Can You Buy A Pillow Top For Your Mattress? Yes! And Here’s How…
We spend almost one-third of our lives either sleeping, napping, or just resting in hopes of falling asleep. Therefore, it is of huge importance to have a comfortable bed and a mattress that can actually support your body as you sleep. Since mattresses are quite expensive, people opt for cheaper options to save money. However, cheap mattresses do not always offer proper body support and comfort.
Buy a pillow top mattress topper for a mattress to make the mattress smoother, softer, and more comfortable. Laying a pillow top on an existing mattress provides the feeling of sleeping on a cloud.
Mattress toppers with a pillow top are lightweight and easy to install on a bed. Their plushness and thickness offer proper support without causing overheating whilst sleeping. Read our mattress topper guide to learn more about popular topper types and materials.
What is a Pillow Top and What are The Benefits?
A pillow top is a mattress topper which adds softness to the underlying mattress while improving its support. Pillow tops are commonly made of cotton, wool, down or down alternative fillings which are also hypoallergenic.
A pillow top is a layer of soft and fluffy material packed into a particular material (cover). Mattresses with pillow top surfaces are commonly referred to as pillow tops as well. To avoid confusion, we use the words “pillow top mattress topper” to discuss a pillow top that you can add onto a mattress. A “pillow top mattress” has a built in pillow top so it’s not something that you are adding on top of an existing mattress.
While some people consider that these two items have the same purpose, the claim that pillow top mattress toppers and pillow top mattresses are the same is not accurate. While a pillow top mattress is a single item with a pillow-like surface sewn on to it (so it has both functionalities of a mattress and a pillow top), pillow top mattress toppers are separate items that are specifically designed to be put on top of mattresses, like this quilted pillow topper from Amazon.
Pillow top pads and toppers are affordable, breathable, and soft. They’re relatively lightweight, which makes them easy to store, move, or ship. They are also easy to clean and maintain, and offer temperature regulation and comfort when you lay on top of them. Read this article from Frontiers in Neuroscience titled, “The Temperature Dependance of Sleep,” to find out how getting too warm when sleeping can negatively affect your sleep cycle.
However, be aware that pillow tops do not always offer adequate support to different parts of your body. They may not be ideal options for pressure or pain relief—especially in the hips, back, shoulders, or neck. Read our article on latex and memory foam mattress toppers that can help ease your body aches.
What are the Problems with a Pillow Top Mattress? Why Would You Want a Separate Pillow Top Pad or Topper?
As mentioned in the previous section, pillow top mattresses are mattresses with a pillow top surface attached to the mattress. The primary purpose of a pillow top mattress is to provide extra comfort by using various cushioned layers. So, without purchasing pads or mattress toppers separately, you can get sufficient fluffiness from a single product. While pillow top mattresses sound innovative and offer long-lasting comfort for your entire body, they are not suitable for pain relief.
The disadvantages of a pillow top mattress include high initial costs, lack of support and lack of pressure relief properties, difficulties with cleaning and maintenance, limited durability, and little to no motion isolation. Buy a separate pad or topper because it's easier to adjust the firmness of an existing mattress rather than trying to get the right feel with a pillow top mattress which includes two separate products in one.
First of all, pillow top mattresses are relatively expensive compared to those with traditional features. On average, pillow top mattresses cost somewhere between $400 and $1200+, depending on the mattress size, quality, and manufacturer. On the other hand, the price of a regular innerspring mattress ranges from $200 to $600. Pillow top mattresses made of memory foam or latex cores can even be more expensive than the price ranges mentioned above. As you can see, high-quality pillow top mattresses can be twice as expensive as regular innerspring ones.
Furthermore, pillow top mattresses do not provide enough support to alleviate pain in different parts of your body. They aren’t durable, and are less convenient for heavier individuals as they easily get compressed and sag over time. Memory foam or latex mattress toppers are better options for heavy people. Read our article how to choose a mattress topper for a heavy person to learn more about the types of mattress toppers that provide sufficient support to a heftier body.
You might want to consider getting a separate pillow top pad or topper instead of purchasing a pillow top mattress. A separate pillow top pad or topper is more affordable, easy to clean, maintain, and replace. We like this pillow top mattress topper from Amazon because of its plush quilted cotton covering and deep pockets.
Buying a Pillow Top Mattress Pad or Mattress Topper For A Mattress
What makes pillow top mattress pads and toppers so popular worldwide is that they are relatively budget-friendly and still offer some comfort to your body. If you do not struggle with pain in different parts of your body and just want to make your bed cozier, you should definitely purchase a pillow top mattress topper instead of other more costly options.
You can buy a pillow top mattress pad or a mattress topper for your bed to upgrade your mattress and modify its firmness by adding a layer of extra cushioning and comfort to your bed.
Overall, buying a pillow top pad or mattress topper is more cost-effective than buying a pillow top mattress. Read our article on choosing a mattress pad vs. a mattress topper for college where we discuss the differences and similarities between toppers and pads, and which type of mattress layering you will need for your bed.
How to Choose a Pillow Top Mattress Pad or Topper
Selecting the right pillow top mattress pad or topper will not only offer additional comfort but will also increase the lifespan of your existing mattress and help you avoid additional expenses.
To choose a pillow top mattress pad or topper, first inspect an existing mattress for wear and tear, determine what material the mattress is made of, and finally select the right dimensions of a pillow top pad or topper depending on the size, thickness, and material of the mattress.
Step 1. Inspect Your Existing Mattress For Wear and Tear
Pillow top mattress pads and toppers are used to refresh old mattresses and make them feel brand new. So if your mattress is old, lumpy, and uncomfortable, then you should consider a pillow mattress topper to adjust the feel of the mattress and to cover its lumps. You may want to read about when to buy a mattress topper vs. replacing an existing mattress.
