What Is the Difference Between a Pillow-top and a Euro-top?

The terms ‘pillow-top‘ and ‘euro-top‘ both refer to additional layers of cushioning sewn to top surface of the mattress. Mattress manufacturers often use ‘pillow-top’ and ‘euro-top’ interchangeably, but these two layers differ in terms of construction and appearance.

A pillow-top consists of a single, gusseted layer of foam or fiber padding that feels ultra-soft (or ‘pillowy’) to the touch. The pillow-top is sewn to the top side of the mattress, with a gap separating the pillow-top from the comfort layer. This gives the distinct appearance of an additional padding layer on top of the mattress.

Euro-tops (like pillow-tops) are padding layers made of foam or fiberfill; however, the material is usually denser and of higher quality than the material found in a pillow-top. Rather than being sewn to the top of the mattress, euro-tops are sewn flush with the edges of the mattress. This creates a uniform, neatly stacked appearance.

Other Key Differences and Similarities

Pillow-tops and euro-tops also differ in their overall size. To the naked eye, both layers have similar measurements — on average, about three inches thick. In reality, however, euro-tops are packed with more material and, as a result, much thicker; pillow-tops only appear to be as thick due to the gap between the pillow-top and the comfort layer.

Because pillow-tops are thinner and padded with softer material, sleepers can usually feel the mattress beneath the pillow layer. This creates a uniform balance of firmness and softness throughout the entire pillow-top. Alternatively, euro-tops are designed to provide soft cushioning in the center and a firmer surface at the edges.

Pillow-tops are considered less durable because they typically flatten out and become less pillowy after prolonged use. And because the foam is usually of lower quality, pillow-tops also show more bodily indentations over time. Euro-tops have a longer lifespan — but they tend to prematurely sag at the edges.

Finally, there is virtually no cost difference between pillow-tops and euro-tops because both are found on different mattress types and available from numerous manufacturers. Factors like comfort layer/support core construction, material composition and mattress brand have a much stronger bearing on the overall price-point.

Final Verdict

Most sleepers will only detect subtle differences in the way pillow-tops and euro-tops look and feel — and both are considered a suitable option for people with orthopedic issues who require extra padding on their mattress. The comparison table below features a more detailed breakdown of the various differences and similarities of pillow-tops and euro-tops.

ConstructionLayer is sewn to the top of the mattress, with a gap separating the pillow-top from the comfort layerLayer is sewn to the edges of the mattress; there is no space between the euro-top and the comfort layer
AppearanceDistinct layeringUniform stacking
CompositionFoam or fiberfillFoam or fiberfill
Thickness3″, including gap between comfort layer3″ (no gap)
FeelA balance of firmness and cushioning throughoutCushioning at the center, and firmness at the edges
LongevityPillow-tops tend to flatten and lose their cushioning over timeEuro-tops have a longer lifespan, but may sag at edges
CostVaries by model and manufacturerVaries by model and manufacturer