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Many people sleep with a pillow between their knees for added comfort. This is particularly true for side sleepers, who often need a pillow for optimal spinal alignment, as well as pregnant women of people with chronic back pain. Pillows can also provide a cushioning buffer that prevents knee joints from rubbing together, which can lead to aches and pains for some.
For some sleepers, any pillow between the knees provides sufficient comfort and support. However, specialty knee pillows that are shaped to match natural contours of the sleeper’s body tend to be most effective. Most knee pillows are either hourglass shaped and intended to be sandwiched between both knees, or wedge shaped and primarily used by back sleepers below the knees. Most specialty knee pillows sold today are made from memory foam.
This guide will look at knee pillow designs and options for sleepers, as well as tips for first-time buyers. Below you’ll find our list of the top knee pillows that are currently available for purchase. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Memory Foam Knee Pillow from Everlasting Comfort, an hourglass-shaped model that is a standout for several reasons. The pillow offers an ergonomically-friendly orthopedic design that is suitable for sleepers with sciatica and back pain, knee problems, and arthritis, as well as pregnant women. It is constructed from solid memory foam and weighs only 14 ounces.
Many sleepers who use a pillow between their knees find adjusting and repositioning a nuisance. For this reason, the pillow also includes a detachable knee strap, which can be used to hold the pillow in place. Orders also come with two pairs of top-rated foam earplugs and a handy carrying case. Additionally, the Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Knee Pillow is backed by a lifetime warranty; comparatively, most knee pillows offer minimal (if any) warranty coverage.
Sleepers in the light and average weight groups
Back pain and arthritis sufferers and pregnant women
Those who struggle to keep their knee pillow in place
The best knee pillows for alleviating aches and pains tend to be made of high-density memory foam, which does not sink too deeply and provides firm support. However, these pillows can be too heavy for some sleepers. The Orthopedic Knee Pillow from ComfiLife is a notable exception to this rule. At just 12 ounces, the pillow is suitable for sleepers of any size.
However, its high-density foam core provides the same levels of support and pain relief as many of its heavier competitors. The foam hugs the legs without sinking or losing shape, and can greatly improve spinal alignment. This makes it suitable for sleepers with arthritis, sciatica, joint pain, and other medical issues. It is also durable and supportive enough for most pregnant women. The Orthopedic Knee Pillow from ComfiLife is backed by a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
Those who normally find high-density foam pillows too heavy
The vast majority of knee pillows sold today are hourglass-shaped, and primarily intended for side sleepers; as a result, back sleepers may have a harder time finding a suitable model. The Half-Moon Bolster/Wedge from Cushy Form is our pick for Best Wedge Knee Pillow for several reasons. One is durability. The Half-Moon Bolster/Wedge is made of high-density memory foam that withstands wear and won’t sink excessively.
It also comes with an organic-cotton cover, which makes it feel relatively cool; overheating is a common complaint among wedge knee pillow users. The pillow is especially useful for patients recovering from injuries or medical procedures, as the 4.5″ profile elevates the legs to a comfortable extent and helps improve circulation. It can help reduce varicose veins, as well. The Cushy Form Half-Moon Bolster/Wedge is backed by a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
While most hourglass-shaped knee pillows are primarily intended for side sleeping, some provide better support for heavier individuals than others. The AbcoSport Knee Pillow is made of high-density memory foam and weighs 1.2 pounds, and is a great option for individuals who typically prefer heavier, denser pillows between their legs. These sleepers include those in the average (130 to 230 pounds) and heavy (more than 230 pounds) weight groups, as well as pregnant women.
The pillow provides great support and can significantly improve spinal alignment, as well, making it suitable for sleepers with arthritis, sciatica, and other conditions that cause aches and pains. It is also easy to clean, thanks to its removable and machine washable cover. The AbcoSport Knee Pillow is backed by a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.
Sleepers in the average and heavy weight groups
Back pain and arthritis sufferers and pregnant women
Many people find that sleeping with a pillow between their knees helps reduce pain and pressure, as well as improve circulation in both legs. Knee pillows are most popular with side sleepers, although back sleepers may place them beneath both knees for better support and comfort. Pregnant women and people with back or knee pain may also benefit from using them. Knee pillows come in a wide range of shapes and designs to accommodate sleepers with different preferences, and some models come with knee straps that help keep the legs in place. Most knee pillows are available for $30 or less.
This guide will look at some of the most common designs for knee pillows, as well as people who benefit from using them, tips for first-time buyers, and our picks for the best knee pillows sold today.
Common Designs and Features of Knee Pillows
Dimensions for knee pillows vary by brand and model. Most measure roughly 10 inches wide, and between four and six inches thick. They are also much lighter than primary sleeping pillows. The average knee pillow weighs one pound or less.
Common shapes for knee pillows include the following:
Hourglass: This is the most common shape for knee pillows, as well as the cheapest option in most cases. The hourglass contouring aligns with the natural curvature of your knees for added comfort, which holds both legs in place throughout the night.
