In the United States, the average person has a commute of around 26 minutes one-way. That adds up to nearly an hour a day and over 4.3 hours a week just driving to and from work. When you add in running errands, taking weekend trips, and visiting friends or family, you can start to see how much time we spend in our cars.
For those who have lower back pain, restless legs, sciatica, or coccyx (tail bone) discomfort, these drives can become painful and sometimes excruciating. If the seats of your vehicle are hard, the ride can become unbearable for some individuals and even distracting to driving.
Shooting pains down legs, a jittery sensation in your lower extremities, or even numbness is a problem for many people, and potentially dangerous when behind the wheel.
We investigated some of the best car seat cushions on the market with better ratings to see how they stacked up, and how well the stacked padding can assist you in a long ride in the car. As with anything, there is not a single best cushion for all individuals.
If you need more padding, you’ll require a different seat cushion than someone who wants more of a thinly padded seat protector. Overall, these are our top picks, though.
Best Car Seat Cushions For Comfy & Painless Long Drives
1. Aylio Coccyx Orthopedic Comfort Foam Seat Cushion
Like many car seat cushions, the Aylio orthopedic foam pad has a thick, contoured seat and a cutout for your tailbone.
This cutout design makes this cushion idea for those with extreme low back pain, as it entirely, or significantly reduces, the pressure put on the tail bone itself.
The padding is thick and contoured for an ergonomic design.
The removable velvet cover is washable, which is ideal for daily use of a seat cushion. In a neutral gray, this pad can be used in the car and also taken into an office for extended time spent at a desk. We particularly like the carry handle on the side.
It doesn’t stick out far, so it is well disguised, but it’s there for convenient carrying when needed, making this cushion an ideal option for traveling. The non-slip bottom on the seat pillow is also a fantastic design feature.
2. Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Seat Cushion
The Everlasting Comfort memory foam cushion is not just made with a generic foam padding.
This cushion is crafted with some of the best memory foam for contouring comfort and better temperature transference.
The ratings on this pad are outstanding, and with the lifetime guarantee the company offers, we see why so many people love it. There is minimal risk in trying out this car seat cushion.
The black removable padding cover has a non-slip bottom, and the color can be either a positive or negative depending on your needs. The black minimizes the appearance of any potential stains, but it does show lint more easily.
This cushion is 17.5 inches wide, and this pad also has thick foam, nearly three inches tall. The outer shell is removable for cleaning. This pad is fantastic as a more discrete option on black seats in your vehicle.
3. ComfiLife Premium Comfort
The ComfiLife Premium seat cushion is a blend of the perks of memory foam with the convenience of the Aylio model—the carrying handle and the neutral color, for example.
This memory foam pad is made for ideal heat and cold performance, remaining soft in both conditions.
The removable zippered cover also has the non-slip rubber bottom for stability. This is another seat cushion that is perfect for traveling with, as the handle makes it easy to carry or to strap onto your luggage while walking through an airport or train station.
The customer reviews on this cushion are outstanding, with several thousand customers praising it with five stars. The tail bone cutout is designed into this model, as well, to reduce pressure on the low back region. Price-wise, this cushion runs about the middle of the pack, competing with the Everlasting Comfort memory foam pad.
ComfiLife also makes an enhanced gel plus memory foam version of their cushioned seat. The gel version is fantastic for those who live in hotter regions and want even more heat transference in their seat.
4. Big Ant Car Seat Cushion
The Big Ant car seat cushion is a bit of a different take on the padded seat for your vehicle.
The focus in this pad’s design is less about thick cushioning, and more about protecting your seats, improving circulation for lighter-weight individuals and aiding in temperature control.
This stain-resistant, easy to scrub clean pad provides a ripples pattern of cushion that is not as extreme as some of the memory foam models. Convenient hooks and straps help keep this pad in place, as does the non-slip bottom. The textured pattern of this seat cushion can provide a little airflow under your seat and add some cushioning for those who are lighter weight.
This pad would not be our recommendation for individuals on the heavier side, as the padding is much thinner. However, for anyone looking to protect their vehicle’s seats from frequent use, or from car seats when used in the rear, this seat pad can be a brilliant asset.
The padding in this product can be used under kid’s car seats if correctly installed (check for stability or sliding) and will help minimize damage to your seats from infant carriers and booster seats.
5. Kieba Coccyx Seat Cushion
The Kieba seat cushion is a well-design pad and makes a list as one of the absolute favorites that we reviewed. The combination of memory foam and the cooling gel top help distribute heat while also providing roughly three inches of padding.
The tail bone cutout mimics competitors to relieve low back pain by reducing pressure on the coccyx. Although, some lighter weight users claim the filling can be too firm.
It also has a non-slip bottom on its removable pad, although no carry handle is evident on this cushion. The black cover can help prevent stains from showing, as well. We like this cushion for hot regions, as memory foam can be fantastic, but the gel to prevent it trapping heat is a bonus.
The ergonomic design wins this one outstanding reviews from lots of users, just like the others with the same style shape. We especially like that the price is a bit more reasonable on this pad, although no refund policy is apparent.
Some Key Things To Note About Car Seat Cushions
If you have persistent low back pain, but you’ve never tried a car seat cushion before, we recommend trying one out that has a refund policy or lifetime guarantee.
