Pros and Cons of Pillow-Top Mattresses

Pillow-top mattresses have gained in popularity, and you're likely seeing them everywhere if you're shopping for a new mattress. Before choosing a pillow-top mattress, however, consider both the benefits and drawbacks. Make sure you lie on the mattress for at least 15 minutes in the store before making a decision, and try to find a store that offers a guarantee so you can return your purchase if you're not satisfied after sleeping on it.

Pillow-Top Perks


Pillow-top mattresses have an extra layer of padding between the sleeper and the mattress springs, making it possible for even firm mattresses to feel more soft and comfortable. This is especially true for side or back sleepers.

Less Pain

In some cases, these mattresses can also alleviate lower back pain. Experts agree that a firm mattress is actually not the answer for back pain and that a softer mattress may work better. According to Mattress USA Inc., 10 percent of their customer reviews for pillow-top mattresses report a decrease in back pain.

Memory Foam Comfort for Less

Memory foam mattresses are very comfortable but very expensive. With a pillow top, you can get the soft feel of a memory foam mattress for a lot less money.

Pillow Top Pitfalls


Some people find the soft pillow-top mattress to be extremely hot. Excessive warmth can be particularly problematic when the pillow top is made with memory foam or other dense materials.


Pillow-top mattresses are often more expensive than basic innerspring mattresses. Though a high-quality mattress can last for many years and may be well worth the investment, those shopping on a budget may find pillow-top prices a bit uncomfortable.


Some mattresses can be prone to developing indentations if they're not made from high quality materials. Look for a mattress with a top that contains latex rather than just foam to help with this problem and provide better back support.

Special Sheets

Because they're thicker than traditional mattresses, you will need to find fitted sheets with deeper pockets to fit properly on a pillow-top mattress. You could need sheets with pockets as deep as 25 inches to accommodate the mattress. and you may have to shop around to find them.

To Flip or Not to Flip

Pillow top mattresses can't be flipped unless you choose one that has the pillow top quilted onto both sides -- an option that may cost more. This has led to a debate about whether or not the inability to flip the mattress is a positive or negative trait.

The Flip Faithful

Firm believers in mattress flipping view the inability to flip pillow-top mattresses as a problem, claiming that a mattress that isn't flipped will develop an indentation where you lie every night, thus interfering with the mattress' comfort and ability to support you. This is true, although a high-quality pillow-top mattresses that contain latex should hold its shape well, and these mattresses can still be rotated, even if not turned upside down.

The Flip Side

Pillow-top supporters argue that a quality mattress made with latex will hold its shape well enough that the mattress will never need to be flipped. As anyone who has flipped a mattress knows, the task is not an easy one. Those who believe pillow tops don't need to be flipped count this is an advantage.