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Best Seat Cushion for Heavy People

   This post has been quality checked in line with our Editorial and Research Policy.

Best Seat Cushion for Heavy People

When shopping for a seat cushion, larger people might have trouble finding something supportive and comfortable for someone of their weight. Being a chiropractor and designing seat cushions gave me an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to sit in an uncomfortable chair.

As a general rule, a layered natural latex cushion is the best type of seat cushion for heavy people. A high-density base support foam should be at 80-96 kg/m3 for more support and to handle heavy people. A top comfort natural latex layer foam should have a density of 56-68 kg/m3.

Thus, I made a list of all the types of cushions available for heavy people! Having reviewed various seat cushions of multiple sizes and shapes, I found the best design for heavier people. Every individual will find the perfect seat cushion among these many designs, firmnesses, and prices.

 

Complete Guide: The Best Seat Cushion for Heavy People

People with larger bodies may be very uncomfortable in insufficiently supportive chairs. For a chair to be suitable for heavy people, a cushion must be both supportive and comfortable

In my opinion, a high density and firmness are more critical for heavy individuals since their bodies cannot support themselves without adequate padding underneath them. When putting your total weight on the material, consider how thick or dense it will end up being.

As a result, you often have no support under your chair. The density and thickness of the cushion should also be considered. You may be tempted to buy a thick cushion. The problem is that when the filling is soft, the seat cushion gets squashed down in thickness.

 

Heavy Individuals Require Denser Cushions 

foam density vs weight chart

Science-related terms often confuse people. Many scientific terms are used interchangeably in physics by the average person. Yet, words have their own meanings and are used in situations that are entirely different from one another. When it comes to heavier individuals, the term density is most relevant.

One often encounters the term density, especially in physics. The density of matter refers to its physical property. It is a measurement of the total amount of matter in a unit volume. An object’s density does not change with its size. Density is therefore an intensive physical property.

Therefore, a cushion with a high density will have more matter, in order to support a heavier person. In spite of this, you can still find a seat cushion that is both supportive and soft enough to satisfy your needs. 

Is There a Weight Limit for Seat Cushions?

seat cushion foam density chart

 Even if the weight limit of a cushion is not specified, its importance cannot be overstated. You need to make sure that the cushion will be comfortable for heavy people who have bariatric needs – and there are a few products available that do this! Ensure you carefully read the product page or reviews before buying one without information about its recommended weight capacity. 

You might also consider asking questions online to find specific recommendations from other users who have similar body types as yours. On their packaging, most of these better-quality comfort solutions don’t explicitly mention who they are designed for, but some do tell their customers specifically on their website!

 

Choosing the Right Chair Cushion for Heavy People 

 

Memory Foam Cushions for Heavy People (2/5) ☆☆☆★★

Astronauts initially used memory foam to protect themselves during space missions. As a shock-absorbing material, memory foam is used in helmets, pads, and other items to protect humans. The space agency stopped using memory foam because of off-gassing concerns, however.

I have discovered that a memory foam cushion designed for 250 pounds can withstand a density of 5 pounds. A typical memory foam cushion, however, has a density of 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. In this regard, it is essential to pick carefully.  

Essentially, a memory foam cushion should have at least 5 lbs of layers to ensure its longevity if you weigh over 200 pounds. Over 200 lb people may have difficulty finding a memory foam cushion with a core foam density of 2.5 lb or higher. 

Another option is natural latex foam, which typically has a density of 4 lbs or more. While this cushion should last over time, it’s not cheap to get a latex cushion with that extra density. Although natural latex can be supportive and have a nice bounce to it, it should hold up to weights of over 200 pounds.

Disclaimer: My experience in the mattress industry and product design used to involve many memory foams. My son developed a skin condition that later found in an expert’s diagnosis to react to the chemicals and fire retardants found in many memory foam products.

8 Reasons why Heavy People Should Avoid Memory Foam 

  1. Lacks Responsiveness- Memory foam doesn’t respond appropriately to our tests. When a cushion responds to pressure or motion, its responsiveness is determined. The natural movement and shifting of a responsive cushion will help you avoid back pain
  2. Memory Foam is Hot- Memory foam tends to retain the body’s heat, making people uncomfortable when seated on it.
  3. Industrial Byproduct- As a byproduct of the oil refining industry, polyurethane is the main material in memory foam.
  4. VOC Off-gassing- Polyurethane, formaldehyde, antimony trioxide, and petrochemicals are among the harmful compounds often added to memory foam.
  5.  Fire Retardants- Foam memory products became more toxic in 2004 and needed to be fireproof at specific temperatures. 
  6. Lack of Support- Foam made of polyurethane or memory foam that comes at a low price or too cheap is prone to collapsing. Some people’s pelvis will sink so deep on hard wheels that it touches the seat directly after sitting. This sinking is called “bottoming out” and could be uncomfortable.  
  7. Sweating- Heat and moisture accumulate on memory foam cushions when they’re sat upon for long periods. A rise in skin temperature is usually followed by sweating, which is caused by an increase in skin temperature. An attempt to cool off the area is part of the body’s response.
  8. Poor Airflow- The airflow of your cushion must be maintained to ensure comfort. While some companies focus on maximizing airflow, it isn’t the norm.

 

Latex Foam Cushions for Heavy People (5/5) ★★★★★

man sitting on the Best Seat Cushion for Buttock Pain

The compression factor is the force needed to compress a foam layer. It’s important for it because this measurement defines how much resistance there will be when you press down on your seat cushion and exactly what type of feel that you’ll experience with each individual seating. The technical spec for natural latex foam has an extremely high compression modulus–meaning that it has about 2.6 times more resistance than memory foam does!

