What Is The Best Lumbar Support Cushion For Cars? (2019)
When you have a weak back, you need to protect it however you can and whenever you can. That’s where lumbar support cushions for cars come into play.
When you use a lumbar pillow in your car, you’ll protect your back from long periods of sitting in suboptimal positions, which can exacerbate your back pain.
Today, we’ll walk you through a handful of lumbar support cushions for cars so that you’ll be ready to pick the lumbar support cushion which will allow you to ride pain-free.
Quick View: Our Top 3 Lumbar Pillow Picks
- Lumbar Support Cushion Reviews
- Best Overall – Lumbar Support Mesh Back Cushion By Kingphenix
- Best Cheap Option – Samsonite SA5243 Ergonomic Lumbar Support Pillow
- Best Value For the Money – LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion
- First Honorable Mention – Dreamer Car Auto Seat Lumbar Support
- Second Honorable Mention – SOFTaCARE Seat Cushion Coccyx Orthopedic Memory Foam and Lumbar Support Pillow
- Choosing The Lumbar Support Cushion For Your Car
- Spine support
- Compatibility with your body type
- Which back problems do lumbar support cushions help to stabilize?
- Which brands of lumbar support cushion are the best for putting in my car?
- Riding In Comfort
Lumbar Support Cushion Reviews
Check out our top picks for the best lumbar support cushions to use in your car.
Best Overall – Lumbar Support Mesh Back Cushion By Kingphenix
When you need lightweight and dead simple lumbar support, these Kingphenix lumbar support mesh-back cushions are our top choice.
- Easy to adjust for different cars and heights
- Highly breathable design
- Not very durable
- Poor aesthetics
The main appeal of this Kingphenix mesh cushion is that it’s lightweight, effective, and easy to install. You won’t have any trouble slapping it into position and then using it to improve your lumbar posture.
This cushion will help to reduce the pain that occurs when your lower lumbar area is not oriented properly with respect to your upper body’s position as well as your muscles’ capability to keep your upper still.
Of course, it won’t correct your posture permanently, so you’ll need to do some physical therapy work on your own if you want to ensure that you get the most out of this cushion’s pain reducing potential.
The only issue with this cushion is that it’s a bit of an eyesore. The white mesh material doesn’t look good, and the meshing is also not very durable.
While you won’t be doing anything too strenuous with your mesh cushion, shifting around excessively will weaken the structural integrity of the cushion.
Best Cheap Option – Samsonite SA5243 Ergonomic Lumbar Support Pillow
Our top choice for a budget-friendly option is this Samsonite SA5243 lumbar support pillow on account of its comfort, middle-back support, and ergonomic design which helps to properly orient your pelvic girdle while you’re driving or riding in a car.
- Helps build good posture
- Great for middle-back support
- Helps to orient pelvic girdle
- Hard to clean
The contours of this cushion ensure that your mid-back isn’t detracting from the posture or comfort of your lumbar region — or your pelvic region.
Under ideal conditions, this cushion will keep your pelvis level with your knees, meaning that you won’t experience any additional lumbar discomfort which might result from your muscle groups working against each other during a long drive.
The bulk of this lumbar support cushion is its main drawback. If your body type is large or deep, you will find that the extra space taken up by the cushion detracts from the amount of free space that you have to move in your vehicle.
This means that you may be a bit uncomfortable, especially if your seat is pushed forward than normal to accommodate the presence of someone else in the back seat.
The other challenging aspect of this cushion is that it isn’t very easy to clean. While the cushion does have a built-in cloth cover which can be removed, it isn’t very easy to remove or to clean once it’s removed, which limits its utility.
Best Value For the Money – LoveHome Memory Foam Lumbar Support Back Cushion
With this LoveHome memory foam lumbar support back cushion, you’ll get the densest and most comfortable support cushion on the market at its price point.
- Great for preventing lower back pain during long drives
- Breathable mesh cushion cover
- Easy to install
- Not highly breathable overall
- May be too wide for some people
The best part of this cushion is that the memory foam backing will prevent your lumbar region from twisting or tilting into poor postures even when you’re not trying to maintain good form. You won’t need to worry about feeling as stiff as a board when you step out of your vehicle.
