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For most people, their bed is much more than just a comfortable spot for sleeping – it’s a place where they can relax to read a book, browse the Web on their tablet, and watch TV. If you enjoy working from home in bed, you’ve probably found yourself struggling to get comfortable. The main reason for that is the lack of support that scrunching up your pillows against the headboard typically offers.
If you really want to be comfortable sitting up in bed, you should consider buying a reading pillow. Reading pillows are specially designed to give your spine the support it needs by cradling your body properly while seated upright on a bed, sofa, or even on the floor.
We’ve compiled a guide below so that you can learn all about the benefits of reading pillows, buying considerations, and reviews of the models we recommend most.
The Best Reading Pillows
- WOWMAX: the best triangular reading pillow
- MALOUF: the softest reading pillow
- Xtra-Comfort: the best multipurpose reading pillow
- Husband Pillow: the most customizable reading pillow
- Milliard: the best value for the money reading pillow
- LINENSPA: the most breathable reading pillow
- Brentwood Originals: the most affordable reading pillow
- Red Nomad: the most supportive reading pillow
- Brentwood Originals: the best faux fur reading pillow
Table of Contents
The Best Reading Pillows Comparison Table
- High-density polyurethane filling
- Filled with traditional foam and shredded memory foam
- High-density memory foam filling
- Adjustable shredded memory foam filling
- Customizable for comfort and support
- Blended shredded memory foam provides personalized comfort
- Made of 100% polyester
- Filled with shredded polyurethane foam
- Built-in carry handle
The Best Reading Pillows Reviews
WOWMAX: The Best Triangular Reading Pillow
This triangular wedge is designed to comfortably prop you up in bed, so your lower back gets the support it needs. WOWMAX contains a dense polyurethane filling to offer both support and comfort. In addition, it is large enough to act as a headboard if your bed doesn’t have one.
The corduroy fabric cover with button detail is quite attractive, making this a stylish accessory in any bedroom. With the large variety of color choices, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding just the right color to enhance your décor.
The WOMAX reading pillow is available in a variety of sizes, from twin to king, which means that you can buy one to suit any body size. It can also be used by couples who want to sit up in bed together as well as large-sized individuals.
The large size and button design of this product make it look like a headboard rather than a bed pillow. Its versatility makes it perfect for college dorm rooms because the pillow can be placed lengthwise on a bed against the wall, turning the bed into a sofa. The same can be done with a day bed, so it can be used as a regular couch.
Despite its solid design, the corduroy cover can be easily removed, machine washed and dried. You should wash it in cold or warm water on a “normal” cycle, then tumble dry on low heat.
MALOUF: The Softest Option
The Malouf Z Lounge reading pillow is specifically designed to support the shoulders, back, and arms and works great if you want to watch TV or read in bed. It’s filled with a mixture of traditional foam and shredded memory foam known for its contouring abilities. Thus, you can shape the pillow to support the areas of your body most in need.
The soft velour fabric cover is made of a blend of bamboo and rayon, making it cool and breathable - a quality that prevents overheating because body heat can easily escape during use. Therefore, this is a good option for people who tend to become hot in bed. The dark grey color blends with any décor.
Because of the shredded memory filling, Malouf can easily conform to your body shape, cradling your body comfortably while offering support at the same time. Shredded memory foam is full of air gaps, so the entire pillow is nice and breathable. This quality, along with the pillow’s armrest design, makes this one of the best reading pillows currently on the market.
The Malouf Z Lounge pillow can be spot cleaned with a clean wet cloth. You can also safely use a mild fabric detergent to remove any stains or to eliminate odors. The company offers a 3-year warranty on their product.
Xtra-Comfort: The Best Multipurpose Reading Pillow
The Xtra-Comfort innovative folding wedge design allows it to be used in several different ways. It can be placed behind your back to prop up the head, neck, and shoulders. Or, the wedge can be placed in front of you while seated as a “desk” for your book or laptop. The pillow is 22” wide and 12” deep, so it can easily fit on any bed to add comfort and support whether you’re sitting or sleeping. It’s perfect for traveling, with its compact size, handy carry handle, and ability to fold.
