- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Disorders
- Sleep Resources
- Sleep Health
- Sleep Medicine
Wedge pillows are orthopedic pillows designed for sleepers with chronic pain issues and/or poor circulation. Their sloping shape allows users to rest their head, shoulders, torso, or legs and knees in an elevated position that promotes better blood flow and alleviates pressure points in their most sensitive areas. The inclined position can also benefit those who snore heavily – including people with sleep apnea – or experience frequent acid reflux.
The vast majority of wedge pillows are made from dense memory foam for sturdy, long-lasting support. They are longer and wider than standard sleeping pillows, and also tend to be heavier in order to prevent slippage during the night. Wedge pillows may consist of a single piece of foam or multiple, stackable layers for customizable inclination.
Read on to learn more about the functions and characteristics of wedge pillows, as well as our choices for the best wedge pillows sold today. Our picks are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick is the Helix Wedge Pillow, a ‘Medium Firm’ option constructed from solid layers of gel-infused memory foam and high-density polyfoam. The pillow is 10″ high, providing sufficient elevation for those who snore due to sleep apnea, as well as people who experience acid reflux. The Helix Wedge Pillow also sleeps cooler than many of its competitors due to its gel-infused top layer, as well as its breathable rayon and polyester cover.
The Helix Wedge Pillow provides moderate yet consistent conforming. Many people who sleep with the pillow beneath their neck and/or legs experience targeted pain and pressure relief. The pillow itself should only be spot-cleaned, but the cover can be removed and washed/dried on low, gentle settings.
Helix offers free shipping to customers in the contiguous U.S., as well as those who live in Canadian provinces. The Wedge Pillow is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a one-year warranty.
Our Runner-Up is the Zuma Foam Wedge Pillow from Brentwood Home, a triangular model that is available in 7″, 10″, and 12″ profiles to accommodate sleepers with different thickness preferences. The pillow is constructed from 1.8 PCF memory foam with an indentation load deflection (IDL) of 30; this dense material provides excellent support and great shape recovery, and the expected lifespan is longer than average.
Unlike many wedge pillows, the Zuma also sleeps exceptionally cool thanks to its cover made from breathable, stretch-knit rayon from bamboo. The lower profile is ideal for sleepers who prefer a pillow beneath their legs and knees, while the thicker options provide suitable headrests for watching television or reading in bed.
The Zuma’s price-point is significantly lower than the average cost of a wedge pillow. Brentwood Home offers free shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The Zuma is backed by a 30-night sleep trial and a one-year warranty.
Our Best Value pick is the Premium Bed Wedge from FitPlus. This pillow is widely available for $35 or less, making it considerably more affordable than the average wedge pillow. However, the Premium Bed Wedge offers strong support that rivals more expensive models; it is constructed with 1.5″ of ‘Medium Firm’ memory foam over a high-density polyfoam base, allowing the pillow to conform closely to sleepers without sagging excessively.
The pillow measures 7.5″ thick, making it a good choice for people who snore or experience acid reflux; pillows that are lower may not provide enough elevation to reduce symptoms of these conditions. The pillow is also has a wide surface area to provide support to sleepers with different body dimensions. The cover is removable and machine washable, as well.
FitPlus exclusively sells the Premium Bed Wedge through Amazon.com and other third-party retailers; customers should defer to the seller’s sleep trial and return options. This pillow is backed by a two-year warranty, which is longer than average.
The XW Wedge Pillow from Xtreme Comforts is an ergonomic pillow with a 30-degree inclination that is optimal for people with sciatica and other conditions affecting the lumbar (lower back) region. The XW is constructed from two layers of close-conforming memory foam and considered ‘Medium Firm,’ making it a good headrest for snorers and people with acid reflux, as well.
The XW also sleeps exceptionally cool. The cover – which is removable and machine washable – is made of breathable rayon from bamboo, which helps regulate temperature and prevent sleepers from feeling too warm. The pillow has a surface area of more than 370 square inches to accommodate sleepers with different body types.
The XW is backed by a lifetime warranty; in contrast, many wedge pillows have one- to two-year warranties or no warranty at all. Xtreme Comforts offers free shipping anywhere in the U.S.
Sleepers with poor circulation in the lower half of their body often require thicker wedge pillows that elevate their legs and knees to a greater extent. The Foam Wedge Pillow from InteVision does just that – at 12″ high, this is one of the thickest wedge pillows available today. It is made from ‘Firm’ memory foam over a high-density polyfoam base, which should provide adequate support for sleepers in all weight groups.