Wedge: Wedge pillows have a triangular or half-moon shape, and are most suitable for back sleepers when placed beneath the knees. However, many side sleepers find they are sufficiently comfortable as well.
Body: Body pillows are exceptionally wide, and designed to run the length of an adult’s figure. Some people tuck body pillows between their legs, which can result in less pressure on the back and less friction between the knees and legs. Body pillows are not necessarily designed to fit between the knees, but many people utilize them for this purpose. To learn more, check out our Best Body Pillows guide.
Knee pillows are usually made of memory foam or polyfoam, which may be one piece or shredded and contained in a case. They typically have a cover made from cotton or synthetic fibers, such as polyester and/or rayon. Most knee pillows are Medium Firm or Firm. This prevents the knees from compressing the pillow too much, which can reduce support and comfort.
Some knee pillows come with removable knee straps. These straps wrap around the knees to help the legs remain in place throughout the night.
Who Should Use a Knee Pillow?
Knee pillows reduce pressure in the back and hips, and also help alleviate tension in the hamstrings and calves. Preferences vary by sleeper, but the following people tend to feel most comfortable using knee pillows:
Side sleepers: Many side sleepers experience discomfort with one leg resting on the other, as well as chafing and rubbing when the knees make contact. Knee pillows form a thick, cushioning barrier that keeps the legs apart.
Back sleepers: While sleeping with a pillow between the knees may not be suitable for back sleepers, many find that sleeping with a pillow below both knees relieves tension and alleviates pressure. This also elevates the lower body, which can help with alignment and improve blood circulation in the legs. For this reason, knee pillows can be especially beneficial for back sleepers with poor circulation.
Pregnant women: For many pregnant women, sleeping with a pillow between their knees reduces pressure in the hips and pelvis that occurs as their bellies widen. Knee pillows also help pregnant women who have poor spinal alignment due to back problems related to their size.
People with back or knee pain: Keeping the legs and knees aligned can alleviate discomfort for people with back pain. The same is true of people who experience knee pain due to injuries or bodily stress.
People with restless legs syndrome: Known as RLS, restless legs syndrome is a medical condition characterized by painful sensations in the legs, particularly while lying in bed. RLS can cause people to move their legs excessively during the night. Knee pillows provide extra stability that helps prevent legs from moving around too much. Models with knee straps can be particularly beneficial for people with RLS.
Some stomach sleepers may reduce discomfort by sleeping with a knee pillow between their knees, but a standard sleeping pillow may also accomplish the same goal. When stomach sleepers place a pillow beneath their knees, it can elevate the lower body to an angle that creates uneven support. Therefore, a knee pillow may not be suitable for stomach sleepers.
Important Considerations for Knee Pillow Shoppers
When shopping for a new knee pillow and comparing brands and models, here are a few factors to consider:
What is your knee pillow budget? The majority of knee pillows sold today are priced at $30 or less, but some specialty models may be more expensive – but remember that a higher price does not equate better quality or more comfort.
How much do you weigh? Use your weight as a guide for the thickness of your knee pillow. As a general rule of thumb, heavier people tend to prefer thicker knee pillows while lighter people feel more comfortable with thinner pillows.
Do you sleep on your side or on your stomach? Sleep position may determine which knee pillow shape is most suitable. Stomach sleepers tend to prefer hourglass or body pillows that align with the curves of their knees and legs, as well as longer rectangular pillows that provide extra support to the hips and lower back. Back sleepers, on the other hand, tend to prefer wedge-shaped pillows placed beneath both knees.
Are you pregnant? Hourglass-shaped or straight pillows tend to be the best choice for side sleepers, and most pregnant women sleep on their sides to reduce the strain of carrying excess weight around their midsection. However, a second wedge pillow placed behind the knees can provide extra support as well.
Do you sleep hot? Most knee pillows sold today are made of foam, which tends to absorb more body heat than other materials. This may be an issue for people who naturally sleep hot, although the excess warmth is usually isolated to the knees and legs, which may not be as problematic for some. The pillow cover may also indicate how hot the pillow sleeps, since cotton tends to sleep cooler than synthetic fibers.
Do your legs move around when you sleep? Hourglass-shaped knee pillows are designed to keep the legs in place to some extent — but if you tend to kick or shift your legs frequently during the night, then a model with a removable strap may be the best option.
What is the pillow’s return policy? Some knee pillows offer sleep trials, which allow customers to test out the pillow for a certain period and — if they are dissatisfied — return the product for a refund before the trial period ends. Sleep trials can be an effective way to try out different products without committing to a purchase. Alternatively, some pillow manufacturers offer a satisfaction guarantee that allows returns and refunds at any point. If a satisfaction guarantee is available, then the pillow most likely won’t come with a warranty.
Does the pillow come with a warranty? Most knee pillows do not come with a warranty because they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee to all customers. Alternatively, knee pillows that come with a warranty typically do not offer a satisfaction guarantee. Warranty lengths vary, but in most cases the knee pillow will be covered for its entire product lifespan.
Additional Tuck Resources
For more information about pillow materials and options, please visit the following pages on Tuck.com: