Wheelchair cushions are among the most affordable life-assist items, but they’re one of the most important.
Cushions can have enormous benefits for wheelchair users in terms of health and comfort, but it’s crucial to select the type, style, and model that best suits each user’s needs.
Anyone who spends most of their time sitting in a wheelchair or a geriatric chair will appreciate the comfort and support that a good cushion provides. But comfort is only part of the picture.
There’s no single style, brand, or model of wheelchair cushion that’s best for everyone, so it’s a good idea to do some research before buying.
Wheelchair cushions can be divided into three broad categories based on the material from which they’re made.
Each one excels in some areas and performs less strongly in others, so understanding the benefits of each type is the first step toward getting the one that will serve you best.
Foam cushions: Foam is the most commonly used material for wheelchair cushions, and it offers many benefits: it’s lightweight, flexible, versatile, comfortable, and affordable.
Foam has a springy texture and is highly compressible, indenting when pressure is applied. Cushions may be made of standard foam, which springs back as soon as pressure is removed, or viscoelastic or memory foam, which maintains the shape of the indent for some time before springing back.
On the down side, foam cushions tend to be hot and generally need to be covered to protect them from moisture, which can damage them. They also have a somewhat shorter usable life than noncompressible cushions and generally need to be replaced every two to five years.
Foam cushions are available in a very wide variety of sizes, shapes, and styles, and the foam used may vary considerably in stiffness and density. It’s important to get the right type of foam for the task; for example, the foam used for mattresses isn’t suitable for use as a cushion because it’s generally too soft to provide adequate support and comfort when sitting.
The Memory Foam Contoured Seat & Back Cushion by Medipaq® is one of the most popular and well-reviewed foam wheelchair cushions. Made of premium quality 4-lb. viscoelastic memory foam that’s guaranteed to keep its shape for 20 years, this cushion is soft to the touch but provides firm support.
It’s hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial for comfort and safety, and comes with a washable cover. Its molded shape got high marks from users, who said it effectively reduced leg and back pain and made sitting for long periods significantly more comfortable. With a price of under £15, this cushion is a top pick.
- ✅Our Memory Foam eliminates pressure points and ensures your body is correctly aligned with its contoured ergonomic shape. - Reduce Back Ache, Improve Posture!
- ✅Uses 4lb Density MEMORY FOAM (visco-elastic) and Revolutionary 3-D Mesh fabric to shape to your body while keeping you cool. Excellent for improving posture and relieving lower back pain.
- ✅Medipaq® use the latest 3rd Generation Visco-elastic Memory Foam guaranteed to keep it's shape for 20 years!
Another well regarded foam cushion is Motionperformance Essentials’ White Donut Shaped Memory Foam Comfort Pressure Relief Ring Cushion. This round memory foam cushion distributes weight evenly to reduce pressure while sitting, and it helps the user maintain correct sitting posture.
It’s suitable for use in a wheelchair, a standard chair, or a car, and it comes with a washable cotton cover. This cushion is firm enough to provide good support and stand up to constant use. Priced at about £17, it’s a great choice and a good buy.
- Deep memory foam for optimum comfort
- Removable, washable cotton cover
- Ideal for use in the car or around the home
- Distributes weight evenly
- Product Dimensions (mm): 400x420x420
The NRS Healthcare Reflect Castellated Visco Elastic Memory Foam Cushion is an excellent choice for users who are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers. Its castellated memory foam top layer combines with a high density foam base to provide maximum comfort and support while redistributing weight to prevent pressure points.
It comes with a washable waterproof stretch cover that’s vapor-permeable for coolness and breatheability, and it doesn’t hold dampness or odors. Its price of about £47 makes it a premium option, but for those who spend many hours a day in a wheelchair or geriatric day chair it can be an excellent choice.
NRS Healthcare Reflect Castellated Memory Foam Cushion – Pressure Care (Eligible for VAT relief in the UK)
- NRS Healthcare Reflect Castellated Memory Foam Cushion - Pressure Care
- Helps reduce pressure ulcers for users at high risk, who spend a long time seated
- Castellated memory foam top layer with high density foam base & waterproof cover
- Measures: 430 x 430 x 100 mm (17 x 17 x 4"). Max user weight: 120 kg (19 st)
- Ideal for use on wheelchairs and day chairs
Gel and fluid cushions
Gel and fluid cushions: Gels and fluids function quite differently from foam. They displace rather than compress when pressure is applied, and gel or fluid must be encased in a nonpermeable cover.
They’re heavier and more rubber-like than foam and don’t conform as readily to the shape of the body, so gel or fluid cushions often incorporate foam to increase comfort.
Gel cushions may include a contoured or compressible foam base or may sandwich the gel between top and bottom foam layers to make the cushion conform better to the user’s shape.
This type of cushion generally requires little in the way of maintenance and tends to have a relatively long usable life.
The Forever Comfy Gel Cushion is a popular and well-reviewed model that provides firm yet comfortable support. The gel layer is sandwiched between two layers of foam, which protect the body from the impact of hard seats and surfaces while the gel moves with the user to ensure constant support.
