If you're trying to decide on whether to buy an innerspring mattress or a latex mattress, it's important you know they're two very different mattresses with different properties. Many individuals are used to sleeping on innerspring mattresses, but if you have the chance to purchase a natural latex mattress, you should definitely try it out. Latex is superb to innerspring in various ways. But still, it's good to know the differences between them.

Innerspring Mattresses

With an innerspring mattress, there will be metal coil springs that are usually topped with a foam layer (usually synthetic latex or memory foam). You might even find some type of fiber batting for cushioning. There is usually a casing of synthetic fabrics on the outside of the mattress. Each brand will differ with their fabric materials, along with their chemical finishes.

Innerspring coil mattresses are affordable. The metal springs are inexpensive, making innerspring mattresses cost less than natural latex mattresses, however, they tend to contain a large range of other materials. Certain innerspring mattresses contain latex, others memory foam. Most contain chemical flame retardants.

You will find a select few that incorporate organic wool batting (like natural latex mattresses) allowing them to pass the testing for flame retardants. A large array of mattress styles fall under the "innerspring" category; therefore, it's essential you assess each individual model.

Latex Mattresses

The ideal natural latex mattress can be amazingly comfortable and lush, but a layered style could also be constructed as very supportive and firm. Certain models are often customizable for sleeping partners, like with one side being firm and the other soft.

Genuine natural latex mattresses are constructed of durable natural latex foam layers. The foam itself is constructed from the sap of the rubber tree (the Hevea Brasiliensis tree), which mainly grows in Southeast Asia and India.

Other types of latex mattresses, you'll notice, are constructed from synthetic latex or blended latex (part plant oil, part synthetic) to provide you with a more affordable alternative to the natural rubber material. Manufacturers of synthetic foam can cut the price when they infuse other materials like polyurethane (or memory foam) and chemicals into the mixture.

Latex mattresses, like innersprings, vary greatly in quality and materials. Natural latex foam mattresses can offer an outstanding sleep environment, but cheaper versions can't be constructed with natural, top-quality latex foam.

How Innerspring Mattresses Are Made

Innerspring mattresses get their main support and shape from a series of titanium or steel coils at the core of the beds. The coiled core then is covered with layers of:

  • Foam
  • Fabric
  • Padding
  • Another layer of springs

With a coil density and strength appropriate to the weight and size of the individual, many individuals find innerspring mattresses comfortable, and they're more familiar with them being that most individuals grew up with innerspring mattresses.

How Latex Mattresses Are Made

Now, with natural latex mattresses, they're constructed from latex foam layers, which are made from rubber tree sap. Because latex is a natural material, buying a natural latex mattress can be attractive to individuals looking for an eco-friendly, sustainable product. Natural latex is also naturally resistant to dust mites and mold, and is hypoallergenic.

How an Innerspring Mattress Feels

Bounciness is the hallmark of an innerspring mattress, thanks to the bed's core's springs. However, how innersprings will actually feel when you're lying down on them will depend on the model you choose, since comfort layers constructed from wool, foam, and other materials can provide an innerspring mattress with very different feels. Some people don’t like the feel of an innerspring mattress, and decide to put a latex mattress topper on top of their innerspring mattress.

How a Natural Latex Foam Mattress Feels

A natural latex new mattress has responsiveness and buoyancy, but it also will conform to your body's shape when you're lying down on it — a quality often linked with memory foam. This mold-to-your-curves property will mean it offers great spinal support for most sleeper types. Similar to innerspring mattresses, natural latex foam mattresses come in various firmness levels, depending on the foam's density, and the method used to produce it.

Some natural latex mattresses have two sides: a medium and a firm side, allowing you to have two firmness options within one mattress, in a flippable mattress design.