Because we all have our preferences when it comes to sleeping positions, the versatility of this wedge allows it to adapt to most people. You can position it so that you have a steep or gradual incline - this way, your head can be elevated exactly right for a good night’s sleep.
The high-density memory foam filling gives the right amount of softness while still being supportive. Because it can contour to your exact body shape, you get optimal support without sacrificing comfort. This is a long-lasting pillow that will not lose its original shape over time and can be used in conjunction with your regular bed pillows.
The cover is made of breathable soft polyester fabric, which can easily be removed for machine washing. It comes in a neutral beige color that blends with the décor of most bedrooms.
Husband Pillow: The Most Customizable Option
The large Husband Pillow is extremely comfortable because it can easily be customized to suit any body type. For both comfort and support, you cannot beat the coziness of this pillow. Its adjustable shredded memory foam filling allows you to customize the level of support and comfort to suit your needs, and the soft cover makes it even better. This pillow is much larger than the average, so its perfect for larger adults and those who like the comfort of being cradled by their pillow when sitting up in bed.
The Husband Pillow is filled with high-grade shredded memory foam, that can easily conform to your shape for complete comfort and support. The filling can also be redistributed, or you can even remove some of it through the zippered opening. This way, you can totally customize the shape and firmness of the pillow to your needs. If you want an even firmer pillow, the manufacturer provides the extra filling.
To add to the adjustability of the shredded foam filling, this product also comes with a detachable tubular pillow for added neck support when needed. This feature is great for people with sore necks who need extra support for their head and neck to stay comfortable. You can reposition the neck roll with the bungee included or totally remove it if it’s not needed.
To make this reading pillow even better, it has sewn-in side pockets that can hold your remote controls and reading materials. So, this is a good choice for those wanting the convenience of having their items right at hand without getting up to fetch them. The Husband Pillow is available in the broadest color range we’ve ever seen, so it should be easy to find one that blends perfectly with your home interior.
Milliard: The Best Value For The Money
The Milliard Reading Pillow is designed with husband-style arm supports, so it provides outstanding support to the head, shoulders, back, and arms. It works well for use on the bed, sofa, or floor if you wish. Milliard even say that their pillow is comfortable enough to be used for sleeping upright, so it is perfect for people suffering from nasal congestion or acid reflux.
The memory foam filling helps the pillow to conform to your body shape for maximum comfort and support. You can adjust the filling by removing it through the zippered opening to get just the right level of firmness. If you want a firmer feel, you can purchase additional foam from Milliard, so you can totally customize your pillow to suit your needs. After extended use, you may want to replace all the filling to freshen your pillow up without having to buy a whole new pillow.
Milliard comes in three sizes: Petite, Standard, and Extra Large. Therefore, you can choose the size that works best for you. The extra-large is 24” wide, which is perfect for larger adults.
The velour cover is not only attractive, but it also has a zipper that allows it to be easily removed and machine washed so you can always keep your pillow nice and clean. It also has a handle, so it’s easy to carry around.
LINENSPA: The Most Breathable Reading Pillow
Linenspa’s shredded foam reading pillow is designed with husband-style arm supports for comfort. The pillow is designed to be as breathable as possible with plenty of air pockets in the shredded foam filling an and exceptionally breathable cover. This allows excess body heat to escape the pillow while in use. So, if you tend to get hot and sweaty while relaxing in bed, this would be a perfect choice.
Linenspa is filled with tiny shreds of foam, which can be easily redistributed to conform to your needs for comfort and support. This works very well for people who need extra support in certain areas due to back pain or sore joints.
