Which Is A Better Mattress For You: Latex vs Memory Foam

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
September 10, 2022
min read

It is important to invest in a mattress that is suited for you. Doing so not only increases the quality of your life but also prevents any short or long-term health implications associated with poor sleeping habits. 

The main difference between a latex and memory foam mattress is the way it contours to your body. Memory foam slowly adjusts to your body. Latex generally has more bounce and contours less.  

The majority of mattresses are made from latex or memory foam, but the average person doesn’t know the differences between the two. Here, we identify the pros and cons of both types of mattress material as well as their similarities and differences to help you make the right investment for better sleep.

The purple mattress is made out of a patented GelFlex Grid which instantly adapts to your body's shape as you move. Our GelFlex Grid does not trap body heat which means you can mainatin a neutral temperature all night.

Latex vs Memory Foam: Which One Is Better For Sleep?

The short answer: it depends on your personal preference. We spend approximately ⅓ of our lives in bed, so choosing the right mattress for better sleep can have a significant impact on your well-being. 

When choosing between latex or memory foam mattresses, it is important to assess your own personal needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you on a budget? 
  • Are you a calm sleeper or an active sleeper? 
  • Do you seek pressure relief? 
  • Do factors such as temperature or mattress responsiveness matter to you? 
  • Do you prefer to sleep on a soft or hard mattress? 
  • Are you looking for a mattress that provides ample support for your body?
  • What are your preferred sleeping positions?

What Is Latex? 

If you want a mattress that feels bouncy and springy to the touch, get a latex mattress. Latex foam mattresses are an ideal choice for people who prefer a firmer mattress to achieve a good night’s sleep and those looking for quality and durability

There are different types of latex, which are typically made from either natural or synthetic rubber: 

  • All-natural latex is composed of natural rubber tree sap.
  • Synthetic latex is created with additional materials, including a type of plastic known as styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR).

Latex foam mattresses can come in natural, synthetic, and blends, the latter of which combines both natural and synthetic material. Synthetic latex foam can feel different from all-natural latex mattresses and may even feel similar to a memory foam mattress.

Pros Of Latex Mattresses

  • Eco-friendly: All-natural latex mattresses are made with rubber tree sap. This plant-based material will break down faster than other types of mattresses in a landfill. Latex can even be considered vegan!
  • Promotes proper airflow: Since latex contains small holes in it, it facilitates breathability within the mattress and provides a cooler sleep.
  • Hypoallergenic: Latex mattresses may be resistant to dust mites, mold, mildew, and allergens.
  • Durable: With proper care and maintenance, a latex mattress can last up to 15-20 years.

Cons Of Latex Mattresses 

  • Can cost more: Latex mattresses, specifically those made with all-natural materials, usually come at a high cost, especially when compared to other types of mattresses. This makes it a less accessible choice for consumers.
  • Latex allergies: Despite latex’s resistance to allergens, these types of mattresses are not suitable for people who suffer from latex allergies. We advise sleepers to choose other mattress types instead.
  • Unpleasant initial smell. When a latex mattress is new, especially if it is synthetic, it can emit an odor for a few weeks upon removing its packaging. All-natural latex foam mattresses do not appear to have this issue. Not to worry, though, as the smell goes away in time.
  • Latex may be synthetic. Some latex mattresses are made with SBRs, which are a form of plastic. Do your research before purchasing the right kind of latex mattress if you prefer a more green option.

What Is Memory Foam?

Mattresses that are typically soft to the touch and retain their shape even after you’ve removed your hand are likely made with memory foam.

Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam is made with polyurethane (typically made from crude oil) and other man-made materials. This makes it one of the key players in the mattress industry because it is more affordable than latex. 

When you apply pressure on it, the mattress shape conforms to your body shape and has a slow response time when returning to its original shape. There are different types of memory foam with varying degrees of firmness:

  • A foam mattress has different layers of foam. The base is made with denser foams while the top may have a more comfortable foam layer.
  • A hybrid mattress contains springs in the base layer, while the top is made with memory foam.

