If you are shopping for a new mattress, you may be wondering why it is so difficult to find latex mattresses to try out, especially those with 100% pure latex mattress cores, with no metal springs and polyurethane (PU) foams.
Latex is a top quality all natural foam made from the sap of the rubber tree. Naturally springy and very supportive and relaxing, latex is recommended by many chiropractors and osteopaths. However, you may still have difficulty finding a latex mattress in a showroom in Singapore. Why is this?
History and brand influence
Much of the mattress industry in Singapore has in the past been influenced by the big American brands. Thick plush American-style innersprings have been very popular previously. Little to no all-natural or organic options were demanded or offered, and so the big American brands became fairly prevalent in Singapore. This is still the case even though many imported innersprings mattresses are not actually designed with the Singaporean climate in mind (all too many innerspring owners find that their mattress later develops a mould problem).
In contrast to innersprings, latex mattresses tend to be made mainly by the European brands and offer European styling. These latex mattress place the emphasis on comfort, health, environment (all-natural or organic) and a clean minimalist look. They are also naturally mould-resistant, a big plus for our climate. But because these brands have come to Singapore a little later, people are not so familiar with them yet, making them harder to find when shopping.
Plush mattresses look visually appealing even if they do not feel as good
Plush innersprings and other mattresses with a thick puffy surface look very attractive to the eye. Because of this, many mattress showrooms enjoy having plenty of these in the store to attract shoppers.
Indeed, even savvy consumers are often under the misunderstanding that a thicker more luxurious looking mattress is better. In reality, your body is a more important judge of a mattress than your eye. Just because a mattress looks comfortable is no guarantee that it will actually feel that way. So it's very important to try out any mattress you are considering - regardless of what type of mattress it is or how it looks.
So, because latex mattresses typically do not always excite the eye, many mattress showrooms do not always stock them. The fact is that latex is supremely comfortable and very luxurious, but they do not always attract attention at first glance. This means that often only the more specialized bedding stores who are 'in the know' will sell latex mattresses, which can make them hard for shoppers to find.
Comparatively few manufacturers worldwide make 100% natural latex mattresses
Another reason for the scarcity of latex mattresses is that, unlike other types of mattresses, only a few select manufacturers make 100% all-natural latex mattresses. Latex is a restful springy resilient type of foam made from the sap of the rubber tree. Unlike other types of mattresses (e.g. innerspring, memory foam, polyurethane foam), latex mattresses are made only by a few manufacturers. The reason for this is mainly due to the entirely natural ingredients (latex milk extracted from the rubber tree). A Queen size mattress requires the sap of 12 acres of the Hevea Brasiliensis tree (rubber tree) plantation and 8 rubber tappers to tap the sap for one whole day. To get more of this product requires careful and sustainable growth of plantations to maintain the supply chain properly.
In contrast, production of other types of mattresses made of synthetic ingredients only requires more chemicals and/or readily made synthetic materials. These quickly-generated materials can be ordered in quickly upon demand.
Because of this need to ensure a consistent and environmentally responsible supply of natural ingredients to make latex, some manufacturing brands of latex mattress actually own their own latex factories. Obviously, this is not something that all companies would easily put in the effort to do. So this is why latex mattress production involves a select few companies: the difficulty in procuring the raw natural ingredients.
Furthermore, manufacturers of all-natural latex mattresses or organic latex mattresses usually have certifications indicating they comply with stringent international standards (e.g. Eurolatex Eco Standard, Landesgewerbeanstalt Bayern LGA, Morton Thiokol, Öko-Tex Standard 100). It is a lot of time, effort, and cost for manufacturers to produce the product in such a way to meet these strictly tested standards. As a result, only a few select mattress companies are prepared to go to the trouble to manufacture in that way.
The low number of latex mattress manufacturers worldwide means that there are less latex mattresses being produced than other types of mattresses. This is why latex mattresses are not found in all mattress showrooms.
Misconceptions of latex mattresses
Often people simply don't realize that latex mattresses are completely different from other types of foam, so there is not always as much demand for latex due to these misconceptions.
Some shoppers believe that latex mattresses are all synthetic, just like synthetic tyres, so they don't see the point in buying one. The truth is that there are plenty of 100% all-natural latex mattresses available that are made from the sap of the rubber tree. Organic latex mattresses are even available. Synthetic latex mattresses made from petroleum products do exist, of course, but not all latex mattresses are synthetic - it's important to read the label and the specifications.
Another common misconception is the belief that latex mattresses are hot to sleep on, and that they off-gas. Nothing could be further from the truth. These two misconceptions arise from people who get latex confused with memory foam and PU foam. Both memory foam and polyurethane (PU) foam mattresses do sometimes emit unpleasant chemical odours (off-gas), especially those of inferior quality. Memory foam mattresses also do tend to sleep hot. In contrast, latex has a natural open cell structure which delivers great airflow for a cooler sleep in a warm climate. This airflow is further enhanced by the pattern of pinholes generated during the process of manufacturing the latex mattress. Latex does not off-gas, being an entirely natural product. A 100% natural latex mattress is very unlikely to emit unpleasant odours at all.
Another common misconception is to confuse latex foam with polyurethane (PU) foam. Latex foam and PU foam both come in blocks, but there the resemblance ends. PU foam is of vastly lower quality in terms of its comfort and support, and is entirely synthetic (made of petrochemicals). Latex foam is naturally springy, very supportive and luxuriously comfortable. Latex mattresses are available in 100% all-natural and organic varieties, unlike PU foam.
Because of some of these misunderstandings, some shoppers have not been very eager to try out latex mattresses, so not all showrooms stock them.
The unparalleled comfort and the significant health benefits of natural latex come with a slightly higher price tag than some other types of mattresses. On average, a latex mattress will set you back a little more cost-wise than other types of mattresses. This is why not all mattress showrooms will stock latex mattresses.
However, you get what you pay for. Latex is a luxurious all-natural material, and it has higher costs associated with its environmentally friendly sourcing (for example, responsibly managing latex plantations). These extra costs do deliver benefits all-around: to you in terms of better nightly sleep and daily wellbeing, to the environment in terms of a low carbon footprint, and to workers (e.g. latex farmers) by providing jobs in areas where work is scarce.
Additionally, latex is one of the most durable types of mattresses available, which means the extra cost is partly offset for you by a longer mattress lifespan. None the less, the higher up-front price tag means that lower-end mattress showrooms will not tend to stock many, if any, latex mattresses. Instead, if you are seeking a latex mattress it is best to visit a showroom or bedding store which specializes in latex mattresses. It's worth checking this out - the pricing is often not as high as you think, and an all-natural latex mattress is actually often cheaper (and is almost certainly more comfortable) than a high-end innerspring mattress.
If you are shopping for a mattress in Singapore, you should not overlook its best-kept secret: an all-natural latex mattress. It can be surprisingly hard to find latex mattresses due to them being made by only a select few manufacturers. Also, fewer people are knowledgeable enough to be actively looking for them, meaning that the average showroom does not always stock latex mattresses.
Instead, it is best to visit a mattress shop which specializes in latex mattresses - ensuring you'll always be able to try these out. European Bedding Singapore stocks a variety of luxurious yet healthy all-natural latex mattresses. The smart, clean minimalist European styling works wonderfully in Singapore, so it's very worthwhile to look into a latex mattress for the sake of your health and comfort.