The 11 Best Reading Pillows That Are Soft and Supportive

The Nestl Reading Pillow is our top choice

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Reading pillows can help you stay comfy and minimize strain while enjoying a page-turner. "They're constructed to prop up your torso, supporting your upper body, specifically your lumbar region, while in an upright position," says Jackson Lindeke, sleep product expert at SleepFoundation.org.

We compiled buying tips from Lindeke, then researched the most comfortable designs of all shapes and sizes. Our favorite is the Nestl Reading Pillow, a plush yet supportive armed backrest with a washable velvet cover.

These are the best reading pillows for every budget.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Nestl Reading Pillow

Nestl Reading Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Plush and supportive

  • Three sizes and 44 colors

  • Machine-washable cover

What We Don't Like
  • Takes 48 hours to expand

  • Odor out of the box

Our number one pick is the Nestl Reading Pillow. It's filled with shredded memory foam to offer ample support without sacrificing plushness. The material conforms to the shape of your body while cradling your back and neck. Not only that, but the built-in armrests minimize elbow fatigue and optimize comfort, while back and side pockets offer storage for your book, magazine, e-reader, and smartphone.

Available in a whopping 44 colors, this backrest has a machine-washable, dryer-friendly velvet microfiber cover. It comes in three sizes: petite small (14 x 13 x 24 inches), standard (18 x 14 x 31 inches), premium large (29.5 x 16 x 36 inches). The premium option comes with a detachable neck support cushion and a bolster for your legs.

Just a heads up: This pillow has an off-gassing period of up to 48 hours, so you’ll want to let it fully expand and air out before using it.

Dimensions: 3 sizes available | Weight: 4 pounds | Fill Material: Shredded memory foam | Cover Material: Velvet microfiber | Care: Machine wash cover

What Experts Say

"Reading a book can be a great part of your wind-down routine. It won't necessarily make you sleepy, but it can be a relaxing distraction that helps calm your mind down for sleep."—Jackson Lindeke, Sleep Product Expert at SleepFoundation.org

Best Budget: Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow

Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • CertiPUR-US certified

  • Three-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Only two colors

  • Cover isn't removable/washable

  • Takes 48 hours to expand

For folks on a budget, we recommend the Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow. As the name suggests, it's filled with shredded foam, but not just any foam. The fill fibers are a CertiPUR-US certified blend of memory foam and high-density foam to maximize support and body-conforming plushness.

This backrest is available in two sizes with the option of a detachable neck rest. It only comes in two colors (light gray and royal blue), and the velour cover isn't machine washable. Still, the price is great, especially considering it's backed by a three-year warranty.

Dimensions: 18 x 15 x 22 inches, 24 x 15 x 32 inches | Weight: 6 pounds | Fill Material: Shredded memory foam, high-density foam | Cover Material: Velour | Care: Spot clean only

Best Splurge: Husband Pillow Backrest Reading Pillow with Arms Cover & Insert

Husband Pillow Backrest Reading Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Generous size

  • Lightweight yet supportive

  • Three-year warranty

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you're an avid reader, you might consider investing in a premium design, like the Husband Pillow. This luxury backrest is filled with a lightweight yet supportive blend of shredded memory foam and poly fibers. Available in nearly 40 colors, the removable, machine-washable cover comes in your choice of microsuede or faux fur.

This reading pillow has built-in armrests, a detachable neck roll, a small side pocket, and a carrying handle. Measuring 39 inches wide and 32 inches tall with the neck roll attached, it doesn't skimp on size. And while we wish the Husband Pillow was more affordable, we appreciate the three-year warranty.

Dimensions: 32 x 15 x 39 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Fill Material: Shredded memory foam, poly fibers | Cover Material: Microsuede or faux fur | Care: Machine wash cover

Best Wedge: Brentwood Home Crystal Cove Yoga Wedge Pillow

Crystal Cove Yoga Wedge Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • CertiPUR-US certified

  • Cooling BioFoam

  • Machine-washable cover

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Only one color

Prefer a wedge-shaped pillow? Check out the Crystal Cove Pillow from Brentwood Home. It has a high-density foam core surrounded by charcoal-infused, CertiPUR-US-certified memory foam. The latter is formulated with BioFoam, a cutting-edge material that provides a cooling effect. 

This generously sized pillow measures 24 x 24 x 10 inches. While it's technically designed for yoga, the dense core, pressure-relieving materials, and gentle slope make an excellent backrest for reading. And although there's only one color available (gray), we like that the quilted cover is removable and machine washable.

Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 10 inches | Weight: 5.5 pounds | Fill Material: Charcoal-infused memory foam, BioFoam, high-density foam | Cover Material: Stitched fabric | Care: Machine wash cover

Best Plush: Casper Backrest Pillow

Casper Backrest Pillow
Courtesy of Casper.
What We Like
  • Lofty and supportive

  • Cloud-like feel

  • Machine-washable cover

What We Don't Like
  • Heavy

  • Only one color

  • Requires frequent fluffing

Casper's Backrest Pillow boasts an exceptionally plush design. The core is a blend of high-density shredded foam and poly fibers, and the lofty outer chamber is filled with 100 percent poly fibers. It's designed to feel like you're resting on a cloud, but bear in mind it weighs over 11 pounds.

Though this reading pillow only comes in one color (heather gray), we like that the stretchy knit cover is removable and washable. Measuring 24 x 24 x 5 inches, the Casper Backrest offers plenty of support for your head, neck, and back. Just make sure you fluff it frequently to maintain the loft.

Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 5 inches | Weight: 11.5 pounds | Fill Material: Shredded foam, poly fibers | Cover Material: Polyester-spandex knit | Care: Spot clean insert, machine wash cover

Best U-Shaped: Yogibo Support Pillow

Yogibo Support Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Head, neck, and arm support

  • Body-conforming beads

  • Machine-washable cover

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

We also like the Yogibo Support Pillow. This reading companion is 37 inches long, 30 inches wide, and 12 inches thick. The U-shaped design supports your head and neck while propping up your arms to minimize fatigue.

It's filled with the brand's signature EPS (expanded polystyrene) beads, an ultra-lightweight, hollow thermoplastic that conforms to the shape of your body. Available in 14 colors ranging from neutrals to bolds to chic hues, the stretchy fabric cover is conveniently removable and washable. Whether you place it on a bed, couch, or directly on the floor, this cleverly designed pillow will cradle you in comfort.

Dimensions: 37 x 30 x 12 inches | Weight: 6 pounds | Fill Material: EPS beads | Cover Material: Cotton-spandex blend | Care: Machine wash cover

Best With Arms: Latitude Run Briar Creek 100% Cotton Pillow Cover & Insert

Briar Creek 100% Cotton Pillow Cover & Insert
Courtesy of Wayfair.
What We Like
  • Head, neck, and arm support

  • Dense yet plush

  • Easy to store and transport

What We Don't Like
  • Cover isn't removable/washable

  • Takes a few days to expand

Latitude Run's Briar Creek Pillow is relaxingly plush yet still plenty supportive. It's densely packed with poly fibers and covered with naturally breathable cotton in your choice of brown, black, navy, green, or red. Although the shell isn't removable, you can spot-clean it as needed.

The backrest supports your head and neck, while the built-in arms minimize elbow strain while holding a book or e-reader. Measuring 17 inches tall and 28 inches wide, the relatively compact design is easy to store and transport. The only other thing to note is that it arrives compressed and takes a few days to fully expand.

Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 17 inches | Weight: 4.5 pounds | Fill Material: Poly fibers | Cover Material: Cotton | Care: Spot clean

Best Oversized: WowMax Oversized Linen Blend Bolster Wedge Pillow

Oversized Linen Blend Bolster Wedge Pillow
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Headboard-style backrest

  • Dense yet plush

  • Machine-washable cover

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

For something larger, consider the WowMax Wedge Pillow. It comes in five sizes, each 20 inches tall and 8 inches deep, ranging in width to fit size twin through California king beds. The triangular shape and gentle slope are perfect for sitting upright or lying back while reading.

This headboard-style backrest is densely packed with poly fibers and covered in a linen-cotton fabric blend. Available in eight design-forward colors, the button-tufted exterior is removable and machine washable. In the end, we only wish the WowMax Wedge were a bit more affordable.

Dimensions: 5 sizes available | Weight: 12 pounds | Fill Material: Poly fibers | Cover Material: Linen-cotton blend | Care: Machine wash cover

Most Versatile: Sharper Image 10-in-1 Flip Pillow

10-in-1 Flip Pillow
Courtesy of Walmart.
What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • 10-in-one design

  • Foldable configuration

What We Don't Like
  • Washable case sold separately

Sharper Image's Flip Pillow was made with versatility in mind. It's essentially a wedge attached to a smaller pillow, allowing you to fold it to meet your needs or the task at hand. The 10-in-one design can be configured into several shapes, acting as a backrest, recliner, reading support, lap desk, torso wedge, knee prop, foot elevation, body pillow—you name it.

The Flip Pillow is filled with plush poly fibers and encased in soft polyester fabric. One downside is that the washable case is sold separately, but you can spot-clean it as needed. Still, the price is very reasonable compared to other reading pillows.

