Are you looking for a new mattress—or possibly lamenting a recent buy? Either way, it’ll be helpful to you to understand the key differences between latex mattresses and innerspring mattresses.
Innerspring mattresses contain metal coil springs, typically topped with a layer of foam (often memory foam or synthetic latex) and possibly some kind of fiber batting for cushioning. The outside is a casing made of various, usually synthetic, fabrics. Fabric materials and their chemical finishes will vary from brand to brand.
Innersprings are affordable. Inexpensive metal springs make innersprings less costly than all-latex mattresses, but they often contain a wide variety of other materials. Some innersprings contain memory foam, others latex. Most innerspring mattresses contain chemical flame retardants; some incorporate organic wool batting that allows them to pass the mandated flame tests. A wide range of mattress styles fall under the category of innerspring, so it’s important to evaluate each individual model.
The right latex mattress can be incredibly lush and comfortable, but a layered style can also be made very firm and supportive. Some models can be customized for couples, such as with one side softer and one side firmer.
True latex mattresses are made from layers of durable natural latex foam. The foam itself is made from the sap of the rubber tree, hevea brasiliensis, which grows primarily in India and Southeast Asia.
Other “latex mattresses” you’ll find are made from all-synthetic or blended (part synthetic, part plant oil) latex, as cheaper alternatives to the natural rubber material. Synthetic foam manufacturers can cut costs by infusing other chemicals and materials such as polyurethane (or memory foam) into the mixture. Like innersprings, latex mattresses vary a great deal in materials and quality. A latex mattress can provide a wonderful sleep environment, but a cheap version cannot be made with top-quality natural latex foam.
Both innerspring and latex mattresses can be comfortable, but finding the right one is key. A “latex mattress” can contain varying amounts of natural rubber, because the term “latex” is not regulated. Some mattresses contain a minimal amount of real latex, even as little as 5% natural latex serum, but are still marketed as “latex mattresses.” Quality natural latex mattresses contain a lot—look for 90%-95% natural latex rubber. A “100%” latex mattress is impossible (the term “100%” is an absolute measure that would represent unprocessed rubber sap). But high-quality natural latex foam that is certified organic or Cradle-to-Cradle certified is excellent assurance of the best available.
Innerspring mattresses can also be quite comfortable. Above the springs there is usually a layer (or more) of foam along with the casing fabric materials. Consider the type of foam you prefer and also the casing fabric. Memory foam has a closely-molded feeling which can make it difficult to change positions while sleeping. Latex is more responsive, and can be made in a wide range from soft to firm.
Both mattress types can be comfortable, but when it comes down to it, an all-natural-latex mattress is very comfortable. And customizable!
The durability of natural latex is unmatched by conventional mattress materials; Savvy Rest’s customizable latex mattresses have a 20-year warranty. The best natural latex foam contains a very high rubber content (95%+) which increases the mattresses’ overall quality and durability.
Innerspring mattresses can last a long time, but when choosing a brand take note of the quality of the materials and the type of customer service you think you’ll receive. Companies that offer lower-quality materials tend to be less concerned about making sure you’re satisfied with their product over a long period of time. Find a company you can trust. One that is open and honest about materials, certifications, and warranty information is a great start.
Innersprings often contain memory foam or other cheap materials, but some contain natural latex and organic materials. Savvy Rest’s Earthspring™ mattress is a non-toxic innerspring mattress made with organic wool, organic cotton, and all-natural latex.
Conventional “latex” mattresses may not be the healthiest choice. They do contain some real latex—which is natural—but most “latex” foam mattresses on the market today use part-rubber foams that are blended with other foams and toxic chemicals.
A natural latex mattress made with organic materials is a healthful choice. Savvy Rest’s organic mattresses contain only organic cotton, organic wool (a natural flame barrier), and the purest natural and organic latex foam. They are also GreenGuard GOLD certified, which means they have passed the most stringent tests for low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). View Savvy Rest’s certifications for more information.
Innersprings can contain a number of odd materials and questionable chemicals, but spring mattresses made with organic and natural materials are easier on the environment. Mattresses that contain eco-friendly materials are produced without pesticides, herbicides, chlorine bleaches, toxic dyes or other processes that put both human health and the environment at risk through chemical processing and disposal.
It’s also important not to overlook a product’s lifetime. Consider two mattresses that are exactly the same (same basic materials and processes), but the product life of one is twice as long. The consumer who purchases the durable mattress will not need to buy a new one when the another purchaser will. Bottom line? A mattress that lasts twice as long will have half the environmental impact.
Which is better?
Both latex and innerspring mattresses have their benefits.
Which one is better for you? If you’re on a budget, a well-made innerspring will offer a good middle ground between quality and cost. The right innerspring is comfortable, durable, and made of healthful materials.
If you want the highest-quality mattress available, consider an all-latex style. They are extremely comfortable. But don’t just take our word for it; visit a dealer near you to try one for yourself!