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Memory Foam vs Pillow Top Mattress: What’s the Best?

With so many mattress options to choose from, how do you know which one is best for you? Memory foam and pillow-top mattresses both have their advantages and disadvantages. How do the two compares against each other?

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for physical and mental health. Quality bedding can help improve our sleep by providing optimum support throughout the night. Memory foam and pillow-top mattresses are among the most common types of mattresses available in stores.

Choosing between a memory foam or pillow top mattress can be a daunting task as both types offer unique advantages. In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of memory foam and pillow top mattresses to help you decide which one is best for your needs.

Table of Contents

What is a Pillow Top Mattress?

A pillow top mattress is a type of mattress having an additional padding layer that is present on its top surface. Traditionally, the innerspring mattresses come with a layer of a pillow top. But now it is seen sewn on latex mattresses.

The supreme purpose of these padding layers is to provide maximum plushness to the mattress and additional comfort to the sleepers. This padding layer may be composed of a variety of materials. Some of these materials include fiberfill, wool, cotton, etc. It provides the required comfort and support and minimizes the sinking effects during sleeping.

Euro Pillow Top mattress

Types of Pillow Top Mattresses

There are several types of pillow top mattresses, including:

  • Euro Top

A Euro Top mattress is a mattress with a layer of upholstery directly attached to the top surface, providing additional cushioning and comfort. This type of mattress is typically firmer than a standard pillow top mattress, but not as firm as a traditional innerspring or memory foam mattress.

  • Plush Top

A plush top mattress is a type of mattress that features an additional layer of plus material at the top, providing extra cushioning for improved comfort and support. Plush tops are typically made from foam or fiberfill materials, which helps to contour the body for added back support.

  • Tight Top

Tight top mattresses are a type of mattress with a solid, flat top surface and a consistent layer of supportive foam throughout. This mattress is often more affordable than other options and provides firm support to sleepers.

  • Foam Top

Foam Top mattresses are mattresses composed of a core layer of foam, typically memory foam or latex foam, topped with a layer of softer comfort foam. The construction of these mattresses is designed to provide optimal conformance and pressure relief while still providing the necessary support for comfort and spinal alignment.

  • Gel Top

A gel top mattress is a type of mattress that has a layer or fabric filled with memory foam and gel beads. The gel beads help to provide an extra layer of support and comfort while the memory foam helps to contour the body, reduce pressure points, and provide a restful night’s sleep.

  • Innerspring Pillow Top

An innerspring pillow top mattress is an type of bedding material made up of a pocketed coil layer and a foam layer on the surface. The coils are designed to provide support, while the foam softens the surface and helps keep your body aligned throughout sleep.

Pros of Pillow Top Mattress

  • It may not release off-gassing odors.
  • Available at a cheaper cost.
  • Provides additional plushness while maintaining support.
  • Allow the efficient flow of air, making it breathable.

Cons of Pillow Top Mattress

  • Fails to provide comfort to overweight sleepers.
  • Do not possess good motion isolation properties. 
  • Less durable as it quickly undergoes wear and tear.
  • It may cause discomfort due to motion transfer.
  • May gathers allergy-causing agents

Who is a Pillow Top Mattress Best for?

Pillow top mattress is the best option for side sleepers. They feel maximum pressure on their shoulders and hips. This mattress provides the required comfort to these pressure points leading to a comfy sleep. But it is not recommended for the back and stomach sleepers as they may not feel enough comfort.

Moreover, hot sleepers do not enjoy sleeping on these mattresses because they are breathable and do not provide hotness.

What is a Memory Foam Mattress?

The memory foam mattress is a type of mattress that is a combination of memory foam with underlying firm foam. Memory foam is a soft material constructed with low-resistance polyurethane or polyurethane foam. Polyurethane is a plastic polymer used to manufacture various products like car components, spray foam, etc.
memory foam mattress

Different additives and chemicals are added to the polyurethane that greatly affects its properties like elasticity and viscosity. These viscoelastic properties of memory foam provide sleepers with excellent comfort and support during sleeping.

Memory foam mattresses generally consist of two or three distinct layers. These layers are summarized below.

  • Top Comfort Layer

The comfort layer is present on the Top of the mattress. Its main function is providing effective support and contouring.

  • Transition Layer

The transition layer is in the middle of the upper memory foam and base layer, i.e., the support layer, and acts as a buffering system between both layers. It is usually made of polyfoam or latex material that helps reduce the mattress’s sagging.

It is firmer than the comfort layer while a bit softer than the support layer, with thickness, usually ranging between 1-3 inches.

  • Support Layer

The support layer is the base layer of a memory foam mattress. It provides additional strength to both layers. Moreover, it ensures the long-term functioning of the mattress by preventing its sagging.

The memory foam mattress is well known for its conforming ability. Whenever you lay on this type of mattress, it will adapt according to your body, providing you with an admirable level of support and comfort. It will automatically regain its shape when you get up from the mattress. Moreover, it contours your body by equivalently distributing your weight, ultimately adding relief to pressure points.

Types of Memory Foam Mattresses

There are several types of memory foam mattresses, including:

  • Traditional Memory Foam Mattress

It is the traditional type of memory foam mattress that contours your body with its molding ability. But it provides the maximum sleeper’s heat, so the mattress may feel hot while sleeping. So, the manufacturers take precautionary steps to keep the mattress cool to provide a good sleep.

  • Gel-infused memory foam

Gel memory foam mattress is a type of mattress made from viscoelastic foam that is infused with gel particles that help regulate temperature, increase comfort, and create a more supportive sleeping surface. It typically consists of layers of foam with different densities and levels of support to maximize pressure relief and allow greater airflow.

