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Sleeping on a pillow-top mattress is sometimes described as sleeping on a cloud. Pillow-top mattresses feature a plush layer of cushioning material that adds an extra touch of luxury as you first lie down. They’re a happy medium for people who like the feel of a traditional innerspring bed but want a plusher surface.
Pillow-top mattresses are often inexpensive compared to other mattress models. Made of wide-ranging materials from memory foam to latex to fiberfill, pillow-tops change the firmness level and add contouring to the mattress. In addition to adding pressure relief or bounce, they can also help isolate motion transfer for people who share the bed.
If you’re in the market for a new pillow-top mattress, look no further. We’ll share our top picks for the best pillow-top and Euro-top mattresses out there, as well as provide advice on how to choose the ideal model depending on your needs.
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Helix has made a name for itself with its sleep quiz, which matches shoppers to the Helix mattress that’s best suited to them. The 14-inch Midnight Luxe is a hybrid mattress designed for side sleepers, with thick memory foam and polyfoam comfort layers that cushion the shoulders and hips. We rate it as a medium firm, or a 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale.
The company’s Luxe mattresses are 2 inches taller than their counterparts and feature a memory foam pillow-top with a Tencel cover. 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.
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.
Helix Luxe mattresses are CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, meaning they’re free of harmful substances. 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.
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The flagship mattress by WinkBeds has a Euro-style pillow-top with a breathable Tencel cover. This is quilted with several layers of cooling gel-infused foam. Beneath the pillow-top, micro-coils and a lumbar pad provide targeted spinal support. The pocketed coil base layer also has added lumbar support, as well as a reinforced perimeter that adds phenomenal edge support. Thanks to its dual-coil design, the mattress has more than enough room for airflow to prevent heat build-up.
The WinkBed comes in four firmness options designed to appeal to virtually all sleeper types. The medium soft (4), medium firm (6), firm (7), and firm (8) models each have a slightly different construction, with the Plus swapping out micro-coils for latex to give more support to people who weigh more than 300 pounds.
This robust hybrid mattress has a responsive surface ideal for sex or for combination sleepers. It also isolates motion to a significant extent, especially in the medium soft model. These factors make the bed an attractive choice for couples.
WinkBeds stands by its mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty. Orders ship free in the U.S.
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The DreamCloud hybrid mattress features multiple layers of memory foam and polyfoam over a base of individually-wrapped coils. The mattress has a tight top made with a layer of plush polyfoam quilted into a cashmere poly-blend cover. The mattress measures 14 inches tall in total, which is significantly higher than the average mattress and leaves ample room for cushioning.
The DreamCloud’s firmness level is rated as a medium firm, or 6 out of 10 on the firmness scale. The foam layers under the cover conform to the body’s curves, but the mattress gets progressively firmer and the individually-wrapped coils ensure a stable foundation that keeps the spine on an even plane. Higher-gauge coils reinforce the edges, reducing sinkage despite the thick comfort layer section.
DreamCloud has great motion isolation and a bouncy surface that couples will love for sex. The mattress also sleeps cool, thanks to the moisture-wicking cashmere cover and the hybrid design that allows heat to dissipate through the coils.
DreamCloud offers a 365-night sleep trial, allowing plenty of time to test out the mattress in all four seasons before committing to the purchase. The mattress ships free to the contiguous U.S. and is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Best for Side Sleepers
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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.
A pillow-top containing layers of memory foam and adaptive polyfoam allows the Saatva to contour more closely than the average innerspring. The mattress also features a pocketed microcoil transitional layer and a bonnell coil support core. This 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 180-night sleep trial, one of the longest in the mattress industry, and a 15-year warranty for the mattress.
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The Beautyrest Black is a quintessential luxury pillow-top mattress. This high-profile model is constructed with at least four foam layers that provide close body-contouring and pressure relief. The mattress has a choice between medium soft (4) or medium firm (6) feel, but its sturdy pocketed coil system delivers edge-to-edge support and prevents excessive sinkage for people who weigh up to 230 pounds.
Beautyrest offers a couple of customization options based on your ideal levels of conforming and temperature control. The “Cooling Upgrade” includes a layer of memory foam infused with carbon fibers intended to draw heat away from your body and help the surface stay cool. The “Cooling + Comfort” upgrade adds an additional memory foam layer for even deeper contouring, which can be particularly helpful for side sleepers who experience pressure points in the shoulders, lower back, or hips.
Standard Beautyrest Black models measure 13-13.5 inches thick. With the Cooling + Comfort upgrade, the profile increases to 15 inches. Either height should be suitable for people who prefer thicker mattresses.
Although this mattress has a fairly high price-point, Beautyrest offsets your up-front costs a bit by providing free White Glove delivery for all orders, including in-home assembly and old mattress removal. The mattress also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
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.
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.
|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|
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 or Euro pillow-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Before buying a new mattress, there are a few more things to take into account.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 five years of continuous use, if not sooner.
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