Plush top vs. Pillow top

Posted by Sarah Harris Head of Design and Development on 5th Aug 2022

Plush top vs. Pillow top

Mattresses eh? Every time you think you’ve got it licked and you know what your options are, you’re au fait with all things memory foam and latex and springs (oh my!), along comes a mattress aficionado with another big idea and you’re amazed all over again.

We definitely aren’t complaining! Options are a good thing for all of us. And that’s why we’re ready and raring to take on the extremely comfortable job of finding out more about two exciting new mattress types. Ready to join us? Ok, jump into the Mattress mobile and let’s find out more about plush top and pillow top mattresses…

What is a plush top mattress?

iGel Advance 2500 Plush Top Divan Bed Set

iGel Advance 2500 Plush Top Divan Bed Set

A plush top mattress, often referred to as a box top, isn’t so different from your everyday common mattress, except boy oh boy, feel that plushness! Typically a sprung mattress type, a plush top is topped with a different, usually soft and supportive material, often foam, for a pleasing sinking feeling.

Box top mattresses combine the support and durability of the traditional sprung mattress with all the benefits of that additional top material – be it memory foam or latex or even a natural material, such as wool. With the top layer stitched directly into the cover for a seamless finish, these mattresses allow you to enjoy hybrid technology for a sleep experience which blends excellent support with cushioned softness, pressure relief or even temperature control for a cooler night’s sleep.

What is a pillow top mattress?

iGel Advance 2500 Pillow Top Mattress

iGel Advance 2500 Pillow Top Mattress

A pillow top mattress is likewise designed to create a hybrid sleeping surface, with the main under-section of the mattress most often a sprung mattress, or sometimes memory foam. The pillowy addition provides an extra layer of softness for sinking comfort and, sometimes, temperature regulation, ideal for those who run hot at night.

Sewn onto the top of a mattress, a pillow top is a distinct addition, with visible separation between the main mattress construction and the soft pillow that lies on top. Although some pillow tops contain memory foam or latex, many get their extremely plush characteristic from luxurious wool, cotton, synthetic fibre or even down.

So what’s the difference between a pillow top mattress and a box or plush top?

The chief difference between a pillow top mattress and a box or plush top is in its construction. A pillow top is clearly a separate add-on, stitched to a fully formed mattress, whereas a plush top has a box-like construction. While you might be able to see the two distinct layers – mattress and plush top – when you look closely, the top continues seamlessly from the main mattress section.

Essentially, although a pillow top is an integral part of your mattress it behaves, and looks, more like an additional layer. A plush top, on the other hand, is a smooth extension of your mattress.

Ok, so now we know the basic differences, how do you choose between the two?

Wait! What’s a Euro top mattress?

What did we tell you? No sooner have you got to grips with those new and exciting mattress types than someone comes along and throws a cat among the pigeons!

Right, so Euro tops…

A Euro top is very similar to a pillow top. It’s similarly constructed, stitched on top of a mattress base for additional comfort and support. However, the type of mattress usually referred to as a Euro top has a deeper fill for extra resilience and support. Some even contain shallow springs.

For added confusion, some manufacturers and retailers refer to plush or box top mattresses as Euro tops. But here at Bensons for Beds, we consider them to be a plumper member of the pillow top family. And we’re sticking with it.

Now back to the job at hand…

Why choose a pillow top?

You’ve probably come across pillow top mattresses in hotel rooms. They’re used to create that luxuriant feel, giving you a deep-fill cushiony top with a quilted or tufted surface just asking to be sunk into. A tufted surface, in particular, tends to be considered a luxury.

If you’re after that luxe vibe, a soft, plush pillow top mattress can give you exactly that, bringing the boutique hotel experience to your bedroom, often at a fraction of the price of that five star resort you’ve had your eye on. Some pillow tops also provide additional benefits through their choice of filling. Think memory foam support, or a cool gel layer.

Why choose a plush top?

Generally speaking a little more advanced in design than a pillow top, plush top mattresses are often built to give users access to more advanced sleep technology. In most cases this means the use of memory foam technology. You’ll often find a plush top or box top mattress made with memory foam or latex. Some also make room for springs.

