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How Do I Choose the Best Car Seat Warmer?

In-seat models of car seat warmers run off the automobile's battery.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 April 2014
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There are two general types of car seat warmer models: in-seat models and external models. The external warmers sit on top of the seat and can be removed at any time, while in-seat warmers are built into the seat itself and can be turned on and off but cannot be removed easily. An external car seat warmer is essentially a seat cover with heating elements inside, often controlled by a hand controller and powered by a connection to a 12 volt outlet in the car. In-seat models are powered by the car's battery in many cases, and the controls for the heat are built into the dash or center console.

Choosing the best car seat warmer for you is a matter of deciding how much you want to invest in the heater, how often you will be using it, and how comfortable you are with your current seat configuration. This last consideration is important because an external seat warmer in the form of a seat cover will affect the cushioning and comfort of the seat, since you will be adding a layer of material and cushion between you and the seat itself. Some people prefer to avoid such models because of this fact, while others are comfortable with extra padding on the seat.

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If you choose a car seat warmer that is an external unit, be sure to choose one that secures to the seat tightly enough that it will not shift too much during use, causing potential discomfort. It should feature a hand control that allows you to adjust the level of warmth and to turn the unit on or off quickly and easily as well. More importantly, the unit should have an automatic shut-off feature that prevents it from accidentally overheating, which can be a fire hazard.

In-seat car seat warmer models can be installed relatively easily if you are skilled with basic tools and are familiar with electrical work in a car. The battery should always be disconnected during installation. Look for kits that install easily, and ones that are within your budget. All necessary wiring should be included with the kit, and any means for fastening the heating pads to the seat should be included as well. Look for pads that are wide or tall enough to cover a large swath of the seat to ensure even and sufficient heating of the seat when in use.

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Discuss this Article

summing
Post 3

My car did not come with heated seats but I would really like to get them. Is there such a thing as aftermarket heated seats?

I know this might seem frivolous, but I don't like the way it feels to sit on a car seat heater. It just feels off to me. I would rather have the heating element imbedded in the seat so that I get a normal ride. I'm willing to pay the money if it's possible.

whiteplane
Post 2

I absolutely love my car seat warmer. I live in upper Minnesota so it is almost a daily morning ritual to go out and scrape all the snow and ice off my car.

I will start the car, turn the heat all the way up and fire up the seat warmer. By the time I get back in after having scraped the car the inside is warm and my seat is like a blanket. It is the best way to shake off that deep winter chill.

backdraft
Post 1

Make sure that any car seat warmer you buy will fit the seat you are trying to put in on. Most of them will, but if you are trying to put it on a large seat in a truck or a semi or something you might run into some problems.

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