Pillow Top vs. Euro Top: What's the Difference?

Learn about these plush additions to your mattress and see if they might be right for you.

By Alesandra Woolley

Mattress shopping is tricky. Not only are there a million different options that tend to all look the same, but you also have to learn a whole new set of lingo!

While shopping, you may have come across pillow top or euro top mattresses and said to yourself: What the heck are those?

We’ll explain what each of these mattress types are and take a look at the similarities and differences between euro top and pillow top mattresses to see if one of them might be right for you. And even if they’re not, at least you can impress your friends with some new vocabulary.

Avocado mattress: standard (left) vs. pillow-top (right) Avocado mattress: standard (left) vs. pillow-top (right)

Quick Summary: Pillow Top vs Euro Top Mattresses

Euro top and pillow top mattresses are similar in that they both have an extra layer of padding or cushion on top of the mattress. Where they differ is how they’re attached to the mattress.

To be clear, a euro top is a specific type of pillow top. It’s like how a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square. Both are a top layer of padding on a mattress, but conventional pillow tops are an extra comfort layer that is sewn on the mattress, leaving a slight gap between the pillow top and the mattress. 

A euro pillow top covers the entire surface of the mattress top and is flush with each side of the mattress so it looks more like a part of the bed.

What Are Pillow Top Mattresses? 

  • Extra comfort layer sewn on the top of the mattress
  • Leave a slight gap between the pillow top and mattress
  • Can be made of memory foam, latex, fibers, wool, or gel (high-quality materials)
  • Softer and less dense
  • Allows you to sink in a bit more
  • Can shift around as you move (sheets help reduce this)

Pillow top mattresses can be made of memory foam, latex foam, fibers, wool, or gel but euro tops are usually made with foam or fiberfill (meaning the euro top is usually constructed with better quality materials). 

Pillow top mattress

In terms of appearance, a pillow top mattress looks like someone just laid a giant pillow blanket over the mattress, but it’s actually stitched onto the mattress to keep it from falling off. However, there is a slight gap between the mattress and pillow top. So it may appear thick, but it won’t be as dense. 

Pillow top mattresses can feel softer than euro tops because they’re less taught on the mattress, allowing you to sink in a bit more. That being said, pillow tops also tend to shift around more as you move or change positions; however, this can be minimized by adding a mattress cover and sheets.

Examples of Pillow Top Mattresses 

What are Euro Top Mattresses? 

  • Covers entire surface of mattress top
  • Flush with each side of the mattress
  • Looks like part of the bed
  • Soft, but less soft than pillow tops
  • Dense and durable
  • Typically made of foam or fiberfill (low quality materials)

On a euro top mattress, the extra layer of padding is affixed to the mattress and sits flush with the edges. Because it sits flush and is more taught than a pillow top, euro tops tend to have better edge support, motion isolation, less shifting, and they maintain shape longer.

Euro top mattress (Avocado)

Euro tops will still feel soft, but not as soft as pillow tops. In terms of appearance, a euro top will look more like one cohesive mattress, although this doesn’t matter too much because it will be covered with bed sheets. 

Overall, euro pillow tops are more dense and durable than a standard pillow top and they have a more clean look (if appearance matters to you).

Examples of Euro Top Mattresses

  • Avocado (option to add euro top): Hybrid latex + innerspring mattress: $1,699 for queen with euro top
  • Saatva (comes with euro top): Hybrid memory foam + coil on coil mattress: $999 for queen

Pillow Tops vs. Euro Tops: How to Choose

Both pillow tops and euro tops are an extra layer of padding or cushion on top of the mattress, which can be made of foam, down or other hybrid materials. The benefit is that both of these additions will make your bed feel softer. 

Pillow tops and euro tops can be found in many different types of mattresses, but they’re most common (and most useful) on innerspring mattresses. The additional cushion layer can give an innerspring mattress the feel of a hybrid at a cheaper cost. However, since both add a few inches of height to your mattress, it may mean you have to make an investment in deep-pocketed sheets. 

So how do you decide which to go with? Here are the most important considerations to keep in mind: 

  • Feel: If you want a softer feeling mattress that you sink in to and hugs you, go with a pillow top. If you want something more firm, go with a euro top. 
  • Durability: Euro tops are more dense, meaning they are more durable than a pillow top mattress and tend to last a little longer. 
  • Support: Euro tops increase edge support because of how they rest flush with the edge of the mattress. A pillow top is less supportive around the edge. 
  • Cost: Pillow tops are typically made with more high-quality materials and will cost more than euro tops. 
  • Appearance: Euro tops are not noticeable since they are flush with the mattress. Pillow tops are more apparent. 
  • Thickness: Both add a few inches to the top of your mattress, meaning you may need deep-pocketed sheets. Pillow tops also have a slight added gap.

FAQs

What is a pillow top?

A pillow top is an additional comfort layer on the top of your mattress.

What’s the difference between pillow top and euro top?

Standard pillow tops are sewn on the top of your mattress, leaving a small gap between the pillow top and the mattress. Euro tops are a type of pillow top that is more closely built to the mattress, flush with the edges, and feels more dense.

Who is a pillow top good for?

Pillow top mattresses are good for those seeking extra comfort and contouring ability in their mattress. The extra layer of cushioning helps support the spine and reduce pain.

Which pillow top mattresses are best?

Some of our favorite pillow top mattresses include Saatva, WinkBed, DreamCloud, and Avocado.

Summary

A euro or pillow top mattress can provide an additional layer of comfort and extra padding to your mattress. This is ideal for side sleepers or those with pain. 

When it comes down to euro tops vs pillow tops, there aren’t many differentiating factors to affect your decision other than appearance and feel. For a more dense, durable, and supportive feel, look at euro top mattresses. For a softer feel, look a standard pillow top mattresses.

Still have questions about pillow top mattresses? Check out our FAQ section or leave a comment in the section below!

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