with two layers of 900gsm blended British fleece wool and cotton

    As you can deduce from the above, the combined upholstery weight is 3150 GSM. This is not a stingy amount and equates to the ‘cloud’ you are after. However, their spring gauge quoted of 1.52mm is in my mind a tad on the firm side for this particular upholstery. Once your bodyweight has settled into this upholstery the spring unit should be buffering your weight in order that the upholstery is not compressing directly on a firm spring (if you see what I mean).

    They do not mention whether the 1.52mm equates to their SMoF (Soft, medium or Firm) tension models so it would be in your interest to find out. For your bodyweight and needs I would have thought a 1.30mm gauge would be more suitable for you.

    The second is a similar model, The Vi Spring Coronet
    [Official Description] 1.28mm wire springs, 49mm in diameter, sewn in individual calico pockets and hand-formed into a honeycomb-nested unit. Upholstered with 1,300gsm bonded British fleece wool and cotton, then two layers of 300gsm British fleece wool and overlaid with a layer of 1,200gsm blended British fleece wool and cotton.

    Once again, the upholstery is all soft and cushioning and a combined weight of 3100 GSM is similar to the model above. However, on this model the spring gauge attributed (1.28mm) is more suited to your requirements – although once again it does not mention the tension of the mattress this gauge is afforded to (SMoF ?).

    I hope this helps Jessie and it is unfortunate that we do not have any comparable models to offer you. However, please do not hesitate to add further comment based on what we have suggested or question what we say. We don’t purport to fully understand your condition and anything you can add will no doubt benefit many other readers. John and Ryan.

  • Spencer says:

    Hi John & Ryan. Me and the Mrs went mattress shopping today and have come back thoroughly confused! I want to try before I buy then buy the most comfortable I can afford. Today’s trip narrowed this down to two – both pocket sprung with memory foam. £690 for a Knolo Cloud 2000 and £630 for a Salus 1500 – both very comfy in the showroom.

    However, now I’ve had a good read through your site I’m convinced by your advice to go for latex instead of memory foam so I’m very tempted by your Origins Pocket Latex 1500. I remember the first mattress I ever bought (cheap bankrupt stock) was a Dunlopillo and it was fantastic.

    A couple of questions. 1) How can I try one out?? 2) I take it this in not the same as the Joseph Oracle Pocket Latex 1500?? How do they compare??

    Thanks, Spencer

    Hi Spencer. Firstly, the Dunlopillo mattress you previously had is not the same as they are today – and furthermore – not all latex is the same. To answer your second question, our Origins Latex is certainly not the same as The Oracle. If you had some comparable data on that particular model we would be in a better position to break it down part by part in order to point out the differences.

    Secondly, if you are looking at latex matts then your first point of call should be the stockists who supply the best range. As Dunlopillo are the market leaders you really should be hunting these out and if they fall outside your budget you will be in a better position to make any necessary compromises in order to get the best you can afford.

    I would also say that you should consider (or at least try and discount) the range of traditional built mattresses . This will put into perspective the quality and value of our Artisan range. As Vi Spring are noted to be the bed industry’s leader it would be wrong not to see what they offer and of course, if you fall in love with them (which you will) your task of finding similar for less becomes easy. It is worth noting that Vi Spring do not use memory Foam or indeed latex in any of their products. They are traditionalists who only use natural fibres and there is a good reason for this.

    Finally Spencer, there are over four thousand mattresses out there – you’ve tried two! It’s easier starting at the top (the best) and working down rather than starting at the bottom and working up. A budget of less than £1000 is not considered that high and so you should be looking to find the most mattress you can get for your money – the time you spend on your research now will pay dividends in the long run. John and Ryan.

