Latex is a material you usually hear about when discussing gloves, shoes, hoses and mattresses. In its raw form, latex is a milky white liquid substance that is composed of rubber particles dispersed in water. There are different kinds of latex for different applications, and there are also different methods to manufacture it. Here, we’ll focus on latex used in the bedding industry.
Latex has become a favored material among consumers looking for a quality mattress. For one thing, the durability of latex is 20 times more than that of standard polyurethane foams. The initial cost of purchasing a latex mattress may be higher, but since you won’t have to replace it as often, you still get to save money in the long run.
Another reason why latex mattresses have become the bed of choice among many is that they are breathable, thanks to their open cell structure. This means that unlike other types of mattresses, they don’t retain heat and cause you to sweat while you sleep. If you have a latex mattress, you’ll sleep coolly and comfortably.
2 Main Types of Latex
The bedding industry uses two major types of latex in its products:
- Natural rubber latex – latex “milk” harvested from Hevea brasiliensis rubber trees. The trees produce the sap when an incision is made into their bark. The sap is then tapped, or collected in a cup. Pooled together in buckets, the latex is sent to rubber factories where it is manufactured into latex foam for mattresses and pillows.
- Synthetic rubber latex – also called Styrene Butadiene Rubber, this man-made latex is also used in mattresses and other bedding materials. While not as soft as natural latex, it is used because of the stability it provides during the manufacturing process.
Natural and synthetic latex can be combined to become what is called blended latex.
3 Types of Latex Used In Mattresses
For mattress manufacture, three types of latex are used:
- 100 percent natural latex – nothing synthetic here, it’s all made with 100 percent natural rubber latex. The most expensive latex mattress type is made from this.
- Natural latex – this type is made using 85 percent natural rubber latex and 15 percent synthetic latex. Actually, the industry standard is that any mattress that has more than 80 percent natural latex is considered a natural latex mattress.
- Pure latex – more synthetic than natural, with an 80/20 ratio.
As mentioned earlier, synthetic latex is often added for stability. Mattresses that are made from 100 percent natural latex don’t have this quality, which may cause them to wear more quickly than mattresses with synthetic latex.
This is why natural latex mattresses are often the preferred option for consumers who are looking for a product that’s good value for money yet is still friendly to the environment. Natural latex mattresses provide consumers with a luxurious feel, flexibility, pressure relief and progressive comfort while also being durable. In addition, with only a 20 percent difference in the amount of natural latex, you would hardly feel the difference!
The most common and most affordable type of latex is pure latex. This is because it’s a lot easier to manufacture. Pure latex is still a good choice for those looking for a mattress as it gives excellent support.
The type of latex mattress to choose would of course depend on your budget and personal sleeping preferences. If you want a mattress with a premium, all-natural feel and have the budget for it, go for a 100 percent natural latex mattress. Don’t worry – even if you don’t have the money for that kind of latex mattress, there are still plenty of excellent and more affordable options in the blended latex department.