In order to support a heavy person, you should use a firm latex base foam and then place an inch or so of softer latex on top of it. As compression occurs, the firmer base foam bends into the softer foam, rather than absorbing the weight. Typically, natural latex cushions don’t feature this type of layering because their firmness usually builds gradually. Layering can make the seat feel firmer on top, while still allowing the heavier parts to sink into the cushion. 

Also, latex and foam have the property called ‘absorption, ‘ which can absorb energy. In terms of energy absorption, the resiliency of latex is approximately 25 %. 

In contrast to absorption, resilience refers to the ability of a material to bounce back when dropped. Natural latex foam is more “springy” than other foams. You can watch a video below that I made about natural latex’s absorption and resilience. 

 

By contrast to most other foams, natural latex is the most point elastic of all materials. Its ability to quickly and easily take on a shape means that it’s perfect for body suits because its flexibility allows you to contour your suit around any desired figure with ease!

There are essentially four points to consider when choosing seat cushions foam for heavy people:

  • Pressure-relieving qualities. They form a deep cradle to disperse pressure over a wide area of the cushion, thus relieving pressure. 
  • Posture and alignment qualities. You can allow the gluteal muscles to sink into the cushion with a seat cushion while keeping the smaller, heavier areas like the coccyx or ischial tuberosities from sinking in. By doing so, your hips are kept in alignment when seated.

 

Is Natural Latex the Best Chair Cushion Foam?

Its shape-retention capability, coupled with its ability to hold its comfort levels even after heavy use, has made it an increasingly popular choice among luxury seat cushion manufacturers in recent years.

Seat-Cushion-Foams-Densities-Chart

Latex density comes in many gauges, and it can impact the performance, durability, temperature regulation, and cost of your seat cushion. Our guide will examine these differences so you can make an informed decision before you buy!

Latex Foam Comes in Varying Densities

A density, again, is simply the weight per unit volume. Latex, a foam material used in mattresses, has a density expressed as kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). Following are some common ranges of density for latex foam, and we compare them to those for memory foam and polyurethane.

Natural latex foam usually has a higher density than other types of foams. The best density for each material will be very different, so comparing them by looking at charts is not a good idea since one kind might not even show up! To determine which material is best for you and how comfortable you want your seat cushion to be, you need to know the materials used. After comparing a variety of seating products and materials, we found that natural latex was the best material to use. 

8 Reasons why Heavy People Should Use Natural Latex Foam 

  1. Better Circulation- In addition to allowing your muscles and ligaments to relax and recover, natural latex seat cushions also improve your blood circulation.  
  2. Chemical Free- As opposed to memory foam seats, 100% natural latex seats are created from natural materials and are free from chemical additives. 
  3. Spinal Alignment- You can align your spine and alleviate pressure points by using natural latex.
  4. Comfort- It’s unique cushioning prevents you from sinking into natural latex seats too deeply while also allowing you to apply bodyweight to it. 
  5. Sustainable latex farming harvests the sap from healthy Hevea Brasiliensis trees, replacing older trees as they age.
  6. Customization- Natural latex gives me the flexibility to design custom products, hence the passion I have always had for the chiropractic field and ergonomics.  
  7. Petrochemical Free- The comfort of petrochemical memory foam is lower than that of natural latex foam.
  8. Biodegradable- The natural latex cushion material decomposes within a year when buried.  
  9. Antimicrobial- If a working environment is healthy, latex can prevent bacteria, mould, and dust mites from growing. Natural latex eliminates fungi and bacteria as well. 

Gel Foam Cushions for Heavy People

Those seeking cooling seat cushions may find gel foam a confusing term. Gel foams can be divided into three types:

  • Gel/memory foam combinations
  • Gel bladder cushions
  • Gel honeycombs

Gel Cushion and Memory Foam Cushion Combinations (1/5) ☆☆☆☆★

memory foam seat cushion with gel cooling cushion

Memory foam is a base, and silicone gel is infused on top. Online, you can find these seating cushions that conform to your bottom, providing a body cradle that supports you.  

This cushion is marketed as being ‘unique and ‘cool’. The only thing unique about it is its outer packaging. This is all there is to it! Our patients were least satisfied with these cushions when it came to cooling, comfort, and support.   

Gel Bladder Cushions (3/5) ☆☆★★★

gel bladder cushion

Typically, it is filled with either pure silicone gel or a gel bladder used on a wheelchair or heavy person cushions. Gel bladders are layered over either high-resilience foam or EVA foam (ethylene-vinyl acetate). In general, the more foam layers a cushion has, the stiffer and firmer it will be.

A cooling effect is initially felt using these cushions but soon wears off since the EVA membranes do not circulate air evenly. A gel bladder cushion may prevent pressure sores, but it does not provide sufficient support to make the patient comfortable. 

Gel Honeycomb Cushions (3/5) ☆☆★★★

gel seat cushion with red cross on top of it

These cushions are made from silicone honeycomb foams. As opposed to memory foam, these types of cushions allow free-flowing air to keep you cool instead of overheating. Silica is durable and resilient and maintains its original shape over time. 

 The comfort, support, and satisfaction of this type of cushion were not good. This honeycomb-shaped cushion was the most complained-about because it bottomed out quickly.

 

Conclusion

If you’re a heavy person who wants to avoid back pain and discomfort, then it is worth investing in a seat cushion. Before purchasing one, though, make sure that the product can accommodate your weight. It’s also important to consider how much time you’ll spend sitting on the chair while thinking about what shape of the seat cushion will work best for you. For more useful ergonomic information about home furnishings and seating options, visit our blog!

 

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life.I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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