What is latex?

Latex is a premium solid core mattress material. Latex offers superior comfort and durability when compared to memory Foam and other mattress foams. Furthermore, it is incredibly durable with some examples of Latex beds being 40 years + in age and still offering support and comfort! Latex is a derivative of the rubber tree and, in its true form, is the premium natural foam alternative. This, in turn, makes it a more expensive material. Latex is not heat retentive like some other foams and has a rapid response rate; this means it returns to its original shape very quickly. It is often classed as the top end mattress foam material.

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Latex is by nature hypo-allergenic, anti-microbial and dust mite resistant. With the exception of Latex allergies, it is a prime choice for those who have sensitive skin or non-Latex allergies.

The key to quality Latex lies in its construction method which will usually be anything from completely synthetic, chemically reproduced Latex equivalent, to 100% Natural solid Latex. The latter being the premium material.

What is latex made of?

Natural Latex is produced by the para rubber tree, Latin name Hevea brasiliensis for botanists, which originally was found native in Brazil. Seeds were collected from Brazil and stored at Kew gardens in the 1870s and reared here in the UK. They were then distributed to areas such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Indonesia which are now the largest latex producers.

rubber tree plantation in Thialand

Latex is produced as a milky substance from within the rubber tree, not to be confused with the sap. These days there are a number of plantations around the world notably Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Cameroon. In its natural untreated form, latex is often referred to as ‘the white gold’ due to its appearance, durability as rubber and high-quality applications. The natural milky substance is also referred to as N.R or natural rubber.

The rubber trees themselves take 7 years to mature until they can be tapped and harvested for their Latex.

Which is better latex or memory foam in a mattress?

This a common question asked by many customers and there is the matter of personal choice, which clearly we can’t provide a definitive answer on. What we can do is compare the two objective measures. Providing you with the hard facts to decide for yourselves.

We have put together a short video to explain the main comfort differences.

Material differences between latex and memory foam

Natural latex is a far superior material to memory foam as it does not have the associated heat issues and is a naturally breathable material. Latex has been tested side by side against other foam mattresses and has consistently scored higher in terms of durability and comfort. Sleep like the dead is an excellent resource which has tested hundreds if not thousands of beds on this score!

Memory foam suffers from a slower rebound rate, the rate at which it returns to its natural state whereas latex is almost immediate. This means for those who dislike the moulding and sinking feeling in memory foam, latex can offer an alternative.

Memory foam is temperature sensitive so when it’s colder, ie winter, it will be firmer than when it is hotter, in the summer months.

Latex has a consistent firmness compared to memory foam

Since we like cakes, memory foam could be compared to a simple Victoria sponge cake and latex a bespoke handmade rich fruit cake. Some like one over the other but the latex, or rich fruit cake, is made of a much higher quality ingredient list which provides a more rich result.

Cost differences between latex and memory foam

In terms of budget memory foam is considerably cheaper and we have some excellent foams and hybrid foams that provide a quality product at the entry-level pricing. If money was no object in your decision making then a latex bed would win overall. Most customers are balancing budget, requirements, quality and durability off against each other.

Is latex the same as Tempur and or memory foam?

These are questions that are frequently searched for online. Let me start by clarifying, Tempur foam/memory foam is a completely different synthetic material compared to natural latex. They are certainly not the same thing! Whilst they have a similar pressure relieving property, they react and feel different from each other. Tempur/memory foam is heat sensitive and reacts to heat. Latex, on the other hand, reacts to pressure and moulds based on body weight primarily.  Trying to compare them is unfair to both materials, like comparing beer and wine! Latex is a more advanced and natural product, if its natural latex more on that here, than synthetic memory foam. Solid core latex mattresses can also be fully turned, unlike memory and Tempur foam mattresses.

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