Homedit is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How To Find The Best Reading Pillow For Cozy Afternoons In Bed

A pillow is a bedding item that’s used for more than just sleep. Even when you’re lying down on the couch, you love to have a pillow lifting your head for a better TV viewing position, and nothing compared to hugging a pillow when you’re watching an action movie.

Best Reading Pillow

Whatever the case, the right pillow can make or break even your relaxation time, and those of you who like to read a lot will discover how much more comfortable the experience is when you have the right pillow. Readers, brace yourselves, here is how the right reading pillow can change your life!

Why Buy a Reading Pillow?

Even when you’re relaxing, having your spine aligned in a proper position is crucial in preventing future pain. Healthy postures are a must regardless of what you’re doing, doesn’t matter if you’re sitting, lying, or standing. Out of all these three position, being seated has proven to be the most challenging position for healthy spinal alignment, which is why people turn to all sorts of back support, one being worse than the other.

As you’re seated in bed reading your favorite book, it’s tempting to lean against a stack of pillow and, while it may seem comfortable at first, doing so repeatedly will take a toll on your back. Reading pillows are created specifically to provide you with support when seated in bed for longer periods of time. They are designed with materials such as foam to help provide you with spinal alignment while also making sure there are no pressure points.

In other words, reading pillows are designed for upper body support and they have the shape, size, and materials to make sure that you invest in a long-lasting product.

How to Choose a Reading Pillow

When you’re choosing a reading pillow, there are three main factors you have to consider: the outer fabric, the fill, and the type of pillow. Let’s examine each of these features closely so that the features and materials will be more familiar to you and you can make a more informed buying decision when the time comes.

Two Different Types of Reading Pillows

Traditional pillows are also known as “husband” pillows. They can be recognized because of their design which has a high backrest and arms. Husband pillows are designed to support your upper body and, depending on how much you’re willing to spend on it, a traditional pillow can include some really cool extras, like side pockets or cup holders.

Wedge pillows are often referred to as “orthopedic” pillows and they have a sloping shape that makes them suitable for more than just reading. Wedge pillows are designed to be used for sleeping, as well as other bed-related activities that might require your upper body being elevated. It is not uncommon for sleepers with different medical problems to have to sleep on a wedge pillow, as these can help with issues such as acid reflux or sleep apnea. Wedge pillows are available in different sizes and with higher or lower inclines, so that’s definitely a feature of interest if you’re looking to buy an orthopedic pillow.

A reading pillow has two main components: the fill and the material surrounding it. Both of these are important to know beforehand because different materials used in the construction of the pillow will determine the benefits and drawback of a product. A reading pillow is typically filled with:

Memory Foam

This is a common materials used in the bedding industry because of its ability to relieve pressure and take the shape of your body. Reading pillows filled with memory foam will generally have a huge piece of foam that contours to your body and provides plenty of comfort for your head, neck, and shoulders.

Shredded Memory Foam

This is another common type of fill used in manufacturing reading pillows. Just as the name suggests, shredded foam is actually smaller bits of memory foam that provide several advantages when used inside a pillow. This type of pillow can provide more targeted support and, unlike regular memory foam, the space between the shredded bits allows air to circulate, making these pillows more breathable than their memory foam counterparts.

Polyester Fibers

They are a more economic approach to reading pillow fill. These man-made fibers (also known as “microfibers”) are synthetic and cheaper to produce, so they are commonly found in budget-type pillows. While decent, they can’t offer the same level of support as a memory foam or shredded foam pillow can. They don’t last as long either.

Next, it’s important for you to check out what the exterior of your future reading pillow is made from. Sleeping pillows are usually covered in fabrics such as cotton, microfiber, bamboo fibers, etc. but things are a little different when it comes to reading pillows. Fabrics each have their own advantages and drawbacks, so here are the most common materials that make up a reading pillow’s casing and what you should know about them.

  • Velvet is a very common outer material choice for reading pillows. It gives the pillow a more luxurious feel but there are different types of velvet fibers that will change the looks and properties of the pillow. For instance, mohair velvet is stain-resistant and more durable, while silk velvet is more delicate and more pleasant to the touch. The main drawback of choosing a velvet-covered pillow is that this fiber is quite pretentious and will most likely require professional cleaning.
  • Faux suede is a microfiber that resembles genuine suede quite a lot. It is characterized by a stain-repellant tight weave and it’s one of the easiest materials to clean.
  • Corduroy it made from either cotton or cotton blend and it’s quite soft to the touch. You can recognize corduroy pillow because of the visible ridges that traverse the fabric’s length. That makes these reading pillows look and feel more unique but also more prone to unraveling. Pillows covered in corduroy are often machine-washable.
  • Velour is a less expensive pillow cover that’s easy to clean and is highly stretchable. People often consider it to be the budget version of velvet. Because it is easier to clean than velvet, it is also preferred by people who are more likely to stain it or might require washing it on a more frequent basis (such as families with children).

Extra Tips for Choosing a Reading Pillow

While we’ve covered the important information that one must know before investing in a reading pillow, there are still some things that might help you out in making this buying decision.

