5 Best Pillow Top Mattresses and How to Choose the Right One for You

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/ May 10, 2021
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Thinking about buying a new mattress? One of the most popular options you can choose is a pillow top mattress.

A pillow top mattress features an extra layer of padding on the top surface of the mattress for maximum comfort. This padding can be made from memory foam, latex, cotton, wool, or other materials, and it's usually found on top of a traditional innerspring mattress. (Keep in mind that most bed in a box mattresses, which are generally made solely of foam, don't have pillow tops.) 

The extra padding provided by a pillow top mattress does a great job of relieving pressure, most notably on the hips and shoulders. This is key for side sleepers, who often experience pain in these two areas.

What's more, the extra padding delivers additional contouring and support, which can help mitigate back pain—an issue that up to 80% of people deal with at some point in their lives, according to research published in the journal Neurologic Clinics

So, what's the best pillow top mattress for you? Below, we review six of the most sought-after pillow top mattresses on the market to help make your decision easier. 

We also explain the differences between Euro tops and pillow tops and share the most important features to look for in a pillow top mattress, like firmness, pressure relief, and temperature regulation. 

Finally, we answer your most commonly asked questions about pillow tops, including how a pillow top mattress compares to a memory foam mattress and how long you can expect a pillow top mattress to last. 

Mattresses reviewed in this guide

We reviewed the following pillow top mattresses, in no particular order: 

  • Saatva Classic
  • Saatva HD
  • Simmons Beautyrest Black
  • Stearns & Foster Estate
  • Helix Midnight Luxe

How we reviewed the best pillow top mattresses

For each mattress, we compared the following objective criteria: mattress type, mattress height, available firmness options, available mattress sizes, home trial length, warranty length, and price. We also provided detailed information about the layers, materials, and components inside each mattress and what they do. Plus, we noted any third-party certifications that show a mattress adheres to health and safety standards. 

Why you can trust our reviews

We've spent more than a decade developing our line of mattresses, so we have a deep understanding of what makes a quality product. Because of our vast mattress industry expertise, we were able to do an objective comparison of the best pillow top mattresses. 

In fact, we approached the review process much as a customer would. We went to each mattress brand's website and looked closely at layer diagrams, mattress specifications, and customer reviews. We spent hours poring over everything we could find about each mattress to put together this comprehensive, unbiased guide.

The bottom line: Our goal has always been to help customers get the best sleep possible, no matter which mattress brand they choose. By presenting the following information to you, free of opinion, we hope to make shopping for your next mattress as easy as possible. 

See how the best pillow top mattresses compare:

Saatva ClassicSaatva HDSimmons Beautyrest BlackStearns & Foster Estate RockwellHelix Midnight Luxe
Mattress typeInnerspringInnerspringInnerspringInnerspringInnerspring
Height11.5” or 14.5”15.5”15”15”14”
Firmness optionsPlush soft, luxury firm (medium firm), firmMedium firmMedium firmPlush, firmMedium firm
Available sizesTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, Cal kingTwin, twin XL, full, queen, king, split king, Cal kingTwin XL, full, queen, king, Cal kingTwin XL, full, queen, king, split king, Cal king, split Cal kingTwin, twin XL, full queen, king, Cal king
Home trial180 nights180 nights100 nightsVaries by retailer100 nights
Warranty15 years20 years10 years10 years15 years
Price (queen)$1,499$2,599$3,299$2,199$1,949
DeliveryFree white glove deliveryFree white glove deliveryFree white glove deliveryVaries by retailerFree shipping (mattress comes in a box)
Who it’s best for
  • Side, back, and stomach sleepers
  • Couples with different firmness preferences
  • People with back pain
  • People weighing between 300-500 pounds
  • Heavier couples
  • Side sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who prefer a softer mattress
  • Side, back, or stomach sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Couples
  • Side sleepers
  • Couples with different firmness preferences
  • People who move around in their sleep
Key features
  • Euro top provides pressure relief where you need it most
  • Patented spinal zone technology encourages healthy spinal alignment
  • Dual-coil base is durable, responsive, and promotes easy airflow
  • Euro top adds a layer of cushioning for comfort
  • 5-zone firm Talalay latex layer delivers targeted lumbar support
  • High-durability coil base is 25% stronger than industry standard
  • Standard pillow top provides extra contouring for side sleepers
  • Carbon-infused memory foam ensures cool sleep
  • Individually wrapped coil base reduces motion transfer
  • Standard pillow top adds extra layer of cushioning
  • Tencel cover wicks away moisture
  • Coil-in-coil base offers extra support in middle of mattress
  • Standard pillow top provides additional pressure relief
  • Tencel cover wicks away moisture
  • Memory foam and polyfoam layers contour and cushion

