What is a Pillow-Top Mattress? A Comprehensive Guide

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What is a Pillow-Top Mattress?

Pillow-top mattresses are characterized by having extra padding on the top of the mattress that is sewn to the bed more and makes it more comfortable, allows you to sleep better, and promotes spinal alignment, which makes it a great choice for people who suffer from back and joint pain.

Pillow-top mattresses are different from mattress toppers that can be purchased separately, as the pillow-top mattress has a permanent topper that cannot be moved or slipped around.

Pillow-Top mattress layers

What is a Pillow-Top Mattress Made of?

The design of pillow-top mattresses consists of a gusseted layer that is around 2” thick, and made from fiberfill, foam, down, latex, or various other comfort materials, with a small gap between it and the underlying layers of the mattress, whether it’s a traditional innerspring or airbed.

Pros of Pillow-Top Mattress

Pressure Relief

innerspring mattresses are known to be sturdy and responsive, however, they don’t have a sufficient pressure relief performance.

The pillow tops provide for innerspring mattresses that much need cushioning that alleviates the tension from pressure points, which is crucial, especially for side sleepers who are more prone to experience pressure build-up on a traditional innerspring mattress.

If you want to know more about innerspring mattresses, click here.

Luxury Feel

Pillow tops are known for their cloud-like, luxurious feel. The exact experience varies from one model to another because these layers contain various materials. You will get a cloud-like feel from cotton, down, or ultra-soft polyfoam, or a cradling feel from memory foam.


Pillow-top mattresses are way more affordable than other types of mattresses such as latex, memory foam, or hybrids, so it’s a great choice to consider if you’re on a tighter budget.

Minimal Off-Gassing

Unlike the majority of all-foam mattresses that tend to have a noticeable chemical odor, which is known as “off-gassing” when they’re decompressing after getting unpacked, pillow-top mattresses, on the other hand, have little to no off-gassing smell.


The innerspring beneath the pillowtop promotes breathability and airflow, unlike all foam mattresses, which is specifically helpful in the case of bed-sharing, or for hot sleepers, as it will prevent sweating and overheating during the night and ensure a better sleeping experience.


The innerspring core provides sufficient support and sturdiness to the mattress, which could accommodate any weight range including heavy sleepers, and the pillow top provides cushioning and adaptability to balance the firmness of the innerspring.


Pillow-top mattresses are most often very bouncy and responsive due to the innerspring coils underneath the padding, this innerspring layer provides a springy and bouncy feel.

Cons of Pillow-Top Mattress


When your pillow-top mattress nears the end of its life span it will start showing signs of wear and tear such as sagging and body impressions, and because the pillow-top mattresses can’t be flipped, that shortens its life span and the wear signs start to show in a much quicker pace than other types of mattresses.

Motion Transfer

The innerspring base of the majority of pillow-top mattresses is very bouncy which facilitates motion transfer, which could be an issue for light sleepers who share the bed with a spouse or a pet, and it might affect the quality of their sleep.

Not Very Firm

Pillow-top mattresses will not hug your body as tightly as memory foam mattresses, but they still have somewhat conforming properties, so a pillow-top mattress is probably not for you if you want a really firm mattress.

Not Flippable

Although not every mattress can be flipped, innerspring mattresses are typically accompanied by pillow toppers. Sometimes these beds may be flipped over, which lengthens their lives, pillow-top mattresses however are sewn into the top of the mattress, therefore, which will decrease its lifespan because you won’t be able to flip your mattress.

Who Should Get a Pillow-Top Mattress?

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers need a mattress that promotes ease of movement and adapt to different sleeping styles and preference, which makes the pillow top mattress a perfect fit for them, as the innerspring base provide support and stability during movements, meanwhile, the comfort layer makes the surface of the mattress have a balanced feel that is not too firm or too soft.

Older Adults with Joint Pain

The ideal mattress for elderly people with joint problems is one that gently cushions joints without sinking too much. A pillow-top mattress's innerspring support will keep you from feeling trapped and make getting in and out of bed simple.

Hot Sleepers

The innerspring base of the mattress promotes breathability and airflow unlike all-foam mattresses, and the pillowtop itself may also boost the overall cooling properties of the mattress, so make sure that the pillow top you select is made of breathable or cooling materials like latex, cotton, or wool.


Do pillow-top mattresses sag?

Pillow-top mattresses tend to sag just like other mattresses, due to the padded material on the top of the mattress, which shows a sign of wear over time, however, if it’s properly taken care of, it could last for a longer period.

Do pillow-top mattresses hurt your back?

Pillow-top mattresses aren’t known for hurting your back, instead, they provide sufficient pressure relief and alleviate the constraint from the pressure points such as the shoulders, hips, and back, so pillow-top mattresses are a good choice for people with back pain.

What Is the Difference Between a Pillow Top and a Euro Top Mattress?

Pillow Top vs Euro Top mattress

Instead of sewing the comfort layer to the top of the mattress, euro-tops are stitched on flush with the edges. As a result, pillow-top mattresses appear more rounded, and Euro-tops appear more flat and neatly piled. With more cushioning in the middle of the bed, Euro-tops provide a slightly firmer feel around the edges.

Do pillow-top mattresses wear out faster?

Pillow-tops show signs of wear and tear much more quickly than other types of mattresses such as innerspring, they cannot be flipped, and over time the comfort layer sags from the middle.

Can I fix a sagged pillow top mattress?

You can try to maintain the mattress to prolong the sagging for as long as possible, however, if the mattress has already started showing signs of sagging you can use extra pillows placed in the areas where the mattress is sagging, that’s just a temporary solution and it won’t make the mattress go back to its normal condition.


Pillow-top mattresses are traditional mattresses with a sewn comfort layer on top of the mattress.

They are known for their outstanding comfort, pressure point relief, and affordability; however, they also have their drawbacks such as possible sagging, durability issues, and high motion transfer levels.

Dom Abraham

Editorial Director

As the lead content writer at Sleepiverse. Dom pours his heart into writing mattress reviews, bedding product reviews, and medically-reviewed health articles. Dom is from Portugal and likes to spend his free time writing on the beach as it gives him a sense of comfort. Aside from writing mattress reviews in front of the soothing beach view, Dom likes to experiment with new amazing food ideas.