Best bucket seats in 2023 (how to choose the right one)

Bucket seats, also known as racing seats or sport seats, are specialized automotive seats designed to provide enhanced support and comfort during spirited driving or racing conditions. They offer improved body support, better ergonomics, and a sporty aesthetic.

This article explores the benefits of bucket seats, popular bucket seat brands like NRG, Bride, Recaro, OMP, Sparco, and Corbeau, and factors to consider when choosing and installing bucket seats.

Bucket seats

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What are bucket seats?

Bucket seats, also known as racing seats or sport seats, are specialized automotive seats designed to provide enhanced support and comfort during performance driving or racing conditions.

Unlike regular car seats, which prioritize a balance of comfort and functionality for everyday driving, bucket seats are engineered to offer superior lateral support, bolstering, and body-hugging contours.

These features help drivers maintain a stable and secure seating position, especially during high-speed maneuvers or aggressive cornering.

How can bucket seats improve comfort for long drives?

The ergonomic design of bucket seats ensures that drivers remain firmly planted in place, minimizing body movement and fatigue. The snug fit of bucket seats helps distribute body weight evenly, reducing pressure points and providing optimal support for the spine, hips, and shoulders.

Additionally, many bucket seats feature adjustable lumbar support, bolstering, and padding, allowing drivers to customize their seating position for maximum comfort during long drives.

Bucket seats benefits

Enhanced Comfort: Bucket seats are designed to provide better support and comfort compared to standard car seats. They often have firm cushioning and bolsters that can contour to your body, reducing fatigue during long drives. The snug fit of bucket seats can also help minimize body movement and increase stability while driving.

Improved Body Support: Bucket seats typically feature pronounced side bolsters that hug your torso, thighs, and shoulders. These bolsters provide additional support during cornering and spirited driving, preventing you from sliding around and helping you maintain better control of the vehicle.

Sporty Aesthetics: Bucket seats can give your car a sportier and more aggressive look. They are commonly associated with high-performance vehicles and can add a touch of style and sophistication to your interior.

Increased Safety: Some bucket seats come with built-in features like integrated headrests, and five-point harnesses, which can enhance safety. These features offer improved protection in the event of a collision and reduce the risk of injury.

Customization Options: Bucket seats come in various designs, materials, and colors, allowing you to personalize your car’s interior according to your taste. You can choose from different upholstery materials such as leather, fabric, or synthetic materials, and select colors that complement your vehicle’s overall aesthetic.

Better Ergonomics: Bucket seats are often adjustable, allowing you to fine-tune their position for optimal driving posture. Proper ergonomics can reduce strain on your back, shoulders, and neck, improving overall comfort and reducing the likelihood of developing discomfort or pain during long drives.

Bucket seat Brand: NRG

Bucket Seats NRG

Bucket seat brand Description

NRG bucket seats are designed with a focus on performance, style, and comfort. With a blend of quality materials, ergonomic design, and customizable options, NRG seats aim to provide an enhanced driving experience.

These seats are engineered to offer optimal support while driving ensuring driver comfort and safety. NRG offers a variety of seat models, catering to different body types and preferences, allowing drivers to find the perfect fit for their needs.

Pros:

  • Customization options: NRG seats often come with a range of customization options, including various color choices, stitching patterns, and materials.
  • Affordable pricing: NRG bucket seats typically offer competitive pricing, making them an accessible option for those seeking performance seats without breaking the bank.
  • Ergonomic design: NRG seats are designed with driver comfort in mind.
  • Durable construction: NRG seats are built using quality materials and robust construction techniques, ensuring durability and long-lasting performance.

Cons:

  • Limited model availability: While NRG offers a diverse range of seats, their lineup may not be as extensive compared to some other well-established brands in the market.
  • Fitment considerations: Like with any bucket seat brand, it’s important to ensure compatibility with your specific vehicle make and model, as fitment can vary.

Final Thoughts

Compared to other bucket seat brands, NRG stands out for its affordability, customization options, and versatility across various driving applications.

