Nothing is more frustrating than spending a ton of money on a new mattress and still having to move to the couch for a good sleep. Understanding the main differences between coil, foam, and latex mattresses can greatly help in ensuring you have restful sleeps for many years to come.
Coil mattresses are the most well known and traditional of the modern mattresses. They are made of strong coils of steel that are surrounded by cushioning. They can provide excellent bounce and firmness and are a very affordable sleeping solution. The coils will compress over time, however. A once firm mattress can end up losing springiness, sagging, or having protruding coils. Sagging can cause back pain from muscles working too hard to keep a body from rolling into the middle of the mattress. Coil mattresses are best saved for guest rooms and cottages.
Foam mattresses come in many different qualities. Denser foams usually retain their bounce and shape longer than softer foams. There are many high quality foam mattresses on the market that have acceptable lifetimes for a reasonable cost. Memory foam mattresses use a synthetic additive that allow its molecules to spring back into shape after being compressed, so they have a slower rate of sagging in the middle. Some ingredients in memory foam are from the petroleum product family and cause off-gassing of harmful vapours. They are also extremely flammable and are therefore sold with very high amounts of fire retardants incorporated into the mattress. These fire retarding chemicals have many negative health attributes. They are not a wise choice for babies, asthmatics, or anyone with chemical sensitivities. The heat of the human body can warm these oily molecules, and over time a memory foam mattress will still sag substantially in the middle.
Latex mattresses can be either synthetic or natural. Natural latex is rubber that has been sapped from a rubber tree, in a similar process to sapping a maple tree. The rubber goo is then poured into slab moulds and cured into a large unbroken block of rubber. The rubber tree infuses its latex with natural protective qualities which are retained in a mattress made from natural sap. Natural Latex is non-allergenic. It has its own fungicide. It's an anti-viral, and has anti-bacterial properties. Natural latex is mildly fire retardant. It can be simply covered with a wool coating to ensure safe selling to consumers, without the need for chemical fire retardants. It has no off-gassing. Latex retains an insulated temperature better than foam, and its molecules stand up to compression extremely well over many decades. When a natural latex mattress needs to be thrown out, it can be put out with the compost. Synthetic latex mattresses are a much cheaper version of their natural counterpart, but do not stand up as well to heat and pressure. They also have none of the added antimicrobial properties that latex from the tree would have. Buyers must be aware that many manufacturers will try to pass off synthetic latex as natural latex, with the inflated price that would come with it.
Mattresses made from blends of latex and memory foam are currently the fastest growing kind of mattress in the world. They offer a softer foam exterior with some of the benefits of a long-lasting latex core. They are usually offered at a more affordable price than a mattress made purely of natural latex. The best mattress can be acquired by finding one with a natural latex core and then selecting as little foam coating as possible for cushioning and affordability.