What to Avoid When Shopping for Latex Mattresses

Shopping for latex mattresses can be an ordeal; what type? what firmness? what features? After going through the tedious task of finding which type of mattress is the right one, there is still the task of filtering through the brands and models. Fortunately there are a few key things, widely understood as undesirable, to avoid whether you are buying a mattress online or in a store.

Top Features to Avoid in Latex Mattresses

1) Chemical Flame Retardants

The number one thing to avoid is the use of chemical flame retardants. These chemicals were intending to keep consumers safer by minimizing the risk of the mattress burning while asleep. However, the truth is that these harsh chemicals represent a series of health hazards that are often not known to the consumer. These include:

  • Respiratory irritation
  • Affects asthma sufferers
  • Affects individuals with other respiratory conditions including emphysema.
  • May irritate skin directly exposed to it

Avoid Latex mattresses that use chemicals like formaldehydes and carcinogens. Opt for beds that use natural wool instead; which offers natural flame resistance. Rayon fabric barriers are another safer alternative. There are a few ways to tell if latex mattresses includes chemicals.

  • If the mattress clearly labels it (rare).
  • If the retailer does not know what the mattress contains, it’s probably chemical based.
  • If the retailer bounces around the question, it is probably chemical based.
  • If you don’t see wool natural or a rayon fiber barrier specifically mentioned as the fire-proofing method, than it’s likely chemically treated.

2) Synthetic Latex & Blends

You should also avoid synthetic latex and blends, as these are not natural and introduce added chemicals. If you are shelling out the money for latex bed, its best to opt for an all natural latex mattress. Petroleum fillers would have to arguably be one of the most used products in mattresses today. These are not natural and can be highly combustible (introducing the need to strong chemical retardants). Petroleum fillers are often found in synthetic foams, blended latex mattresses, and mattresses that have latex only on the top layer, with the bottom layer being poly foam. See the chart below, in which BestMattress-Brand.org shows results a survey of consumer latex mattress reviews comparing the two types.

Reviews: All-Latex vs Latex & Foam

 100% Natural LatexLatex Blend over Foam
Owner SatisfactionAC
Back Pain ReliefAD
Natural MaterialsAC
No Off-GassingAD
Dissipates HeatAC
Return PolicyAC
Avg. Queen Price$2,500 $1,500

Owners have graded the options between these two and overall the natural standard received an A for each category. Starting with the overall customer satisfaction, All natural brands received an A, while blended versions ranked low with a C.

One of the biggest complaints about latex mattresses and foam mattresses, are their heat retention problems. Fortunately all-natural latex models were graded by consumers with an A while the blended models fell behind with a C, suggesting that they hold an extreme amount of body heat making sleep uncomfortable. The lowest grading category for blended latex mattresses was the off-gassing effect caused by the internal chemicals of the mattresses. All-natural graded with an A while blended versions had a D. This would conclude that all natural latex mattresses do not emit the unbearable smells, since they do not contain the harsh chemicals.

3) Unnatural or Inorganic Covers

The fabrics of latex mattress should also be accounted for when screening for the best mattress. Natural fibers like cotton and wool offer the most breathability, and maintain the natural benefits of the latex foam. Organic is even better, as this means the fabric avoids pesticides, dyes and other chemicals, keeping your sleep space as clean and healthy as possible. Make sure anything classified as organic has the certifications to back it up.

4) Glued Layers

As part of the chemical screening process, also avoid the use of glues. Harsh chemicals such as glues add chemicals that can be hazardous to ones health, and at the very least smell bad. Also, the use of glues eradicates the possibility of customizing the layers of the mattress, or replacing them selectively.

5) Beds without Warranties or Trials

Quality latex beds tend to have some of the best warranties in the industry. If it has less than 20 years total or less than 10 years full-replacement, this is a bad sign as a good latex bed should last at least 10 years. Remember also to avoid non-refundable beds, or beds that do not come with a trial period. If you are new to this mattress type, you may find you need to exchange for a different firmness after testing it out.

The lifespan of a mattress is important as consumers will be using and abusing it everyday. Therefore it is important that the purchased latex mattresses be long lasting. Between natural and blended versions, the differed slightly in this category as natural received yet another A while the blended brands ranked with  B.

A Comparison of Latex Mattresses by Brand

BrandLatex TypeAdjustable LayersGlueCoverFlame RetardantWarrantyReturn PolicyWebsite UsabilityVerified ReviewsBase Price
AstrabedsOrganic DunlopYesNoOrganic CottonWool25 yrs90 daysAYes$1299
FlobedsNatural TalalayYesNoOrganic CottonWool20 yrs100 daysCNo$1999
Habitat FurnishingsNatural Talalay/DunlopNoYesKnit Blend, Organic OptionWool20 yrs365 daysDYes$1199
Life KindNatural Talalay, Organic DunlopYesNoOrganic CottonWool20 yrsNABNo$1595
Plush BedsNatural Talalay/Dunlop, Organic DunlopNoNoOrganic CottonWool20 yrs100 daysBYes$1299
Sleep EZBlended TalalayYesNoCotton, Organic OptionRayon/Wool20 yrs120 daysDNo$995

Astrabeds natural latex mattresses pass Eco-Institut certification, which is an independent testing and certification system for textile raw materials that tests for detectable levels of harmful VOCs and chemicals. The brand uses certified organic latex foam, organic cotton covers, and natural wool barriers to create healthy mattresses, and also allows for customization. Their website uses an open verified customer rating system that allows shoppers to transparently see what others think about the beds, and prices or similar or lower than other comparable organic beds.

Natural latex mattresses beat the competition every time, across all factors. While they may be more expensive initially, the investment in durability and health outweigh the cost for most shoppers. Plus, online retailers offer lower prices than showrooms, putting them well within the affordable range. Consumers are more aware, now than ever, about the benefits of purchasing all natural products. The durability, comfort levels, and environmental impact of natural latex mattresses prove favorable to shoppers, and reduces the dependence on synthetic products.

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