Beaded Seat Covers Are Cheap, Keep You Cool

by Benjamin Jones on July 15, 2008

Beaded Seat Covers

A few months ago in a post about A/C alternatives I promised you I’d try some of the gadgets and get back to you. Well, summer has finally hit and in between sweaty drives around town I’ve been doing a little research. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. the A/C shirts, according to some cycling reviews I’ve read, are kind of uncomfortable and don’t last very long. Coupled with the high price, I let this one pass;
  2. this was the cheapest option, and therefore first on my list, stay tuned for more info;
  3. seems like it would work better than #1, but again, cost is a factor. I might give this a try later;
  4. definitely still on the to do list, expect an update on this before I shell out for #3;
  5. this is definitely next up with the beaded seats already taken of, when I return from HybridFest this is my next mod.

Before thinking about these tricks for alternative A/C, I’d always thought those beaded seat covers were for weirdos. Luckily, the other founder of EcoModder told me that they did a great job of keeping you cool in the summer. I was a little skeptical, but when he showed me his beaded covers and I realized I could get a pair for just $26 dollars (shipping included), I figured it was worth a try.

The Komfort Beads showed up on my doorstep the day after I ordered them, and I went right ahead and threw them on both my passenger and driver’s seats. It wasn’t very hot outside, so I couldn’t tell how they worked during short trips around town, but today they got their first real trial.

The Date

When I removed my A/C (most of you will think I’m a fool, but it never worked anyway), I decided that the ultimate replacement would be found when I could go to a date and take a date in my car without showing up a puddle of sweat or reducing her to one. Today I got to put this to the test, as it was extremely sunny and blisteringly hot on the way to an engagement with a lady caller.

I won’t get into the date, but the beads were a success. When I showed up I was a little toasty, but my back felt much nicer than usual and wasn’t a pool of sweat. The seat was still slightly uncomfortable, but it was definitely refreshing to have my back feeling good. When she got into the car, she agreed. I’m sure she’s used to A/C, but I didn’t hear any complaints about the heat. The only negative seemed to be that the beads could tug at longer hair.

Success!

Yep, I’m going to call it a success. The beads don’t put you in a 70F paradise, but they greatly improve summer driving and reduce sweat. Especially for just $26 for a pair, this was a great deal. Does anyone have any other beaded seat cover brands they can recommend?

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{ 21 comments }

1 dcb July 16, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Yah, that is a good deal. I was just shopping around for these.

2 brad July 16, 2008 at 5:52 pm

what is wrong with your ac? Could you just get it fixed instead of trying all these gizmos?

3 Benjamin Jones July 16, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Brad – It had a leak that could never be found in the system. When I did my engine swap I just left it out so I wouldn’t have to fiddle with it. It’s really not that important to me, and the gas mileage hit was pretty nasty anyway.

4 honemastert July 16, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Dude, these are like $8 a piece at the local Wally World (Wal-Mart)

I live in Arizona.. and can attest to the fact that they work (somewhat)

Maybe not hippie.. but my car totally looks like an old persons ride (this is where I used to see these the most back home in the midwest)

5 cbede July 16, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Uhh… where exactly do you put the thermometer for this test?

I’m sure the discomfort caused by all those beads ( and the thermometer) would take your mind off the heat. Good post though!
I’m going for #4.

6 Sean Harlow July 16, 2008 at 6:15 pm

To each their own, but “70F paradise”?

I keep my car’s climate control set somewhere between 60 and 65 F, 70 I may as well open the windows. I’ve always lived in Ohio though, where -20 F happens every winter and 95F is considered a scorching day, so if you’re a West Coaster who’s used to triple digit heat I could see how that might change your perspective.

