FACTS OVER FICTION
Separating fact from fiction is a challenge when shopping for a natural and 100% certified organic mattress, especially when there are so many confusing brands, industry terms, and mattress technologies at play. So it's smart to be focused on your goal: finding the greenest mattress possible — one that respects your health and the environment and the well-being of everyone in it — at a price point that you can afford, from a brand you can trust. So, when evaluating natural mattress brands, consider the following:
DO THEY USE DUNLOP OR TALALAY LATEX?
Many brands use Talalay latex, which starts with natural latex, but requires the addition of six non-natural chemicals: acrylate resins, diphenyl diisocyanate, phenol-melamine resins, phenol-urea, polyvinyl acetate, and styrene-butadiene copolymer. Talalay latex can also have petroleum added in the form of artificial vanillin. Plus, Talalay latex can not be made in larger king size sheets, so it must be seamed with adhesives. In fairness, we agree that Talalay is much healthier than petrochemical foams. However, it is misleading to consider Talalay latex as 100% natural or organic.
At Avocado, we use 100% GOLS organic certified Dunlop latex tapped from the farm we co-own in Kerala, India for our mattresses (rubber trees don't grow in the U.S.). This allows us to source the best organic latex for use in mattresses and pillows while maintaining the highest standards for ecology and social responsibility. An eco-INSTITUT® certified material, our Dunlop latex is naturally antimicrobial, cooler than memory foam, and more durable than Talalay latex. (Our warranty is 25 years.) Dunlop latex is also more eco-friendly and energy-efficient to produce than Talalay, and as a result, a greener choice.
Source: Talalay Global
IS IT BLENDED OR SYNTHETIC LATEX?
Blended means the foam contains both natural and synthetic latex, which varies by manufacturer. The usual blend is 80% synthetic rubber, 20% natural. Synthetic and blended latex are much less expensive to produce, but aren't as durable, do not breathe as well, and are more apt to develop body impressions over time. Note that some manufacturers can legally claim that their product is "natural latex" even if their foam contains only 30% natural latex. Unless they say "100% natural latex," it may be a blend. Be sure to ask.
Avocado's all natural latex mattresses use 100% GOLS organic certified latex, which is eco-INSTITUT® certified. (Read how our natural latex is made.) We do not use blends or synthetic rubber.
DO THEY USE POLYURETHANE FOAM OR MEMORY FOAM?
Most brands rely heavily on petroleum-based polyurethane foams. (Memory/viscoelastic foam is also polyurethane foam, just with more chemicals added to make it "slow to respond.") But the reality is that prolonged exposure to petroleum-based polyurethane foams may affect the nervous and immune system and cause cancer, neurological disorders, autoimmune weakness, asthma, allergies, infertility, miscarriage, and behavioral disorders in children. Because it off-gasses, some companies add industrial-strength perfumes to mask the chemical odor. Therefore, be cautious with "bio-based" or "plant-based" foams that some companies market as eco-friendly. Most use only a small percentage of soy, corn oil, or other natural materials to make their foam (usually less than 30%), while the balance consists of polyurethane. Don't be afraid to ask what percentage of their foam is bio-based and what percentage is based on petroleum.
At Avocado, we do not use any polyurethane or memory foams. Our mattresses are designed to be as non-toxic and eco-conscious as possible, using natural materials like GOLS organic certified latex, GOTS organic certified wool, and GOTS organic certified cotton (CU863637). Our legal tag, which details what's inside our mattress, is listed right on our product page!
Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; O EcoTextiles; GREENGUARD Gold by UL Environment; Parson Healthy Materials Lab; U.S. Green Building Council
ARE THEY GREEN? DO THEY OFF-GAS OR POLLUTE THE AIR?
Most traditional polyurethane foam and memory foam mattresses cannot be considered green because they can have a negative impact on your health and the environment.
As the first mattress company to be Climate Neutral Certified, we're passionate about sustainability and providing an affordable non-toxic mattress. Our GOLS organic certified latex is also eco-INSTITUT® certified by our manufacturer — fully tested for hazardous materials and substances. Our wool is GOTS organic certified. Our luxurious ticking is made with GOTS organic certified cotton and button-tufted by hand. And our mattress, as a whole, is GREENGUARD Gold Certified by UL Environment — tested to meet some of the world’s most rigorous emissions standards for chemical exposure and pollutants, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde, and phthalates. For a deeper dive into indoor air quality, pollutants, and your health, visit our GREENGUARD Gold or our certifications pages.
ARE THEY ALL FOAM AND NO SUPPORT?
Most direct-to-consumer brands don't use an internal support system. Why? Because it's less expensive to produce a mattress without it and the mattress won't last as long, so you have to keep buying mattresses. If you can find one that does use a support system, they may not feature a high coil count, a combination of zones for proper spinal support, or perimeter reinforcement. A quality support unit makes a big difference, especially for people that value cushioning and support, and for those in search of back support and pressure relief.
Avocado mattresses feature one of the most advanced multi-zone innerspring support units available. There are up to 1,414 coils individually encased — arranged in five distinct zones — that float independently to further improve airflow, support, and spinal alignment. Made from heat-treated and stress-relieved wire, these recycled steel coils enable our mattress to deliver firm edge support for the life of the mattress and benefit those in critical need of pressure-point relief and hip, back, and shoulder support.
ARE THEY GENTLE, YET FIRM?
