Mattress materials - What are the best types of mattresses? - Milam UK
10 September 2021
5 min

Mattress materials – What are the best types of mattresses?

Buying a new mattress is exciting but can also be overwhelming. Figuring out which type of mattress would suit you best is a time consuming process. There are different mattress materials – you could choose memory foam, innerspring, hybrid mattress, or natural latex mattresses. In this article, we will go through the different types of mattresses. We will check which mattress materials you should avoid and what is the best chemical-free mattress. Our aim here is to assist you with making an educated purchasing decision and find the mattress material which serves you best.

What are the different types of mattresses?

There are a lot of options to consider when you try to pick your new mattress. So what are the different types of mattresses? The most popular ones are latex, memory foam, innerspring, coir mattresses, hybrid, air mattresses, and waterbeds. Throughout the article, we will give you details on each type and give an overview of their pros and cons. To find the perfect fit, first, let’s check the basic features of these mattress materials.


It’s important to note that not all latex mattresses are the same. There are three types of latex mattresses: synthetic, blended, and all-natural. Natural latex mattresses are manufactured from the sap of a rubber tree. Blended latex mattresses usually contain less than 30% natural latex. Synthetic latex mattresses are produced from petroleum chemicals. If you are entertaining the thought of purchasing a latex mattress, always go for the all-natural version. Natural latex mattresses are extremely durable, hypoallergenic, and provide firm support.

Memory foam

Memory foam is one of the most popular mattress materials. It is usually made out of polyurethane. This material is quite common – you may find it in sofas, car seats, different types of mattresses. The most important quality here is the foam’s unique feature of adjusting to the shape of your body. It provides pressure-free and comfortable sleep.


Innerspring mattresses are very traditional and still quite common -  probably, you have some experience sleeping on one. An innerspring mattress is produced using coil springs containing layers made of materials such as memory foam or latex. This way they add comfort to the mattress. It’s a quite popular mattress material due to the comfort it provides and its relatively low price.

Coir mattresses

Coir (or coconut fibre) is a mattress material that is becoming more and more popular among customers. Coir mattresses are made out of natural fibre by removing coconut husk. A coir mattress allows the air to circulate through, so it’s a breathable mattress material. These mattresses provide adequate support for your body and are also eco-friendly.


If we talk about the different types of mattresses, it’s important to mention hybrid mattresses as well. Hybrid mattresses are basically multi-layer beds. They contain different materials, such as memory foam, latex, or gel. These materials are combined in an innerspring structure. Hybrid mattresses help with pain relief, providing comfort and support.

Air mattresses

An air mattress is an inflatable mattress. Airbeds are made of polyvinyl chloride, textile-reinforced urethane plastic, or rubber. Though airbeds are loved by many, it’s best if you only use them occasionally – for example when you are a guest somewhere. Its long-term use may lead to back pain due to its lack of support.


Waterbeds are vinyl mattresses,and they are what the name suggests: these mattresses are filled with water. Waterbeds were extremely popular in the 1980s, but they are not so favoured today. However, it’s still worth mentioning them since they are quite special. They may relieve pain in the back and legs but provide poor support in the long term. They tend to have a strong, chemical scent because of the vinyl that is used in the mattresses.Bacteria may also grow on the surface of the bed, not to mention the fact that it can be punctured thus leak easily.

Mattress materials to avoid

Now that we have seen the different types of mattresses you may choose from, it’s essential to check if the mattress you intend to purchase contain any toxic materials. If you have decided to invest in a new mattress, it might as well be as healthy and natural as possible.

Mattress materials to avoid – it might be hard to believe but toxic chemicals in mattresses are still quite common. Why are they still used in mattresses? Mainly because they are a cheaper alternative
to some more expensive, natural materials.

Now let’s see the most common mattress materials that you should avoid when picking your brand-new mattress.

Chemical flame retardants

Fire retardants are chemicals that are often used when manufacturing mattresses. Their ultimate role is to slow down the spread of fire in case of any accidents.

Why avoid this mattress material? The most common chemical flame retardants are Antimony, Boric Acid, and Halogenated Flame Retardants. Over time, these fire retardants are released into your bedroom’s air. They have been linked to many (sometimes very serious) health problems.

Manufacturers add these materials to their mattresses because they are a cheaper alternative to natural (but more expensive) flame retardants, such as wool. But companies need to meet certain flammability standards in the UK and all over the world. So they opt to choose these chemical fire retardants.

Synthetic latex

Synthetic latex is another material that should be avoided when buying a new mattress. Synthetic latex is made of petroleum-based compounds (styrene and butadiene) which may also cause serious health problems. These materials can lead to eye and respiratory irritation, as well as heart problems.

Manufacturers use synthetic latex because it is a lot cheaper than natural latex. Sometimes they add a small amount of natural latex to their mattresses and advertise the blended materials as natural latex beds. If you would like to purchase an all-natural latex mattress, always check the reviews of the company.

It’s very important to note here that natural latex beds are top-quality mattresses. They are healthy, hypoallergenic, and provide excellent spinal alignment. Natural latex mattresses are also very long-lasting. However, their manufacturing process is long and costly. As a result, all-natural latex beds are usually not the cheapest mattresses. But in the long-term, they are absolutely worth the money.

Memory foam

Memory foam mattresses are also made of petroleum-based materials. Over time, these mattresses break down causing unpleasant off-gassing – you breathe in chemical dust. This is definitely a concern for your health.

