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Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 12 Oct 2012 17:05 #1

  • vfox
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Hi,

Did some mattress testing with my husband today. Comparing notes, we discovered we liked the following:
-Latex was our favorite comfort layer. We liked that it cradles you while still feeling slightly resilient. We felt like we were lying in the mattress rather than on top of it, but not sinking in too far.
-We liked mattresses with soft comfort layers and firmer support layers. My preference is probably for a little more plush than his is.

Our hands-down favorite mattress in the shop was the Natura Cloud (www.naturaworld.com/catalog/mattress/cloud). This consists of 4" talalay latex comfort layer over 8" soy foam support layer. Interestingly, the 2 layers are not sewn together, just stacked. Unfortunately, this comes with a $2000 price tag, and the top of our budget is $1000.

An alternative suggested by the salesman would be to buy a cheapish pocket coil mattress (might even find one on Craig's List) and put a good quality latex topper on it. We tried some pocket coil mattresses with pillow tops just to get a sense of what that might be like, and were happy that the coils were not too bouncy. The shop did not have any latex toppers for us to test, but they are willing to order one in (I imagine restricted to the brands they deal with). From a quick look on line, it seems the standard latex topper is 3" (so a little less than in the Natura-does this matter?). In general, what do you think of this idea-a soft latex topper over a firmer innerspring mattress? Are there any toppers you think are particularly good value?

The other alternative would be to order the closest thing we can find online. In an earlier post, you recommended I look at Ultimate Dreams. It looks to me like the Ultimate Dreams Euro Top mattress (www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Dreams-Eurotop-Latex-Mattress/dp/B008KQ8YC2/ref=pd_sim_sbs_hg_5) is similar in specs to the Natura mattress we liked. Is this a good comparison? Is there a big difference (or any way to predict whether we will be happier) compared with the less costly standard Ultimate Dreams (www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Dreams-Latex-Mattress-Queen/dp/B0051AQXZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1350069200&sr=1-1)?

Are there any other mattresses you would recommend as an affordable alternative to the Natura Cloud?

Thank you very much for any advice you can give us!

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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 12 Oct 2012 21:51 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi vfox,

While I understand their comments about the PLB (although they are now more commonly seen at discounted prices) ... Natura is also not the best value compared to other latex mattresses ... although they are good quality.

The Natura Cloud you liked seems to have several different descriptions and I'm not sure if this is because the layering is listed incorrectly or if there really are two models.

The one you are describing is similar to this .

On the Naturaworld site here ... it has 1" of polyfoam over 2" of soft Talalay over 2" of medium Talalay over another 2" of medium Talalay over a 6" polyfoam core and the wool quilting is only 2.3 lbs. The 2010 model here is similar.

These would both be a latex/polyfoam hybrid but the more latex there is in the top layers the more of the feel and resiliency of latex you would have. In addition ... the the wool in the quilting would also make a difference in the feel (and would be different from having no wool at all or only a thinner compressed wool layer). Wool will be a little less resilient than sleeping directly on the latex and you will sink in a little less (again depending on the ILD of the latex underneath it). Some people call thicker layers of wool "natures memory foam" because it is less resilient than latex. It will also become firmer as it compresses over time (unlike memory foam which softens over time).

Because of this ... how comparable one latex hybrid would be to another in terms of feel and performance would depend on many factors including the thickness of the latex, any quilting materials that were in the cover, and on the relative softness of the layers compared to the Natura.

The Ultimate Dreams Eurotop has a 1.5" soft quilting foam layer over a 3" Talalay latex layer over an 8" high density (2.35 lb) polyfoam base. How close these two would be would depend on how close your choice of latex in combination with the quilting layer came to "approximating" the latex in the Natura. If you were a little bit too firm or soft it would also allow for an exchange but because of the deifferences in the layering you would be approximating a feel rather than "duplicating" the Natura.

There is another latex hybrid option here which is also in your budget (depending on the size you are looking at your budget is lower than most latex hybrids).

In your local area ... Boyd also makes several hybrids in their Natural Flex Ultra Latex line and Symbol, Spring air, and Gold bond make latex hybrids as well. Local stores may also carry others if you call and ask for a "latex hybrid) with a few inches of latex over polyfoam.