  • chris findlay says:

    I am seriously considering your origins 1500 Pocket latex but I am also tempted to save a bit longer for your Artisan natural, I like the idea of latex but the luxury of the Artisan also appeals. In terms of comfort per £ how do they compare. Also what kind of topper would you recommend for the latex mattress? Would a thick goose down topper detract from the latex ‘effect’ (or squidgyness)

    Many thanks,

    Hi Chris. You cannot compare the Artisan Naturals with the Origins Latex – your comparisons have to be on a like for like basis i.e compare The Artisan Naturals with Vi Spring Regal Superb or The Origins Latex with a similar offering from Dunlopillo and so on. Your precise means of comparison are given on each of our listings – the combined upholstery weights, the weights by GSM (Grams per Square Metre) , the actual components and how they work together. Your dilemma will lie in the fact that these critical measures of comparison are not usually given by other manufacturers and it is up to you to do your Sherlock Holmes’ bit and try by whatever means to unearth them. 6cm of Latex for example is not the same as ‘contains’ a generous layer of Latex.

    Your question of how they rate in terms of comfort per £ is interesting. Without a shadow of a doubt the Artisan Naturals is a
    much better long term investment. And how do I come to this equation? Firstly each component used in any mattress follows a strict line of quality per £ spent. The bottom of the scale is of course Polyester in all its guises – White Fibre, Premium White Fibre, Hypo Allergenic White Fibre etc – Then comes the foams – Reflex Foam > Memory Foam > Latex. Then comes the Wools and Cottons. Then comes the hairs Cashmere > Mohair etc. And top of the quality component pyramid is the Horsehair > Horsetail. Simplified example but concise.

    However, to put the above in perspective you need to the weights in order for you to come to an educated decision as to which component or indeed combination of components makes for a better built mattress. There are only so many combinations and if you know or knew what weight was attributed to any particular mattress you would be in a far better position to do your comparisons with ease.

    Your comment re toppers for your mattress has been answered many times before. There is an obvious sense of bemusement as to why should you add a topper on top of mattress when the mattress in question ‘Should’ be just right without any addition. A valid assumption but completely wrong! My favourite analogy of a mattress with just the bottom sheet applied is similar to wearing trainers without socks – it makes no difference as to how much you paid for the said trainers, in a very short while they are going to stink like .. billy-oh.

    The same is true for the mattress, you have to add as much as you can to stop your body sweat permeating through the bottom sheet and into the mattress upholstery. Three quarters of a point per night is a typical reference point and even if that were half true, it still measures up to a lot of perspiration. The salts in your sweat degrades the fabric relatively quickly and if the underlying upholstery is polyester you will soon be sleeping on a mattress with the comfort properties of a beer mat.

    As testament to this philosophy, all you need to do is to take a look at the most prestigious brands who offer a separate topper as part of the overall build of their mattress: Savoir Beds / Hastens Beds / Marshall and Stewart and so on. It stands to reason that the primary layers of any mattress will be the first to go – using a topper as the element that takes the brunt of all nightly activity – sweat / pressure etc will enable the underlying mattress to keep like new for considerably years longer. The expense of changing your topper is fractional compared to exchanging your entire mattress.

    the theory with toppers is that they should replicate the underlying upholstery. And so, if it is a latex mattress then a latex topper could be used. A Wool and Cotton primary layer will have a wool and cotton topper. However, it should all come down to personal preference. Even though my mattress has a wool and cotton primary layer, I still favour the feather and down topper. This should be budgeted for and from our experience quality should come before price. the cheap topper I bought a while ago is now acting as an additional mattress pad – I had more feathers on the floor and sticking in my Jacksie than what was left in the topper. Ryan has recently purchased an absolute humdinger of a topper from Duvet and Pillow Warehouse (Double Fill Hungarian Goose feather and Down) similar to the one offered by The White Company but for considerably less.

    Finally Chris. A good exercise is to go to a good retailer that stocks the premium mattresses (Vi Spring etc) and see what levels of comfort they offer you. Once you know how a good mattress should feel, you will be in a better position to make the necessary compromises to get the best mattress you can afford. Hope this helps. John and Ryan.

