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Talalay vs Dunlop Latex: What’s the Difference?

Dunlop or Talalay? Which to choose for your upholstery?

Both Talalay & Dunlop can be either 100% Natural or Blended Latex

Talalay & Dunlop are two different manufacturing processes used in the production of latex foam. It’s important to note that both processes are used in the manufacture of 100% Natural AND Blended synthetic/natural Latex foam. So how are they different and which one should you choose for your upholstery?

Before I address the differences, I want to quickly answer one ‘burning’ question that a lot of people have about latex:

(latex injection mould) Talalay vs Dunop - which latex should I choose for my upholstery?

Why the holes in latex? Here’s your answer.

Why are there Holes in Latex?

Both the Talalay & Dunlop processes use steam to ‘cook’ the latex. The pin core structure of the mould acts to evenly distribute the heat during vulcanization (like a waffle iron), which prevents scorching of the rubber and creates the signature holes in the finished product.

Talalay vs Dunop - which latex should I choose for my upholstery?

All natural latex foams have ‘pin-holes’

Now for the comparison:

The Talalay Process

In the Talalay process, the raw liquid latex is whipped into a froth along with the necessary curing agents and additives, which is then injected into the latex mold. The air is extracted (via vacuum) to evenly distribute the foamed liquid throughout the mold to create a consistent, open-cell structure. The latex is then flash frozen to lock the cell structure in place and prevent any settling that may occur. Introduction of CO2 (carbon dioxide) causes the mixture to gel, and finally, the latex is vulcanized and cured.

(talalay latex process illustrated diagram) Talalay vs Dunop - which latex should I choose for my upholstery?

The Talalay latex process entails vacuum & freezing steps which the dunlop process omits (thanks to sleepacademy.org for this image)

The Dunlop Process

In the Dunlop process, the injection mould is filled to the brim and there is no vacuum or freezing stage. This creates a denser, less “airy”, firmer feeling product, with a somewhat less even distribution of latex.

(dunlop latex process illustrated diagram) Talalay vs Dunop - which latex should I choose for my upholstery?

The dunlop process is faster and less costly than the Talalay process (image from sleepacademy.org)

Is One Better than the Other?

There are many who say that the Talalay process results in a higher quality product, and I have to say that the Talalay foam has a smoother and more uniform texture than the Dunlop foam, which seems to be stronger and less prone to tearing.

Dunlop latex is produced at a lower cost, while still providing the unequaled comfort, durability and health benefits that has made latex foam so popular.

It’s a bit like comparing sponge cake to pound cake: Talalay is more light & airy, like sponge cake, while Dunlop is more dense, like pound cake. I found this magnified comparison at Flobeds.com

(dunlop & talalay foam cells) Talalay vs Dunlop - which latex should I choose for my upholster

Dunlop (left) & Talalay (right) foam cells (image from Flobeds.com)

Here’s my own comparison, at lower magnification:

Talalay vs Dunlop - which latex should I choose for my upholstery?

The Dunlop latex has a ‘coarser’ cell structure than the Talalay latex foam

The Bottom Line for Talalay vs Dunlop Latex for Upholstery

Both Talalay and Dunlop will give you years of comfort and durability in your upholstery, whether you’re working with an upholsterer, doing your own DIY project or replacing the cushion foam in your sofa. Here’s a quick reference comparing the two:

Both Talalay & Dunlop 100% Natural Latex:

  • Health benefits: anti-microbial, hypo-allergenic, dust mite resistant
  • Durability: outlasts ‘conventional’ polyurethane foam by 10-20 years with proper application
  • Comfort: ‘breathable’ cell structure, resilient structure of natural rubber imparts a ‘bounce’ that is unique to natural latex

Talalay:

  • slightly softer overall feel than Dunlop
  • more uniform grain/texture
  • more expensive process

Dunlop:

  • slightly firmer overall feel than Talalay
  • coarser grain
  • less expensive process
  • the only latex foam currently certified organic to the GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard) standard is Dunlop latex

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 To purchase natural latex foam and other healthy upholstery materials, visit our online store.

About the Author

CarlaHey there! I'm Carla Pyle. I love the stories that our furniture tells. For me a picture of my Granddaddy Milton's green upholstered arm chair brings to mind the vivid rhymes & colors of 'The Cat in the Hat' and his soft low voice in the telling. I love too that there is always an element of nature in furniture - the warm-toned curving grain of a walnut leg or the reflection of life in a mid-century chrome piece. The best part of teaching & sharing natural upholstery is that it ties all of these things together. Stories - of individual experience and of the planet - help us build happy & healthy homes.View all posts by Carla →