An innerspring mattress with a topper can also make a good choice but the trick is to make sure it is firm and also has very little polyfoam in the comfort layers. The more lower density (and softer) polyfoam there is in the upper layers of the "base" mattress ... the greater the risk of the mattress/topper combination in terms of softening and alignment. It can be difficult to find a mattress with thin enough polyfoam layers to make a mattress/topper combination your best choice ... particularly when you already have such good online options available that don't have the "weak link" of putting a topper on top of softer or lower quality polyfoam layers.

If you do decide to go in this direction ... post #4 here includes some of the best sources for latex layers and toppers.

Phoenix
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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 17 Oct 2012 12:28 #3

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Hi again Phoenix,

I think the Natura Cloud we liked was the first one you linked to. I e-mailed Dreamfoam and asked them about the differences between their standard Ultimate Dreams mattress and their Eurotop. Chuck e-mailed me back quickly, on a weekend no less, so I'm impressed with their customer service. He was not really familiar with the Natura Cloud, but said the closest thing based on the specs would be a 3" latex topper on top of their standard mattress, giving 6" of latex over polyfoam. He said there was not really a difference in comfort between their standard mattress and the Eurotop (both have 3" latex), just some people like the look of the thicker mattress better. I was impressed that he was not trying to steer us toward the more expensive option. He said, from my description of what we liked about the Natura, that he thought we would be satisfied with the standard Ultimate Dreams mattress with a comfort level of 6 or 7 (medium soft). So that's all good, the standard Ultimate Dreams is in our budget (at $600), I trust this company based on reviews and the interaction I've had with them so far, and if worse came to worse, I suppose we could later add a latex topper if we want to try to get closer to the Natura Cloud (but I suspect we won't need it).

However....we are both environmentalists and try to live as "green" as our current budget and the pervasiveness of chemicals in today's world allow. We are concerned about the environmental effect of extracting resources (i.e. petroleum, metals, etc), what happens to the mattress when we are done with it (is it biodegradable or recyclable?), and toxic chemical offgassing in our home. Do you have any information/opinions on which materials are most environmentally friendly?...in particular comparing polyfoam vs metal innersprings for the support layer of the mattress. Also, I read on some manufacturer's website that the Dunlop process uses fewer toxic chemicals than Talalay - is this true, or just hype?

Thank you again for this amazing website and your advice.

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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 17 Oct 2012 18:53 #4

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Hi vfox,

However....we are both environmentalists and try to live as "green" as our current budget and the pervasiveness of chemicals in today's world allow. We are concerned about the environmental effect of extracting resources (i.e. petroleum, metals, etc), what happens to the mattress when we are done with it (is it biodegradable or recyclable?), and toxic chemical offgassing in our home. Do you have any information/opinions on which materials are most environmentally friendly?...in particular comparing polyfoam vs metal innersprings for the support layer of the mattress. Also, I read on some manufacturer's website that the Dunlop process uses fewer toxic chemicals than Talalay - is this true, or just hype?


That's a very difficult question to answer because there are many different definitions of green or environmentally friendly. In addition to this ... much of the information on the web is as much "greenwashing" as it is factual.

This is also made more difficult because the different foam manufacturers don't release the exact formula they use to make foam (whether it's polyfoam, memory foam, or latex).

Most of the many questions involved in "how green is green" are almost impossible to answer because you would have to evaluate each step of the production process from the beginning to end (cradle to grave) and somehow "measure" or assign a "value" to every step in the process in terms of harm done to the environment, how renewable and sustainable the raw materials are, how they break down, whether they can be re-cycled and what is involved in the recycling, the energy and resources used in every step of production, the energy used in transportation, and many other factors ... many of which are impossible to accurately quantify.

I think though that it would be "safe" to say that natural latex, natural and/or organic fibers, and innersprings (recyclable) would probably be the most "green" or "natural" of all the different mattress materials. Recycled PET would also be a candidate (made from a mix of recycled food grade plastic and virgin plastic) although it can only be recycled once and then you are left with the same problem that it needs to go into a landfill and doesn't break down and it can still be energy intensive to make.

