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Reading pillows provide support to people who like to sit up in bed. They may benefit people who read, play video games, or watch TV in bed.
A quick look at 7 of the best reading pillows
- Best memory foam: The Husband Pillow
- Best transportable: Vekkia Reading and Bed Rest Pillow
- Best wedge pillow: Brentwood Home Zuma Wedge
- Best headboard alternative: WOWMAX Triangular Wedge Reading Pillow
- Best for support: Avana Comfort Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Pillow System
- Best for kids: Nestl Bedding Kids Reading Pillow
- Best flippable pillow: Contour Living Flip Pillow
This article explores what reading pillows are, their benefits and risks, how to choose a reading pillow, a list of products, and some alternatives.
The main benefit of reading pillows is that they offer support for the back, neck, shoulders, and spine.
There is limited research into the effectiveness of reading pillows. However, one 2013 study that looked at lumbar support pillows found that they were helpful and supportive for both healthy individuals and those with lower back pain.
Using a reading pillow also means that a person does not need to regularly change position or prop up other pillows to find a comfortable position.
One of the drawbacks of reading pillows is that they may be costly. People can achieve the same effect and support as a reading pillow by propping up multiple regular pillows.
One 2016 study investigated how reading from an e-reader or other electronic device affects sleep quality. It found that these screens emit blue light, which may affect sleep. Therefore, reading from a paper book may be better before going to sleep.
MNT chooses pillows that meet the following criteria where possible:
- Certifications: MNT will choose products that have CertiPUR-US or other certifications. This means that the products are low in pollutants and free from heavy metals and volatile organic compounds.
- Size: MNT chooses products that are available in various sizes.
- Materials and fill: MNT selects products made from different materials and fills to suit a range of sleep and lifestyles.
- Budget: MNT features products to suit a wide range of budgets.
- Shipping: Where possible, MNT will include shipping information, such as where the company delivers to and whether shipping is free.
- Warranties and return policies: MNT will include products that carry warranties and clear returns policies.
A person may wish to consider the inner and outer material of a reading pillow. The inner pillow may contain either shredded or solid memory foam. Shredded memory foam is more breathable and circulates air better than solid memory foam. Polyester fibers are sometimes present in reading pillows, but this material is less durable than memory foam.
The outer fabric of a reading pillow is available in various materials. A person may wish to consider their allergies and how easy these materials may be to wash.
Higher quality materials such as velvet will be more durable than cotton, though cotton may be easier to wash.
People may also want to consider the environmental impact of purchasing a new reading pillow. Consider if it is a necessary purchase that will receive a lot of use. If so, look for products that are free from plastic and use sustainable materials such as bamboo or cotton. People can also research a brand’s ethical policies.
Below is a list of some of the best reading pillows.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best memory foam: The Husband Pillow
- List price: from around $100
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 8.5 x 15 x 31.5 inches (in)
- Material: memory foam
On the company’s website, the Husband Pillow is available in various sizes and colors.
This model has a bolster pillow at the top, which can offer support for the neck. This is also detachable, meaning that a person can place it behind the lower back or under the knees if they like.
The inner pillow contains shredded memory foam and a micro plush cover. It also has a zipper that allows a person to add or remove the padding to their own comfort. If a person requests it, the company can provide additional memory foam free of charge.
The model has a 100-day money-back guarantee and a 3-year warranty.
Best transportable: Vekkia Reading and Bed Rest Pillow
- List price: from around $70
- Dimensions: 15 x 11 x 18 in
- Material: memory foam and foam
This model comes in two different sizes and has various different color options.
The cover uses velvet. The inner material is 20% memory foam and 80% foam. Each purchase also comes with an extra bag of memory foam, which means that people can plump the pillow for additional comfort.
This model also has a carrying handle, meaning that people can easily transport it from one room to another. It also has armrests with pockets for storage.
Vekkia recommends this pillow for people under 5 feet 9 inches.
Best wedge pillow: Brentwood Home Zuma Wedge
- List price: from $49
- Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 7 in
- Material: support foam
This model from Brentwood Home is a wedge-shaped pillow. It has multiple purposes, including support for reading in bed. The company claims that it is also useful for people with respiratory problems due to its gradual slope.
It is available in three different height options on Brentwood Home’s website. The outer cover is bamboo-derived rayon, and the inner material is support foam.
