Shopping for a mattress can be daunting, with hundreds of options to choose from. Soft, hard, gently firm, latex, memory foam, springs – it can get confusing. Fit For Bed is here to help!

Pillow top vs Euro top

When deciding between a Euro top or pillow top mattress, it’s important to know what each type offers. Firstly, what are the similarities? Both have an additional layer of foam sewn to the top of the mattress. Often retailers and manufacturers use the terms pillow top and Euro top interchangeably, but these two types of mattress have their differences – in their appearance, springs, sleep surface and firmness.


In a pillow top, the additional layer of foam is added to the top of the mattress. There will be a gap that separates the pillow top from the foundational comfort layer and it will appear as if there is an additional padding layer on top of the mattress, however it is actually stitched onto the top. You will immediately notice it in a bed shop due to the soft layer of goodness attached to the top of the mattress. Like its name suggests, it resembles a pillow stitched on.

The Euro top is slightly different. While it also has an additional layer of foam, instead of being stitched to the top foundational comfort layer, the sleep surface is stitched flush with each side of the mattress. So while the foam is there, it is sewn to the edges of the mattress, giving the bed a more modern appearance. So the first difference to consider when choosing between the two is the look you want.


There are two conventional spring systems in South Africa: the Bonnell spring and the pocket spring. A Bonnell spring system is a traditional innerspring system that has a coil in an hourglass shape that is connected to a mesh which creates a durable and supportive mattress. This is the more traditional spring and offers even support across the entire bed. Pocket spring systems comprise individually pocketed springs that allow for independent movement, which in turn allows for added contour which alleviates pressure on the hips and shoulders.

As the pillow top layer doesn’t run to the edge of the mattress, a pillow top mattress is better suited to a Bonnell spring system. The Euro top is a little more versatile and is suited to both spring systems.

So, the choice here will come down to the type of support you are looking for. If you are after even support, then a Bonnell spring will suit you, which can be found in both a pillow top and Euro top mattress. However, if you are looking for a mattress that allows more independent movement you might do better with a pocket spring system, which you can find in a Euro top mattress.

Sleep surface

While the springs support the way you sleep, the comfort layer on your mattress is critical to getting the desired comfort while you sleep. There are four different sleep surfaces commonly used in South African mattresses: reconstituted foam, virgin foam, memory foam and latex. There are varying qualities of each foam that manufacturers use, so it is important to try to establish the density of the foam used. The general rule for foam is that the higher the density, the higher the quality.


While springs and surfaces are important, most people make a decision about their bed based on the firmness different options offer. There are important differences in the pillow top and Euro top when it comes to firmness. Due to the construction of the pillow top, it is slightly softer than the Euro top. The softer feel makes the pillow top more suitable for someone who weighs up to 90kg. This soft feel allows the sleep surface to contour to the body, which alleviates stress to the hips and shoulders which will reduce back and shoulder ache. The firmer feel of the Euro top is better suited to people weighing up to 110kg.

Make sure you get sound advice from a sleep expert from a reputable retailer. We’ve found two good examples of each product brought to you by Harris Hotel. Equally priced, the Harris Hotel Euro Top and the Harris Hotel Pillow Top offer a good comparison. Generally weight is the most important factor when settling on a bed. Some mattresses are designed for lighter people, and others are better suited for heavier people. However, the individual feel of a mattress is also important, so consider all options before making your final decision.

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