A pillow top mattress is one where a comfortable topper is permanently attached onto the mattress.
Various materials are used for the comfort layer on a pillowtop mattress. Some use natural materials such as latex and wool whilst others use synthetic fibres.
Should you get a manmade or natural pillow top mattress?
If you are interested in the natural v synthetic argument you might like to have a look at this WebMD article. It explains that ‘gaseous chemicals called volatile organic compounds’ are released by mattresses.
On the one hand, it suggests that ‘these VOCs come mainly from the polyurethane used in the mattress’. That suggests that levels will be higher in mattresses using synthetic materials such as memory foam. They suggest that ‘cotton, wool and natural latex will all produce lower levels of gases’.
However, it also concludes that ‘the estimated doses of most VOCs remained well below the levels that could cause health effects’. They add that ‘experts are generally more concerned about children’s exposure to VOCs’.
The appeal of a pillow top mattress is that you get solid support from a sprung mattress underneath along with a lovely squidgy layer on the top. The downside in some cases is that the top layer loses its shape so you might get sags and dips over time (don’t we all?).
You can’t usually turn over a pillow top mattress as the comfort layer is only on one side.
Our pillow top mattress selections
We’ve picked out five of the best pillow top mattresses in the UK. Our top 5 includes award winners, mattresses with outstanding customer reviews and pillow top mattresses which offer the best value for money. We’ve included a mix of posh expensive pillow top mattresses as well as cheap pillow top mattresses.
Prices are for double mattresses and are correct at the time of writing. Review scores are correct at the time of writing.
1. Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo/Teramo Latex 1400 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress – soft/medium firmness – £599
Expert testers went wild for this Sealy mattress which has a latex pillow top. Latex is a natural material which is well suited for mattresses. However, it is expensive to produce so tends to be used as a thin topper. The exception is posh latex mattress brand Dunlopillo which makes the whole mattress out of latex.
Anyway, back to Sealy which calls itself the world’s biggest mattress brand. Overall, the Sealy brand scores 2.9/5 on TrustPilot although that includes a big range of products. I would pay more attention to individual product reviews. This particular model achieves a very impressive 8.9/10 from about 500 customer reviews.
A pillow top mattress with plenty of support
The Sealy Nostromo/Teramo has 1400 pocket springs, which is very good and will provide plenty of support. Most decent mattresses have 1000-2000 pocket springs. If you’re very heavy you would get more benefit from a number nearer to 2000 but for most people 1400 is perfectly adequate.
The warranty is five years. That’s towards the lower end of the mattress market. It’s made in the UK and the same mattress goes by a couple of names – Nostromo and Teramo.
There’s some debate over the firmness of the the Sealy Nostromo/Teramo. The Sealy website describes it as soft, whilst Mattress Online say it is medium. This sort of ambiguity is common in the mattress market, as there’s no industry wide agreed way of measuring firmness.
Most people describe the Sealy Nostromo/Teramo as halfway between soft and medium.
What the scientists say about pillow top mattresses
Finally, it’s worth mentioning an academic paper which was published in China on the issue of mattress toppers. Three researchers – Yu-Chi Lee, Lee Chih-Yun and Wang Mao-Jiun – carried out tests to determine the ideal ‘combination of thickness and hardness’. Their research focused on ‘supine’ sleeping, which means sleeping on your back.
Their conclusion was that the best outcome in terms of things like ‘body pressure‘ and ‘temperature distribution’ were achieved with ‘a soft topper of 30-mm thickness’.
With that in mind, this mattress gets the thumbs up as it has a 25mm top layer and is softer than most.
Pros and cons – our expert summary
“The main downsides with the Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo are that it’s got a relatively short warranty for the money. There’s also no opportunity to return it if you find it uncomfortable. The five year guarantee is half that of the Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress. However, it’s also a couple of hundred pounds cheaper.”
“You might be tempted by the trial period offered by the slightly cheaper Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress. However, the Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo has more pocket springs, which should offer more support. Also, this is a hugely popular mattress so you might find it in a showroom so you can try it out first hand.”
“It’s certainly one of the softer mattresses in our pillowtop comparison. The Hypnos Premier Luxury Pillow Top Pocket Sprung Mattress is another option at the softer end of the scale but it’s twice the price.”
2. Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress – medium/firm – £419
The cheapest pillow top mattress in our top 5 is this one from Sleepeezee.
The brand has a Royal Warrant meaning that the Prince of Wales sleeps in a Sleepeezee bed. Well, I think it means they supply the royal household but that doesn’t sound as impressive. Customers also rave about Sleepeezee, with an outstanding average brand score of 4.2/5 on TrustPilot.