That’s not to say that a plush top isn’t ultra-sumptuous, it’s right there in the name! Rest assured, plush tops aren’t just an excuse to shoehorn in some more buzz word technology. These mattresses are designed to give you similar luxury comfort to a pillow top but in a practical, supportive package.

iGel Advance 2500 Plush Top Divan Bed Set

iGel Advance 2500 Plush Top Divan Bed Set

Pillow top vs. plush top: cost

So what’s going to set you back more of your hard earned dough? A pillow top or a plush top mattress? Generally speaking, a box top, or plush top, mattress may be the slightly more expensive option of the two due to the fact that they’re often deeper and may contain more components.

However, both mattress types are available at a wide variety of price points, giving you oodles of choice, whatever your budget. However, if you were to look at two mattresses in the same range, one pillow top and one plush top, chances are that boxy plush top will cost you that little bit more.

Pillow top vs. plush top: technology

These days, mattresses seem to contain more technological know-how than your average car. And why shouldn’t they? After all, as most of us know, we spend around a third of our life asleep (or trying to get to sleep, right insomniacs?) [i]. In fact, according to recent studies in the US, people now spend longer than ever in bed – up to eleven hours a day, or a mind boggling 36 years over the course of a lifetime [ii].

Whether you’re lazing around watching the ‘flix, propped up scrolling through emails or even (imagine!) sleeping in it, your bed needs to be comfortable, supportive and able to stand up to all kinds of activity too. That’s why bed experts have come out all guns blazing in recent years, with a whole load of great new ideas for better than ever bed comfort.

But which is packed with the most technology? A plush top mattress or a pillow top bed? While you can find plenty of pillow top mattresses containing cutting edge technology (take the exclusive Silentnight Geltex Ultra 2200 pillow top mattress with its intelligent gel comfort layer), you may just find there’s more of that impressive technology packed into the top layer of a plush top mattress.

Pillow top vs. plush top: durability

As we’ve already established, your bed is likely to take some hard use over its lifetime. From luxurious lie ins and breakfast in bed to excitable, bouncing kids. From curious pets to long days of illness and much more beside, your bed’s there to support it all. Which means that when you buy a mattress, durability is probably at the very forefront of your mind.

While a pillow top is more likely to give you that lovely sinking feeling, a plush top is usually made using a denser filling, such as foam. As such, plush tops may just have the edge when it comes to long lasting use. Additionally, because a pillow top has been stitched to the top of the mattress, they can be slightly more prone to wear and tear over time. This is because they can shift as you move around in bed. A plush top, meanwhile, is placed into the mattress cover, giving it the edge on longevity.

Whichever mattress type you eventually plump for, when buying from Bensons for Beds, you’ll receive a minimum five year guarantee , absolutely free.

Pillow top vs. plush top: comfort

Here’s the real toughy. Which mattress top is more comfortable? Well, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: the answer is neither … or both!

A mattress is a deeply personal thing. While you might love sleeping on a firm as concrete bed, Mavis next door may prefer sinking into a quicksand-like soft mattress. The same goes for all aspects of mattress design. With so many plush top and pillow top options out there, you really are bound to find one that suits you right down to the ground, whichever type you choose.

But you know us, we like to look at all the angles. So here are our top comfort tips:

  • Looking for lavish softness? A pillow top filled with natural wool or down could be right up your street
  • Require pressure relieving comfort to soothe aches and pains ? A memory foam or latex plush top mattress could be just thing
  • Want that deep, premium feel under your sleeping body? A tufted surface is the ideal choice
  • Need support but love the feeling of a plump, soft bed? A firm pillow top mattress may provide the perfect combination of support and luxury

Simply Bensons Rafferty Options Pillow Top Mattress

Simply Bensons Rafferty Options Pillow Top Mattress

Pillow top vs plush top: support

Stacked on top of the mattress and firmly stitched into the cover, the stacked-on plush top is designed for support, providing comfortable cradling right up to the very edge of the bed (vital if your sleeping partner is a bed hog).

