Which is better, Latex, Polyurethane or Memory Foam?
When choosing a mattress, what are the factors you consider? Is it comfort, the quality of sleep, the durability of the bed or the health benefits to be gotten? As humans, rest plays a significant role in our lives and the type of mattress used also affects the quality and nature of sleep.
As a result of the questions that abound regarding the benefits of foam and latex mattresses, we decided to compare and let you make a decision.
After all, who better to help you than we who make one of the best mattresses in the world.
Vulcanising liquid latex into solid foam makes latex mattresses. The liquid latex is gotten naturally from the milky sap of a rubber tree or synthetic materials; latex foams are springy without the use of coils, and springs.
Production of a latex foam
The material for the creation of a latex foam can be gotten in 3 ways:
- The use of natural latex: This involves the use of raw latex sourced from rubber trees before being processed organically to create the layers of foam.
- The method of synthetic latex: Although synthetic latex can be produced through the use of artificial materials, styrene-butadiene rubber is frequently used.
- Blended latex: A combination of synthetic and natural latex.
After the sourcing of materials to be used in the production process, there are four ways in which the latex can be processed:
- Talalay latex: Latex is poured into a mold to a certain level. Through the use of a vacuum, air is subsequently passed into the frame which then expands the latex to create the foam.
- Dunlop latex: The latex is poured at one go into the mold.
The difference between the two techniques creates a variation in density in the final latex mattresses that are made. Latex foams formed through the Dunlop process are soft on top but dense at the bottom. Those made through Talalay have a smooth feel from top to bottom.
What does a latex mattress feel like?
The demand for latex mattresses is relatively high due to the excellent support and comfort provided. If you were to lay on a latex foam, what you will feel is a downy softness that lets you sink in comfort. The softness is followed by supportive firmness to hold your weight.
Although the softness is one of its significant perks, there is more to the latex mattress than the comfort it offers. They also provide exceptional airflow properties, well-suited to warm climates, and naturally resistant to mold and dust mite.
Advantages of a latex mattress
- Outstanding comfort: We observed that compared to other foams, latex mattresses provide unsurpassed support that helps to alleviate pain.
- Naturally sourced: Unlike polyurethane which is gotten from petrochemicals and poses a danger to human health, latex foams are environmentally friendly. The main component which is latex is acquired naturally from trees.
- Resistant to mold and dust mites: Unlike other mattresses which attract bed bugs, trap dirt within them and grow mold after a period, latex mattresses are naturally resistant.
- Proper ventilation: Good air flow is encouraged in latex mattresses due to the open cell structure. Also, the production process fosters the presence of pinholes which enhance the further flow of air.
- Durable: Latex mattresses can stand the test of time by being more long-lasting compared to other foam mattresses.
Disadvantages of a latex mattress
- Cost: Every good product has its weak point, and for the latex foam, that would be the cost.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Polyurethane foam is made primarily of compounds derived from petrochemicals. The polyurethane, also known as poly-foam, comes in different varieties and densities.
Production of a polyurethane foam
The creation of polyurethane foam is a bit complex due to the chemicals used. However, a simple breakdown of the production process is the use of halocarbons, water and hydrocarbons. American Chemistry offers a broad look at the production process.
How does a polyurethane foam feel?
Poly-foam is used as the top layer of spring mattresses. It is the least expensive as well as lowest quality foam used in beds. You may be more familiar with poly-foam as the type of foam used in “egg crates,” mattress toppers and sofa cushions.
Due to the different density of poly-foam, when you lie on it, it can get easily compressed. However, even with the softness and support it provides, it cannot offer the pinpointed support associated with latex and memory foam mattresses.
Advantages of a polyurethane foam
- Cost: Price is subjective, but compared to the latex foam which is pricey and the memory foam which is also above average, polyurethane is relatively inexpensive. However, polyurethane comes in different densities and grades, and the cost also varies according to this.
- Light: One of the most comfortable mattresses to lug around are those made from polyurethane foam.
Disadvantages of a polyurethane foam
- Durability: Unlike its counterpart the latex foam which lasts for an extended period, a polyurethane mattress breaks down much faster.
- Poor airflow: The ventilation within a polyurethane foam is barely present with heat being trapped within the bed.
- Distribution of movement: Due to the nature of the polyurethane being springy, movement on one side of the bed is felt on all sides.
- Support: The support provided for the body or spine by a poly-foam mattress is not as pinpoint as that of the latex foam.
- Health: Made How has an article on the process of polyurethane. The chemicals used are harmful to health.
Memory foam is otherwise known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam or Tempurpedic foam. The combination of polyurethane and added materials with viscoelastic properties are what makes up the human-made foam.
Production of a memory foam
Before memory foam can be created, a polyurethane mix comprising of water, hydrocarbons and halocarbons has to be made. Polyol and diisocyanate are then mixed into the polyurethane. After it rises, gas is introduced into the solution to create a cell structure. The cell structure determines the density of the foam and the type of airflow.
Wikipedia offers a more in-depth look at the creation process of memory foams.
how does a memory foam feel?
An action as simple as lying down on a memory foam will apply pressure to the mattress thereby causing it to mould to the pressure points. Depending on the type of memory foam used, the amount of time it takes for the foam to respond to pressure varies.
When lying on a memory foam, there is a pinpointed feel but the support provided is not quite like the latex foam. Also, memory foam is reactive to heat and gets softer as it gets warmer, thereby giving a sinking feeling.
Advantages of a memory foam
- Pressure relief: Memory foam mattresses provide even support for the body by distributing your weight across the surface. Even distribution of the load prevents pressure on points like the shoulder and hips making for a perfect rest.
- Support: For those suffering from body aches, this is the perfect support as it can conform to your body.
- Durable: Compared to poly-foam, memory foam lasts longer.
- No transfer of motion: Unlike the polyurethane where movement on one side means movement is felt on all sides of the mattress, action on one side is not transferred to another.
Disadvantages of a memory foam
- Weight: Due to the compact nature of the mattress, memory foams can be quite dense to move.
- Odor: Chemicals are used in the creation of the mattress and as a result, distinct smells lasting for weeks can exude from them.
Now, you know that…
- Latex foams are renowned for their natural, durable and healthy qualities but aren’t the top when it comes to comfort.
- Poly-foams are comprised of petrochemicals which are of harmful nature, but its different density makes the softness it provides a much-coveted factor.
- Memory foam is known for both their pressure relief and comfort, but the use of polyurethane induces harsh chemicals that are harmful.
The key to a good nap or pleasant night rest relies on so many factors. However, the type of mattress in which you sleep also has a major role to play.
Each mattress has their merits, but only you can decide on which is best for you. So, take a closer look at what these mattresses offer and make a choice you won’t regret.