Includes well-known professionals, who together provide decades of sleep medicine experience that enables Talk About Sleep to fulfill its mission of creating access to high- read more
Last updated: September 03, 2022
Talk About Sleep is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Knee pillows are placed between the knees when sleeping to reduce pain and discomfort in both the legs and back. They can offer a lot of benefits, including providing optimal spinal alignment and better-quality sleep in general, and are particularly popular with side sleepers, but can appeal to pregnant women, back sleepers, and other people too. Anyone suffering from back aches, knee pain, conditions like sciatica, or even just general sleeping discomfort can benefit from knee pillows.
Knee pillows come in various shapes and sizes, with the contoured, hourglass-style pillows and half-moon pillows being the two most effective. When identifying the top options for our best knee pillow buying guide, we focused on these two main shapes of pillow. We also considered the size of each pillow, as well as the materials used on both the inside and the exterior, as all of these different aspects can influence the quality, comfort, and effectiveness of the knee pillow.
The buying guide and reviews below will introduce you to the best knee pillows on the market today. We looked at a lot of different pillows, spending the necessary time reading both critical and customer reviews in order to identify the very best options. Below, you’ll find an easy-to-read comparison table that offers a quick rundown of our favorite knee pillows and the ratings each one received. After that, we’ll go into greater detail with more in-depth product reviews, followed by a knee pillow buying guide and FAQ section.
Extra features: cooling gel pad; charcoal-infused memory foam; machine-washable
At the very top of our list, we have the Calming Comfort Cooling Knee Pillow. Instantly catching the eye with its bold and stylish design, a single glance at this knee pillow is enough for anyone to see what a top quality product it is. While many knee pillows are quite simple in their design, this one was made with cutting edge technology for maximum comfort and support.
The Calming Comfort Cooling Knee Pillow stands out for its materials and features. It’s made from charcoal-infused memory foam in order to offer the support your legs and back need while also reducing odors and helping to keep the pillow clean and fresh for longer. Even when you do need to wash it, the soft cotton cover can be unzipped and removed with ease.
This knee pillow also comes with a layer of cooling gel, which really helps to keep you cool and comfortable while sleeping with this problem. Many people can start to feel too warm when using knee pillows, but that won’t be an issue with this model, which is easily one of the best knee pillows for sleeping overall, working wonderfully at eliminating pain and pressure and giving you a great night’s rest.
That said, there are a couple of flaws to the design of this knee pillow that prevent it from getting a perfect score. It doesn’t feature a strap, for example, so if you’re a restless sleeper who tends to toss and turn, you might wake up and find that the pillow has fallen out of place. The size of the pillow might also be just a little small for some people.
Extra features: breathable perforated cover; made from high density memory foam
Next up, we have the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Sciatica Relief. Constructed in a contoured, hourglass design and made from top quality memory foam, this knee pillows was made for those suffering from sciatica and other forms of aches and pains around the back and legs. It lives up to expectations, offering excellent relief from back pain in particular.
One of the main uses of a knee pillow is to alleviate pain, and the smart design of this model really provides that relief that many people crave. The high-density memory foam helps to keep the legs, hips, and spine in perfect alignment, and the shape of the pillow allows it to be used comfortably in various sleeping positions. However, if you’re a restless sleeper and move around a lot, the lack of a strap may pose a problem.
Another minor issue is the lack of firmness reported by some users. This is a subjective issue and will vary on a case by case basis. Naturally, more weight and heat exerted on the memory foam will result in less firmness and solidity overall, but many users are very satisfied and have had no issues.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best knee pillow for lower back pain, the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Sciatica Relief is a fine option. It’s comfortable to use, easy to clean, and offers highly satisfying results, especially for those with sciatica or similar issues.
Extra features: 18-month warranty and 60-day money back guarantee; removable machine-washable cover; leg strap prevents pillow from slipping around as you sleep
Our next favorite knee pillow is the NATUMAX Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers. As the name suggests, this is one of the best knee pillows for side sleepers, with its ergonomic design being well-suited for those who tend to sleep on their sides and can put a lot of pressure on their knees and spine in the process.
One of the key features of this knee pillow is its plush velvet cover. The velvet feels really soft and smooth on the skin, so offers a lot of appeal in the comfort department and is definitely one of the best knee pillows for people who like to feel as cozy as possible before drifting off to sleep. We do have to point out, however, that the velvet exterior can cause the pillow to get quite warm at times.
Another possible drawback is that some users have reported that this pillow was a little too thick for their liking, but this will vary from one user to the next. It’s true that this NATUMAX knee pillow is thicker than the models mentioned above, so that is something to bear in mind, but it’s very comfortable and highly supportive pillow overall.
This knee pillows also features a very useful strap to help it stay in place through the night, even if you roll around a lot, and that’s a big benefit for restless sleepers. It also comes with a removable cover which is very easy to take off and put back on, making cleaning this pillow very straightforward.
