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Home / Best Mattress / Best Pillow-Top Mattress

Best Pillow-Top Mattress

Logan Foley

Written by

Logan Foley, Certified Sleep Coach

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Methodology

We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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In the upcoming weeks, we'll be conducting additional tests for sleeping position and body weight performance. The picks on this page may change as a result.

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A pillow-top mattress features a layer of soft cushioning material sewn to the top surface. Pillow-tops create a luxuriously plush feel when you lie down, a sensation often described as sleeping on a cloud. These mattresses are well suited to side sleepers and people weighing less than 130 pounds. Both of these groups typically prefer soft mattresses that contour closely to the body. Those who weigh 130 pounds or more, as well as back and stomach sleepers, may need a firmer sleep surface instead.

A pillow-top creates the look of a separate layer on top of your mattress. This differs from a Euro-top, which is sewn flush with the mattress edges for a more uniform appearance. Our testing crew evaluated both pillow-top and Euro-top mattresses to compile the list below. The testers run the gamut when it comes to body types, sleep positions, and firmness preferences, so our performance ratings for each mattress should reflect the experiences of most sleepers.

Even though all of these mattresses feature a pillow-top or Euro-top, they greatly differ in terms of overall construction, performance, and cost. Below, we’ve summarized strong points and important details for each of our top picks. Scroll down further to read our pillow-top mattress buyer’s guide for details about the pros and cons of pillow-tops and Euro-tops, what you can expect to pay for one of these mattresses, and which sleepers stand to benefit most from sleeping on them.

Product Details

Best Overall

WinkBed

WinkBed
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,049
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6), Firm (7), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who experience lower back pain
  • Sleepers who need extra help getting in and out of bed
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Euro-top is quilted with gel-infused foam for extra plushness
  • Coils are zoned to enhance spinal support
  • Lifetime warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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A common complaint about pillow-top mattresses is that they feel too soft and lack adequate support. The WinkBed stands out thanks to a robust design with zoned coils to maintain an even surface and sturdy transitional layers for added reinforcement.

What It’s Made of

The WinkBed is designed with four different firmness levels – medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), and firm (8). All models are composed of a Euro-top cushioned with gel-infused polyfoam, followed by another polyfoam layer with a denser composition. This denser polyfoam promotes pressure relief but is firm enough to keep the body from sinking excessively. The medium soft model includes an additional polyfoam layer to generate a plusher feel. A pocketed coil base layer offers targeted support to the lumbar area, and a reinforced perimeter adds phenomenal edge support. The cover is made of a Tencel fabric that helps keep the surface cool.

How It Performed

With multiple firmness levels to choose from, virtually all sleepers will find an option that suits them. Most side sleepers on our team preferred the medium soft and medium firm, while back sleepers gravitated toward the medium firm and firm (7). Stomach sleepers gave high marks to both the firm (7 and 8) models, though the medium firm was also comfortable for stomach sleepers up to 230 pounds.

Thanks to its coil design, breathable Tencel cover, and cooling gel infusion, the WinkBed has ample airflow to prevent too much heat buildup. The zoned support coils also provide excellent edge support and make the surface easy to move across for most sleepers.

WinkBeds stands by its mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty. Orders ship free in the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The WinkBed’s Euro-top is quite plush for a hybrid bed, without compromising support. Our team’s back and side sleepers found it as comfortable as it was supportive.”

DreamCloud Premier Rest

Most Comfortable

DreamCloud Premier Rest

DreamCloud Premier Rest
Price Range: $1,499 - $2,299
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 365 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who enjoy sleeping on exceptionally thick mattresses
  • Shoppers looking for a mattress with a lengthy sleep trial
Highlights:
  • Soft foams quilted into the pillow-top for an deeply plush surface feel
  • Excellent interior airflow through coil support core and breathable cashmere-blend cover
  • 365-night sleep trial and forever warranty
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The Premier Rest builds on DreamCloud’s previous pillow-top hybrid designs for an exceptionally plush feel and a sturdy pocketed coil system. Additional touches to enhance your sleep experience include a luxe cashmere-blend cover and thick foam layers that cushion the body without excessive sinking.

What It’s Made of

The Premier Rest is fairly thick even by pillow-top standards. Two layers of soft foam are quited into the cover to ensure gentle cushioning as your body sinks into the mattress, but a polyfoam transitional layer keeps you on an even plane and reinforces the midsection. The support core includes pocketed coils that stabilize the mattress without generating too much motion transfer.