Dimensions: 29 x 20 x 8 inches, 30 x 29 x 8 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Fill Material: Polyester | Cover Material: Poly fibers | Care: Spot clean or machine wash cover

Best for Students: Urban Outfitters Amped Fleece Boo Pillow

Amped Fleece Boo Pillow
Courtesy of Urban Outfitters.
What We Like
  • Overstuffed design

  • Exceptionally soft

  • Compact and portable

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The Boo Pillow from Urban Outfitters is just the thing for kids, teens, or college students. This overstuffed armed backrest is densely packed with poly fibers, maximizing plushness while supporting the back, neck, and elbows. Available in muted rust or multi-toned beige, the deep-pile sherpa fleece cover is super soft and fuzzy.

This reading pillow is also OEKO-Tex certified, ensuring it's made without over 100 potentially harmful substances. Measuring 19 inches tall and just over 20 inches wide, the compact size is easy to fit in a bedroom or dorm. The built-in carrying handle makes it easy to transport too.

Dimensions: 20.5 x 19 x 13.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Fill Material: Poly fibers | Cover Material: Sherpa | Care: Machine wash

Best Decorative: Sunday Citizen Snug Waffle Lumbar Pillow

Snug Body Pillow
Courtesy of Sunday Citizen.
What We Like
  • Soft textured cover

  • Plush and supportive

  • Versatile design

What We Don't Like
  • Takes 24 hours to expand

Sunday Citizen's Snug Pillow is equally functional and decorative. Available in eight chic colors ranging from warm sienna to cool charcoal to crisp white, the waffle-weave cover adds buttery softness and dimensional texture.

The fill is plush, supportive memory foam that conforms to the shape of your body. Measuring 36 x 14 inches, the elongated lumbar shape makes great neck support while reading. You can also use it as a body pillow or a finishing touch to a perfectly layered bed. Just a heads-up, it'll take about 24 hours to fully expand when you first pull it out of the box.

Dimensions: 36 x 14 inches | Weight: Not listed | Fill Material: Memory foam | Cover Material: Microfiber | Care: Spot clean insert, machine wash cover

Final Verdict

Our top choice is the Nestl Reading Pillow, a velvet-encased shredded memory foam backrest with built-in arms and three handy pockets. For something more affordable, consider the Linenspa Reading Pillow, which offers body-conforming back support and comfy plushness.

What to Look For When Buying a Reading Pillow

Shape

Reading pillows come in various shapes, including armed backrests, lumbar cushions, U-shaped designs, cylindrical bolsters, and wedges. "A wedge pillow is a good alternative for someone looking for a little more versatility," says Lindeke.

Support features

According to Lindeke, reading for long hours without proper support can strain your back, neck, shoulders, and arms. "A lot of reading pillows have built-in arm and neck support, so you won't get the same numbness with a less purposeful pillow," he tells The Spruce. "Opt for anything with a high back and arm support."

Material

When browsing options, take note of the material as well, including both the fill and cover. "Reading pillows are all about keeping the trunk of your body upright, so look for a solid memory foam block or firm fiber fill," says Lindeke, who recommends avoiding softer, low-fill designs. "On the exterior, a washable cover is a good perk."

Size

Pay attention to the dimensions when buying a reading pillow. If you only plan to use it at home, a larger option may work as long as you have room to stash it away. However, if you're working with limited space or need something for on-the-go use, look for a compact design.

FAQ
  • How do you wash a reading pillow?

    Many reading pillows have removable covers you can wash in a washing machine and tumble dry. If yours doesn't have a removable shell, you'll need to spot-clean it with a mild fabric cleaner and a clean cloth. If needed, you can usually spot-clean the insert as well. When in doubt, follow the brand's recommended care instructions.

  • Do you need a cover for a reading pillow?

    Ideally, it'll have a removable, washable cover. This makes it easy to clean while protecting the material underneath. But like portable backrests, upholstered headboards, and some decorative cushions, not all reading pillows have removable cases. As mentioned, you can spot-clean the case if it doesn't come off for washing.

  • Where should you store a reading pillow?

    This depends on the shape and size, as well as how often you use it. If you read in bed every night, the most convenient place to store your pillow might be under your bed or in your bedroom closet. If you reach for it less frequently, consider keeping it in your linen closet, laundry room, or guest room.

    Some reading pillows can double as decor, in which case you can place them on your sofa or in front of your bed pillows when making the bed. You might also be able to store yours in an oversized basket in your living room or bedroom, along with extra throw blankets.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland is a commerce writer specializing in consumer goods, textiles, and lifestyle products. For this story, she spoke with Jackson Lindeke, a sleep product expert at SleepFoundation.org, for buying tips, material suggestions, and insight into the benefits of using a reading pillow. After considering dozens of options, she ultimately chose pillows with supportive, comfortable, versatile designs and standout features.

Theresa covers bedding, home improvement, and decor at The Spruce. You can find more of her bylines on MyDomaine, Byrdie, People, and Travel + Leisure.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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