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Buying guide for Best heated car seat covers

These days, many new cars come with heated seats that work with your car’s heating system to keep you warm on cold winter drives. If your car isn’t equipped with built-in heated seats, you aren’t doomed to suffer from a cold backside all winter long. With the addition of heated car seat covers, you can keep yourself — and your passengers — warm no matter how low the temperatures drop.

Heated seat covers fit over your car’s seats in the same way that regular seat covers do, but the heated models contain wires that allow electricity to flow and generate heat, which you can control with a thermostat. While the main purpose of the cover is to keep you warm in the car, it can also help soothe back pain, sore muscles, and joint aches, just like a heating pad.

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Installing a heated car seat cover is a straightforward process, so it’s easy to do even if you’re not particularly handy.

Key considerations


Not all car seats are the same size, so not every heated car seat cover will fit your vehicle’s seats. However, many manufacturers make “universal” covers that are designed with some adjustability to fit a wide range of car seats. Measure your car’s seats and check the measurement against the cover’s dimensions to verify that it will fit. Some covers are custom-made for specific vehicles, so use your car’s make and model to find a perfect fit.


  • Speed: When it’s cold outside, you want your car seat cover to heat up as quickly as possible. Some units take up to 20 minutes to warm up, which can be frustrating if you only need to drive a short distance. More efficient heated seat covers can heat up in as little as one minute. Keep in mind that covers that heat more quickly usually have more advanced technology, so they may cost more than covers that heat up more slowly.

  • Zones: It’s also important to consider the location of the cover’s heating zones. Some covers only heat up along the backrest, while others heat both the backrest and the bottom cushion. You’ll obviously be warmer if you choose a cover with heating zones that run along the seat’s entire surface.

Temperature settings

Many heated car seat covers offer low, medium, and high settings, which is usually sufficient to keep you warm. However, if you prefer more precise control of the heat, opt for a cover with more settings that enable you to set a specific temperature. Most seat covers with these controls can heat up to more than 100°F, so you can choose a temperature that keeps you as warm and comfortable as possible.

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Did you know?
Some heated seat covers are compatible with an AC adapter, so you can use one inside your home to soothe back pain or sore muscles.

Heated car seat cover features

Attachment type

Heated car seat covers require some sort of fastener to stay in place on the seat and not shift around when you’re driving. Some models have elastic bands while others have buckled straps.

  • Elastic bands: These simply slip around the seat in two or more locations. Covers that attach with elastic bands are the easiest to install in your car, but they aren’t necessarily the most secure and can sometimes come loose.

  • Buckled straps: These go around the seat in two or more spots. Covers that attach with buckled straps take a little more time to install, but since you can tighten the fasteners, the covers fit your seats more tightly and stay in place no matter how much you shift in the seat.

Temperature controller

Some heated car seat covers have automatic controls that monitor how much heat the cover is generating to maintain your desired temperature. If the cover gets too hot, the heat is automatically turned off to prevent the cover from overheating. If the temperature gets too low, the controller automatically turns the heat back on to maintain your desired temperature. These car seat covers are usually more expensive, but you might prefer the convenience.


Some heated car seat covers that don’t have a temperature controller have a timer that turns the heat off every few minutes, so you don’t have to worry about it overheating. The drawback is that the mechanism doesn’t automatically turn the heat back on. Instead, you have to do that manually.

Dual interface

Most heated car seat covers use the 12-volt DC cigarette lighter outlet in your car to power the heating element. However, because there’s usually only one outlet, you can only power one seat cover at a time. Seat covers with dual interface allow you to connect two covers to a single outlet so your passenger can stay warm, too.


If you want to use your heated car seat cover to treat muscle aches and pains, you might prefer a model with massaging capabilities. Some covers can provide vibration or shiatsu massage along the neck, shoulders, and back to provide additional pain relief. For the best results, choose a seat cover with multiple massage settings so you can choose the best speed and intensity for your particular ache.


You can also find some heated seat covers that include a cooling function. These models have a fan and special breathable ventilating layers to help cool you off and reduce sweat, so you stay dry and comfortable when the weather warms up.

"Heated car seat covers usually have a rubberized backing to keep them from moving around while you drive."

Heated car seat cover prices

Heated car seat covers vary in price based on the temperature settings and other features offered. Most covers cost between $13 and $68.

Inexpensive: The most affordable heated car seat covers offer one or two heat settings and just a few extra features. These work well if you’re on a budget and only drive short distances in cold weather. They usually cost from $13 to $25.

Mid-range: These heated car seat covers have at least two general heat settings and a timer. These are a good option for both short and moderate distances and cost between $25 and $42.

Expensive: The most expensive heated car seat covers have three general heat settings or variable controls that allow you to set a precise temperature, automatic controls, and may even have a cooling function. These covers are ideal if you have to drive long distances in cold weather, are extremely sensitive to the cold, and/or want a cover that can also keep you cool in the summer. These models range from $42 to $68.


  • Secure the cover straps or bands to the seat. Most heated car seat covers have some type of adjustable straps or bands. Cinch these to the seat as tightly as possible to make sure that it won’t move while you’re driving.

  • Start with the lowest heat setting. When you’re using a heated car seat cover for the first time, start with the lowest heat setting to see if it’s comfortable. Raise the temperature only if you still feel cold.

  • Always unplug your heated seat cover when you leave the car. While most models won’t continue to drain the car battery, some do, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Leaving the cover plugged in may also be a fire hazard.
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Heated car seat covers are usually available in several different neutral colors so you can easily find one that coordinates with your car’s interior.


Q. Is it safe to use a heated car seat cover?

A. If you operate your seat cover properly, it’s usually safe to use. However, it’s important to remember that because it’s a product that heats up, it has the potential to be a fire hazard. In cold weather, the wiring in the cover can become brittle and crack, so check any exposed wires periodically to make sure that they’re still in good condition. Unplug the cover when you leave the car, too.

Q. Can I only use a heated car seat cover on the driver’s seat?

A. Some heated covers are designed solely for the driver’s seat, but most can also be used on the front passenger seat. You might need a special heated cover if you want to place it in the back seat. Keep in mind that a heated cover must be plugged into a car’s cigarette lighter socket, so if your car only has one, you might not be able to have more than one heated cover in operation at a time.

Q. Can I place another seat cover over a heated car seat cover?

A. Some heated car seat covers have exposed wires, so you might want to add another cover to make it more comfortable to sit on. However, if you want to layer covers, make sure that the model you put on top of the heated cover is flame retardant, so you don’t have to worry about a possible fire.

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