Contents of Article
- How Latex Is Made
- How To Choose A Latex Pillow
- The List
- Our Top Pick: Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Queen Pillow
- Best Budget Alternative: Ledia Natural Latex Foam Pillow with Honey-Comb Design
- Best Splurge Option: The Talalay Pillow – Queen/Two Pack
- Best Shredded Option: OrganicTextiles LLC Premium Adjustable Loft Shredded Organic Latex Filled Pillow
- Best For Pain: LumaLife Luxe Low Profile Orthopedic Pillow
- Final Thoughts
You know that memory foam is all the rage and your traditional poly-fill pillow has seen better days. Memory foam is a very popular alternative and you swear that everyone and your mom has one. Memory foam makes you nervous, however, because of the petroleum-based materials, so latex may prove to be the right option for you.
If you aren’t sure how to choose a latex option, no worries. We’ve put together a list of our top picks for best latex pillow. Plus, we’ve answered some questions you may have about latex pillows and how to choose the right one. Let’s take a look.
How Latex Is Made
All natural latex comes from the rubber tree. The sap of the tree is harvested and heated or flash frozen depending on the type of latex, producing a milky white liquid that’s whipped to create air pockets and then molded. It can be shredded into pieces for a fluffy pillow, or left in dense pieces for more support.
In many places, the rubber is sustainably harvested and provides a much safer alternative to petroleum-based memory foam, both for you and for the environment. Rubber trees heal quickly and can produce the sap for up to 30 years, providing a sustainable, long-term harvest.
Synthetic latex is also a petroleum-based product that mimics the feeling of natural latex at a significantly lower price point. It doesn’t have the same benefits although it does provide the same type of response. If you want to take full advantage of latex, we recommend going for all natural.
This material is used for a lot of things, but one of the primary uses is a memory foam alternative. Many mattress companies are using latex to provide a better response without losing support in their mattresses. Pillows are no different. It may require a small break in time to fully support and contour, but you should notice the effects very quickly.
How To Choose A Latex Pillow
Latex may seem simple but here are a few things to keep in mind.
Synthetic Or Natural?
Like we said above, we recommend all-natural latex. Synthetic latex holds just as many toxic chemicals as traditional memory foam, but pay attention to labels because they can be misleading. Many companies advertise natural latex, but that may not be exactly what you’re looking for.
Natural latex is often just a combination of the synthetic and natural latexes, and it can be hard to tell which percentage wins out. All-natural, on the other hand, is around 95% natural latex. There’s no such thing as 100% natural latex because of the processing and properties of the substance itself.
All-natural latexes have less odor and off-gassing than their synthetic counterparts and can last longer as well. The downside is often a higher price tag, but we believe the natural latex option is worth the extra cost.
Solid Or Shredded?
This question is a matter of personal preference. Solid latex mimics memory foam more closely by molding to the head and neck and providing better contouring and support. The downside is that it doesn’t mold well to a specific position. It’s good if you don’t change positions as often or if you like the feeling of a solid pillow and don’t want to reposition all night long.
Shredded latex mimics the feeling of a traditional pillow, so if you enjoy that feeling, shredded may be the way to go. You can often mold the pillow under your shoulders and neck into precisely the right shape, but you can also lose some support as you move through the night. It’s best for those who frequently change positions and like to take their pillows with them.
Dunlop Or Talalay?
In the world of all-natural latex, you’ll see the words Talalay and Dunlop a lot. Many pillow manufacturers don’t distinguish between the two, but these are actually two different processes. Dunlop is treated, and as sediment falls to the bottom, it creates a denser, heavier latex. Talalay is freeze-dried first and then treated, resulting in a lighter, springier latex.
You may prefer Dunlop if you need a lot of solid support and don’t change positions that often in the middle of the night. Talalay is better for combination sleepers and those who like more loft in their pillow.
Side, Stomach, Or Back Sleeper?
Your sleep position determines the loft, or thickness, of your pillow. Side sleepers will need a deep pillow with plenty of support to prevent the head and neck from collapsing in the night. Stomach sleepers need a much flatter pillow to prevent the head from pushing backward. Back sleepers may need a low to medium loft pillow depending on existing pain issues and body composition.
