Latex mattresses are becoming ever more popular. Their rise in popularity started in Europe but is fast becoming the mattress of choice for many consumers in the United States. Many leading mattress manufacturers are now producing their own version of a latex mattress.
But why are latex mattresses becoming so popular? Well, the answer is that it's a great product. A latex mattress feels nice and bouncy but provides terrific support. Also, a quality latex mattress is a very resilient product and will maintain its shape and comfort level over a person's lifetime - a major advantage compared to coil spring systems previously used in mattresses. A top notch latex mattress will consist of a 4 to 5 inch latex core. Most latex cores, especially the better brands, will have layers of other materials to afford a softer or more yielding feel. The extra layer will usually be made of of softer latex or memory foam.
All latex mattresses cores will have holes (called pinholes) that make the mattress softer. Typically, the larger the holes, the softer the mattress. In the vast majority of latex mattresses, the holes are of a uniform size and evenly distributed throughout the mattress to ensure a even softness over the entire mattress. However, some manufacturers have now started varying the size of the holes and distribution, thereby sectioning the mattress into a series of zones: softer under the shoulders and feet but firmer under the hips.
Latex comes in two varieties; natural (from rubber trees) and synthetic from (petroleum). Increasingly, the synthetic is becoming the industry standard. This is partly because of cost, but also synthetic is believed to be more hypo-allergenic. Just to confuse things even more, latex mattresses are made using two different methods. The first, and oldest method, is called the Dunlop method. This manufacturing method involves first whipping the latex liquid with air to make a foam, then pouring the latex liquid into a mold and heating it till it vulcanizes. The newer process is called Talalay. With this method of making latex foam, a vacuum is placed on the mold and other processes are involved that some claim produces a foam that has a more consistent cell structure. Talalay is becoming the dominant type of latex foam mattress and it is seen as the most comfortable mattress.
Finally, many consumers are advised to buy a mattress topper for their new latex mattress. This is because a latex foam mattress doesn't have the pressure relieving qualities of say, a memory foam mattress. Therefore a 2" topper is usually bought along with the mattress.