How to choose the best pillow top mattress

Guys, pillow top mattresses. Doesn’t that just sound delightful? It sounds like you’re about to sleep on top of a pillow. And you know what? You might be right. Pillows are already phenomenal and now you’re going to make a mattress out of it? Count us in. 

Pillow top mattresses are great options for sleepers who want a comfortable bed but who might need a little bit more support than a memory foam or a latex mattress. 

A pillow top mattress has an additional layer of added padding sewn into the very top of an ordinary mattress. Think about it as an already soft mattress on steroids. The pillow top is usually about two inches thick of added comfort. When pillow top mattresses started, people used to complain about the tops shifting over the years but these days, pillow mattresses are stitched in quite a bit stronger so you don’t have to worry about that precious pillow getting torn off. 

The actual pillow tops that make up the padding on said mattresses are made from a variety of different materials including cotton, latex, memory form, and other comfy fibers. 

Pillow top beds, like its competitors, are made in a bunch of different sizes including twin, full, queen, and king. Imagine a pillow top king size mattress? Just the sound of it makes us a bit sleepy.

Instead of going all out and buying a pillow top mattress, many sleepers might favour going for a pillow top pad instead. The pad is an added layer of luxury that you can lay atop your mattress for extra comfiness. Obviously, a pad will save you a lot of money instead of buying an entire new bed. Pillow top mattress pads tend to land in the $150 price range which is a good price for added comfort. 

Sweetnight Queen Mattress in a Box - 12 Inch Plush Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress, Gel Memory Foam for Sleep Cool, Motion Isolating Individually Wrapped Coils, Queen Size, Twilight
  • Motion isolation for a peaceful undisturbed sleep- sweet night 12 inch Queen mattress constructed with 775 coils individually wrapped innerspring and Gel Memory Foam for ultimate support, pressure relief helps those with back pain, tossing & turning. It moves independently to prevent motion transfer between partners for an undisturbed night of rest. This Queen mattress Resists sagging, roll-off, and with medium-firm feel.
  • 3-Zone pocket spring contoured for optimal support- the 3 zone independent pocketed spring design ensures that your body weight is evenly absorbed and distributed comprehensively from head to toe throughout the mattress. Also provides the targeted support to your body, proper back support & alignment. The gel memory Foam layer for slowly adjusts to body weight & temperature, it provides a buffer so you never feel the coils for optimal comfort.
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR Supreme 3-Inch Mattress Topper Medium Firm, Full, White
  • MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS TOPPER—Designed with the same pressure-relieving TEMPUR material found in our mattresses, this 3 inch memory foam mattress topper conforms to your body to deliver more restful sleep.
  • ADAPTS TO YOUR BODY—TEMPUR material responds to your body’s temperature, weight, and shape for precise, personalized comfort and support.
ViscoSoft 4 Inch Pillow Top Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper King | Serene Dual Layer Mattress Pad
  • Transform your Sleep Until you’ve slept on the Serene 4” high density, pressure-relieving topper you won’t know how far we go for comfort. Made from 2.5 inches of temperature neutral gel memory foam and 1.5 inches of fluffy down alternative adds a plush layer of pressure-relieving comfort. A mattress topper + pad that gives any mattress a 5-star luxury feel night after night.
  • Relieve Your Pain & Soreness Using thousands of testing hours and hundreds of reviews, we’ve designed the Serene dual layer mattress topper to balance softness & support. Relieve back, hip, and other bodily pains and general soreness associated with a firm mattress or worn-down support of your existing mattress.
Roore 3.5 Inch Queen Bamboo Pillow Top Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper I Dual Layer Gel Infused Foam with Bamboo Pillow Top Fitted Cover, Memory Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper Excellent for Sleeping
  • TIP: The Mattress Pad is Packaged in a Vacuum Bag, Open the Package and Spread It for a Few Days, It Will Back to Normal Thickness and Fluffy. Airing Under Sunlight for Hours is Also Recommended
  • ALL SEASON SUPPORT AND COMFORT: Get the best of both worlds. Our Premium cloud-like down alternative quilted mattress pad adds a luxurious layer of cushioning to your mattress that will soften your hard mattress and help you achieve a great night's sleep.
SUFUEE Mattress Topper Full Down Alternative Mattress Pad 2" Thick Overfilled Pillow Top Mattress Cover, Luxury Mattress Protector (54"x75")
  • 【2” THICK TOPPER FOR MATTRESS】: Perfect solution to a too-firm foam mattress. This firm enough mattress pad provides extreme comfort, soft and fluffy like sink in to a virtual cloud. Hotel Quality and Big Surprise for a lovely sleeping time
  • 【Perfectly Fits Mattress】:4 power band elastic ensures a secure fit and grip on any mattresses and is perfect for power bases.The elastic fabric band will fit up perfectly to 22’’ mattress.

