Although natural latex mattresses lost popularity with the arrival of viscoelastic, it is an excellent material with many properties for rest. It is durable, adaptable and hypoallergenic, among other advantages.

If you are looking for a latex mattress, you will have already noticed that some manufacturers speak of Dunlop and others of Talalay, the two types that exist. But what is the difference between them? And, ultimately, and what interests you most, what is the best option for you?

In this article we explain what distinguishes these two types of latex from each other and delve into the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each one so that you can get an idea of ​​which one best suits what you need.

What is latex?

Latex is a natural polymer obtained from the sap of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree, native to the tropical forests of Central and South America.

For its extraction, incisions are made in the bark of the plant (in the form of a V or in a spiral), which makes the sap that circulates through the vessels that are just behind it flow outwards. This whitish substance with a very dense semi-liquid texture is latex.

Differences latex sample latex_originalAfter being treated, it becomes a spongy, soft and elastic material.

Generally, although not always, in order to shape it, synthetic components are used during the process. To be considered natural latex, these components must not exceed 15%.

Otherwise, it is classified as synthetic latex and it is made with styrene and butadiene, derived from petroleum.

What is Dunlop latex and Talalay latex?

Once the latex is extracted from the tree, it can go through different methods to become a foam: Dunlop or Talalay.

Dunlop

Also known as standard, it is the oldest and was invented by the physicist E. A Murphy in 1929.

In this process the sap is mixed with air, beaten and centrifuged creating a foam that is poured into a mould. Then it is left to cool naturally and, once cold, it is heated to a temperature between 100°C and 115°C, with which it vulcanizes, obtaining latex foam.

The baked latex is removed from the mold and washed well. To finish, the material is baked again to remove moisture.

Talalay

It was developed a few years later, in 1956 by Joseph Antón Talalay and its process is somewhat more complex.

In this process, latex and air are mixed in a foamer to create bubbles. The mold is then partially filled and the air is removed, sealing it under vacuum, causing it to expand.

It is then frozen and CO₂ is injected. It is also vulcanized by heating it to 115°C, but in this case the cooling is not natural, rather the temperature is lowered by 30°C.

And the resulting foam is washed with pressurized water to remove residues from thermal reactions and is dried by vulcanizing it again at 100°C.

Differences between Dunlop and Talalay latex in mattresses

Although the raw material is the same, the differences between the manufacturing methods mean that the two resulting types of latex are different and, therefore, the mattresses with one or the other material have certain differences.

Dunlop latex has fewer bubbles and is coarser grained, making it denser and offering firmer, more resilient support.

During the Dunlop process, moreover, the sediments of the mixture are deposited at the bottom of the mould, which means that the distribution is not uniform, which is why this latex is usually slightly firmer at the bottom than at the top, which which sacrifices some adaptability.

In short, Dunlop is better suited for mattress cores, but not the best choice for comfort (top) layers.

Talalay latex, on the other hand, has a higher number of bubbles, which gives it a lower density. In addition, by vacuuming the air before baking, the cells of the latex stretch and become more flexible, offering softer support and greater adaptability.

Due to its characteristics, Talalay is more used in the upper layers of mattresses as a topper, but it is not usually used very frequently in cores.

If we analyze specific points, we can delve deeper into the differences:

 Latex Talalay Latex Dunlop

Durability highly durable material Material durable
Firmness Middle-low Media
breathability High average Media
Price High More economical
  • Both types of latex are durable materials, however the density of Dunlop gives it a longer lifespan.
  • Dunlop latex is considerably firmer than Talalay latex, which is why it is more often used in cores.
  • Although latex is not characterized by its great breathability, comparing both types, Talalay, being less dense, allows air to circulate a little better inside.
  • Since the Dunlop latex manufacturing process is less expensive, mattresses made of this material are usually a little cheaper than those made of Talalay.

Conclusion: Which latex is better, Talalay or Dunlop?

Natural latex is an excellent material. Its advantages include its great durability, that it is hypoallergenic and anti-mite and that it provides comfort and good support, so whether we are talking about the Dunlop type or the Talalay, we can be sure that they are good materials for our mattress.

ImportantHowever, each has its advantages that make it stand out. Dunlop is denser, firmer and more resistant, which gives it greater durability. While the Talalay is less dense, more flexible and adaptable.