  • John says:

    My wife and I had a Dunlopillo Diamond king size mattress for over 15 years, which was on a pine base with slats further apart than recommended by Dunlopillo, but that did not seem to cause any problem. We replaced the mattress a few months ago with another Dunlopillo Diamond but find that the specification has changed. The mattress is not as comfortable as the old one was (before it started to sag too much, which is why we replaced it) and there is a perception that it slopes towards the edge of the bed. The middle of the bed feels firmer and more comfortable. I am wondering whether there this is simply a characteristic of the mattress, or whether we could improve the comfort by one of the following:
    (1) adding more slats so that the gaps are reduced to the size recommended by Dunlopillo
    (2) completely replacing the base with a sprung beech slatted base. I have seen that some of these have special slats in the lumbar region where the tension can be adjusted. In a king size bed there would be two sets of slats that could be adjusted separately to suit both sleeping partners.
    I would appreciate any advice you can offer.

    Hi John. It is generally accepted that the latex used in Dunlopillo (UK) mattresses today is not the same blend as it was fifteen years ago. I also have a feeling that the actual supplier is not the same. It is our belief that the current supplier for all or least some of their models is Latexco. Latex International may also have some sort of contribution.

    One description I have seen states that (The Diamond) is filled with latex and Dunlopreme foam. This makes me suspect that it is not a complete latex solid core mattress but a latex laminated on to a Foam Support. Further in the description it states that it is a Non Turn mattress which features a deep Latex interior. This also fuels the thought that it is not a solid core latex mattress. I cannot find any description which gives a more complete breakdown of the actual build. A bit wrong considering the retail price.

    I’m not particularly convinced of the variable tension slats you refer to. My thoughts would be to opt for a sprung edged divan base as this particular mattress would benefit from a completely flat surface. Spring edging will make the mattress feel ‘softer’ which is not particularly the feel you are after but I think the overall feel will be better on a sprung edged base than a solid platform top base. As a cheap way of experimenting I would get two lengths of MDF and place on the slats of your current frame to make a flat surface to replicate the top of a platform top base. Bear in mind that this is not a permanent solution as your mattress will need ventilation to prevent possible mildew build up. Hope this helps and please let us know what the outcome will be. John and Ryan.

  • Dan says:

    After plenty of reading around, I’d like to go for a latex mattress. Unfortunately, the Origins 1500 is far too firm for me as I only weigh 10 stone.

    1) Are you aware of any manufacturers producing latex mattresses that are soft / medium soft at this body weight?

    2) Another alternative is to buy a pocket spring unit and a latex topper. Would you recommend this with the Origins Comfort?

    3) Finally, would you mind sharing your thoughts on full latex versus pocket sprung plus latex?

    Thanks in advance.

    Hi Dan. Interesting questions. With regards to the Origins Pocket Latex we do err on the side of caution. 6cm of Latex plus a further 2cm of Reflex Foam is an above average amount. Couple this with the support from the pocket springs leads to a very supportive (and comfortable) mattress. 10 stone and under is a below average weight so logically all your body will be using from this mattress is the latex layer. Which brings me to your question about full latex v pocket latex…

    Full latex gives you support and comfort in absolute equal measure. Your body will use what it needs to from comfort and the support kicks in when it can’t compress any further. I would go to Dunlopillo stockist (such as Furniture Village) to try their range to see how you feel on these type of mattresses. The thing to get from this is that as you (at 10st) will not be utilising all the latex in the mattress – would this be an unnecessary expense?

    Personally, I would suggest The Origins Comfort with a separate latex topper. The Comfort is a very forgiving mattress (Cloud like) which makes it an ideal choice for very light weights. Adding the topper to this – whether it be latex or a decent feather and down will give it a truly luxurious feel.

    Incidentally, when looking at latex toppers remember that there are different grades of latex. Grey graphite latex is the cheapest – Read here for more on this

    Hope this helps Dan. Please follow up on what you decide. John and Ryan.

  • Jas says:

    2013/01/05 at 10:05 [Transferred from Feedback page – John]
    Hi I need some advice on buying a mattress as I’m suffering lower back pain constantly and waking up with severe back ache. I feel I need to curl up each morning to realign my spine! I am 5’3 and weigh 11.5 stone and my husband is 6 ft and weighs 12 stone. We currently have a solid base with 4 drawers which we would like to keep and we both get really hot at night so would need a mattress that doesn’t get too warm. When we recently went abroad to India we slept on Dunlopillo mattresses on hard beds but had no back pain… Not sure if a hard base or a harder mattress is the key?