Saatva Classic

saatva classic pillow top mattress

The Saatva Classic is a traditional innerspring mattress with a 3-inch Euro pillow top. 

Pillow top and mattress cover

The pillow top consists of a soft, breathable, organic cotton cover, plant-based natural thistle flame retardant, and a proprietary blend of polyurethane comfort foams, all of which are quilted together. 

The entire mattress is covered with 100% organic cotton, which is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and finished with Saatva’s exclusive Guardin botanical antimicrobial treatment. Guardin contains a proprietary blend of natural essential oils and minerals that have antimicrobial properties.

On the surface of the mattress is the brand’s spinal quilting design, part of its lumbar zone technology. This tighter stitching in the middle of the mattress offers more support and body impression resistance in the center third. 

Mattress layers 

Inside the Saatva Classic, you’ll find the dual-coil innerspring base. The upper layer of coils is individually wrapped and made of 14.5-gauge recycled steel. These coils respond and contour to your body to minimize motion transfer. The bottom layer of support coils is made of 13-gauge recycled steel for durability. 

diagram showing layers inside saatva classic innerspring mattress

The mattress also contains Saatva’s patented spinal zone active wire, as well as CertiPUR-US certified high-density memory foam, in the center of the mattress. These two work together to give you back support and pressure relief in the middle of the mattress, where most of your body weight lies. 

Finally, high-density foam rails encase the perimeter of the mattress for firm edge support. This ensures the mattress won’t sag over time and makes it easier to get in and out of bed. 

Firmness options

The Saatva Classic is available in three firmness options. Saatva uses a scale of 1-10 to describe its firmness levels, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. 

Plush Soft (3) has extra padding in the pillow top and is ideal for people who like a soft, cushiony feel, lighter-weight people who often find mattresses to be too firm, and side sleepers who like extra contouring. 

Luxury Firm (5-7) is Saatva’s bestselling option and provides a balance of comfort and uplifting support. It’s ideal for couples who can’t agree on a firmness level and supports every range of sleep style, from side to back to stomach. 

Firm (8) is designed to feel like you’re lying on top of the mattress rather than sinking in. It has firmer foams and is ideal for people who know they want a very firm mattress, back and stomach sleepers, and heavier body types. 

Mattress sizes and height

The Saatva Classic is available in all standard mattress sizes as well as split king. It comes in two heights, depending on your personal preference: 11.5 inches and 14.5 inches. Both mattress heights are compatible with most foundations, however, only the 11.5-inch can be paired with an adjustable base. 

Delivery, home trial, and warranty

All Saatva mattresses come with free white glove delivery, setup, and old mattress removal and a 180-night home trial. If you’re not satisfied with your mattress, you can return or exchange it during the trial period for a $99 transportation fee. 

The Saatva Classic comes with a 15-year non-prorated warranty. If the mattress is deemed defective during the first two years, Saatva will replace it with a new mattress free of charge. After that, they’ll repair and cover the mattress for a $99 transportation fee. 

Saatva HD

saatva hd, the best mattress for heavy people

The Saatva HD is a heavy duty mattress with a 3-inch Euro pillow top. It’s a hybrid innerspring designed specifically for people weighing between 300 and 500 pounds. 

Pillow top and mattress cover

The pillow top features a soft, breathable organic cotton cover, plant-based natural thistle flame retardant, and a proprietary blend of polyurethane comfort foams, all of which are quilted together. 

The entire mattress is covered with 100% organic cotton. The cotton cover is certified by GOTS and finished with Saatva’s exclusive Guardin botanical antimicrobial treatment. Guardin is formulated with a proprietary blend of natural essential oils and minerals that have antimicrobial properties. 

The entire mattress is also hand-tufted. Hand-tufting is a method of securing the top layer to the layers underneath it. The process involves compressing the materials in the mattress and inserting a string from top to bottom to keep the layers in place and prevent shifting. This can help prevent sagging. 

Mattress layers

Inside the Saatva HD, you’ll find a high-durability coil base. It’s made with 12.5-gauge recycled steel coils, which are 25% stronger than the industry standard. These coils are threaded with a thinner, 17-gauge helical wire that helps reduce motion transfer. Saatva’s patented spinal zone active wire adds support in the center third of the mattress.

diagram showing the layers inside the saatva hd heavy-duty mattress

On top of the innerspring base are contouring comfort layers made up of a combination of memory foam and support foams. These foams contour and cushion for pressure relief on sensitive joints. The foams are CertiPUR-US certified. 

The contouring comfort layers are topped with a 5-zone firm Talalay latex layer, which provides targeted support in the lumbar zone and under shoulders and hips. The latex feels buoyant and responsive, resists body impressions, and sleeps cool. It’s also Cradle to Cradle GOLD, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, ECO Institut, and Rainforest Alliance certified. 

High-density foam rails encase the perimeter of the mattress for firm edge support. This helps prevent sagging and makes it easier to get in and out of bed. 

Firmness options

The mattress comes in one firmness level to accommodate a range of sleep positions. It’s designed to feel like a medium firm to people weighing between 300 and 500 pounds. 

Mattress sizes and height

The Saatva HD is available in all standard mattress sizes as well as split king. It’s 15.5 inches tall and can’t be paired with an adjustable base. Saatva recommends pairing this mattress with its HD foundation, which is available in two heights: 4.75 inches and 8.75 inches. 

Delivery, home trial, and warranty 

All Saatva mattresses come with free white glove delivery, setup, and old mattress removal and a 180-night home trial. If you’re not satisfied with your mattress, you can return or exchange it during the trial period for a $99 transportation fee. 

The Saatva HD comes with a 20-year non-prorated warranty. If the mattress is deemed defective during the first two years, Saatva will replace it with a new mattress free of charge. After that, they’ll repair and cover the mattress for a $99 transportation fee. 

Simmons Beautyrest Black

simmons beautyrest black pillow top mattress

The Simmons Beautyrest Black is a traditional innerspring mattress. It has an optional 2-inch pillow top add-on that costs between $700-$1,000, depending on the mattress size you choose. 

Pillow top and mattress cover

The optional pillow top from Simmons is called the Cooling + Comfort Upgrade. This upgrade adds a plush, standard pillow top along with carbon-infused memory foam to the mattress. This results in a softer feel that’s ideal for side sleepers or people who prefer a softer sleep surface. 

Simmons Beautyrest Black’s cover is made from a fabric containing cooling technology, which the brand calls BlackICE™ 4.0. Simmons doesn’t disclose the materials in the mattress cover. 

Mattress layers

Inside the Simmons Beautyrest Black with Cooling + Comfort Upgrade, you’ll find a single layer of coils encased in a ventilated foam edge. Beautyrest’s Advanced Pocketed Coil™ technology uses three strands of wire twisted to form coils that are wrapped in individual fabric pouches. The coil base features alternating rows of coils of different thicknesses, 17-gauge and 14.75-gauge. 

diagram showing layers inside simmons beautyrest black pillow top mattress

On top of the coil base are multiple comfort layers: .5-inch plush polyfoam, 1-inch medium polyfoam, .5-inch gel-infused memory foam, .5-inch transitional polyfoam, and 2-inch GelTouch® memory foam. 

Finally, the mattress has a reinforced perimeter of high-density foam rails. This type of edge support helps prevent sagging and makes it easier to get in and out of bed. 

Firmness options

The mattress comes in one firmness level, a medium firm. The addition of the pillow top makes the mattress feel slightly softer. This makes it ideal for side sleepers or people who prefer the feel of a softer mattress. 

Mattress sizes and height

The Simmons Beautyrest Black is available in standard mattress sizes ranging from twin XL to California king. It’s 15 inches tall and is compatible with most foundations, frames, and adjustable bases. 