While the brand’s model availability may be more limited than some competitors, NRG seats offer a balance of comfort, performance, and aesthetics at a competitive price point.

With their durable construction and ergonomic design, NRG bucket seats provide an accessible option for those seeking an upgrade over stock seats, allowing drivers to enhance their driving experience without compromising their budget.

Bucket seat Brand: Bride

Bucket Seats Bride

Bucket seat brand Description

Bride bucket seats are known for their exceptional quality, style, and performance. With a strong presence in the JDM (Japanese Domestic Market) scene, Bride seats are designed to provide excellent support and comfort during spirited driving.

These seats feature a combination of ergonomic design, high-quality materials, and attention to detail, making them popular among car enthusiasts seeking both functionality and aesthetics.

Bride offers a range of seat models with different levels of bolstering, padding, and customization options to suit individual preferences.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic design: Bride seats are meticulously designed to offer optimal body support and positioning.
  • High-quality craftsmanship: Bride is known for its superior craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • Aesthetic appeal: Bride seats are often praised for their stylish designs, featuring a combination of bold color options, intricate stitching patterns, and branded logos.
  • Motorsport heritage: Bride has a strong presence in motorsports and is trusted by professional drivers worldwide.

Cons:

  • Higher price range: Bride seats tend to be positioned at the higher end of the price spectrum, which may be a limiting factor for buyers on a tight budget.
  • Knockoff: Bride is a very popular brand and therefore, unfortunately you need to be aware of knockoff versions.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other bucket seat brands, Bride stands out for its strong presence in the JDM scene, exceptional craftsmanship, and attention to detail. The brand’s seats are known for their ergonomic design, high-quality materials, and extensive customization options.

While they may come with a higher price tag and have a lot of knockoffs, Bride seats offer a combination of performance, style, and reliability, making them a preferred choice for car enthusiasts seeking a premium bucket seat experience.

Bucket seat Brand: recaro

Bucket Seats Recaro

Bucket seat brand Description

Recaro bucket seats are synonymous with exceptional quality, comfort, and performance. With a rich history in automotive seating, Recaro has built a strong reputation for their ergonomic designs, precise craftsmanship, and attention to detail.

Recaro seats are engineered to provide outstanding support, reducing driver fatigue and enhancing overall driving experience.

They utilize premium materials, advanced construction techniques, and innovative features to create seats that meet the demands of both motorsports and everyday driving.

Pros:

  • Ergonomic design: Recaro seats are known for their ergonomic designs, offering superior support and comfort.
  • High-quality craftsmanship: Recaro is renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship and use of top-quality materials.
  • Advanced features: Recaro seats often come equipped with advanced features such as integrated headrests, adjustable lumbar support, and side bolstering, allowing drivers to tailor the seating position for optimal comfort and performance.
  • Safety focus: Recaro places a strong emphasis on safety, integrating features like integrated headrests, side-impact protection, and reinforced seat structures into their designs, providing an extra layer of security for occupants.

Cons:

  • Higher price range: Recaro seats are positioned in the higher price range, reflecting their premium quality and features. This may make them less accessible for budget-conscious buyers.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other bucket seat brands, Recaro stands out for its exceptional ergonomic design, craftsmanship, and safety focus. Recaro seats offer unparalleled support, comfort, and durability, making them highly regarded among enthusiasts and professionals alike.

While they may come with a higher price tag, the reputation and track record of Recaro seats in motorsports, along with their advanced features and safety enhancements, set them apart as a top choice for those seeking premium bucket seats.

Bucket seat Brand: OMP

Bucket Seats OMP

Bucket seat brand Description

OMP bucket seats are designed with a focus on motorsport safety and performance. OMP is a respected brand known for producing high-quality racing equipment, and their seats are no exception.

OMP seats are crafted using premium materials and advanced manufacturing techniques to provide exceptional support, comfort, and durability.

