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Latex is a substance extracted from the sap of rubber trees, and then processed using either the Dunlop or Talalay method. The latex used in pillows also varies in terms of its ratio of natural and synthetic/chemical components. Like memory foam pillows, latex pillows are sold in one-piece and shredded varieties. Most latex pillows are medium- to high-loft, though shredded designs with zippered covers are adjustable.
Latex is a popular material for pillows due to its naturally soft and supportive qualities. Much like memory foam, latex sinks beneath a sleeper’s head, neck, and shoulders for targeted pain and pressure relief. However, it is more breathable and cooler than most memory foams. Latex has also been touted for it’s above-average durability. There are, however, some notable drawbacks to latex pillows, such as a relatively high price-point, odor and allergy potential, minimal moldability, and above-average weight.
Read on to learn more about latex pillows, and how they are different from other pillow types.
There are two different methods used to process latex. In the Dunlop process, the latex is stirred, molded, and baked, which causes sediment to gather on the bottom and creates a heterogenous, bottom-heavy substance. During the Talalay process, the latex is vacuum-sealed, frozen and baked. This results in lighter, more homogenous latex. Some pillows feature Dunlop latex or a blend of Talalay and Dunlop latexes, but most feature latex that is produced using the Talalay process.
The terms ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ latex refers to latexes that are primarily produced from natural ingredients with minimal petrochemical components. However, by definition, latex cannot be ‘100% natural’ or ‘100% organic’; at most, latex may be 95% natural or organic. The terms ‘blended’ or ‘synthetic’ latex refer to latexes that are primarily made using petrochemical components.
Latex pillows may be crafted from a single piece of latex or padded with shredded pieces of latex. Some shredded designs feature zippered covers that allow owners to remove/add latex pieces as needed in order to achieve their desired loft and firmness.
Latex pillows are commonly available in the following sizes:
The table below features the normal measurements for each of the pillow sizes discussed above.
|Standard||20W” x 26L”|
|Queen||20W” x 30L”|
|King||20W” x 36L”|
|Body Pillow||54W” x 20L”|
48W” x 20L”
Pros of latex pillows include the following:
Cons of latex pillows include the following:
Generally speaking, latex pillows are best suited for the following types of sleepers:
On the other hand, latex pillows may not be suitable for the following sleeper types:
|Criteria||Latex Pillow Rating||Explanation|
|Affordability||Poor to Fair||The average latex pillow costs between $40 and $60, which makes them more expensive than most other pillow types.|
|Durability||Very Good to Excellent||Most latex pillows perform for at least three to four years without losing their shape or supportive qualities.|
|Support||Good to Very Good||According to pillow owners, latex conforms closely for a contoured fit that alleviates pain and pressure.|
|Noise||Very Good to Excellent||Latex pillows are virtually silent when bearing weight.|
|Weight||Poor to Fair||Latex pillows tend to be heavier than other pillow types, and may be difficult to move and reposition for some.|
|Odor||Fair to Good||While latex pillows often produce unpleasant rubbery smells when new, the smells tend to dissipate within a few days. Still, people who are sensitive to smell may struggled with latex pillows.|
|Washable||Fair to Good||Latex pillows are not usually machine washable, but owners can spot clean them if needed without spending money for dry cleaning services.|
|Firmness/Loft Options||Good to Very Good||Latex pillows are available in a wide range of firmness ratings, though in terms of loft, nearly all fall between medium and high.|
|Availability||Poor to Fair||Latex pillows — particularly at low price-points — are not widely available.|
Pillow shoppers will encounter a limited selection of latex models, though they are available through home goods retailers like Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Macy’s. They are sold on exclusively online retail sites like Amazon.com and Overstock.com, as well.
The average latex pillow costs between $40 and $60, which puts them on par with memory foam pillows in terms of price-point. Shoppers should expect to pay much more for pillows made from ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ latex, even though these pillows contain some chemical components.
One-piece latex pillows are very easy to maintain over time, and do not require fluffing in order to maintain their shape. Shredded latex pillows may be fluffed as needed, but these also tend to maintain a consistent shape, and may can be adjusted by removing or adding shredded latex pieces.
The graph below features the average price-points of latex pillows and other leading pillow types.
|Brand Name||Malouf Z (Multiple Models)||Naturepedic Organic Sculpted Latex Pillow||Nest Bedding Easy Breather Natural Pillow (Adjustable)||Savvy Rest (Multiple Models)||Sleep on Latex Natural Latex Pillow|
|Latex Pillow Price Range (Standard)||$71.99 to $151.99 (Queen)||$99||$99||$99 to $179||$69 to $79 (Queen; varies by Cover)|
Body (Select Models)
|Latex Type||Natural, Shredded and One-piece|
Gel Latex (Select Models)
|Natural, Shredded||Organic, Shredded and One-piece||Natural, One-piece|
|Cover||Polyester/Rayon Blend||Organic Stretch Knit||Textured Cotton|
|Undisclosed||Organic Cotton or Organic Cotton/Polyester Blend|
|Firmness Range||Soft to Firm||Soft||Medium to Firm||Soft to Firm||Medium to Firm|
|Loft Range||Medium to High|
Some Models are Adjustable (Zipper Cover)
|Medium||Adjustable (Zipper Cover)||Medium to High|
Some Models are Adjustable (Zipper Cover)
|Medium to High|
5 Year Warranty
|30 Nights||100 Nights||No Returns Accepted|
3 Year Warranty
5 Year Warranty
|Cleaning||Spot Clean||Spot Clean||Spot Clean||Spot Clean||Spot Clean|
|Customer Satisfaction Rating||84% (906 Customer Reviews)||82% (895 Customer Reviews)||85% (1,673 Customer Reviews)||80% (2,109 Customer Reviews)||79% (1,402 Customer Reviews)|
For more information about latex pillows and other pillow types, please check out our Pillow Buying Guide.