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Controlling variable with latex 03 Dec 2012 18:30 #1

Hi guys,

Glad I found this site....good job.
Here's my stats. I am 5'9" 185lbs. I am primarily a back sleeper, sometimes stomach sleeper. I have had a back injury before, so sensitive to what I sleep on. In fact, I usually feel better sleeping without a pillow even. I usually wake up back irritated, lie on the floor and do my back exercises taught to me in physical therapy, otherwise I'll start the day hobbling around. Not just beds though, chairs do it to. Since I have a desk job, I often have to lay on the floor in my office during the middle of the day and do the exercises too. Back isn't weak. I have rehabbed it hard and keep it strong. I deadlift around 300 lbs once a week on back day. Sleeping on a cheap probably 10 yr old spring. I have been told I can improve though with a latex bed. Though not expecting anything miraculous.

I live in dc metro. Here are some options I have found. But knowing nothing about latex I am wondering what is the controlling variables or priority of features for comparison of price tradeoffs.
Is it talay vs dunlop....
natural vs blends....
if natural is better, what is the breakpoint in the blend split for performance noticeability, 80/20, 50/50....
what is the minimum depth needed to gain the advantages 2",3"?.....
at what depth does increasing depth negligible on performance 3", 6"?

1) 6.5" foam 3" talay blend 1.5" foam/bamboo cover $600 choose firmness ultimate dreams amazon

2) 7" 85% natural dunlop 1"wool/cotton cover $980 ikea

3) 9" blend talay cotton cover $1150 usmattress(ecosleep)

4) 6" dunlop natural 1" wool cover $1250 rockymountain

5) 6" dunlop natural 2" talay natural 1" wool cover $1389 choose firmness rockymountain

6) 6" natural talay 2" natural talay cotton cover $1395 mattress.net

7) 5.6" blend(60/40) talay 2" blend(60/40) talay 1.5" wool cover $1195 choose firmess/swappable layers mattress.net


I can go try the ikea one today....supposedly there is a savvy sleeper i can try some more latex....when i tried springs and foams at value city furniture couldn't really feel any objective determination in a couple of minutes....kinda lost actually ;-)

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Controlling variable with latex 03 Dec 2012 22:56 #2

Hi jayblackseal,

Designing a mattress by "specs" (either yours of the specs of the mattress) is among the worst ways to choose a mattress (besides buying based on brands) because of the many variables and personal preferences involved and because "theory at a distance" has little value without specific reference points of mattresses you have tested where the layering is known. There is no "formula" that can take your specs and/or the specs of a mattress and translate them into a perfect mattress for you. Your personal experience on different mattress materials and combinations is a necessary reference point to make any meaningful suggestions that would apply beyond various "averages" (and very few people are "average" in many ways).

The first place I would start in the journey would be post #1 here which also includes links to information that will provide some general guidelines that would help with most of your questions.

Some information that may help with some of your other questions include ...

I live in dc metro. Here are some options I have found. But knowing nothing about latex I am wondering what is the controlling variables or priority of features for comparison of price tradeoffs.


This article along with post #6 here and post #6 here and post #2 here and perhaps most importantly your own testing on the different types of latex will help you decide which type of latex you may prefer (either bsed on cost or the many other considerations that are involved).

Some of the better options I'm aware of in the DC area are in post #2 here . If you are looking for blended talalay or want to test it ... Healthy Back at the moment has some good value with their reduced prices on their Pure latex bliss line.

Once you have some reference points from testing mattresses that are similar to the ones you are describing ... you will will be in a much better position to have a discussion with the various manufacturers that can take into account the differences and similarities between the mattresses you have tested and the mattresses they offer. Without a reference point of what you feel on various mattresses ... mattress specs are mostly meaningless for any particular person.

Once you've read some of the information in the overviews and other pages that is the mattresses section of the site about the different types of materials, body weights, sleeping positions, and type of mattress layering and construction, ... and you have some personal reference points about how various different combinations feel ... then you will be well on the way to knowing what type of latex and layering combination works best for you and be in a better position to talk with each of the manufacturers you mentioned. They are all good "value" choices ... but without more information and some some personal testing and reference points ... you would be working in the dark and completely dependent on "average" suggestions. Again .. making choices based on specs alone can be quit risky.

No matter how good the value of a mattress may be (and all your choices are good value) ... if it doesn't match your needs and preferences then it would have little value to you.

