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Latex Mattress Toppers: A Buyer’s Guide

If your mattress doesn’t feel totally comfortable for one reason or another, a latex mattress topper can save the day (and the night). Latex mattress toppers can help improve the comfort of your mattress so you don’t have to go out and buy a new one.

Here’s what you need to know before buying a latex mattress topper.

What is a latex mattress topper?

A latex mattress topper is a layer of latex, usually 1-3 inches thick, that covers the entire surface of your bed. The purpose of a latex mattress topper is to make you more comfortable than you would be sleeping on a mattress alone.

Like all types of mattress toppers, latex ones can be used to extend the life of an old mattress or to make your mattress softer or firmer. This can be useful if you’ve suffered an injury and temporarily need a softer surface to sleep on, or simply if the firmness level of your mattress no longer suits you.

Latex is one of the most popular materials in mattress toppers—and for good reason. It’s a natural material that’s healthy and durable. It has the pressure-relieving properties of memory foam but is more breathable and is, therefore, more suitable for people who tend to sleep hot.

Different types of latex mattress toppers

You’ll see two different types of natural latex mattress toppers on the market: those made from Dunlop and Talalay latex. These terms refer to two different types of turning liquid latex (the sap that comes from rubber trees) into foam.

Both methods produce excellent sleeping surfaces, but there are some essential differences between them. In both cases, the liquid sap of the rubber tree is sustainably harvested and sent to a production facility, where it is mixed with a small amount of non-toxic, inorganic ingredients and whipped into an airy batter. From here the two methods diverge.

To make Dunlop latex, the liquid mixture is simply poured into a mold and baked into a solid form.

The Talalay process is slightly more complicated. After the batter is poured into the mold, a vacuum is created to evenly disperse the liquid latex throughout the mold. It’s then flash-frozen to ensure consistent cell structure and then baked into solid form.

Because of the vacuum and flash-freezing stages, Talalay latex has a slightly more consistent feel. It’s also lighter and more supple than Dunlop latex, with a softer and bouncier structure. Dunlop is denser and has a less uniform consistency.

Whatever type you choose, make sure you look for a mattress topper made from 100% natural latex, as synthetic latex and latex blend will not have the same beneficial properties as natural latex.

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Benefits of latex mattress toppers

Sleeping on a latex mattress topper will give you numerous benefits. Here are the biggest ones:

  • It can prolong the life of an old mattress. If your mattress has gone soft or uneven, adding a latex mattress topper will let you sleep more comfortably and delay buying a new mattress a little longer.
  • Latex is fantastic for people with neck and back pain as it promotes proper spinal alignment and provides excellent head and neck support for different sleeping positions.
  • It can help regulate body temperature. Because of its open-cell structure, latex is extremely breathable and typically sleeps cooler than memory foam.
  • A latex mattress topper will last you a long time. Latex is a natural, healthy, and extremely durable material.
  • It can help reduce motion transfer. If you are sensitive to your partner’s tossing and turning at night, a latex mattress topper can help remedy that problem.
  • It can help ease the “break-in period” of a new mattress. It can take a few months to fully break in a new mattress, and a latex mattress topper can help make your new bed more comfortable in the interim.

Disadvantages of latex mattress toppers

The only real potential disadvantage of latex mattress toppers is that they can be pretty expensive, due to the cost of harvesting and processing the material. Still, natural latex is an extremely durable material, meaning you’ll ultimately save money in the long run.

Another great type of latex bedding to add to your mattress? A latex pillow. Consult our guide to latex pillows to find the right one for you.