Best Car Seat Cushions

Updated May 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
581 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for the best car seat cushions

Last Updated May 2019

If you spend a lot of time in your vehicle, whether for a daily commute to work, as a long-haul trucker or simply for recreation, you’ve probably experienced post-drive stiffness. Usually, the longer the drive, the stiffer you are and the more your body aches. No matter how well-designed or luxurious a vehicle may be, most automobiles simply don’t provide a good ergonomic seating experience.

While there’s little you can do to improve the design of your car seats, car seat cushions are an excellent way to improve your driving experience. Many car seat cushions offer the kind of ergonomics and attention to human anatomy sorely lacking in car seat design.

As an added benefit, seat cushions can also make up for deficiencies in the material your seats are made from. Some materials stain easily, trap body heat or take forever to warm up on cold days. Others include materials or textures that grab your clothes too aggressively, making it harder to slide in and out of your car without bunching up and wrinkling your slacks or dress. With a variety of materials and options, seat cushions can be a practical alternative.

Car seat cushions are a great way to minimize vibration and absorb shock from driving on uneven surfaces and unpaved roads.

Key considerations

Purpose

The single biggest factor to consider when shopping for a car seat cushion is why you need one. With many different styles and materials, different seat cushions offer different levels of support and comfort. Some are designed to simply add a little extra padding, while others are orthopedist-approved to help with back and hip problems. If protecting your car’s upholstery is more your concern rather than physical comfort and support, you may want to consider car seat covers.

Upholstery

Another consideration is the type of upholstery material used. If you plan on using the seat cushion in a work vehicle, you may want to search for a cushion that has a washable cover and is made from a material that won’t show dirt or wear out quickly.

Similarly, if you live in a climate that is wet or you frequently get in your vehicle wearing wet clothes, you should probably look for a cushion with a waterproof cover. This will help protect the interior materials and prevent them from breaking down prematurely or developing mildew.

Safety

Safety should be a prime concern when picking a seat cushion. Depending on the size of your vehicle’s cabin, a seat cushion that is too large or has a steep forward incline may put your head too close to the windshield or front airbag.

Driver versus passenger

You should consider who will be using the cushion and when. Some cushions are so comfortable that it’s not recommended the driver use them while driving. The passenger, on the other hand, may appreciate being relaxed enough to doze off.

EXPERT TIP

If your legs fall asleep while you’re driving, a car seat cushion can help. By evenly distributing your weight, it helps prevent cutting off blood circulation.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Temperature control

Temperature control is a major feature included in many seat cushions. Some cushions offer a heating element to warm the cushion on cold days, while others offer fans to circulate air flow and keep you cool during extended drives. Even cushions that don’t have a mechanical heating or cooling system may still offer superior airflow through the use of grids, air channels and perforations.

Coverage

Another feature to consider is the coverage offered by the cushion. Some cushions are seat-bottom cushions only, while others cover the entire seat — bottom and back. Cushions that provide full-body support can be a single cushion in the shape of your seat, or they may be a two-piece configuration that gives you flexibility to position the back cushion exactly where you want it.

Ergonomics

Many car seat cushions include cutouts to support your anatomy in ways a traditional seat doesn’t. For example, some cushions have a cutout at the back to alleviate pressure on the coccyx, making it an ideal option for someone who has suffered a tailbone injury or has chronic back pain.

Massage

Some high-end seat cushions include massage functions — both vibration and kneading — to help keep your back muscles relaxed during long driving sessions.

Portability

Portability is another feature to consider when making your choice. Many cushions are designed to be used in a variety of settings, not just in your vehicle. If you plan on using your cushion outside the car, you may want to choose one that is easy to carry.

Installation

Many cushions include a way to secure them to your car seat. This can be a helpful addition if you frequently drive on bumpy or curvy roads where your vehicle’s movement might otherwise cause the cushion to slide around while you’re driving.

The memory foam used in many car seat cushions was developed in the 1960s by NASA for improved safety of aircraft seats. NASA’s design requirements make it an ideal material for car seat cushions.

Seat cushion prices

While the price of seat cushions can vary, the competitive nature of the market helps keep prices fairly reasonable, even for high-end features.

Inexpensive: Entry-level cushions are usually made of some type of foam, such as memory foam, and offer a good level of comfort. Prices range from $15 to $30.

Mid-range: Mid-range models include upgrades in the materials used, features offered and durability of the cushion. Cushions in this range may include heating, cooling and massage functions, as well as washable covers to help extend the life of the cushion. Prices range from $30 to $75.

Expensive: Cushions in this category are top-of-the-line in every way and made from premium materials, such as high-end leather. These cushions have massage functions and built-in heating and cooling and can be so luxurious you may not want to leave your vehicle. Prices range from $75 to $175.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some cushions and covers have antimicrobial properties, making them an ideal option for long-haul driving.

Tips

  • A seat cushion is a great way to extend the life of your car seat. If your upholstery material is worn or cracking, using a seat cushion can help protect the worn spots and keep them from getting worse.
  • If you’re considering a cushion that doesn’t come with straps to keep it in place, make sure the underside is made from a non-slip material.
  • If you’re concerned with how a seat cushion will look, try to choose one in a color compatible with your vehicle’s interior. It doesn’t have to be the exact same color, but it should complement the interior color scheme rather than clash with it.

Other products we considered

Depending on your preferences and budget, there are a couple of other products you may want to consider. The SOFTaCARE Seat Cushion Coccyx Orthopedic Memory Foam and Lumbar Support Pillow is a two-piece set of cushions. Made from memory foam, the SOFTaCARE cushions have a 3D breathable mesh, non-slip rubber bottom, carrying handle and pocket to hold your phone. If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line, luxury seat cushion, the Naipo Neck and Back Massager Shiatsu Massage Seat Cushion Chair should be on your list. This one-piece, full-seat cushion sports eight back-massage nodes, vibration massage in the seat to target the hips and thighs, as well as neck massage and built-in heating. This seat cushion is so comfortable the manufacturer warns it shouldn’t be used by the driver while driving.

Car seat cushions help keep your posture fixed at a healthy angle by keeping your spine straight, unlike many car seat designs that encourage slouching.

FAQ

Q. My vehicle has odd-sized seats. Can I find a cushion to fit them?
A.
Absolutely. Car seat cushions come in all different sizes and manufacturers include them in their product description.

Q. If I buy a cushion with mechanical functions, such as heating or cooling, can it drain my battery?
A.
Yes. Most manufacturers recommend unplugging your car seat cushion when the vehicle is off, especially overnight, to keep it from draining the car’s battery.

Q. Will my seat cushion retain its shape?
A.
Much depends on the type and quality of the inner material. Some materials, such as memory foam, will compress when you sit on them and then return to their original shape when you’re not. Depending on the quality of memory foam, the cushion could lose its shape and remain compressed over time. Buy from a reputable manufacturer to make sure you get a cushion made from high-quality materials. You may also look for a cushion that combines memory foam with another material, such as gel, to help minimize how much the foam can compress over time.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Erica
    Erica
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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