Delivery, home trial, and warranty 

All Simmons mattresses purchased through the brand’s website come with free delivery white glove delivery, setup, and removal of your old mattress as well as a 100-night home trial. If you’re not satisfied with your mattress, you can return or exchange it for free. If purchasing the mattress through another retailer, costs may vary. 

The Simmons Beautyrest Black comes with a 10-year limited warranty. The warranty is only valid if you buy the mattress directly from an authorized Simmons Bedding Company dealer. If the mattress is deemed defective, Simmons will replace it free of charge, but you’re responsible for fees associated with transportation, inspection, and removal of the mattress (except in California). 

Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell

stearns & foster estate rockwell innerspring mattress with pillow top

The Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell is a traditional innerspring mattress with a 2-inch standard pillow top.

Pillow top and mattress cover

The pillow top consists of gel-infused polyurethane foams for a dense feel and cool sleep. The cover is made from Tencel, the brand name for lyocell. Tencel is a sustainable fiber made from wood pulp. It wicks away moisture and regulates temperature. 

Mattress layers

Inside the Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell, you’ll find a single-layer innerspring base. The innerspring base features the brand’s IntelliCoil design. The base consists of longer outer coils that conform to your body and conical inner coils for extra support in the middle of the mattress. The coils are individually wrapped to reduce motion transfer. Stearns & Foster doesn’t disclose coil gauge. 

diagram showing the layers inside stearns & foster estate rockwell innerspring mattress

On top of the innerspring base is a layer of Indulge memory foam, made by Tempur-Pedic. The memory foam contours to your body to help relieve pressure. Stearns & Foster doesn’t disclose details of its memory foam. 

Finally, the mattress has PrecisionEdge + AirVent edge support. The PrecisionEdge system consists of a border of ventilated coils surrounding the mattress for firmer edge support. The air vents deliver cooler sleep. 

Firmness options

The pillow top version of the mattress comes in two firmness levels, plush and firm. Plush is ideal for side sleepers, while firm is better for back or stomach sleepers. 

Mattress sizes and height

The Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell is available in standard mattress sizes ranging from twin XL to California king. It’s 15” tall and compatible with most foundations, frames, and adjustable bases. 

Delivery, home trial, and warranty 

Stearns & Fosters mattresses are available at retail stores, including Mattress Firm and Macy’s. Delivery fees vary by retailer. At Mattress Firm, for example, you can get free no-contact delivery, which means they’ll leave the mattress at your door. For $99.99, you can get in-home setup of your new Stearns & Fosters mattress and removal of your old mattress. For $149.99, you can get in-home setup of an adjustable base.

Home trial policies also vary by retailer. If you buy a Stearns & Fosters from Mattress Firm, for example, you get a 120-night home trial. If you’re not satisfied with your mattress, you can return or exchange it for a $99.99 delivery fee. 

The Stearns & Fosters Estate Rockwell comes with a 10-year limited warranty. The warranty is only valid if you buy the mattress directly from an authorized Stearns & Fosters retailer. 

To find out what kind of coverage you have in your warranty, look at the warranty code on the law tag of the mattress. If the code is 10/10, that means Stearns & Fosters will repair or replace the mattress free of charge during those 10 years, but you’re responsible for fees associated with transportation and inspection. 

If the code is 5/10, that means Stearns & Fosters will repair or replace the mattress free of charge for the first five years and charge you a deductible for the remaining five years, in addition to any fees associated with transportation and inspection. 

To calculate your warranty deductible, take the current manufacturer’s suggested retail price and multiply it by the number to the right of the / mark on the warranty code. 

Helix Midnight Luxe 

helix midnight luxe innerspring mattress with pillow top

The Helix Midnight Luxe is a bed-in-a-box innerspring mattress with a 2-inch standard pillow top.

Pillow top and mattress cover

The pillow top features a breathable Tencel cover and a blend of polyfoams, all of which are quilted together. The foams in the pillow top have an indentation force deflection (IFD) of 10. IFD is a method for testing firmness. The higher the number, the firmer the foam.  

Tencel is the brand name for lyocell. It’s a sustainable material made from wood pulp and is known for its ability to wick away moisture and keep you cool. 