Polyfoam and memory foam don't break down in landfills nearly as well as natural latex or other natural materials either (they just break down into smaller particles). There is an interesting article here on polyfoam including the new "plant based" versions which introduce a whole new level of issues into the equation including the effect of GMO soy and the destruction of the rainforest that is a direct or indirect result of soy production. There's another short article here from Latexco (which produces latex cores) which indicates that 100% natural latex has a smaller carbon footprint than other materials. Having said that ... there are also some who are concerned about the effect of natural latex production on biodiversity (as more latex plantations are planted).

In terms of Talalay vs Dunlop (assuming that both are 100% natural) ... Talalay uses carbon dioxide as a gelling agent and Dunlop uses sodium silicofluoride and both use various, curing agents, accelerators, antioxidants, mold release agents, and other additives depending on who is making the foam (all of which is generally proprietary information and a closely guarded "secret"). If green was my only criteria though ... then organic Dunlop latex would probably be my choice in spite of the premium price because of it's higher latex content (compared to Talalay) and even though it's questionable whether it is really much different from 100% natural Dunlop that isn't certified as organic. I have seen no evidence that 100% natural Talalay uses more or less chemicals than 100% natural Dunlop except for claims on the web that don't seem to have any facts (or comparative testing) behind them and are often based on what someone is selling.

The FTC also has a green guide summary here and their more detailed green guides here that outline requirements for "green" claims or marketing.

There is also more information about recycling mattress materials in post #1 here (with thanks to Sleep On Latex) and in post #2 here that each person can also use to help make their mattresses a little less harmful to the environment and keep them out of landfills.

Finding out the "truth" of all of this and going to levels of fine detail about every step of the process is like going down a rabbit hole where there are really no black and white answers and each person would need to decide based on their best judgement.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 17 Oct 2012 23:08 #5

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Hi vfox,

I think that these three articles are among the best researched I have seen on the web related to mattresses and green, safe, and eco-friendly information so I wanted to add a reference to them on the forum as well.

www.triplepundit.com/2011/03/green-mattresses-part-1-greenwash/
www.triplepundit.com/2011/03/green-mattresses-part-2/
www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/whats-really-green-look-mattresses-part-iii-2/

Phoenix
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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 18 Oct 2012 11:36 #6

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Wow, our heads are spinning. For manufacturers that are members of the Mattress Underground, do you have standards that prevent greenwashing? Do any of your member manufacturers have the certifications mentioned in these articles? It would certainly be a huge help to shoppers to know that you have screened out false claims of environmental benefits, and that "green" claims made by your recommended manufacturers are transparent, up front (not implying more than they actually are) and verified.

Thanks again!

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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 18 Oct 2012 16:31 #7

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Hi vfox,

For manufacturers that are members of the Mattress Underground, do you have standards that prevent greenwashing? Do any of your member manufacturers have the certifications mentioned in these articles?


My goal when I invite various manufacturers or retailers to become members is that they are knowledgeable and accurately describe the materials they use in their mattresses. There are no greenwashing "standards" because there is no consensus on much of the information about what is really safe, green, natural, or even organic. In other words ... I focus on the integrity of the people and their knowledge, quality, service, and value (which is also relative to each person's value equation) because different manufacturers or retailers may hold different opinions about various issues and both can be right from different perspectives or in different contexts. For me to arbitrarily assign a "standard" for this would be difficult (even if I wanted to) because even some of the best "experts" in the world on these issues have widely differing opinions. Knowledge and integrity that allows consumers to make up their own minds with as much available evidence as they can assimilate is the goal more than "black and white" standards which don't exist.

Do any of your member manufacturers have the certifications mentioned in these articles?


Most of the certifications you are mentioning come with the materials they use rather than the manufacturer themselves. For example ... all Talalay latex (blended or 100% natural) is Oeko-Tex standard 100 class 1 certified . Different Dunlop latex manufacturers will choose different certifications for their product (depending on the area and which certification they believe is best for them) including EuroLatex, LGA, or Eco-Institut.