How It Performed

The mattress is considered medium (5) in terms of firmness, so you can expect a comfortable balance of body contouring and even support. The coils promote consistent airflow to help the mattress maintain a comfortable temperature, and the cover provides added breathability. Another cooling feature is the cashmere-blend cover, which has moisture-wicking properties.

The mid-range feel and moderate contouring of the Premier Rest is best suited to side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Thick foam layers also absorb movement and significantly cut down on motion transfer, which should reduce nighttime disturbances for couples and co-sleepers.

The Premier Rest is priced very affordably for a pillow-top hybrid and shipping is free of charge for all orders in the contiguous U.S. DreamCloud’s 365-night sleep trial is among the longest in the online mattress industry, and anyone who chooses to keep the mattress is entitled to a lifetime warranty against deep sagging and other structural defects that can occur over time.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The thick pillow-top adds plushness on top of an already thick comfort system, so we weren’t surprised by the supreme softness of the Premier Rest. The cashmere blend cover adds an extra touch of luxury.”

Best Luxury

Saatva Classic

Saatva Classic
Price Range: $935 - $2,450
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Soft (3), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who prefer highly responsive mattresses
  • Hot sleepers
  • Side sleepers
Highlights:
  • Available in two heights and three firmnesses
  • 3-inch Euro-top adds luxurious cushioning for hips and shoulders
  • Two layers of coils enhance breathability
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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Pillow-top innersprings have earned a somewhat negative reputation for feeling too stiff despite their cushioning surfaces. The Saatva Classic builds on the classic design with some innovative features that cater to a wide range of people regardless of their body type, sleep position, and firmness preferences.

What It’s Made of

A pillow-top containing a memory foam lumbar pad and adaptive polyfoam allows the Saatva to contour more closely than the average innerspring. The mattress also features a pocketed microcoil transitional layer that provides targeted relief to pressure-prone areas.

The support core is composed of bonnell coils that provide pushback to prevent sagging and promote spinal alignment. Both coil layers facilitate airflow to regulate the core temperature. The coils have a foam encasement that strengthens the mattress perimeter. A breathable organic cotton cover encases the mattress.

How It Performed

The Saatva Classic’s coil-on-coil design creates a bouncy feel on the surface without making the mattress feel too stiff. The coil layers also promote steady airflow throughout the mattress core to maintain a comfortable temperature – a major asset for hot sleepers.

You can choose between soft (3), medium firm (6), and firm (8) feels for the mattress, depending on your ideal level of support, as well as a 11.5-inch or 14.5-inch profile. The soft feel and lower profile are best suited to side sleepers and those who weigh 130 pounds or less.

Saatva is one of the few online mattress brands to offer free White Glove delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. This service includes in-home assembly in a room of your choice and old mattress removal at no extra charge. The company also offers a 365-night sleep trial, one of the longest in the mattress industry, and a lifetime warranty for the mattress.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Euro-top is the key ingredient to the Saatva Classic’s comfortable feel. Our testers loved the plush surface – a nice counterbalance to the innerspring coils.”

Helix Midnight Luxe

Best for Side Sleepers

Helix Midnight Luxe

Helix Midnight Luxe
Price Range: $1,199 - $2,499
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 15 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Couples seeking strong motion isolation
  • People who sleep hot
Highlights:
  • Breathable, quilted pillow-top adds cushioning without excessive heat
  • Zoned coils support the lumbar region and promote spinal alignment
  • Contouring memory foam comfort layer reduces pressure accumulation
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Thanks to its balanced feel , the Helix Midnight Luxe is a standout model in the company’s Luxe hybrid collection. This model has adaptive foam comfort layers that closely contour the body, offering needed pressure relief for a side sleeper’s joints.

What It’s Made of

Helix Luxe mattresses are 2 inches taller than their standard counterparts and feature a memory foam pillow-top with a Tencel cover. The Midnight Luxe is a hybrid designed for side sleepers, with thick memory foam and polyfoam comfort layers that cushion the shoulders and hips. The support core contains pocketed coils divided into different zones based on coil gauge, or thickness, to ensure extra support around the midsection. We rate the Midnight Luxe as a medium firm, or a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale.

