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Pillow Top vs. Polyurethane Foam

Pillow Top

A pillow top is a surface layer of soft material that is stitched and packed into the cover. This provides a soft as a cloud feel to the surface of the mattress.

There are multiple types of pillow tops, though the most popular recently is a memory foam pillow top. A memory foam pillow top has a thin layer of soft memory foam that is stitched into the cover. Though memory foam is a popular material for pillow tops, you can also find them with latex, cotton, cashmere, wool, or goose down/feathers.

Pillow top mattresses generally have spring support systems in the middle of the mattress, though there could be a pillow top on a memory foam mattress as well (it is just not very common).

Pros: A plush feel on the top of the mattress that pillows the body on top of the support layers.

Cons: The pillow top alone will not make a good bed -- the materials used in the pillow top and the rest of the mattress can sag or have issues if they are lower quality.

Polyurethane Foam

Polyurethane foam is a blanket term that includes any foam that is synthesized using polyol and diisocyanate. These include but are not limited to: memory foam, high resilience foam, and high density foam. Since polyurethane foam can contain additives, a manufacturer that comes up with a new formula can name the new foam whatever they like.

Many memory foam mattresses are a combination of polyurethane foams, layered from dense on the bottom to less dense on the surface layers.

Polyurethane is a synthetic blend of organic compounds and has a tendency to off-gas. If you are susceptible to lung issues, please do additional research on the quality of foams before purchasing.

Pros: Many different types of foams exist under the polyurethane umbrella -- some are excellent for bedding and offer different firmness varieties!

Cons: Off-gassing and durability problems with lower quality foams.

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Learn More About Polyurethane Foam

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Material Scores

Overall Score:
Pillow Top: 8.9/10
Polyurethane Foam: 9.4/10

Comfort:
Pillow Top: 9/10
Polyurethane Foam: 9.4/10

Softness:
Pillow Top: 9.4/10
Polyurethane Foam: 9.5/10

Cooling:
Pillow Top: 8.2/10
Polyurethane Foam: 8/10

Hypoallergenic:
Pillow Top: 8.5/10
Polyurethane Foam: 8.1/10

No Odor:
Pillow Top: 8.8/10
Polyurethane Foam: 8.4/10

General Support:
Pillow Top: 8.3/10
Polyurethane Foam: 9.5/10

Eco-Conscious:
Pillow Top: 8.5/10
Polyurethane Foam: 8.5/10

Price Value:
Pillow Top: 8.3/10
Polyurethane Foam: 9.5/10