Latex foam mattresses, like memory foam, are durable and offer good support for the joints. Unlike memory foam, though, latex foam breathes, which some consumers say makes it more comfortable in warm weather. Though not as bouncy as innerspring mattresses, latex foam is somewhat springy, which can make it easier to roll over on. Latex foam is also naturally resistant to dust mites and mold. Latex does not offgas the way memory foam does, but it can have a new-mattress smell that some owners describe as weird. On average, latex mattresses are comparable in price to memory foam and somewhat more expensive than innersprings. Latex mattresses may appeal to eco-minded consumers, because some are made from natural rubber, a renewable resource, and many models are biodegradable. However, people with latex allergies should avoid these kinds of mattresses.
Most mattress buyer's guides tend to focus on innerspring mattresses, but many include information on foam mattresses as well. Articles in Choice magazine and New York magazine cover latex mattresses, and a few websites such as SleepLikeTheDead.com and WhatsTheBest-Mattress.com offer information specific to this type of mattresses. We also found useful information about foam mattresses and health at WebMD.com.
According to this article -- which editors say is based on data from about 600 owners -- roughly 78 percent of owners find latex foam comfortable (a slightly lower percentage than for memory foam and much higher than for innersprings). However, owners note that latex mattresses can be heavy and expensive.
Review: Latex Mattress Bed Reviews and Ratings, Editors of SleepLikeTheDead.com, Updated Jan. 20, 2011
2. Choice magazine
This mattress buying guide from Choice, a publication of the Australian Consumers' Association, focuses on innerspring mattresses, but it does provide some useful information about latex foam in the section on alternatives.
Review: Mattress Buying Guide, Tanya Fong, May 20, 2010
3. New York Magazine
Sarah Bernard describes her experiences testing 100 memory foam, latex and hybrid mattresses. Bernard's top pick is the OMI OrganicPedic David mattress (now discontinued), made from latex foam and other organic materials. However, she also likes the much less expensive Sultan Erfjord from Ikea (*Est. $900).
Review: I Slept on 100 Mattresses, Sarah Bernard, Feb. 8, 2009
Daniel Burrows and Liz Hoffman have compiled information on foam mattresses here, including a side-by-side comparison of memory foam and latex foam. Overall, latex mattresses seem to offer more advantages and fewer disadvantages than memory foam.
Review: Latex and Memory Foam Beds Consumer Report Comparison, Daniel Burrows and Liz Hoffman
5. What's the Best Mattress
This website focuses chiefly on innerspring mattresses, but this page offers a brief discussion of latex foam mattresses. It compares different types of latex and provides some information about prices. Latex mattresses and mattress toppers are discussed frequently in the website's forum.
Review: Latex Foam Mattresses, Editors of WhatsTheBest-Mattress.com
Charlene Laino interviews several sleep experts, including orthopedic physicians and a physical therapist, about their mattress recommendations. One physical therapist notes that while foam mattresses can ease joint pain, they are not necessarily the best choice for most people.
Review: The Best Mattress for a Good Night's Sleep, Charlene Laino
7. Good Housekeeping
This online video gives a quick overview of the process of shopping for a mattress. Editors specifically recommend latex foam mattresses because they are as supportive as memory foam but are less difficult to move around on.
Review: How to Shop for a Mattress, Editors of Good Housekeeping
CasaSugar.com editors pick the best environmentally friendly mattresses on the market. One of the top picks here is the Sultan Erfjord from Ikea (*Est. $900), which is crafted from natural and synthetic latex with an eco-cotton cover.
Review: Good, Better, Best: Green Mattresses, Editors of CasaSugar.com, Sept. 24, 2007