How It Performed

Thanks to its hybrid construction, the Midnight Luxe manages to prevent most motion transfer while still providing a responsive surface that doesn’t hinder movement. The pocketed coils are reinforced in the lumbar area and around the edges. The mattress has a symmetrical design, so it can be rotated from head to foot to increase the pillow-top’s longevity without adversely affecting its performance.

Tencel is a breathable plant-based fabric that wicks away moisture from your body, letting it disperse through the coils for a cooler sleep. The additional memory foam adds a plush, cushioning feel right as you lie down.

Helix offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 15-year warranty for the Luxe mattresses. Shipping is free in the U.S., with an additional fee for Canada.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“I love the soft pillow-top that comes with the Luxe upgrade. I get to enjoy the plushness of a pillow-top coupled with the support that the standard Midnight model excels at.”

Nolah Evolution 15

Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Evolution 15

Nolah Evolution 15
Price Range: $999 - $1,699
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers with painful pressure points
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who prefer thick mattresses
Highlights:
  • Foam comfort layers offer excellent pressure relief
  • Three firmness options
  • Airflow through coil support core regulates temperature
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Nolah Evolution 15 is a versatile hybrid bed that caters to a variety of sleepers. With a thick quilted Euro-top and plush foam layer beneath, the bed offers excellent relief to sleepers who experience painful pressure points during sleep.

What It’s Made of

The mattress has an above-average profile height, which is to be expected of pillow-top beds. The Euro-top cover is quilted with foam that conforms to the body, followed by a layer of proprietary AirFoamICE polyfoam that enhances the bed’s contouring performance. A layer of high-resilience foam and a support core of pocketed coils create a strong supportive foundation for the bed. The coil system is zoned to provide additional support to areas of the body that may need it, such as the midsection.

How It Performed

The Nolah Evolution 15 is available in three different firmness options — plush (5), luxury firm (6), and firm (8). The variety in firmness options makes this bed suitable for a wide swath of sleep positions and preferences. The firm option will likely appeal to stomach sleepers, especially those who weigh over 230 pounds and require more support. The softer options are better suited for side and back sleepers under 230 pounds, especially those seeking pressure relief in the hips and shoulders.

For sleepers who run hot, the Nolah Evolution 15 offers excellent temperature regulation. The Euro-top cover and foam layers are engineered to run cooler than conventional foam, and the pocketed coil system allows air to circulate.

Nolah offers free shipping within the contiguous United States. Customers receive a 120-night sleep trial and may return the bed for a full refund after an initial 30-day break-in period. The mattress is backed by a limited lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“As someone who sleeps on my side, I appreciate the excellent contouring from the Evolution 15. The thick Euro-top really cushions my hips and shoulders.”

Birch Luxe

Best for Back Pain

Birch Luxe

Birch Luxe
Price Range: $1,849 - $3,249
Mattress Type: Hybrid
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 25 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who enjoy plush surfaces
  • Eco-friendly shoppers
Highlights:
  • Breathable cover materials and airflow through pocketed coils reduce heat retention
  • Latex comfort layers gently cradle the body while limiting sinkage
  • 25-year warranty
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

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The Birch Luxe Natural is designed for shoppers that are in the market for a bed made with certified organic materials. The eco-friendly construction is also breathable with a careful balance of support and contouring, making it quite comfortable for a wide range of sleepers.

What It’s Made of

The bed has a medium firm (6) feel and begins with a Euro-top cover that is quilted for a plush feel on the surface. Beneath is a layer of organic wool that cushions the body and also acts as a fire retardant. This is followed by a layer of organic cashmere and wool and another layer of wool. The main comfort layer is made of proprietary Pulse latex, while the support core consists of pocketed coils that are zoned to provide enhanced reinforcement where the body needs it most. The cashmere and cotton have organic certification from GOTS, while the wool has been certified organic by Wool Integrity NZ.

How It Performed

The plush comfort layers on the Birch Luxe provide excellent contouring and pressure relief, while the latex and coils provide enough pushback to keep the body on an even plane. This even balance of cushioning and support makes the bed an excellent match for back and side sleepers, who need beds that relieve pressure in sensitive areas like the shoulders, hips, and spine, but also require support for the lumbar region. Another area this bed excels in is temperature control. Hot sleepers will enjoy the cooling properties offered by the breathable latex and wool, and the ample airflow through the coils.