These seats feature ergonomic designs that enhance driver control during demanding driving situations. OMP offers a range of seat models suitable for various motorsport disciplines and performance driving applications.

Pros:

  • Customize your own seat: OMP as a customize your own seat option
  • Motorsport heritage: OMP has a strong presence in the motorsport world and is trusted by professional drivers and even F1.
  • Safety focus: OMP places a strong emphasis on safety in their seat designs.
  • Durability: OMP seats are built to withstand the rigorous conditions of motorsports.

Cons:

  • Higher price range: OMP bucket seats are positioned in the higher price range, which may be a limiting factor for budget-conscious buyers.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other bucket seat brands, OMP stands out for its strong motorsport heritage, safety focus, and durability.

OMP seats are known for their exceptional support, control, and protection, making them popular among professional drivers such as F1 drivers and motorsport enthusiasts.

While they may come with a higher price tag and offer fewer customization options compared to some competitors, OMP seats deliver a winning combination of performance, safety, and durability.

Bucket seat Brand: Sparco

Sparco

Bucket seat brand Description

The Sparco bucket seat is a meticulously crafted racing-inspired seat designed to deliver outstanding support and comfort during high-performance driving.

Made with premium materials, such as durable fabrics and lightweight yet sturdy frames, Sparco seats are built to withstand the rigors of motorsports.

Their ergonomic design ensures optimal body positioning, reducing fatigue and enhancing control on the track or road. With a range of sizes, padding options, and upholstery materials available, Sparco seats can be tailored to fit various body types and preferences.

Whether you’re a professional racer or a passionate car enthusiast, Sparco bucket seats offer the perfect blend of style, functionality, and durability for an elevated driving experience.

Pros:

  • Racing heritage: Sparco is a brand deeply rooted in motorsports, making their bucket seats highly regarded among racing enthusiasts.
  • Superior construction: Sparco seats are known for their high-quality materials, precise craftsmanship, and attention to detail, ensuring durability and longevity.
  • Enhanced support: Designed with optimal ergonomics in mind, Sparco bucket seats provide excellent lateral support during aggressive driving maneuvers, reducing fatigue and enhancing overall comfort.
  • Wide range of options: Sparco offers a diverse selection of bucket seats, allowing customers to choose seats that suit their preferences in terms of size, shape, padding, and materials.

Cons:

  • Higher price range: Sparco bucket seats tend to be on the higher end of the price spectrum, which may be a limiting factor for budget-conscious buyers.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other bucket seat brands, Sparco stands out for its strong connection to the racing world and the exceptional quality of its seats.

The brand’s reputation for durability and performance, along with its wide range of options, makes it a popular choice among motorsport enthusiasts.

However, Sparco seats might be relatively more expensive than some competing brands, and individuals seeking extensive customization options may need to explore other alternatives.

Bucket seat Brand: Corbeau

 Corbeau

Bucket seat brand Description

Corbeau bucket seats are meticulously designed seats that cater to a wide range of driving needs. Crafted with a focus on performance, comfort, and durability, Corbeau seats provide exceptional support and style.

They feature high-quality materials and ergonomic designs that enhance body positioning during spirited driving. Their seats are engineered to withstand rigorous conditions while providing the driver with a comfortable and secure seating experience.

Although Corbeau does not offer many bucket seat options it has a very wide range of bucket seat brackets for many different brands. Furthermore, they offer a variety of bench seats and even bucket seats for Side-By-Sides.

Pros:

  • Many bucket seat brackets: Corbeau offers a wide range of brackets 
  • Enhanced support: Corbeau seats are designed to provide excellent lateral support, which is beneficial during aggressive driving maneuvers. 
  • Durability: Corbeau is known for manufacturing seats using high-quality materials that are built to withstand demanding conditions.
  • Customization options: Many Corbeau seats come with customization options, including color choices, upholstery materials, and additional features like heating and lumbar support.
  • Competitive pricing: Corbeau bucket seats often offer a competitive price point compared to some other brands, making them an attractive option for those seeking a balance between performance and affordability.