If you’re exceptionally thin or have a small frame, you may find that this cushion is a bit too large for you to use properly. Especially with regard to the posture-shaping side flaps which jut forward, the thinnest or the smallest people will probably not be able to derive any benefit whatsoever.
For people with average dimensions, however, the cushion is a great tool for protecting your lumbar spine from discomfort and torsioning during long drives.
First Honorable Mention – Dreamer Car Auto Seat Lumbar Support
The full-back support of this Dreamer Car lumbar support cushion makes it a compelling contender for our favorite lumbar support cushion.
- Full-back support
- Visually appealing
- Easy to install
- Weak lower back support
- May be too narrow for some people
The biggest appeal of this lumbar support cushion is that it supports your entire back rather than just supporting your lumbar regions like other support pillows do.
Because you’ll get mid-back and scapula support, this cushion is a great choice for people who have multiple back issues. But, it isn’t the most intensive solution for people who only have lower back issues.
While the lower back support is solid, you’ll need to be the right dimensions to benefit.
For people who are wider than normal, this may not be the best lumbar support cushion for your needs. The side flaps on the cushion are not positioned such that someone who is wider than average will derive any benefit from them.
In fact, the side flaps may stick into your back at uncomfortable angles if you are large. On the other hand, it might give you the upper back support that you need exactly along your spine, but at a cost.
Second Honorable Mention – SOFTaCARE Seat Cushion Coccyx Orthopedic Memory Foam and Lumbar Support Pillow
Our second honorable mention for the best lumbar support cushion for cars is this SOFTaCARE seat cushion with coccyx support and orthopedic memory foam.
- Memory foam construction
- Includes a side pocket
- Includes a seat cushion
- Not very durable memory foam
- Side pocket isn’t easy to use
The best part of this support pillow is that it’s made from comfortable memory foam which will keep the most sensitive of backs in good standing. The memory foam offers a consistent mix of lower lumbar and upper lumbar support, which means it can handle a diverse range of issues.
Because this support pillow is made from memory foam, you will find that its durability drops precipitously when it is exposed to repeated cycles of warming and cooling, such as in the hot summers or the cold winters when you are heating or cooling your vehicle frequently.
Over time, the memory foam will become harder and less responsive to your leaning. This means that you should plan to replace this lumbar support pillow every five years or so.
You will probably find that the side pocket on this lumbar support cushion is difficult to use. The pocket itself isn’t easily accessible while you’re sitting against the cushion, and even when you can access it, it isn’t very large, deep, or well-stitched.
So, you should probably look elsewhere for some additional storage space.
Choosing The Lumbar Support Cushion For Your Car
When you’re shopping around for a lumbar support cushion, there are a few features that you need to keep an eye out for, including:
- Spine support
- Compatibility with your body type
- Ease of installation
Because of how important these features are to finding a lumbar support cushion which relieves your pain, we’ll go over each of them in a bit more detail.
The spinal support offered by a lumbar support pillow is the most important feature because it determines where and how your back gets the additional support that it needs from the pillow.
There are many pillows which target different parts of your back, and the lumbar region is among the more difficult to target effectively because of its relationship with the pelvis and the spinal column.
When a pillow provides you with good spine support, it doesn’t just keep your spine in one neutral position while you’re driving. It also channels your pelvis to be pointed downward slightly and ensures that your coccyx — that’s your tailbone — is angled parallel to the rest of your spine.
In other words, the goal of a good lumbar support cushion is to make your pelvis angle rest at nearly a perfect right angle with the direction of your spine.
Furthermore, your spine has substantial natural curvature, so a good lumbar support cushion also provides your non-lumbar spine — such as near your neck — with a strong foundation to remain stress-free.
This means that often times the best spinal support cushions do not feel like they’re doing much of anything.
Instead, the absence of exertion in your lumbar area is a big sign that you have found the cushion which is giving you the level of support that you need to avoid pain.
The breathability of your lumbar pillow in your car is a major concern because if it isn’t highly breathable, you’ll feel your sweat becoming plastered to your back over the course of a long drive on a warm day.
