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The Best Sit-Up Pillow


We tested the most popular sit-up pillows to find the one that gives you total back support while cushioning you in comfort. Hands down, the Linenspa is the best sit-up pillow for reading in bed, watching television, gaming or any other leisure activity. Stuffed with high-quality shredded memory foam, the Linenspa is both supportive and plush at the same time. Another great choice is the Milliard reading pillow, which is soft and cuddly but supportive of back muscles as well.

Our Top Choices

Best Sit-Up Pillow


Linenspa

 

See Price on Amazon

Runner-up


Milliard

 

See Price on Amazon

We tested the most popular sit-up pillows to find the one that gives you total back support while cushioning you in comfort. Hands down, the Linenspa is the best sit-up pillow for reading in bed, watching television, gaming or any other leisure activity. Stuffed with high-quality shredded memory foam, the Linenspa is both supportive and plush at the same time. Another great choice is the Milliard reading pillow, which is soft and cuddly but supportive of back muscles as well.

Table of contents

How we selected sit-up pillows to test

A sit-up pillow really has one purpose: give you back support while you’re reading or watching television in bed or on a couch. But after we read through Amazon consumer reviews, we learned that people also buy sit-up pillows to sit upright in bed after surgery or to help relieve chronic back pain.

The sit-up pillows we decided to test were recommended by reviewers for correcting posture while they were lounging to support back and neck muscles. But the pillows had to be comfortable, too; nobody enjoys sitting against a hard piece of foam.

We chose pillows that were stuffed with shredded memory foam, since it can be both firm and plush at the same time. People who buy a sit-up pillow for back pain often buy a bed wedge pillow, so we tested one of the most popular wedge pillows to see how it compared to traditional sit-up bed pillows

Compare the best sit-up pillows

ProductPriceCertiPUR FoamLower Back SupportUpper Back Support
1. Linenspa$$$☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
2. Milliard$$☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
3. mittaGonG$$X☆☆☆☆☆☆
4. Hit Notion - Husband Pillow$$$$X☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
5. X-tra Comfort Bed Wedge$$$X☆☆☆☆

Important features to consider

Many of the hundreds of models and styles of sit-up pillows look identical. During our testing we discovered that they’re not all alike. The following features of the best sit-up pillow will help you decide which one is right for you.

Size: Most sit-up pillows have a similar shape: triangular with two armrests on each side. If you’re looking for a sit-up pillow that gives you both lower and upper back support, you’ll need one that is as tall as your entire back: The top of the pillow should reach your shoulders at the base of your neck. A shorter sit-up pillow will only support your lower back muscles, and you’ll feel the strain on your upper back muscles after a few minutes.

Two of the pillows we tested are available in several sizes. Before purchasing a sit-up pillow, we recommend measuring the length of your back and comparing it to the height of the pillow. We found that the extra-large size (24 inches) gives better back support to a tall person than the standard size (18 inches) does.

Long armrests: Many sit-up pillows have short, stubby armrests that only reach as far as your elbows. Depending on the length of your arms, the short armrests may not even touch your elbows, which means you need to keep your arms elevated when you’re reading. Look for a sit-up pillow that has armrests that reach the base of your wrists. The extra length will support your elbows so you can hold a book and also cushion your arms when you’re watching television or just resting.

Materials: All of the sit-up pillows we tested had a polyester cover, usually an ultra-suede or velour. Except for one of the pillows we tested, their covers can be removed and washed.

The best sit-up pillow is stuffed with shredded memory foam, which is often encased within its own separate cover. As we discussed in our reviews for the best cooling pillow and the best pillow for side sleepers, the memory foam should be CertiPUR-certified. CertiPUR tests polyurethane foams used in bedding for hazardous contaminants. Look for a label on the sit-up pillow that it’s been CertiPUR certified; otherwise, you could be breathing in toxic gases emitted from the foam.

Prepping a sit-up pillow

Many Amazon consumers are surprised that their sit-up pillow isn’t ready for immediate use when it’s delivered. Manufacturers compress the sit-up pillow, roll it and vacuum-seal it in plastic before shipping. When the pillow arrives, it needs to be released from the plastic, laid out flat and, as suggested by instructions, allowed to expand 24 to 48 hours.