However, if you are suffering from body aches—especially in your pressure points—then a pillow top may not be the right option for pain relief. In that case, choose a memory foam or latex mattress topper. Read this article titled, “Study on Resilience of Mattress Foam and Body Pressure Distribution Characteristics of Mattress” to find out how well memory foam performs to achieve an even pressure distribution.
Step 2. Determine the Material of Your Existing Mattress
Pillow top pads and toppers are best used with innerspring and hybrid mattresses. A hybrid mattress has layers of spring or coil components and layers of foam, so that you have the support of a pocket spring plus the comfort of memory foam. A pillow top mattress topper or pad will enhance the comfort level of a hybrid mattress and an innerspring mattress with its plush filling. This hybrid mattress would pair well with this pillow top mattress pad, both from Amazon.
If your mattress is made with other materials such as down or wool, then a pillow top mattress topper will not provide too many additional benefits.
Step 3. Buy a Mattress Topper That Matches the Size of Your Existing Mattress
Take the dimensions and thickness of your mattress into account before selecting a pillow top mattress pad or topper. Match the size of the pillow top mattress topper with that of your existing mattress to evenly distribute the extra cushioning layer across the mattress surface, and prevent unwanted shifting during the night. We’ve got a guide to common mattress topper sizes.
Determine the thickness of your mattress based on how tall you want the bed to be and how much extra cushioning you need. A good rule of thumb is that a 2 inch thick mattress will provide minimal cushioning, 3-4 will provide average cushioning, and 4 inches or more will provide a significant amount of cushioning. Only buy the 4+ inch thick pillow top mattress topper if your existing mattress is too firm and is giving you trouble. In most cases 3-4 inches is more than enough!
The density of your mattress topper will also affect how comfortable it is. We’ve written a detailed guide to choosing mattress topper density. Take a look!
If you choose a mattress topper that is thick you will probably need extra deep sheets that fit over both the topper and mattress like these ones from Amazon.
Situations When You Should buy a Pillow Top Mattress Pad or Topper For your Mattress
|Situations You Might be In||Should You Buy a Pillow Top Mattress Pad, Topper, or something else?||Example from Amazon||Benefits of this product||Price|
|The bed is too cold||A regular memory foam mattress topper.||Abakan Luxury 3-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Memory foam products retain heat and keep you warm throughout the night.||~$155|
|The bed makes you sweat||A memory foam mattress topper with cooling properties such as gel foam or latex.||Cooling Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper||This product promotes proper air flow and regulates body temperature as you sleep.||~$100|
|The bed is too firm||A softer and less dense pillow top mattress pad or topper.||Mega-Thick Pillow Top Mattress Topper||This product is ideal for innerspring mattresses and adds a comfortable and soft layer.||~$55|
|The bed is too soft||A latex mattress topper or a high-density memory foam mattress topper.||Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm||This product provides additional firmness and support.||~$250|
|You need something for pressure point and pain relief||Latex or memory foam mattress topper.||Cooling Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress TopperORPure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper - Firm||This product offers adequate support and ensures pressure relief |
This product is ideal for hip, back, spine, shoulders, and neck pains.
|Your mattress is too old||If a mattress is older than 8 years or has holes in it, you need a new mattress, not a topper.||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Memory Foam vs. Pillow Top Mattress Toppers
Although there is a large variety of mattress topper materials, memory foam is still among the most popular options worldwide. This is because memory foam mattress toppers are relatively affordable, and provide superb support to your entire body. Since memory foam toppers are so favored, it is essential to compare and contrast memory foam vs. pillow top mattress toppers.
The difference between a memory foam mattress topper and a pillow top mattress topper is that memory foam mattress toppers provide more support, motion isolation, and heat retention. In contrast, pillow top mattress toppers typically make a bed feel softer and more plush, whilst also being breathable and having a cooling effect.
Summary of the differences between a memory foam mattress topper and a pillow top mattress topper:
|Memory foam mattress topper||Pillow top mattress topper|
|Purpose||Provide support and help with various aches and pains.||Make the bed softer and cooler while providing a bit of support.|
|What is it made of?||Memory foam or gel-infused memory foam with varying densities.||Cotton, wool, down feathers, artificial fiber.|
|How does it feel? (Firm/Soft)||Both firm and soft depending on the density and thickness of the material.||Soft|
|Temperature (Heating/Cooling)||Regular memory foam mattress toppers retain heat and keep you warm, while gel-infused cooling mattress toppers keep you cool during hot days.||When put on innerspring mattresses, pillow top mattress toppers enhance airflow and feel cool, especially during hot days.|
|Durability||Extremely durable when made of high-quality memory foam.||Less durable than memory foam mattress toppers.|
|Motion isolation||Great motion isolation.||Little to no motion isolation.|
|Different types||Low-density memory foam, Medium-density memory foam, High-density memory foam, Gel-infused memory foam, Cooling memory foam.||Cotton pillow tops, Down feather pillow tops, Wool pillow tops, Artificial pillow tops.|
|Example from Amazon||ViscoSoft 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper Queen||Leisure Town Twin Pillow Top Mattress Topper - Cotton and Down-Alternative|
In a Nutshell
A pillow top mattress pad is a great addition to a mattress that needs a little extra cushioning, and will create that sleeping-on-a-cloud-feeling. Pillow top mattress toppers also have the ability to help with temperature regulation during sleep because of their soft and lightweight fillings. Be sure to re-fluff them regularly so that they maintain their plump and luxurious texture. Also have a look at our article on how to make a hotel bed feel softer for more ideas that you can use to make your bed billowy and welcoming.