Birch offers customers a 100-night sleep trial, as well as a 25-year warranty. Shipping is free throughout all 50 states.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“All of our testers agreed that this bed offers a surprising amount of support, given how plush the surface feels. Hot sleepers on our team also found the bed extremely comfortable.”

Saatva HD

Best for Couples

Saatva HD

Saatva HD
Price Range: $1,725 - $3,750
Mattress Type: Innerspring
Firmness: Firm (7)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • People who weigh more than 230 pounds
  • Those who share their bed with a partner
  • Anyone who needs assistance setting up their new mattress
Highlights:
  • Euro-top cushioned with polyfoam, zoned latex, and memory foam
  • Low-gauge coils feel thicker and more supportive beneath the midsection
  • All U.S. orders include free White Glove delivery and a 365-night sleep trial
Sleep Foundation Exclusive Offer!

Buy more, save more. Up to $500 off.

The Saatva HD is a firm (7) luxury hybrid specifically designed for people who weigh more than 230 pounds. A deep comfort system and low-gauge hourglass coils create an exceptionally strong support system for those who need it most. The mattress is also a good choice for couples and co-sleepers due to its stable perimeter and responsive surface.

What It’s Made of

The Saatva HD’s Euro-top is cushioned with a top polyfoam layer that adapts to the body and creates an invitingly plush feel. A second comfort layer of zoned latex feels firmer beneath the chest, stomach, and hips while gently cradling lighter areas of the body. Dense, transitional memory foam completes the HD’s sophisticated comfort system, adding extra cushioning and providing a buffer between your body and the support core.

Robust hourglass coils encased in dense foam provide great overall stability for the mattress. The coils have a low gauge of 12.5, making them stronger than the coils found in most competing innersprings and hybrids. A GOTS-certified organic cotton cover encases the entire mattress. Measuring 15.5 inches thick, the HD is one of the thickest mattresses we’ve tested in our lab.

How It Performed

During our hands-on tests, the HD’s highest ratings came from side sleepers weighing more than 230 pounds, back sleepers weighing at least 130 pounds, and stomach sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds. None of our testers noticed excessive sagging, and the perimeter felt stable when we evaluated the mattress for edge support.

Temperature control was another area where the HD performed well. The latex retains minimal body heat, air circulates freely through the coils, and the cotton cover is fairly breathable. All of these factors allowed our testers to feel cool and comfortable while lying on the mattress. The firm feel and sturdy support core should also ensure a longer-than-average lifespan for the HD.

While the sticker price is somewhat expensive, Saatva sweetens the deal for customers in the contiguous U.S. with free White Glove delivery. This service includes a scheduled delivery date, full setup in a room of your choice, and removal of your old mattress and box spring upon request. You’ll also receive a sleep trial with the HD that runs an entire year. Should you decide to keep the mattress, Saatva backs it with a lifetime warranty against structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Saatva HD works as advertised and feels incredibly firm and stable. Even the testers on our team weighing more than 230 pounds remarked how supportive the mattress felt, and sinkage was a non-issue during our various tests.”

Why You Can Trust Us

Sleepers’ experiences on a pillow-top mattress can vary widely, and the team at Sleep Foundation has personally tested dozens of models to provide you with the comprehensive information you need to choose the right one. Our testing team includes sleep product experts with different body types and preferences. Using data from a diverse group helps us provide you with well-researched and informed recommendations.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

Our top picks for pillow-top mattresses were chosen following thorough testing. Our experts review every model using both hands-on and technology-driven methods. Team members lie on each mattress to get a good sense of how they feel in terms of comfort and support. We also use body mapping and thermal cameras to measure pressure build-up and temperature control, two attributes that are important to consider when shopping for a pillow-top mattress.

