Memory foam is a blend of polyurethane (a polymer made as a byproduct of petroleum refining) and additional chemicals that give the memory foam its low-resilience. It was originally developed by NASA in the 1970s for airplane cushioning and has since become one of the widest materials used in mattresses and pillows.
In plain English, what makes memory foam is its ability to contour to pressure and return to its original shape slowly after pressure is released. This process allows for it to react to pressure differently across its surface and provide a contoured, but aligned feeling for sleepers.
In mattresses, older or lower quality memory foam may sag from the repetitive pressure of laying or sitting. For this reason, those that are heavier should do additional research about soft memory foam bedding as they will sink more than alternatives and could lead to discomfort for some body types.
Lastly, over the recent years, there has been reports of off-gassing and toxic odors released from memory foam. Some lower quality or treated memory foam may have this problem and cause respiratory inflamation. It is important to make sure that memory foam is high quality.
Pros: Contouring comfort, competitive pricepoints, and widespread options.
Cons: Sagging and off-gassing problems with lower quality foams.
Latex is made from the sap of a rubber tree. Over generations, people have learned how to tap the trees without having to cut them down. This means that it is one of the most eco-conscious and sustainable ways to create bedding.
After the latex is harvested from the rubber tree, it is treated to create foam. The two most common ways of treating latex for bedding is Dunlop and Talalay. The result is a high response and heavy piece of foam that can be used for bedding. By changing the density, the latex can be more or less responsive.
Those that are used to a memory foam feel (a slow response) will be surprised to know that most latex is highly responsive, meaning that although it will react to ones body, it has a natural bounce. Some sleepers prefer this, though others not so much.
Recently, there has been an explosion in latex bedding with the higher demand for eco-conscious foam alternatives. Though latex is natural, there are some that mix it with memory foam. For those that are looking for pure latex bedding, be careful to do your research on the entire bed.
Pros: High response, differing firmness options.
Cons: High expense vs memory foam, some don't like the latex responsive feel.
Memory Foam: 9.3/10
Memory Foam: 9.4/10
Memory Foam: 9.5/10
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Memory Foam: 8.1/10
Memory Foam: 8.4/10
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Memory Foam: 8.5/10
Memory Foam: 9.4/10