Best Reading Pillows

Updated May 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.

27 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
316 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.

Shopping guide for best reading pillows

Last Updated May 2019

Every avid reader has been there. You’re getting sucked into a page-turner when suddenly, a cramp strikes in your arm, neck, or back, and you just can’t find a comfortable position. Lying in bed, sitting on the couch, standing at the kitchen counter – nowhere is comfortable enough for a long reading session. Enter the reading pillow. A quality reading pillow helps you achieve a comfortable position where you can read for hours without needing to shift every five minutes.

So, you’re going to buy a reading pillow but which one? You can find a wide range on the market and choosing the pillow that best fits your requirements can be baffling. Luckily, at BestReviews, we are on a mission to help.

Not only have we listed our five favorite reading pillows available right now, we’ve also created a full guide with everything you need to know before you buy.

Some reading pillows have a headrest. Decide whether you’d find this comfortable while reading.

Types of reading pillows

Armrest pillows

Perhaps the most popular type of reading pillow is one with a high back and armrests. Some of these pillows have headrests, too. You can position these versatile pillows almost anywhere you want to read, whether in bed, on your couch, or even on the floor. The arms give you a place to rest your elbows for a more comfortable arm position when reading.

Wedge pillows

Wedge pillows are designed to be propped up against a sturdy surface, such as a headboard or wall, so they’re better for reading in bed than on a sofa or in an armchair. They’re usually made from memory foam or high-density foam, so they tend to give firm support, which is helpful for people with bad backs.

Backrests and bolsters

Backrests and bolsters are similar to wedge pillows, but they’re usually filled with polyester hollow fiber, so they’re less supportive. These pillows are not our top choice for a reading pillow, but they can help you get comfy for shorter reading sessions.

EXPERT TIP

Some reading pillows feature side pockets, perfect for storing books and magazines, reading glasses, remote controls, gaming controllers, or snacks.


Staff  | BestReviews

Key considerations

Filling

Reading pillows have a range of fillings, all with different properties. The best material for you depends on how you’ll use your reading pillow and what you personally find more comfortable.

  • Polyester hollow fiber: This is the kind of stuffing you find inside down-alternative bed pillows and comforters. It’s soft and plush, but it isn’t particularly supportive and flattens over time. It’s usually found in cheaper reading pillows.
  • Solid memory foam or high-density foam: Wedge pillows are usually made of solid foam, but occasionally armrest reading pillows are, too. Solid foam provides plenty of firm support, which can prevent backaches when reading for long periods. However, some people find solid foam too firm and not particularly comfortable.
  • Shredded memory foam: The majority of armrest reading pillows contain shredded memory foam. This isn’t quite as supportive as solid foam, but it’s more supportive than hollow fiber and retains its shape better. Shredded foam is loftier and softer than solid memory foam, so plenty of people find it more comfortable.


Outer material

Once you’ve decided on a filling, look for a reading pillow with a cover that is both comfortable and easy to clean.

  • Velour: This velvet-like material is inexpensive and extremely soft to the touch, which makes it a popular material for reading pillows. It’s generally machine-washable and easy to care for, too.
  • Faux suede: Faux suede, also known as micro suede, has a similar feeling to regular suede, but it’s much more user-friendly (and it’s cruelty-free). It’s generally stain-repellent and can be wiped down when it gets dirty.
  • Cotton: Though not as common as other outer materials, you can sometimes find reading pillows with cotton covers. Though not quite as soft as velour or micro suede, it’s a breathable natural fiber that some people prefer to synthetics.


Size

It’s important to check the size of your chosen reading pillow. It should be large enough to support you comfortably but not so large that it’s difficult to move around. That said, you can find large bolster reading pillows that are designed to stay in place on your bed. If you choose this type of pillow, it should be an appropriate size to fit the width of your bed.


Color or pattern

You can find reading pillows in a wide range of colors, from neutral grays and creams to hot pink or bright red. Although less common, you can also find some patterned options. The color or pattern of your chosen reading pillow isn’t of vital importance. After all, you don’t want to buy a reading pillow because of its cool pattern only to find that it’s lumpy and uncomfortable. However, if you’re choosing between two pillows with equally great features, choose the color that complements your decor.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can find mini reading pillows designed for young children.

Price

Basic reading pillows start between $25 and $35. These are fine for occasional use but are generally less supportive and have fewer handy features than pricier pillows.

Mid-range reading pillows cost around $35 to $50. You can find some excellent models in this price range, but you need to be selective as not all are worth the price.

High-end reading pillows cost roughly $50 to $100. They tend to be made from the highest-quality materials, offer plenty of comfort and support, and be designed in a thoughtful, user-friendly manner with loads of handy features.

Tips

 

  • Choose a more expensive reading pillow if you’ll use it often. It’s worth splashing out for a high-end option if you’ll be using your pillow daily. Cheaper models might seem like a bargain, but they’ll wear out more quickly and need replacing.
  • Think about how much support you need from your reading pillow. Solid memory foam options are arguably the most supportive reading pillows.
  • Consider a reading pillow with a cup holder. Staying hydrated is important! A cup holder in the armrest lets you set down a glass of water or even a tea or coffee.
  • You can use your reading pillow for other purposes. Reading pillows are great for getting comfy during long gaming sessions or while binge-watching your new favorite show.

Reading pillows made from memory foam can have a slight chemical smell straight out of the box. This will dissipate in a few days.

Other products we considered

With such a large number of excellent reading pillows on the market, selecting just five was tough. There are several other great reading pillows that almost made our list. The Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow is a solid choice that owners love. It’s well-padded and extremely comfortable. If you prefer firmer support, the Xtra-Comfort Bed Wedge Pillow is an excellent choice. You can configure it in three different ways depending on your preferred reading position. Although it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, the Husband Pillow is perfect for those who are likely to use their reading pillow daily. This hard-wearing pillow has adjustable loft and a comfy headrest, and it’s available in a wide range of colors. We also love the Brentwood Originals Shagalicious Bedrest with its ultra-plush shag exterior in three swinging colors, though it can become somewhat matted over time.

A reading pillow with a handle on top makes it easier to carry the pillow from one room to another, depending on where you want to settle down with a book.

FAQ

Q. How do I keep my reading pillow clean?
A.
If you’ll be using your reading pillow regularly, it’s important to choose one that’s easy to clean. Ideally, it should have a removable cover that’s machine-washable. Alternatively, you should be able to wash the whole pillow in the machine (though this makes drying harder). Some pillows are spot-clean only, which is fine if you only use your pillow occasionally, but it might start to get a bit funky after a while.

Q. Will a reading pillow eliminate back strain from reading?
A.
If you often suffer from back strain when sitting down to read, you might find that a reading pillow helps to eliminate this, especially a model with plenty of support. If you have a serious back problem, however, we recommend asking your doctor for advice on choosing the most appropriate reading pillow.

Q. My reading pillow has too much or too little filling, what can I do?
A.
Some reading pillows have adjustable loft, meaning you can unzip them to either add extra filling or remove some filling. If you choose a pillow with adjustable loft, check that the manufacturer sells extra stuffing should you need to add any.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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