Our product research methodology is detailed below:

  • Motion Isolation: Pillow-top mattresses constructed with foam typically have plusher surfaces that absorb movement well and prevent transfer from spreading across the surface. This criteria is particularly important for those who are sensitive to their partner changing positions at night.
  • Temperature Control: A mattress’ materials largely determine how well it will regulate temperature at night. Hot sleepers may want to opt for a pillow-top constructed with latex or cotton to reduce heat buildup.
  • Pressure Relief: Side sleepers tend to put the most pressure on their joints, and a mattress with thicker comfort layers can combat morning aches and pains. Pillow-tops with foam contour closely to the hips and shoulders, making them the best choice for most people with pressure points.
  • Off-Gassing: Off-gassing refers to newly unboxed mattresses with a bad smell due to volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Mattresses made with synthetic materials like memory foam and polyfoam are more prone to release these odors, but they should subside over time.
  • Ease of Movement: Sleepers who frequently toss and turn at night often prefer a mattress that lets them move across the surface easily. Pillow-tops made from more responsive materials like latex facilitate easier movement than slow-response materials like memory foam.
  • Edge Support: Having a mattresses with a sturdy perimeter is especially important for couples and those who have trouble exiting bed. Better edge support allows sleepers to freely sit or sleep on the edge of the mattress without feeling like they will slip off.
  • Sex: Many people agree that a bouncier mattress is preferred for sex, but other factors like noise surpression and temperature regulation are also important. Some pillow-top materials can cause too much sinkage during sex for many couples.
  • Body Weight: Typically, the more a person weighs, the greater their support needs are. Pillow-top mattresses vary widely in their firmness and support levels, so we encourage sleepers to try several firmness levels to see what suits them best.

What is a Pillow-Top Mattress?


A pillow-top mattress gets its name from the extra layer, resembling a pillow, that is permanently attached to the top of the outer cover. This layer is usually between 2 and 4 inches thick and consists of materials such as memory foam, polyfoam, fiberfill, latex, or cotton.

The separation between the pillow-top and the rest of the mattress tends to be clearly visible from the outside, with many mattresses leaving a gap between the edge of the pillow-top and the edge of the mattress. Pillow-tops sometimes, but not always, have a cover made of a different material than the rest of the mattress, such as silk or Tencel.

Pillow-tops can either add extra cushioning or make the mattress more responsive. You’ll usually only see them on innerspring or hybrid mattresses, the aim being to supply the mattress with a larger comfort layer section to complement the coils.

Pillow-Top vs. Euro-Top

Euro-tops are a type of pillow-top that are more integrated into the mattress. They may still have piping to differentiate them from the standard comfort layers, but typically the edges are stitched in and flush with the rest of the mattress. Like standard pillow-tops, Euro-tops can be anywhere between 2 and 4 inches thick. They typically feature denser materials instead of the extra-plush fill of a standard pillow-top.

Because they don’t have the gap around the perimeter, Euro-top mattresses commonly have better edge support than standard pillow-top mattresses They also tend to be more durable and made of better-quality materials. All of these factors mean that Euro-top mattresses are usually more expensive than standard pillow-top mattresses.

Pillow-top Euro-top
Construction Separate from mattress Sewn into mattress
Thickness 2″ to 4″ 2″ to 4″
Materials Memory foam, latex, polyfoam, silk, cotton, fiberfill, wool Memory foam, latex, polyfoam, fiberfill, wool
Feel Pillowy or cloudlike Dense
Durability Low to moderate Moderate to high

How to Choose a Pillow-Top Mattress

There’s a wealth of pillow-top options on the market, so it’s important to know what you value in your mattress before you set out to buy a new one. Do you prefer a standard pillow-top or a Euro-top? Memory foam, latex, or another type of fill? Hybrid or innerspring mattress?

In addition to the pillow-top itself, it’s also important to consider the benefits of the mattress as a whole. This means weighing edge support, temperature neutrality, material quality, and other factors.

What to Look For in a Pillow-Top Mattress

Buying a new mattress can be confusing. There’s a wide variety of models on the market, and mattress companies often use fancy marketing terms or mattress jargon that can make it difficult to understand how a mattress actually performs.

Luckily, the rise in online mattress companies has also transferred more power to the consumer. Online mattress companies are often more transparent about what’s inside their mattresses, and it’s easier than ever before to compare and contrast different models.

These are the most important things to consider when buying a new mattress.