Pros and cons

Like with everything, there’s always two sides. There are pros and cons to pillow top mattresses. We’ll lay them out and you can decide if you think it’s worth it or not. Pillow top mattresses, even though they are very comfortable, are actually quite affordable. Most beds that are known to be very comfortable, like gel-infused or memory foam, are very expensive. Pillow top mattresses are quite a bit more affordable for people who are aiming to choose comfort as their top priority. 

But, while gaining comfort, you don’t lose any of the added benefits. Pillow top mattresses are good at easing aches and body pains in muscles and joints. They’re especially beneficial to side sleepers who might have pain in the hips, shoulders, and obliques. 

Pillow top mattresses are also good at not producing bad chemicals. A lot of mattresses, especially latex-made beds, give off something called “off-gassing” which is the name given to mattresses that have that paint-like smell. Nobody wants to dive into bed that smells like chemicals. Especially paint. You want your bed to smell like cotton and flowers, not any type of synthetic compound. 

And now, for some of the bad news. Pillow tops don’t tend to be very durable. While most mattresses will eventually wear out, pillow top mattresses are prone to losing their effectiveness pretty quickly and a lot shorter than latex, memory foam, or hybrid beds. 

They also aren’t very effective for sleepers who are carrying extra weight. Heavier sleepers looking for relief might want to head down another mattress route as the wide-spread belief is that pillow tops aren’t good for the bigger sleepers. 

They’re also known to sag a bit easier than other mattresses. Meaning after a few years, they tend to become very soft in the middle and sag to the midsection of the bed. It’s not ideal, and it ends up being pretty harmful to your long-term health, when the middle of the bed sags in. You’ll wake up with a sore neck and shoulder because the support has worn out. 

How much do they cost?

As mentioned before, one of the most appealing things about pillow top mattresses is that they are pretty affordable. Considering latex and memory foam mattresses can cost up to a couple thousands of dollars, a lot of pillow top brands are much less, often under the one grand mark. 

Consider top of the line pillow top mattresses, like a king size pillow top, ranges between $1,000 to $1,500. Not a bad deal at all for a brand new mattress. 

Do your research

It’s always important to get a good amount of research in before you make your final choice. Visit a bunch of websites and take in as much information from different sources as possible. Once you’ve amassed all the details from the mattress retailer or company, visit user reviews and comments to see what people in the real world think about the pillow top mattress. Whereas companies tend to be pretty biased, user comments are very honest and unbiased. Plus, there are thousands of reviews and comments so you’ll be able to widen your net and get in plenty of feedback. 

Test some out

And now, the fun part. Once you’ve done your due diligence and research, it’s time to head to the actual store and test out as many as you can. Be sure to ask a lot of questions to the salesperson and impress them about your pillow top mattress knowledge. Heck, you can even use our joke about who wouldn’t want to spend a night atop a pillow, we don’t mind. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, ensure you have a warranty in place in case the pillow top mattresses don’t end up being for you. If they are though, enjoy nights of great sleep and start to see some pretty positive ripple effects to your day-to-day life and your overall well being and happiness. Beds are magical and choosing the right one is a very important step.