CertiPur is a certification that was instituted by polyfoam producers to provide some degree of assurance of the safety of the polyfoam and memory foam they produced in the face of imports of "cheap" foam from other countries. Most North American foam producers are CertiPur certified. Those that aren't or haven't chosen to become part of the Certipur program are probably still "safe" relative to some of the less regulated memory foam and polyfoam produced in some other countries (such as China) because the regulations in North America don't allow for the use of some chemicals that could still be used in other countries without the same regulations.

It would certainly be a huge help to shoppers to know that you have screened out false claims of environmental benefits, and that "green" claims made by your recommended manufacturers are transparent, up front (not implying more than they actually are) and verified.


I think that the most effective method is for consumers to be able to ask better and more informed questions because again there is no specific way or set of agreed on standards to "test" every claim that is made except through consumer education. This is not a black and white issue and is the subject of a great deal of controversy and even disagreement between different "experts" who each may be focused on different parts of a much larger picture. I would certainly question any "green claim" that was obviously way over the line and obviously false (and would certainly not invite a manufacturer that was obviously or intentionally making false claims) but beyond that there are different degrees of "substance" to different claims and the "truth" of each one can be contextual and subject to a wide variance in interpretation of some very confusing and incomplete data in many cases. My focus is on integrity and education more than being a type of "regulatory agency" which would require levels of knowledge and data that I don't believe really exists yet.

Much of this whole area can't even be "verified" in any absolute way so using the concept of "preponderance of the evidence" and providing the information that allows each consumer to decide on what is more or less important to them on an individual level is much more effective IMO than trying to "enforce" a set of arbitrary standards that would be subject to constant refinement as more evidence comes to light and would still only really reflect the opinions of one person to the detriment of other equally valid but conflicting opinions.

Phoenix
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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 18 Oct 2012 18:09 #8

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Thank you Phoenix for shedding some light on a very confusing topic, especially for we non-specialists. It looks like my husband and I need to decide if we are willing to expand our budget in order to use more natural latex, go the innerspring route, or just go for the polyfoam-latex hybrid because it is more affordable. I was browsing your member companies and came across this product from Arizona Mattress, which seems competitive in price with the Ultimate Dreams:
www.mattresses.net/queen-eco-sleep-latex-mattress.html

This appears to be a hybrid like the Ultimate Dreams, although they make some claims for environmental friendliness that Ultimate Dreams does not. On the other hand, it only comes in one firmness, and can't be customized like Ultimate Dreams. What do you think? Is this a product we should also consider?

Here are the specs on the Eco-Sleep:
Explore Our Eco Sleep Mattress With A Superior Bamboo Cover

If you'd sleep better at night knowing your latex mattress delivers comfort
with a twist of green, Mattresses.net has the solution you're looking for.
Our Eco Sleep model with bamboo cover beats out other foam mattresses for
comfort and is considered a very earth-friendly product.

As the online presence of the Arizona Premium Mattress Company, we are proud
to offer the Eco Sleep latex mattress to our customers. The Eco Sleep is a
Talalay latex mattress that is in sync with increasingly health conscious
individuals. This mattress provides superior comfort and support along with
being eco-friendly. And because Eco Sleep is manufactured with the
well-being of the environment in mind - you'll never sleep better!
Eco Sleep Latex Mattress

Features Of This Latex Mattress:

Uses natural latex extracted from the tropical rubber tree
Talalay process uses natural, biodegradable ingredients.
Factory automation ensures optimized energy usage during the key molding
stage of the Talalay process.
Multistage mattress washer minimizes water usage.
Certified by the International Association for Research and Testing in
the field of textile ecology to be free of harmful substances.

A Healthier Alternative To Traditional Foam Mattresses:

Instantly yet gently conforms to the contour of your body for
exceptional orthopedic support and pressure relief.
Proven to provide up to 33% more pressure relief and contouring support
than memory foam.
Helps maintain oxygen and nutrient flow to your muscles for a more
recuperative sleep.

Construction:

6" 2lb density #33 ILD Eco-friendly base foam called Acella-Flex.
Acella-Flex Green Foam is odor free and clear thanks to the addition of
activated carbon. Introduce yourself to the newest generation of upholstery
foam - made with the technical advantage of SRT. Acella-Flex is the foam of
the future!