It is also advisable to get used to your cushion on shorter trips first before using it on a long journey, as a thick cushion will be an adjustment for your seat and back, even if the padding does feel pleasant.
For those who are particularly lightweight, under 120 pounds, for example, a thinner cushion might be a better option. Some of the thicker pads can feel like too much for these petite individuals. Likewise, for heftier people, doubling up on cushions could be an option if the padding does not hold up well enough.
If you decide to store your seat cushion for a while or will not be using your vehicle for a time, be sure to keep your pad out of direct sunlight or excessive heat, as this can speed up the deterioration of the memory foam in many cushions.
If you have ongoing back pain, it is worth giving a seat cushion a chance to see whether it can alleviate some of your discomforts. The money you might save on pain reducers could make up for the cost over time.
In some cases, using a seat cushion can even minimize muscle cramping, helping to soften the overall problem in some people’s back with more mild conditions. Give a seat cushion and try and you might be surprised how much relief it provides.
Benefits Of Using Seat Cushions
While vehicle seats are made with cushions, these can wear out over the year or more, or they can simply lack enough padding to keep drivers and passengers comfortable. There are several benefits to adding a cushion to your seat.
Removable cushions not only can help your drives be more tolerable, but these pads can be carried with you if you are traveling and need to use them somewhere such as an airplane, a train, or an office. For heavier or elderly users, the added cushioning can be the difference between a drive or ride feeling agonizing, or it then becoming quite comfortable.
Comfort is the most obvious benefit of using a seat cushion. With excessive discomfort, drivers can even become distracted, reducing safety while on the road. Pain also decreases the quality of life, and with so many hours being spent in the car, investing in something that will ease the physical tension can be worth every penny.
Additionally, chronic discomfort can actually tense your back muscles to compensate for pain. This muscle tension can exacerbate problems with your back or sciatica. Muscles spasms can reduce blood flow to that area of they get too tight, or they can pull vertebrae out of place, furthering back problems.
Just as sitting on concrete would be unbearable for some people after a short time, sitting on a hard seat in a vehicle can have a similar result given a bit longer. Adding cushions to your chair or car can help prevent further back problems, and for some people, even chronic leg issues and headaches.
Another added benefit of using car seat padding is that of blood flow. For individuals to find that their legs fall asleep while seated for long periods, this can be an incredible aid. The more evenly your weight is distributed, the better your circulation will be as pressure points are reduced in your seat in the back of your legs.
Improved circulation is obviously ideal for overall health, but moreover, it can better the blood flow to your brain, helping with concentration while driving. Better circulation is also advisable for individuals with chronically cold hands and feet or those who suffer from diabetes, making seat cushions an ideal purchase for people with such conditions.
Improved posture is another perk to using a car seat cushion. These ergonomically designed seats will help reduce strain on your neck and lower back and reduce pressure on your tailbone. Lessening the stress on your lower back will help most people sit up straighter for more extended periods.
Again, they will help reduce back pain and muscle cramps that only further existing problems.
Tail Bone Contour Design
Not all cushions have an area with a coccyx, or tail bone, section cut out in the design, but many do. This design can make a world of difference for individuals who suffer from bulging or herniated disks in their lower back, or who have other conditions such as chronic pain or scoliosis.
When all of your weight is placed on your tail bone, the pressure of your whole back and spine is stacked onto the discs and vertebrae in your lower back. These cutouts force some of the weight to be distributed to the sides of your seat and your legs taking a significant amount of pressure off the lower spine. This can provide a lot of relief for many people.
Added cushioning can also be an incredibly valuable asset to those in wheelchairs, whether the situation is permanent, or when recovering from a surgery or injury. Added padding, and even the ability to remove the cushion and alternate its use, can help prevent sores from prolonged sitting. This can also aid in circulation for those in wheelchairs and help reduce chronic pain.
Cushions and seat covers can also be an asset in protecting your vehicle’s seats in some situations. Especially with thin seat covers that can be fastened in place, these can shield against spills, stains, wear and tear from kid’s booster seats, and even from pets riding alongside you in the car.
Some seat cushions are a little less about the padding, and more about guarding your vehicle seats against any of the above. This can be a fantastic idea in car leases when you have to turn the car or truck back in after a few years. If you want a seat cover for this reason, you might want to look for one with a thinner pad, but that can be held in place by elastic fasteners.
Check under the cushion after a week or two of use to make sure that none of the fabric colorings are rubbing off on your seats if you have lighter colored leather or upholstery.
In notably colder regions, getting into your car can result in your entire body tensing up from the frigid temperature. Sitting down on cold winter seats can make the sensation even worse, causing muscles to tense and your body to shiver so much it can become uncomfortable.
Keeping a seat cushion with you inside until it’s time to get into the car is a smart move many people don’t think of, but one that can bring a little relief during especially icy days. This will help relieve some of the muscle tension in your lower back when getting into a cold car during the winter.
With some heat-reducing memory foam pads, keeping your seat cooler can also be a perk. In excessively hot or cold climates, some added padding can help bring you relief. Carrying a cushion with you to your vehicle can be a fantastic buffer between you and scorching hot car seats, or ice-cold ones.