This pillow is also available in heights of 10 and 12 inches.
Best headboard alternative: WOWMAX Triangular Wedge Reading Pillow
- List price: around $130
- Dimensions: 39 x 8 x 30 in
- Material: polyester fiberfill
People can use this triangular reading pillow by WOWMAX as an alternative to a headboard, as it is longer than other models. It also means that two people sitting side by side can use it at once.
This pillow is available in five different lengths: 39, 54, 59, 70, or 76 inches.
The material is corduroy (100% polyester). It contains eco-friendly polyester fiberfill, which the company claims provides good neck and back support. It also offers various sizes for different beds and 15 colors to choose from.
The buttons on the pillow allow people to detach the cover so that they can machine-wash it. The company also claims that these buttons make the pillow stronger and give it a fuller look.
Best for extra support: Avana Comfort Kind Bed Orthopedic Support Pillow System
- List price: from $199
- Dimensions (backrest): 32.5 x 24 x 11 in
- Material: memory foam
This model from Avana is made up of various pillows to support different areas of the body.
The scooped back acts as lumbar support and adjusts to suit a person’s preference. The headrest provides support for the neck. The knee pillow supports the joints and ensures that a person stays in a natural position. A second lumbar pillow is an optional addition.
The outer cover uses micro velvet and microsuede, and the padding uses memory foam. There are six different color options, but there is only one size available.
The company offers a 30-day return policy but provides no information regarding warranty length.
Best for kids: Nestl Bedding Kids Reading Pillow
- List price: from around $42
- Dimensions: 14 x 13 x 14 in
- Material: shredded memory foam
This model is made specifically for children and teenagers. It is available in 44 bright color options.
The outer material is microfiber with a velvet feel, which people can remove and machine-wash. It contains shredded memory foam, which contours to a person’s back for support.
There are three pockets in total: one on each side and a larger storage pocket on the back. There is also a zipper to add or remove memory foam and a carrying handle, which means that people can easily move it from room to room.
Best flippable pillow: Contour Living Flip Pillow
- List price: $39.95
- Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 8 in
- Material: hypoallergenic fiber fill
This model from Contour Living is flippable. A person can change the position of the pillow to provide support where a person most needs it, including when people sit to read in bed.
Inside, the material is a hypoallergenic fiber fill. The company claims this material is long lasting.
This pillow is available in three color options. Additionally, people can choose between a width of 20 and 30 inches.
Contour Living offers a 1-year warranty.
The following table compares all the above products.
|List price||Sizes available||Color options||Materials|
|The Husband Pillow||from around $100||• medium|
|Vekkia||from around $70||• regular|
|Brentwood Home||from $49||• 7 inches|
• 10 inches
• 12 inches
|WOWMAX||around $130||• twin|
• Cal king
|Avana||from $199||• 4-piece set|
• 5-piece set
|Nestl||from around $42||• petite small|
• premium large
|44||shredded memory foam|
|Contour Living||from $39.95||• standard|
|1||hypoallergenic fiber fill|
Aside from reading pillows, a person could use a pillow stand for their books or tablets. This is a small pillow that sits on a person’s lap that holds their book or device steady.
A person can also use a special back support cushion, such as a lumbar support pillow, instead of a reading pillow.
If a person does not wish to purchase a separate pillow for reading, they can stack regular pillows and ensure that their back and neck are fully supported.
Here, we answer some common questions about these pillows.
Are reading pillows good for your back?
The design of a reading pillow allows for back support. Companies make these pillows specifically for people sitting upright in bed.
Some reading pillows have a memory foam filling. This contours to a person’s back and may provide extra support.
What is a good size for a reading pillow?
This depends on the individual using the reading pillow.
A person may wish to ensure the pillow is large enough to provide back support. Some companies offer pillows for different sizes and ages, including ones for children.
Can a reading pillow make you dizzy?
There is currently no evidence that a reading pillow can cause dizziness.
A person should ensure that their pillow provides enough support to reduce the likelihood of aches and pains.
Reading pillows provide support for the back and neck while sitting up in bed to read, watch TV, or play video games.
There are various reading pillows available from different brands. Some feature armrests or focus more on spinal alignment.
A person may wish to compare different brands and features before making a final purchase.