Latex vs Innerspring Mattresses—Which Should You Choose?

There are many distinctions between latex vs innerspring mattresses that you should know before you go shopping for your next mattress.

By Nicole Gleichmann

Consumers are fortunate to have a wide range of mattress materials at their fingertips. But to make the best selection, you must know the pros and cons of each.

While most people have firsthand experience sleeping on a traditional innerspring mattress, fewer have spent the night on a latex mattress. We will compare latex and spring mattresses, giving you the necessary information to decide which one is best for you.

Innerspring Mattresses

Inside coils of an innerspring mattress

Innerspring mattresses have been around for over 100 years. Also known as traditional mattresses, they contain a layer of steel coils that provide support and structure. In addition to the coils, these mattresses contain a variety of foams and fabrics for support, cushion, and visual appeal.

Traditional innerspring mattresses feel bouncy and supportive. The amount of cushion and contouring is dependent upon the makeup of the top comfort layer(s). Both foam quality and coil count are factors that determine the feel and longevity of an innerspring mattress.

Many spring-containing mattresses are hybrids that contain springs and other common mattress materials. Memory foam or latex foam can offer extra comfort in hybrid mattresses.

Pros of Innerspring Mattresses

The innerspring mattress is the most affordable type of mattress. It offers bouncy support that can be great for adult nighttime activities. Thanks to the coil core, these mattresses have superb breathability, allowing for a cool night’s rest.

Cons of Innerspring Mattresses

Coil mattresses are noisy and readily transfer movement. While the springs offer great support, they do not provide much give at pressure points. The result can be aches and pains, particularly for side sleepers.

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses can be made from either synthetic or natural materials. Natural latex mattresses are made from the sap of the rubber tree. Synthetic latex mattresses are petroleum-based. Most of the latex beds on the market are blended, meaning that they contain both natural and synthetic latex.

Few consumers are familiar with what a latex mattress feels like. Overall, latex mattresses offer an unparalleled combination of comfort and supportiveness. In comparison to an innerspring mattress, a latex mattress is going to be less bouncy. It will conform more to one’s body than a coil bed, but less so than a memory foam mattress.

How a latex mattress feels will depend largely on how the mattress is made. Latex for mattresses can be constructed via either the Dunlop or Talalay processes. Dunlop yields a firm, supportive mattress. Talalay creates a softer, more conforming mattress. Some latex mattresses contain both types of latex.

Pros of Latex Mattresses

Latex is a unique material that some people find extraordinarily comfortable. It provides a middle ground between the enveloping comfort of a memory foam mattress and the bouncy support of an innerspring mattress.

The exact benefits will largely depend on the type of latex (natural, synthetic, or blended) and the manufacturing process (Talalay vs Dunlop). Overall, natural latex is considered superior to synthetic or blended, and personal preference dictates whether Dunlop or Talalay latex would be best.

When you opt for an all-natural latex mattress, you are choosing one of the most sustainable products on the market. Natural latex also offers impressive longevity, with some mattresses lasting 10 or 20 years.

All latex mattresses are

  • Naturally resistant to dust mites and mold
  • Quieter than a coil mattress
  • Better at isolating motion than a traditional mattress
  • Potentially customizable

Cons of Latex Mattresses

You must be very careful when choosing the best latex mattress as advertising can be misleading. Some mattresses are labeled as natural latex when they contain only 30% natural latex and 70% synthetic materials.

In comparison to the traditional spring mattress, latex mattresses are

  • More expensive (particularly natural latex)
  • Hotter
  • Less springy

Comparing Innerspring and Latex Mattresses

  • Overall Owner Satisfaction: Latex mattresses win on average when it comes to owner satisfaction ratings. However, some people will prefer the feel of one mattress over the other.
  • Durability: Latex mattresses usually last longer than spring mattresses. A high-quality spring mattress may last 10 years. A natural latex mattress could top 20 years.
  • Pain Relief: Latex mattresses conform a bit better to the body than traditional innerspring mattresses. As a result, latex is usually better are relieving pressure point pain.
  • Support: Innerspring mattresses win when it comes to overall support. The pushback provided by the steel coils is very supportive. Firm latex models are relatively supportive but not as much as coil beds.
  • Cost: Quality and cost vary widely with both mattress types. Generally, innerspring mattresses are one of the most budget-friendly options. There are luxury coil mattresses that cost thousands of dollars. All-natural latex mattresses are quite expensive. You should keep in mind that they tend to last longer than coil beds. Blended latex mattresses can provide a good balance between quality and cost.
  • Responsiveness: Responsiveness describes how well a mattress “responds” to your movement. Innerspring mattresses are more responsive than latex mattresses. When weight is applied to springs, the force back is nearly immediate. Some people like this feel for sex. Latex is responsive, but not in a springy way. It returns to its original shape quickly, but doesn’t provide much force back. The result is a mattress that is easy to move on at night, but not as good for bouncy support.
  • Temperature: Innerspring mattresses sleep cooler. They do not retain much heat thanks to the ample breathability provided by the coil core. Latex mattresses are cooler than memory foam, but much less breathable than coil beds.
  • Sustainability: Natural latex mattresses are considered the eco-friendliest mattress option. Because rubber is tapped from rubber trees, the trees do not have to be cut down. It is also possible to source an organic latex mattress. But, do know that there are eco-friendly coil mattresses and not-so-environmentally friendly latex mattresses. Synthetic latex is made from petrochemicals. And there are coil mattresses that use organic materials and natural flame retardants

Conclusion

Latex mattresses receive higher user reviews than innerspring mattress, although both types of mattresses have pros and cons. To choose the best mattress, consider your unique needs. Remember, no one mattress type is perfect for everyone.


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