That said, the support you receive from your mattress is most reliant on the material used inside that top, whether pillow or plush:

  • Often used in pillow tops, natural materials such as wool, cotton or even cashmere or alpaca are softly opulent and offer natural warmth. Though gently supportive, these fillings won’t quite conform to your body like some other more technical fillings can. However, a firm mattress with a pillow top designed for luxe comfort can be a great compromise for soft mattress fans.
  • Usually an inexpensive option, synthetic materials are often used in the top quilting layer of a mattress. Like natural materials, these are less often chosen for their supportive qualities but provide soft comfort. Increasingly, synthetic mattress fillers are touted as an eco-friendly option, with more and more recycled materials used to create them.
  • A popular choice for those who complain of sore joints and bad backs, memory foam provides impressive support by adapting to the shape of your body. Often used in both plush top and pillow top mattresses, memory foam can help relieve pressure and provide much needed support.
  • Latex mattresses are often recommended for pressure and pain relief. A natural material, latex is cool and provides independent support for each sleeper. Combined with an innerspring base, a latex pillow or plush top can provide a good combination of support, comfort and durability.
  • Incorporated into foam or latex, gel is a favourite of cutting-edge mattress manufacturers. Enhancing the properties of a latex or memory foam pillow top or plush top, gel can improve pressure relief and help cool a mattress surface, taking heat away from the body as you sleep.
  • Some pillow top or plush tops even incorporate mini springs for extra support. Generally you’ll find these more often in a deeper plush top or in a Euro top – the deeper cousin of the pillow top.

Plush top or pillow top: what to consider

When opting for a plush top or pillow top mattress there are a few things to bear in mind, whichever you choose.

First is that these mattresses will add a height of between one and four inches to your bed. The chief issue this causes is finding a sheet to fit. This may mean buying new bedding to fit your mattress – more expense – or switching from fitted to flat sheets, far less convenient!

One-sided, plush or pillow top mattresses shouldn’t be flipped for obvious reasons. Instead your mattress should be regularly rotated to ensure even wear. This might sound easier than flipping, but in a room with limited space (imagine the room needed to spin a king size pillow top mattress), rotating your mattress can be a challenge. This job usually requires two pairs of hands, so a partner or willing friend will need to be regularly deployed.

On the plus side, both plush and pillow tops offer numerous benefits. Motion isolation is a particularly welcome pro for co-sleepers, the additional top layer helping to minimise the bounce of a sprung mattress. That extra layer of padding can also help to provide support without resorting to a mattress that feels uncomfortably firm.

The best pillow top mattress

You may have decided on a pillow top mattress, but there’s still plenty to think about thanks to the wide array of pillow tops on offer.

We love the Slumberland Clima Airstream Memory 9000, a pocket sprung mattress with a responsive memory foam pillow top designed for cool comfort. This mattress combines the twin powers of 2550 pocket springs and deep Sensaform memory foam in a pillow top designed for edge-to-edge comfort.

On a budget? The Simply Bensons Rafferty Options pillow top mattress is one of our very own. A well-made sprung mattress with a soft, supportive edge-to-edge system to maximise the sleep surface. This is then finished with a comfort-inducing filling combination of highly responsive superflex foam and an eco-friendly layer made using recycled plastic bottles. This pillow top mattress is available in both firm and medium options, making it a mattress to suit most sleepers.

Simply Bensons Rafferty Options Pillow Top Mattress

Simply Bensons Rafferty Options Pillow Top Mattress

The best plush top mattress

Taken with the idea of a plush top mattress? With so many options to choose from it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to these mattresses.

iGel Advance 3000 Plush Top Mattress

iGel Advance 3000 Plush Top Mattress

The iGel range of mattresses is an ideal choice if you’re looking for durability and up to the minute mattress technology. Take, for example, the iGel Advance 3000 plush top mattress . With firm and medium options and a range of sizes, this cutting edge mattress allows everyone to enjoy the benefits of a multi-layer support and temperature regulation.

Incorporating iGel Advance beaded gel for pressure relief and 3000 foam-encased pocket springs, this mattress is unbeatably supportive. iGel Graphene technology will put any fears of hot memory foam to rest along with the moisture wicking FreshNow mattress cover.

Still can’t choose? Let us help!

We know that choosing a mattress is a pretty big deal. That’s why Bensons for Beds is committed to helping you to find your bed, your way .

In store, online or over the phone, our sleep experts are ready to help you through the bed buying decision step by step using our advanced SleepPro technology . Visit us in your local Bensons store or call us on 0808 144 6160 to take full advantage of our expertise.


[i]  We spend about one-third of our life either sleeping or attempting to do so - PubMed (

[ii] We spend nearly half of our lifetime lying around in bed (


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authors profile
Sarah Harris
Head of Design and Development
Sarah has worked at Bensons for Beds for 16 years. As Head of Design & Development, Sarah uses her wealth of experience in design to ensure that Bensons for Beds' products use the latest innovation in technologies to deliver maximum quality products that really help customers' everyday sleep issues.
Read more from Sarah