We found, however, that the pillows fully expanded overnight. Although it’s not stated, we suspect that the 24-to-48-hour time period is to allow for off-gassing. Memory foam is notorious for its pungent chemical odor, which eventually dissipates. Since the majority of sit-up pillows are stuffed with memory foam, it’s best practice to let the pillow air out — we aired the test pillows on an outdoor patio — for two or three days.

Best Sit-Up Pillow: Linenspa

Linenspa was, by far, the most comfortable sit-up pillow we tested. Stuffed with shredded CertiPUR-certified memory foam, the Linenspa feels supportive and plush at the same time. Imagine your most comfy chair or sofa, and you’ll get a sense of what it’s like to settle into the Linenspa.

We tested the generously stuffed extra-large size, which gave full-back support while we sat in bed. The Linenspa has long (15 inches) and extra-wide (10 inches) armrests — the widest of all the pillows we tested — and they accommodated our forearms all the way to the palms of our hands.

The Linenspa is well made with strong stitching and thick fabric that’s been dyed a richly hued deep blue. (It’s also available in stone gray.) Unlike the other pillows we tested, the Linenspa doesn’t have a zipper for removing the cover. After testing, however, we decided that being able to remove the cover isn’t important, because once it’s been washed, the cover will shrink somewhat and be difficult to stuff the pillow back inside, especially into the armrests.

The Linenspa has a strong handle so we could easily drag it from the bedroom to the living room. We tested it on the couch, and it was slightly less comfortable, because its size takes up half the space of the sofa cushion. But once we shifted our position and sat more upright — as we were supposed to do — we never wanted to leave.

Most Comfortable: Linenspa

The Linenspa reading pillow provides full-back support while surrounding you in exceptional comfort. Stuffed with CertiPUR-certified memory foam, we detected almost no unpleasant odors while using it.

Finally, we tried the Linenspa while sitting on the floor. Although the pillow does stay upright on its own, you do need to lean up against something if you want to use it for support. We did this same test with the other pillows, and we simply didn’t find any of them comfortable on the floor.

There was almost no off-gassing from this pillow, and although some Amazon reviewers complain about a heavy dye odor, we detected no strong smells from it.

The Linenspa is priced at $50, which is about average for a quality sit-up pillow. For $10 less, It’s also available in a smaller size, which is about one-third the size of the extra-large. For children and teens that size makes sense. The extra-large is quite heavy to lug around, so the standard size might also be better for the elderly who are bed-ridden.

Unlike the other pillows we tested, the Linenspa feels exceptionally durable. It supports upper and lower back and corrects posture while cushioning you in comfort.

Key takeways:

  • The Linenspa provides full support to upper and lower back and is also the most comfortable of the pillows we tested.
  • Its filling is made of shredded CertiPUR-certified memory foam, so it’s safe from hazardous contaminants.
  • The Linenspa’s armrests are extra-long and extra-wide, so you can rest the entire length of your arm.

Runner-up: Milliard Reading Pillow

Although the standard size Milliard reading pillow is too small for a tall person, it gives excellent support to middle- and lower-back muscles. It looks and feels like a floppy stuffed toy, so we were surprised at how firm the Milliard was when we propped it against the bed headboard and couch cushion. Although its dangling arms barely extended past our elbows, we gathered them to our sides and comfortably rested our arms on them.

The Milliard is stuffed with shredded CertiPUR-certified memory foam, and if you want a firmer pillow, Milliard will send additional filling upon request. It has a soft polyester velour cover, which can be removed for washing or spot-cleaning.

Runner-up: Milliard Reading Pillow

If you feel like curling up with a good book in bed or on the sofa, the Milliard reading pillow is soft and comforting, but it also supports your middle- and lower-back muscles. The standard size is too small for a tall person, but the extra-large size is just right.