Phoenix
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Re: Controlling variable with latex 04 Dec 2012 14:42 #3

thanks for taking the time to answer. ;-)
It is a little counter intuitive though. If specs don't really translate, and you really need to lie on it, then ordering a mattress over the internet, or from a local supplier without a showroom, or a customized one-off, is really essentially a dice roll. So distance to seller, return policy, and return costs really are the controlling variables. Because finding the time to lay on as many things as possible, let alone finding places locally that have mattresses with the characteristics you're looking to test is daunting to say the least....and we're not talking cheap impulse purchases here....at least not at my income level ;-)

So here is my Ikea experience.

1. SULTAN EDSELE
Your review in another thread "All latex mattress. This is 85% natural Dunlop and a wool/cotton ticking/quilting. This is one of the better Ikea choices (although the latex used is still not of the same quality as a 100% Dunlop produced in a mold by some of the better manufacturers)."
I was surprised how soft it was after all i read about dunlop hardness vs talalay. I actually felt like i was sinking in it and it didn't feel supportive or pain/pressure relieving, actually felt like it was amplifying pain initially. (this was the same experience I had with a 2" memory foam topper that someone gave me as a gift....dont know lb density of foam)
Interestingly, unlike all the others I tried, the longer I laid, the more it seemed to adjust/correct, and after some time the pain seemed to dissipate and became reasonably comfortable. Stated as 7 comfort zones. The price online is 729, but in store was 979!...whats that about?....60 buck delivery charge....dont think they remove your old....free delivery and removal one of the nice things about the mattress chains even though the are clueless on specs and just tryin to hustle they commission.

2. SULTAN ELSFJORD
Your review "All latex mattress.I would avoid this completely because it contains synthetic Dunlop with a synthetics fibers in the quilting/ticking."
This was much firmer and supportive and didn't instantly cause me pain like number 1(edsele). Didn't really notice much difference than the feel of a memory foam mattress. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated as 5 comfort zones. Positive is you can take it with you....no delivery charge

3. SULTAN FJORDGARD
Your review "Polyfoam/Latex hybrid. Very similar to the SULTAN FOSSING except a thicker layer of 80% Synthetic Dunlop latex. I would also avoid this."
This was much firmer and supportive and didn't instantly cause me pain like number 1(edsele). Didn't really notice much difference than the feel of a memory foam mattress. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 529 online

4. SULTAN HEGGEDAL
Your review " Pocket Coil / Latex hybrid. I would give some consideration to this as a "budget" mattress. Slightly higher coil count, 85% natural Dunlop, Rubberized Coir, and higher quality materials in the ticking/quilting than the less expensive options."
Its almost the opposite experience of number 1). There is an instant positive feeling of support and pain relief, but over time you wonder if comfort is degrading. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 829 online..60 buck delivery charge

5. SULTAN HOLMSTA
Your review "Pocket Coil / Latex hybrid. I would avoid this. Fairly low coil density pocket coils, low density polyfoam, 80% synthetic Dunlop latex, synthetics in the quilting/ticking."
Didn't notice that much difference with 4), maybe actually more comfy feeling. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 429 online

My take aways:
1. Its very hard to remain objective. Lots of things sub-consciously sway perception.
2. Harder than I thought to discern major differences even by laying on them for a couple minutes(as opposed to reading specs)...support, comfort, nor temperature.... don't like hot....which is pretty depressing...you would almost have to spend a night on each...which of course you cant do
3. None of the them blew me away like....ooooohhhh that feels good.....want more of that. Didn't happen at value city furniture either....even with their expensive beds.
4. I don't actually hate springs like I thought.... don't know if its just the independent "active coil" or "pocket coil" design, or all springs
5. Cant really discern major differences between solid synthetic latex, and thin synthetic blend layer over foam.
6. I could however discern difference between majority natural dunlop over majority synthetic dunlop. Natural had this more viscous liquid feel that seemed to cradle more and adjust over time.
7. Surprised how soft dunlop can be after descriptions...makes me think talalay may be too squishy for me....will need to try i guess.
8. Couldn't tell difference between 5 comfort zones or 7
9. The highest correlation in positive vibes was to firmness. Numbers 2-4 were "most firm" listed. Numbers 1 and 5 were just "firm" listed. I instantly felt more supported or pain relieved on 2-4. This makes me think knowing and having experience with the IDL or being able to choose the firmness of one or all layers is important. By specs and price you would think number 1 would automatically give the best initial warm and fuzzy....but didn't happen like that due to firmness.
10. Was pleasantly surprised by Ikea. They had hands on cutouts of all their mattresses with explanations on construction and materials. You can exchange as many times as you want for anything in the store over 90 days until satisfied. Way more consumer friendly and transparent than the bed chains I have been to.

