Pillow top mattresses offer a cushioned top layer that is made of memory foam, cotton, down wool, latex foam, or fiberfill. Compared to traditional innerspring mattresses, pillow top mattresses feature a more padded and plush top that can offer support and even relieve pressure placed on joints. Additionally, pillow top mattresses are often preferred by couples who share a bed since their design can help minimize disturbances to one partner when the other partner changes position on the mattress or gets in and out of bed.
Like hybrid mattresses, mattresses in a box, and mattresses on Amazon, there is a wide range of available options for choosing the best pillow top mattress. This guide is designed to simplify your search by describing key features to consider before purchasing a pillow top mattress and introducing you to a selection of some of the best pillow top mattresses on the market today for different types of sleepers.
- BEST OVERALL: HELIX MIDNIGHT LUXE Mattress
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Brooklyn Bedding Dreamfoam Elements Latex Mattress
- BEST LUXURY: Beautyrest Black Cooling + Comfort Upgrade Mattress
- MOST COMFORTABLE: The DreamCloud – Luxury Hybrid Mattress
- BEST FOR SIDE SLEEPERS: Saatva Classic Mattress
- BEST COOLING: Brentwood Home Oceano Luxury Hybrid Mattress
- BEST FOR HEAVY PEOPLE: The WinkBed Plus by WinkBeds
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Pillow Top Mattress
There are a number of factors to keep in mind as you shop for a new pillow top mattress. The supply of available pillow top mattresses on the market include a variety of designs and firmness levels, offer different materials, and may include features to help regulate the temperature of the mattress and the sleeper. In addition, some mattresses help to alleviate pressure on a sleeper’s joints. Learn more about these key features and to help you decide which ones are most important for you as you select the best pillow top mattress to suit your needs and desires, read on.
Pillow top mattresses feature a top layer designed to add cushioning to the mattress and decrease the bounce. This top layer is constructed from a variety of materials. Some of the materials used to craft a pillow top mattress include memory foam, down, cotton, fiberfill, latex foam, and wool. Higher-quality materials, such as memory foam or latex foam, can contribute to the overall lifespan of a pillow top mattress.
Another item to consider is whether you prefer a pillow top mattress made with organic materials. The materials used to make organic mattresses are non-toxic and won’t contain residues from pesticides. These materials are also hypoallergenic and often sustainably-sourced.
Your preferred sleeping position should play a large role in guiding your selection of the best pillow top mattress. When choosing the best mattress for side sleepers or back sleepers, pillow top mattresses are often a logical choice. For side sleepers, the plush pillow top layer can create a cradle to take pressure off the hips and shoulders and keep individuals comfortable as they sleep. For back sleepers, the way the plush surface of a pillow top mattress conforms to the body can provide optimal support and comfort.
However, pillow top mattresses are generally not an ideal choice for stomach sleepers because they are too soft, which then causes individuals to sink too deeply into the mattress. This can make breathing a bit uncomfortable and doesn’t support optimal neck alignment for sleep. Individuals who sleep on their stomach and want a pillow top mattress should look for options that do not have an overly thick top layer.
One of the main purposes of a pillow top mattress is to create a soft sleep surface. In general, pillow top mattresses will not be very firm. However, the level of firmness of the mattress beneath the pillow top layer can impact the overall firmness of the mattress.
If you are a stomach sleeper or a heavier individual, you may find that a firmer base creates the most comfortable sleeping surface for you. Side or back sleepers may opt for a softer bed that will offer more cradling for the body. Most people have a different definition of the level of firmness ideal for a mattress, so consider your personal preferences (and those of your partner, if applicable), to decide the firmness of your mattress.
Contouring & Pressure Relief
Pillow top mattresses are a popular choice for individuals looking for relief from pressure on their neck, back, and hips. The plusher, more cushioned top layer of these mattresses is designed to contour to the body—meaning it is better suited to gently cradle the body and relieve pressure on the joints, which can help decrease associated aches and pains. If pressure relief is high on your list of priorities for selecting a pillow top mattress, look for models with a thicker top that will provide adequate contouring.
The design of a traditional pillow top mattress features a sewn-on padded layer above a base. Unfortunately, this design means that the edges of the mattress lack support, which can make it more of a challenge to get in and out of bed. The lack of edge support is also not ideal when two individuals share a bed since it can limit the amount of usable space.
If edge support is important to you, consider a Euro-top mattress. A Euro-top mattress is very similar to a pillow top mattress and may even be referred to as a pillow top, but it offers a slightly different design. Rather than a padded layer sewn on top of the mattress, a Euro-top features an integrated design. The padding is sewn directly into the rest of the mattress, meaning the top edges are flush with the sides of the mattress. This design creates a firmer edge to make getting in and out of bed simpler and also increases the usable area on the top of the mattress to provide more space for couples sharing a bed.
