Best Pillow-Top Mattresses for 2024

Our mattress testing experts have tested over 200 mattresses and counting. We’re really good at testing beds and assessing them for what the average person needs and values. While testing, we consider a few key factors that help us assess each mattress. 

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read more on how we test mattresses.

Firmness and feel

We start with the two most important factors regarding mattresses: firmness and feel. You can think about firmness as how hard or soft the mattress is. I know what you’re thinking, who wants a hard mattress? A lot of pressure relief isn’t always the best option for everyone, but some people, like stomach and back sleepers, need a firmer mattress with more support to keep their spine aligned at night. Side sleepers, on the other hand, do benefit from a softer mattress that offers pressure relief for their shoulders, hips and knees. We rate firmness on a 1 to 10 scale, corresponding with terms like “medium” or “medium-firm.”

The feel is the other big one we note right away. What does the pillow-top mattress feel like when you’re lying on it? Does it have the sinking memory foam feel or a more neutral foam that bounces back quickly? Specifically for pillow tops, we take into account how thick they are and what feel they give the mattress. How firm and what the mattress feels like is noted in every review. 


We consider several performance factors when testing the best pillow-top mattresses. The first is edge support, or how structured the perimeter of the mattress is. Testing this is as simple as sitting on the edge of the bed and assessing how supportive it is. If we feel like we’re going to fall off the mattress by sitting on the edge, then it doesn’t have great edge support. 

Motion isolation is important if you sleep with a partner who tosses and turns or has a different sleeping schedule than you. We test this by placing a glass of water on the mattress and rolling across the bed to see if it will tip over. We also know how well the mattress distributes heat and regulates temperature. 

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