Guess now I have to make it out to vienna and merrifield to savvy and americanfoamcenter to try some talalay and 100% natural dunlop.

The saga continues ;-)

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Re: Controlling variable with latex 04 Dec 2012 18:45 #4

Hi jayblackseal,

It is a little counter intuitive though.


Not only is it a little counterintuitive ... it can be a LOT counterintuitive. I know many people who are what anyone would consider "experts" and who have been building mattresses for decades who are still on a learning curve ... and this is with personal experience on all the combinations they offer and not just based on specs alone.

Without personal experience so you can develop your own personal definitions and ideas of what is soft or firm or what type of mattress materials and layering may work best for you ... all the specs in the world (yours of the mattress) will have no context.

If specs don't really translate, and you really need to lie on it, then ordering a mattress over the internet, or from a local supplier without a showroom, or a customized one-off, is really essentially a dice roll.


This is exactly correct and is what most people don't take into account. Your chances of doing well with an online purchase depend on the knowledge and experience of the person you are dealing with, the choices you have available and the information you provide that can help them fit you into "averages" and decide which of the options they have available have the best odds of success. Their knowledge and experience along with any exchange policies that can give you the option of making changes or different choices after your initial purchase can certainly lessen the risk but an online purchase is always riskier than a local purchase. It is a "tradeoff" between the benefits of ordering online (including in some but not all cases a cost benefit) vs the risk of ordering online. Some of the potential pros and cons of each are in this thread .

When you are buying online (and even locally as well) ... who you buy from (and their knowledge, options, service, quality, integrity, and history) can be just as important or even more important than what you buy IMO.

Because finding the time to lay on as many things as possible, let alone finding places locally that have mattresses with the characteristics you're looking to test is daunting to say the least....and we're not talking cheap impulse purchases here....at least not at my income level


One of the biggest reasons for this site is to "connect" consumers to their better options and people and helping them to "eliminate" most of the worst choices ahead of time so that their local testing or online purchases can be less time consuming and frustrating and have better odds of finding the most suitable mattress with the best possible quality and value in their budget. It can help to eliminate the "noise" of advertising, false claims, misleading marketing and sales practices, and lack of transparency and knowledge that is so common in the industry and provide a pathway where consumers really can make a mattress purchase that really is the best possible quality and value ... and most importantly "fits" their needs and preferences.

The logo of this site (borromean rings with a mobius strip surrounding it) is symbolic of this. The three rings represent consumers, retailers, and manufacturers and if any of these three links are "broken" ... they all fall apart. The Mobius strip represents the idea that educated consumers, retailers with high levels of integrity, knowledge and service, and manufacturers that make high quality and value mattresses, are all on the same "side" and that anyone can find their "perfect" mattress if the best of these are "connected" together.

1. SULTAN EDSELE
Your review in another thread "All latex mattress. This is 85% natural Dunlop and a wool/cotton ticking/quilting. This is one of the better Ikea choices (although the latex used is still not of the same quality as a 100% Dunlop produced in a mold by some of the better manufacturers)."
I was surprised how soft it was after all i read about dunlop hardness vs talalay. I actually felt like i was sinking in it and it didn't feel supportive or pain/pressure relieving, actually felt like it was amplifying pain initially. (this was the same experience I had with a 2" memory foam topper that someone gave me as a gift....dont know lb density of foam)
Interestingly, unlike all the others I tried, the longer I laid, the more it seemed to adjust/correct, and after some time the pain seemed to dissipate and became reasonably comfortable. Stated as 7 comfort zones. The price online is 729, but in store was 979!...whats that about?....60 buck delivery charge....dont think they remove your old....free delivery and removal one of the nice things about the mattress chains even though the are clueless on specs and just tryin to hustle they commission.


Soft and firm is very different to different people depending on many factors. Some (including Ikea) call this firm. Others like yourself will perceive it as softer. What you experiences is fairly typical of latex which can feel softer (because of it's elasticity and for those who define softness in certain ways) but is also bery adaptive and supportive. If someone isn't used to sleeping on latex it can be very different from what they are used to (usually innersprings with some softer inexpensive polyfoam on top) and it can take some getting used to. Those who are used to it rarely go back to anything else because even softer versions that are very pressure relieving can be much more supportive and keep you in better alignment than other materials. Part of how latex feels to people depends on what they are used to.