    Can you please advise us as I’m sick of wasting money on mattresses and would like to wake up pain free. My budget is £500 but would look at anything and wait till I can afford it as I’m so fed up of this pain!
    Thanks. Jas B

    Hi Jas. Personally, I would ask you to consider our Origins Latex mattress. Your bodyweights require an equal balance of support and comfort and as you have slept on a Dunlopillo mattress i think our offering will tick all your boxes. I know it is some way out of your budget of £500 but it really will be worth it.

    Secondly, if I didn’t think it would be suitable I would say so. Apart from a little upheaval and being back to square one, our Love It or Return It guarantee is worth its weight in gold (please read our feedback where some customers has had to use this). You will most certainly not be stuck with something that is not right for you. John and Ryan.

  • Anthony says:

    Tried the Hypnos Duchessa Matress at House of Frasier which claims to have latex “High quality upholstery fillings to include natural latex, which contours perfectly to body shape and offers superior support and comfort” – Total Mattress depth 24cm.

    My wife and I really liked the comfort but no one could tell us the Latex depth – just wondered how this would compare to your Origins Latex for comfort, firmness and depth?

    Your product is considerably cheaper is it true you get what you pay for?

    Hi Anthony. A quick call to Hypnos Customer Support [ 01844 348200 ] should be able to give you the necessary specification of the upholstery. The detail on the House of Fraser website states that the upholstery also includes “..Dual density anti allergenic white fibre for a deep soft and supportive comfort layer. Luxurious cashmere, lambs wool and anti-allergenic white fibre as surface layer for a more sumptuously comfortable experience..”

    The white fibre mentioned is quite simply polyester and seems to form the bulk of the upholstery. You will need to know the weight of the Cashmere and Lambswool by GSM (Grams per Square Metre) to see if it is of an amount to warrant the ticket price. 200GSM is deemed to be a low weight and is quite unlikely to make a significant difference to the overall comfort of the mattress.

    Taking all these factors into account it would seem that the actual latex layer (the most expensive part) within this mattress would be around 2 – 3cm but you will have to question the manufacturer and/or retailer to be sure. As a benchmark we use 6cm over a layer of Reflex foam as the bulk of the upholstery.

    The two rows of HSS (Hand Side Stitching) on the Hypnos mattress is a very nice detail, but I think the expense of this should have been used to improve the upholstery content.

    Do you get what you pay for? It’s hard to tell because as in this example you are not being told the necessary detail you require in order for you to make any kind of educated comparison. Please let us know what you find out. John and Ryan.

  • Christina says:

    I am interested in a pocket/latex mattress, and have read your comments about possibly combining a pocket mattress with a latex topper rather than an inbuilt combination, but do you have any recommendations for where to buy a latex topper??

    They seem to be very highly priced, but not very forthcoming about the quality of latex for your money. Is buying a £300-500 pocket and then £200-300+ for a topper a better investment than a £700-1000 combined mattress?? I am looking for a king size (hence the higher price of mattress) I am 5’4″ and average about 10 and a half stone but have suffered with back pain for about ten years (probably partly due to bad mattresses!!!) Thanks….

    Hi Christina. Your bodyweight indicates that support is less of a consideration than comfort. In your case I would opt for the mattress + topper combo. be sure though that the mattress (support) is not overly firm – Look at our Origins Comfort as an example and a 2cm Latex topper will be more than adequate for protection and additional comfort.

    I must admit, a quick search proved quite difficult to locate an acceptable latex topper and as you rightly say, rather lacking with any relevant detail (same problem as mattresses I feel). Please let me know what you find. As a secondary note, do not dismiss a feather and down topper – look at Pillow and Duvet Warehouse. I have just ordered a new one (yet to be delivered) which seems to be a good product for a good price (Duck Down Dual Chamber – Double £60.) Hope this helps. John and Ryan.

