Memory Foam vs Latex: The Complete Guide

When it’s time to buy a new mattress, it’s important to find one that will help you get a good night’s sleep. Inadequate sleep can cause grogginess, muscle aches, misalignment in the spine, and even poor cognitive functions. But with all the mattresses on the market, it’s overwhelming to determine which combination of mattress and pillow will bring the best rest. This guide compares memory foam with latex mattresses, and offers key features of each to help make your decision easier.


While they aren’t as comfortable as the competition, latex mattresses are the choice made by those who are more concerned with durability and material. Latex is a natural foam designed to outlast spring mattresses. The first production of these mattresses started in the fifties. They are the healthiest and most eco-friendly option. However, latex mattresses are also usually the most expensive option. While most manufacturers make their mattresses with only a layer of latex on the top for affordability, a true latex mattress can cost upwards of $2,000.00, but they last up to fifteen years or more.

Types of Latex

There are three types of latex typically used in the production of mattresses. 100% natural latex, synthetic latex, or a blend of the two. 100% natural latex is derived from rubber tree sap. Finding a mattress that is completely natural is rare, and expensive. Most companies will use a blend. Look for the percentage of natural latex when reviewing the information on the mattress before purchasing.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are more comfortable and softer than latex. They can help tremendously with back problems by relieving pressure points along the spine and by keeping it aligned while you sleep. An aligned back can also promote better blood circulation. Memory foam, however, is made of harsh chemicals. Because they are mostly petroleum based, these types of mattresses have been reported to cause allergen problems like itchy eyes, respiratory issues, and headaches.

Natural Memory Foam

Early this century, a law was passed that mattresses need to be flame-retardant. Mattress fires were a recurring occurrence, especially in the households of smokers. While they are safer because they are flame retardant, the harsh chemicals used to make these mattresses are not good for you.

In recent years, manufacturers have developed healthier and more natural versions of memory foam. Though finding a 100% organic mattress is rare and very high in price, a happy medium of 30%-50% organic is most commonly found on the market.

To address the concern of the fire hazard law, developers have started to opt for healthier alternatives. Natural fibers are used as barriers that surround and enclose the mattress core (where all the highly flammable material is). “Fire socks” are similar to a sheet in that they cover the combustible parts of the mattress. These are usually silica-based or made from natural things like wool and thistle. In the event of a fire, the covers will melt, which smothers the flames preventing the entire mattress from catching fire.


Although price depends on the percentage of natural materials, latex is usually the more expensive option, particularly if the mattress is entirely latex or a high latex blend. Memory foam mattresses that do contain no, or few, natural materials are a fraction of the cost of a good latex mattress. The exception to this is the newer memory foams on the market that are developed with higher standards and are made of organic and natural materials. Additions like organic flame-retardant covers can put memory foam mattresses in the same price range as a latex blend.

The Final Verdict

The type of mattress preferred depends on the priorities of the buyer. If it’s more important to combat issues that arise from using unnatural products, then a latex mattress is the way to go. If comfort is key for someone who suffers greatly from body aches, memory foam is the best contender. While memory foam will still have some types of chemicals, the new product lines today have much healthier options and organic covers that can deplete the emission of them. This makes it easier if the decision is stuck between wanting comfort, but not wanting to give in to using unnatural materials. Though the higher percentage of organic and natural materials, the higher the price- latex mattresses clock in at about the same price range as a highly natural memory foam mattress.