Best Donut Pillows

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

21 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
281 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best donut pillows

Last Updated August 2019

If sitting has become a pain in the backside, a donut pillow can help. Tailbone injuries, hemorrhoids, postpartum recovery, and a host of other conditions can cause serious discomfort that’s often exacerbated by sitting on flat surfaces. Donut pillows are specially designed with center cavities to help relieve painful pressure while sitting.

But not all donut pillows are created equal. While some have a straightforward circular design, others are made with strategically placed depressions. Construction materials vary as well, with options ranging from inflatable rubber to high-tech memory foam. And, of course, you’ll need to give some thought to the pillow’s size, cover, and firmness, too.

If choosing the perfect donut pillow has you feeling a little deflated, we’re here to help. The BestReviews team has rounded up five of the best donut pillows available and compiled a detailed shopping guide to help you find your perfect match. Read on for everything you need to know about choosing the right donut pillow for your needs.

Beyond alleviating pain and pressure caused by sitting, donut pillows can also improve general seated posture.

Key considerations

Material

Donut pillows have come a long way from the simple inflatables most of us are familiar with. While inflatables certainly still have a place in posterior and pelvic pain relief, there are sturdier options to consider as well.

  • Memory foam: Thanks to its highly supportive nature and unrivaled resiliency, memory foam has become a go-to material for orthopedic pillows and mattresses, and donut pillows are no different. Not only does memory foam mold to your unique contours for customized pressure relief, but it also springs back to its original shape after cooling, so you’re never left with a flat, unsupportive pillow.
  • Polyurethane foam: PU foam typically has a springier, softer texture than memory foam and tends to be more affordable as well. While PU foam can make for a comfortable and reasonably supportive donut pillow, it’s also prone to losing its shape after a while. If you’re interested in PU foam donut pillows, a high-density model will deliver improved support and longevity.
  • Inflatable: Inflatable donut pillows usually consist of either rubber or vinyl. One of the most appealing features of these donut pillows is that users can easily adjust the level of firmness by adding or removing air. Inflatables are by far the most affordable, but they’re also susceptible to leaks and punctures. With that in mind, if you’re on a tight budget and need short-term pain relief, an inflatable donut pillow can still get the job done.

Firmness

Donut pillows are available in a variety of firmness levels, ranging from somewhat soft to seriously stiff. Take a moment to consider how your pillow’s firmness level will impact your comfort. While a softer donut pillow can seem appealing, especially when you have a tender backside, keep in mind that these are more likely to lose their shape after a while or become severely compressed when sat upon. For a balance of comfort and support, we recommend choosing a medium-firm to firm donut pillow.

Size

Don’t forget to consider size while you browse your options. Donut pillow sizes vary from around 14 inches to 22 inches. It goes without saying that a donut pillow needs to be a good fit for your frame, but it’s also important to give some thought to where you’ll be using it. Is it a good fit for your office chair? How about your car seat? An option that fits your frame and works on multiple surfaces delivers the most versatility.

EXPERT TIP

If you need to take your donut pillow to work with you, a pillowcase that covers both the pillow and the cavity can provide some discretion by disguising the donut shape.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Contours

Some donut pillows are constructed with carefully positioned contours to boost comfort and efficacy. While some have coccyx cutouts on either side to relieve pressure on the tailbone, others feature a coccyx cutout on one side and leg depressions on the other to promote healthy blood circulation. Although contours aren’t always a must-have feature, they can be helpful, particularly if you have a tailbone injury.

Cover

A removable pillow cover might not seem like a big deal, but when it comes to keeping your donut pillow clean, this simple accessory can make a world of difference. A machine-washable cover that’s easy to take off and put on will keep your donut pillow looking fresh and new.

Cooling technology

Memory foam has some amazing benefits, but it’s also known to retain body heat. If you live in a warmer climate, a memory foam pillow that’s enhanced with cooling technology, either in the form of ventilation holes or a layer of cooling gel, can help keep your bottom from becoming uncomfortably toasty.