The pillow also sleeps cool, due in part to its 400TC Egyptian cotton cover, making it a good option for those who tend to get warm at night; this is also true for people with restless legs syndrome, a disorder that causes sleepers to experience uncomfortable itching during the night.
InteVision exclusively sells the Foam Wedge Pillow through Amazon.com and other third-party retailers; customers should defer to the seller’s sleep trial and return policies.
Most wedge pillows consist of one pillow component. The Avana Kind System stands out because it includes four individual elements: a back rest, knee rest, head pillow, and back cradle. Owners can use one of the components to target isolated aches and pains or assemble the entire system to alleviate discomfort throughout the body. The pillows can also be flipped over to provide varying degrees of support.
All Avana Kind System components are made from ‘Firm’ memory foam, ensuring people of all body types will feel properly supported, and housed in removable micro-velvet covers that can be machine washed. The unique configuration of this system also accommodates sleepers with different inclination preferences; the different components each have different profiles, ranging from 4″ to 10″.
The Avana Kind System has an above-average price-point, making it a good option for shoppers with bigger budgets. Avana offers a 30-night sleep trial and a one-year warranty for the Kind System. Customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free delivery.
Wedge pillows are sloping orthopedic pillows that enables sleepers to rest their head, shoulders, and torso at an inclined angle. This position can ease the symptoms of various medical issues, including acid reflux, sleep apnea, and poor circulation. Wedge pillows can also alleviate pressure points around the neck and spine. These pillows come in a wide range of sizes and thicknesses to accommodate different sleepers, and many models are available for less than $50.
This guide will look at wedge pillow designs and medical conditions they address, and will also include some helpful tips for first-time buyers and our picks for the best wedge pillows sold today.
Wedge pillows may be used alone, or as a base layer with a standard pillow on top (depending on the sleeper’s comfort preferences). Many different wedge pillow designs are available. Some common design features and characteristics include:
Shape: Because they are inclined, most wedge pillows are triangular in shape. Depending on the model, the pillow’s surface may be flat or contoured. Additionally, some wedge pillows consist of one piece while others are ‘pillow systems’ with multiple components, including detachable headrests.
Size: Wedge pillows also vary in terms of length, width, and height. Most measure at least 20 inches long and 20 inches wide, which is large enough to provide cushioning to head, neck, shoulders, and upper back. Likewise, these pillows will support the feet, calves, and knees when used at the foot of one’s bed. Smaller pillows are usually the best option for smaller mattresses (such as Twin and Full sizes), while larger wedge pillows will be more suitable for Queen and King sizes.
Inclination: The angle of inclination is usually seven inches or higher, with some models providing an incline of 10 to 12 inches. Generally, pillows with more gradual slopes are more suitable for sleeping, while higher-incline models are more suitable as headrests or backrests for reading or watching TV in bed.
Weight: On the lighter end, wedge pillows may weigh two to four pounds — but heavier models can weigh as much as 10 to 12 pounds. Heavier pillows tend to move less during the night, but may be more difficult to maneuver for some. Lighter pillows may not be as suitable for those who toss and turn, but they are light enough to move and maneuver for most adults.
Material Composition: With few exceptions, wedge pillows are made of high- or medium-density memory foam. Most have covers made of synthetic fabrics, such as rayon from bamboo or polyester.
Construction: Wedge pillows may consist of a single piece of foam or may include multiple layers, which usually consist of softer foam layers on top of firmer foam layers.
Lifespan: The durability of a wedge pillows often depends on the quality of the foam, as well as the frequency of use since some people sleep with a wedge pillow more frequently than others. Warranty coverage may or may not be included, depending on the manufacturer; most wedge pillow warranties cover defects in the product for one to three years.
Firmness: Wedge pillows are usually ‘Medium Firm’ or ‘Firm,’ although some models are softer. Wedge pillows may offer varying firmness settings on different sides, allowing sleepers to rotate the pillow to adjust the feel.
Storage: Many people like to travel with wedge pillows, and some can be disassembled or folded to fit more easily into suitcases or backpacks. A travel-size carrying case may be included with the pillow purchase.
Cleaning: Most wedge pillow covers can be removed and washed in a machine. The memory foam should never be machine or hand washed, as exposure to moisture can damage the foam and cause it to deteriorate. Light spot cleaning is usually the best method of caring for the foam components.