Choosing a mattress with temperature-regulating capabilities is important for individuals who tend to get too warm when they sleep. Many pillow top mattresses have a memory foam layer, which is not ideal for hot sleepers since it doesn’t allow heat to escape.
Cotton, latex, and other breathable materials are often considered to be optimal pillow top materials for hot sleepers. These materials allow airflow and keep the surface cooler and, in turn, keep the sleeper cooler as well. Mattresses with coils also allow for more airflow to keep hot sleepers cool overnight.
Our Top Picks
Our top picks feature products from reputable manufacturers and boast quality materials and construction, all in a variety of specific categories. Keep reading to discover some of the best pillow top mattresses on the market for different types of sleepers to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
The HELIX MIDNIGHT LUXE mattress is designed with a premium cooling pillow top. While plush and comfortable, the pillow top of this mattress also includes a cover crafted with eco-friendly Tencel fibers that make it breathable and give it moisture-wicking properties.
In addition to the plush pillow top layer, the mattress features five additional layers. A high-density, pressure-relieving memory foam sits just below the pillow top to provide enhanced comfort. The next layer is a gel Visco support layer for added cushioning and support, followed by a high-grade polyfoam layer to offer ergonomic support. The fourth layer of the mattress features over 1,000 individually-wrapped coils designed with zoning technology. These coils help align the spine and relieve pressure from the shoulders and hips to create a cradle-like effect. The final layer is crafted with DuraDense foam that delivers additional durability and support.
This pillow top mattress has a medium feel, so it isn’t overly firm or soft, making it an ideal choice for partners who may not be in complete agreement about the optimal firmness level for a mattress. The design also makes it an excellent option for side sleepers or individuals who sleep in a variety of positions; the memory foam helps relieve pressure on joints for a more comfortable night’s sleep and less pain the following day. This mattress boasts a Euro-top design, so there is more edge support than what is offered by other pillow top mattresses.
This pillow top mattress by Brooklyn Bedding is a solid option for those looking for an economical, yet comfortable, mattress. Choose from a soft, a medium, or a firm option for customized comfort. The mattress features a 3-layer design to deliver maximum comfort and support. The top layer consists of a soft and plush 1-inch quilted reflex foam to conform to a body for all-night comfort. The middle layer is made from 3 inches of Oeko-Tex class 1 certified Talalay latex. This latex material helps to evenly distribute an individual’s weight to relieve pressure placed on the joints.
Choose from either the standard 10-inch mattress or upgrade to a 12-inch mattress. Both options feature a high-density foam base layer that increases both airflow and the overall durability of the mattress. The base layer is 6 inches thick on the 10-inch mattress option and 8 inches thick on the 12-inch mattress option. A zippered cover is also included with the 12-inch upgraded model. The cover allows users to change the firmness of the Talalay latex foam in the middle layer if desired.
Splurge a little with the Beautyrest Black mattress with the Cooling + Comfort upgrade. This 13-inch mattress offers a medium firmness level with a GelTouch Foam pillow top. This special GelTouch foam is designed to increase airflow and breathability to keep individuals cool when they sleep. It also helps relieve pressure on the joints for improved comfort at night.
The mattress is made using SilkAIR fiber and other heat-wicking materials that are designed to feel cool and help individuals experience a restful night’s sleep. It also features Beatyrest’s RightTemp memory foam. Infused with conductive carbon fiber, this memory foam delivers support and additional cooling properties to the mattress. Additionally, the mattress is designed with T3 Pocketed Coil Technology to enhance the durability of the mattress and absorb motions to limit disturbances on the other side of the bed. A special edge stability technology, called BeautyEdge, provides additional support to the edges of the mattress to simplify getting in or out of bed.
For those seeking the most comfortable pillow top mattress, consider the Luxury Hybrid mattress from DreamCloud. This medium-firm mattress is designed with five layers that work together to deliver optimal comfort. The top layer is a soft and plush pillow top crafted from a quilted foam with an elegant cashmere covering. The second layer features a gel memory foam that allows the mattress to conform to each user’s individual body shape.
The middle layer, made from a supportive foam, is designed to provide an optimal level of support to allow individuals to maintain a comfortable position without sinking too deep into the mattress. The fourth layer of this hybrid pillow top mattress is an innerspring layer featuring individually wrapped coils that improve its contouring abilities. Finally, a solid foam base provides stability and ensures each of the other layers functions properly.
The mattress boasts the manufacturer’s stay-put technology to prevent motion transfer and allow couples sharing a bed to sleep more soundly. Additionally, the coil system and gel memory foam layer work together to prevent heat retention and increase airflow for a cooler night’s sleep.
