This post is for Consumer Reports but may also have some useful info for customers:
Since my parents introduced me to the paper reports as a child, I also have always relied on Consumer Reports in the past but am saddened to find they may be a bit outdated compared to a BBB and other accreditations combined with a good internet search including customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Overstock.com instead of the sites selling only one brand or group of products.
I don't know why this has to be the case. Consumer Reports could save consumers time by surveying the most objective customer reviews from sites like Amazon and Overstock and summarizing them and presenting them for what they are, not as consumer reports tested, but also not selectively presented by a company. The more of those kinds of sites searched and the most common posts about a product would likely yield more reliable information than I can get as a consumer spending days and days online. Someone should create a software that can filter internet searches this way...
Anyhow, here is my challenge to Consumer Reports to address some issues that I feel COULD be objectively addressed about Latex Beds and pillows as well as pillow and mattress covers regardless of brands:
I want to know if the information I have found is really true (see the links at the end that seem to make alot of sense but are put out by companies that sell product).I understand from my research online:That the Dunlop and Talalay processes can be used on natural latex or synthetic latex or blends of the two and can be made in US or outside US.That Natural Latex is less toxic, more dust mite resistant, and more durable than non-natural Latex. That it is washed multiple times and encased in enclosures that make it virtually impossible for those with Latex allergies to have a reaction or problem, though they have to be careful to have disclaimers for those who are severely allergic. This is because the allergens can be washed away from the final product and are usually a problem only with contact or airborne on powders used in other applications.That Latex (natural or synthetic) sleeps cooler (though some sites say they feel clammy on them!) than memory foam and innerspring mattresses.That PU/synthetic memory foam does have harmful chemicals and consistently is reported as sleeping very hot. That Styrene/Butadiene additives to foams (synthetic blends added natural latex or used alone as synthetic latex) can cause chemical exposures and make latex less durable over time.That the Talalay Latex process creates more comfortable but less durable material and can begin to sway and deform, has less chemicals used in the manufacturing process than Dunlop Latex which is firmer and more dense, therefore more durable and not as good for dust mites, therefore better for an under layer of bedding material.That latex layers should not be glued since they stick together and don't shift and glues can be toxic and prevent the user from just replacing a less durable layer vs replacing an entire bed when the time comes.
Here's what I'd like to know:
Are all natural latex (multiple washes) really not an issue for those with latex allergies? CR test this with only all natural Talalay and Dunlop processed latex materials, especially pillows?
Evaluate mattress covers for cool/temperate factor, durability, ease of care and waterproofing/resistant ability over time. CR test this?Same bed, different covers to control.
In the reverse, evaluate latex bed materials for heat issues without the coverings or all with the same cover you place on their latex material.
The key here is comparing MATERIALS (natural vs synthetic latex or blend) and METHODS OF INCORPORATION of the materials (wicking weave, dunlop vs talalay process,etc) instead of comparing by BRAND, so it would be really helpful and more able to be objective. Then we consumers could just do the research to find which companies have which materials and processes.(100% natural Talalay US made latex, 100% natural Dunlop latex US made, bamboo and polyester or viscose with wicking process for mattress covers, etc).
OR you could also do the computer research and survey sites and companies to find out which brands have which materials and processes in their specific products as we would need to do.
Test the materials and processes for using them for TEMPERATE NATURE (heat regulation-not too hot), for LONGEVITY(durability and lack of deformity over what time period and how), SAFETY(dust mite, bed bug, water protection over how much time) (lack of chemical exposures or timing of off gassing from foams),COMFORT with a partner (lack of dipping in the middle, lack of noticing a partner moving). Then also report on RETURNS policy and performance, and add in the lateset BBB ratings or links to the BBB site, OEKOTEC and other accreditation sites.
Then, if you could make an "app" for all of that to be used while shopping online and in stores, you would be truly in the computer age and get lots of new subscribers!!!
Hope someone wades through all this as I really feel some of the ideas could change the future of CR and the future of consumer advocacy and information gathering.
And at the very least it could save we consumers from spending so much time researching our latex products!!!
Am replying to my own post after trying to eMail someone like the Editorial Director or some general mailbox at CR and not finding one.
Some of what I am looking for in the general sense from CR may already exist (APPs for smartfones?). Would love a reply if any is already implemented and also if anything regarding Latex bedding and products specifically can be done.
I think one reason CR subscribers are upset is because the mattress industry has typically been characterized as a somewhat "scammy" business. For example: they make the same mattress for different stores and change the name for each store so that they can offer "price guarantees" on mattresses that can't be compared...
Subscribers hoped that CR would cut through all of that somehow and provide real ratings on such an important product - maybe one of the most important products we'll ever buy.
It does feel like CR dropped the ball, but it could be that the industry has it so well-figured out that not even the good people at CR could break through the smoke and mirrors...
Buyer Beware big time for mattresses.
I wish you all would stop complaining and give us opinions on various Latex mattresses that have been bought in stores in the way of longevity and dependability.
I'm sure it's difficult to review these things because different manufacturers layer the latex different ways.