I don't know why the price difference except perhaps that you may be comparing the price for the twin size ($729 online) with the queen size ($979 online) with a different size or perhaps a misquote in the store. I thought that the prices are the same in store and online but if there really is a difference then I don't know why that may be.

2. SULTAN ELSFJORD
Your review "All latex mattress.I would avoid this completely because it contains synthetic Dunlop with a synthetics fibers in the quilting/ticking."
This was much firmer and supportive and didn't instantly cause me pain like number 1(edsele). Didn't really notice much difference than the feel of a memory foam mattress. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated as 5 comfort zones. Positive is you can take it with you....no delivery charge


Synthetic latex is typically stiffer and less elastic than natural latex and less durable overall as well. It ages differently and IMO this is the least desirable type of latex there is. It is certainly much less costly than better types of latex.

3. SULTAN FJORDGARD
Your review "Polyfoam/Latex hybrid. Very similar to the SULTAN FOSSING except a thicker layer of 80% Synthetic Dunlop latex. I would also avoid this."
This was much firmer and supportive and didn't instantly cause me pain like number 1(edsele). Didn't really notice much difference than the feel of a memory foam mattress. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 529 online


Again ... I would avoid this for reasons of quality/value. Don't forget that you can't "feel" the quality of a material anc component and any material can feel good in a showroom and comes in softer and firmer versions.

4. SULTAN HEGGEDAL
Your review " Pocket Coil / Latex hybrid. I would give some consideration to this as a "budget" mattress. Slightly higher coil count, 85% natural Dunlop, Rubberized Coir, and higher quality materials in the ticking/quilting than the less expensive options."
Its almost the opposite experience of number 1). There is an instant positive feeling of support and pain relief, but over time you wonder if comfort is degrading. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 829 online..60 buck delivery charge


Again ... the "reviews" and analysis has more to do with quality/value and have nothing to do with how suitable it may be for anyone (which can only be known by the person themselves).

5. SULTAN HOLMSTA
Your review "Pocket Coil / Latex hybrid. I would avoid this. Fairly low coil density pocket coils, low density polyfoam, 80% synthetic Dunlop latex, synthetics in the quilting/ticking."
Didn't notice that much difference with 4), maybe actually more comfy feeling. Reasonably supportive and comfortable. Stated 5 comfort zones. 429 online


Again I would avoid this based on quality considerations which are very different from how it may feel when you test it.

Overall you may be in a very "unusual" group because the vast majority of people would have much stronger preferences between memory foam and latex and would perceive them as very different. If they feel similar to you then this means you have more options than someone who has a stronger preference of one over the other although they each have other pros and cons besides just the differences in how they feel (for most people at least).

1. Its very hard to remain objective. Lots of things sub-consciously sway perception.


This is VERY true and is the reason for the post that the "step by step" guide links to about all the more objective ways to "measure" the quality, value, and suitability of a mattress and how to factor in the benefits of the merchant you are buying it from. I think almost everyone has experiences the phenomena of testing mattresses for several hours and forgetting how the first ones really felt and when they went back to re-test them being surprised at how different they were from what they remembered. There are many things which "alter" subjective perceptions and this phenomenon is part of the basis for many sales techniques in the managed environments of many mattress showrooms where "good" salespeople can alter the perceptions of their customers in many ways to "steer" them to the highest possible profit choices.

2. Harder than I thought to discern major differences even by laying on them for a couple minutes(as opposed to reading specs)...support, comfort, nor temperature.... don't like hot....which is pretty depressing...you would almost have to spend a night on each...which of course you cant do


A couple of minutes is certainly not long enough to evaluate any serious choice. At least 15 minutes while you are completely relaxed in a "pre sleep" state is necessary to get a good sense of the pressure relieving and alignment qualities of a mattress. Those who test specifically for pressure relief and alignment in all their normal sleeping positions more objectively and spend at least 15 minutes on the mattress (fully relaxed) have dramatically better odds of making a good long term choice than those who spend less time. Some of the other preferences that can't be felt in 15 minutes (such as temperature regulation) can be known by knowing the properties of the materials in the mattress and with the help of a salesperson that has the knowledge to give you good guidance about all the properties of a mattress that you are seriously considering.

3. None of the them blew me away like....ooooohhhh that feels good.....want more of that. Didn't happen at value city furniture either....even with their expensive beds.