Pros and Cons of Innerspring and Latex Mattresses

Take a look at the pros and cons of latex mattresses and innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring Mattress Pros

Some pros to an innerspring mattress are:

  • Springs provide a good level of support
  • It's cost-effective. A spring mattress is typically less costly than a latex mattress.
  • A spring mattress is available in various firmness levels
  • Springs provide you with more bounce, if that's important to you
  • If you like memory foam, you can also obtain a spring mattress with a memory foam top
  • Innersprings can last up to 10 years or more

Innerspring Mattress Cons

Some cons to an innerspring mattress are:

  • Your sleep during the night can be impacted by your restless partner's motions, unless you have individually-pocketed springs
  • The springs could cause pressure points on your body, if they end up failing to lie flat

Latex Mattress Pros

Some pros to a natural latex mattress are:

  • Natural latex mattresses are more eco-friendly than innerspring mattresses (this is due to them coming from a natural growing source). Innerspring mattresses are constructed using mined metals that aren't very environmentally-friendly
  • Latex provides a natural resistance to various allergens, such as molds, bacteria, dust mites, and dust
  • Latex can outlive springs, and is very durable (many offer a 20-year warranty, like Latex For Less's Natural Latex Mattress)
  • Latex provides pinpointed support, which allows pressure points to sink in while your body's main bulk is supported
  • Natural latex mattresses provide a firmer surface than innersprings. This could be important for individuals with medical ailments best for sleeping on a firm mattress

Latex Mattress Cons

A natural latex mattress does come with a few cons, which include:

  • Typically latex mattresses are more costly than innersprings. If you do happen to find a natural latex mattress at a lower price than an innerspring, you'll want to really check into that. While you might have found a great deal, you could also be coming across a cheaper-made mattress that claims to be latex, but is actually polyurethane. So, be careful that you are getting 100% natural latex mattress, and save money by buying directly from a latex mattress manufacturer.
  • Latex mattresses tend to be on the firmer side, so if you're a sleeper who prefers a soft mattress, you might want to consider a different mattress.

There really aren't that many cons to latex mattresses. However, you will find people who simply prefer an innerspring mattress because that's what they're used to. But, for those looking for luxurious comfort, a natural latex mattress is the way to go.

The Firmness and Support of Latex vs Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring Mattresses

Kids love jumping on traditional innerspring mattresses. This is because they're so bouncy. You figure, under the layers of padding and foam, there are dozens of springs that give the bed its bounce.

But, there are areas of a spring mattress that will break down over time, and cause a distinct lack of support and sagging.

Latex Mattresses

This isn't the case with well-supported natural latex mattresses, which don't have the springiness and inner coils of innerspring mattresses. This helps keep the natural latex mattress firm, and allows it to maintain its supportive nature and shape over time.

Orthopedic specialists also recommend natural latex mattresses because of their unsurpassed support they offer people.

Natural latex mattresses also offer zero motion transfer, meaning when your partner sleeping right next to you rolls over, you're not going to feel it, and you won't be woken up. You can't say the same thing with a spring mattress.

With natural latex mattresses, you can also customize the support and firmness you desire, and require.

How Environmentally Friendly Latex vs Innerspring Mattresses Are

Innerspring Mattresses

The mattress you choose could have an affect on the planet. Most innerspring mattresses are constructed with non-recyclable materials, and when consumers dispose of them, they wind up in landfills, taking up a lot of space.

Latex Mattresses

This doesn't occur with latex mattresses. When you purchase a 100% natural latex mattress, you can rest assured you're buying a bed constructed completely of recyclable materials. The manufacturing of traditional innerspring mattresses consists of a list of questionable chemicals — not so eco-friendly.

Innerspring and Latex Mattresses - Other Comparisons

Durability

Natural latex mattresses typically have a longer lifespan and more durability than spring mattresses. High-quality spring mattresses might last 10 years. Natural latex mattresses can last up to 20+ years.

Support

A spring mattress does provide ideal overall support. The pushback offered by the steel coils is extremely supportive. Firm latex mattresses are also fairly supportive.

Pain Relief

Natural latex mattresses do a better job of conforming to your body than do traditional innerspring mattresses. Because of this, natural latex is typically better at easing pressure point pain.

Sustainability

A natural latex mattress is considered one of the most eco-friendly mattresses around. Since the rubber is tapped straight from rubber trees, the trees don't need to be cut down. However, do know you can find eco-friendly and sustainable coil mattresses, too, and latex mattresses that aren't that eco-friendly (synthetic latex). So, keep your eye out for what's on the labels.

So, which type of mattress is better? It will ultimately come down to your budget, and personal preferences. Mattress preferences do vary between individuals. Different mattresses will have their own set of pros and cons, and it will be up to the individual to decide which type of mattress provides them with the most benefits.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates, LIVESTRONG.com, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report, Travels.com, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.