What is "Smartlatex"?
May 22, 2011 12:05 AM
Joined: Apr 15, 2011
Points: 163
Does anyone on this forum happen to know what "smartlatex" really is? Just curious why they don't just call it latex. Must be synthetic?

Any help deciphering this buzzword would be appreciated! Myself, I'd prefer it if they'd call a spade a spade, and quit giving things names like "smartlatex." Between that and all the other marvelous undefined enhancements being touted in the mattress industry, like they're supposed to mean something and that we're supposed to know what they mean, I'm getting the shudders. I'm about ready to make my own mattress out of straw.

Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #3 May 25, 2011 2:00 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
weewillywinky wrote:

Does anyone on this forum happen to know what "smartlatex" really is? Just curious why they don't just call it latex. Must be synthetic?

Any help deciphering this buzzword would be appreciated! Myself, I'd prefer it if they'd call a spade a spade, and quit giving things names like "smartlatex." Between that and all the other marvelous undefined enhancements being touted in the mattress industry, like they're supposed to mean something and that we're supposed to know what they mean, I'm getting the shudders. I'm about ready to make my own mattress out of straw.


I did some recent investigating of foams and mattresses from Sealy/S&F and Simmons.

The Sealy literature says that "smart latex" is latex that has soft latex poured over firmer latex, so really it's similar to 2 pieces of latex, soft on top of firm. The problem - as usual - with the mattress industry is that they don't like to be specific about their foams or their coils etc... It does seem intentionally designed to confuse the consumer and make it all sound "too complicated" for the average Joe to understand. In fact, Simmons and Sealy have dozens of different names for different foams, but basically they're all PU (polyurethane) foams or synthetic latex.

Sealy and Simmons use both Dunlop and Talalay processes for their synthetic latexes. For the record, they both insist that their synthetic latex will last longer than natural latex. While there have been no studies done that I know of, I am skeptical. Next time you go into a mattress store, look for Stearns and Foster's top of the line mattress. It should have a little "book" or binder near it which has samples of the materials used inside it, which includes synthetic latex. I have seen these in several stores and since many mattress stores have a lot of windows, these books are exposed to sunlight. As a result those synthetic latex samples are turning to dust. I wonder if natural latex under the same conditions would also turn to dust, or if they would do so as quickly? Unfortunately no one is doing these experiments. I am willing to keep an open mind and believe it is possible that synthetic latex could last longer than natural latex. But I doubt it.

By the way, I also found out that Simmons claims that all their foams are more natural, have less off-gassing and use less chemicals than other most other foam manufacturers.

But my investigation left me with this observation: Simmons and Sealy/S&F still use mostly PU foam in most of their mattresses. S&F (and I hear Sealy also) does have one 97% latex mattress and a few others with 80-90% latex. Synthetic latex.

Remember that when you shop for mattresses, some stores post double the price of what they will really sell for, while others only post $100-300 above what they will really sell it for. Shop around and you can determine the real price. And in any case, always be willing to make an offer well below the posted price, and walk out. Often they will come running after you as you walk out and offer you the real deal. I prefer mattress stores like Sit and Sleep here in SoCal which post the actual price - or close to it - they will actually sell the mattress for. I am not endorsiing them as a store, because I have never bought there and I don't know how their customer service or return policy etc are. I am just saying that I prefer to shop in a store that doesn't post the price double what it really is, and Sit and Sleep at least don't play that game. Ortho is one store that posts their mattresses at nearly exactly double the real price. They'll have a sign on the mattress with 2 or 3 prices. On the left is the price that is exactly double the real price. Then they'll have a sale price maybe 20% lower. Then sometimes they have that crossed out with a 3rd price which is still $200-300 above the real price.

Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #4 May 26, 2011 7:45 PM
Joined: Apr 15, 2011
Points: 163
Thank you, Jim! I really appreciate your informative and knowledgeable post - this one as well as others you have posted! I appreciate your investigations, and sharing what you have learned with me and the rest of the readers. It's so helpful! Many thanks!!
Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #5 May 26, 2011 10:09 PM
Joined: Apr 15, 2011
Points: 163
OK - I have a follow-up question if anyone knows....Jim? Budgy? To get the two-layer solution euphemistically called "smart latex," do they have to use some kind of adhesive? Or would those two layers naturally bond by being poured one on top of the other? I ask, because I've had the experience of making lemon meringue pie, where once the layers bonded (I think due to combining them when the heat was appropriate for both layesr, and another time when they just kept completely separate. I can imagine two layers of different latex composition might tend to separate, unless the process was closely controlled, or unless some kind of adhesive was used.

I'll tell you this right now - I'm not in love with the idea of breathing in adhesive fumes all night....

Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #6 May 28, 2011 5:05 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
weewillywinky wrote:

OK - I have a follow-up question if anyone knows....Jim? Budgy? To get the two-layer solution euphemistically called "smart latex," do they have to use some kind of adhesive? Or would those two layers naturally bond by being poured one on top of the other? I ask, because I've had the experience of making lemon meringue pie, where once the layers bonded (I think due to combining them when the heat was appropriate for both layesr, and another time when they just kept completely separate. I can imagine two layers of different latex composition might tend to separate, unless the process was closely controlled, or unless some kind of adhesive was used.

I'll tell you this right now - I'm not in love with the idea of breathing in adhesive fumes all night....


Hi, I have not examined the smart latex pieces so I cannot say for sure. But I was told by Sealy that it is poured as one piece and the assumption is that it bonds together without glue. I am quite sure that is what they told me, but as to whether or not it's true, I cannot say for sure. I can't imagine they would glue them together, as that much glue would be counter to the feel of the latex. When glue dries on latex it creates a hard crusty surface. Again, according to Sealy, the layer is poured as if one piece of latex, no adhesive needed. You might try calling a Sealy representative in your area. Each region or state has a Sealy rep who services the mattress stores in his region. Theoretically you could get this number from a helpful sales person. I'm sure they don't give it out to just anyone but if you explain that it's just a simple question you have, you should be able to get the answer from a Sealy rep. Don't believe the mattress sales person, they often either don't know or will just pretend to know. No offense to mattress sales people, I know some are honest but the fact is many are liars and I can prove that with my own experience with them.

Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #7 May 28, 2011 5:16 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
ive never seen a sample of the stuff so its hard to say.  latex itself is an adhesive....but how they would cure (vulcanize) two different densities in the same mould makes no sense to me...unless they partially fill a mould and cure one firmness on the bottom, then fill the rest of the mould to do the other layer which probably would bond itself to the piece underneath....but why they would do this I really do not know.  sounds like a waste of time and a reason to just promote their product being somehow different (and of course better) than the rest.  
Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #8 May 28, 2011 8:57 PM
Joined: Apr 15, 2011
Points: 163
Thanks, Jim and Budgy! I appreciate your insights! I don't see what the advantage is supposed to be over just stacking two layers of different density together. It probably is just an advertising gimmick. Just calling it "smartlatex" I guess is supposed to make us assume it's a great new innovation or it would be called "smart," would it?  Doh! 
Re: What is "Smartlatex"?
Reply #9 May 29, 2011 4:00 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
weewillywinky wrote:

Thanks, Jim and Budgy! I appreciate your insights! I don't see what the advantage is supposed to be over just stacking two layers of different density together. It probably is just an advertising gimmick. Just calling it "smartlatex" I guess is supposed to make us assume it's a great new innovation or it would be called "smart," would it?  Doh! 

I agree that whatever it is, it's mostly just marketing. The mattress industry is full of it (pun intended).
Putting 2 layers on top of each other without gluing them would achieve the same thing in my opinion.

I saw a page describing Simmons foams. It has about 30 different types of foams with different names. Or was it Sealy/S&F? Whatever, they're all pretty much the same when it comes to marketing. Anyway, what it boils down to is that 99% of these foams are just PU polyurethane foams of various ILD's, some with convoluted tops, some zoned, etc and all the fancy names sound very scientific and attractive. But they're just different names for crappy PU foam!

In this case, "smart latex" is just another name for a synthetic latex foam, imho.

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