  • If you’ll be carrying your pillow from one room to another a lot, consider opting for a model that has a carrying handle. This makes it way easier to transport the pillow whenever needed by using just one hand.
  • As long as you can, choose a pillow with a removable cover. This makes it way easier to clean the pillow, whereas spot cleaning might require more elbow grease and it’s usually something that people avoid.
  • There are some pillows that offer additional head or neck support (which is a more prominent chunk of material that’s highly noticeable when you look at the pillow). If you choose a pillow with either of these features, try to opt for one with detachable part. Whenever you don’t need that extra support, you can use that pillow part for something else, like a leg prop.

Reading Pillow FAQ

How do I clean a reading pillow?

If you can, purchase a reading pillow with a removable cover. This cover is typically unzipped and can be cleaned in your own washing machine. Other pillows without removable covers will require spot cleaning but removing more difficult stains might even require professional cleaning. Every reading pillow should come with very specific instructions of how to clean and care for the product.

What does “adjustable loft” mean?

Some pillows that are filled with materials such as shredded memory foam will grant you access to the fill so that you can remove some to make it thinner, or add more to make it thicker. Adjustable loft means that you can add or remove as much loft as you want in order to make the pillow thinner or fluffier.

Do reading pillows have warranties?

The best ones do. In fact, we recommend that you only look into reading pillows that are covered by warranty and, if possible, purchase one with a testing period. Also referred to as “sleep trial”, this testing period will allow you to use the pillow for a given number of days and, should you discover that the product isn’t exactly what you hoped for, you can return it for a full refund. As for the warranty, this is typically a sign of how much the manufacturer stands behind their product.

Top 6 Best Reading Pillows

Sallie Velvet Bedrest Pillow

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

The first reading pillow in today’s list is a husband pillow all covered in velvet and available in an impressive range of different colors. It measures 18” H x 20” W x 17” D overall and has a total weight of 5 pounds. The fill material is a combination made from cotton and polyester which adds up to a lot of fluff and feels very comfortable. As far as cleaning is concerned, the cover is removable as the insert can be accessed through a zipper and taken out, meaning you can clean the cover in your washing machine.

Pillow Cover & Insert

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

Next up, we have another traditional reading pillow, only this time it’s one covered in microsuede. It is a hypoallergenic and stain-resistant product that measures 18” H x 26” W x 9” D and weighs only 3 pounds. It is available in a multitude of colors, including a beautiful light purple that we absolutely adore. It is filled with polyester which can be removed to single out the cover so that you may clean it inside the washing machine. It also includes a handle so you can pick it up and move it around with ease.

Lorna Pillow Cover & Insert

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

If you are a fan of reading pillows and light and vibrant colors, this Nestl Bedding pillow will catch your attention through amazing cover tones, such as lavender or royal blue. But there is much more to talk about when it comes to this pillow other than the cover’s colors. It measures 14” H x 13” W x 8.5” D and has a velvet outer shell that makes it extremely soft to the touch. It is filled with polyester that can be accessed via a zipper. By removing the insert, you will find it easy to clean the pillow by machine washing it in cold water. The pillow also includes a side pocket for the object you want at hand (such as cell phone or glasses).     

Montalvo Bed Rest Indoor/Outdoor Backrest Pillow

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

Let’s welcome yet another traditional reading pillow that comes with a synthetic soft cover that makes it feel like you’re leaning your head against your favorite plush toy. Measuring 17” H x 20” W x 18” D and weighing a mere 4 pounds, this is one of the smallest and most lightweight pillows of its kind. What’s notable about this product is that the filling is separate, so that you can add as much of it as you want right from the start. That also means the cover is removable and washable. It includes a small side pocket for some of your belonging and is available in a bunch of cool colors, including different shades of gray (yes, we know what it sounds like), yellow, or sage.

ComfortSpa Reading Pillow Bed

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

As you can see, there are plenty of websites that sell good reading pillow and Amazon is on that list. The ComfortSpa pillow is a traditional-style product filled with shredded memory foam which makes it capable of providing more targeted support. If you often find yourself with sore shoulders after a reading session, this is the right pillow for you. Since it arrives compress, you will have to shake it loose or put it in the dryer with two tennis balls to fluff it up (make sure the heat is turned off). The velour cover is both breathable and soft to the touch, leading a product that isn’t just supportive of your upper body parts, but also very comfortable.

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

LINENSPA Shredded Foam Pillow Perfect for Back Support

The last item on our list is a reading pillow made by LINENSPA, one of the leading manufacturers of affordable and comfortable bedding items and a best-selling brand on Amazon. The pillow is question is designed to be mostly for teens and children, as it measures 22 x 8 x 8 inches. It is a pillow filled with shredded memory foam that offers targeted support and is perfect for providing comfortable positions even after hours of sitting. The shredded foam is wrapped in a velour cover which requires spot cleaning. If you’re an adult that would like to try out this pillow, it is also available in an extra-large version, with or without additional beck support.

Bottom Line

If you like to read, a reading pillow is a must. If you like to sit in bed and work on your laptop, a reading pillow is a must. If you like to sit in bed and watch TV, a reading pillow is a must. You get the idea. The important lesson here is that even when you’re seated in bed, your spine needs to remain in a healthy position, and while you won’t feel the consequences of failing to provide a proper spinal position now, it’s surely something that you’ll regret in the future. And that would be a real shame, considering the fact that buying a reading pillow doesn’t break the bank.