Latex Mattress Vs. Gel Mattress

Written by Zulekha Nishad

Last Updated June 6, 2024

We spend around a third of our lives sleeping, so it is important to choose the right mattress. There are different types of mattresses on the market, but two of the most popular are Gel Mattress and Latex Mattress. The discussion also applies to Latex Mattress Toppers.

latex mattress

Both have their unique benefits and drawbacks, so it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the key differences between gel mattresses and latex mattresses, so you can figure out which one is best suited for your needs.

key differences between gel mattresses and latex mattresses

In this post, we'll take a closer look at the key differences between gel mattresses and latex mattresses, so you can figure out which one is best suited for your needs.

What is a gel mattress?

Gel is a material that has thermally conductive properties and has been found to efficiently move body heat away from you. A gel mattress is similar to a traditional memory foam mattress but comes with added gel or gel beads, also known as cooling materials.

The gel can be introduced into the mattress foam layer in several different ways. Usually, manufacturers inject gel microbeads into the memory foam to improve breathability.

Also, some manufacturers use the method of swirling the gel into the liquid foam even before it solidifies. Adding a gel layer over the foam is another way to increase mattress coolness.

The gel beads form pockets just like that of an open-cell mattress. But instead of letting the air filter through the mattress, the gel beads absorb and release heat from the sleeper's body.

The gel helps sleep cool, whereas the memory foam conforms to your body, giving you the best night's sleep.

What is a latex mattress?

A latex mattress uses two to four layers of latex foam. There are different types of latex used in beds.

The first one is natural latex, derived from the rubber tree. Natural latex is economically made with minimal chemicals and is perfect for anyone who prefers a natural option. The next option is organic latex. It is natural latex with zero harmful chemicals and an organic certified. These days you can find many certified organic mattresses in the market that are purer and environment friendly than their non-organic counterparts.

Synthetic latex, made from petroleum-based compounds, is the third type of latex. The main difference between synthetic latex and the natural option is that synthetic latex has less bounce and harmful chemicals. Blended latex is produced with a combination of synthetic latex and a negligible amount of natural latex.

Gel memory foam vs latex - What's the difference?

As we said initially, both gel and latex mattresses have their pros and cons, so deciding which one is best for you can be tricky. Here are the major differences between gel memory foam and latex.

  • Feel

Gel memory foam mattress feels close to that of regular memory foam, except it's more cooling. Like traditional memory foam, a gel memory foam mattress is known for its ability to conform and is the most contouring material on the market. However, it takes a few extra seconds to sink back into your position. The gel infusions don't impact the foam's ability to mold itself to your shape.

Latex foam has natural cooling properties. Unlike gel memory foam, natural latex is highly responsive. It instantly springs back to its original shape and is amazing for sleepers who toss and turn all night.

Due to its body-hugging feel, gel memory foam has slightly better motion isolation than a latex mattress. However, both these materials do a pretty great job of reducing motion transfer.

  • Heat retention

Latex mattresses absorb heat buildup and are cooler than other mattresses. They have an open cell structure that allows free airflow.

Unlike traditional memory foam mattresses, gel memory foam uses gel infused beads or a layer of gel that helps dissipate heat from your body. This results in a cooler and more comfortable sleep surface.

  • Durability

Gel mattresses are kind of stuck in the middle when it comes to durability. They tend to lose their shape and comfort much faster than other mattresses.

natural and organic latex mattress topper

High-quality gel memory foam mattresses can last around 7 to 10 years. Meanwhile, the minimal life expectancy of a natural latex mattress is 20 years. It retains its springiness throughout its lifespan. Also, they have far longer warranties than gel memory foam, as they're expected to have a longer lifetime.

Organic latex foam

  • Purity

If you prefer all-natural materials when it comes to mattresses, gel memory foam isn't for you!

Gel memory foam is made of high-density polyurethane, which comes from petroleum as a byproduct. They also contain toxic chemicals, including benzene, formaldehyde, and naphthalene, which are unfit for human use as well as the environment. Also, the gel infusions present in these mattresses are typically artificial. That means almost every ingredient present in a gel memory foam mattress is synthetic.

100% organic and natural latex mattresses are made from rubber sap of the rubber tree. They are the purest mattress options available out there.

  • Support and pain relief

Both gel memory foam and latex mattresses do a great job of keeping the spine aligned and supporting the sleeper's body.

Latex and gel memory foam contours to your body and reduces pressure points. Since both are sufficiently supportive, different body parts can sink in without pushing the spine out of alignment. This reduces pain in heavier body parts like hips, back, and shoulders.

However, latex typically outperforms gel memory foam when it comes to offering the perfect support in the long run. This is due to latex's superior durability and responsiveness.

After a couple of years of use, gel memory foam mattresses are prone to sagging, thus reducing support. But, natural latex mattresses retain their shape and remain highly supportive throughout the mattress's lifespan.

  • Eco-friendliness

When it comes to environmental impact, 100% organic and natural latex is the winner.

Luxury organic latex bed

Latex mattresses are made using natural materials and are manufactured in an environmentally conscious way. On the other hand, gel memory foam is made using synthetic materials and produces lots of toxic waste.

While natural latex is biodegradable, gel memory foam is not. That means the latter is not earth-friendly and could spend thousands of years in a landfill.

Which is better - gel mattresses or natural latex mattresses?

So, what's the verdict? Gel mattresses or latex mattresses? The answer: it depends. Both have their own unique benefits that may appeal to different people.

If you really want our opinion (and you know you do), we would choose a latex mattress every time. They are natural, breathable, durable, safe and healthy for both you and the planet – not to mention they just feel darn good.

natural and organic pillows

But don't take our word for it! Go to a store, try out a few different mattresses, and see which one feels best to you.

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5. Why Do You Need A Mattress Protector For Your latex Mattress?

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We hope you found this blog post on the key differences between gel mattresses and latex mattresses informative and that it has helped make your decision easier.

Have you tried a gel mattress or latex mattress before? Let us know in the comments below which one is your favorite!

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.

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