Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top Mattresses

Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top Mattresses

Those shopping for a new mattress are overwhelmed with choices and decisions.  At a macro level, one of the major choices whether you want a memory foam or pillow top mattress. Both offer added comfort over an ordinary spring mattress. Many prefer the support of memory foam, but individual preference varies according to needs and lifestyle.

What is the Difference Between a Memory Foam or Pillow Top Mattress?

Memory Foam Mattress Construction

Memory foam mattresses on the market today are made from different layers of polyurethane foam, typically consisting of a supportive base foam with additional layers for added comfort and responsiveness.  Below is description of the standard construction of a triple layer memory foam mattress, like the Bed. Memory foam mattresses provide a very supportive sleep experience and are very durable.  They cradle the sleeper providing pressure point relief and are very durable and resilient over time.

Pros of the Memory Foam Mattress vs. Pillow Top

  • Durability: A quality memory foam mattress is usually more durable than a pillow top mattress.
  • Chronic Pain Relief: Since memory foam yields just enough to conform to an individual's body shape, it tends to offer more support for people with back pain, neck pain or other chronic pain points.
  • Not Too Soft, Not Too Firm: Most sleepers rest well because they find the memory foam soft enough for comfort but firm enough to offer support. Web MD suggests this type of mattress is best for back health.
  • Low Motion Transfer: Couples appreciate that when one partner tosses and turns or wakes up in the night, the other is not disturbed.
  • Better for Allergies: People with dust allergies find memory foam is less likely to trigger their allergies.
  • Weight Distribution: Heavier people often find they sleep more comfortable on memory foam since it distributes their weight evenly.

Cons of the Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top

  • Temperature: Some sleepers find memory foam to be a little warmer than pillow tops. Fortunately, if the memory foam mattress is made from more breathable materials or contains a gel layer like the Bed, this becomes a wash.

Pillow Top Mattress Construction

A pillow top mattress is a specific type of inner spring mattress with a soft, cushioning outer layer on the top of the mattress.

Pros of the Pillow Top vs. Memory Foam

  • Off-Gassing: Customers concerned about "off-gassing" may prefer pillow top, but this is an easy problem to solve by choosing a quality memory foam mattress, like bed, that avoids harmful chemicals in its construction and by airing the mattress.
  • Temperature: Pillow top mattresses don't usually create that "too warm" feeling some sleepers experience on foam mattresses. However, not all memory foam mattresses share this issue, some manufacturers, like, solve this problem by using breathable materials or including a layer of cooling gel.

Cons of the Pillow Top vs. Memory Foam

  • Pillow top mattresses tend to not offer any extra comfort for people with a higher body weight.
  • Most of the cons that apply to traditional inner spring mattresses apply. One major drawback for couples is that one partner's movement causes reverb across the bed that may disrupt the other partner's sleep.
  • Pillow top mattresses tend to wear out or degrade quicker than memory foam mattresses.

Which Should You Choose?

While everyone will have differing personal preferences, memory foam mattresses certainly have much more pros than cons overall in terms of durability, allergies, pressure point relief, and motion transfer to name a few.  Moreover, buying from a company like you get a mattress with a risk free 200 night trial, 12 year warranty and amazing customer support.  Companies that sell pillow top mattresses most likely do not offer a trial period or near the same warranty offer.

Edited: 09/14/2019