What is a Plush Mattress?

If you have ever shopped for a mattress or other bedding products, you’ve definitely run across a few terms that may not seem familiar in your search for the perfect night’s sleep. Everyone has heard the terms soft and firm used in describing mattress comfort levels, but you’ve also probably run across the use of plush and wondered if a plush mattress was referring to a soft or firm surface, or simply referring to the feel of mattress fabric.

The term plush is used interchangeably by some companies to help describe the levels of softness their surface comfort layers offer. However, this really is an incorrect use of the term. Generally, a plush surface is used to describe a softer surface that still provides good support. To better understand mattress comfort ratings, you need to first be familiar with the differences between what a firm, plush, and soft mattress is.

Why are Comfort Levels Important to Me?

You may think you prefer a plush bed over a firm one, but do you really know? The key to a better understanding of what you need for a good night’s rest lays in your sleep position. How you sleep helps determine what level of comfort you need to get the sleep you deserve, and you should pay attention to what your body tells you each morning.

If you are waking refreshed and comfortable, then you are already sleeping on the correct surface. But if you have been waking with aches and pains, it may be because your comfort level is incorrect and you are in desperate need of an upgrade, or even just a replacement mattress if yours is more than 10 years old. Over time mattress materials can compress and break down, and stop giving you the support you need.

If you are a side sleeper, you are going to need a softer, or plusher, surface layer to better help support your shoulders and hips to keep your spine in alignment while you sleep. Back and stomach sleepers prefer a more firm top in order to allow their spine to curve naturally and not be pulled out of place due to hip and shoulder weight.

Plush vs Firm Sleeping Surfaces

Surface comfort is generally measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most firm, and 1 being the softest. These measurements are determined by the amount of give the surface yields when a consistent weight is applied. A plush top surface on average falls at a 2.5 or 3 on this scale of 10, so it is definitely a softer sleeping surface.

Of course, there is no set standard from one company to the next, and measurements may reflect their own line of products- so be sure to read up on comfort reviews to truly know how your choices may compare to other brands you may be familiar with.

Using Plush to Describe Comfort

We’ve already determined that when using the term plush we are considering a much softer sleeping surface. But when you see it used in conjunction with other adjectives, such as ultra, pillowtop, and Eurotop- how can you know what is being described?

An ultra plush mattress is used to describe a very soft, sinkable mattress often made from memory foam materials to allow the maximum body and weight conformance. Also known as super plush or extra plus these mattresses can also occasionally include pillow tops for added cushioning.

Pillowtop vs Eurotop Mattresses

Pillowtop and Eurotop are often used interchangeably to describe an extra layer of soft padding sewn to the top of a mattress. However, there is a difference between the two. A pillowtop is an extra layer of padding sewn directly to the top of the mattress to provide uniform and adequate comfort and looks like its name describes, a pillow on top of the mattress.

A Eurotop is similar, but instead of looking like a separate layer, it is sewn flush to the mattress. Both of these create an added soft layer between you and the initial mattress comfort layer. Keep in mind that these are thin layers only and are not used for support, but only for added softness.

Plush vs Pillowtop and Eurotop Mattresses

A pillowtop or Eurotop mattress on their own would fall closer to a 2 or 1 on the scale of 1 to 10. However, as I mention above they are rarely thicker than an inch and half and only provide an initial layer without any added support. A pillowtop or Eurotop can be used with any level of comfort to create added softness, whereas a plush mattress is describing the mattress comfort itself.

When a pillowtop or Eurotop is used in conjunction with a plush mattress they create what is called a plush pillowtop or plush Eurotop mattress. When used in this manner you get what many companies may describe as an ultra plush, or extra soft sleeping surface as earlier described.

What in the World is a Plush Firm Mattress?

Occasionally you will hear the term plush used along with the use of a firm mattress. What the company is most likely describing, in this case, is the feel of a firm sleeping surface with the added comfort of a soft pillowtop layer. When using these two together it can be a confusing combination, but if you keep in mind that plush is sometimes used to describe soft then it makes a little more sense- especially now that you know what pillow tops and Eurotops are.


Hopefully, I’ve broken down these terms a little better so you can understand exactly how and why the term plush is used to describe mattress comfort levels. Just keep in mind that plush, although often used interchangeably with soft, is actually a comfort level that falls between a truly soft and medium sleeping surface in terms of weight yield.

If you see the term plush being used in your search for a good night’s rest, then make sure to look closely at how it is being used to better determine if the comfort surface is the best pick for you.