Chiropractor’s Guide: Best Seat Cushion for Heavy Person
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: Top Overweight Seat Cushion
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.
Large Individuals Require a Denser Seat Cushion
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 Most Seat Cushion?
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 Seat Cushion
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.
Why Heavy People Should Avoid Memory Foam Seat Wedges
- 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.
- Memory Foam is Hot- Memory foam tends to retain the body’s heat, making people uncomfortable when seated on it.
- Industrial Byproduct- As a byproduct of the oil refining industry, polyurethane is the main material in memory foam.
- VOC Off-gassing- Polyurethane, formaldehyde, antimony trioxide, and petrochemicals are among the harmful compounds often added to memory foam.
- Fire Retardants- Foam memory products became more toxic in 2004 and needed to be fireproof at specific temperatures.
- Lack of Support- Foams made of polyurethane or memory foam that are inexpensive may have a tendency to collapse. Sitting on hard wheels may cause some people’s pelvis to sink too deeply and touch the seat directly. This type of sinking may be referred to as “bottoming out” and could potentially be uncomfortable.
- Sweating- When sitting on memory foam cushions for extended periods, heat and moisture may accumulate. An increase in skin temperature may lead to sweating as a natural response to cool off the area.
- Poor Airflow- Maintaining airflow in your cushion may be important for comfort. Some companies may prioritize airflow, but it is not necessarily standard practice.
Latex Foam Cushions for Heavy People (5/5) ★★★★★
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 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!
When looking to support a heavier person, it may be beneficial to use a firmer latex base foam with a softer layer on top. This layering can prevent the weight from being absorbed and instead allow the firmer base foam to bend into the softer foam. This layering technique is not commonly used in natural latex cushions as the firmness tends to be gradual. This layering technique may make the seat feel firmer on top but still, allow for 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 absorption and resilience.
By contrast to most other foams, I believe that 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.
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 may have a higher density compared to other types of foam. Density levels can vary greatly between materials, so comparing them based on charts alone may not be a good indicator of which material is best. To determine the most suitable and comfortable seating option, it’s important to consider the materials used and compare different seating products and materials. Through comparison, some may find that natural latex may be the most suitable material for their needs.
Why Heavy People Should Use Natural Latex Foam Seat Cushions
- Better Circulation- Natural latex seat cushions may provide comfort and relaxation for muscles and ligaments, as well as potentially improve blood circulation.
- Chemical Free- 100% natural latex seats are made from natural materials, unlike memory foam seats which may contain chemical additives.
- Spinal Alignment- Natural latex may be useful to help align the spine and potentially alleviate pressure points.
- Comfort- Natural latex seats have a unique cushioning property that may prevent excessive sinking and provide support for body weight.
- Sustainable latex farming harvests the sap from healthy Hevea Brasiliensis trees, replacing older trees as they age.
- Customization- Natural latex gives me the flexibility to design custom products, hence the passion I have always had for the chiropractic field and ergonomics.
- Petrochemical Free- Petrochemical memory foam may have a lower level of comfort compared to natural latex foam.
- Biodegradable- Natural latex cushion material may decompose within a year when buried.
- Antimicrobial- Natural latex may be beneficial for preventing the growth of bacteria, mold, and dust mites in a healthy work environment. It may also have properties that eliminate fungi and bacteria.
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 Seat Cushion and Memory Foam Cushion Combinations (1/5) ☆☆☆☆★
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 (Wheelchair Seat Cushion) (3/5) ☆☆★★★
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 Chair Seat Cushion (3/5) ☆☆★★★
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.
Seat Cushions 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!