Extra features: cooling gel layer; made from durable high rebound foam
Another top-quality knee pillow with a lot to offer, the AnboCare Half Moon Bolster Pillow is the first half moon shaped pillow on our list. Many people tend to opt for hourglass knee pillows, especially for those who sleep on their sides, but the half-moon design of this pillow gives it a lot of uses and practicality.
This design is especially effective for back sleepers. In fact, it might be the best under knee pillow for back sleepers you can buy right now. It sits snugly beneath the knees when lying on the back, offering excellent support, and can also be used beneath the head as a regular pillow, behind the back while sitting against a headboard, and more, giving it a real multi-purpose feel.
This is a very strong and supportive knee pillows all-round. Some users may find it just a little too thin for their needs, particularly if placed between the knees, but for most uses and purposes, it can provide total satisfaction and comfort, helping to alleviate a lot of pain in the lower back and legs.
Just like the Calming Comfort Cooling Knee Pillow we saw earlier, this knee pillow also features the unique advantage of cooling gel. A layer of gel built into the pillow helps to absorb body heat and keep you cool and comfortable all through the night. Overall, the AnboCare Half Moon Bolster Pillow brings a lot to the table in terms of comfort and support and has only minimal flaws.
Extra features: breathable, hypoallergenic, dustproof, removable machine washable cover
Another knee pillow with a stylish and bold design is the Ondekt Knee Pillow. As you can see, it was designed to look like a tooth and is seemingly very adept at relieving hip pain. This is because the tooth design works well for your body’s contours, especially in the knee region. It even allows for multiple configurations depending on what you feel is the most comfortable.
Placing this pillow in between your knees also allows for better spinal posture for side sleepers. If back pain has become the norm for you due to your sleeping position, this pillow will help eliminate it.
It’s also ideal if you’re recovering from injury, are pregnant, or experience joint pain on the regular. Notably, the pillow manufacturer uses premium materials for this option, including top-of-the-line memory foam that will retain its shape for quite a while.
The cover is also just as good. It’s gentle on the skin while being breathable. As such, it’s not one of those pillows that make you sweat at night by retaining heat. It’s also dustproof and hypoallergenic.
Nevertheless, it will still get dirty over time due to oils and other materials on your knees and legs. Presumably, this is why the manufacturer made the cover both removable and machine washable. Consequently, maintenance for the pillow should be a lot easier.
What are its best features?
Cover is removable and machine washable
Ideal for side sleepers, pregnant women, and those with hip pain
Pillow is breathable
Comes with a case for travel
What could be improved?
The tooth design, while innovative, doesn’t work for everybody
Extra features: 2-layer design; hypoallergenic; infused with a lemon aroma
Finally, we come to the Stars United Half Moon Bolster Semi-Roll Pillow. The second half moon knee pillow on our list, this is our Budget Pick, so if you’re looking for a very simple and affordable knee pillow that offers decent support and performance, this is a good option to go with.
The design of the Stars United Half Moon Bolster really is quite simplistic. It’s made from good quality memory filler and foam, but doesn’t come with any real special features to speak of like cooling gel, straps, or cutting-edge materials. It is, however, hypoallergenic, and the knee pillow has also been infused with a pleasant lemon aroma, although this can fade quite quickly.
This pillow is a good option for back sleepers, it’s not one of the best pillows for knee pain, but it does offer solid support. Many users have been happy with the level of firmness for this pillow; it’s not too soft or too hard, it’s just right, so if you’ve struggled with knee pillow firmness in the past, you should find a lot to love about this one.
Due to the half moon design, this knee pillow isn’t the strongest option for side sleepers, but it can work well for back sleepers. It’s also a good option just as a decent pillow to have around the house for extra support while sitting down or simply to be placed beneath the head or neck.
What makes it special?
Soothing lemon aroma
What cons did we find?
Not great for side sleepers
Things to Consider
Now we come to the knee pillow buying guide. Buying and using a knee pillow really can be a life-changing experience. A lot of people struggle to get to sleep due to pregnancy, sciatica, and various other aches and pains, and knee pillows can help in a big way, but it’s vital to choose the right one. When shopping for knee pillows, be sure to consider the following features and factors to make the smartest decision.
Benefits of having a comfy knee pillow
There are plenty of different benefits to be enjoyed from using a knee pillow:
Pain Relief – One of the main reasons people invest in knee pillows is because they’re suffering from pain or discomfort while sleeping or just in general daily life. By offering support to the knees and spine, the pillow is able to alleviate this pain.
Better Sleep – Naturally, if you’re feeling more comfortable, free of aches and pains, you’ll have a much better chance of drifting off into a peaceful sleep each night. Knee pillows can help to provide better quality sleep and soothing rest at any time of day or night.
Alignment – We all have our favorite positions for sleeping. Many people like to sleep on their side, but this can put a lot of pressure on the spine and knees, causing pain and discomfort in later life. A knee pillow helps to keep the spine properly aligned.
Circulation – Whether you sleep on your side or back, your circulatory system can suffer during the night. By elevating the legs and providing support for side sleepers, knee pillows can improve blood flow.