The 1000 Memory Comfort model is less than half the price of another Sleepeezee mattress – the Mayfair(#4 on our list) – but it still offers a lot for the money.
What’s the pillowtop layer made from?
As well as a layer of pocket springs, it also has memory foam and a pillow top. Memory foam doesn’t appeal to everyone as it has a bit of a sinking feeling. However, most mattress experts say that it offers a good level of consistent support compared to springs. It’s obviously working well alongside the softer pillow top layer as it scores more than 9/10 from about 400 reviews on Mattress Online.
There are a couple differences between this cheaper Sleepeezee model and the luxurious Mayfair model. The first is the number of springs and the second is the use of fancy natural materials such as cashmere.
A high spring count is more important if you’re on the heavy side. However, for most people the support of 1000 pocket springs will be enough. It is certainly far better than ‘open coil’ or ‘traditional’ springs which are what your grandma has on her wartime spare bed.
Is this mattress ideal for you?
This model is a medium/firm tension mattress. That means it might suit someone who sleeps on their back. Side sleepers usually go for softer mattresses than back sleepers so that their shoulders and hips sink into the mattress a bit more.
Sleepeezee also offer a rather appealing 60 night sleep trial if you buy it from Mattress Online. They’ll swap it for another Sleepeezee mattress if you find it isn’t right for you. Check the terms and conditions first.
The other main difference compared to the more expensive Sleepeezee Mayfair mattress (#4) it that this model comes with a 5 year warranty instead of 10 years.
Pros and cons – our expert summary
“In the pros column is the fact that the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress is the cheapest out of this selection by some distance. It’s half the price of the other featured Sleepeezee mattress (the Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200).”
”It’s also likely to suit a lot of people as it’s medium firm. That’s a very popular option for guest bedrooms and hotels.”
“Another definite plus is the 60 night comfort trial, which is unusual for a mattress at this price. The trial has some smallprint and only applies from some locations, so it’s not as generous as some other mattresses with trial periods.”
“In the cons column for this mattress is the relatively short warranty. The Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200 offers twice as long. The spring count is also a little on the low side. It’s the same as the Silentnight Mirapocket 1000 Geltex Pillow Top Mattress. However, I prefer a number closer to that offered by the Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo or the much pricier Hypnos Premier Luxury Pillow Top Pocket Sprung Mattress“
3. Silentnight Mirapocket 1000 Geltex Pillow Top Mattress – medium firmness – £629
Here’s a mid-priced pillow top mattress which is worth a look.
It’s made by Silentnight, which is probably the most well-known name in the UK mattress market. The brand offers mattresses, duvets, pillows and various other sleep related things. It scores a more-than respectable 4.1/5 from thousands of customers on TrustPilot.
The Mirapocket 1000 pillow top mattress has got 1000 pocket springs. That’s not as many as some but enough to provide a good level of support unless you’re large enough to take up two seats on an aeroplane.
As well as the pocket springs and the pillow top layer it also has a layer of something called ‘geltex’. That is a type of fancy foam which aims to offer a bit of consistent support.
It makes our top 5 thanks to outstanding customer reviews, which average 9.2/10 from more than 170 reviews.
Pros and cons – our expert summary
“There are plenty of positives about the Mirapocket 1000 pillow top mattress. You’re buying from a well established brand which sits somewhere around the middle of the market in the UK. Silentnight doesn’t have the Royal Warrant of Hypnos or Sleepeezee but it is the biggest brand in the UK. It’s easy to find a good number of reviews for most of their mattresses.”
“It uses a different material for its top layer which is synthetic and is called Geltex. Rival choices such as the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 use memory foam which has more of a sinking and hugging feeling than Geltex.”
“What about the downsides and negatives with this mattress? The warranty is only as good as the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 which is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper. It also doesn’t have a trial period so you can either search for one in a showroom or take a gamble and buy it online”
4. Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress – medium firmness – £859
The Sleepeezee Mayfair 3200 was a finalist at the bed industry’s main awards in 2019. I imagine you watched the live coverage on Sky Box Office just like me.
As mentioned earlier, the brand has a Royal Warrant and outstanding reviews on TrustPilot (4.2/5).
There aren’t a huge number of customer reviews online for this particular model, but the handful that we’ve found are all very positive.
A lot of mattress for your money
The specification is very strong. It’s a whopping 35cm deep, making it one of the thickest mattresses on the market. You might want to buy a stepladder to get into bed if you’re shorter than average and you’ll need some extra deep fitted bedsheets.