Cost: While some wedge pillows cost $100 or more, most models can be purchased for less than $50. When buying from online sellers and retailers, shipping costs should be taken into account. Also keep in mind that price-point is often tied to durability and material quality.
Wedge pillows alleviate pressure and symptoms of several medical conditions. Preferences vary by sleeper, but wedge pillows are often suitable for the following groups:
When shopping for a new wedge pillow and comparing different brands and models, here are a few factors to take into account:
Expect to pay at least $30 for a new wedge pillow, but some models are priced in the $75 to $100 range. Wedge pillows made of high-grade foam tend to be more expensive, and brand recognition may also play a role in pricing.
Wedge pillows tend to be large, and some will not fit onto smaller mattress sizes — so be sure to measure your bed before purchasing. Some wedge pillow models are offered in multiple sizes. Also determine if you want the pillow to rest beneath your shoulders, neck, and head, or just the head and part of the neck.
Wedge pillows typically range from seven inches to 12 inches in terms of angle of inclination. Higher inclines tend to be better for reading or watching TV in bed, while lower inclines are more suitable for sleeping.
Flat surfaces provide even support to the head, neck, and shoulders. Contoured pillows align with the natural curves of the neck, shoulders, and spine, and may be suitable for side sleepers, as well as anyone who wants targeted support for these areas.
The vast majority of wedge pillows are made from memory foam, but some models made of polyfoam are also available. The latter tend to deteriorate more quickly and provide less support than the former — but in most cases, polyfoam pillows are much cheaper than memory foam models.
Foam pillows tend to absorb a fair amount of body heat, which can be uncomfortable for people who already sleep hot. Pillows with covers made of more breathable materials, such as rayon from bamboo, may sleep cooler than those made of polyester or poly-based synthetic fabrics.
Most wedge pillow covers are removable and can be washed in conventional machines.
If you’re unable to sleep despite using earplugs, then you may be more satisfied with one of these noise-blocking alternatives.
Headphones: Listening to music while you sleep can be an effective method of blocking outside noise, and some studies suggest this may also lower your heart rate. Headphones come in in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear designs, and some newer models are built into headbands or sleep masks. Cheaper headphones are available for less than $30, while higher-end models may cost $200 or more. To learn more, please visit our Best Headphones for Sleeping guide.
White noise machines: White noise machines produce random sound signals that can mask outside noise to a significant extent. Many sleepers utilize these machines when they go to bed. In addition to white noise, the machines may produce other ‘colors’ of noise, such as pink, blue, red, and brown noise — all of which increase or decrease volume per tempo for different listening experiences and sound-masking capabilities.
Most white noise machine models come with speakers and headphone jacks to accommodate different listening preferences. These machines rarely cost more than $100, and are widely available through brick-and-mortar and online retailers. For more information, check out our White Noise Machine Reviews guide.
Apps: Today’s smartphone or tablet user can choose from a wide selection of soothing, noise-blocking apps. Most are free, and come with multiple white noise and ambient options. The most popular white noise apps priced at $2 or less include the following:
Lighter wedge pillows with higher inclines tend to slip around during the night, particularly for people who toss and turn and/or frequently shift positions. Heavier pillows with lower inclines are usually a better option for these sleepers.
Most wedge pillows are ‘Medium Firm’ or firmer. Be sure to inquire about a pillow’s firmness if it is not listed in the product specifications.
Both of these conditions may necessitate a wedge pillow with a higher incline. These models reduce snoring symptoms and help prevent stomach acid from rising into the throat.
People may experience circulation issues in their upper body, but for most it will be concentrated in their legs. A wedge pillow with a high incline can aid poor circulation when placed beneath the legs and feet.
Wedge pillows with lower inclines may not be sufficient for sitting up in bed, and can lead to neck strain. Higher-incline models will be more suitable for these activities.
Many wedge pillow sellers offer sleep trials, which allow customers to test out the pillow for a certain length of time (usually 30 to 90 nights), and then return the product if they are not satisfied. Some brands offer lifetime guarantees, enabling customers to return the pillow fo a full refund at any point (which usually takes the place of a product warranty), while others do not allow any returns for non-defective products. Additionally, online retailers like Amazon.com offer standard sleep trials for all products regardless of the manufacturer’s policy.
Like sleep trials, warranty coverage for wedge pillows will vary by brand and model. Most wedge pillow warranties cover defects for up to three years or less, but some do not offer any sort of warranty coverage. Please note that pillows offering a lifetime replacement guarantee are not typically covered under warranties.