The 5 Best Pillow-Top Mattresses
Falling asleep in the lap of luxury: it’s what dreams are made of. And though sometimes this is only associated with fancy hotels and resorts, the truth is that you can capture this feeling, at least when it comes to the bed, in your own home. One of the best ways to do this is with a pillow top mattress that can coax you to sleep with its soft, welcoming feel.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to pillow top mattresses, their benefits and drawbacks, and we’ll list our 5 picks for the best pillow top mattresses available on the market today.
Our Favorite Pillow-Top Mattress Picks
This table provides a quick list and breakdown of our top picks for the best pillow top mattresses.
What is a Pillow Top Mattress?
In a pillow top mattress, there is a layer of soft material that is stitched to the top of the mattress above the standard comfort layer. Visually, you can identify a pillow top mattress immediately because it looks like there is a thin pillow or separate layer covering the entire mattress surface.
The most common thickness of a pillow top is around 3”. The material used in a pillow top may include cotton, synthetic fiber, foam, or many other materials.
The goal of a pillow top is to provide additional softness and comfort to the mattress. While pillow top can be put on any mattress type, you are most likely to find it on an innerspring mattress because it can provide a plusher feel than the springs alone.
How is a Pillow Top Different From a Euro Top?
A Euro Top is also a layer of material on top of the mattress that is designed to give more comfort. Like a pillow top, a Euro Top is usually around 3” thick and generally made of fiber fill. However, a Euro Top usually has several important differences:
- Sewing and layering: in a Euro Top, the extra material is layered directly on top of the mattress and is sewn together under the same cover. As a result, a Euro Top is not as visually apparent because it fits more seamlessly with the other layers of the mattress.
- Material style and feel: Euro Tops usually have either more material or denser material and are not quite as pillowy in feel.
- Edge support: many Euro Tops are built to be softer toward the center with reinforcement around the exterior to improve edge support.
- Longevity: Euro Tops tend to hold their shape longer than pillow tops because of the nature of the material that is used. That said, with time, Euro Tops will also soften and wear out, including around the edges.
The choice about whether to pick a pillow top or a Euro Top depends in large part on your preference for how the mattress will look and feel. If you want a sleeker look for your mattress or a less plush feel, a Euro Top is likely to be a better option than a pillow top.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Pillow Top Mattresses
A pillow top can significantly change the performance of a mattress, and many customers love the effect of this extra material. In specific, some of the benefits of a pillow top include:
- Plushness for comfort: if you want the closest thing you can find to sleeping on a cloud, a pillow top may be your best bet. Some people describe the feel of a pillow top as “regal” because it has that immediately inviting plushness that some sleepers crave.
- Affordability: while some plush beds are extremely expensive, many pillow tops are available at accessible prices through the use of less-expensive fiber materials in the pillow top layer.
- Pain relieving: having a mattress that is too firm can cause a lot of impact at joints and can put pressure on those joints that can lead to pain. A pillow top, by offering 3” of extra cushioning, can help decrease this impact and reduce this problem.
- Less motion transfer: by permitting more sink into the top of the bed, a pillow top can make it harder for motion by one person to be felt by a partner who is sharing the bed.
- Good for side sleepers: pillow top mattresses are most popular among side sleepers because they can provide extra cushioning and softness to avoid painful impact at the pressure points of the hips and shoulders. Depending on the firmness and support of the rest of the mattress, a pillow top may be an option for back and stomach sleepers as well.
For all of these reasons, we usually recommend a hybrid mattress over a pillow top. A hybrid tends to have more responsiveness and more resilience (bounce), and this means that it normally does more to promote spinal alignment while avoiding issues (such as sleeping hot) that relate to excessive sinking into the bed.
A hybrid is also normally built with better materials that have a greater propensity to last. However, all of that said, if you’re on a tight budget, a hybrid may not be in the cards, and a pillow-top is worthy of your consideration.
Best Pillow-Top Mattress Reviews
Earlier in this guide, we introduced you to our top 5 best pillow top mattresses with a quick overview. In this section, we’ll give you more details about the construction of our top picks and an explanation for why they made the cut for our list of the best bets.
The DreamCloud mattress employs a design with a significant number of layers including a plush pillow top made of gel-infused memory foam. The cover is made with a cashmere and polyester blend that offers additional softness and a luxurious feel to the mattress.
The DreamCloud falls between a pillow top and Euro top. While there is a clear visual difference in topmost layer, the stitching is more akin to a Euro top. However, where this mattress really shines is that it employs high-end material in the pillow top. Instead of just using a basic fiber fill, gel-infused memory foam provides much greater responsiveness and motion isolation. It is also a material that is more likely to hold up well over time.
Underneath the top layers, the DreamCloud uses a layer of natural latex, two more layers of memory foam, and a support core of foam-encased innerspring coils that have a bottom cushioning layer of memory foam. All of these layers contribute to a sleeping surface that meets all kinds of needs -- bounce, plushness, and responsiveness. Though the pillow top gives this mattress a welcoming feel, its overall firmness level falls around a 6.5 on the typical firmness scale.