Mattress layers 

Inside the Helix Midnight Luxe, you’ll find a base layer of DuraDense foam for added support and durability. The foam has an IFD of 55. 

This is topped with a single-layer, 8-inch innerspring base. The coils are arranged in zones, with a softer feel under your shoulders and a firmer feel under your hips. This helps to support neutral spinal alignment and provide pressure relief. The coils are individually wrapped to help cut down on motion transfer. 

diagram showing the layers inside helix midnight luxe innerspring mattress

Helix doesn’t disclose coil gauge. However, for a mattress to be compressed into a box, coils have to be thin and flexible. 

On top of the innerspring base is a transition layer made of polyfoam. The transition layer has a medium IFD. The transition layer is topped with a support layer made of pressure-relieving gel visco foam. The gel visco foam has an IFD of 10 and a foam density of 2.5 per cubic foot (PCF). The higher the density, the more durable the mattress.  

On top of the gel visco foam layer is a layer of Memory Plus Foam, which contours and cushions. This foam has a density of 2.5 PCF, but IFD varies. 

All of Helix’s mattresses are certified by OEKO-TEX to be free of harmful chemicals. Their foams are also CertiPUR-US certified. Some off-gassing may occur when you first open the mattress, but it should dissipate within 24 hours. 

Firmness options

The mattress comes in one firmness level, a medium firm. Helix uses a scale of 1-10 to describe its firmness levels, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the firmest. The Midnight Luxe mattress is between a 4-7. 

It accommodates a variety of sleep styles, but the plushness of the pillow top makes it particularly comfortable for side sleepers. It’s also ideal for couples who have different firmness preferences. 

Mattress sizes and height

The Helix Midnight Luxe is available in standard mattress sizes ranging from twin to California king. It’s 14” tall and compatible with most foundations, frames, and adjustable bases. 

Delivery, home trial, and warranty 

All Helix mattresses come with free shipping. The mattress comes compressed and rolled in the shipping box, meaning you’re responsible for setup and removal of your old mattress. Keep in mind that a queen-size Helix mattress weighs between 90-100 pounds. Helix includes setup instructions with each order. 

You can also pay for in-home delivery, which costs $149 for the first item or $199 for multiple items. Removal of your old mattress is a $75 flat fee on top of the in-home delivery cost. 

The Helix Midnight Luxe comes with a 100-night home trial. You must keep the mattress for 30 days before you can return or exchange it. If after the first 30 days you decide to return or exchange the mattress, the company will arrange a mattress pickup and issue you a full refund.

The mattress comes with a 15-year limited warranty. If the mattress is deemed defective during that time, Helix will replace or repair the mattress for free, but you’ll be responsible for any fees associated with shipping or transportation of the mattress. Helix will reimburse you up to $100 for shipping costs if the mattress is deemed defective. 

Choosing your next pillow top mattress

Before buying a pillow top mattress, here are some additional facts you should know.

Difference between Euro top, pillow top covers, and pillow top mattresses

Did you know there are different kinds of pillow tops? Brush up on these pillow top terms to learn the differences between each one.

  • Pillow top mattress: A pillow top is an extra layer of cushioning on the top surface of a mattress, usually an innerspring mattress. On a conventional pillow top mattress, the pillow top is sewn onto the surface of the mattress, with a gap between the pillow top and the mattress itself. 
  • Euro top: A Euro top, also known as a Euro pillow top, is a variation on the standard pillow top. In a Euro top mattress, the padding is underneath the top cover and is flush with mattress edges. That means it doesn't look like an extra layer sitting on top of the mattress. Euro tops have a neater look than pillow tops and are generally more durable. They also won't shift or lose shape the way a conventional pillow top can because they're stitched underneath the cover.
  • Pillow top cover: A pillow top cover is essentially a mattress pad. It's something you can put on top of your existing mattress for added comfort without having to buy a completely new mattress. A quality mattress pad usually clocks in around $150-$200 for a queen size.