  • Price: Pillow-top innersprings are often considered a cheap mattress option when compared to hybrid models, which makes them an attractive choice for people who want pressure relief on a budget. Due to their more sophisticated construction and higher-quality materials, Euro-top mattresses will set you back more. You can save some money by buying a smaller size like a full mattress, but most sizes under queen tend to be insufficient for those with a co-sleeper.
  • Sleeping Position: Sleepers interact differently with the layers of a mattress depending on whether they sleep on their side, back, stomach, or a combination of the three. Pillow-top mattresses are usually best for back and side sleepers due to their plush, conforming feel.
  • Mattress Type: The vast majority of pillow-top mattresses are either innerspring or hybrid models. Both have an innerspring support core, but hybrids feature a thicker comfort layer section in addition to the pillow-top.
  • Contouring: Most pillow-tops are designed to conform to the sleeper’s body, forming a cradle that relieves pressure points. The thicker the pillow-top, the more cushioning it will be able to provide before the sleeper starts to interact with the layers below.
  • Quality Materials: The quality of a pillow-top mattress will vary greatly depending on the materials used in the pillow-top. Poor-quality foams or fiberfill may start to break down after just a few years, while latex and higher-quality foams will be more durable.
  • Firmness Level: The aim of a pillow-top is usually to soften the feel of a mattress, so most pillow-top mattresses are fairly plush. If we describe firmness on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the firmest, the average pillow-top mattress might fall around a 5. This firmness level is generally best-suited to side sleepers and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.
  • Edge Support: While built-in Euro-tops often boast strong edge support, this is a virtue that is frequently lacking in standard pillow-top mattresses. Since the pillow-top is sewn on top of the comfort layers and often not attached around the perimeter, pillow-top mattresses can compress considerably when pressure is put on the edges. This is inconvenient when getting in and out of bed, and may reduce the usable surface area when sharing the bed with a partner.
  • Temperature Regulation: Temperature regulation with a pillow-top mattress is a double-edged sword that depends on the build and materials of the mattress. Memory foam pillow-tops can get uncomfortably warm, particularly in beds that conform closely to the sleeper and don’t leave room for heat to escape. On the other hand, pillow-tops made of more breathable materials like latex or cotton can form a barrier between the sleeper and the rest of the mattress, allowing room for airflow and preventing heat retention.
  • Noise: Most pillow-tops are made of materials that make little to no noise when bearing weight. Since they absorb much of the movement from a sleeper, they can also help reduce noise in the coil layer.
  • Pressure Relief: The vast majority of pillow-tops are designed to add pressure relief to a mattress that might otherwise cause sore spots where heavier parts of the body dig into the mattress. Memory foam pillow-tops contour closely to alleviate these pressure points, and even cotton, silk, wool, or polyfoam models will feel soft and welcoming.

Benefits of Pressure Relief

In the video below, we’ll discuss why pressure relief is an important mattress quality, ways to determine how well a mattress alleviates pressure, and which types of mattresses generally perform well for pressure relief.

Pros and Cons of a Pillow-Top Mattress

Pillow-top mattresses are beloved for their luxurious, conforming feel, but some sleepers may find they lack support. Below are some pros and cons of pillow-top mattresses.

Pros Cons
  • Added comfort: Pillow-tops are typically made of plush materials that enhance the feel of a mattress by supplying extra contouring and pressure relief.
  • Affordability: Many pillow-tops use fiberfill or other materials that don’t require the investment of a full-on luxury mattress.
  • Motion Isolation: Due to their close conforming, practically all pillow-tops absorb motion to some extent, cutting down on disruptions to a sleeping partner.
  • Elegance: Pillow-top mattresses have a high profile and a classic look.
  • Responsiveness: Latex pillow-tops can give the mattress a more responsive surface that is desirable for sex and makes it easier to switch sleeping positions.
  • Temperature Regulation: In hybrid mattresses, pillow-tops made from breathable materials such as cotton, down, or latex can supply an extra layer for heat dispersion instead of allowing body heat to get trapped in the comfort layers.
  • Below-Average Durability: Pillow-tops are sometimes made with materials of inferior quality, such as fiberfill or low-density memory foam, that are prone to developing permanent body impressions after some time.
  • Heat Retention: Adding a pillow-top to an innerspring bed will invariably cause it to retain more heat, especially if it’s made from memory foam or another heat-retaining, close-conforming material.
  • Insufficient Support: The extra few inches of comfort layers may interfere with proper spinal alignment in some sleepers, especially stomach sleepers and those who weigh more than 230 pounds.
  • Deep-Pocket Sheets: Virtually all pillow-top mattresses have a higher-than-average profile that may require deep-pocket sheets, which will mean investing in new linens along with your new mattress.