This pillow comes in two sizes, Standard and Extra Large in neutral navy and stone color options available. The extra-large size has removable neck support that adds support for the head and neck or can be used to elevate your legs for improved blood circulation.
The plush velour cover is both soft and durable; however, it can only be spot cleaned. A fabric handle makes it easy to carry the pillow from room to room or to travel with. Linenspa comes with a 3-year warranty.
Brentwood Originals: The Most Affordable Option
This selection is made by Brentwood, a highly regarded bedding manufacturer. Brentwood is known for their exceptionally soft products, and this reading pillow is no different. Plus, it comes with a soft plush velour cover that feels exceptionally comfy and soft against the skin. So, if you’re looking for a husband-style reading pillow with arms, but don’t really need firm support, Brentwood may be just right.
While this reading pillow is softer than most other options on our list, it provides sufficient support to meet the needs of most people while sitting up in bed reading or watching TV. Brentwood would be a great choice for people who could use some neck and back support but don’t want the stiffness of a firm reading pillow.
The plush, luxurious cover can be spot cleaned with a clean damp cloth. This reading pillow is also made with a handy carrying handle, so it can be easily transported around the house or taken along on vacation.
Red Nomad: The Most Supportive Pillow
Although Red Nomad is designed for reading in bed, it is very versatile in its functions. It offers the perfect back support for other bedtime activities as well, whether it be watching TV, working on your laptop or playing video games. The armrests add to the comfortable design.
This husband-style reading pillow comes with a soft, yet durable velour cover, designed for maximum breathability. It can, therefore, wick your body heat and moisture away while you’re using the pillow. Additionally, Red Nomad is filled with high-quality shredded polyurethane foam, making it highly breathable. This makes it perfect for people who tend to get overly warm in bed.
The shredded foam makes the pillow nice and soft long-term, and it won’t get all clumped up in one spot. Because the foam comes in shredded pieces, it is easy to redistribute the filling and alter the shape to provide maximum support where you need it. And, the carrying handle on top allows you to move the pillow around easily from room to room.
Brentwood Originals: The Best Faux Fur Reading Pillow
The Brentwood Shagalicious Bed Rest Pillow would be perfect for people who appreciate vivid, vibrant colors in home décor. This husband-style reading pillow is covered in luxurious faux fur, which is both stunning and plushy soft against the skin. As reading pillows go, this one is on the softer side like other reading pillows from Brentwood Originals. It’s a great choice if you aren’t comfortable with a very firm back pillow. Because there are no additional fancy additional features, the product comes at an affordable price.
The faux fur cover can be spot cleaned with a wet cloth, so it’s fairly easy to keep clean without having to launder the cover. The built-in carrying handle allows it to be moved around quite easily, so it’s not a problem to take this pillow on trips.
The Brentwood Originals Shagalicious Bed Rest offers sufficient support for your neck, shoulders, and back, while still being nice and soft. This is a fabulous choice for people prone to backaches and sore necks who are uncomfortable leaning back on an overly firm reading pillow.
The Benefits of Using a Reading Pillow
Even when you’re relaxing in bed, it’s important to keep your neck and spine properly aligned. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sitting, lying down, or standing up, gravity will put pressure on your muscles and joints. Maintaining good posture will ensure that this pressure is distributed evenly across all body parts. This helps prevent undue pain, muscle strain, and abnormal wearing, as well as other issues.
It’s not easy to keep your spine properly aligned while sitting upright in bed. Leaning against your headboard alone isn’t very comfortable, while piling a bunch of pillows may provide insufficient support. Doing this will only promote slouching or twisting your body in uncomfortable positions, creating pressure points, and compressing your spine. Aside from offering inadequate support, regular bed pillows tend to lose their shape, structure, and firmness if they’re continually being bunched between you and the wall or your headboard.
Reading pillows prevent neck, shoulder, and back strain because they’re designed to support your upper body. They have been specially made to address the issues caused by sitting up in bed for long periods of time. Commonly filled with either solid or shredded memory foam, high-quality backrest pillows provide the support your spine needs to keep it properly aligned.