The feeling of "being blown away" is a subjective perception in most cases that is connected to a "showroom feel" and generally tends towards choices that use lower quality materials in layering that is too thick and soft. This "showroom feel" and the desire to be "wowed" will generally lead to worse choices than more objective testing which better translates into long term use. The goal is to "forget" the mattress in the long term rather than being "wowed" by the mattress. A mattress that you "forget" is the one that provides you with the pressure relief, alignment, and the other preferences that lead to deep restful sleep without any "symptoms" of discomfort or pain and where all you know is that you slept well but the mattress itself is "invisible".

4. I don't actually hate springs like I thought.... don't know if its just the independent "active coil" or "pocket coil" design, or all springs


Any of the more common (And even less common) materials can be part of a suitable mattress depending on the other layers and components. Pre-conceptions about specific components being "good" or "bad" are often based on marketing stories and can lead to excluding components and materials that can be a very good choice for a particular individual. One "innerspring mattress" may be horrible for some people but another innerspring mattress could be heaven. Every component and material category has thousands or more possible variations and different types, each with their own characteristics.

5. Cant really discern major differences between solid synthetic latex, and thin synthetic blend layer over foam.


Synthetic latex is probably closest to polyfoam and depending on the layering and firmness levels they would be more difficult for some people to differentiate. Some people also feel little difference between different types of latex while others notice a substantial difference. It depends on which of the properties of a mattress they are most sensitive to. Differences in layering and construction can also produce bigger differences in the feel and performance of a mattress than differences in materials in some cases. I've even seen people who perceive polyfoam, innerspring, and latex support layers as feeling the same. Even synthetic Dunlop latex though would be a superior material to many grades of polyfoam. Both latex and polyfoam are "fast response" foams. Memory foam (the third main type of foam which included gel memory foam) is very different (for most people) than either of the fast response foams.

6. I could however discern difference between majority natural dunlop over majority synthetic dunlop. Natural had this more viscous liquid feel that seemed to cradle more and adjust over time.


Outside of firmness levels (each has a range of firmness that is available) ... Synthitic is more like polyfoam while natural is more elastic and conforming and responsive for most people. Talalay and Dunlop latex are also quite different for most people.

7. Surprised how soft dunlop can be after descriptions...makes me think talalay may be too squishy for me....will need to try i guess.


Again this would depend to a degree on the firmness levels of the Talalay or Dunlop you were comparing but they are certainly different. I prefer a talalay comfort layer at least but my daughter after testing both much prefers Dunlop ... even in the comfort layer which is what she just purchased.

8. Couldn't tell difference between 5 comfort zones or 7


Zoning in latex has only a relatively small differential between the zones (and sometimes the zone differences can even be less than the natural variations in a single non zoned Dunlop layer) and in most (but not all) cases ... more than 3 zones isn't necessary and in some cases (depending on the zoning pattern) can be detrimental. See the zoning page here .

9. The highest correlation in positive vibes was to firmness. Numbers 2-4 were "most firm" listed. Numbers 1 and 5 were just "firm" listed. I instantly felt more supported or pain relieved on 2-4. This makes me think knowing and having experience with the IDL or being able to choose the firmness of one or all layers is important. By specs and price you would think number 1 would automatically give the best initial warm and fuzzy....but didn't happen like that due to firmness.


Specs and price can be an important part of quality and value (and you can't really feel either) but firmness and layering and the other qualities of different materials is much more of an individual preference and suitability issue. More expensive mattresses really don't translate into "better" mattresses for a particular person.

10. Was pleasantly surprised by Ikea. They had hands on cutouts of all their mattresses with explanations on construction and materials. You can exchange as many times as you want for anything in the store over 90 days until satisfied. Way more consumer friendly and transparent than the bed chains I have been to.


Most of the "chains" are at the bottom end of the scale and are more focused on "making the sale" than on putting your interests and wellbeing above their own. Ikea certainly has better quality and value and tranaparency and would be a much better choice IMO than most chains or major brands. The "top of the heap" in terms of quality, value, and service is in the smaller manufacturer group (not every one of course but many of them) which have great value, are transparent, know how to help their customers, have no pressure and consistent pricing, and are just as helpful after a sale as they were before. These are sometimes sold factory direct and in other cases through better sleep shops.

Guess now I have to make it out to vienna and merrifield to savvy and americanfoamcenter to try some talalay and 100% natural dunlop.


I would also include Healthy Back in your research to test Talalay latex and because of their current lowered prices on the Pure Latex Bliss (if they turn out to be what works for you).

Thanks for all the feedback and "conversation". You're certainly well on your way :)

Phoenix
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