Though it’s sized to fit wheelchairs, it can be used in regular chair or in the car as well. This cushion, which comes with a fleece-topped washable zippered cover, offers a lot for it’s price of less than £13.
- 3 layers of support cushion for anyone who has problems with sitting on hard chairs too.
- Relieves pain in back, buttocks and thighs adapting to the shape of your body.
- Gel Middle Layer moves with you sostenendoti just where you need it.
- The cushion is lightweight and it is easy to carry.
- To see our full range of cushions and our other GREAT OFFERS, click the 'Great Ideas' link under the item price above and on the following page click 'Great Ideas Storefront'.* * (CFY)
The 66Fit Sitting/Wheelchair Gel Cushion features a “gel bag” between layers of polyurethane foam to keep the user cool and comfortable. This cushion is designed for pressure relief in either standard chairs or wheelchairs and is sized to fit well in either.
It’s a popular model that’s exceptionally well reviewed, with kudos from all types of purchasers, from wheelchair users to online gamers who spend long hours at a computer station. At a price of about £22, this cushion is a good buy.
- The 66fit Sitting and Wheelchair Gel Cushion is designed to provide pressure relief and comfort when sitting down.
- Integral gel pack keeps you cool and comfortable during prolonged periods of sitting.
- Made from dual layers of cut PU foam for unrivalled comfort and support.
- Suitable for use in both wheelchairs and standard seating.
- Removable machine washable cover. Two convenient carry handles.
The Love Home Cool Gel Foam Coccyx Seat Cushion uses a combination of gel and vented, textured foam to create a seat that stays cool even after many consecutive hours of use. Its 18″ by 16″ size fits well in wheelchairs but the cushion is portable and can be used of sofas, standard chairs, or in cars as well. It quickly conforms to the shape of the body and distributes weight evenly, eliminating pressure points.
With a price of just under £50 it’s a step up in the gel cushion line, but its combination of gel and high density polyurethane foam, water-resistant cover, and skid-proof shield bottom make it a popular and effective choice.
Love Home Cool Gel Foam Coccyx Seat Cushion - Cool Gel & High Density Polyurethane Foam Combined Covered With Water-resistant...
- SIZE: 18.1" x 16.1" x 3.2" Assist in the prevention, relief, and recovery of orthopaedic, coccyx, lower back and tailbone pains.
- Alleviates pressure points, disperses body weight & promotes good posture, instantly conforms to body contours
- Featured Cooling Vents/Massage Convexes design offers great air circulation while sitting
- Gel never permanent deform even after prolonged usage and always regain its supporting shape.
Air cushions: These are the most adaptable type of wheelchair cushions, because their relative stiffness is infinitely adjustable by simply adding to or reducing the degree of inflation. Like foam, air is highly compressible and tends to conform to the body, though the amount of inflation and the material and shape of the cushion container plays an important role in conformability.
They must be well maintained to prevent leaks and regularly checked to ensure that they’re properly inflated; without enough air they’ll be too soft and won’t provide adequate support, and too much air will make them stiff and potentially irritating to the skin.
The 15″ Inflatable Ring Cushion by Dioud is an excellent and affordable option in inflatable wheelchair cushions. This donut-shaped cushion is made of soft, durable rubber that can support up to 330 pounds. It’s puncture and leak resistant, has no odor, and conforms to the shape of the body for superior cushioning. It comes complete with a hypoallergenic synthetic flannel cover for convenience.
The air pump that’s included with this cushion ensures that it can be inflated quickly and easily. With outstanding customer reviews and a price of about £14, this cushion is a great buy.
Takit C37 - 15" Inflatable Ring Cushion - Comfortable Medical Pillow for Haemorrhoid Pain, Bed Sores, Coccyx & Tailbone Pain,...
- ✅ SUPERIOR CUSHIONING: The ring shape distributes body weight evenly without putting pressure on the perineum to help relieve pelvic, perinea, and anal pain. This allows for effective pain relief and healing of the affected area.
- ✅ COMFORT & DURABILITY: Soft & durable material conforms to your body for superior cushioning while resisting punctures and leaks. Holds weight up to 330 lbs.
- ✅ CLEAN & HYGIENIC: The synthetic flannel cover is hypoallergenic and machine washable providing you with a safe and clean cushion. As an added bonus, our cushion is made latex free. Rest assured your backside will be better off than it is now.
The PostureLite Inflatable Lumbar Wheelchair Seat Chair Cushion Pillow by Betterlife, priced at about £16, is also a popular customer pick. It’s rectangular rather than round, and offers outstanding postural support to the pelvic area. Its soft velour covering has a luxury feel and a once-touch inflation adjustment button makes it possible to completely customize the level of support.
It’s lightweight and extremely portable, usable in wheelchairs, standard home seating, or on trains or planes. If you need an adjustable-support seat that’s light weight, transportable, and can go where you go, this could be the right model for you.