Types of Reading Pillows
When you’re looking for the best reading pillow to meet your needs, the variety of shapes may surprise you. Wedge-shaped sit-up pillows are uniquely versatile and are known to help a number of afflictions.
Also, with the rise in technology, the term “reading pillow” has taken on more meaning because some now provide support for your e-readers as well. This article mainly focuses on your own body support; however, we do mention some alternatives that assist by holding reading materials in place.
These pillows are specifically made to prop up a book or e-reader up in a comfortable position so so there is no need to strain your neck. They are not meant to be leaned against or slept on. They are usually nice and soft with ample padding, so it’s comfortable to use them in bed.
Despite their name, husband-style reading pillows are not meant for men only! They resemble the back of a small padded armchair and are designed to support the neck, shoulders, back, and arms. Husband-style pillows have armrests, and they may also have cup holders, pockets for gadgets, and sometimes a massage feature with various settings.
The wedge pillow is more versatile than the husband pillow. You typically place the wedge underneath the back to prop you up into a more comfortable position for reading. But, unlike husband-shaped reading pillows, you can also use the wedge to sleep on.
Raising your head and upper body while sleeping can relieve neck and back pain. The elevation can also help alleviate snoring, and acid reflux - both of these conditions are worsened when you sleep on a flat surface, especially on your back.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
If you love relaxing in bed to watch TV, play video games, read or chat on the phone, then you’re the type of person who would love a reading pillow. Not only can they make you a lot more comfortable due to their padding and support, but they will also keep you from being stiff and sore after spending an extended period of time sitting up in bed.
As for the right sit up pillow for use as you relax in bed, you need to think about whether you would be more comfortable leaning against a soft cushion, or if you would prefer something firmer and more supportive. Once you’ve made that determination, you need to consider which surface material would be best: a smooth microfiber, something plushy like faux fur, a luxurious satin, or a soft fleece, just to name a few.
Last but not least, think about the other features a sit-up pillow can provide. For example, some come with cup holders, while others have pockets to hold remote controls, a detachable neck roll, or headrest for added neck support.
To help narrow down your choices, we’ve listed a few key considerations, as follows:
Just like regular pillows, reading pillows come with different types of fillings, and each one offers a different level of support.
- Shredded Memory Foam: These reading pillows are filled with many small pieces of shredded memory foam. All these pieces are able to independently shift around inside the pillow so that you can shape it to provide targeted support to different areas. If you compare shredded memory foam pillow to solid memory foam pillow, the shredded foam makes for a much softer, more malleable pillow that retains less heat. Some shredded memory foam pillows have a zippered opening that allows you to adjust the amount of filling to achieve the desired loft and level of firmness. Additionally, some manufacturers may include some extra filling or let you purchase it.
- Memory Foam (Viscoelastic Polyurethane Foam): These types of reading pillows are typically made of one solid piece of memory foam. This dense foam material contours to the shape of your body as it softens in response to the heat and pressure. It will cradle your head, neck, and shoulders while comfortably supporting you and maintaining its shape.
- Microfiber (Polyester Fiber): Microfiber is sometimes referred to as “fiberfill,” and it’s actually a synthetic fiber made of polyester. This is the most affordable and common type of filling for both sleeping pillows and reading pillows. However, microfiber does not provide the same support as memory foam or shredded memory foam. These types of pillows usually don’t last as long either.
Just like the filling, the cover material is an important factor when considering a reading pillow. Due to their shape, a standard pillowcase won’t fit on a sit-up pillow. Some of the best reading pillows have covers that are soft to the touch, breathable, and don’t retain heat. You would also want the fabric to be attractive, durable, and comfortable.