  • Debbie says:

    We’re fans of Dunlopillo and are looking to invest in a new divan. However, having looked at the Dunlopillo website and talked to various retailers we are more confused than ever. And having read your (excellent) website we’re now really, really confused!

    We bought our original king sized bed (Firmrest mattress and base with four drawers) almost thirty years ago. We then bought East 5 adjustable beds again with Firmrest mattresses around ten years ago. Our impression is that the latter mattresses are not as firm and haven’t lasted so well. The original bed is in our holiday home and this is what we want to replace. Our aim was to buy zip and link mattresses – forming a superking – which we could split in to two singles in the future.

    We understand that Dunlopillo have just replaced their entire range. We have been told by different retailers that: 1) Dunlopillo are no longer making an equivalent to the Firmrest – the new mattresses are all much softer; 2) The new ‘Universe’ mattress is the equivalent of the old ‘Firmrest’; 3) The quality of Dunlopillo mattresses has changed over the years and certainly in the last three years the quality went down and people have complained that they were getting softer and softer; 4) Dunlopillo no longer make a zip and link option and that customers are advised to buy two 90 x 200cm divan sets which can then be bolted together. (This last one appears to be accurate!)

    What is your view of the new range? And what do they actually comprise of? We like the firmness of the original ‘Firmrest’. Should we consider the more expensive deeper ‘firmer’ mattress option? Latex has worked for us so far. I personally dislike buttoned mattresses – a bit of The Princess and The Pea I’m afraid – and neither of us are fans of memory type mattresses. Two mattresses are also good – I’m 8 / 9 stone and my husband’s around 12. We’ve been offered the two beds and bases with drawers at just under £2500 which seems a good deal (but not quite the spectacular offer it’s been made out to be!). Is the Dunlopillo product still worth the money? Is there anything else we should consider?

  • Jayne Walsh says:

    I like the comfort of memory foam but have an old Healthopeadic 1500 mattress that is great but needs renewing and I get too hot as the foam heats up. Have you heard of coolmax and does it really help regulate body temperature on a latex or memory foam mattress? And what about Healthi-flo air flow channels within memory foam. Can you recommend a product? Jayne

    Hi Jayne. The heat aspect associated with Memory Foam is well and truly documented. Over the past few years various solutions to this problem have been introduced such as utilising Coolmax fabrics as the covering (Outlast is another) but I am personally quite cynical about the claims made.

    Other techniques to reduce the heat element includes channelling the memory Foam and the underlying foam support layer to encourage the free flow of air through the mattress. Once again, my cynicism kicks in and I feel it is unlikely that this has a significant impact on the heat build up. Logically, one would assume that for air to flow freely through the mattress there has to be some kind of venting system. If your mattress has a sheet plus bedding this free flow of air would be considerably hampered.

    I personally think heat reduction should be via your bedding. The reduction in tog value of your duvet helps considerably and also you can purchase Coolmax / Outlast bedding which offers a greater degree of benefit than having it directly on your mattress. Hope this helps. John and Ryan.

  • Gertie says:

    I’ve been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before. Gertie.

  • michele says:

    I have a quick question. Please advise asap which is better mattress?
    Vi Spring Traditional Bedstead or John Lewis Natural collection Lined 4000. Help please!

    Hi Michelle. Best for what? The problem you are faced with is these two mattresses can be deemed so different there is no way an accurate level of measure can be made. The spring systems are completely different – Vi Spring use calico encased and Harrisons (John Lewis NC Linen) use Revolution Spring in Spring. The main upholstery component on the Vi Spring Traditional Bedstead is predominantly blended Wool and Cotton (combined upholstery weight of 3100 gsm, and the upholstery in the John lewis model is Linen, Cotton and Hempure . (unknown weights and composition).

    Unless there are majority similarities between builds then it is virtually impossible to answer any ‘which is best’ questions. Have a read of this comment (Nick) who asked a similar question but the response is detailed enough for other readers to benefit from it. John and Ryan.

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