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Mattress Type Guide: what's the difference?

Sleep is a way for the body to rejuvenize and recoup all the energy lost from the day's work. It is undeniable that mattresses affect our sleep quality in various ways, and with so many options on the market, you must choose one that matches your body to ensure that you enjoy this restful period.

So, if you are searching for a new mattress, this article is for you. Because in this post, we will take a look at the various types of beds available, and share with you some expert tips to consider when choosing your mattress.

Why Choosing The Right Mattress Is Important?

There are various types of mattresses, and each type is tailored for specific body types and sleep positions. As such, picking any type of mattress arbitrarily can be detrimental to your health. Below are three reasons why you must choose a mattress to suit your body?

1. It is Essential For Your Spine Health

Sleeping on the right mattress ensures that you have the support needed for your spine to maintain its natural alignment while you lay down. Sleeping on the wrong type of mattress will end up causing back pain which over time, can lead to lower back issues and spinal curvature problems.

2. Affects Your Sleep Quality

As stated earlier, the type of mattress you sleep on can affect your sleep quality. Getting the right mattress ensures a comfortable night's sleep, which is a sure way to wake up happy, energized, and ready for the day! If you choose the wrong type of mattress, you are going to wake up tired and grumpy, which will affect your productivity.

3. You Spend a Large Chunk Of Your Life Sleeping

The average human spends one-third of their lifetime sleeping, and 9 out of 10 times, we will be sleeping on a mattress. Therefore, you must choose the right mattress to ensure that you fully maximize the benefits of sleeping.

Types of Mattresses Based On Appearance:

There are so five main types of mattresses on the market based on appearance; these include:

* Tight-top

* Euro top

* Pillow top

* Box top

* Smooth top


* Tight tops are the firmest mattress and are composed of an innerspring base layer and a thin comforting layer.

* Euro tops are medium firm and they compose of an innerspring layer attached to a fiber or a foam-comforting layer. It has a two-layer appearance with three tape edges pointing outward.

* Pillow tops are soft mattresses that are constructed in such a way that the comfort layer seems thrown onto the innerspring base layer giving it a collapsed appearance where the two layers meet. The comfort layer is made of either wool or cotton for additional softness.

* Box top mattresses are similar to pillow tops. The only difference is the comfort layer is designed to be par or the same width as the base layer for additional edge support.

* The smooth top comprises two or three pieces of foam glued together and then covered with a piece of fabric. It has no distinctive layered appearance on the outside.

Let's take a deep dive at each:

1. Tight Top Mattress

Tight-top mattresses just as the name suggests are a type of innerspring mattress in which the comfort layer is constructed with a very thin layer of either wool, cotton, or polyester, with no thick or plushy padding; this means it has no noticeable extension or layers. Tight tops come with two tape edges; one at the top and the other at the bottom.

The stitching of a tight top is done in such a way that the comfort layer is sown tightly and directly to the spring with the tuftings close together and spaced out about an inch from each other, giving you that firm fee, and as a result, most people refer to them as firm mattresses. The firmness of tight-top mattresses ranges from a firmness rating of 9 (which feels like sleeping on a carpeted floor) to a firmness rating of 7 (which can be more forgiving and feel like you're sleeping on a firm cushion).

That being said, most companies have developed some variations of tight tops with various firmness variations; some come with a little bit more padding or a soft thing padding and are referred to as "plush tight tops" whiles others tend to be a bit medium-firmness, among others. But generally, they tend to be firm with a thin layer.

Tight tops are known to be very responsive (bouncy); this is because they have inner springs. The great responsiveness coupled with the thin or tight comfort layer allows for the mattress to provide great structural support for the body since it pushes back against your body for it to maintain its alignment. This makes it bad at alleviating pressure points in the body, and also, they tend to have motion transfer.

In conclusion, these types of mattresses are comfortable; however, they tend to push upwards rather than sink in, giving you that structural support.


* They are affordable

* They provide great support for the body.

* Great responsiveness


* Does alleviate pressure points

* Due to the direct impact on the springs, it might produce squeaky noise

Who is it for?

* A tight-top mattress is a great choice for back sleepers who weighs 230 lbs and above. The firmness of the mattresses holds up the body and doesn't allow the heaviest parts of your body to sink in, making it comfortable to lie on and easier for you to get up.

* It is also a great option for people who experience back pain whenever they sleep. This is because tight tops hold your body's structure in place and ensures proper alignment of your spine.

* It is also great for stomach sleepers since it aligns the spine.

