Best Lumbar Support for Cars: Our Top Picks for Comfort
Make back pain a thing of the past with lumbar support for your car
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BY Katherine Rother / LAST UPDATED ON June 12, 2019
If you spend a lot of time in a car, chances are you’ve felt a bit of a twinge in your back. The good news is that you can alleviate some of the discomfort associated with sitting for long periods of time by investing in lumbar support for your vehicle. Read on to find out everything you need to know to choose the best lumbar support for your car seat.
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Benefits of Lumbar Support for Cars
- Increased comfort. Long road trips can be a pain in the lower and upper back. Lumbar support for your car seat can raise the comfort level up a few notches, making your everyday commute easier, too.
- Pain relief. Driving for long hours can cause strain and stress on your lower back. To reduce and, in some cases, even eliminate your back pain, choose a lumbar support cushion that works for you.
- Better posture. Have you ever noticed that it’s easy to start slouching when you’re driving? A well-designed, high-quality lumbar support cushion can help you improve your posture over time.
- Stress relief. Small aches and pains can add to your overall stress level. The improved comfort of your car seat can make those little nuisances melt away, keeping stress at bay.
Types of Lumbar Support for Cars
Portable Lumbar Support
A compact and overall common choice, these cushions are small enough to be portable and big enough to make a difference in how your back feels when you’re sitting for long periods of time. The two most common designs are the u-shape and the wedge, both of which are great choices if you need your lumbar support to be portable.
Adjustable Lumbar Support
If you’re in need of something a little more high-powered, you’ll want an adjustable lumbar support cushion that can be made to fit the unique lines of your back. These are attached to your headrest via elastic straps, hanging down the length of your seat back. Typically the most ergonomic option, this type of lumbar support is great if you have chronic back problems.
Headquartered in Hong Kong, Samsonite is a global brand that is mainly focused on manufacturing luggage and travel accessories. Recently, the company has expanded to include seat cushions, creating a couple of offerings that are suitable for both cars and airplanes. One top product is the SA5447 Memory Foam Support.
Perhaps best known for their tires, Goodyear has expanded to cover a wide array of different car-related needs. Based in Akron, Ohio, the company has been making quality gear for decades, including a number of in-car accessories. One of its most popular products is the GY1015 Full Size Support Pillow.
An internet-based company, Everlasting comfort is one of the biggest manufacturers of automotive seat cushions. Offerings include a wide variety of different lumbar support cushions that are great for relieving back pain associated with car rides. One of its best sellers is the Everlasting Comfort 100 Percent Pure Memory Foam Back Cushion.
Lumbar Support Pricing
- Under $30: At this price point, you can find a variety of different lumbar support options, ranging from wedges and pillows to full-back cushions. The catch is that the quality does vary a lot, making it a bit hit and miss. That being said, there are a small number of really good options available at this price point.
- $30-$50: You’ll find lots of different cushions at this price point in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and levels of support. Most products in this price range are well-crafted and made from durable materials that can stand up to dozens of road trips.
- Over $50: The high-end includes lots of specialty options and high-grade materials like leather and suede. Memory foam, soft-core foam, and a couple of other support options make these some of the most comfortable cushions on the market.
Lumbar support cushions are available in a wide range of sizes. You’ll want to find one that best suits your needs. To do that, take into consideration how often you’ll use it and how much support you want. On top of that, keep in mind that chronic back pain benefits from always using lumbar support, so you’ll want something extra durable if you find yourself in this category.
Material is a critical component of a good lumbar support cushion. You’ll want something durable that is able to retain its shape even with hours of frequent use. If you live somewhere hot, you’ll definitely want to make sure that the material is somewhat breathable so that it feels comfortable temperature-wise.
Many lumbar support cushions come with straps or other types of fasteners to keep them from sliding around during use. That will keep them in place and able to do their job well. The last thing you want is a lumbar support cushion that is nowhere near the place it needs to be to work effectively. Also, keep in mind that adjustable straps mean customizable support. In other words, you’ll be able to place the cushion exactly where you need the lumbar support.
- Compatibility: Car interiors vary widely, and that includes the size and shape of the seats. A lumbar support cushion that works really well in an SUV probably won’t work as well in a compact car, just because the seat is smaller. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing between sizes.
- Comfort: A lumbar support cushion needs to be comfortable, first and foremost. Make sure that the cushion you choose feels good and is the appropriate size and shape for your back
- Covers: If you’ve got anything but a mesh seat cushion, you’ll want to make sure that it has a removable cover. The benefit here is that if spills do happen, or other dirt ever gets onto your support cushion, you can easily clean it.
Best Lumbar Support Seat Cushion Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- To save yourself discomfort on long road trips, make sure you bust out the lumbar support cushion from the beginning. Get yourself comfortable and set up for the ride ahead, and prevent lower back strain and discomfort before it even happens.
- A number of seat cushions have a gel core that stays cooler than 100 percent memory foam options. If heat is a concern, you’ll want to look for such an option.
- If you already suffer from lower back pain, it’s a good idea to bring along a heat or cold pack to apply while you’re driving. That’ll help relieve pain while preventing a worsening of symptoms.
- A lot of newer cars come with built-in lumbar support in the seats that can be adjusted. Try using those settings on top of a lumbar support cushion to max out the comfort.
- It also helps to angle your seat back a bit to relax the back’s musculature. Move your seat forward just a smidge and you should already feel more comfortable than you did before.
Q: How do lumbar support cushions work?
A: Lumbar support cushions sit in the small of your back and help prop that area up. The cushion also functions to keep you from sitting in a slumped position, which can cause stress on the muscles, resulting in discomfort or even pain.
Q: Are memory foam or gel cushions the better option?
A: That depends a lot on your personal preference. Memory foam cushions shape to the contours of your back more, but gel cushions tend to be cooler and more supportive overall. It’s a good idea to test out both options if you can, and then choose the one that feels better to you.
Q: How thick should a good lumbar support cushion be?
A: You’ll want to look for a minimum of about 1 - 1.5 inches. Anything less can be an indicator of poor quality, and anything more won’t offer all that much extra support. Again, the level of comfort you experience using a particular cushion should be the final point in making a decision.
Q: What is the difference between a wedge and an all-in-one?
A: Wedge cushions are small and compact, which makes them great for traveling. They’re designed to sit in the small of your back to help support the area. All-in-one lumbar support cushions are typically larger, and they tend to be strapped to your seat, offering more support to your back overall.
Q: Do lumbar support cushions relieve back pain?
A: That depends a lot on the type of back pain you have. Chronic back pain that comes from stress to the muscles can definitely be helped with a lumbar support cushion, as can minor pain that originates from driving itself or stress. Sciatica pain may also be alleviated while using a support cushion.
Our top pick for the best lumbar support for your car is the Everlasting Comfort Memory Foam Lumbar Support. It offers great support and comfort for your entire back.
If you’re looking for our best value pick, check out the MotorTrend Portable Orthopedic Lumbar Back Support. It blends form and function, keeping you comfy on long car rides.