The Milliard is available in two additional sizes: petite (14-inches tall) for a child and extra large (24-inches tall) for a tall person. The Milliard runs about $10 more than the Linenspa for the extra-large size, but it’s also a quality sit-up pillow that we recommend.

Key takeaways:

  • The Milliard may seem too soft and floppy, but it gives surprisingly good support to middle- and lower-back muscles.
  • It’s stuffed with CertiPUR-certified memory foam, so you can feel confident it won’t emit toxic gases.
  • The Milliard extra-large size is $10 more than the Linenspa, but it’s also an excellent option.

Other sit-up pillows we tested

mittaGonG

The mittaGonG reading pillow gave good support to the lower back muscles, but because it’s only 20-inches high (the only size available) and not generously stuffed near the top, it can’t reach the upper back or neck. We found the mittaGong comfortable for watching television in bed, because we could lean back against the headboard. However, because of its short armrests, it was tiring to keep our elbows propped up to hold a book up for more than 10 minutes.

The mittaGonG seemed well made with a nice velour case and strong stitching. It’s stuffed with shredded memory foam, but it’s not CertiPUR-certified. Without the CertiPUR certification, you can’t trust what gasses might be emitted from the mittaGonG’s memory foam.

Hit Notion – Husband Pillow

Most reading pillows are known as “husband pillows,” apparently because they provide security, comfort and support. (Recently they’ve been renamed “boyfriend pillows.”) Hit Notion’s Husband Pillow is one of the most popular on Amazon and is available in a rainbow of colors. It’s about the same size as the mittaGonG pillow, so it gives good lower-back support. A detachable neck roll is included, and it bolsters the neck but not the upper back.

The Husband Pillow’s armrests were splayed too far apart, so we could only rest our elbows and no other part of our arms comfortably. It’s a well-constructed pillow, and style-wise, we liked the two large buttons that connect the head roll to the top of the pillow. The Husband Pillow is also stuffed with shredded memory foam, and like the mittaGonG pillow, it’s not CertiPUR certified.

X-tra Comfort Bed Wedge

The bed wedge is popular with people who suffer chronic back pain, since its wedge shape promotes a completely upright posture and spine alignment. However, the X-tra Comfort bed wedge is a misnomer, since it was the most uncomfortable of the pillows we tested. The bed wedge is designed solely for the bed; on the couch it was like leaning against a wood plank.

The X-tra Comfort wedge is made of two extra-stiff pieces of memory foam (not shredded, not CertiPUR), covered in a cheap-feeling velour case. The large wedge is intended for back support; the purpose for the smaller wedge is a mystery. The company’s website shows photos of placing the wedges under the model’s knees. We tried it, but elevating legs and feet as illustrated put strain on the lower back.

It’s also suggested that the wedge can be used as a sleeping pillow. Perhaps, if you enjoy sleeping on a rock. There are a number of bed wedges on the market, so pass this one by.

The bottom line

If you love reading in bed, binging on Netflix or just lounging around on a lazy Sunday morning, you might be bolstering yourself up with extra pillows, which can strain your back muscles and neck.

We selected the Linenspa as the best sit-up pillow for providing full-back support and cushy comfort. Its extra-long and extra-wide armrests support your entire arm rather than just the elbow, and it’s the only pillow we tested that was so plush we never wanted to get up. The Linenspa is well made with quality fabric and strong stitching, and at $50 for the extra-large size you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

We also liked the Milliard reading pillow, which feels soft and floppy but gives excellent support to the middle- and lower-back muscles. The standard size is too small for a tall person, and though its extra-large size is $10 more than the Linenspa, it’s also a great option for providing full back support in bed or on the couch.

Most Comfortable: Linenspa

Generously stuffed, the Linenspa embraces you in plush comfort while giving your entire back firm support when you're sitting up in bed or on a living room sofa.

Gene Gerrard, Writer

Gene Gerrard was recently voted as one of the top five personal chefs in Los Angeles. He created About.com's Meat and Wild Game Cooking website and published hundreds of recipes, interviews, cookbook reviews and blog posts about food trends. Gene is also a professional magician, and when he's not writing for Your Best Digs, he's performing at the World Famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.

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