The Best Pillowtop Mattress

As determined by our top rated mattress reviews, expert advice,
and most importantly...your personal preference

"Everyone has one." That's the reason many people give to justify buying an item they want. When it comes to pillowtop mattresses, almost every manufacturer has at least one in its lineup. Some have many. In fact, the whole subject of mattress tops can be confusing. Now we see sub-models of the same model listed as pillow top, euro top, and/or box top, and we ask, "What's the difference?"

Before we get too far, let's standardize terms for this article. Here "pillow top" is the noun, referring to the top itself or the mattress as "a pillow top." However, it is one word when an adjective, as "a pillowtop mattress" or "pillowtop materials." The same rule is used for "euro top" and "box top." Mattress listings online do not appear to be standardized in their usage.

What is a pillow top?

Pillow tops began as mattress toppers, thin mattresses (or mattress pads) to fit atop a mattress for extra padding, a good idea when most mattresses were firm innerspring models. Then manufacturers began attaching toppers to mattresses. Today, most pillow tops are on innerspring mattresses or airbeds. However, some memory foam and latex mattresses have pillowtop models also.

What are the differences among pillow top, euro top and box top?

There were two ways of edging a topper. Pillow style was with a single bead around the topper. Box style was with two beads, top and bottom. The first looked more like a mattress-sized pillow, the other like a thin mattress. When these were attached to a mattress, the bottom edge of the box topper was sewn to the top edge of the mattress. A real pillow top has its own cover, top and bottom. But pillow toppers were sewn to the mattress top panel in from the edge, leaving an indendation. But how about a euro top? For some makers, it is a more high-sounding name for a box top. For some it is a box top without the bead at the joining seam. Now some "pillowtop" models are stitched to the mattress edge-to-edge with the top rounded. But another manufacturer's model looking the same is called "eurotop." Since the lines are blurred among these three, we'll treat them all the same.

Why have a pillow top?

A pillow top (or euro top) is added to a mattress to make it softer, plusher. A few pillowtop models are even called "plush top." It is an added comfort layer, usually ranging from 1" to 3" high to make the mattress more comfortable for the user. The firmness of the foam or batting adjusts the firmness level of the mattress as a whole to a customer's preference. For most models, the pillow top is softer than the mattress, for a few it is firmer, for some it is more of the same. In almost all cases, it adds to the mattress height.

A disadvantage of pillow tops is that they are prone to sagging or compression, since they are usually made of softer material than the mattress's comfort layers. However, there are suggestions online for how to help prolong the life of a pillow top.

Here are some key points needed to determine
which pillowtop mattress is best:

Is it detachable? - Some brands have zippered pillow tops so they can be rotated or flipped regularly to prevent or delay lumping and sagging. One retailer's website has an article on fluffing a detachable pillow top mattress. If the pillow top is detachable, can you buy a second one which is firmer or softer to customize the mattress?

What are the cushioning materials? - Beyond the softness or firmness of a pillow top are factors such as comformability, resilience and temperature control. Memory foam is very conformable, cradling the sleeper and relieving pressure points, but it tends to build up heat until it is too hot for most users. Most top layer memory foam is now infused with gel for cooling. Adding gel also makes the memory foam more resilient.

Latex is more resilient. Polyurethane foam can be made to almost any firmness level, but it is subject to outgassing. Compressed cotton batting is firmer than most foams and is very breathable. Wool is also breathable with the added benefit of being flame resistant.

How is it covered? - The cover of the pillow top is the cover of the mattress. It is where the mattress meets you. Questions to consider about the cover are:
~ What is the cover fabric?
~ Is it quilted? If so, with what?
~ How does it meet federal flammability standards? Does it use chemicals?
~ Is it tufted? Tufting holds layers of the pillow top together in line.
~ How well do fitted sheets work with this?

What style do I want? - More than looks, the style does affect the behavior and feel of a pillow top. The euro/box style may be more supportive for sitting on the edge of the bed, but the single-edge pillow style will not have the edge digging into the back of your thigh. In my opinion, the pillow style is better suited for thinner pillow tops and the euro/box style for higher ones.

After considering these three key questions—Is it detachable? What are the cushioning materials? How is it covered?—what makes a pillowtop mattress better for you is how it works for you.

Do The Pillowtop Mattress Ratings Tell The True Story?

Several pillowtop mattresses have been reviewed by users on If you have a pillowtop mattress, no matter how long you have had it, you are welcome to review it here. If we do not have a review page for your mattress or the collection/series it is in, contact us.

Here are the most reviewed pillowtop mattreses:

Serta Perfect Sleeper (pillowtop option) - 7 reviews (4-star average)
Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtop - 2 reviews (4.5-star average)
Carolina Mattress Guild Mattresses (includes pillowtop models) - 2 reviews (2-star average)

Here are the best rated pillowtop mattresses reviewed by customers:

Sleep Number Classic cSE by Select Comfort - 1 review (5 stars)
Sleep Number Classic c2 by Select Comfort - 1 review (5 stars)
Select Comfort Sleep Number i8 - 1 review (5 stars)
Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtop - 2 reviews (4.5-star average)
Serta Perfect Sleeper (pillowtop option) - 7 reviews (4-star average)
Lady Americana Ultra Plush (incl. Brnz Supr PT and Slvr Supr PT) - 1 review (4 stars)

Notes on Ratings: The ratings for Select Comfort models reflect the overall good ratings for Sleep Number airbeds. The Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtops include two models rated 4 and 5. Serta models include Pillowtop and Eurotop options. Serta's ratings include 2 rated 3 stars, 2 rated 5 stars, and 3 rated 4 stars. There is only one review for Lady Americana. From reviews by you, the customers, on, The best Pillowtop Mattresses are the Sleep Number pillowtop airbeds by Select Comfort and the Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtop and Serta Perfect Sleeper (pillowtop option) innerspring mattresses.

A Word about Top Ratings and Reviews

The reliability of mattress ratings (including those of pillowtop models) based on polls and tallying of reviews depends on the number of respondents and how long they have used the mattresses they are reviewing. The larger the sample, the more faithfully representative the results are. And the longer customers have used mattresses, the better they know them, and the more reliable their evaluations. This is more true for mattresses than for several other kinds of products, mostly because of how they wear. Cushioning layers tend to “settle in” over time, and the feel can change over several months. This is why on customer reviews, the user has to say when the mattress was purchased. is a proud member of these and other organizations