Non-slip base

There’s nothing more distracting than a seat cushion that shifts every time you do. Even simple movements like crossing and uncrossing your legs, leaning forward, or reaching to the side can cause a donut pillow to slide out of place, especially when it’s placed on a smooth surface like leather or wood. A non-slip base will help your donut pillow stay put.

Donut pillows aren’t just for chairs or couches. You can use your donut pillow virtually anywhere you need to sit, including car, bus, train, and airplane seats.

Donut pillow prices

The cost of donut pillows varies according to the quality of their construction materials and their features.

Inexpensive

Inflatable donut pillows and a handful of low-density foam models can be found in the $10 to $15 price bracket. While many budget-priced donut pillows are fully capable of relieving pain and pressure, keep in mind that these are usually designed for short-term use.

Mid-range

If you’re looking for a straightforward foam donut pillow and don’t particularly need contours or extra comfort features, you’ll find both polyurethane foam and memory foam options for around $15 to $20.

High-end

If you’ll be using your donut pillow for some time, paying a little extra for a solid construction and improved comfort is a worthwhile investment. Pillows with high-density foam, specialty designs, and additional features can set you back anywhere from $20 to $50.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re purchasing a donut pillow for someone who experiences incontinence, try placing a layer of waterproof material between the pillow and the pillowcase to keep fluids from seeping into the foam.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Take care to position your donut pillow properly. Before you sit down, make sure your donut pillow is placed in the center of the seat with the rear touching the backrest. Accidentally sitting on a solid part of your pillow can cause painful pressure, so pay extra attention to contour positioning.
  • Keep tender areas over the pillow’s cavity. Position yourself so that your tailbone and other sore areas are directly over the donut hole or coccyx cutout.
  • Try not to lean all the way back. Reclining against your chair’s backrest can put painful pressure on your tailbone, especially if your donut pillow doesn’t have a cutout. Try to stay in a neutral position or lean forward slightly for improved comfort.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for an extra-firm pillow that won’t lose its shape in a hurry, the Ergonomic Innovations Orthopedic Donut Cushion is a solid choice. Made of high-density medical foam, this donut pillow offers excellent support, while cutouts in the front and back ensure sensitive areas remain suspended and pressure-free. The Aylio Wellness Firm Donut Pillow is another top choice and boasts both a coccyx cutout and leg contours for supreme comfort and circulatory health. Need a donut pillow but just can’t get used to the shape? The Aylio Wellness Orthopedic Comfort Cushion has a rectangular shape, more like a chair or car seat, with a center cutout and leg contours. It also boasts high-density memory foam construction to promote even weight distribution and a mesh surface to keep you cool, making it an all-round winner.

Although donut pillows can help relieve pain caused by a wide number of conditions, they aren’t a cure-all. Always seek out the advice of a medical professional before attempting to treat symptoms at home.

FAQ

Q. Can I wash my donut pillow?
A.
When it comes to cleaning your donut pillow, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s care instructions first. For the most part, it’s best not to wash the donut pillow itself, as this can cause some foams to lose their shape. Keeping your donut pillow encased in a pillow cover and washing the cover once a week can keep your pillow clean and hygienic.

Q. Can I use a donut pillow for bed sores?
A.
Bed sores are a very delicate and painful issue and require specialized care in order to heal properly. While many donut pillow manufacturers state that their pillows can be used for the treatment or prevention of bed sores, this isn’t generally recommended by medical professionals. Rather than using a donut pillow, try an alternating pressure mattress or a specialized wheelchair seat cushion for daytime use.

Q. Why does it feel like my donut pillow is making my tailbone pain worse?A. Discomfort while using a donut pillow can be attributed to a number of factors. The most common cause, however, is size. A donut pillow that’s too small will leave you awkwardly positioned with tender spots touching the surface rather than resting over the cavity. If you’re fairly certain that you have the correct size for your frame, you might want to trade your current pillow for one with a coccyx cutout.

The team that worked on this review
  • Austin
    Austin
    Writer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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