What is a Pillow-Top Mattress?

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If you are browsing for a new mattress, you’ve probably stumbled on the term ‘pillow-top’ and noticed that different brands place different designs under it (1). 

But what does it actually mean?

Well, scroll down to find out, what is a pillow-top mattress, how to choose one without confusion, and who will get the sleep of their life on it.

What Is a Pillow-Top Mattress?

A pillow-top is a layer of extra padding on top of the mattress. It’s located right under the mattress fabric and filled with natural down, cotton, or fibre fill. 

Most pillow-top mattresses incorporate coils in their structure or are on the firmer side of the scale. So, this additional layer of padding acts like a feather bed and adds softness to the mattress, while retaining its supportive properties. Some mattresses, especially innerspring, may have a pillow-top layer on both sides for improved comfort.

The pillow-top layer typically doesn’t exceed 4-5 cm in thickness. This is more than enough to cradle an average or even a heavy sleeper and support their spine in a healthy position.

You can check the selection of sturdy Australian mattresses in a box with a pillow-top here.

What’s the Difference Between a Pillow-Top and a Euro-Top?

Another common variation of mattress padding is Euro top, and people often get confused between the two.

Euro top also describes a mattress with extra padding. However, the main difference between a Euro top and a pillow top is that, in the latter, the padding layer is sewn onto the mattress cover, which means that they’re two separate layers just attached. 

Euro top mattresses have their padding sewn under the mattress cover, so there are no gaps between it and other mattress layers. That’s why it will be more correct to refer to a Euro top as a type of pillow top.

Plus, unlike pillow tops, euro tops can include mattresses without coils and are generally targeted for those who love a really soft and hugging feel.

You can check out the best memory foam mattresses with additional padding in this article.

Who Will Benefit from Sleeping on a Pillow-Top Mattress?

Now that you know more about pillow tops, it’s time to answer whether you’ll feel comfortable on one.

Every mattress type is designed to meet certain expectations, and here’s who will like pillow tops the most:

  • Those who love the feeling of coils but need a softer feel. Extra padding makes the mattress feel softer and can add some hug even to a rock hard mattress. So, if you don’t want to give up on coils, a pillow top can become a safe compromise.
  • Those with chronic pain. An increased hug for the same level of spinal support? Those who constantly struggle with bad back or stiff joints, usually love pillow tops for their impressive ability to cradle the aching points.
  • Those who sleep hot. Since pillow tops are usually made of feathers, down, or fibrous material, they score great at breathability and improve the air circulation around your body, which results in a cooler sleep.

Please take a look at the selection of the best mattresses for the bad backs via this link. Some of them have pillow tops, so you can easily pick a model to your liking.


How long does the pillow-top layer last?

Generally, even the most tightly packed pillow-top layers collapse after 4-5 years. However, your mattress will also break in during this time and become softer, so you might not even notice.


Pillow tops combine the pinpoint support of coil mattresses, bouncy feel and can satisfy the needs of the most demanding sleeper. If you’re prone to sleeping hot or need a mattress that can relieve your pressure points without restricting your movements, a pillow top is your safe choice.

Have you slept on a pillow top mattress? What was your impression? Answer in the comments!


  1. Alan Henry (2019 February 9). How To Choose The Right Mattress? Retrieved from 

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