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Are you in need of a new mattress? Are you confused by the many different types, brands, etc. that are available? Don’t worry, you have this in common with a lot of people. After all, a good mattress is an investment, so you have to think long and hard before you spend your hard-earned money.

If you don’t know where to start, let’s take a look at two of the most popular types of mattresses, memory foam and pillow top, and see how they compare.

Memory Foam Mattresses:

What is memory foam? This is a material that was designed for NASA in the mid 1960’s, and it was created for airplane seats. The viscoelastic material is soft and comfortable, as well as being very absorbent. It molds to the shape of your body, and responds to pressure and heat. This means that body weight is properly distributed, and what makes it the ideal mattress material.

Memory Foam Mattress Features:

First we are going to look at some of the great features that you will find in a memory foam mattress. For starters, it conforms to your body. This means that you get total support, with less pressure on the spine. This all adds up to a really great sleep. Features include:

  • Spine Alignment – Because memory foam responds to pressure, your body weight will be evenly distributed. This will allow your spine to be aligned with your neck and hips, so you are in the correct posture all night long, no matter what position you sleep in.  This is great for people that sleep on their sides.
  • Better Breathing – The spinal alignment helps a lot more than just your posture and easing aches and pains. It can also help to make it easier to breathe while sleeping. This can be a great thing for anyone who has respiratory problems.
  • Hypoallergenic – This material is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for anyone who suffers from allergies to dust, pet hair, etc. It is also dust mite-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about breathing issues at night.
  • Motion Transfer – There is little to no motion transfer when you sleep on a memory foam mattress. So, if your partner moves around at night, the bed isn’t going to move and you aren’t going to wake up.

Pros and Cons:

Now we have to take a look at the negative aspects of sleeping on a memory foam mattress. For the most part, users have mainly good things to say. But, there are some complaints. Here are the pros and cons you need to consider before buying a memory foam mattress.


  • Maintenance – These mattresses don’t need a whole lot of maintenance. They don’t even need to be turned or flipped. This type of mattress will hold up well for at least 10 years.
  • Warranty – Most memory foam mattresses come with 10 to 25-year warranties that guarantee full replacement.


  • Heat – One of the biggest complaints people have about most memory foam mattresses is that they actually retain heat, unlike advertising claims.

Pillow Top Mattresses:

One of the first things you will notice about a pillow top mattress is how comfortable it is. The pillow top seems to suck you right in, hugging your body in all the right places. Many pillow tops are actually made with memory foam, so you get the best of both worlds with the foam and a traditional mattress.

Pillow Top Mattress Features:

You will usually see pillow tops on innerspring beds and some airbeds. A pillow top mattress is basically just as it sounds: a mattress with a padded layer on top that can be several inches thick. This padding can be made of memory foam, traditional foam, latex, cotton, fiberfill, etc. Features of pillow top mattresses include:

  • Comfort – The pillow top contours to your body, giving you total support in all the places it is needed. You will find that you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
  • Durability – While some users do report sagging within three years, these are generally durable mattresses. Body size doesn’t seem to affect the sagging, so these mattresses are ideal for all body sizes and types. They tend to last for about seven years.
  • Pain Relief – Users report significant pain relief after sleeping on a pillow top mattress for just a few weeks. Because the pillow top conforms to your body, you have added support in all of the areas that need it for perfect spinal alignment.
  • Warranties – Most pillow top mattress come with a 10 to 20-year warranty. This protects you against any manufacturer defects, and you can get a full replacement in this time period. Some also offer extended warranties at an additional cost.

Pros and Cons:

All products, mattresses included, have their positives and negatives. We would be amiss to not tell you about the downsides to owning a pillow top mattress. Of course, the benefits do far outweigh the disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons to consider.


  • Price – When compared with many memory foam mattresses, you will likely find that pillow top mattress cost hundreds less. Find a great sale, and you can save even more money.
  • Better Sleep – Most people find that they sleep much better on a pillow top mattress than one without a pillow top because it conforms to their bodies and they have less aches and pains.


  • Heat Retention – Pillow top mattresses tend to be about twice as likely as non-pillow top mattresses to retain heat. This means that there will be some sleepless summer nights.

Parting Thoughts:

There are a lot of similarities between memory foam mattresses and pillow top mattresses. Both conform to your body, helping to align your spine with your neck and hips, and both are conducive to a great night’s sleep. A pillow top mattress tends to be less expensive, but it doesn’t last as long.

Ultimately, your decision will come down to what is going to help you sleep better every night, and what is going to fit into your budget. Either type of mattress is an excellent option for most people.