It uses pocket springs and has a lot of them. Cheap nasty mattresses use ‘open coil’ springs which wobble around like jelly on a bucking bronco, but a decent mattress like this uses pocket springs. If you want to get technical, it actually has a layer of 1200 normal sized pocket springs, plus another 2000 smaller springs. The main support comes from the normal sized springs, with the smaller ones adding a bit of extra comfort.
The Sleepeezee Mayfair 3200 has other signs of quality such as:
- lots of natural materials including wool and cashmere which are more expensive than synthetic plastic based fibres. If you have dust allergies then you might be better looking at a foam mattress.
- hand side stitching, which is very boring but just means that it’s been well constructed so that it doesn’t collapse when you sit on the edge
- a 10 year warranty, which is very good for a pocket spring mattress
This is another mattress which one comes with the Sleepeezee 60 night trial if you buy it from Mattress Online. That means you can swap it for another Sleepeezee mattress if it isn’t right for you (check the smallprint).
Pros and cons – our expert summary
“This Sleepeezee mattress has a whole stack of factors in the pros column. There’s the industry award, the Royal Warrant (which Hypnos also has) and the fact that it uses a lot of natural materials which experts reckon omit less ‘gaseous chemicals called volatile organic compounds’ than foam toppers.”
“You also get a warranty which is double that of the Silentnight Mirapocket 1000 Geltex Pillow Top Mattress and it has a trial period from some outlets, which you don’t get with the Hypnos Premier Luxury Pillow Top Pocket Sprung Mattress“
“A technical comparison also reveals that this pricier model uses hand side stitching which you don’t get with the cheaper Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000.That feature will give it more strength at the edges”
“Funnily enough, this mattress’s huge depth will actually be a negative for some people. It’s a whole 9cm deeper than the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 so you might find that your standard fitted sheets won’t fit – which is another cost on top of an already expensive mattress”
5. Hypnos Premier Luxury Pillow Top Pocket Sprung Mattress – soft tension – £1249
Hypnos deserve a mention as it has been named as the best mattress manufacturer on more than one occasion at the National Bed Federation’s awards. For anyone taking notes, they won in 2014 and 2017 and were runner up in 2018.
They’re one of the posher brands in the UK mattress market and according to the official blurb they are ‘the only bed maker to actively supply all of the Royal residences including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St. James Palace, Balmoral Castle, Sandringham House, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and Kensington Palace’. So, you could well be sleeping in the Queen’s bed, if you see what I mean.
The Hypnos Premier Pillow Top model has all the signs of quality that you’d expect when you spend more than £1000 on a mattress including:
- a good number of pocket springs, in this case 1400 which is plenty unless you are very heavy
- posh natural materials such as wool and silk
- a long warranty (10 years)
- thick measurements, which shows that they’ve not scrimped on materials. This one is 29cm deep (most expensive mattresses are about 25-30cm deep).
This mattress is described as being softer than most, so it’s best for people who sleep on their side as it will allow their shoulders and elbows to sink in and keep their spines straight. Soft mattresses are also more suited for lighter people, as a heavy person will sink in to the mattress too much.
When we checked, the Hypnos brand was scoring 3.6/5 on TrustPilot as of 2022, whilst this mattress was scoring just below 5/5.
Pros and cons – our expert summary
“Top of the cons column for this mattress is the price, which is the highest by far from our selection. It costs about three times as much as the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress“
“You’re certainly buying quality natural materials and prestige but you might feel it’s too much to spend without the trial period offered by the likes of the Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200“
“On the plus side, you get a generous warranty which easily beats the Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress and the Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo.”
”The spring count is also a good number which matches the Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo. The Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200 has more springs but they are spread over more layers. The number of full size springs on a mattress is more important than the extra layers of smaller springs”
Head to head comparison: which pillowtop mattress is right for you?
As you’ll see from the chart below, there’s a good choice of firmness levels and prices in our selection of pillowtop mattresses. They all offer an adequate number of springs but the cheaper models are those with slightly lower counts. You also pay a premium for a longer warranty.
A lot of people find pillowtop mattresses can’t be beat for comfort but do keep in mind that you can’t flip them over, so you’ll need to rotate them regularly to get a good few years out of them. If you don’t you might find that they develop imprints and dips.
|What’s it called?||How much |
|Sealy Posturepedic Nostromo||£599||5 years,|
no trial period
|Sleepeezee Memory Comfort 1000 Pocket Pillow Top Mattress||£419||5 years, |
|Silentnight Mirapocket 1000 Geltex Pillow Top Mattress||£629||5 years,|
no trial period
|Sleepeezee Perfectly British Mayfair 3200||£859||10 years,|
60 night comfort trial
|Hypnos Premier Luxury Pillow Top Pocket Sprung Mattress||£1249||10 years, no trial period||Soft||1400,|