Which is the Better Mattress, Latex or Memory Foam?

Choosing the right mattress can be stressful, especially when faced with the whirlwind of new innovations in mattress technology and the seemingly infinite list of options the mattress market has to offer.

To ensure that you’re getting the quality sleep you deserve, this list narrows down the most important mattress must-haves to consider during your next shopping trip.

Understanding the distinctions between latex and memory foam mattresses (and how they can improve your beauty rest) is a great first step in purchasing a mattress best suited to your needs.

Memory foam

Memory (or viscoelastic) foam is composed of a high-density polyurethane. It was first developed in 1966 by NASA Research Centre to protect pilots and crew against airplane collisions.

Nowadays, most memory foam features plant-based alternatives that utilize soybean oil instead of petroleum. This innovation in memory foam is eco-friendly and biodegradable.

Both petroleum-based and soybean-based models contain the same ache-relieving benefits. Memory foam adjusts in accordance to the heat and pressure exerted by the body. It changes shape to accommodate your unique body shape and retains structure for an extended period of time. In fact, after a person has slept on the memory foam mattress, the foam does not revert back to its original shape instantaneously, evidence of the material’s malleability.

Its moldable quality makes memory foam a great solution for people suffering from back and neck pain. It even alleviates symptoms of bedsores.

Besides utility, memory foam is best known for its embracing feel. Premium memory foams are coupled with layers of foam, which vary in diameter and thickness, to further increase comfort.


On the other hand, latex consists of natural materials derived from the sap of the rubber tree. This gives the latex mattress its characteristic bouncy feel.

Due to the rubber components in latex, the time it takes for the mattress to revert to its original state is much quicker than in memory foam. This means that prints and cresses don’t linger on longer.

Natural latex is biodegradable and even environmentally-friendly. Synthetic latex is an alternative, though it tends to feel more like memory foam. Natural latex is significantly less springy and is created from Styrene-Butadiene rubber and petroleum-based materials.

There are two main varieties of latex mattresses:

Talalay latex

Talalay latex has higher air concentration, making it lighter and easy to transport. Its ability to retain air allows the mattress to act as a temperature regulator. This helps cool you off during hot nights–a necessity for sensitive sleepers.

Dunlop latex

Dunlop, on the other hand, is much heavier than Talalay. Its dense texture employs more lumbar support and sturdiness.

Unfortunately, Dunlop latex doesn’t feature temperature regulating properties. Instead, it compensates with durability, as it retains its shaper longer and prevents sagging over time.

Major differences between latex and memory foam mattresses

Texture & conforming quality

A notable difference between the two mattresses is their ability to conform to your shape. Memory foam easily adjusts and contours to the frame of your body perfectly, while latex deforms to the impressions and prints created.

Latex has a more bouncy feel which compresses and recoils to your body weight. This pushes your body upwards and holds your body in good posture while straightening your back.

If you prefer a sinking feeling, memory foam is the best option for you.

Ability to dissipate heat

Each mattress possesses different temperature retaining abilities. For example, memory foam is known to trap in heat, due to its enclosed, tightly-spaced molecular structure. With this in mind, memory foam is ideal for individuals who prefer to stay warm during slumber.

Conversely, latex mattresses open structure allows better airflow into the mattress. This helps distribute heat evenly which in turn chills down your body temperature leaving you feeling cool and comfy. Depending on how ventilated you’d prefer to be in your sleep, select the mattress that meets your needs.


On the price spectrum, synthetic latex mattresses tend to scale on the cheaper side, whereas natural latex and memory foam are on the opposite side of the spectrum. This is due to the material availability and resources used in constructing these mattresses.

Natural rubber in latex and petroleum byproducts in memory foam are not easy to come by. These products can range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, whereas synthetic latex mattresses are produced for a fraction of the cost.


The durability of the mattresses is affected by density and layers. Memory foam and Dunlop latex mattresses are durable and can withstand large weight and pressure applied. However, they tend not to last very long, and moving them around can be an issue.

If you prioritize mattress longevity, natural latex might be the best fit for you. Natural latex mattresses can last for several years longer than most alternatives if they are well taken care of.

Final thoughts

As you shop, let your must-have features steer you in the right direction. Remember, that if one type of mattress doesn’t suit your needs or budget, another mattress will. Just make sure to adjust your preferences according to your budget.

Remember, in the mattress market, there’s something out there for everyone. After all, both memory foam and latex mattresses are great for a diverse set of sleepers.


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