You’re going to pay more for a natural latex pillow, and it’s worth it. Spending money on your health and well-being is always a good investment. Plus, natural latex can last for up to three years while your synthetic fill pillow may only retain shape and support for a matter of months. You may save a few dollars on the front end, but you’ll end up spending more money replacing your pillow much sooner.
The Benefits Of Latex
Latex offers a lot of support that you can’t find in a typical poly-fill pillow. It’s dense and provides a lot of support that molds to your neck and shoulders. It also allows your head to sink just a little bit further into the pillow without losing support under your neck.
It doesn’t have quite the same sinking feeling as many memory foam types either. Latex, especially Talalay offers a springy, responsive feeling that may alleviate some of your problems with the memory foam “hug.”
Memory foam is a petroleum-based product. Some newer forms use plant-based materials to mix with a traditional foam material to reduce off-gassing. However, even cleaner memory foam can still have odors. Latex is an excellent alternative to memory foam. It’s cleaner than memory foam with very little odor or off-gassing. It offers the same kind of support, but you won’t have that chemical smell you sometimes get with memory foam (especially if it’s natural latex).
Latex is naturally hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. Other types of materials can store dust and other allergens, adding to the weight of the pillow and disturbing your sleep. Latex resists those allergens and doesn’t attract dust mites or bedbugs.
Downsides Of Latex
If you’ve got a latex allergy, you need to stay far away from latex pillows. The allergy could cause a considerable reaction even if the latex is in the sleeve or in the case.
All-natural latex can also be more expensive than other types of pillows. It will last longer, so you should get your money’s worth, but you will have to put more money upfront. If a truly budget pillow is your only option, you may not have the choice of natural latex. Going with synthetic latex does ruin quite a few of the benefits you get from natural latex.
And now for the good part: our choices for best latex pillows.
Our Top Pick: Sleep Artisan Natural Latex Queen Pillow
Sleep Artisan pillow is a natural latex pillow in a larger queen size. It has a soft organic cotton and hemp cover with no chemical flame retardants or chemicals.
The inside of the pillow is shredded foam with plenty of loft. It’s inside a special sleeve that you can unzip to adjust the loft. Remove the shredded foam that you need to feel comfortable, and if you keep the leftovers, your pillow can adapt with you as your sleep habits change over time.
It also contains down alternative fibers to help thicken the pillow and give it a fluffier feeling. The queen size gives you plenty of space to move around and fit the pillow into the right place without losing support.
It’s free from petroleum foams and other chemicals. There’s very little odor aside from a slight rubber smell when you first unpack the box. Allow the pillow to air out for a little bit before using it, and you should be fine.
What We Like:
- queen size
- organic cotton and hemp cover
- down alternative additive for loft
- adjustable loft
- no chemical flame retardants
What We Don’t:
- needs a non-standard pillowcase
- slight rubber smell
- a non-washable outer cover
Best Budget Alternative: Ledia Natural Latex Foam Pillow with Honey-Comb Design
Our budget alternative is a honeycomb design that encourages air flow and helps wick heat and moisture away from your head and neck. It’s a standard size and comes with a removable cover that can be machine washed.
It’s naturally dust mite and allergen resistant and doesn’t have any odors or off-gassing. It’s not quite as thick as some of the other pillows on the list, but it does offer good medium support for back sleepers or side sleepers. Stomach sleepers who change positions in the middle of the night should find it comfortable as well. It’s a great budget alternative for those who need to keep an eye on the budget.
It just comes in one size, and there’s no option for a two pack. However, the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so if you decide that the pillows aren’t for you, just contact the company for a refund.
Things We Like:
- excellent budget option
- honeycomb latex is breathable
- good medium support
- machine washable cover
- money back guarantee
Things We Don’t:
- not adjustable
- too soft for some sleepers
- no other sizes available
Best Splurge Option: The Talalay Pillow – Queen/Two Pack
Our next latex pillow is springy Talalay foam with plenty of response. It’s dense foam with holes for better breathability and air flow. It uses a soft cotton liner to help protect the foam from facial oils and covered in a bamboo cover for full breathability.