To prevent back pain and improve posture, the American Chiropractic Association recommends a mattress of medium firmness to minimize any curve in your spine.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the firmest) our standard Avocado Green Mattress rates as a 7, which is gentle, yet firm, and ideal for back and stomach sleepers, as well as growing children. With the pillowtop option, our mattress rates as a 6, which is slightly more luxurious, but still supportive and pressure-relieving. Our pillowtop is ideal for side sleepers and those in search of a slightly more luxurious experience. (It is not soft like a cloud.) We do not make a "soft" mattress because they don't offer the level of support that most customers need and prefer.
ARE THEY HANDCRAFTED?
Most brands don't do handwork because it's labor-intensive, which means the individual quality of the mattress may decrease and it may be less durable over time. It also means they can pay workers less. Why do so few companies craft products that are meant to last?
Avocado mattresses are handcrafted with the finest domestic and international materials in sunny California, where the environmental laws are the most strict. We own 100% of our factory, which has been operating at the top-end of the market since 1987. Our mattresses feature distinctive, hand-tufted button rosettes made from pure GOTS organic certified wool. (A time-honored technique dating back to the 17th century, it's functional and actually extends the life of the mattress for years. Tufting prevents trenches and lumps from appearing over time. And button-tufts act as anchors by pulling yarn through each layer of the mattress.) Our mattresses feature hand-sewn edges and reinforced handles.
DO THE DETAILS SHOW?
Most companies use a simple woven knit top so they don't have to do any handwork at the seams. Sure, it may look crisp and sharp in a picture with the knit tightly glued to the core, but how will the edges hold up over time? How long until you feel like you're rolling off the sides?
We use hand-stitched taped edges, double stitched for durability along the perimeter seams, plus heavy-duty upholstered handles.
ARE THEY FLEXIBLE?
Not all mattresses will work on an adjustable base or on a bed with bed slats. Some require a flat and completely solid platform. Be sure to ask if this is a potential scenario for you.
Avocado mattresses are flexible. They are compatible with a bed with slats, a platform, and even an adjustable bed.
ARE THEY MINIMALLY PROCESSED?
Because the layers of an Avocado mattress are held firmly and durably in place with hand-sewn button-tufting, we don't need to use chemical adhesives between the comfort layers of the mattress. This “radically minimal” approach further reduces your chemical exposure and promotes a healthier indoor air quality.
Other brands use chemical adhesives to bond the internal layers of their mattresses together, as well as to bond the cover to the foam. Slowly, over time, the abundance of these chemicals can emit volatile organic compounds that can impact long-term health.
DO THEY SLEEP COOL?
Polyurethane mattresses — especially memory foam mattresses — tend to sleep hotter than natural and hybrid mattresses. Because they use materials that are dense, they allow your body to sink into them and retain your body heat.
The key to cool sleep is breathability. We use the best known materials and technologies to ensure that you sleep cool — organic certified latex, which breathes naturally; organic certified wool, which wicks away moisture; organic certified cotton; and a pocketed innerspring support unit, which allows air to circulate more freely while supporting your body's natural curves.
DO THEY USE CHEMICAL FIRE RETARDANTS?
Some mattresses use toxic chemical fire retardants. Or they use wool with fire retardant chemicals added (which does not need to be disclosed on the mattress's legal label). And still others use quasi-natural products like "thistle" — which is just wood pulp chemically bonded with polyester.
We use our own 100% GOTS organic certified wool as a fire barrier in our Avocado mattresses (with no added chemicals, one ounce per square foot), which chars but does not burn easily.
Our Vegan Hybrid Mattress, meanwhile, uses a 100% natural graphite infused with the organic latex as a non-toxic fire barrier to protect your mattress. As a result, Avocado mattresses meet and exceed all federal flammability and CPSC standards without using toxic chemical flame retardants.
Sources: Parents.com — 10 Harmful Chemicals to Avoid; GREENGUARD Gold by UL Environment; Parson Healthy Materials Lab; U.S. Green Building Council
HOW STRONG IS THEIR WARRANTY?
Most mattress companies offer 3, 5, 10, or 20-year warranties, but most, if not all, of that coverage is heavily prorated (which means coverage decreases over time), and the owner is responsible for shipping fees. So despite the advertised warranty term that many companies make, the actual coverage is not very strong. Be sure to read the details.
We believe in our quality materials and craftsmanship, and as a result, proudly offer one of the best warranties in the industry — 25 years. Years 1 to 10 are non-prorated, which means there is no cost to the owner to repair or replace the mattress, and shipping/pickup is included, while years 11 to 25 offer additional prorated coverage.
REVIEWS: ARE THEY POSITIVE AND TRUSTWORTHY?
Truth be told, it's easy for companies to "create" reviews. Savvy consumers should look for reviews from verified purchasers and certified by a reliable third-party source, like Google, YotPo, Amazon, or Trust Pilot. Consider exploring the reviews on their Facebook pages as well, to give you more confidence in their authenticity and transparency. Although Facebook reviews are from unverified customers, their complete absence should be considered.
Avocado is the highest rated mattress in America for 2018, 2019, and 2020, regardless of price.
Our customer product reviews are automatically sent to all verified purchasers of our products within 45 days of their purchase, directly by YotPo. They appear unfiltered and unedited in our extensive reviews section and on our product pages. We are currently rated 4.82 out 5 (stars). More than 90% of our customers rate Avocado with 5 stars.