Things to consider when choosing the best knee pillow for your needs
There are a lot of different factors to think about when choosing the right knee pillow. You have to think about your own sleeping style, for example, with some knee pillows being better-suited for side sleepers, back sleepers, or restless sleepers. You also have to consider the shape, the size, and the materials being used.
The shape of the pillow is perhaps the most important factor to think about when choosing your next knee pillow. As mentioned above, the best knee pillows traditionally come in one of two shapes: hourglass (contoured) or half-moon. The hourglass shape, such as can be seen in the Calming Comfort Cooling pillow, is best suited for side sleepers, as it fits snugly between the legs when the user is lying on their side. The half-moon shape, meanwhile, is good for back sleepers and other purposes, being placed easily under the knees, behind the lower back, under the head, and more. It can also be placed between the knees like an hourglass pillow.
The size of your knee pillow is also going to be an important thing to think about, and the key thing here is to choose a pillow adapted for your own body. Larger pillows will better suit larger people, while smaller pillows are a better option for those who are slim or short.
Pillow filling materials
This is the real core of your knee pillow. The materials used to fill up the pillow will really determine how firm it is and how effective it will be in use. Many top-quality knee pillows contain memory foam, which is also used in mattresses.
Memory foam is able to adapt to the shape of your body over time to provide total support just for you, while regular foam doesn’t have the same functionality.
Poor quality knee pillows will feature materials that weaken and compress over time, so this is a very important factor to think about. You can also find knee pillows with additional materials like cooling gel to provide extra comfort.
The material used on the exterior of your knee pillow is important too, especially if you’re going to be placing the pillow against your skin often. The material needs to be soft and smooth to provide comfort, but some materials can generate a lot of heat and can also get dirty or develop odors quite quickly, so choosing a knee pillow with a washable and removable cover is often wise.
What kind of sleeper are you?
It’s important to choose a knee pillow that doesn’t just suit your body, but also your sleeping style. We all have our own preferred positions for sleeping, while some of us can be more restless than others. Side sleepers tend to favor contoured/hourglass pillows, while back sleepers or those who sleep in various positions may be better off with a half-moon knee pillow. If you do move around a lot in your sleep, getting a pillow with a strap is a smart thing to do.
What else will you be using it for?
Knee pillows don’t only have to be used while sleeping. They can often have a lot of uses and purposes, just like other kinds of pillows, and can be used to provide comfort and support to various parts of the body throughout the day. Do you often find yourself reaching for a pillow while sitting down to read or watch TV? Do you often lie down and need a little extra support under your neck or head? In these cases, knee pillows can offer the support and comfort you need, and half-moon or bolster pillows, such as the AnboCare pillow or the 5 Stars United model, will generally be better-suited to multiple uses than hourglass knee pillows.
How to care for a knee pillow
In order to ensure that your knee pillow keeps its firmness and quality over a long period of time, it’s important to look after it properly.
Whenever the pillow is not in use, it should be allowed to keep its shape and structure, so that means you don’t want to squash it down into a box or put heavy things on top of it.
It is perfectly possible to sleep on a knee pillow. This isn’t the primary purpose of a knee pillow, but as we mentioned above, knee pillows are multi-purpose items and can be used and enjoyed in a lot of different ways. The best thing to do is simply give it a try and see how it feels. The unique shape and style of a knee pillow might help you to enjoy a better night’s sleep when used in this way. However, we do not recommend buying a knee pillow with the express purpose of sleeping on it unless you’re sure that it can be of help to you.
The key here is to ensure that whenever you’re not using your knee pillow, you need to give it space to retain its shape. These pillows can get put under a lot of pressure during the night, so the daytime is a good moment to let them stretch back out. Don’t place heavy objects or unnecessary pressure on top of them. It’s also wise to invest in a quality knee pillow that will be much more efficient at maintaining its firmness over time. Cheaper alternatives will lose their strength and structure a lot more easily.
The answer to this question really depends on the user and will vary from one individual to the next. Those suffering from sciatica and other pains will generally want firmer knee pillows, while those who are just looking to protect their legs and back while sleeping or looking for a little extra comfort might be happy enough with a soft one. In general, firmness is recommended. Softer pillows tend to be lower quality and will flatten more easily over time, whereas firmer pillows really give your body the support it needs and will last longer.
Overall, we found the Calming Comfort Cooling Knee Pillow to be the very best knee pillow you can buy today. Its super sophisticated design, complete with cooling gel and premium memory foam, really helps it to stand out. The comfort and support levels provided by this knee pillow are second to none.
The silver medal goes to the ComfiLife Orthopedic Knee Pillow for Sciatica Relief. One of the best knee pillows for back pain and sciatica, this pillow offers exceptional support for all those aches, pains, and discomforts that can really pose a problem in the night.
Last but not least, the NATUMAX Knee Pillow for Side Sleepers was our third favorite knee pillow. Its plush velvet exterior makes it one of the comfiest knee pillows around, and its firm memory foam construction, plus the addition of a useful strap on the side, makes it highly effective for side sleepers.