When you think of the ideal way to relax after a long day, odds are that a long, hot bath will be at the top of your list. What you’re probably not thinking about is how the hard surface of the bathtub itself can dampen that experience. It can be hard on your joints and bones, especially if the edge of the tub puts a crick in your neck just from laying back.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Bath pillows are a terrific way to turn a pleasant soak into a sublime experience. They offer support to the head, neck, and shoulders to turn any bathtub into the perfect place to melt your cares away.
When choosing the best bath pillow, it’s important to remember that they’re not all created equal. Some qualities will come down to personal taste, of course, but other qualities are objectively better. Different bath pillows may use better materials, have stronger construction, or offer better features. Let’s take a look at seven qualities to look for when considering the best bath pillow.
There’s a lot of variety in bath pillows, so you have some decisions to make right up front. Some of the most common types are neck, neck and back, and full body. The smaller the pillow, the less coverage it will offer within your tub. Some people just need that neck and shoulder support. Others want the full-body lounging experience to support them from top to toe for a spa-like experience.
- Foam Versus Inflatable
Bath pillows are also available as inflatable or foam models. Some of the perks of an inflatable plastic bath pillow are ease of cleaning, adjustability, and ease of bringing it along when traveling. This is a choice that may come down to personal preference. Many people find inflatable bath pillows less comfortable and not worth the trade-offs against memory foam.
- Tub Fit
Just as not all bath pillows aren’t created equal, neither are bathtubs themselves. If you’re using a freestanding hydrotherapy tub, a full-body bath pillow might be best since the tub itself can cause discomfort to the bones and joints. That same pillow won’t fit into a shower-tub combo. For most home tubs, including jacuzzi tubs, the neck and back pillow is a popular choice.
One of the best things about a bath pillow is the cushioning it provides from the hard surfaces of the tub. Feeling the tub grinding against you while you’re trying to relax is the very opposite of comfort. The right bath pillow can turn that on its head and transform your tub into the perfect place to lounge. Take note of where you’re feeling pressure when you’re in your tub and choose the type that suits you best.
Choice of material goes beyond just whether or not your bath pillow is comfortable. Durability and drying time are also important considerations. An inflatable plastic pillow is easy to clean and transport but isn’t considered as comfortable as memory foam. Plus, if it gets a puncture, it’s done for. Foam pillows with a mesh covering are considered the gold standard for comfort, though they can take a day or two to dry.
- Easy Maintenance
You don’t want to ruin your peaceful bath experience by hassling with the cleanup of your bath pillow when it’s over. Even thinking about it can be enough to make you want to skip that bath altogether. Still, there’s no getting around having to clean it, as you don’t want to share your tub with bacteria, mold, or mildew. Plastic is easier for maintenance, but most people find that a breathable mesh-covered foam pillow is well worth it.
All other things being equal, the features of a bath pillow can be the deciding factor when making your purchase. Suction cups are a popular perk. These keep your bath pillow adhered to the tub so it stays right where you need it but easily comes off for cleaning. A built-in drying hook can make it a breeze to hang up your bath pillow for drying. Storage pockets can keep your bathing essentials close at hand when you need them.
Bathtubs aren’t designed with a long, carefree lounge in mind. When you imagine taking that hot bath, you probably don’t picture yourself shifting and jostling just to get comfortable. It can be enough to take that luxurious soak you’ve been craving and turn it into something that makes you cringe.
The last thing you should be doing in the bathtub is struggling to relax because you’re fussing with the pillow that’s supposed to be enhancing the experience. Whether you need neck and shoulder support, full body, or choose foam or plastic, the best bath pillow is designed so you forget it’s there at all.