What is a Pillow Top Mattress?

Have you heard that a pillow top mattress is really comfortable, a great way to sleep, and now you’re wondering just what one is?  What is a pillow top mattress?  You will find the answer here, as well as an overview of the types of pillow top mattresses available.

What Makes a Mattress a Pillow Top?

A pillow top mattress is one that has a layer of extra padding on top of the mattress core.  The extra padding is usually sewn into its own covering so that it is visible above the rest of the mattress, rather than simply being part of the mattress. A pillow top mattress looks quite different than a standard mattress.

Types of Cushion Used in a Pillow Top Mattress

There are several types of cushioning that are used.  Foam is the most common type of pillow top mattress currently available.  The foam may be latex foam, memory foam, or foam made from organic material such as soy. Memory foam is very popular because of its ability to cradle your body while you sleep and offer outstanding support along with relief of pressure points.

Soft fiber can also be used in a pillow top mattress and those made from down feathers are also popular.

Types of Pillow Top Mattresses

Pillow tops are added to all standard types of mattresses.  You will find many innerspring (coil) mattresses that are completed with a pillow top, often made of foam. These mattresses are popular because they provide both the solid support of a coil mattress and the comfort features of foam. Many foam mattresses also feature a pillow top.  Latex foam mattresses provide excellent support and when topped with a memory foam pillow, they can be very comfortable.

Cost of Pillow Top Mattresses

Like any mattress, the quality of the materials and components will influence the final cost of the mattress.  However, you can expect a pillow top to add 10-20% to the price.  For example, if the mattress would normally cost $300 without a pillow top, you should expect to pay about $350 for one with a pillow top. A $500 mattress will cost $600-$650 with a pillow top.

Advantages of Pillow Top Mattresses

A pillow top adds luxurious comfort to any mattress.  That added layer of cushioning, especially if the mattress core offers good support, can give you the best both worlds – good support and outstanding comfort.

Disadvantages of Pillow Top Mattresses

If you buy a very thick pillow top mattress – 14-15 inches – you may find that your old sheets won’t fit it.  You may have to buy new sheets designed specifically for pillow top mattresses. Secondly, adding a pillow top to a mattress that is soft to begin with may create a mattress that doesn’t offer you enough support.  If you are going to choose a pillow top, it is recommended that the core of the mattress be in the medium-firm to firm range.


Pillow top mattresses are so popular today because they help people get a better night’s sleep.  Learn more about the types available and choose one you believe will give you the right combination of support and comfort.