June 26, 2019 3 min read
As you may know, we use Dunlop exclusively. I'll do my best to give you our perspective on why. Simply put it is a business decision and not related to COGS (cost of goods sold). We really like our manufacturer of latex.
We want to keep things simple. We feel offering more options in latex opens up Pandora's box. Why don't we offer six inch blocks versus three inch layers? What about blended Talalay because it is softer than what is referred to as 100% natural? Why not glue the layers together? What about a twelve inch thick mattress? Why not pocket springs for a firmer support? Pretty soon it is like "If you give a mouse a cookie." We could go crazy on variations and iterations of design and material offerings.
The difference between Talalay and Dunlop isn't a matter between right and wrong. It is a matter of personal preference. There are just as many people who want Dunlop as want Talalay. It depends of your worldview and things that they've read about as well as testing out the materials. So, there is no right answer. With any latex, it comes down to comfort. Everyone is different.
As for the differences between Talalay and Dunlop, both start off with the same base materials, about 95% latex + 5% processing materials. The manufacturing methods are different. Dunlop is baked. Talalay is vacuum sealed, frozen and then baked. This changes the feel of the finished foam product. Effects on durability and performance are negligible.
Dunlop is more staid; Talalay more wobbly/bouncy.
Dunlop is denser; Talalay is springier, though not necessarily softer.
In blind tests, the most people have a hard time feeling a difference, and they find it difficult to describe the difference until they're given more information about the materials. A good analogy is Coke vs. Pepsi. They are both brown colas and if you don't drink it a lot, you may say both taste the same. Where a Coke enthusiast would be able to taste the difference.
A another analogy is a glass of Pinot Noir vs. Sangiovese. They are both good and enjoyed by most folks who will notice a difference but will have a hard time describing the difference. An expert connoisseur may be able to tell you what hectare of dirt the grape came from. All bets are off once the Pinot is mixed with Syrah for an elegant Meritage or the Sangiovese mixed with Cabernet for a world class Chianti. Most of us get glassy-eyed at detailed talk of youthful aromas, chalky tannins and fruit carried through on the palate. A glass of red wine can be really enjoyable whether or not we know what’s inside. Trying to get up to speed on something – like mattresses or wine – can be overwhelming and confusing.
At Spindle, we ran focus groups with Talalay and Dunlop that we use. The people who participated in those tests preferred the Dunlop. But those were just the people we got who participated that day. The "difference" is subjective and there are plenty of people who swear by Talalay and won't sleep on anything else.
We're agnostic about the two methods and think they are both fine products. Our mattresses are made with what's referred to as 100% natural latex foam. It does not contain synthetic latex, fillers, polyurethane or other petroleum based products. Our foam is produced using a dunlop process in Sri Lanka. On a springiness scale of 1 to 10, where molded Dunlop feels solid and Talalay is springier, our latex is an in-betweener around a 4. Not as reserved as Dunlop and far from being as lively/jello-like as Talalay. In the end, it is a matter of personal preference rather than a choice between right and wrong.