The 10 Best Car Seat Heaters in Canada
Winter in Canada can get cold. Really cold. According to the Government of Canada website, average winter temperatures are as low as -30 degrees Celsius, depending on where you are, meaning you’ll feel the bite whenever you step outside.
That bite doesn’t get much lighter when you get into your car. As effective as a car’s heating system may be, you’ll still feel the chill in your bones while it powers up, and a thin cloth seat cover isn’t going to help.
Thankfully, there is a solution – car seat heaters. And here, you’ll discover 10 of the best options so you get a car seat heater that keeps your bum, back, and whole body warm during those freezing winter drives.
WellUp Heating Pad
Made using polyester, the WellUp Heating Pad is a comfortable car seat heater offers plenty of padding to go along with the padding already built into your car seat. It plugs straight into your car’s cigarette lighter, so you won’t need an adapter, and it’s simple to use thanks to an easy on/off switch on the cover side. Sadly, it’s not adjustable, but it’ll have you feeling toasty after about five minutes.
It’s not perfect, especially as it only gets fairly warm rather than truly hot. That’s not a problem in most cases, though it may not be strong enough to cut through the cold when the mercury drops to below -15 degrees Celsius. Still, it’s easy to install and slides onto most car seats without any issues.
TISHIJIE Heated Seat Cushion
Weighing in at just 1.95 pounds, TISHIJIE’s Heated Seat Cushion is a portable option that easily fits over most seats. The back is 24 inches tall (approx. 60.96cm), with the seat base measuring 20 x 18 inches (50.8 x 45.72cm), giving you almost complete body coverage. We love the power cords, too, which is a 12V adapter with a 47-inch-long cord (119.38cm) – long enough to reach any outlet in your car.
It takes about a minute to heat up and you can adjust the temperature to up to 60 degrees Celsius (inside the device). The timer function is handy, too, allowing you to set the heater for 30, 60, and 90-minute intervals. Granted, the power cord position isn’t ideal. It goes between your legs, making it easy to tangle. We’re also not sure who’s going to use the hottest 60-degree setting, as that’s a little too warm even in the dead of an Ontario winter.
GEARS Universal Electric Heated Seat Pad
Though it’s advertised as a pad for motorcycles and ATVs, the use of the word “universal” clues you into the fact that you can use GEARS’ heated seat pad as a car seat heater. It plugs directly into a 12V battery and has a clever anti-slip material on the rear to stop it from sliding around as you drive. The breathable Drymax fabric is a bonus, especially because it prevents moisture build-up.
But there are two downsides. First, this is a seat pad only, so you don’t get any heating for your back. Second, it’s on the small side (14.25 x 14.5 inches, or 36.2 x 36.83cm), so it may not cover your entire car seat. Still, it’s a decent budget option if you feel uncomfortable with pads that heat your entire body.
Sisha-A Winter Warm Sheepskin Car Seat Cover
Perhaps an electrically-powered heater isn’t your thing. You’d rather have something natural that warms you without plugs or remotes required. That’s where the Sisha Winter Warm cover comes in, as it’s made using real Australian sheepskin and covers your entire seat.
You’ll feel like your entire backside is wrapped in a blanket with this cover, which secures to your seat via elastic bands and offers enough space for side airbags to deploy. The 45-day return policy is a welcome bonus if you find it uncomfortable or defective. When compared to electric heaters, it’s not the best choice if you want any control over temperature. Plus, it’s a touch expensive for what amounts to a fluffy seat cover.
SNAILAX Massage Seat Cushion
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first – the SNAILAX Massage Seat Cushion isn’t a dedicated car seat heater. It’s just as at home on an office chair as a car seat, and its straps are better for an office chair than your car. But as long as you have an adapter in your car for plugging it in, you can slide it over a car seat with few issues.
And you’ll be glad you did because the cover has six vibration motors built in, with five massage settings that make you feel more comfortable as the heat turns up. Overheating isn’t a problem, either, as the cover automatically shuts down after 15, 30, or 60 minutes, giving you complete control. Note that the manufacturer advertises a special plug you can use to power it with your cigarette lighter, though it seems inconsistent when it comes to actually delivering that plug.
Stalwart Electric Heater Car Blanket
Where most car seat heaters focus on your butt and back, the Stalwart blanket gives you options. You can use it as a throw for your car seat, giving you some rear-side heat, or you can tuck it over your legs and body to use it as a traditional electric blanket.