Pros Of Memory Foam Mattresses

  • Supports the body: Due to the material’s malleability, some sleepers looking for pain relief find memory foam mattresses more comfortable to sleep on.
  • Good for back and side sleepers: For people who sleep on their backs or sides, memory foam mattresses are godsends. The foam contours to the shape of your body, providing your neck and spine adequate alignment and guaranteeing a comfortable sleep. Memory foam also provides the right alignment for your shoulder and hip pressing against the mattress.
  • Provides pressure point relief: For sleepers that have problems with mobility and suffer from joint pain, memory foam mattresses ensure a more comfortable sleep. Its motion isolation qualities and deep compression provide pain relief to sleepers.
  • More hypoallergenic than latex: For people with latex allergies, this is the safer option. Due to the density of memory foam, allergens such as dust mites will have a hard time thriving on the material.
  • Motion transfer: For light sleepers who stir at the slightest movement, memory foam mattresses have less motion transfer. This means you are less likely to feel motion transmitted from other sides of the mattress. This is especially useful if you are sensitive to the movements of your sleeping partner.

Cons Of Memory Foam Mattresses

  • Stomach sleepers: Memory foam mattresses can be more plush. People whose preferred sleep position is their stomach may find this mattress type uncomfortable. 
  • Retains more heat: Memory foam mattresses tend to retain more heat vs other mattress types 
  • Not as durable as latex: Memory foam mattresses tend to last 10 years. Where as latex mattresses can last up to 20 years .

Should You Buy A Latex Or Memory Foam Mattress? 

When To Buy A Latex Mattress

Latex foam mattresses are recommended for sleepers who look for these qualities:

  • Bouncier mattress: Latex mattresses are bouncier than memory foam and don’t have the same “sinking” sensation. The bounciness of this mattress type also provides better support for sex!
  • Faster response time: If you’re an active sleeper, you may sleep more comfortably on latex foam mattresses because these respond to movement as they sleep. If you touch a latex mattress, you’ll notice that it bounces back to its original shape immediately.
  • More environmentally-friendly option: When you opt for an all-natural latex mattress, you can be sure that there are minimal to no man-made products that went into the production of your mattress.

When To Buy A Memory Foam Mattress

Meanwhile, memory foam mattresses are recommended for sleepers who prefer these qualities:

  • Diverse set of options: Memory foam mattresses come in a variety of thicknesses, types, and even materials. Sleepers can choose mattresses that address their specific needs, while still maintaining the viscoelastic feel characteristic of memory foam.
  • Slower response time: Calm sleepers will find that memory foam helps them maintain their sleeping positions. This also aids in decreasing motion transfer, as the mattress is less responsive to movement.
  • Deeper compression support: Memory foam mattresses provide more sinkage than a latex mattress, which can better contour and hug your body shape as you sleep.

Purple offers a variety of mattress options that are both soft and supportive.  Including a comfort layer of GelFlex Grid which instantly adapts to your body's shape as you move.

Frequently Asked Questions About Latex vs Memory Foam Beds

Is latex softer than memory foam?

Memory foam can come in different levels of firmness and can be made with different kinds of materials. This particular type of mattress contours to the shape of your body, and provides sleepers with that “sinking” feeling. 

However, latex mattresses have a bouncier response to pressure, due to their lighter density and softer firmness compared to mattresses made with memory foam.

Which is hotter, latex or memory foam? 

Due to the density of memory foam mattresses, these are more likely to trap body heat as you sleep. This may be uncomfortable for sleepers who prefer mattresses made of cooler material. 

Latex mattresses, on the other hand, contain small holes to let air pass through the mattress. This makes it a more breathable and better option for people who live in warm climates or simply find sleeping hot uncomfortable.

Is latex more expensive than memory foam?

It depends if the latex is natural or synthetic. The process of extracting natural rubber tree sap, the raw material, and the production of latex mattresses can be time-consuming and costly, which explains why all-natural latex mattresses run a bit more expensive compared to blended or synthetic latex. Synthetic latex is a more affordable option and is more prevalent on the market.