I've gone through 9 pages of forum input and found very little of it helpful.
CR has been given a lot of good suggestions by subscribers that are seriously trying to understand the latex mattress conundrum.
I stupidly didn't do all the research (or got tired) and decided *not* to buy the organic latex mattress from Natura because of the cost, and instead opted for a "natural" latex which is 65% natural latex and 35% synthetic. I thought if I covered it with an organic mattress pad it would be ok. Totally nieve and reflects my lack of research. It arrived Jan 4. It is the most comfortable mattress I have ever slept on *but* I have developed a reaction to the off gassing over the last week, and last night I had to move into my guest room as I could barely breathe. I'm told by Natura that it will take 6 to 8 weeks for the "off gassing" to settle down, and that it is not toxic. From the research I have done on synthetic latex since this happened, I realize synthetic latex *is* toxic as it is made from petroleum products. (Have in parallel been reading about Xenoestrogens in the environment to attempt to understand why my hormones are out of balance and am guessing that synthetic latex may "qualify" so I'm not feeling to happy about this situation.) There is almost nothing that I can find on-line that satisfies my questions about synthetic latex. So far, my interactions with Natura have been unsatisfactory since they do not answer their customer service line; they must call you back. For those considering what to do, I would never by a tempurpedic (way too toxic) and would do much more research into natural latex and synthetic latex so you are well informed on your purchase. If you can afford it buy the organic latex. Despite what I have said, I am hoping I will be able to sleep on this extremely comfortable mattress, but not at the price of hormone disruption. Tackling these issues is the area where I think CR could be very helpful.
This "we cant rate mattresses" thing is a cop out.
I also feel cheated as I paid for a subscription (thankfully only a month's worth) to find out more about latex mattresses.
While I understand your lack of ratings given the subjective nature of mattresses, I think a fairly obvious and objective metric would have been how well these mattresses hold up over a period of use (i.e. do they lose their shape or resistance? does one brand do better in this category than others?)
Because the product is relatively new (and expensive as you mention) people have more need to get this information from CR since it is harder to obtain it from individuals.
I have been a huge fan of C.R. for many years and my father was too. Now I have turned my husband on to it. We call it our go to bible. There are only two things that I find very dissappointing. One is the lack of information on mattresses (more to follow)... and (my very largest pet peeve).. the lack of information "from the auto experts" (didn't C.R. make their reputation from giving the most in-depth reviews on al things auto??) on full-size diesel trucks - new or used. C.R. some of us folks actually require and have to depend on these types of vehicles whether they are gas guzzlers or not!
Sorry.. I got off track.
While I understand that choosing a mattress is an extremely personal and individual choice... and no one can make that choice for you.. C.R. needs to get off their duffs and do their jobs in this area! There is no reason they can't review known or off brands for quality, construction, materials, best suited for, longevity, value, best features, reputation, approximate cost... etc. There are almost as many differences in one type of cell phone as there are in all types of mattresses in general!
I try to thoroughly research anything that is going to cost a lot of money and that is supposed to last many years and mattresses definitely fall into that category.
I know that test driving a mattress is one of the steps that is imperitive, but I would like to be informed of these other things before I do. Sure would save me some time! And what is the better place to purchase? Alco (just kidding), furniture store, rental, mattress store, outlet, or warehouse? There is a lot more info they could provide the consumer!
I have been shopping for a mattress as well. I had the very good fortune of finding an honest and informed salesman at "The Mattress Firm" in Sante Fe, NM. Truly, this is not a solicitation.. I am also interested in latex, I sleep hot. I am married, my husband and I have a very different idea of what is comfortable.. we still like sleeping in the same bed together (i.e. sleep number won't work) First we have to compromise.. he has a bad back, wants a firm mattress, firm hurts my shoulder.. I sleep hot, him - cold. I read a lot about latex, I can't stand memory foam. Anyway, this is what Connor's advice was (he knew we were from out of town and would't be buying that day) 1. Try several types of mattresses, then narrow it down to two. 2. Buy a sealy (known brand, less expensive) instead of, let's say a Stearns And Foster (almost exactly the same thing and made under sealy - same warranty). 3. Decide if the more expensive bed has enough features to warrant the cost. 4. Consider the materials and construction, how long will they last with the least deterioration, rather than just how long the warranty lasts (very rarely do you get decent value back should you have to use it) 5. DO find out what will void a warranty!! For instance, if I used my old box springs, that would void the warranty, but it was o.k. to set the mattress on the floor.
Hope some of this helped. By the way, we are trying to decide between the sealy euro plushtop with 5" of latex as the top layer of a ind. wrapped coil mattress, or the sealy embody coilless all latex with 5" of the high quality talay latex on top. The first was much more affordable, with great construction and a good waranty, the embody was to die for!!! Materials would have easily outlasted the warranty with much less wear and tear than a coil mattress. PRICEY!!! What did we do? We had never tried latex before, so we tabled the mattress for now and bought latex pillows. HEAVEN!!! Now I am sure that I want the all latex sealy embody!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!