See this comparison chart for more on how standard pillow tops and Euro tops stack up against each other: 

Comparison

Pillow top

Euro top

Construction

Sewn onto surface of mattress

Sewn underneath surface of mattress

Thickness

2-4 inches

2-4 inches

Materials

Memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, or fiberfill

Memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, or fiberfill

Appearance

Gap between pillow top and mattress

Flush with edges of mattress; doesn’t look like an extra layer sitting on top

Feel

Cushiony and contouring; can be soft or firm

Cushiony and contouring; can be soft or firm

Durability

Prone to sagging; may wear out more quickly than other types of mattresses

More durable than standard pillow top due to way it’s constructed

What to look for in a pillow top mattress

When looking at a pillow top mattress, here's what to keep in mind:

  • Mattress type: Most pillow top mattresses are of the innerspring variety, although sometimes you'll find a pillow top on a hybrid mattress as well. A hybrid mattress consists of an innerspring base and a thick upper comfort layer made of foam. An innerspring or hybrid mattress with a pillow top will feel responsive, with added cushioning and contouring from the padding and any other comfort layers in the mattress. 
  • Firmness level: Pillow top mattresses aren't necessarily softer than other types of beds. You can find pillow top mattresses in a variety of firmness levels, ranging from soft to firm. Which one is right for you depends on your sleep position. Choose a soft pillow top mattress if you're a side sleeper, medium firm pillow top mattress if you're a back sleeper, or firm pillow top mattress if you're a stomach sleeper. 
  • Material quality: The higher-quality the materials used to make a pillow top mattress, the longer it'll last. For starters, make sure the pillow top is between 2-4 inches. Anything thinner than that will break down easily. As for the materials inside the pillow top, high-quality polyfoam, memory foam, and latex will last longer than low-quality foams or fiberfill. 
  • Pressure relief: One of the goals of a pillow top is to provide pressure relief for areas that experience it the most, like hips and shoulders. Memory foam does a particularly good job at relieving pressure, so if you deal with aches and pains regularly, consider a memory foam pillow top. 
  • Motion transfer: While innerspring mattresses are great for many reasons, one downside is they don't do much to minimize movement—that means you're likely to feel your partner tossing and turning during the night. A pillow top, especially one made out of memory foam, can help cut down on motion transfer, making it an excellent option for couples. 
  • Temperature regulation: Pillow top mattresses typically sleep cool, thanks to the airflow in the innerspring base. If you're someone who sleeps hot, though, you may want to avoid a memory foam pillow top since memory foam tends to trap heat. Instead, look for a pillow top featuring more breathable materials, like cotton and latex. 
  • Home trial period: Just like with any other type of mattress, breaking in a pillow top mattress takes time. That's why it's important to consider the home trial period before buying anything new. Most home trials range from 90 to 180 nights, which should give you enough time to decide whether a pillow top mattress is right for you. 
  • Price: Pillow top mattresses are generally one of the more affordable mattress types. However, keep in mind that cheaper, lower-quality pillow top mattresses won't last as long. High-quality Euro top mattresses are the most expensive type of pillow top mattress and will set you back more—but they'll also last longer. A good pillow top mattress starts at around $1,000 for a queen.

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

Like every type of mattress, a pillow top mattress has its benefits and drawbacks.

Pros of a pillow top mattress

Cons of a pillow top mattress

Provides added cushioning and pressure relief

Low-quality pillow tops are prone to sagging

Helps reduce motion transfer

Standard pillow tops may shift around

Euro tops, in particular, have a neat, clean look

 Thick pillow tops may require special bedding

One of the most affordable types of mattresses

Could potentially trap heat

Common pillow top questions

What is a pillow top made of—and is a pillow top mattress a good choice? We're answering your most commonly asked questions to help you find the best pillow top mattress for you. 

What makes it a pillow top?

A pillow top is an extra layer of cushioning on the top surface of the mattress. It can be made from any number of materials, including polyfoam, memory foam, latex foam, fiberfill, wool, or gel. 

A conventional pillow top is sewn onto the top surface of the mattress, with a gap between the pillow top and the mattress itself. Meanwhile, a Euro top, a variation on the standard pillow top, has the padding underneath the top cover and is flush with the edges of the mattress.

You'll most often find a pillow top on an innerspring mattress, but some memory foam and latex mattresses have pillow tops too. 

Are pillow top mattresses good?

A pillow top mattress is a good option for many people. It does an excellent job of relieving pressure on the hips and shoulders, making it ideal for side sleepers who often experience pain in these areas. 

