Memory Foam Mattresses Versus Pillow Top Mattresses: Which Is Better? (2023)

March 7, 2023. 4 min.further

Vonsarah anderson,Certified Sleep Science Trainer Memory Foam Mattresses Versus Pillow Top Mattresses: Which Is Better? (1)

Do you want asoft mattresssink, but which is the better option, a memory foam mattress or a pillow top mattress? Both offer plush cushioning, but the feel can be different as each has a different support system. Memory foam typically rests on top of rigid foam, while a pillow-top mattress is an innerspring mattress with an extra layer of padding.

Knowing the pros and cons of each, you can determine whichbest mattressfor you. You can also consider a different bed, such as a hybrid bed, or look for inexpensive accessories, such as a bed.memory foam topperoder Pillow-Top-Pads.

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What is a viscoelastic mattress?

Memory foam is made of polyurethane with chemicals added to increase its responsiveness to heat and pressure.memory foam mattressesSoft and fits comfortably on your body to relieve pressure.

Memory foam mattresses only contain memory foam in the top layers. The basic model is a layer of memory foam on top of a more rigid foam, usually polyfoam.



Memory foam mattresses usually last at least 7 years. High-quality memory foam mattresses can last 8-10 years.

Pressure relief and pain relief

Memory foam flexes and conforms to your body to relieve pressure. Its adaptive nature also reduces pain, which is why memory foam mattresses are one of them.The best mattresses for back painand other chronic problems.


heat storage

Conventional memory can absorb and store body heat. To solve this problem, manufacturers add cooling gels or other infusions to dissipate heat.


Some memory foam mattresses, especially low-quality ones, release an unpleasant chemical odor when opened. the smell comes fromVolatile organic compounds(VOC) decompose at room temperature. The odor usually goes away within three to seven days.

If you are sensitive to odors, look for a CertiPUR-US® certification, as this means the mattress contains low levels of VOCs.

What is a pillow top mattress?

A pillowcase is a layer of soft padding sewn into a mattress. The pillow top may contain materials such as down, cotton, wool, memory foam, latex foam, or fiber fill. Traditionally, pillow protectors are sewn into an innerspring mattress, but some latex mattress manufacturers offer pillow protectors that you can buy separately to offset the firm feel of latex.

You can find mattresses with the standard pillow or a euro top. A regular pillowcase is sewn onto the mattress with a visible gap between the comfort layer and the pillowcase. A Eurotop is installed under the mattress cover for a uniform appearance and better edge retention.


pain relief

Pillow top beds are goodhip pain mattressand other chronic diseases. The plush layer can conform to your body to relieve pressure, though you may still feel the mattress underneath.


Pads reduce bounce compared to spring mattresses with no pads. However, you will still feel comfortable on the mattress.


lack of durability

According to Sleep Like the Dead, at least 30% of mattress owners report that their pillow sags within 3 years. More owners report sagging or tight within 3-5 years of ownership. When pillow-top mattresses sag, they lose their ability to relieve pain.

motion transmission

Pillowcases are typically found on top of innerspring mattresses, and the pillowcase's soft fill is often insufficient to absorb movement, allowing it to move over the convolutions of the mattress. If you share a bed, pillow-top mattresses may not be for you.

Other types of mattresses

Maybe neither a memory foam nor a pillow-top mattress sounds right for you. You have other mattress options to consider.

People often comparememory foam for latexMattresses, because the two are similar. However, latex is a more resistant and environmentally friendly material. Manufacturers process natural latex from the sap of the rubber tree into a firm, breathable mattress.

hybrid mattressesCombine spring core coils with a 2- to 3-inch sheet of foam. Hybrids are more breathable and elastic than a memory foam mattress and offer more pressure relief than an innerspring bed.

Economic options: toppers and pillows

If you're interested in the feel of a memory foam or pillow-top mattress but can't afford a new mattress, you can purchase a mattress or pillow-top mattress.

Toppers add a few extra inches of foam to your mattress and range from soft to firm. You can find a cooling gel memory foam pillow if you tend to sleep hot at night. Also, a topper can temporarily fix a sagging mattress.

The pillows are placed on the mattress like a sheet. Pillow-top pillows have a benefit that pillow-top mattresses don't: You can remove the pillows for cleaning.

Both a topper and a pillowtop are usually under $200.

What is right for me?

Memory foam and pillow-top mattresses are generally comparable in price, with some queen-size mattresses.Mattresses cost less than $1000. When deciding which mattress is right for you, you shouldn't just look at price.

Memory foam tends to have better durability and motion isolation. The material offers more pressure relief than pads. However, memory foam can retain body heat and has a strong but temporary odor when first opened.

Cushions provide flexible support and better airflow due to their coils, but the coils can sag and affect comfort within a few years. Coils also tend to transmit movement.

The sleeping position may influence your decision. While back and stomach sleepers can rest comfortably on pillow-top memory foam mattresses, we recommend memory foam mattresses for side sleepers. Side sleepers can feel the innerspring through the pillow liner.

frequent questions

Can I flip a pillow top mattress?

You shouldn't flip a mattress if only one side has a pillow top on it. You can flip a double-sided pillow-top mattress.

How do you know if your mattress is too hard?

Waking up with back pain is a sign that your mattress is not the right firmness for you. Another sign that your bed is too hard is that your extremities become numb and numb.

New mattresses are usually a bit firmer than you might expect and soften as you sleep on them; you can break down the mattress faster if you walk on the bed for a few minutes every day.

What is the best mattress for side sleepers with back pain?

We recommendMemory foam mattresses for side sleepersto relieve back pain. A medium-touch mattress should offer the perfect balance between support and pressure relief.

How do I know if my mattress needs to be replaced?

signs you shouldchange your mattresscontain:

  • You wake up constantly tired or sore.
  • Your allergies are worse in the morning. Most mattresses collect dust.Staubmilbenand other allergens over the years.
  • You go round and round, trying to get comfortable.
  • The bed sags, is lumpy, or loses its shape.
  • It's over eight years old, or worse, you can't remember how old your mattress is.

we help

Only you can decide whether a pillow-top or memory foam bed is right for you: memory foam provides a huggable sensation, while pillow tops provide a soft bounce. If you're still not sure, find a mattress store where you can compare the two. And remember that a test sleep gives you a few months of trial and error on a mattress.

This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of the advice of your physician or other healthcare professional.

sarah anderson, Certified Sleep Science Trainer Memory Foam Mattresses Versus Pillow Top Mattresses: Which Is Better? (3)

Sarah Anderson is an author and reviewer of sleep, health, and wellness products. She has written articles on changing and improving your sleep patterns, choosing the right mattress for chronic pain, and finding the best pillow for you. Sarah Anderson received her BA in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University. Before working for Zoma, she wrote for various news publications. Sarah's work has been featured in Bustle, PureWow, and other publications.

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