The Difference Between a Pillow Top and an Euro Top Mattress

Like all things, mattresses must receive a regular update from time to time. But the pillow top and euro top mattresses have been here for a long time, and thank goodness they’re here to stay. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about a third of the population of the United States don’t get proper sleep, and it mostly has to do with the sleeping environment.

You see, everything needs a good mood. When you’re sleeping on a saggy mattress or a bed made of rock hard foam, things can get pretty frustrating. Most people do not get enough sleep due to their mattresses lacking the correct firmness rating or the required features.

So when we do set out to choose a good mattress, we are faced with a question: Euro Top or Pillow Top? And if you’re like most people, you don’t know what that means. Luckily, we do. And we have compared the two side by side and in-depth.

See for yourself!

Feature Pillow Top Euro Top
Construction The air gap between the Comfort and Pillow layer.

Foam, fiberfill

No air gap between the Comfort and Pillow layer.

Foam, fiberfill

Firmness Rating Soft; between 4.5 and 6 Firmness, between 6.5 and 7
Thickness 3 inches (gap included) 3 inches (no gap)
Uniformity Appearance: Not uniform

Firmness: Uniform

Appearance: Uniform

Firmness: Not uniform

Durability May sag and lose cushioning ability. Does not sag easily.
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The major difference between the Euro Top and the Pillow Top mattresses is that they all have different compositions. The construction and interior architecture are what changes the sleep environment entirely.

The Pillow Top has a soft cushiony pillow stitched right over the outer padding. However, there is a very minor gap between the two layers, which is what makes the Pillow Top extra squishy and soft. This tiny gap might just be the difference between sleepless nights and sweet dreams. The gap does not allow microbial growth or mold spores to breed, but some cheaper mattresses may allow this.

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The Euro Top is just like the Pillow Top, except the minor gap is not present. The entire thing is stitched into the last layer with no gap, making the mattress rather firm and supportive. We highly recommend the Euro Top for users who require some extra support while sleeping. Since there is no gap there is a lesser chance of microbial growth and mold spores.

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Internally, both the Euro Top and the Pillow Top mattresses are filled with foam and fiberfill. The type of foam varies from product to product, but we’ve rarely seen any with memory foam in it.


Firmness is an important factor. A softer mattress used by someone who needs back and neck support may cause insomnia, back pain, and even unwanted sagging. As per a study conducted in the National Institute of Health, choosing a wrong firmness may add to insomnia and even amplify the pain and discomfort.

The Pillow Top

The Pillow Top has a softer feel and more bounce. This is highly due to the gap between the two layers. This gap facilitates not only a soft cushiony effect but also increases buoyancy. These beds can be found in various firmness ratings but must lie between 4.5 and 6. The soft feeling is highly recommended for users who want to reduce back pain and need more body contouring. This is perfect for you if you just want to sink in.

The Euro Top

The Euro Top lacks the extra air gap between the outer layers and hence has a higher firmness rating than the Pillow Top. This does not mean that a firm mattress is a bed mattress. Many users require support and structure, and many resorts to firmer mattresses for added comfort. Most Euro Tops have a firmness rating of 6.5 and above.


The Pillow Top and the Euro Top both have the same thickness, but some portion of the thickness is contributed by the air gap.

The Pillow Top

The Pillow Top measures 3 inches thick with the air-gap included. Without the gap, the actual thickness of the foam will be lesser.

The Euro Top

The Euro Top has a true thickness of 3 inches, and it has no air gap. This means that the actual foam is thicker than the Pillow Top, and this is obviously firmer and less cushiony.


Mattresses are better when they're uniform, but for many users, the mattress needs to have a different firmness rating on different sides.

The Pillow Top is for the most part uniform in terms of firmness. The cushiony feeling is perfect and does not change, save due to environmental damage and degradation. In terms of appearance, most Pillow Tops have the top layer showing very prominently, which means that the mattress itself doesn’t appear uniform. The stitching and the sides are different. But rest assured, the firmness is evenly distributed.

However, with Euro Top mattresses, the firmness does not remain uniform. The bed is usually softer in the middle and firmer around the edges. This is why some may feel that the Euro Top is sagging, but really that’s just the construction. In terms of appearance, the top layer is uniformly stitched into the masterpiece, which is more pleasing to the eye.


The Pillow Top

The Pillow Top is not as durable as the Euro Top. You see, the cushioning effect is usually temporary. Most mattresses end up losing the effect do become worn down and saggy. Some newer mattresses may hold the pillow top for lengthy periods of time but at the end they all sag.

Read a more detailed Pillow Top mattress review.

The Euro Top

The Euro Top, though, does not exhibit anything like this. It does not sag, save for the natural sag that comes from non-uniform firmness. The entire mattress can remain firm and taught for almost a lifetime. These too can be pretty short-lived, but this usually depends on the environment and the type of product itself. A good Euro Top will last an entire lifetime.

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To Summarize

The most major difference between the Pillow Top and the Euro Top is the air gap present in the Pillow Top, which provides added cushioning and buoyancy. Euro Top is a bit more durable and firm, but we owe all the softness in our mattresses to Pillow Tops.

But as always, the right choice is in your hands. Sleep tight, and don’t buy the wrong mattress!

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