Shopping for something as frequently used as a mattress should be easy, right? However, once you start to do so, you will quickly realize that it is far from as simple as you might have thought. There are so many choices, and so many bedding terms that can be hard to understand. For example, what is the difference between a pillow top and a euro top mattress? What even are they anyway?
The difference between a pillow top and euro top mattress lies primarily in the way they are constructed. The terms refer not to the mattresses themselves, but to the top layer, the one designed to provide the softness and comfort we look for in a mattress.
Both also have their pros and cons, and often choosing between the two is a matter of personal preference.
However, as a mattress is usually a sizable investment, it pays to know the differences between the two before you shop and that is what we are going to take a closer look at here.
Pillow Top vs. Euro Top Mattress
The core differences between a pillow-top and a Euro-top are the materials used, plushness, and location of the seams on the mattress.
Pillow-tops feel softer, almost fluffy in some cases, and, as their name suggests, have a pillow-like quality which gives the top of the mattress a more “bowed” appearance.
Euro-top mattresses are thicker, denser and sit flush against the mattress’s surface, giving them a flatter appearance and a firmer feel.
What is a Euro Top Mattress?
Sunrising Bedding 11″ Natural Latex Hybrid Euro Top Mattress on Amazon.com
As they are flatter, and firmer, euro tops definitely have a more solid feel to the touch, and are firmer to sleep on. They are sewn directly onto the top of the rest of the mattress – which may consist of several additional layers – and usually have slightly harder edges than a pillow top mattress.
If you prefer the feel of a firm mattress as you sleep, then a euro top may be the right choice for you. As their construction is typically more durable, and their flush to mattress configuration means they flatten more slowly than some other mattress options, they could be a great choice for those hoping their mattress will ‘last’ for as long as possible.
Euro Top Pros and Cons
- More durable than many other mattress options, including most pillow tops.
- Firmer to sleep on, which may help those prone to chronic back pain
- Have a ‘neater’ look once bedsheets are added, as the flat nature of a euro top allows for a ‘smooth’ appearance.
- Do not feel like they are shifting as you sleep.
- Offer better support for heavier people.
- As many euro tops are constructed using memory foam, they often sleep hotter than other options.
- A euro top cannot be flipped, so may wear out faster than a mattress that can be flipped, something that decreases the rate of wear.
What is a Pillow Top Mattress?
Sweetnight 12″ Pillow Top Hybrid Mattress on Amazon.com
The idea behind a pillow top mattress is that it has a ‘cushy’ feel, and often appeals to those who like the idea of a softer mattress. As a pillow top is only the surface layer this may not mean having to sacrifice support though, as the layers underneath can be engineered to provide that, and in higher end mattresses usually are.
If you like the feeling of ‘sinking into’ your bed at night, then a pillow top will frequently offer that, and yet the layers below typically still provide good support. If you prefer an innerspring mattress a pillow top is often added to the modern versions of this classic to ‘cushion’ you as you sleep.
A pillow top may not be the best choice for those who struggle with regular back pain, however, careful shopping can result in pillow top mattresses that have several layers that make up for the reduced top layer support.
- Feel softer and cushier
- Preferred by some side sleepers as they cushion and support the hips well.
- May sleep cooler as they are often made using cooling cotton or bamboo
- Are often one of the less expensive mattress top options
- A pillow top mattress may feel like it is shifting as you move in your sleep, which some find uncomfortable.
- May be a poor choice for a heavier person or those with chronic back pain.
- Pillow tops cannot be flipped, so may wear out faster than some other mattress options that can.
The Comparison: Euro Top vs Pillow Top
So, how do pillow tops and euro tops stack up against each other? Here’s a look at some of the most important points of comparison to keep in mind as you shop for the right mattress for you.
Both offer good comfort, but the softness of the pillow top may be appealing to some. As it is the layers beneath them that matter more in terms of support, the choice between the two is usually a matter of personal preference.
Euro-tops are often thought to be more resilient and longer lasting than pillow-tops. A pillow top’s fluffy design will gradually flatten out, leading to an uneven sleeping surface. Euro-tops tend to last longer, however they may show signs of drooping along the mattress’s edges before the center of the mattress wears down, which again, will result in a somewhat uneven sleep surface.
Both a pillow top and a euro top offer decent edge support, but a euro top’s edges may seem to sag faster than a pillow tops, although that’s not always the case. The edge support offered by any mattress will be affected by the layers it is constructed from as a whole, so sagging edges may not always be the fault of the top layer alone.
Often lower priced mattresses will feature pillow tops rather than euro tops, but increasingly that is not the case and many mattress makers offer consumers the choice between the two when the layers beneath are essentially the same.
No, flipping a pillow top mattress is rarely a good idea as doing so will flatten its cushioning, and the result will be to reduce its useful life rather than increase it, which is usually the idea behind flipping a mattress! Also, in some cases, flipping the mattress may be considered misuse and may void your mattress warranty if it has one.
Technically you can add an extra mattress topper to a pillow top mattress, but unless it is sized correctly, and secured well the extra topper is likely to shift as you sleep, as a pillow top does not offer a completely flat surface for it to ‘sit’ on. If you do want to try a mattress topper, look for one with secure ties that can be positioned to shift as little as possible.
Often, if a pillow top mattress is a memory foam mattress, it will work with an adjustable bed just fine. Many innerspring mattresses may not be compatible with an adjustable bed, although some with pocketed coils are sometimes suitable. You should be aware of the fact that when it comes to an adjustable bed, it is the suitability of the mattress as a whole that matters, not just the top layer.
Flipping a pillow top mattress is not advisable as it will flatten it faster, decreasing its useful life. A flatter mattress does not equal a firmer mattress, though. If your pillow top mattress is not firm enough, you could consider adding a well fitting mattress topper or shopping for a new mattress altogether.
Can you buy a pillow top separately?
If your mattress is older, or feels too firm, and you are not ready to replace it, yet you can indeed buy a pillow top mattress topper to add to it, which may help provide you with the softness you are looking for.
Often those who suffer from chronic back pain find that the additional density and firmness offered by a euro top over a pillow top is helpful. However, the layers beneath the top are just as important when it comes to support and back pain relief.
It’s usually not advised to flip a euro top mattress. If you are looking for a mattress that can be flipped, you should always ensure that it is labeled as such to avoid causing damage and unnecessary wear and tear. Flipping a mattress that is not designed for that purpose may also void its warranty.
Can you buy a Euro top separately?
One of the defining characteristics of a euro top is that it is sewn directly to the next layer of the mattress, so mattress toppers are not available in this style. You could consider adding a pillow top mattress topper to your euro top bed if you would like more softness and are not ready to replace your current bed just yet.