How the Breakthrough Technology Works:

SRT "strut reinforcing technology" advances Acella-Flex light years
ahead of today's conventional foam, making it more resilient, durable and
comfortable. Your comfort and support is assured for a lifetime!
Thicker cell walls strengthen Acella-Flex
Open cell structure increases resilient comfort
Air flows through SRT - allowing it to breathe
Fresh Foam odor eliminating technology keeps your home environment
fresher, cleaner - like a spring day outside!
Hypoallergenic and antimicrobial to fight mold growth and odor causing
bacteria.
Eco Sleep Specifications

This latex mattress features:

Top foam consists of 2" soft #24 ILD Talalay latex foam.
The latex mattress cover is a full 360-degree zippered cover made of 100
percent bamboo fibers that are 100 percent biodegradable. Bamboo naturally
resists bacteria, fungi, and dust mites while containing no harmful
chemicals. Bamboo boosts four times the moisture absorbency of cotton for a
drier, more comfortable sleep. Bamboo is also softer than cotton but
stronger than synthetic fibers. Fabric is quilted to 100 percent New Zealand
Joma Wool.
Finished size is 9.5"
This mattress rates as a "medium" feel overall and not recommended for
individuals over 250 pounds.

Thanks again! Hopefully we will run out of questions and come to a decision soon!

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Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 18 Oct 2012 19:21 #9

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Hi vfox,

What do you think? Is this a product we should also consider?


Yes ... it is certainly worth considering and Arizona Premium also has another latex/polyfoam hybrid which may also be worth considering (along with some of the other options available from Ultimate Dreams). It is listed on their other site here ... www.latexmattresscompany.com/queen-7-zoned-natural-latex-mattress.html . This one has 3" of 100% natural Dunlop latex (7 zoned), but no wool in the bamboo cover and is a little less.

Both of these along with the Ultimate Dreams mattresses are all very high quality/value mattresses in a latex/polyfoam hybrid.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any of the mattresses sold by any of the members of the site but of course which one is most suitable for your needs and preferences or which one best matches your own personal "value equation" is a personal decision that each person would need to decide for themselves.

My goal is to help people reach the place where all their choices are good ones (and eliminate the worse ones) and where the differences between different mattresses are subjective, intangible, or a matter of personal preference and based on the choices you are looking at you have certainly reached that point. I would suggest talking with each outlet where you are considering one of their mattresses both in terms of it's suitability for your needs and preferences and in terms of any other questions about each specific mattress that may be important to you.

The "green" benefits for the Eco Sleep and their other latex hybrid mattress derives from the latex and also the fact that the polyfoam they both use has replaced some of the petrochemical polyols with plant based polyols. The articles I linked previously go into this in more detail but it is a "small" step in a "greener" direction although polyfoam will not likely ever be "green". The 7 zoned natural latex mattress uses 100% natural Dunlop while the Eco sleep uses blended Talalay in the comfort layers

All of these represent "good" choices and exceptional value IMO but some of the features of each or the benefits of each manufacturer and the options they offer may have value to you and be part of your "value equation" and any final decisions you make.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Inexpensive alternatives to the Natura Cloud 18 Oct 2012 23:29 #10

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Thank you, this is extremely helpful. I took another look at the Arizona 7 Zone mattress and it does seem like a good option (especially as it's on sale). I have an e-mail into Arizona Mattress with my questions about their products, and Dreamfoam has already answered my e-mails.

If we decide we want to push our budget up a bit to try to get all latex, would you consider this a good option:
www.ebay.com/itm/280800751600?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Unfortunately, not one of your member manufacturers (and I would like to support them, as you have been so helpful), but it looks like we could get a 3 layer mattress for a similar price to SleepEZ's 2 layer one. Is there a big difference in feel between 2 layers and 3? Neither of us is particularly large (125 and 160 lbs). Do you think we would be comfortable on a SleepEZ 7000? How would a SleepEZ 7000 compare in feel to the hybrid mattresses we are considering?

I hope to run out of questions soon....thank you so much for all your time!

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