7 UnderExposedJD July 16, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Seems to make good sense! Elevate the body from the cloth base and back of the seat, create some pathways for air to flow, and temperature will drop. Regarding the window tint, I used to own a small tint shop during college and if I can lend some quick advice it may help in your quest for the best film to meet your need. Not all films are created equal. Films sold at your local auto parts stores are a sorry excuse for film, and if you want the real-deal film, seek out and shop around your local professional film installers. Their films will be much higher quality ‘metalized’ films, capable of reflecting much higher levels of heat and also more durable against age. They should all be able to share information with you on the heat reflection/absorption of the different shades. Be sure also to check to make sure that the shade of film you choose is legal in the state where the car is registered! HTH, take care and good luck.

8 TheDon July 16, 2008 at 7:09 pm

I am going to have to get myself some of those for the mercedes

9 Just a Guy July 16, 2008 at 10:42 pm

I tried the beads a few years ago at the request of my buddy who is a cabbie. I thought they would be uncomfortable and I would hate them. But you know what? they are not uncomfortable at all. They do keep you cooler and I found that on long drives to the coast on the weekend I don’t have the same problem with my legs falling asleep. It’s crazy but hey I am a believer now. (BTW I drive a convertible with leather, so on nice days I have to drive with the top down, otherwise why have a converitble right? and A/C just doesnt work with the top down lol)

10 Tango Charlie July 19, 2008 at 6:55 pm

$8.99 at my local Auto Zone. “Pilot” brand name. I just picked one up today after reading this article, so I can’t attest to longevity, but I can echo Ben’s findings.

11 whitevette July 21, 2008 at 8:35 am

A thought…would a very porous / thick fabric be a worthwhile investment of time & effort? This would soften the beads and still “breathe”; ie, terrycloth?

12 jim July 23, 2008 at 8:50 am

Was there a next date? 🙂

13 GR1F1TH July 30, 2008 at 10:51 am

I hate beads so I looked for an alternative and found this…
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Q96BL2
worth a look. have not bought it yet myself.

14 David August 6, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Well they will tear apart the base material be it leather or cloth, faster than you butt would. Also sweat will still end up on the base material. These are not good if you want to retain the value of your vehicle.

I use sheepskin pelts on the seat bases of my car covering the leather. These are very comfortable all year long and don’t allow sweat to permeate the leather and also slow stretching of the seat leather.

15 Shane Watson August 7, 2008 at 4:34 am

Your information is quite helpful for us in buying cover for our corvette. Thanks for this informative post.

16 Durandal August 15, 2008 at 3:41 am

ZapWorld also has some seat cushions that actually COOL! They’re expensive at $159 each, however… However, having cooling seat cushions would be very… (wait for it.. ) cool.
http://www.zapworld.com/node/902

17 Tom Burnham August 31, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I tried one of these years ago and used it only once. I quickly found that my butt had ZERO traction on the beads and so my driving position suffered on any but the most gentle corner. My verdict is that they are UNSAFE in emergency maneouvers. I would never again touch then with a ten foot pole.

18 Steve September 2, 2008 at 11:54 pm

I just bought a pair of these for my Civic DX. My car doesn’t have AC either, so I was looking for something to make the drive a little more comfortable. They seem to work very nicely as for the 10 miles I drove with them today. Very nice writeup, and a great recommendation. 🙂

19 Stevie October 14, 2008 at 1:40 pm

my problem with the beads is I like to drive with no shirt and I’ve got an extremely hairy back so my back hair keeps getting pulled in by the beds..OUCH…my wife says silk is cool?

20 convert a gas car to electric October 16, 2008 at 6:13 am

so your girl is happy except her hair tucking with beads. Its a nice idea to use beads anyway. More than that in tropics side this beads helps to prevent hammorides development. These are healthy as one’s back will not be in constant touch with cushion of the seat whcih is not advisable.

21 Juanita Carlson June 24, 2009 at 3:26 am

I bought a beaded cushion last winter from a catalgue. I just started using it in our recent heatwave of 97 degrees here in Kansas. It does help and my back muscles feel great!

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