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Pillowtop mattresses have existed for decades, but recent innovations in material science (better memory foam) mean they are coming back in vogue.

It would be best if you considered several things with pillowtop mattresses before buying, including a disadvantage that may make them unsuitable for you.

This article will dive into everything you need to know. Let’s jump in!

What are pillowtop mattresses? 

A pillowtop is a layer of padding sewn on top of a mattress. The pillowtop acts as the comfort layer, significantly increasing the thickness of the soft memory foam your body compresses into versus a standard mattress.

A pillowtop is most often found on pocket spring mattresses, where it is used to isolate the comfort layer from the support layer.

Are there any advantages?

Pillowtop mattresses might seem like a pointless innovation, what with regular mattresses with memory foam layers being so plush. However, a pillowtop is softer and more padded than a standard mattress, helping relieve aches and pains.

Pillowtop mattresses offer good support, and many people find the soft top layer relieves pressure on pain points. If you sleep with pain and find a regular mattress agitates you, then a pillowtop mattress could be just what you need.

Are there any disadvantages? 

The main disadvantage to a pillowtop mattress is that it won’t give you a very firm bed, so you should look elsewhere if you need a firm bed.

Also, you can’t flip them because they are one-sided. One-sided mattresses wear more quickly because you can’t alternate between sides (although you can still rotate them).

Opponents to pillowtop mattresses cite one-sidedness as the critical reason for not buying them, but the truth is pillowtop mattresses can be durable. Why else would Sleepeezee stick a 10-year guarantee on the Jessica Plush mattress?

The key to durability is the fill/material in the pillowtop. Memory foam is the most common material. The thickness of the memory foam is crucial to longevity – a pillowtop layer over 2” thick is recommended to preserve the foam’s structure.

Mattresses with a pillowtop 

Here are a few examples of mattresses with a pillowtop:

Sleepeezee Jessica Plush (medium)

word-image What is a Pillowtop Mattress?
Pictured: Sleepeezee Jessica Plush 2200 Pillowtop Mattress, Available from Bedstar The Online Bed Superstore.

The Sleepeezee Jessica Plush has a pillowtop filled with Dreamzone memory foam and a knitted fabric cover. It has 2,200 zoned pocket springs and is foam encapsulated, meaning it has support foam reinforcing the whole mattress border.

Giltedge Beds Pillowtop Pocket – Medium

 What is a Pillowtop Mattress?
Pictured: Giltedge Beds Pillowtop Pocket 3000 Mattress, Available from Bedstar The Online Bed Superstore.

The Giltedge Beds Pillowtop Pocket has a pillowtop filled with hollow fibre (polyester yarn) that provides excellent breathability and comfort. It pairs this with 3,000 pocket springs and a damask cover for luxurious support.

Silentnight Mirastar Memory Cushion Top – Medium-firm 

The Silentnight Mirastar has a thick memory foam pillowtop that contours to the shape of your body. It pairs this with Miracoil® reactive springs, which isolate movement so that you don’t disturb your partner when moving about.

word-image What is a Pillowtop Mattress?

Pictured: Silentnight Mirastar Memory Cushion Mattress, Available from Bedstar The Online Bed Superstore.

Are pillowtop mattresses any good?

Most people sleep fine on pillowtop mattresses, with few people finding them more uncomfortable than regular mattresses. Whether you’ll enjoy sleeping on one depends on how cushioned you like your bed to feel.

Love soft cushioning? Then a pillowtop mattress is a good choice. Hate it? Then you should probably look at regular mattresses.

What is the alternative to a pillowtop mattress?

The most straightforward alternative is a regular mattress with a top layer of memory foam or supportive foam. However, these won’t give you a pillow-like experience.

For a pillow-like experience, add a super-fill mattress topper with a gusset to your mattress (a gusset is a sewn-in panel that allows for additional padding). You can get toppers up to 4” thick, although a 2” mattress topper should do the job.

Should I buy a pillowtop mattress?

If you like sleeping on a cushioned surface, we say go for it! These mattresses are more padded than regular mattresses, so they are particularly suited to people who sleep with pain or wake up with aches and pains.