Have you ever taken a long road trip, either as a driver or a passenger? If so, you don’t need us telling you how uncomfortable sitting in one place for hours on end can be. Your butt gets sore, your shoulders tense up, and your back aches. Getting an ergonomically-designed car seat cushion is a great investment. It will make any long drives significantly more comfortable and enjoyable.
Car seat cushions are made from all kinds of materials. From memory foam to polyester, there’s one for every wallet and taste. There are even orthopedic cushions, designed to fix your posture. Along with a car cooler, they’re your best companion on long drives.
In this article, we bring you ten reviews of the best car seat cushions on the market today. Then, we put together a thorough buying guide to make your search for the cushion of your dreams less overwhelming. Lastly, you’ll find a list of frequently asked questions about how to care and use these pillows properly.
Why Should I Buy a Car Seat Cushion?
The most obvious reason to buy a car seat cushion is to feel more comfortable while driving. Across the country, Americans spent a total of 84 billion hours driving in 2015, according to the Department of Transportation. That’s a lot of time sitting down every day! And we all know how uncomfortable that can be.
On the other hand, almost 40% of Americans experience sciatica pain daily. It’s a consequence of spending most of our time sitting at a desk and driving long distances. The best way to cut out that sciatica pain is to get lots of exercise and improve your posture, which can be easier said than done.
With a cushion for your car seat, that task becomes much easier. The design of these cushions helps distribute the weight of your body evenly. That means there’s less pressure put on one of your hip bones and that your spine isn’t all wonky.
Cushion vs. Car Seat
Ideally, all car seats would have an orthopedic design. They’d take the pressure off our joints and nerves and make us feel comfortable. But the reality is they don’t. A normal car seat is hard and doesn’t mold to your body. This isn’t a huge problem when you don’t drive long distances and don’t have any back problems. But when you do, it’s a whole other story.
This is where a cushion for the car seat comes in. It gives you support and makes sitting still for hours on end much more bearable. Plus, since they’re available in all sorts of designs and at a wide variety of prices, it’s a brilliant investment.
What Are Car Seat Cushions Made Of?
A cushion for your car seat can be made from a variety of materials. Usually what determines which material is used is price. Cheaper cushions use less durable and less comfortable materials, while higher-end cushions use premium materials.
This is the holy grail of comfort. This type of foam is one of the most expensive materials out there but for good reason. These cushions mold themselves to your body and hug your figure. The best thing about this is that you’re getting customized support. Your cushion will offer more support on the areas you’re needing it the most.
While memory foam is a solid block, shredded foam is lumpy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For once, it’s much softer, which makes it ideal for petite people, who may feel memory foam cushions are too hard. It’s also easier to keep these pillows good as new, as your weight won’t leave an impression on the foam. Just remember to fluff it and move around the shredded clumps once in a while for it to retain its shape.
If you’re after a more natural material, bamboo charcoal is best for you. It’s much more expensive and harder to find, but some models use this kind of filling to follow a more environmentally friendly philosophy. It’s soft, breathable, and super comfortable. Besides price and availability, there’s nothing wrong with it.
It’s also important to find a cover that lets air in and out of the filling. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a hot pillow. If that’s not a deal-breaker for you, velvet covers are just fine! But if you want to keep your pillow fresh, look for mesh covers.
What’s the Best Car Seat Cushion?: Buying Guide
Don’t get lost in the immense world of car seat cushions. Look for these specs to find the best pillow for your needs.
Take a look at the materials we’ve mentioned, from memory foam to charred bamboo, and decide which is best for your needs. If you have severe back problems, we recommend getting a therapy-grade memory foam cushion. If you’re just looking for comfort, try different pillows and see what kind of filling you like best.
A car seat cushion that doesn’t offer great support is useless. You want one that at least takes the pressure off your tailbone and lumbar area. If you have sciatica pain, look for pillows made specifically for that. Another aspect to consider is hip support.
The best car seat cushion has to be made with breathable materials. It needs to let the filling breathe. That’s the first step toward ensuring the cushion maintains its shape for a long time. Not to mention that it’s the only thing preventing the filling from heating up too much. For some, that’s a plus (having a warm tush can be comfortable in the winter), but for others, it’s a deal-breaker.
Where would you like to use your cushion? Most pieces are just the right size to be used in most trucks and cars. But if your vehicle has a long bench-like seat, these pillows are probably not for you.
Another thing to consider is whether they’ll fit on your desk chair. That is if you want to take it with you to work.
Some pillows just live longer than others. Memory foam cushions, for instance, can hold their shape for years at a time. But that’s only if you don’t use them for multiple hours every single day. After all, the area where your body weight is resting becomes thinner and offers less support with time.
The key is to look for customer reviews mentioning how long their cushions lasted them. Getting a piece from a trusted seller or brand is also a good way of ensuring your cushion will live a long and happy life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are car seat pillows good for sciatica?
They can be, yes. Pick one that specifically eases sciatica pain. The ones that have therapy-grade memory foam are the best for this purpose.
Does a seat cushion improve posture?
Yes, it does—but only if you remind yourself to keep good posture. These cushions will make it easier for you to sit up straight and feel comfortable. But if you’re slouching the whole time you’re sitting, no cushion can do magic. You have to remind yourself to sit up and keep good posture as well.
Can I use a car seat cushion in a truck?
As long as the truck doesn’t have a long bench-style seating, you can.
Can you wash car seat cushions?
You can’t wash the filling, but you can wash the cover. If your cushion comes with a removable cover, by all means, put it in the washing machine on a gentle, cold-water cycle.
Can you dry car seat cushions?
Never put your car seat cushion in the dryer. If it gets wet, leave it to air-dry overnight in a warm, dry place. Putting the cushion in a dryer would ruin the filling.
How to wash a car seat cushion?
Most cushions have a detachable cover that can go in the washing machine. If that’s the case for your pillow, remove the cover and wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
How to install car seat cushions?
There’s no complicated installation. All you have to do is place the cushion on the car seat, aligned with where you’ll sit, and that’s that.
Are car seat cushions safe?
Yes, they are! They don’t interfere with driving at all, so you don’t need to worry about anything.
What’s the weight limit of a seat cushion?
Manufacturers don’t typically issue weight limits, so you’ll have to go off of customer reviews. Typically, shredded foam and bamboo charcoal aren’t as good for heavier people. Go for memory foam, which is sturdier and resists better to pressure.
Do these cushions smell after use?
The best way to prevent these car cushions from developing an odor is to let them air out after each use. For instance, bring it home from your car and leave it out in the open overnight. Getting a mesh cover instead of a velvet cover also helps keep foul odors at bay.
What’s the best cushion for coccyx pain?
We recommend getting the Aylio Orthopedic Car Seat Cushion. It’s designed for coccyx (or tailbone) pain and works wonders.
What is the best cushion for sciatica problems?
The ComfiLife Premium Comfort cushion is great for sciatica problems.
Do seat cushions heat up during use?
Memory foam cushions have a reputation for heating up during use. That’s how they’re able to mold to your body’s shape. It shouldn’t be a drastic increase in temperature, though.