The most popular cover materials are as follows:
- Corduroy: Corduroy is usually made of cotton, although it could be a cotton blend. It’s soft, durable, and usually machine washable. Corduroy has ridges along the entire length of the fabric, giving it an interesting look and feel. However, certain corduroys tend to snag and unravel with frequent use. So, if you have pets, this may not be your best option.
- Velvet: Velvet is soft, luxurious, and expensive-looking, which makes it a standout among upholstery fabrics. How durable the velvet is would depend on the type of fiber used to make the fabric. Silk velvet is quite fragile, whereas mohair or wool velvet is sturdier as well as stain-resistant. Because cotton velvet tends to crush, it’s usually blended with polyester or other types of fibers to make it more durable. A velvet reading pillow generally requires professional dry cleaning.
- Velour: Velour has the same lustrous look and feels like velvet, but it is less expensive, stretchier, and much easier to keep clean. If you have kids or pets and plan to use your reading pillow a lot, we would recommend that you get a velour reading pillow over velvet.
- Synthetic Suede: This fabric is also called faux suede, micro-suede, or microfiber suede. Synthetic suede looks and feels very much like the real suede. This is a durable, family-friendly material that is tightly woven in a way that repels stains. A synthetic suede reading pillow can easily be kept clean, and can usually be washed with common laundry detergent.
Some backrest pillows, especially husband-style, come with additional features for your reading or TV watching convenience:
Headrest or Neck Roll
Some sit up pillows come with a headrest or neck roll for supporting your head and neck. This adds to your comfort when sitting up in bed. In some cases, the headrest is conveniently detachable, so it can be used to raise your legs.
Husband reading pillows with armrests sometimes have a cup holder so you can easily access your beverage while sitting in bed relaxing.
Husband reading pillows are designed with an armrest on each side, which makes them look a bit like a puffy armchair, without the seat.
Backrest pillows often have pockets on the sides to hold remote controls, cell phones, magazines or a book.
Large-sized reading pillows often have a handle on top to make it easy to carry them around the house or reposition on your bed.
Reading pillows are like most bedding products, they come in all shapes and sizes. The perfect sit up pillow would support your entire back, so it’s important that you know the dimensions of any option you’re considering, especially if you’re a larger adult. Many reading pillows are simply too small to comfortably accommodate a larger person. However, the best reading pillows come in a Large or Extra-Large size.
Firmness & Support
The level of firmness of a pillow determines the amount of support it offers. Less dense pillows wouldn’t be able to support you very well or prop you up for any length of time. This could cause a sore neck and/or back pain. On the other hand, if your pillow is too firm, it may not be comfortable enough for you. The pillow’s thickness also determines how much it will compress and keep its shape. Thicker pillows usually hold their shape better.
Incline or Slope
The incline or slope of your backrest pillow will depend on what you intend to use it for. A reading pillow with a very steep angle would offer excellent support when you’re sitting up, but you wouldn’t necessarily use it for sleeping. One with a low slope may work well for sleeping, but it would offer little support for the upper body.
Non-Toxic & Hypoallergenic
Many people suffer from allergic reactions to their bedding. If this has happened to you, it’s important that you find a pillow that contains no toxic chemicals and is made of hypoallergenic materials. Choose among the pillows with a CertiPUR-US certification.
Colors & Patterns
Reading pillows come in a lot of different colors and designs, depending on the brand. With all the choices, you should be able to find one that blends with your décor. It’s probably best if you choose a neutral color that would fit well in any room of your home, even if you redecorate.
Many reading pillows come with a removable, machine-washable cover, whereas others can only be spot cleaned or professionally dry cleaned. Once you find out if the pillow has a washable cover, you should also determine whether the pillow itself is also machine washable or if it needs special cleaning.
Warranty & Return Policy
You should also find out what the manufacturer’s return policy is because you may not like your reading pillow once you’ve tried it out at home. Some vendors offer customers a trial period, so if it doesn’t work out, they can return it for a full refund. Also, see if the pillow comes with a warranty. This an indication of how much confidence the manufacturer has in their product. Plus, you might need to return the pillow under its warranty if you discover a manufacturer’s defect after the return window has expired.