2. Euro Top Mattress

Unlike a tight-top mattress which has a thin comfort layer, a euro-top mattress is characterized by its thick and plushy comfort layer.

 Euro top mattresses feature a well-padded comfort layer that sits flush with the edges of the base layer. It features three tape edges; one at the top, one at the base of the comfort layer (the middle), and one at the bottom of the base layer. These three tape edges give the mattress a two-layer look, which can be vividly seen. What makes the euro top mattress different from a pillow top in terms of appearance is that the sides of the comfort layer are straight, and all three tape edges (especially the middle and top edges) point toward the outside.

The main distinguishing factor of the euro top matters is the construction of the comfort layer. The comfort layer of the euro top mattress is thicker and it is filled with either fiber or foam and often between the thickness of 3 to 5 inches, giving you that extra comfort and softness you need for your sleep. This gives the euro top mattress a medium-firmness, making them softer than a tight top mattress, but slightly firmer than a pillow top mattress. That being said, some euro tops come with various levels of firmness, but then you should expect them to be generally medium-firm.

That being said, the level of comfort a euro top mattress will have will greatly depend on the type of material used for the padding. For example, if a manufacturer uses memory foam to construct the comfort layer, then you can expect that euro-top mattress to trap more heat compared to a euro-top mattress that was constructed with a latex comfort layer.

The flush and dense design of the euro top mattress makes it durable and it tends to have great edge support and good isolation. Finally, due to the seamless stitching between the base and the comfort layer of the mattress, euro tops tend to have much better airflow.


* Great edge support

* Durable

* Great motion isolation

* Great airflow


* They are quite heavy

Who is it for:

* The great motion isolation of a euro top mattress makes it a great option for couples.

* It is also great for stomach and combination sleepers who weigh between 130 to 230 lbs. This is because the cushioning alleviates pressure points, but then the medium firmness wouldn't allow you to sink so deep.

3. Pillow Top Mattress

A pillow-top mattress is a two-layer mattress in which the comfort layer has been stitched into a separate topper and then stitched back onto the mattress (the base layer). Think of it like placing the comfort materials into a sack (the topper) to form the comfort layer and stitching the comfort layer materials onto the sack, and then sowing the sack containing the comfort material on the base innerspring layer.

The comfort layer material is made from high loft fillings such as cotton, wool, fiberfill, or polyester, and the stitching of the comfort layer of the mattress is sewn such that the tufts are widely spaced out (about 4 to 5 inches apart). The combination of the high loft filling and the stitching of the comfort layer gives the mattress a soft feel, which will absorb your body weight when you lay on it.

The stitching between the comfort layer and the base of the mattress gives it a collapsed appearance at the point where the two layers meet. This collapsed appearance makes the edge support of a pillow-top mattress poor, and the collapsed appearance makes the mattress appear as though a pillow-like blanket has been placed on top of it; hence the name.

 The comfort layer of a pillow top is about 1 to 3 inches thick; however, various variations of pillow tops will have different comfort layer thickness levels. Pillow tops are constructed to be soft, and they usually have a firmness rating between 1 to 3. This makes them great for absorbing pressure points and isolating motion.


* Soft feel

* Great at isolating motion

* Great at alleviating pressure points


* The separate stitching between the comforter and the base makes airflow limited, as such, it can tend to generate heat.

Who is it for?

* This mattress is great for lightweight individuals (usually less than 130 lbs). Heavier individuals who sleep on the mattress might sink deeply.

* It is great for side sleepers since it alleviates pressure points.

* It is also great for individuals with pressure point pain such as back pain, who require pressure alleviation.

4. Box Top Mattress

A box-top mattress is a type of pillow-top mattress that is constructed to have good edge support. This means it is designed to have the comfort layer sewn separately and then stitched onto the base of the mattress. However, what sets the box top apart is the stitching between the base layer and the comfort layer; with a box top the comfort layer is stitched to be par or squared off with (matches the width) the base layer which makes it look like a box as opposed to the pillow.

The squared-off edges aren't just built for aesthetics; however, they are built to give the mattress better edge support, and a large sleeping area than a pillow top offers. A box top mattress is also a two-layered mattress and the comfort layers are made of the same material as that of a pillow top giving it a soft feel. The padding of the comfort layer is about 2 to 4 inches thick, and it is stitched the same way as a pillow top mattress.


* Great edge support

* Larger sleeping area

* Softer than pillow tops


* Generates heat

Who is it for?

* Box-top mattresses are ideal for side sleepers between the weight ranges of 130 to 230 lbs.

