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Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 10:25 #1

Thanks to all of the info in this forum, I have narrowed down the search for our next mattress to a question of latex or memory foam... but every time I think I've decided on one or the other, I read something that pushes me in the other direction. I have tried both, and enjoy them each in their own way, but full latex is pushing my current budget more than I like. However, I have read a few places - not the least of which is a post or two from Phoenix here, pushing heavier people towards latex; at least vs cheaper foam.. My understanding is that the sub 4lb comfort foams are more likely to have issues with heavier folks.

Given that I'm really only looking at companies that are members of this site, since they have, to some extent, been "vouched for", I have a reasonable expectation of good quality foam if I go with foam, but there is still a wide variation in the foam used in the comfort levels. There are a number of latex topped foam mattresses available in between the price of full foam and full latex, which I assume would help, if there really is an issue, but I don't know if there really is.

So, then, the question: for a 280lb 6' tall side/back sleeper (sleeping with my 115 pound wife, which does add its own fun to the equation, but let's leave that off for now..), do I need to pay a lot of attention to whether the comfort levels are foam, or just a little? If I choose foam, do I need to decide on a minimum density for the comfort levels in my searches? I do - as much as possible for somebody new at this - understand the interplay between levels; e.g. if we got a bed with two comfort levels, they'd largely serve as one for me, and a comfort + transition level for my wife - but that doesn't address the question of how quickly my side of the bed would stop being useful as a sleeping place.

So - heavier folks trying to get a bed that will last a while - how clear is the preference for latex over foam? Is there a level at which they're on equal footing, assuming you enjoy the comfort provided by both? And is there a level at which foam simply should not be considered?

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Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 14:54 #2

I look forward to hearing from the experts. My own testing and research is that weight doesn't make a huge difference in comfort between latex and foam. Probably a different story at extreme levels but I don't think 280 would be near enough to make a significant difference. Latex and Foam feel completely different to me, especially the non-cooling HD foam which I believe is used in the Tempurpedic Contour and the Select Foam HD series. It took me several trips but eventually I was able to notice a big difference between Foam and Latex and even the different types of foam. From a durability standpoint I don't think their is much argument that Latex is more durable. I also would like to know about how long you can reasonably expect a high quality memory foam to last.

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Last edit: by gcrain.

Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 15:25 #3

I have not been able to discern a difference in comfort in my in-store testing of various latex and foam beds (i.e. the difference in feel is obvious, but they are both comfortable), but that can be because a: I like the qualities that both latex and foam bring to the table, and b: my in-store testing obviously doesn't encompass years of use. Since I'm currently sleeping on the sofa instead of the lopsided mattress we currently have, I'm markedly hoping to get a little bit more longevity out of our next purchase, if possible.. and I have seen a number of posts along the lines of "if your weight is higher, stick to foams > 4 lbs density". I'm not entirely sure if that's for durability reasons or collapsability reasons (i.e. a big person on a low density foam will go right through that layer), or some combination of the two... but I don't hear anything like the durability part of that about latex, really. (Though I do hear the same layering issues; larger people need firmer layers, etc.)

Price pushes me away from full latex solutions, fears of foam creep push me away from cheap foam solutions.. and the high density foam solutions are right back up there in the full latex range!

In any case, it's good that both my wife and I are currently happy with the way that foam and latex feel, so no matter which way we end up going, we should be satisfied.. it's just a matter of choosing the type that will put as back at the mattress purchase door again the least soon!

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Last edit: by swidrosest.

Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 16:42 #4

All else being equal I would definitely buy an all Talalay latex bed. For me it's not equal, I have a significant preference for the 5pd foam in the Tempurpedic Contour series. It took me 3 trips to come to that conclusion and I do plan to make 1 more trip to verify that. If you are planning on a latex/foam solution I don't think you can make any inferences from testing of all latex beds and all foam beds.