The biggest drawback to the DreamCloud is that the company is still very new to the market, and there is limited data about the specifications of the materials or data about the long-term performance of the bed. Helping to alleviate that concern, though, is that the mattress comes with a 365-night sleep trial, giving you a full year to test out the mattress risk-free.
The Saatva mattress is an example of the excellent results that can come about through the combination of attentive design and quality materials. The mattress is available in different heights (11.5” and 14.5”) and three different firmness levels (Plush Soft, Luxury Firm, and Firm), providing customers the opportunity to select the specific model that is most likely to fit their needs.
In all of the models, you’ll find a quilted Euro top. The material inside the Euro top is polyfoam that provides softness and tends to hold up well compared to many fiber materials. Additional polyfoam and a lumbar pad made of memory foam are underneath this layer to offer extra support, especially near the lower back. Beneath this is a 4” layer of pocketed micro-coils. These coils are able to compress in isolation from the adjacent coils, which gives the mattress more responsiveness and ability to support spinal alignment. This also helps to reduce motion isolation.
The support core of the Saatva mattress is a base of Bonnell innerspring coils. If you opt for the 14.5” tall model, this layer coils is 7” thick. In the 11.5” mattress, these coils are 4” thick. This layer of coils offer more bounce, stability, and durability to the bed as a whole.
The Saatva mattress comes with an added benefit: free white-glove delivery. Included in your purchase price is installation of the bed in your bedroom as well as haul-away of an old mattress if necessary. With a 100-night sleep trial, a quality service reputation, a history of customer satisfaction, and a reasonable price, the Saatva is a clear pick for our list of the best pillow top mattresses.
Signature Sleep 13” Pillow-Top
The Signature Sleep 13” pillow top mattress makes our list based on its ability to provide the feel of a pillow top at a price ($299 for a Queen) that is accessible to almost all budgets. While it doesn’t have a lot of fancy features or standout materials, this mattress can deliver plushness at a bargain price.
The pillow top in this Signature Sleep mattress is made with a soft polyfoam, which, as in other models, usually holds up better with nightly use relative to most fiber fill materials. The design of this foam is “zoned,” meaning it is built to be softer and more responsive around the body’s major pressure points. The goal of this design is to make the mattress both more comfortable and more responsive. The cover material includes bamboo ticking that is employed to improve moisture wicking and temperature control.
Underneath the foam pillowtop are 4 thin layers of polyfoam that are meant to enhance the overall strength and edge support of the mattress. All combined, the pillow top and foam layers are 3” thick. Beneath these layers is a 10” support core made of individually-encased innerspring coils. This type of coil is able to bounce and compress more responsively, boosting the motion isolation and support of the mattress. In total, the firmness level of this mattress is plush, falling as a 3-4 on the typical firmness scale.
The lack of a heavy duty comfort layer in this mattress may make it a poor fit for people with very serious pressure points or who weigh more than 200 pounds, but for other sleepers, it is definitely worthy of consideration, especially if you’re working with a tight budget.
Avocado Green Pillow Top Mattress
The Avocado Green mattress is a hybrid that is built with materials made to meet the highest standards in materials quality and environmental standards. It offers a plush feel (5.5 on the typical firmness scale) while also offering excellent support and resilience.
The exterior of this mattress is made with organic cotton and a thin layer of New Zealand wool. These add softness, and the wool in particular helps with temperature and moisture control. The pillow top is stuffed with 2” of natural Dunlop latex. Beneath this is another 3” of latex divided into two layers (one that is 2” and one that is 1”). All of these layers use Dunlop latex, which is known for durability and bounce while also being able to contour to the body. Underneath the latex is an 8” thick layer of fabric-encased innerspring coils. These coils are made with recycled steel and built with 3 zones to enhance responsiveness and support.
For sleepers who want the plushness of a pillow top without the excessive sink that comes with other materials, the Avocado Green mattress and its latex pillow top makes for an exciting alternative. Though it’s a pricier model ($1,799 for a Queen), the materials are all certified to high standards by organizations like the eco-INSTITUT and GREENGUARD. For people who want a luxury feel and luxe materials, the Avocado mattress is a top choice.
The WinkBed mattress uses a combination of foam, micro-coils, and pocketed coils to give their mattress a feeling of luxury while also providing support and bounce. The mattress is offered in three firmness levels including Soft (4.5 on the firmness scale), Luxury Firm (6.5), and Firm (7.5). Each of these models includes a pillow top.
The pillow top is made with two layers of polyfoam. The topmost is 1.5” of a latex-like polyfoam that offers more bounce without excessive sink. The second is 1.5” of polyfoam infused with gel. Both foams have a density of 1.8 PCF. The use of these two distinct foams works to let the mattress contour to the body without swallowing it up. These foams are sewn into the pillowtop underneath the Tencel cover of the bed.
Underneath these two foam layers is 2.5” of micro-coils that are foam-encased for extra responsiveness. Beneath the micro-coils is the support core that is built with 7.5” of pocketed innerspring coils, giving even more bounce and support for the bed. There is also a foam shell around the outermost part of the coils in order to promote solid edge support that can be lacking in other pillow top mattresses.
This hybrid design brings a lot to the table in terms of performance, and with a 101-night sleep trial and a track record of happy customers, the WinkBed clearly makes the list for our best pillow top mattresses.
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