Pillowtop vs Mattress Topper?

Hi nateblack,

Pillowtop mattresses generally use thicker layers of foam in the comfort layers and if these layers are low quality materials (which is the case in most mainstream mattresses) then they will tend to soften, impress, and break down much more quickly than most people hope for. On the other hand … if the materials are high quality then a pillowtop construction can be a very good choice. Outside of careful and objective testing for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) the most important part of a mattress purchase is making sure that it uses good quality materials and that there are no weak links in the design regardless of the style of mattress you prefer (see this article and post #4 here). There is also more information about pilowtops in general in posts #326 and 329 here and in post #2 here. As you can see … the issue isn’t the pillowtop itself as much as the quality and durability of the materials that are in the pillowtop.

You can read more about the pros and cons of a two sided mattress in post #3 here.

I would tend to avoid buying a mattress with the intent of adding a topper at a later time unless they are part of the same sleeping system (in which case an online retailer or manufacturer will generally know how the combination is likely to feel and perform for different people) or you can test the specific combination together with a local purchase because of the additional uncertainty and risk involved in making two purchases that are “right” for you in terms of PPP rather than just a single purchase (see post #6 here).

The tutorial post here has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible mattress choice … and know how to avoid the worst ones (regardless of which type of mattress you tend to prefer).

Post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to has more information about choosing a topper that can help you use your preferences and experiences with sleeping on a specific mattress (without a topper) as a reference point.