The 10 Best Heated Car Seat Cushions
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Sometimes, your vehicle's built-in heater doesn't get the job done fast enough. Those who live somewhere with aggressive winters know how sitting on a cold seat can be hard on your bones and muscles. Luckily, these heated car seat cushions can quickly provide you with warmth, and offer supportive padding. Some of our picks even have massage functions to make the drive to work that much better. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 15, 2020:
In selecting our heated car seat cushions, it was important that the pad itself is comfortable, even when it's turned off. Of course, we also looked for heating elements that work reliably and tried to include ones with a good temperature range. Features that help them stay in place were a plus, and we worked to incorporate a few that can do more than just warm the body.
The Five S FS8812 and the Snailax Memory Foam Deluxe stood out because they have massaging capabilities, providing just one more way to relieve some of the stress that can come with one's commute. We also like that the Snailax SL26A8 and the HealthMate IN9882 have fans and can cool the body on hot days, making them smart all-weather choices. The HealthMate IN9882 also has a useful pocket, which can come in handy when you don't have a car organizer. We appreciated all of the features of the Gideon G852-NL, but the heat and massage functions could not be used independently, which can prove irritating when you only want one, so we eliminated it. Though comfortable, the Big Ant LY3D doesn't actually provide any temperature control, so we decided to replace it with a more versatile option.
Those who experience brutal winters might like that the Zone Tech SE0044 heats up to an impressive 150 degrees, but it can also go as low as 70 degrees for more moderate days. The Lvydec 3-Temperature reaches 140 degrees, so it can also provide relief from the harsh cold. Unfortunately, the Sojoy SJ154 is unreliable and sometimes struggles to heat up at all, so we removed it.
If you want something discreet that doesn't interfere with the look of your car's interior, you may like the Relief Expert H001B and the Eluto 273, both of which have minimalist designs. The Kingleting SM-01 performs well and is made of high-quality materials, however, it faces one major safety issue: its sensitive remote often turns on by itself, so we couldn't afford to leave such a hazardous product on the list.
Should you desire something that's plush and cozy, even when it's not on, you might like the Comfier CF-2613, with its faux suede fabric, or the Healthmate IN9438-2, which has a velour cover. Unfortunately, the materials of the Nursal Shiatsu HPC0076 are uncomfortable against bare skin, so we decided to take it off the list. Although it heated and cooled consistently, the Naipo MGC-2502 is short and the lower flap sits at an awkward position in many vehicles, so we removed it.
October 30, 2019:
Whether you live in a frigid climate or are simply someone who gets cold in temperatures others might not find too chilly, a heated car seat cushion can help. They warm up quickly and generally have an automatic shutoff feature so you don't have to worry about draining your vehicle's battery. Some even offer vibration to ease those tense muscles.
After an in-depth inspection of all the products that made our list during our last update, we decided to remove and replace nearly half of them, including the Relaxzen 60-2910P, due to its overly complicated remote control that we felt may present a dangerous distraction to drivers, and the Zone Tech SE0019, because there were a couple of reports of it catching fire, and we didn't feel it was worth the chance of keeping it on the list when there were many other great options to choose from.
Replacing some of the removed models, we have included the Snailax Memory Foam Deluxe, Gideon G852-NL, and Big Ant LY3D. As you may have guessed by the name, the Snailax Memory Foam Deluxe is quite comfortable, even without the heat turned on. Plus, it has a 60 minute timer option, making it ideal for long drives when you don't want to deal with the hassle of constantly switching your heater on again and again. The Gideon G852-NL is perfect for tall individuals, as it should reach all the way up to the base of their neck, and it provides a soothing shiatsu-style kneading massage. The Big Ant LY3D is a smart choice for someone who worries that they may actually get too hot with something that warms their entire back, since it only provides heat to your thighs and butt.
The Snailax SL-26A8 and Naipo MGC-2502 deserve special mention for having both heating and cooling features. Pair one with a car cooler/warmer for the ultimate in road trip luxury.
Sharper Image Car Cushion The Sharper Image Car Cushion has four massage modes, including kneading and pulsating, that target the upper and lower back, as well as the hips and thighs. You can adjust the intensity of the rollers, as well as turn on the heat when needed. It reaches 131 degrees, has an auto-shutoff function for safety, and folds up easily for storage. sharperimage.com
Arctic X Heated Car Seat Cushion The Arctic X Heated Car Seat Cushion is filled with a supportive sponge and covered with durable polyester. It plugs into your car's 12-volt socket and its 54-inch cord gives you plenty of room to adjust your seat. There are two temperature settings to choose from, and it has several straps to secure it in place. bedbathandbeyond.com
A Brief History Of Car Seat Padding
But, as it turns out, the history of car seats is more interesting than you might expect.
