Memory Foam vs Latex Mattresses

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Former ASL Reviews team member, Jen shows memory foam layers inside the Nectar mattress.

Selecting the right mattress goes far beyond just budget considerations. From supporting your unique sleep posture to aligning with your health needs, the choice of a mattress can significantly influence your sleep quality. In modern bedding, memory foam and latex mattresses are two standout options, each offering distinct benefits to enhance your sleep experience.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the nuances of memory foam vs latex mattresses. Join us as we explore their similarities and differences, helping you discern which mattress material best fits your sleep needs.

What is Memory Foam?

Initially developed by NASA, memory foam consists of polyurethane and additional chemicals that increase viscosity and density. This unique composition is what makes memory foam soft and energy-absorbent.

Known for its deep, body-hugging feel, memory foam contours perfectly to the body, providing exceptional pressure relief. It’s particularly beneficial for back and side sleepers and people with chronic pain or stubborn pressure points. Despite these advantages, memory foam mattresses often trap heat. They may also release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during off-gassing—newer innovations like gel memory foam aim to address these issues, offering cooler sleep experiences.

Related: Best Memory Foam Mattresses

What is Latex?

Latex is a natural product extracted from the sap of rubber trees. However, there are also synthetic options available that are produced using petrochemicals. The choice between the two often boils down to personal preference and eco-consciousness.

Latex mattresses, celebrated for their durability and eco-friendliness, offer a bouncier and more responsive feel than memory foam. They excel in temperature neutrality and are hypoallergenic, making them a great choice for environmentally conscious consumers, hot sleepers, and those with allergies. Available in natural, organic, and synthetic forms, latex mattresses come in various types, including Talalay and Dunlop, each offering distinct firmness and comfort levels.

Comparing Memory Foam vs Latex

When comparing Memory Foam and Latex, several factors come into play, including comfort, durability, health benefits, and environmental impact.

Comfort & Feel

When it comes to comfort and feel, memory foam and latex mattresses offer distinct experiences. Memory foam is renowned for its close conformity to the body, making it an ideal choice for those seeking pain relief and a feeling of being cradled during sleep.

In contrast, latex mattresses are generally firmer and bouncier, providing a more responsive sleeping surface that some find more supportive and less enveloping than memory foam.

Support & Pressure Relief

Support and pressure relief are crucial aspects of any mattress. Memory foam offers exceptional pressure relief, easily adapting to different body shapes and sleeping positions. It’s particularly adept at cushioning the body’s pressure points, reducing discomfort.

On the other hand, latex mattresses offer robust support, which is especially beneficial for heavier individuals. While they also provide pressure relief, their firmer nature gives a different kind of support that many find preferable for spinal alignment.

Hand Imprint in memory foam to demonstrate pressure relief and slow spring back of the foam.
Memory foam's contouring leaves a long-lasting touch.

Heat Retention & Cooling Properties

Heat retention is a significant factor in mattress selection, particularly for hot sleepers. Memory foam tends to retain body heat, which can lead to discomfort for some sleepers. However, advancements such as gel-infused memory foam have been introduced to mitigate this issue, providing a cooler sleeping experience.

Latex mattresses, on the other hand, naturally excel in temperature regulation. Their inherent structure allows for better air circulation, making them a preferred choice for hot sleepers or those in warmer climates.

Durability & Lifespan

There’s a noticeable difference between the two materials in terms of durability and lifespan. Memory foam mattresses generally have a lifespan of about 8-10 years, with their durability depending on the foam’s density and quality. Latex mattresses, in contrast, boast a longer lifespan, often lasting between 10-20 years. This enhanced durability is due to latex’s resilient material properties, contributing to less sagging and deformation over time.

Health & Environmental Impact

Health and environmental impact are increasingly important considerations for consumers. Memory foam mattresses have been criticized for potential off-gassing, releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. However, many memory foam products now come with CertiPUR-US® certification, ensuring that they emit low levels of VOCs.

Latex mattresses, particularly natural and organic options, are lauded for their eco-friendly and hypoallergenic properties. These mattresses are an excellent choice for environmentally conscious consumers and those with allergies or sensitivities to synthetic materials.

Weight Considerations

Your body weight is an important aspect to consider when choosing between memory foam and latex. Memory foam can be ideal for lighter individuals as it cradles the body without excessive sinking. However, heavier individuals might find that they sink too much into memory foam, which can lead to discomfort or a feeling of being ‘stuck.’

In contrast, latex mattresses generally provide firmer support that can be more suitable for heavier individuals, offering a consistent level of comfort without the excessive give that might otherwise be experienced with memory foam.


The cost of a mattress can be a decisive factor for many. Generally, memory foam mattresses are more budget-friendly, with prices varying from moderately low to high-end, depending on the quality and brand. Their affordability makes them accessible to a wider range of consumers.

On the other hand, latex mattresses tend to be pricier, especially those made from natural or organic latex. Their longer lifespan and sustainable manufacturing processes often justify the higher cost. Still, they can be a significant investment upfront.

Memory Foam vs Latex Brand Comparison

Popular Memory Foam Brands

Leading Latex Mattress Brands

Final Thoughts

When choosing between memory foam and latex mattresses, it is important to consider your personal preferences and sleep requirements. If you prefer a mattress that conforms to your body, providing a hugging sensation and alleviating pain or pressure points, or if you share your bed with a partner and want to minimize disturbances, memory foam may be the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer a bouncier bed, require firmer support, particularly if you are heavier, or if you are looking for an eco-friendly option or a cooler sleeping surface, then latex may be the better choice. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your comfort needs and what aligns best with them, be it the enveloping comfort of memory foam or the responsive support of latex.


Yes, there are eco-friendly options available in the memory foam mattress market. Some brands, such as Amerisleep, offer memory foam mattresses made with plant-based materials, reducing reliance on petroleum-based components. Additionally, CertiPUR-US® certified memory foam mattresses are made without harmful chemicals and have low VOC emissions, making them a more environmentally conscious choice.

Latex mattresses are known for their hypoallergenic properties, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Natural latex is resistant to dust mites, mold, and mildew, common allergens in many households. Furthermore, the breathable nature of latex prevents the accumulation of moisture and humidity in the mattress, further reducing the potential for allergen growth.

The choice between memory foam and latex depends on individual preferences and needs. Memory foam is renowned for its pressure-relieving qualities and its ability to contour closely to the body, making it ideal for side sleepers and those with joint pain. Latex, on the other hand, offers more bounce and firmness, is naturally cooling, and tends to be more durable and eco-friendly. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your specific sleep requirements, comfort preferences, and any health considerations you may have.