  • Open-cell memory foam

An open cell is a memory mattress with a pocket-like internal structure. It makes the mattress breathable and ensures the free flow of air to provide a cooling effect to the sleepers during sleeping.

  • Plant-based memory foam

Plant-based memory foam is a type of memory foam that uses plant extracts like soybeans and castor beans to replace some or all of the petroleum-based oils used in traditional polyurethane foams. It is typically less toxic than other types of memory foams, as well as more breathable and more comfortable.

  • Hybrid memory foam

Hybrid memory foam is a mattress material consisting of two or more layers of memory foam over other types of foam. It combines the advantages of different mattress materials, such as support, pressure relief, and cooling, which result in improved sleep quality.

  • Low-density memory foam

Low-density memory foam is a type of polyurethane-based foam which is heat sensitive and conforms to the shape of the user’s body, providing both comfort and support. It is commonly used in mattresses, pillows, and other bedding products.

Pros of Memory Foam Mattress

  • Possess body-conforming ability
  • Minimize pain by providing relief to pressure points.
  • Highly durable with a lifespan of about 8 to 10 years.
  • Effectively eliminate motion transfer.
  • Provide comfort by balancing the provided softness.
  • Provide better sleep by evenly distributing your weight.

Cons of Memory Foam Mattress

  • Restless sleep due to heat retention.
  • Release unpleasant off-gassing smells.
  • Low-quality memory foam mattresses may sag easily.

Who is a Memory Foam Mattress Best For?

People who benefit most from foam mattresses are those who:

  • Experience perpetual anguish or join inconvenience: Memory foam’s capability to lessen weight on joints can assist in relieving inconvenience and torment.
  • Favor a yielding and adjusting sleeping area: Memory foam adjusts to the contours of your body, supplying a pleasant and tranquil slumbering setting.
  • For those who have a partner who hunts around in their sleep, memory foam’s motion segregation assists in reducing disruption, so the probability of being roused by a companion’s movement is diminished.
  • Looking for something hardwearing and enduring: Memory foam is a strong material that resists deterioration and damage and can stand up to repeated use for countless years.
  • Suffer from allergies: Memory foam has immunity to dust mites, mildew, and other allergens, making it an ideal option for people with allergies.

It ought to be kept in mind that memory foam may not be the most suitable option for everybody. Some individuals may find memory foam too warm or too soft, and others may prefer a firmer and more or less reflexive reclining surface.

Pillow Tops vs. Memory Foam: How to Choose Between Them?

Memory foam mattresses are ideal for support and comfort, but their rates are high. On the other side, pillow top mattresses provide less comfort and support than memory foam mattresses and are found at cheaper rates.

While designing a memory foam mattress, memory foam is fixed on the upper surface of the firm foam. In contrast, pillow top mattresses are innerspring mattresses with a comfy layer on their upper surface for additional cushioning.

Both pillow tops and memory foam can provide a comfortable sleep and required support to the sleepers. They are worth buying in their ways, but here are certain factors that you must consider before choosing any of them.


Durability is the most important factor before choosing a mattress to ensure its longer life span. The memory foam mattress is more durable than the Pillow top mattress because it does not easily undergo sagging and wear and tear. So, if you are looking for a durable option, it’s better to go for a memory foam mattress. 

Motion Isolation

Unlike the pillow top, the memory foam mattress exhibits exceptional motion isolation properties. If you are searching for a mattress that can help with motion isolation, then you must choose a memory foam mattress for sleep, free of discomfort.


The cost of the mattress is a notable factor that can greatly affect your budget. Memory foam mattresses are found at expensive rates ranging from $800 to $1500. On the other hand, pillow top mattresses are available at cheap rates ranging from $200 to $1000.

If you want a mattress with good support and comfort at affordable rates, then a pillow top mattress is quite good for you.


Both pillow tops and memory foam mattresses can provide better support and comfort. But the memory foam mattress has more comforting properties than the Pillow top mattress. It also relieves pressure points and provides good sleep to back sleepers.

Pressure Relief

Memory foam mattresses provide excellent pressure relief. In a Pillow Top mattress, you may feel bounces; thus, it may not provide enough pressure relief as provided by Memory foam. A Memory foam mattress is a perfect investment if you want to wake up with minimum body aches.

Temperature Regulation

The Memory foam mattress is known for trapping heat and having poor breathability. So, it provides warmth during sleeping that may result in sweating.

On the other hand, the Pillow top mattress is considered breathable as these mattresses allow the free flow of air. They are not warm and provide coolness rather than hotness. If you are a hot sleeper, a Memory foam mattress is best for you; otherwise, a Pillow top mattress is a perfect option.


Memory foam mattresses may cause off-gassing odors in your place because of memory foam material. In contrast, no off-gassing odor is observed in the Pillow top mattress except those made with foam. In short, if you do not want to feel the off-gassing odors, choose the Pillow top mattresses with no foam material.


Memory foam and pillow top mattresses are two popular types of bedding materials that offer different benefits to consumers. Which type of mattress is better for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences.

If you suffer from chronic pain or joint discomfort, memory foam may be a better option. If you prefer a soft and plush sleeping surface, a pillow top mattress may be the right choice. Ultimately, the best type of mattress for you will depend on your personal needs and preferences.

Author: Jessica

Jessica is a lover of both life and gardening. She loves to share his passion for both on social media. He often posts about his latest gardening projects, as well as tips and tricks for others who might be interested in starting their own gardens. She also frequently posts about the different aspects of his life that he enjoys, from spending time with friends and family to exploring new places.

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