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.

Pillow-top Euro-top
Construction Layer is sewn to the top of the mattress, with a gap separating the pillow-top from the comfort layer Layer is sewn to the edges of the mattress; there is no space between the euro-top and the comfort layer
Appearance Distinct layering Uniform stacking
Composition Foam or fiberfill Foam or fiberfill
Thickness 3″, including gap between comfort layer 3″ (no gap)
Feel A balance of firmness and cushioning throughout Cushioning at the center, and firmness at the edges
Longevity Pillow-tops tend to flatten and lose their cushioning over time Euro-tops have a longer lifespan, but may sag at edges
Cost Varies by model and manufacturer Varies by model and manufacturer