Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top Mattress Comparison: Which Is Best? Update 07/2024

Memory foam and pillow-top mattresses may be good options if you are seeking for a soft resting surface that provides the ideal blend of cushioning and support. Both mattresses have a similar feel, however a memory foam mattress’ support structure differs from a pillow top’s in most cases.

Pillow-top mattresses typically contain innerspring coils as its support structure, but the support layer of a memory foam mattress is composed of high-density poly-foam. The added cushioning sewed on top increases the bed’s plushness and comfort. Traditional innerspring beds typically have pillow tops because they reduce the rigidity of the steel coil layer beneath them, resulting in increased comfort.

What is Memory Foam?

In order to maintain its shape, memory foam that responds to temperature and pressure changes in your body provides body contouring properties. Mattresses made of memory foam conform to your body, distributing your weight evenly and relieving pressure points.

Memory foam’s ability to mold to the shape of the body makes it perfect for back and side sleepers, as well as those who sleep on their stomachs. People with back pain may find it helpful to use memory foam, which conforms to the natural curve of the spine to provide better lumbar support.

Types of Memory Foam

This is a common complaint with classic memory foam; however, newer kinds of foam are better at preventing heat retention.

Plant-Based Memory Foam

Cooler mattresses are made possible by replacing some of the petroleum-based oils in them with natural plant-based oils. Removing a synthetic component in favor of something more natural improves the bed’s ability to remain cool.

Gel Memory Foam

Incorporating “phase-changing material” (PCM) into memory foam, such as cooling gel or gel beads, improves the mattress’ ability to retain its coolness.

Other Cooling Additives

Copper and graphite in memory foam help to disperse heat from the source, making it easier for you to sleep at a comfortable temperature.

Benefits of Memory Foam

  • Having a form-fitting design alleviates pressure points.
  • For people who suffer from back and joint pain.
  • Durable.

Drawbacks of Memory Foam

  • Traditional memory foam may be a heat-retaining medium.
  • Toxic scents from a new product may be present in some memory foam mattresses.

What is Pillow Top?

Additional padding is sewn on top of the mattress to make it more comfortable. These materials include cotton, wool, down and fiberfill as well as latex foam and memory foam. The coil or innerspring support layer beneath these materials provides bounce and firmness, however these materials encourage plushness at the expense of these properties.

Types of Pillow Tops

In addition to the standard pillow-top mattress, there is the Euro top. The Euro-style is more popular in Europe, where it is thought to have originated. Both provide a layer of cushioning to alleviate discomfort.

Regular Pillow Top

There is a distinct gap above the comfort layer that is sewed on top of a conventional pillow top, providing the impression of additional cushioning.

Euro Pillow Top

Edge support is better on a Euro top mattress since the additional padding layer is sewed into the mattress cover, making it appear more flush and homogeneous. Foam or fiberfill is used to make the Euro top layer, which is thicker and denser than a standard pillow top.

Benefits of a Pillow Top

  • The mattress is breathable because of the coil layer’s ability to allow air to flow through it.
  • It’s cheaper in comparison.
  • Off-gassing is less likely.

Drawbacks of a Pillow Top

  • Not as long-lasting as other kinds of mattresses.
  • It’s possible that motion transfer will result in sleep interruptions as a result of this.

Difference between Memory Foam and Pillow Top

In terms of sensation, a pillow top mattress may have memory foam, but the additional layers—the bounciness of innerspring coils or motion-restricting foam—make them stand out.

Parameters Memory Foam Pillow Top
Feel Body-conforming, pressure relief Responsive and bouncy from the coiled support layer
Durability High-quality memory foam beds are more durable Coil layer degenerates faster affecting the bed’s durability
Temperature Regulation Traditional memory foam retains heat, but memory foam with cooling properties, like open-cells, cooling gels, and other cooling additives help beat the heat Innerspring coils promote airflow making the mattress cooler and more breathable
Motion Isolation Excellent in isolating motion Little to no motion isolation because of innerspring coils
Off-gassing More likely to off-gas due to synthetic polyurethane foam Slight off-gassing, depending on if the pillow top contains foam
Price Usually more expensive than a pillow top with the price for a queen size ranging between $600 to $4000 Usually less expensive than memory foam with the price for a queen size ranging between $200 to $2000


Can you have a pillow top on a memory foam mattress?

Unlike innerspring beds, memory foam mattresses don’t necessitate pillow tops because of their conforming qualities.

What is the difference between a hybrid mattress and a pillow top?

Unlike pillow top mattresses, which also use innerspring coils as a support layer, which are individually wrapped, hybrid mattresses use pocketed coils, which reduce motion transfer. Memory foam or latex comfort layers at least 2 inches thick are also seen in hybrid mattresses. You can find pillows with memory foam or latex or any other material in the comfort layer but they are usually less than 2 inches thick.

Are pillow tops or memory foam mattresses better?

Memory foam mattresses outperform pillow toppers in terms of customer satisfaction because they are more comfortable and last longer. Innerspring mattresses can be made more comfortable with pillow toppers, although many people prefer to avoid them in favor of other options.

Do pillow top mattresses wear out faster?

Pillow toppers have a shorter lifespan than the majority of mattresses, owing to their thin construction, which can easily be squeezed and thus lose its life.

Are memory foam mattresses good for your back?

Because they conform to your body and move with you as you sleep, memory foam mattresses are excellent for reducing back pain and other symptoms of back discomfort.

Can you flip a pillow top mattress over?

You cannot flip pillow top mattresses since you’ll be sleeping on the stiff coil layer instead of the soft pillow top. Retailers recommend rotating these mattresses every several months to avoid wear.

How can I make my pillow top mattress more comfortable?

A mattress topper can be used to alter the firmness or softness of your pillow top mattress. Mattress toppers come in a number of firmness levels to fit a wide range of sleep preferences.


The sort of mattress you select is influenced by your sleep preferences and demands.

Consider a memory foam mattress if you have a snoring companion and are in need of pain relief. With a pillow top mattress, you may get the bounce of an innerspring mattress with a luxurious resting surface.

It is important to remember that a pillow top mattress has a shorter lifespan than a memory foam bed. Your mattress may need to be replaced sooner than expected if you get a pillow top.

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