Dunlop Vs. Talalay Latex Foam
by Dr Sinead Moore PhD
There are two main ways latex foam is created. There’s the Dunlop process and the Talalay process. There’s a lot of information online about the differences between these two types of foam. Unfortunately, there is also some misinformation online can which may be overwhelming on which latex mattress you should choose.
On average, retailers that offer Talalay foam processing tend to exaggerate the benefits of Talalay foam and the deficiencies of Dunlop foam processing. In contrast, retailers selling Dunlop foam tend to do the opposite. We have to admit that we are a bit biased when it comes to this subject.
We carry only Dunlop latex foam mattresses. We do so because, after years of personal testing, we believe Dunlop foam works better for more people. Saying this, we do want to emphasize that the differences between these two types of foam are often greatly exaggerated by retailers and manufacturers. As we will explain later, it is also essential to remember that many factors other than the manufacturing process can play significant roles in determining the quality of the foam.
How the Dunlop Process Works:
The Dunlop production process is the most energy-efficient method of producing latex foam (we strive to reduce our carbon footprint in every aspect of our process, from the Hevea tree orchard to your bedroom). Latex tree sap is then whipped into a foam and poured into a mould and then ‘baked’ in a vulcanization oven.
After vulcanization is complete, the latex foam is removed from the mould and thoroughly washed to remove any soaps and excess materials.
Washing the foam allows the foam to retain its elasticity, helps durability and ensures purity. After washing, the foam is moved to a drying area and kept at a high temperature to remove all moisture.
How the Talalay Process Works:
The Talalay process is a more energy-intensive process of producing latex foam. By some quotes, Talalay latex production consumes 4-5 times as much electricity as Dunlop Latex (which doesn’t fit for us!).
Many steps of the Talalay process are quite similar to the Dunlop process.
As with creating Dunlop foam, the latex tree sap is foamed and poured into a large mould. In the Talalay process, however, the mould is only partially filled. The lid of the mould would be then sealed, and expanded by vacuum.
Once fully expanded, the mould is frozen. At this point, carbon dioxide is pushed through the latex to make it expand. Then the foam is baked to vulcanize the latex. Finally, the Talalay foam (same as the Dunlop process) is washed and dried.
There Are Some Differences, But Only Slight
Because of the different process used to create the two foams, these processes are sometimes marketed as selling points by retailers which makes it easy to get the impression that there are vast differences. However, the discrepancies are not quite as dramatic as many retailers and manufacturers make them out to be.
The truth is that Talalay and Dunlop foam feel and look very alike, especially when contrasted with other foams such as memory foam or polyurethane foam. Chances are, most people couldn’t discern a difference at all between the two types of foam. The Principal Differences Between Dunlop and Talalay Foam:
? The production process of Dunlop is more energy-efficient
? Dunlop foam is denser than Talalay foam
? Dunlop foam is springy and Talalay foam is bouncy
Latex Foam Myth: Talalay Foam is Softer than Dunlop Foam!
A common myth is that Talalay foam is softer than Dunlop foam. This is not correct. Both Dunlop and Talalay foam can be produced in a wide variety of densities and firmnesses.
While it is true, the Dunlop process creates heavier, denser foam, but this does not necessarily result in a firmer foam. Additionally, firmness and density are not the same things, and they are measured in different ways.
Why We Chose Dunlop Foam
At The Spinery, our Latex foam is made with the Dunlop process.
We use Dunlop for because its eco-friendly, it allows us to design our mattresses to comfort and support specifications, and we found that Dunlop foam works better for more people.
The primary difference between the feel of two types of foam is the springiness. While all kinds of latex foam have a springy and elastic feel, Talalay foam, in our opinion, has too much of a springy, “bouncy” feeling. Some people may prefer this, but many, in our experience, our clients do not like this “bounciness”.
We have found that Dunlop foam works well for most, while Talalay is more niche and produces a wide range of opinions.
Process Isn’t Everything.
It should also be said that not all Dunlop foam feels the same, and not all Talalay foam feels the same. There are many variations of each type of foam.
For example, our foam, designed by specifications set by Dr Lawrence Woods (Head Designer of The Spinery), prioritizes, creating a natural latex mattress that promotes optimal spinal alignment and most importantly, must be exceedingly comfortable.
Another way in which different types of Dunlop and Talalay foam can be different is they can both be made with or without synthetic latex. Varying types of latex foam can also be made with or without added fillers which too will change the feel of the foam. Additions to latex can have a profound impact on the performance of the latex foam.
Our primary goal is to provide the highest quality, all-natural latex products, that work best for all of our customers. After extensive testing and research, we chose to use the Dunlop process in designing our Fitzwilliam mattresses and ergonomic pillows.
While we believe Dunlop works better for more people, however, we do not think that Talalay is an inferior product. In our case, Talaylay was not ideal for our mission of creating an eco-friendly mattress. Talalay foam is very similar in most ways to Dunlop foam. While the production process should be a consideration when choosing a latex foam mattress or mattress pillow, we encourage our customers to discern and look past marketing jargon and exaggerations made from both sides of this conversation.