Car seat padding is one of those things that you don't notice until it's gone bad — or gone entirely. If you've ever taken a road trip in an old clunker with worn-out seats, you know what I mean (and I'm sure your chiropractor thanks you). But, as it turns out, the history of car seats is more interesting than you might expect.
The first cars were essentially mildly souped-up horseless carriages, and as a result, not much thought was put into the seats. Ford Model Ts used basically the same seats that carriages used, which is to say metal springs covered with leather and stuffed with horse hair. This couldn't have been comfortable (especially for the bald horses), but the Model T had bigger problems, like having to go up hills backwards to keep gasoline flowing to the engine.
Henry Ford eventually decided to do something about his seats, so he naturally settled on the one thing better than horse hair: rubberized horse hair. By coating the hair in rubber, it would be more durable and give the cushions a longer lifespan. Coconut hair was also used at this time, with its main advantages being price and availability.
In the 1930s, latex foam was invented and started to be used in car seats. The auto industry quickly switched over, and it became the dominant cushion substance for the next 20 years.
Once the 1950s rolled around, however, polyurethane foam took over. Early versions of this padding were made in sheets or slabs, which gave cushioning but not a lot of conformity. Eventually, however, the industry learned how to mold it to fit individual seats, increasing both its comfort and attractiveness.
The first heated seats, meanwhile, were available as an option on the 1966 Cadillac Fleetwood and drew heat directly from the engine. The first standard heated car seat was on the 1972 Saab 99E, and it turned on once the interior temperature reached 58 degrees.
Benefits Of A Heated Car Seat
Having a heated car cushion may seem like a luxury, but there are some fundamentally sound health reasons why you should treat yourself. After all, the average American spends 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, so you might as well be comfortable while you're there.
Having a heated car cushion may seem like a luxury, but there are some fundamentally sound health reasons why you should treat yourself.
The most obvious benefit comes on days when the mercury drops below freezing. If you've ever sat down on an ice-cold car seat (or worse, found yourself stuck to one), then you know what a brutal wake-up call that can be. Having a nice, toasty seat waiting for you definitely takes some of the sting out of driving in the winter. Also, if your car's heater isn't terribly effective, having a heated seat is an absolute must.
Many people find that heated seats help with their health conditions as well. If you suffer from chronic back pain, for example, the warmth from the cushion can help reduce your discomfort and increase circulation to the affected area. Heat is especially good for muscle injuries, so if you're an athlete, having heated seats could boost your recovery time.
Cold can exacerbate the pain associated with certain conditions, like arthritis, so if you or one of your passengers is afflicted, they'll definitely be grateful for the respite. Also, many cushions come with features like a massage function, so you can knead away stress while you're stuck in traffic.
Now, I'm not promising that these seats will cure your road rage, but they'll definitely make you less likely to pull a muscle while you lay on the horn.
Tips For Staying Comfortable When Stuck In The Car
If you're going to be driving cross-country — or if your typical morning commute just feels like driving halfway around the world — then staying comfortable is extremely important. After all, if you're fidgeting and struggling to find an enjoyable position, you're likely not focused on the road ahead.
If all else fails, distracting yourself might be your best bet.
One of the first things you need to do is check your posture. I know, sitting up straight can be hard to do for hours at a time, but that's why you need to make it easier on yourself. Situate your mirrors so that you have to be sitting properly to see out of them, and re-position the steering wheel if necessary. Many cushions provide lumbar support, as well, but if you need more, placing a pillow in the small of your back can help.
You can also use traffic time to work on toning your body. You can do some simple stretches and exercises to keep your muscles limber and blood flowing, so that you don't get out of the car feeling cramped and exhausted. Things like pressing your hands into the roof of the car while squeezing your abs, doing neck rolls, and trying a few seated twists can help offset the physical toll that hours behind the wheel can take.
If all else fails, distracting yourself might be your best bet. Pop your favorite album in the CD player and sing along. Find a few podcasts that can expand your mind while also preventing you from extending your middle finger. You can even — purely as a last resort — try talking to any loved ones that happen to be in the car with you.
Ultimately, the more comfortable you are, the easier you'll find it is to pay attention to your driving. A heated seat cushion is a great start towards a more luxurious ride, but you may find you need to use other strategies to keep from losing your mind on your commute.