Pillow-Top Mattresses vs. Foam Mattress Toppers



Warning – you almost fell into the “Mattress Confusion Zone”. Pillow-Top Mattresses vs. Foam Mattress Toppers is a good question but it’s important not to be overwhelmed by all the information.


It’s not you. It’s the industry. Advanced technology has given us a vast number of sleeping options to choose from. The trouble is all this information is difficult to keep straight without some sort of chart or an excel document. We’re going to help clear up some of the confusion here today.


The most important thing for you to keep in mind is that all this information really comes down to how your mattress and/or topper makes you feel. Your preference is what matters most of all. That’s it. Stay focused on how it feels to you and making the choice will be easy.




Top of mattress vs mattress topper

Many of today’s mattresses are constructed with base layers, middle layers and then, you guessed it -- the “top layer.” This top layer can be composed of several different materials and configurations. For example, a basic mattress can have a top layer made of memory foam, poly foam, latex foam, natural or synthetic padding.


Any one of these or a combination of these will then be finished with fabric and stitching of some kind. In the end, it’s just a mattress that comes with a fancy top layer. It is already part of the mattress and cannot be removed. Sometimes this top layer has a “pillowy” look to it. Hence, the name pillowtop mattress. Regardless, it’s still just part of the mattress.


On the other hand, mattress toppers are completely separate from the mattress. A mattress topper is something you can add on top of your existing mattress. You can choose a gel memory foam mattress topper, a regular memory foam mattress topper, a feather-bed topper, a washable wool topper, and countless other toppers.




Wanna hear something funny? Yes, for the truly adventurous, you can even add a mattress topper, on top of your existing pillow top mattress – and then if you’re so inclined, add a cherry on top with a mattress protector.


Start with your mattress

Even if you bought your mattress just a few years ago, there have been so many advances in mattress construction, technology, and materials, it’s definitely worth having a look. It might even be time to consider a different mattress size. Some of today’s most popular mattress choices include: memory foam mattresses, eggcrate foam mattresses and hybrid mattresses. Some of these choices may or may not have a top layer called a pillow-top.




When you decide it’s time to get a mattress topper, your options are practically endless. You can choose different levels of firmness, different materials and different methods of construction. Some toppers are fitted and hold themselves on top of your mattress. Some, require a fitted sheet to keep them squarely on top of your mattress.


Again, what’s most important here is that you look for what feels best to you. In addition to reviewing how the mattress topper looks, please stay focused on how different materials deliver a different feel and there’s more you can learn about this here.


How sleeping position can affect choosing a mattress top

Depending on your sleeping position, a mattress topper may help you. If you’ve chosen an extra firm mattress and you find yourself sleeping on your side, it might be nice to have just a touch more give from a plush mattress topper. Conversely, your mattress may be a bit softer than you like.

Here again, a mattress topper that is firmer can give you the support you’re looking for. Elbows, shoulders, and hips over the years may require additional pressure relief. This is an excellent opportunity to find exactly what you’re looking for with a mattress topper.




You could also have it both ways!

Two people sleeping in the same bed may not have the same preferences in mattress firmness. Although compromise is a necessary part of a strong relationship, you may not need to just yet. And, you may not need a new bed. Try a mattress topper on only one side of the bed instead.


For example, a Twin XL mattress topper will fit on one half of a king size bed. One person can enjoy the way the existing mattress feels while the other can enjoy the feel of the mattress topper.


In fact, if when you purchased your last mattress, both of you had to compromise between very firm and very soft by settling for a medium firmness mattress, why not each get the mattress topper of your choice? Two Twin XL mattress toppers will fit neatly onto a king size bed.


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