Reading Pillows Are Often Needed for Medical Reasons
There are many medical conditions that require extended bed rest. The most common reasons include the recuperation period following a surgery or injury, a precarious pregnancy, and/or a complicated childbirth recovery, an illness that leaves the patient with little energy, such as bad flu, mononucleosis, and etc.
Being bed-ridden is certainly frustrating, and the longer it goes on, the less comfortable you may become. Your body was not built to spend extended periods of time sitting up in bed, especially without the proper support. This can put excess pressure on your spine, lower back, coccyx, and other areas of the body. Spending extended periods of time sitting improperly can cause nerves to compress, which can lead to feelings of “pins and needles” or even a more painful nerve compression syndrome, or what is medically referred to as “entrapment neuropathy.”
A sit up pillow can be very effective in properly positioning the body so that while the patient is bed-ridden, they are not further risking their health. The best reading pillows allow the person to sit up with proper lower back support with basically little if any pressure on the spine. They also position you at a comfortable reclining angle that promotes good circulation throughout the body. This is very important to anyone who has to spend an extended time in bed, especially older people who may already be suffering from neural, skeletal, or muscular problems due to age.
Reading pillows also work well for people who suffer from acid reflux and need to sit upright to keep stomach acid from backing up into the esophagus. Many have no choice but to sleep upright if they don’t want to be awakened during the night by painful heartburn.
What is the difference between a backrest pillow and a husband-style pillow?
Basically, none. High-backed pillows are called all kinds of names, which include:
- TV pillow
- Reading pillow
- Sit up pillow
- Lounge pillow
- Study pillow
- Backrest pillow
- Boyfriend pillow
- Husband pillow
- Backrest pillow
No matter what you call them, they all do the same thing, which is prop you up in bed so that you are comfortably supported sitting up in the proper position. However, as you’ve learned in this guide, these pillows come in all shapes and sizes, as well as many different colors and levels of firmness. The pillow you decide to buy will depend on your personal preferences and how you intend to use it.
Are reading pillows heavy?
They are heavier than standard pillows because they’re bulkier and made to be supportive. This is what makes reading pillows so effective. You want it to be heavy enough to stay in place on the bed.
Can I use a reading pillow without it leaning up against a headboard or wall?
No. These pillows are like giant cushions; they are not firm enough on their own to provide back support.
The reading pillow I got has too much (or too little) filling, what should I do?
Some of the best reading pillows are adjustable or customizable, so if you bought one with a zipper, you might be able to access the filling to either take some out or add more. Some manufacturers sell extra filling, so if you need a firmer pillow, just contact them.
Will a reading pillow eliminate back strain from reading?
If this is a chronic problem whenever you’re sitting up in bed reading a book or watching TV, a reading pillow may help. You would want to get one that provides sufficient support. However, if you suffer from serious back problems, it would be best to get your doctor’s advice on which reading pillow would be most appropriate.
How do I keep my reading pillow clean?
If you plan on using your reading pillow regularly, you should choose one that you can easily clean. Ideally, it should have a removable, machine-washable cover. It would be even better if you could throw the entire pillow in the washing machine, but you would first want to know whether it could also be tumble dried. Some pillow materials such as memory foam can only be spot or dry cleaned, which is okay if you only use your pillow occasionally.
Reading pillows make you so much more comfortable sitting up in bed, whether you’re reading a book or watching a TV show.
When shopping for any bedding product, you would want to do your research by comparing various options and reading the reviews before you choose which one to buy. Everyone is different, so a particular pillow may be perfect for someone, and not right for you.
Now that you’ve read our guide, you should feel more comfortable about choosing an ideal reading pillow for your particular needs. Don’t forget to use our list of the best reading pillows to inspire your search. Enjoy shopping!