Different Mattress Top Types, Explained by a Mattress Expert

We of all people believe that when choosing a new mattress, details are key. And with so many options out there, it can be challenging to understand the differences. Specifically, when it comes to finding the right mattress top type, a lot of questions may come to mind. What’s a euro top, and why do I need one? And what’s a tight top? Why would I want my mattress to be tight?

To answer some of these frequently asked questions and get you the scoop on this important mattress layer, we talked to our Sr. Manager of Product Strategy (AKA our in-house mattress expert!), Edriss Soleyman.

What are the most common mattress top types?

There are four types that you’ll typically see on most mattresses—tight top, smooth top, euro top, and pillow top.

What is a euro top mattress? How is it different from a pillow top mattress?

A euro top is an extra layer of padding (made of fiber, foam, or sometimes both) that’s sewn flush to the mattress edges. According to Edriss, “Euro tops have a seam around the mattress edge where that top layer of padding ends and the mattress begins.” The Pressure Relief Euro Top iCoil® Hybrid Mattress is a prime (and super comfortable) example of this.

“A pillow top mattress, on the other hand, is a cushioned top layer with a visible indentation where it meets the mattress surface,” he explains. True to its name, a pillow top has a more plush feel when compared to a euro top. Our Dream Pillow Top Spring Mattress (one mattress very worthy of its name) features microfiber quilting on an extra voluminous pillow top.

What is a tight top mattress?

A tight top mattress does not have any additional padding on top like a pillow top or euro top. The top panel of fabric is stitched to the side panel of fabric and there’s a visible seam where the two meet. Edriss explains that, without an added layer of fiber or foam, “tight top mattresses will tend to be on the firmer side.”

Our 10 inch Pressure Relief Extra Firm iCoil® Hybrid Mattress features a quilted tight top, plus densely packed steel coils right beneath it. In other words, a firm mattress lover’s dream come true.

What is a smooth top mattress?

A smooth top mattress, similar to a tight top, also does not have any added cushioning on top. Although around the top border, you won’t see an obvious seam along the edges. Instead, the fabric continues over the edge and wraps partially or fully around the rest of the mattress.

Edriss notes that often, smooth tops are found on memory foam mattresses. If you’re looking for the neat and tidy feel of a smooth top, he recommends our bestselling Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress or our ultra-premium Bliss Memory Foam Mattress.

What about quilted tops?

“A quilted cover can be used on any of the above styles,” Edriss tells us. Quilted tops will have a hint of extra softness thanks to fiber fill, with stitching that creates a pillowy appearance.

Quilting gives your mattress a textural element and a nice, dreamy look. The Cloud Memory Foam Mattress, Comfort Support Pocket Spring Hybrid Mattress, and Tight Top Spring Mattress all feature quilted tops.

What else should you consider when choosing a mattress top type?

Before selecting a mattress, be sure to consider more than just the top layer. Although a euro top will generally feel softer than a tight top, every layer counts! Pay attention to what kind of core construction the mattress has. Is it hybrid, spring, or foam? How many layers of cushioning make up the top layer, and what are they made of? We address all of these questions (and more) in our How to Choose the Right Mattress blog.