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Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 19:01 #5

Hi swidrosest,

Thanks to all of the info in this forum, I have narrowed down the search for our next mattress to a question of latex or memory foam... but every time I think I've decided on one or the other, I read something that pushes me in the other direction. I have tried both, and enjoy them each in their own way, but full latex is pushing my current budget more than I like. However, I have read a few places - not the least of which is a post or two from Phoenix here, pushing heavier people towards latex; at least vs cheaper foam.. My understanding is that the sub 4lb comfort foams are more likely to have issues with heavier folks.


While latex foam and memory foam are very different ... the choice between them is strictly a personal preference (see post #2 here ) ... but if you did decide to go in the direction of memory foam and were in a heavier weight range I would lean strongly towards 5 lb or better memory foam unless the tradeoff between durability and "comfort" was worth it to you in a specific mattress.

Given that I'm really only looking at companies that are members of this site, since they have, to some extent, been "vouched for", I have a reasonable expectation of good quality foam if I go with foam, but there is still a wide variation in the foam used in the comfort levels. There are a number of latex topped foam mattresses available in between the price of full foam and full latex, which I assume would help, if there really is an issue, but I don't know if there really is.


You can read a little more about a latex hybrid (latex over polyfoam) vs an all latex mattress and some of the issues connected to weight that may be involved in your choice in post #2 here .

So, then, the question: for a 280lb 6' tall side/back sleeper (sleeping with my 115 pound wife, which does add its own fun to the equation, but let's leave that off for now..), do I need to pay a lot of attention to whether the comfort levels are foam, or just a little? If I choose foam, do I need to decide on a minimum density for the comfort levels in my searches? I do - as much as possible for somebody new at this - understand the interplay between levels; e.g. if we got a bed with two comfort levels, they'd largely serve as one for me, and a comfort + transition level for my wife - but that doesn't address the question of how quickly my side of the bed would stop being useful as a sleeping place.


Latex, memory foam, and polyfoam are all "foam" materials so it would depend on the type and quality of the foam you were referring to. All foams have better and worse quality versions that are more or less durable (although there is not really any "bad quality" latex). If there is any lower quality/density foam in the mattress (such as the quilting layers) then I would make sure that it is around an inch or so or less. Once the thickness of any questionable materials in the upper layers are in the range of about 2" or so or more then I would want to know the density/quality of the material. There is more about the many factors that are involved in durability and the useful life of a mattress in post #4 here . You can also read a little more about ways to deal with situations where the needs and preferences of a couple may be very different in the first part of post #2 here .

@ccrain,

Latex and Foam feel completely different to me, especially the non-cooling HD foam which I believe is used in the Tempurpedic Contour and the Select Foam HD series


Latex is as much a "foam" as polyfoam or memory foam. In most cases when people refer to "foam" they are referring to polyfoam which is of course also very different from memory foam. There is also a very wide range in many of the properties of different memory foams that have the same density so Tempurpedic 5 lb (or higher) memory foam may feel and response very differently from another type of 5 lb memory foam even though both of them would be rough equivalents in terms of durability. There is more about the different properties that can be formulated into memory foam in post #9 here and in post #8 here .


@swidrosest

I have not been able to discern a difference in comfort in my in-store testing of various latex and foam beds (i.e. the difference in feel is obvious, but they are both comfortable), but that can be because a: I like the qualities that both latex and foam bring to the table, and b: my in-store testing obviously doesn't encompass years of use.


Both latex and memory foam can be equally pressure relieving and the upper pressure relieving layers are the biggest part of the subjective "comfort" of a mattress for most people. Both can make good choices for those who prefer either one and if you are comparing good quality latex to good quality memory foam it would really be a matter of personal preference.

if possible.. and I have seen a number of posts along the lines of "if your weight is higher, stick to foams > 4 lbs density". I'm not entirely sure if that's for durability reasons or collapsability reasons (i.e. a big person on a low density foam will go right through that layer), or some combination of the two... but I don't hear anything like the durability part of that about latex, really. (Though I do hear the same layering issues; larger people need firmer layers, etc.)