What Types of Mattresses Feature a Pillow-Top?

Pillow-tops are found almost exclusively on innerspring and hybrid mattresses. The primary purpose of a pillow-top is to add more cushioning to a mattress with relatively thin comfort layers. Latex and memory foam mattresses already succeed in providing contouring pressure relief, so adding a pillow-top would usually be redundant. While innerspring and hybrid mattresses both have a coil support core, they differ slightly in their build.

Hybrid

Definition: Hybrid mattresses are built with a significant comfort layer section over an innerspring support core, which is usually made with pocketed coils. The most common comfort layers found in a hybrid mattress are memory foam, polyfoam, latex, or a blend of these.
Balanced Comfort. Hybrids combine the support, bounce, and cooling properties of innersprings with the conforming pressure relief of foam or latex. Pillow-top hybrids take this last part up a notch, offering increased comfort while still retaining the benefits of the coils.

Innerspring

Definition: Innerspring mattresses are almost entirely composed of coils. Although some innerspring mattresses have a thin layer of foam or fiberfill on top, the feel of the bed is principally determined by the springs.
Affordable. Innersprings are one of the most budget-friendly types of mattresses, which is why many people turn to this option for a pillow-top mattress that supplies a high-end feel without breaking the bank.

Last Things to Consider With a Pillow-Top Mattress

Before buying a new mattress, there are a few more things to take into account.

Durability

The materials used to make a pillow-top are usually less durable than those found in the rest of the mattress. Memory foam, fiberfill, and similar options can develop permanent body indentations after just a few years, which unfortunately shortens the lifespan of the mattress as a whole. For a more robust option, consider pillow-tops made of latex or a higher-density memory foam.

Sleep Trial Period

Pillow-top mattresses provide immediate cushioning that works well in showrooms, giving the mattress a luxurious and inviting feel when you first lie down. However, we recommend choosing a mattress with a generous sleep trial and sleeping on it for at least 30 nights to see how the mattress holds up. Allowing your body this time to adjust can give you a better idea of whether the mattress will be supportive enough in the long run.

Conforming Abilities

Pillow-tops add plushness to an otherwise firm mattress, but they’re no substitute for the deep cradle of a memory foam mattress. If you’re the type of sleeper who needs deep pressure relief, whether because of chronic pain, body type, or another reason, then you might find that a pillow-top does not provide a deep enough “hug” to align the spine and release pressure points.

Firmness

Although most pillow-tops are designed to reduce the firmness level of a mattress, firm pillow-tops do exist. That said, due to the nature of the materials used, even firm pillow-tops will eventually wear out and may become more plush. For this reason, people seeking a harder surface would do better to buy a mattress that is specifically engineered to be firm, such as a latex mattress.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are pillow-top mattresses good?

    Whether or not a pillow-top mattress is right for you depends entirely on your personal preferences. Pillow-top mattresses tend to feel plusher when you first get into bed, and models cushioned with adaptive foam layers can contour closely and provide good overall pressure relief, especially for side and back sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds.

    Heavier individuals, as well as stomach sleepers, may sink more and feel less comfortable by comparison. Another thing to keep in mind is that a pillow-top can add several inches to the overall height. If you prefer mattresses with lower profiles or have a hard time getting in and out of bed, then a pillow-top may not be right for you.

  • What are the pros and cons of a pillow-top mattress?

    Pillow-top mattresses often contour closely due to their softer surface materials, resulting in decent pressure relief as well as better alignment for side sleepers. These mattresses often excel at motion isolation too, even if they contain coil layers. On the other hand, beds with pillow-top layers typically have below-average durability due to their softer surface materials. They also sleep noticeably warmer and emit more initial off-gassing odor than their non-pillow-top counterparts.

  • How long will pillow-top mattresses last?

    The expected lifespan of any mattress depends on the quality of its materials and overall construction. That said, pillow-top mattresses tend to deteriorate faster than non-pillow-top models because they contain softer foams near the surface. As these foams lose shape, the mattress will feel uneven in places and you may not receive enough support. Pillow-tops with firmer comfort layer materials can last longer – but even then, owners may notice indentations or impressions within 5 years of continuous use, if not sooner.

Still have questions?

Our product experts have extensive experience testing just about every sleep product on the market. Send an email to [email protected] or call us at (877) 672-8966 with your questions and we’ll help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.