The more breathable the material, the better you’ll feel when you stand up after a long drive. It’s no fun to peel yourself out of your car seat, and the worst lumbar support pillows tend to aggravate the tendency to sweat because they trap heat.
There are a few handy tips which you can use to identify which lumbar pillows are breathable and which aren’t.
First, memory foam cushions tend to be more breathable because it’s easier to pass warm air through foam than it is through something like rubber.
Second, lumbar support cushions which have cloth mesh covers which are removable are often more breathable because air can flow through the mesh rather than becoming trapped behind your back or on your sides.
Compatibility with your body type
You’ll need to find a lumbar support cushion that is compatible with your body type if you want its spine-stabilizing features to be as effective as possible.
Most compatibility issues stem from cushions that are too wide or too narrow for the person in question. While some cushions are adjustable, most are not sufficiently adjustable to make up for people who are 30% taller, shorter, wider, or thinner than normal.
In other words, if you’re a standard deviation from the average human size in any dimension, there’s a chance that you will struggle with finding lumbar support cushions that are either too wide or too narrow for your body.
When your body isn’t the right fit for the lumbar support cushion, there’s a very small chance that the cushion will help your spine to stay neutral and your lumbar region to stay supported in the way that it might help someone of the size the cushion was intended for.
In fact, you can cause yourself a lot of back pain by using an incorrect lumbar cushion size for your body type. So, don’t beat yourself up by using one that’s the wrong size, find a cushion that will work with your spine and the supporting muscles rather than against it.
Which back problems do lumbar support cushions help to stabilize?
In particular, lumbar support cushions are effective at helping you to deal with nondescript back issues like back pain.
The reason lumbar support cushions are helpful for dealing with generalized back pain is that many times this pain is caused by bad posture, and all lumbar support cushions — even the ones that we wouldn’t recommend that you buy — will improve or at least change your posture.
By changing your posture, your back activates different sets of muscles than the ones which are sore or tired. As a result, the sore or tired muscles can get a little bit of rest or exert themselves less than they would be otherwise.
Over the span of a long car ride, the relief provided by a posture-correcting lumbar support cushion can make a big difference in terms of how you feel when it’s time to step out of the car.
Posture is something that affects your back health in the long term, not the very short term. For the duration of a car ride, good posture might seem pointless — even when bad posture for an equivalent amount of time would leave you seriously hurting.
But, changing your posture isn’t enough to help you recover from genuine damage to your back, especially if it is in your lower back region. Even if your only injury is a chipped tailbone, lumbar support cushions are not the only therapy that you will need to overcome your issue.
While there may be lumbar support cushions which are helpful for treating the damage and pain from herniated discs, chipped vertebrae, pinched nerves, or other ailments, for the most part the lumbar support cushions which are on the open market are not optimized for these issues.
In fact, if you need a specific lumbar support cushion for an injury, it is more likely that you will find the correct one by talking to your doctor or an orthopedist, as the many offerings on the market may make your injury worse if you use them incorrectly or for too long.
In summary, lumbar support cushions are great for helping you to avoid the daily aches and pains from bad posture, uncomfortable car seats, or straining your muscles during work. But, they aren’t ready to provide you with hospital-grade relief because they aren’t medical devices.
Which brands of lumbar support cushion are the best for putting in my car?
There isn’t any single brand of lumbar support cushion that is superior to the others in terms of the compatibility with vehicles. You may want to be aware of knockoffs of the popular brands, but otherwise, most of the brands are of comparable quality at equivalent price points.
If you’re looking for a high-end lumbar support cushion for your car, you will probably find that most of the brands offer similarly advanced and similarly effective cushions.
Once again, the main thing you should be looking for is compatibility with your body type and spinal support, regardless of brand. No single brand has a monopoly on cushions that you’ll find comfortable and supportive for your back.
Riding In Comfort
Now that you know all about lumbar support cushions and how to use them, it’s time to think about which lumbar support cushion will be the best choice for the posture needs of your lower back.
Remember to keep your spine in a neutral position, and don’t be afraid to gamble on a support cushion that you think might be a bit more intense than you need.
So long as your back has the extra help that it needs to feel good, your back troubles while driving will be a problem of the past.