It uses an open cell, natural latex that encourages air flow. As you move throughout the night, you force air into and out of the pockets so that the pillow is continually refreshed. There are no odors or off-gassing aside from a slight rubber smell right out of the package.
It has a certification from OEKO-Tex for products that are safe for skin. It’s the same type of certification used for materials like underwear or baby clothing. It’s a good investment and also comes in a two pack and two different sizes, standard and queen.
It’s medium firm and medium loft. It’s good for combination sleepers and back sleepers. If you’ve got unusually broad shoulders, it may not be quite supportive enough for a side sleeper, but stomach sleepers may find it slightly too thick.
What We Like:
- Comes in two sizes
- Talalay foam
- good for combination sleepers
- OEKO-Tex certified
- bamboo cover
What We Don’t:
- not suitable for stomach sleepers
- might be too soft for people with very broad shoulders
- not adjustable
Best Shredded Option: OrganicTextiles LLC Premium Adjustable Loft Shredded Organic Latex Filled Pillow
OrganicTextile’s option is a shredded natural foam with a higher loft and a very fluffy texture. It has an inner liner that makes it fully adjustable. You can remove enough of the filling to support you regardless of what position you sleep in. As long as you keep the filling, it can adjust with your changing sleeping habits.
If you don’t adjust it, it offers medium support and is suitable for side sleepers or back sleepers. When you change the loft, it could be an excellent choice for stomach sleepers as well. It has an organic cotton shell for excellent breathability. There’s no off-gassing although there may be just a little odor due to packing and compression.
It’s all natural latex with no additives or other fillers. It’s breathable because of the shredded fill, and you can mold it pretty well underneath your neck and shoulders if that’s something you like. It doesn’t have a guarantee, but you should contact the seller for warranty information.
What We Liked:
- higher loft
- fully adjustable
- all latex filler with no additives
- could suit all types of sleepers
- easily moldable
What We Don’t:
- not as supportive as solid latex
- small packing odor
- no guarantee
Best For Pain: LumaLife Luxe Low Profile Orthopedic Pillow
Our last pillow is a low profile pillow with contours designed to keep your head in position and relieve pressure. It includes inserts so that you can adjust the height to your specific needs. It’s CPAP friendly, cradling your head in the center with gentle slopes towards the edges.
It keeps your nose away from the surface of the pillow if you’re a side or stomach sleeper, helping airflow and breathing. It may even help your snoring if that’s something you struggle with. It’s also easier on you after you’ve had any kind of facial surgery or procedure. It’s naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, mold, and bacteria that can cause allergic reactions.
There’s very little odor although you may need to let it air out after being packed for shipping. It’s all natural latex with no chemical fire retardants. The outer cover is a Tencel and polyester blend that’s good at keeping the pillow feeling cooler. Plus, you can remove it for machine washing.
The square edges do an excellent job of gently nudging you to your side or back, which can be especially useful for those with neck pain or who need to keep pressure off their faces.
What We Like:
- gentle nudge away from stomach sleeping for those who need it
- thin surface keeps spine aligned
- Tencel and polyester cover is washable
- CPAP friendly
- adjustable inserts
What We Don’t:
- inserts may not work for some users
- the outer cover isn’t organic material
- may have an odor from packing
A quality, all natural latex pillow has a lot of durability and support. It won’t compress under the weight of your head and shoulders the way poly-fill will. It doesn’t have the memory foam “hug” that many people find off-putting. It’s better for the environment, both in general and in your own home. Since they’re naturally dust mite, bacteria, and mold resistant, they can help cut down on some of the allergies you may be having because of your old traditional pillow.
It’s important to note that while you may invest a little more in your all natural latex pillow, you’ll be getting a product that can last you a lot longer than other types of pillows. Spending money on your health and well being is always a good decision especially if it can get you a better night’s sleep overall. For this reason, our all-around winner is the LumaLife Luxe Orthopedic.
Choosing a natural latex gives you better allergy management and a lot less off-gassing than its memory foam cousin. If you can find a sleep trial, that’s even better. It can take some time to adjust to your new pillow just like it does with a mattress, so giving the pillow a few days (or weeks if you have them) to settle in is a good idea.