* Great for individuals with back pain

5. Smooth Top Mattress

Smooth-top mattresses are similar to tight-top mattresses since they both have no distinct padding. However, the difference is that with a smooth top, the top layer is sown directly onto a foam, as opposed to, a spring base used in tight tops. The internal materials compose of two to three layers of foam, and memory foam is usually placed on top of the other foams. The layered foams are glued together, and everything is covered with a fabric that is sewn directly onto the foams, creating no visible distinct layers as you will see on a euro top or pillow top mattress.

Also, with a smooth top, you will not find extended seaming at the edge as with any of the above-mention mattresses. The whole mattress is covered with one fabric with no distinction or tape edges. Due to smooth top mattresses being made of memory foam, they tend to be softer than tight tops and they absorb the body weight to alleviate pressure points.


* Affordable

* Great for alleviating pressure points


* Generates heat due to memory foam being used

Who is it for?

* Box-top mattresses are ideal for combinational sleepers and side sleepers.

Factors To Consider When Choosing The Right Mattress:

1. Firmness

Choosing the right mattress with the right firmness is crucial. Depending on your body weight and sleeping posture/position, certain firmness levels might be an optimal choice, while others might not be a great option.

Below are our recommendations for mattresses based on firmness:

* A puffy mattress or soft mattress is a great choice for side sleepers and individuals that weigh less than 240 lbs.

* A moderately firm mattress is ideal for combination sleepers and people less than 240 lbs.

* Firm mattresses are ideal for heavy people above 240 lbs. They are also ideal for back sleepers and stomach sleepers.

* Extra firm mattresses are ideal for heavy people who tend to be back and stomach sleepers.

The heavier you are, the firmer you want your mattress to be; for combo sleepers, a moderately firm mattress will be great, for side sleepers, a soft and puffy mattress will be great since it will absorb your pressure points.

2. Size

The size of a mattress is another important decision to consider when choosing your mattress. This is because mattresses can last for a while, as such, you want to purchase one with the right size to enable you to enjoy sleeping on it. In terms of size, there are four main types of mattresses:

* Twin: This is the smallest type of mattress which is ideal for teenagers/kids or single individuals who live in a limited space. The dimensions of a twin mattress is 38" x 75" or 38" x 80" (Twin XL)

* Full: Full mattresses provide a bit more space, and it is ideal for single adults who want more space (width) than what a twin mattress offers. The dimension of this type of mattress is 54” x 75”.

* Queen: For couples that want to sleep together on one mattress, then the queen size will be the perfect option. It is also an ideal option for kids and single adults who want to have the best space possible. The dimension of a queen-sized mattress is 60” x 80”

* King: This is the mattress that provides the ultimate space in terms of width and length. These mattresses are ideal for people who live in their homes and have a large bedroom space to host the mattress. The mattress dimension ranges from 76" x 80".
California King: This mattress size has become popular, especially for taller people, due to the extended length by four inches. Yet it also has four inches less width coming in with dimensions at 72”x 84”

It is important to note that some manufacturers offer a unique dimension that is quite different from the standard sizing specified in this article.

3. Budget

Your budget is really crucial when it comes to choosing a mattress. The price of a mattress will depend on the size of the mattress, and the material used in constructing the mattress. The larger the material, the more expensive it will be. Also, mattresses constructed with latex and hybrid mattresses will cost more than a mattress constructed with memory foam.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can you Flip a Euro Top Mattress?

No, euro top mattresses are one-sided, and their base often contains no cushioning, and as such, you will be lying directly over the spring. Also, flipping it will compress the comforting layer, which can destroy its functionality.

2. What is the Difference Between Euro top and Pillow top mattresses?

The truth is that a euro top is a type of pillow top mattress; however, unlike a pillow top that has a collapsed inter-stitching point between the comforting layer and the base layer, the euro top has well-distinct layers with a flat-sided comfort layer, as opposed to been collapsed.

Another difference is the material used in the comfort layer; with a euro top, foam or a fiber filling is used. However, with a pillow top, the comfort layer is composed of either wool or cotton, giving it a soft feel.

Finally, the stitching of the comfort layer is different. With a pillow top, the tufts of the comfort layer are well-spaced (about 4-5 inches apart), whiles with a euro top, the tufts are closers, giving it a tighter feel.

3. How Often Should You Replace Your Mattress?

It is recommended that you replace your mattress every 6 to 8 years.

4. What Type of Mattress is Good For Back Pain?

For back pain, you want to purchase a mattress that is soft and can alleviate your pressure points. Therefore, a pillow top, box top, and smooth top might be the best options.



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