Here I’m going to talk about pillow top mattresses vs tight top mattresses.
A question that I get quite a bit is what is a pillow top mattress. Some people insist on getting a pillow top mattress thinking that it will be better for them or that it will be more comfortable.
Let’s talk about what a pillow top mattress is.
A pillow top mattress is essentially that extra cushion that’s on top of the mattress. There is the main body and then you have this little extra pillow right on top of the mattress.
That’s why they call it a pillow top mattress. Compared to what it is not, it is not a tight top. A tight top mattress is gonna be more of a basic simple look. You have a border, you have the tape, you have the cover and that’s it. The cushion is on the inside.
Pillow tops have two tape edges right on the very top where that extra cushion is. A mattress might have the spring system, the support layer and then the comfort layer (some may have two comfort layers) inside the top part right above the springs, and then you have a little bit of cushion in the panel part.
But is a pillow top better? Is it necessary?
What many have found is no, it’s not! In my opinion and what I found with my experience is they tend to break down a bit quicker.
Many companies stopped making pillow tops just because they found the more cushioning that’s in the mattress, the faster that the mattress is gonna get a dip. You’re gonna get it to sag a little bit quicker.
They tend to feel very comfortable, but you’re gonna get a body impression a lot faster.
That’s why some manufacturers opt to go with the tight top mattresses. Their big philosophy is less is more when it comes to mattress construction.
What they found is they can still accomplish the pillow top feel, the comfort, without having that extra pillow on top of it. And it’s gonna last you longer.
A lot of times pillow top is just a marketing tactic. They make the mattress look more luxurious, they make it look more comfortable.
They really started to get popular in 90s and they’re actually still very popular, especially some of these more luxury brands, they have these very thick pillow tops.
When I say luxury brands, I mean anything in the $10,000 range. They’re gonna have these pillow top mattresses.
But a lot of these super luxury brands are not gonna have the pillow top mattresses, just because they do hold up quite a bit longer.
Again you really can accomplish the feel without having that extra padding.
There are also box tops and euro tops. I get people asking what is the difference between a euro top and a pillow top and it really is just a design look. They look a little bit differently. Euro tops look a little bit more luxurious, but essentially it’s the same thing.
What is a tight top mattress?
It is just a simple design of the mattress, the way it’s designed.
Again, a pillow top mattress has two extra pads on it and looks like an extra pillow right on top of the mattress.
A tight top mattress does not have that. A tight top mattress is gonna be a little bit more simple in construction. It looks a little bit more simple.
There’s only one tape edge on the border. A pillow top has two tape edges.
Is it better? Is it worse?
As I already said, pillow tops break down a bit faster because there’s more comfort layers in the bed. The more cushion that you have, the mattress is gonna break down a little bit faster.
Tight tops really don’t have to worry about that. Remember, less is more. And you can still accomplish the comfort level as a pillow top without having to add that extra pillow on it.
It just not gonna look as luxurious, but it is gonna last you a little bit longer, because there’s less that can go wrong on the mattress.
Some of the most expensive mattresses that are out there, I’m talking about the $20,000 or more mattresses, they’ll use a tight top because they tend to hold up better and you can accomplish the feel without having that extra padding on them.
You could get a soft tight top, you can get a firm or medium. You really don’t need extra pillow to make it softer.
If it comes down to comfort levels, go with what feels best. If the pillow top feels better for you, then trust what your body’s telling you.
But overall you don’t have to spend that extra money for the pillow top and overall it’s gonna last you a little bit longer than the pillow top mattress.
I want to answer one more question: when should you replace your mattress?
A mattress is meant to do one thing – give you a good night’s sleep. So if you’re waking up rested and refresh then the mattress is doing its job.
Doesn’t matter if it’s been 1 years or 20 years since you’ve had your mattress. But if not, here are three things to look for.
Number one is discomfort. As I’ve said many times, comfort is king when looking for a new mattress. If you’re tossing and turning trying to get comfortable then your mattress is not giving you the comfort you need.
So if you’re not comfortable in your mattress, it’s time to get a new mattress.
Number two is about the biggest telltale sign you need a new mattress – the sagginess of the mattress.
If your mattress is sagging more than an inch and a half, you got a saggy mattress problem.
If you wake up in the morning, and it looks like there’s a ghost still laying there, it’s time to get a new mattress.
Sign number three that you need a new mattress is back support.
We all need our mattress to support our back and keep our spine aligned. You want to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
So if you go to bed with your body feeling fine, but you wake up with aches and pains then it’s time to get a new mattress.
If your mattress is not comfortable, you have a saggy mattress, or you’re not getting proper back support.
Then from those three signs we can tell it’s time to get a new mattress.
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Alex P. Davis has a BA in Interior Design from The New York School of Interior Design and 10 years of experience expertly designing sophisticated interiors.