Foam is inexpensive and lightweight, so it’s used by manufacturers. Though memory foam mattresses are still popular, they are not the healthiest solution.


Some harmful chemicals are used during the manufacturing process of vinyl. These chemicals are associated with health problems such as asthma or allergies. If possible, you should avoid this material in your mattress. This material is often used by manufacturers to make their mattresses water-resistant. Vinyl is a common material in mattresses made for babies.

How can you avoid these mattress materials? If possible, always go for mattresses that are organic. Natural latex is one of the best options available on the market. You may read more about its benefits here.

Best mattress materials

As you can see now, there are many options to choose from. In order to make the right decision, you need to know exactly what your body needs. Now let’s check what the best mattress materials are and why so many people choose them.

Innerspring mattresses: Innerspring beds are loved by many. As we have mentioned before, they are constructed with coil systems – they give the bed’s core. Usually, the coils are made of steel and strengthened with dense foam material. The most popular quality of innerspring beds is breathability. Since they regulate temperature quite well, hot sleepers like to choose them. Innerspring mattresses tend to have firm support while keeping a bouncy feel. An innerspring mattress is also a budget-friendly option if you choose a mattress with lower-quality materials. Unfortunately, motion isolation is not their strongest feature. Springs can also break if they are prone to too much pressure.

Memory foam: Memory foam is also very popular among customers despite the fact that it’s not made of the healthiest materials. One of its greatest benefits is its ability to use your body heat and pressure to form to your body shape and helps relieve pressure. It is also helpful in terms of pain relief. A disadvantage of this type of mattress is that they retain body heat. As a result, sleep can become uncomfortable. Since they contain chemical materials, they often release an unpleasant odour.

Latex mattress: Latex mattresses are becoming increasingly popular. There is synthetic, blended, and organic latex mattress. For the most natural and comfortable sleep, one should pick an all-natural latex mattress.

Latex mattresses are manufactured using one of two processes: Dunlop and Talalay. With the Dunlop process, they usually produce firmer mattresses. With the Talalay process, manufacturers tend to produce slightly softer mattresses. They are both top-quality mattress types.

You can also expect a long lifespan from your natural latex mattress. It is also hypoallergenic, and help you sleep cool. The material is breathable and provides excellent support for your back. However, the price of natural latex mattresses is quite high.

What is the best material for a mattress?

Now that we have checked the best materials for a mattress, what is THE best material for a mattress? What mattress material is considered the healthiest, for you and your environment? It’s difficult to pick only one because our needs are not the same. There are side sleepers, there are people who prefer to sleep on their back or stomach. Some people suffer from joint pain, others have certain allergies. However, one of the most popular materials nowadays is natural latex. So on our list, natural latex is the best material for a mattress.

What are the features that make natural latex mattresses so good?

-Organic latex mattresses provide a firmer sleeping surface. This is a great benefit for people who need firm support for their back while they are asleep. At the same time, it is comfortable.

-Latex mattresses are famous for their durability. They are very resilient and usually outlast other types of mattresses by 3-7 years. If you want the best material for a mattress, choose 100% natural latex which is not only comfortable but also healthy.

-Natural latex mattresses are naturally hypoallergenic. They are resistant to dust mites and mildew.

-They don’t have any off-gassing.

-Motion isolation is a unique quality of natural latex mattresses. As a result, you will experience no disturbances when you are sleeping. What does it mean exactly? If your partner rolls over or tosses during the night, the movement is barely noticeable by the person on the other side. This is a huge advantage for people who tend to wake up to even the smallest disturbances.

-One of the biggest benefits of natural latex mattresses is that they are naturally healthy and safe. Most mattresses use different chemicals during their manufacturing process, at least chemical fire retardants. These mattresses never start releasing chemicals into the air that you breathe in. But did you know that latex is naturally fire-resistant? So you don’t need to worry about any side effects caused by toxic materials.

-Latex mattresses are also praised for their pain relief and pain prevention qualities.

What is the best chemical-free mattress?

After having checked many different mattress types, what is the best chemical-free mattress? There are plenty of mattress brands in the UK that have incorporated organic, chemical-free materials into their mattresses. It’s important to note that the term organic may only be used for materials that have received certification from authorities like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). The most common organic materials that are used in today’s mattresses are natural latex, cotton, and wool.

If you are looking for a high-quality and natural chemical-free mattress, you may want to check Milam’s Original and Premium mattresses.

Apart from natural latex, the Original mattress contains a 100% organic cotton cover with organic merino wool. It’s a two-sided firm: you can choose between the medium and medium-firm surfaces. The mattress has seven comfort zones to provide unique support to your overall body. We did not use any chemicals while manufacturing these mattresses, they are hypoallergenic and completely natural. All our mattresses are crafted in the UK. In the Original mattresses, we use Dunlop latex.

We use Talalay latex in our Premium mattresses. It has all the great features the Original mattress has. Apart from those, this mattress has a softer, more buoyant feel, and it’s even more durable than the Dunlop latex.

Closing thoughts

As you can see, there are many mattress materials on the market. Remember that the ultimate choice is yours. You need to pick a mattress that suits your body and your health in the long term. We know that purchasing a mattress is a huge commitment. As a result, we offer you a 30-day home trial. You can get to know your mattress and then decide if it’s the perfect match for you. If you’re not happy with the product, we will refund you the full amount without any hidden charges.

If you need any help, please feel free to contact us.

**Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and should not replace any advice from your doctor or other medical professionals.

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