This Euro-top mattress from Saatva features 884 individual coils (for the queen size mattress) designed with 14.5-gauge recycled steel. These individual coils provide contouring comfort and relieve pressure on the back, hips, and other joints of side sleepers. Additionally, the mattress features a CertiPUR-US certified memory foam layer with special spinal zone technology that work together to ensure the spine is kept in alignment as individuals sleep to alleviate pressure on the lower back. These features helped this mattress earn a seal of approval from the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations.
The top layer of this hybrid mattress is a 3-inch Euro pillow top crafted with breathable, organic cotton. The cotton is hypoallergenic and treated with a special antimicrobial to help keep the mattress clean. For enhanced edge support, rails made from high-density foam surround all four sides of the mattress. These foam supports make it easier to get in and out of bed and also prevent the mattress from sagging. This mattress is available in three firmness options: plush soft, luxury firm, and firm.
The gel memory foam layer on the Brentwood Home Oceano luxury hybrid mattress delivers cooling comfort. This layer is made using a CertiPUR-US-certified plant-based BioFoam featuring open-cell technology to wick moisture away and keep the mattress cool to prevent overheating. Additionally, the pillow top layer on this medium-soft mattress is made with 100 percent organic certified wool, which will also help the mattress keep individuals cooler as they sleep during the warm summer months. A plant-based Tencel fabric covers the pillow top. This fabric is breathable and can absorb moisture to keep individuals cooler and more comfortable as they sleep.
Two additional layers offer even more cooling features. The mattress’s sixth layer (directly below the plant-based BioFoam) is crafted with a natural silk fabric that further improves breathability. Beneath this silk layer is a 1-inch layer of Air Luxe Foam which has an airy design and also offers pressure-point relief.
Unlike many other hybrid mattresses that offer only one layer of coils, this mattress boasts two coil layers. Depending on the mattress size, these two layers boast a combined total of up to 2,697 individually wrapped coils that allow the mattress to deliver optimal support and contouring capabilities. This enhanced contouring also means the mattress is an optimal choice for individuals looking to relieve pressure on their joints for a more restful night’s sleep.
The WinkBed Plus is specially designed for individuals weighing more than 300 pounds. To provide sufficient support for heavier individuals and prevent the mattress from sagging, it features a high-density foam layer. Additionally, this mattress also provides a 2.5-inch layer of pure latex divided into seven different zones to deliver optimal support and maintain the firmness of the mattress over time. The mattress also offers individually wrapped, reinforced coils designed to support heavier weights. This mattress will have a medium firmness feel for individuals over 300 pounds and a firmer feel for individuals weighing 200 pounds or less.
In addition to the features specially tailored for heavier individuals, this mattress also includes other innovations present in all WinkBeds. These features include a LumbarLayer for added support, the 3-Step Back Relief System to help align the spine and reduce muscle tension, and the extraEDGE Support System to increase the sleeping area and make it easier to get in and out of bed. The mattress also offers SleepCalm Motion Isolation technology for less motion disturbance and a Triple Layer Heat-Disperse Material to promote airflow and keep individuals cooler as they sleep.
FAQs About Pillow Top Mattresses
If you still have questions about selecting the best pillow top mattress, read through the frequently asked questions below to learn more.
Q. What is the difference between a pillow top mattress and a regular mattress?
Pillow top mattresses feature a sewn-on, cushioned top layer that is not present on a regular mattress. In most cases, this sewn-on layer is between 2 and 4 inches thick and is filled with a soft material, such as memory foam, polyfoam, cotton, fiberfill, or latex.
Q. What are the pros and cons of a pillow top mattress?
Pillow top mattresses can make a mattress feel plusher and more comfortable. They are also ideal for relieving pressure on joints to decrease pain, especially for the hips and shoulders. Pillow top mattresses are available in numerous styles and can be priced to match nearly any budget.
However, pillow top mattresses often begin to sag as the padded layer breaks down. Compared to other mattress types, pillow top mattresses don’t always last as long. Additionally, many pillow top mattresses are not an ideal choice for stomach sleepers and heavier individuals as they may sink too deeply into the plush top.
Q. Do pillow top mattresses wear out faster?
Yes, pillow top mattresses tend to wear out more quickly than other mattress types. This is because the layer of padding added to create a pillow top mattress becomes compressed over time, which can make it uncomfortable for sleeping.
Q. How do you clean a pillow top mattress?
To clean a pillow top mattress, start by using a vacuum cleaner attachment to pick up dust, dirt, or other debris. Sprinkle baking soda over the entire top of the mattress and let it sit for 20 to 60 minutes. Finally, use the vacuum cleaner attachment again to vacuum up the baking soda.
Q. How long does a pillow top mattress last?
The amount of time a pillow top mattress will last can vary. Most last between 5 and 8 years. As a pillow top mattress ages, it will become lumpier and, thus, uncomfortable to sleep on all night.