It’s polyester and measures 59 x 43 inches (149.86 x 109.22cm), with its huge 96-inch (2.43-metre) cord being ideal for using it for any seat in your car. It connects to a 12V supply, standard in most cars, and is a nice alternative to most car seat heaters. It does take a decent while to warm up, though, and it’s not as warm as some of the dedicated car seat heaters on this list.
Mynt Heated Seat Cover
The universal fit of this Mynt’s Heated Seat Cover is both its biggest strength and a possible weakness. It’s designed to fit onto almost any type of seat, car or otherwise, which is great if you want something versatile enough to work both in the house and your car. But it also means the cover isn’t specifically designed for car seats, making slips and uncomfortable positioning distinct possibilities.
It takes a while to warm up, too, with about 15 minutes needed to get to the max temperature. But it’s easy to use thanks to a simple on/off switch. Plus, it has a built-in safety feature that stops the heating as soon as you get off.
INPETS 12V Heating Pads
Unlike many of the other car seat heater options on this list, INPETS heating pads install directly under your seat’s existing cover. You get four pads in the pack (two each for your driver’s and passenger’s seats), and they work with cloth, leather, and vinyl covers. Built-in temperature monitoring keeps them from overheating and the carbon fibre construction ensures they’re not going to break down under pressure.
There’s just one problem – the instructions. The seller has a habit of sending the wrong instructions with the package, so you may have to seek professional help or contact customer service to fit these pads.
DOITOOL Seat Heater
Ease of use is the biggest benefit of DOITOOL’s seat heater, as it connects directly to a USB port and starts warming up as soon as it’s plugged in. It’s easily washable, too, though it’s not a good idea to place it in a washing machine. And it’s versatile to use on almost any type of seat, as long as you have a power supply nearby.
But there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a cheap and cheerful solution to the car seat heater conundrum. It’s just a pad. A small one at that, so it’s more an option for warming up in a pinch than a permanent heater you’ll keep in your car.
STARMS 12V Heating Pads
Just like the INPETS pads, STARMS’ 12V Heating Pads install under your seat’s covers on the driver’s and passenger’s side. You get four – two each for the seat basins and backs – and the handy dials allow you to control the heat for the left and right pads independently.
The lack of reviews on Amazon is worrying, as is the fact that these appear to be the same pads as INPETS’ variants. But if you’re looking for something to permanently install into your car seats, it’s one of the best options Amazon offers.
Heat Your Seat Your Way
It’s tougher to find a car seat heater than you may think, with many heating pads being universal rather than dedicated solely to cars. You also have to choose between pads that go over your seat cover and those that install behind them, with the latter often requiring professional help if you struggle to follow the directions.
Still, the 10 products in this list ensure you’ll find a car seat heater that serves your specific needs, whether that’s a permanent heater or something quick, easy, and portable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, it’s possible to add heated seats to almost any car, with costs varying but generally falling in the $500 range. You can have these seats installed at a dealership or mechanic, or you can buy a DIY kit to install them yourself.
With a heated car seat, you place a coil underneath the seat’s upholstery. Often called a “resistor,” this coil is attached to a battery from which electricity flows to warm the coil, thus warming the seat. The coil should have a built-in thermostat to prevent it from overheating, and you’ll usually get a remote for turning the heat on and off.
Cleaning heated car seats works much the same way as cleaning regular car seats – use mild soap, a clean sponge, and some warm water. Scrub stains lightly and repeat a couple of times before using a paper towel to dry the seat. You don’t have to worry about water causing issues with the heater as long as you’ve installed it correctly.
Installation methods vary depending on the type of heated car seat you have.
For a simple heated cover that goes over your seat, drape the cover over your seat and secure it into place using its built-in straps. You’ll usually find these straps go around the headrest and main body of your car seat. After that, just plug the seat cover into an appropriate power outlet (such as your car’s cigarette lighter) and you’re ready to go.
Installing a heated coil into the seat itself is more complicated. You have to remove the seat and its cushion, allowing you to fit the coil. You then attach a battery or fuse box, and may need to assign space on your dashboard to place the controls. It’s usually best to have a professional handle this type of installation.
Heated seat covers are generally safe, though there have been instances where products have been recalled. For instance, the Canadian government recalled an AutoTrends Heated Seat Cushion in 2021 because the product had a defect that caused it to overheat and burn the user.