The main reason for higher density memory foam with higher weights would be durability. There is also a difference between how "most" 4 lb memory foams and "most" 5 lb memory foams will feel but this is not always the case. Tempurpedics 7 lb memory foam for example is generally considered to be softer than their 5.3 lb memory foam. I would also avoid lower ILD latex with higher weights for durability reasons as well with the possible exception of thin layers (softness and firmness is one of the factors in foam durability as well)

Hope the links here helped all of you (and that I picked up all the questions) with what can be a "difficult" choice for some people (although it's a much easier choice for others that have a much more clear preference between latex and memory foam).

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 21:47 #6

Thanks for the links, Phoenix, I had missed some of those, though I'm quite certain that I now know far too much about latex and foam.. it's always much easier knowing less about what you're buying! (if, utlimately, also far less effective..) I have actually started conversations with some of the vendors that are members here, and I look forward to seeing what solutions they suggest. At this point, it certainly looks like there will be some latex involved, though whether it's all latex or not remains to be seen based on how far I want to stretch my budget.

I'll definitely stop back in and leave a post about whatever we decide to go with.. hopefully soon - for whatever reason, sleeping on this sofa is somehow resulting in various aches and pains that I probably don't really need!

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Body weight - latex vs foam 09 Sep 2013 22:41 #7

Hi swidorest,

I completely agree that sleeping on the sofa "sucks"! I know from personal experience on too many nights when I'm answering posts or doing research till late at night (or usually early in the morning) and need to lie down on the sofa to "rest my eyes" for "just a few minutes" only to end up crashing and falling asleep for the night :)

I'm looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Body weight - latex vs foam 10 Sep 2013 08:16 #8

This is the exact same question I currently have with the exact same conundrum. Too much information that just won't process right or contradicts!

My hubby and I however are both overweight. I want something soft but supportive and he swears as long as it's not concrete, he's happy. I am definitely leaning more towards latex at the moment over all foam, but mostly because we sleep hot and the foam topper on the bed now is just too hot. I am worried a bit that my research says latex is firmer than foam. My issue with that is, none of the local mattress stores carry any latex at all. We've tried out the memory foam ones and the innerspring foam hybrids, but alas, no latex so I'm hesitant to dive in without trying first. Nearest bigger city is Tallahassee..... and that's just too much of a drive just for mattress testing. I really don't know where to go up there if we did decide to tackle the two hour trip LOL.

Anyhow, thanks Phoenix! This site and your knowledge has been vastly helpful!!!! I've got about a month before we're set to splurge anyways, so I've got time to wreck my brain more! :lol:

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Body weight - latex vs foam 10 Sep 2013 09:30 #9

Given a large enough budget, it certainly appears that anybody who is interested should be able to get an all latex mattress that should suit all body types, comfort desires, and last much longer than the various alternatives. Sleepez's 13,000 mattress, for example, comes in what, compared to many other mattresses, is a not-that-high $2400, and has 4 different, configurable 3" latex layers, which can even be split differently between each side - it seems almost certain that they should be able to build something that suits anybody. For us larger folks, they just start with firmer bases, but all signs point to them being able to make something that's "soft" - it's just that for us, "soft" is done using a firmer layer than it would be for somebody lighter.

$2400 is out of my price range at the moment, so I'm looking at things like Brooklyn Bedding's Aloe Alexis, which has two latex comfort layers over a foam support core. They also have a number of single latex layer over foam beds, though that gets trickier for me, given my lighter wife - I just "drop right through" a comfort layer that's good enough for her. It's possible that with both people being heavy, a single, firmer layer might be enough... but then it gets back into the quantum theory of weight vs sleeping position vs firmness vs layer combinations vs..!

In any case, unless I decide to splurge on the infinite configurability of a sleepez bed, I expect I'll be spending some money with Brooklyn Bedding today, and I'll stop back in after it arrives to say how it all works out.

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Body weight - latex vs foam 10 Sep 2013 09:50 #10

Oh please let me know how you like the Aloe Alexis. It's in my top five at the moment. :D

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