Read my expert and thoroughly researched review of the best backrest pillow for reading or watching TV in bed. Learn what a husband pillow is and what type of sit up pillows you can buy.
If you are in a hurry and just want to know what the best backrest pillow is, I recommend the Husband Pillow.
If you have ever heard of husband pillow and wondered what on earth that was, look no further, as I explain what a husband or backrest pillow really is, what you need to consider while choosing one, but mostly, why you DEFINITELY need one in your life.
Lucky for you, I’ve done the hard work doing all the research for you, mostly while sitting up in bed reading.
Just keep reading.
Don’t miss my guide on what to consider when buying a new mattress or bed.
The Best Backrest Pillow That I Will Be Reviewing Today
- EDITOR’S CHOICE – Husband Pillow
- Milliard Reading Pillow
- WAIT FLY Cartoon Hamster Shaped Backrest Pillow (Child size)
- Neustern Reading Pillow
- Best Recliners For Sleeping – The Top 5 Sleeping Chairs for 2020
- The Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers That Also Supports Your Hips and Shoulders
What is the best pillow for sitting up in bed?
The best sit up pillow for reading in bed is a personal choice.
You can either get a wedge pillow, or you can go for a backrest pillow with arms or arm rests on either side.
In my opinion, the “husband pillow” style of sit up pillows with the arms and the backrest makes it a great choice as a reading pillow.
Have a look further down this page where I review some of the best options for backrest pillows with arm rests.
What are those pillows with arms called?
They are either called husband pillows or backrest pillows, depending on how woke you are.
What is a husband pillow?
A husband pillow is a wedge style pillow with arm rests like a chair, that you can use to sit up in bed while reading or watching TV or just using a tablet or smart phone.
It’s like a fluffy companion pillow that’s wrapping it’s arms around you.
They are also great bed rest pillows, so if medical reasons have confined you to bed, a husband/backrest pillow is a great option.
I’m not going to go into the historical reasons for the name as honestly, who cares.
But I can say that these days, the phrase “reading pillow” has become a bit more popular with the phrase “husband pillow” falling out of favour.
Can you wash a backrest pillow?
Yes, most companies now sell backrest pillows with removable and machine washable covers.
Just read the product description carefully before placing an order.
How do you read in bed without hurting your neck?
Spinemd.com recommends that you keep your neck in a neutral position whenever possible, do not bend or lean your neck at an angle for long periods.
Unfortunately, if you are using normal pillows behind your back, that will inevitably force your neck to bend forwards, having to raise your arms to hold your book or tablet will just make the strain on your neck and shoulder muscles worse.
They recommend that you should at the very least get a wedge shaped pillow to prop up your book and support your arms.
Alternatively, you can purchase a backrest pillow with arms on each side as the arm rests will in turn support your own arms making it a great reading pillow.
Keep reading for our recommendation for the best backrest pillow.
Is it better to read sitting or lying down?
Definitely sitting up.
You want to keep your neck in as much of a neutral position as possible, do not bend or lean your neck forward for to long a period.
Tips for choosing the best backrest pillow for your needs
Size and height
Make sure that the backrest pillow you buy is high enough. Most of them will list the height of the pillow on their sales page, compare that to the length of your back when measured from the base of your spine while sitting (so from the chair), to the middle or top of your neck.
Since everyone is different, it is our recommendation that you choose a backrest pillow with an option to remove or add some of the stuffing, so you can adjust it for your own needs.
Personally I prefer a backrest pillow with an additional neck support pillow that can be removed, however that might be unnecessary for most people.
I am 5′ 10″, so I would like the additional support for my neck.
But if you are shorter, you’ll probably not need it.
It’s a personal choice, obviously.
Either you go crazy and choose neon green velour, or you stick with a neutral colour scheme like gray.
The good news is, a lot of the manufacturers these days offer separate covers for purchase, so if you really get tired of your neon green backrest pillow, you can convert to gray or black pretty easily.
The Best Backrest Pillow Product Reviews
EDITOR’S CHOICE – Husband Pillow
Editor’s Choice: Best backrest or bed rest pillow for reading and watching TV.
This pillow is literally sold by a brand called “The Husband Pillow Store”. Talk about branding and doing one thing well.
It’s an extremely popular choice on Amazon, and it comes in more colours than I care to count. Seriously, if you can’t find a colour you like then I simply don’t know what you will like.
This backrest pillow has a detachable neck roll pillow for extra support for your neck, and even a side pocket for your phone or reading glasses.
It is 24 inches from the floor to the top, where the neck roll pillow starts, and about 15 inches wide on the inside.
The arms are 12 inches long, so about the length of a school ruler, definitely enough for your arms to rest comfortably, unless maybe if you are an alien from Mars.
For extra support, you can adjust the loft of the backrest pillow by adding or removing some of the foam until you feel comfortable, or even just shift it around to places you need more or less support in.
You can take it with you on holiday, as it has a convenient carry handle at the top, so now you can read in comfort even on your next beach holiday.
The cover is removable and washable, and the company also sells additional covers if you ever get tired of your choice of colour.
It comes with a 100-day, 100% money-back guarantee (for any reason) PLUS a 3-year warranty.
Best backrest pillow for the WHOLE FAMILY due to the convenient 3 sizes, everyone can get one.
The Millard backrest pillow comes in 3 handy sizes, Extra Large, Standard, and Petite.
Stuffed with shredded memory foam, it comes compressed for shipping, so give it 48h or so to expand fully.
Like the Husband Pillow, you can adjust the loft to make it firmer or softer by removing or adding some of the memory foam.
The cover is velour, and there is a zipper on the side so you can remove it and wash it.
It also has a carry handle so you can take it with you everywhere.
The memory foam is CertiPUR certified so you can rest easy that there are no toxic chemicals involved that could make you or your family ill. Like all memory foam, give it a few days for any chemical smells to dissipate.
For the sizes, the Petite is about 14 inches high, the Standard 18 inches and the Extra Large 24 inches.
Best backrest pillow for children.
The WAIT Fly pillow is just so cute I had to include it on this review.
Shaped like a fat little hamster, it’s the perfect backrest pillow for a child. It’s basically like a big soft toy with arm support.
I think if you want your child to read more, this might be a nifty way to trick them into it.
Of course, they can also use it when watching cartoons on a tablet or smart phone.
There are 4 colour choices, gray, orange, red and pink.
Unfortunately the company seems to be having some quality control issues as there have been some complaints in the last few months that the toy is not stuffed enough, making it a rather sad looking hamster. So make sure you keep your packaging so you can return it to Amazon if you want to.
Best backrest reading pillow for the cool Halloween style “horns”.
The Neustern backrest reading pillow makes me think of Halloween. It’s the pointy “horns” at the top and the deep velvet colours.
It’s the sort of backrest pillow you might find at the Adam’s family home I think. Or Hotel Transylvania.
It comes vacuum packed so give it 24-48h to fluff up.
It has an extra wide back and slightly higher than usual arm rests, and is about 22 inches from the bottom to the top.
The cover can be removed and machine washed, but since it’s velvet, I recommend you wash it separately from other things.
There is a little pocket on the outside of one of the arm rests where you can put your phone or reading glasses.
I have to say, these are quite funky. I rather like the look of them.
Our choice for the best backrest pillow today is the Husband Pillow.
The brand has been around for a long enough time to judge the quality of their backrest chair, and in our opinion they are excellent.
They have focused their brand on making and selling the best backrest pillows they can, and their customer service is pretty good as well.
Given the many colours available, you should be able to find something you like. And even if you decide later you don’t like it, they also sell separate covers so you can do a quick swap.