Plus, a pillow top mattress adds extra contouring and support, which means it can help alleviate back pain. The extra contouring means a pillow top mattress is also a comfortable option for back sleepers. 

A pillow top mattress—especially one with a memory foam pillow top—also does a good job of cutting back on motion transfer. That makes it a solid selection for couples, particularly when one or both of you moves around a lot while you sleep.  

On the other hand, a pillow top mattress might not be right for you if you weigh more than 230 pounds. That's because you might find that you sink too far into the pillow top. If you have a larger body and are interested in trying a pillow top mattress, look for one specifically designed to accommodate higher weights. 

A pillow top mattress might also not be right for you if you're a stomach sleeper. As a stomach sleeper, a pillow top that's too soft and too thick may cause you to sink too far into the mattress, putting pressure on your neck and back. 

How much do pillow top mattresses cost?

A high-quality pillow top mattress is usually pretty affordable, clocking in at less than a high-quality memory foam or latex mattress. You can find a quality pillow top mattress starting at around $1,000 for a queen and going up from there. Euro tops will cost you slightly more than standard pillow tops—but they are known for being more durable. 

How does a pillow top mattress compare to a memory foam mattress?

A pillow top mattress and a memory foam mattress aren't the same thing. While a pillow top mattress can contain memory foam in the padding, these two mattress types have a lot of differences when it comes to feel, temperature regulation, and more. 

A pillow top mattress usually features an innerspring base, topped by a layer of cushioning. Thanks to the coils, a pillow top mattress feels responsive and bouncy. The coils also allow for maximum airflow, ensuring a cool night's sleep. 

A memory foam mattress is made entirely from foam and usually doesn't have a pillow top. A memory foam mattress is contouring and feels like it's hugging your body. Due to its contouring ability, one of the main benefits of a memory foam mattress is that it provides excellent pressure relief. 

A pillow top mattress also provides pressure relief but not as much as a memory foam mattress. Memory foam is also better at isolating motion. Traditional memory foam also sleeps hot, so if you're interested in this material, then look for a version that contains cooling materials like gel or graphite. 

Another factor to consider: Off-gassing. Some memory foam mattresses—ones that are compressed in boxes, specifically—can off-gas, releasing harmful chemicals into the air. Off-gassing is responsible for that stinky "new mattress" smell—and it can also irritate people with chemical sensitivities or respiratory conditions like asthma. Because they're made primarily of coils, pillow top mattresses shouldn't have any off-gassing. 

When it comes to pricing, a high-quality memory foam mattress is usually more expensive than a high-quality pillow top mattress. High-quality memory foam will also last slightly longer.

Check out this chart for more on the differences between pillow tops and memory foam:

Comparison

Pillow top mattress

Memory foam mattress

Feel

Responsive and bouncy from the innerspring base; some cradling from the pillow top

Body-hugging and conforming; no bounce

Temperature regulation

Coils promoter airflow for cool sleep

Traditional memory foam sleeps hot; gel-infused memory foam keeps cool

Motion isolation

Pillow top provides some motion isolation

Excels at isolating motion

Price

High-quality pillow top starts at around $1,000 for a queen

High-quality memory foam starts at around $1,500 for a queen

Durability

Less durable than high-quality memory foam

High-quality memory foam is more durable than a pillow top

How long does a pillow top mattress last?

The average mattress, whether a pillow top or not, lasts about eight years. Of course, the better the materials in your mattress, the longer it'll last you. A high-quality pillow top mattress—made with top-of-the-line foams and strong coils in the innerspring base—could last you 10 years or more. 

Not sure whether your pillow top mattress has worn out its welcome? If you're experiencing aches and pains a few times a week, it could be time for a new mattress.

Still debating whether a pillow top mattress is right for you? Explore other popular mattress types in these comprehensive guides:

christina heiser

Christina Heiser

Christina Heiser is the senior content manager at Saatva. She has held previous positions at Everyday Health, Women's Health, and L'Oréal. When she's not working, you can find Christina checking out the latest boutique fitness classes in New York City, cheering on her college basketball team (go Red Storm!), and trying new beauty and wellness trends.

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