If you’re unsatisfied with your current mattress, but are a little overwhelmed on where to start with the mattress buying process- you may want to consider latex mattress toppers. The best latex mattress toppers can successfully adjust the feel of your mattress without the hassle or cost of replacing an entire mattress. These specialty toppers are known for their natural materials, comfort, support, durability, and air flow.
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What is a latex mattress topper?
A latex mattress topper is a piece of latex foam that can be added on top of an existing mattress to improve support or alter the firmness. They are made from natural or synthetic latex using one of two processes– the Talalay method or the Dunlop method. Both of these processes involve pouring liquid latex (either natural or synthetic) into a mold to create the final foam. In the Dunlop process, the mold is completely filled with the latex mixture, however in the Talalay process the mold is only partially filled and air is extracted.
The result is a softer, bouncier latex foam coming from the Talalay process and a firmer, often more durable, foam coming from the Dunlop process. Most toppers are Talalay latex, as it’s better suited to a variety of firmness levels and has a more consistent feel.
Benefits of a latex mattress topper
A good latex mattress topper has many benefits to different types of sleepers and it’s a great way to enhance an existing “ho-hum” mattress. Most commonly, latex mattress toppers are added to provide additional support, adjust firmness, or enhance air flow and prevent excessive heat retention. For heavy sleepers who find themselves sinking too deep into their current mattress, a firm latex topper can also help. Latex has a natural support and bounciness to it that is unique to this kind of material.
Do you have different needs than your partner? Some latex mattress topper can be added to an entire mattress or just one side, depending on the manufacturer. If added to just one side, this can be a great way of getting custom support / firmness for each sleeper without compromising the comfort of the other.
Latex mattress toppers are available in a wide range of firmness degrees, but each has a very different feel. A soft latex topper provides comfort and pressure relief. This can be a great addition for side sleepers or sleepers looking to add softness to a new mattress that is too firm. A firm latex mattress topper provides additional support and may be a good fit for back or stomach sleepers. Firm latex toppers can also be used as a foundation layer in situations where you’d like to use multiple styles of foams on top of your existing mattress.
Thickness of latex mattress toppers can vary- typically ranging from 1 to 4 inches. The thinner the foam the less drastic change the topper will have on your mattress. For those who are happy with their current mattress and just looking for a slight modification, 1” may be enough. To target nagging back pain or other night aches, 2-3” should do the trick. For a full mattress overhaul, you’ll want to look for a topper that’s 3- 4” thick. While the addition of a latex mattress topper doesn’t equate replacing a mattress, it is a great way to lengthen the lifespan of an existing mattress.
In general, latex mattresses and mattress toppers have one of the longest lifespans of any other material on the market. While this also means that a latex mattress topper will be more costly than any other type, you are paying for an investment. One great way to extend the lifespan of a latex mattress topper even longer is by occasionally flipping and rotating the topper to make sure it’s wearing evenly. Keep in mind that not all of the toppers on the market can flip, due to the nature of their design. If you’re noticing discoloration, flaking or tearing on your topper, it is likely time to replace.
PILLOW: Talalay latex pillow review
Natural vs. Synthetic Latex
Another way you can lengthen the lifespan of a latex mattress topper is by choosing one that uses 100% natural latex versus a synthetic. Natural latex is more durable than synthetic latex, is environmentally friendly, anti-microbial, and hypoallergenic. This is not to say that synthetic latex mattress toppers are bad, but don’t be fooled by an imposter natural latex. Be wary of phrases like “made with 100% natural latex”, “contains natural latex” or “natural origin latex”.
While these sound good on paper, they are sneaky ways of saying that the mattress topper is actually a blend of natural and synthetic latex. A 100% natural latex mattress topper will almost always be more expensive than a synthetic or blended latex mattress topper. The natural latex will generally last longer than the synthetic latex though and won’t have the off-gassing odors than can sometimes be associated with synthetic latex.
Need another reason to shop natural? Natural latex is resistant to mold and mildew!
That said, synthetic latex mattress toppers do have a place. For one, they are generally more affordable than natural latex. For short term situations, or if you simply don’t care as much about the natural benefits, a synthetic latex topper can still provide a nice level of added comfort and pressure relief.
Latex mattress toppers are more affordable than replacing an entire mattress, but they are the most expensive style of mattress topper. That being said, they last the longest and their hypoallergenic materials leave you resting easy throughout the night. These toppers are great ways to add support, comfort, air flow or pressure relief to your current mattress.
Sleepopolis recommends the following latex mattress topper reviews as the next addition to your existing mattress: