Gel mattresses are made from a memory foam infused with a cooling gel., while latex is made from the sap of rubber trees. Two distinct materials, each with distinct features, qualities, and prices. With all these in mind, which one should you choose?
After all, you spend ⅓ of your life sleeping on a mattress, and if you buy the wrong mattress type you may end up waking with aches and pain all over your body. Add it up to the hassle of replacements and refunds, a real big headache, right?
If you don’t know the features and qualities each mattress presents, you will get to finish this article knowing the clear pros and cons, similarities, and what are latex mattresses compared to gel.
What Is A Gel Mattress?
A gel memory foam mattress, also known in full as gel-infused memory foam mattress and they are a new generation of memory foam which helps with heat dissipation. Like traditional memory foam, gel mattresses are made with PU foam, commonly known as polyurethane foam.
These mattresses are embedded and infused with gel that absorbs heat and directs it away from your body to help it cool down. The main reason for this innovation is that traditional memory foam traps heat because of its viscosity and density, making hot sleepers sleep even hotter.
Memory foam beds also makes sleepers sink as it contours to their body shape, and this means sufficient airflow and ventilation are blocked as the foam hugs the body, making you sweat profusely during the night. Gel mattresses are made to address the feeling of being hot without sacrificing the popular body-contouring trait.
What Is A Latex Mattress?
Latex mattresses are made from a milky liquid sap obtained from rubber trees. Although there are some man-made synthetic latex
It is known for a firmer support and more responsive feel leading to you feeling like you’re sleeping on the mattress, instead of the sinking in the mattress.
There are three types of latex foam mattresses.
1) All-natural Latex
Most natural latex undergoes one of two distinct manufacturing processes: Dunlop and Talalay. While Dunlop latex is the quickest, cheapest, and easiest to produce, the manufacturing process produces firm, durable, and dense latex only suitable for a mattress base layer.
Talalay latex, on the other hand, is more sophisticated. The manufacturing process is longer, pricier and results in a more comfortable latex commonly used in top layer.
2) Synthetic Latex
This type of latex uses synthetic materials to mimic the properties of all-natural latex. It’s less expensive and usually used in conjunction with our materials to make a hybrid mattress.
While it does do a pretty good job of copying natural latex, it’s less: durable, bouncy and supportive so watch out for this if you’re buying a new latex mattress.
3) Blended Latex
Blended latex combines both synthetic and all-natural latex to make a less expensive foam. It’s cheaper than all-natural but it still has some of the properties of natural latex making it more durable than synthetic.
How Does Memory Foam Differ To Latex?
Now you know the construction of both, the time has come to find out how they differ and what that means for you as a future sleeper. While both materials share similarities which we’ll get into later, the specific properties and feel can vary massively.
Latex has a more bouncy and responsive feel, while memory foam conforms more closely to the body and doesn’t respond as quick when pressure is applied. Ultimately, the choice between these two materials will come down to personal preference.
Motion transfer, or the feeling of your partner’s movements during the night, can be a major concern for some people. Gel memory foam wins here as it absorbs more shock when force is applied. That doesn’t mean latex is bad for motion isolation, it’s just not as effective.
Gel memory foams have become very popular and are more widely available than latex beds. Although more recently latex has risen in popularity with more retailers stocking them.
Ease of Movement
Gel loses here due to its contouring properties may make you ‘sink’ into foam layer and makes it harder to toss and turn or get out of bed. Whereas latex is more responsive and firmer which allows for easier movement.
Cooling gel memory foam is specially designed to regulate temperature by dispersing body heat, which can helps your sleepAs . Latex, on the other hand, is naturally breathable and cooling, making it a great option for people who sleep hot.
Odour or Off-gassing:
In our reviews, we’ve found that gel memory foam mattresses off-gas more than natural latex. But both can be reduced to nothing in a few days with good ventilation.
The main factor to watch out for here is the percentage of Talalay used as that is where most of the VOC’s come from.
As long as you’re choosing an all-natural latex, then latex wins comfortable here. While there are plant-based memory foams that are more sustainable, environmentally-conscious shoppers may prefer a mattress made entirely of natural materials, such as latex.
Latex mattresses are known for their durability and can last up to 20 years. Whether you compare latex to innersprings or gel memory foam beds, latex is always the winner as it’s more responsive, firmer and sags less.
What Features Do Memory Foam And Latex Share?
They both provide exceptional support for your body. This can help to reduce pressure point pain and support key areas of the body from the head to lower back and hips.
Both mattress types come in a wide range of sizes, thickness and firmness. Which means that you’re sure to find a mattress that fits your needs. Whether you prefer a plush, pillowy feel or a firmer, more supportive surface, you’ll find a mattress that’s just right for you.
Thankfully, both gel memory foam and latex mattresses offer hypoallergenic qualities. Latex is more naturally hypogallergenic, but gel can be too if it’s particularly dense.
Warranties and Sleep Trials
When it comes to warranties and sleep trials, it’s important to do your research. They vary greatly depending on the brand, so always put this in your checklist when buying a new mattress.
Also, look for a sleep trial lasting 100 nights at a minimum – there’s loads that offer 200 nights and this will give you a chance to know if this is the best mattress for you.
They both tend to be similar in that they’re more expensive than other types of mattresses. The reason being the gel infusion and comfort layers increase costs, and latex is manufactured from a natural resource with an intensive manufacturing process.
Care And Maintenance
Caring for a both types has similarities as they both need regular cleaning and both can’t be dried in the sun. The reason being the heat can cause both materials to deform resulting in an uncomfortable sleep.
Should You Buy A Gel Memory Foam Mattress Over Latex?
One of the main advantages of gel type mattresses is that they provide excellent support and pressure relief for side sleepers. The contouring properties of the foam help to alleviate pain in the hips and shoulders, and as side sleepers trap the most heat it helps to regulate the temperature as the gel disperses it away.
If you sleep with a partner then gel edges out latex here with superior motion isolation. So if you go to sleep and wake up at different times, or your partner tosses and turns, then consider a gel mattress over latex.
Should You Buy a Latex Mattress Over Memory Foam?
If you suffer from allergies, want your mattress to last a long time or have environmental concerns then an all-natural latex mattress is for you. Yes, the contouring isn’t the same as gel memory foam but you will get superior spinal alignment.
Gel Memory Foam And Memory Foam Difference
Gel memory foam and memory foam are both made with polyurethane foam, but gel memory foam has additional microbeads infused into the foam to disperse heat.
They both provide the same level of pressure relief and conformability, but simply differ in dispersing trapped heat.
Is latex firmer than memory foam?
Yes, latex is generally considered to be firmer than gel memory foam. This is because latex is a naturally bouncy and responsive material, while many memory foam mattresses conform closely to the body and provides a deeper level of contouring making it feel softer.
However, it all depends on the mattress model, your sleeping position and weight as these influence how firm you feel the mattress to be.
Which mattress is better for allergies, latex or gel?
Latex mattresses are considered better for allergy sufferers as the natural latex is derived from rubber tree sap, and is resistant to dust mites and other allergens.
Which One Is More Eco-Friendly? Gel Or Latex?
Latex are considered more eco-friendly than gel memory foam, but it depends on the subtype of latex used. Gel mattresses are primarily made with PU foam which is made from petrochemicals (petroleum-based chemicals); this causes gel mattresses to take a long time to decompose. PU foam is also not sustainable, so in this sense, gel mattresses aren’t the best for eco-friendliness.
A natural latex mattress is eco-friendly, but blended and synthetic aren’t. If you’re interested in learning more about how coil springs line up against latex, rather than gel, then check out our latex vs innerspring mattress guide.