Cons:

  • Bucket Seat Option: Although Corbeau offers many seat customization they do not have many different bucket seat options.

Final Thoughts

When compared to other bucket seat brands, Corbeau stands out for its different seat types and competitive pricing. Corbeau seats are known for their durability and superior support, enabling drivers to maintain control and comfort during intense driving.

While bucket seat variety considerations may exist, Corbeau’s combination of versatility, affordability, and quality make it a popular choice among car enthusiasts.

How to choose the right bucket seat?

When choosing the best bucket seats for you and your project car there are certain key factors you will have to look over.

Here is the list: 

Aluminum or Composite bucket seats?

There is the main type of material used for bucket seats which are either aluminum or composite material such as fiberglass. More expensive versions of composite seats also include Kevlar and carbon fiber.

Aluminum pros:

  • Inexpensive 
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for 4,5 and 6 point Harness

Aluminum Cons:

  • Requires Back Brace: Aluminum seats can bend in an accident 
  • Not FIA certified

Composite Pros:

  • Many are FIA certified
  • Suitable for 4,5 and 6 point Harness
  • No Back Brace Required

Composite Cons:

  • More Expensive
  • Slightly Heavier

FIA and Safety Certification

The FIA is an organization that regulates the safety aspect of motorsport parts. It is strongly recommended to buy a seat that is FIA certified. However, not all seats get tested.

If a seat is not FIA certified it does not mean it is bad, it just means you do not know if it meets FIA’s safety standard. If you buy a non FIA certified seat be sure it is from a reputable brand and website. Buying a knockoff bucket seat can be very dangerous and cause harm to you in an accident.  

Pro tip: Bucket seats are usually good for around 5 years

Bucket seat Hallo or Not?

The halo is an extra safety on certain bucket seats. They are there to minimize excessive head movement in case of an accident. However, they can obstruct side to side vision and therefore may not be fun suitable for daily driving.

how to measure a bucket seat for comfort? 

If you are buying your seats online it can be hard to know which size will fit you. This is why manufacturers have sheets with the measurements of their seats to assist you.

Usually you will need to measure your seating height (From butt to shoulders) and your hip size. In some cases you can also measure shoulder width. These measurements will help you find the right bucket seats for your size.

Harness Pass through height

The measurements taken above are not only for comfort but for safety also. If you plan on installing a harness you need to make sure the harness ports on your bucket seats are at the proper height.

You do not want the port to be too low as this will create a downward angle in the harness strap and create downforce on your spine in case of an accident. If it is too high the harness strap may not sit properly on your shoulder and therefore you will be improperly secured in your seat.

How to measure a Bucket seat for car compatibility?

You want to be sure the bucket seat fits in your car. Therefore there are two main measurements you need to perform. 

  • Top measurement: The first measure you need to compare is the bucket seat widest point on the top part of the seat which is usually the shoulder support. You compare this measurement with one taken inside your car from the middle of your center console to the top part of the door panel.
  • Bottom measurement: Similar to the previous one you want to measure the widest part of the bucket seat but the sitting area. From there you compare it with a measurement taken from the center console to the door panel.(approximately where the bottom of the bucket seat will be)

bucket seat Mounting Hardware

Lastly, you will need hardware to mount your seat to your car. You will require to main parts:

  • Base plate or floor mount: This piece will be specific to your car as it connects to your original seat mounting point. It will create new more universal mounting points for the next part.
  • Bucket seat brackets: Bucket seat brackets are what will connect your bucket seat to the base plate.

Bucket seats Maintenance and Care

Tips for keeping bucket seats in good condition

Proper maintenance is crucial to preserve the longevity and performance of your bucket seats. Regularly vacuum or use a soft brush to remove dirt, debris, and crumbs from the seats. This prevents particles from embedding into the fabric or upholstery.

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the seat material. Instead, opt for mild detergents or specially formulated cleaners recommended by the seat manufacturer.

Promptly address any spills or stains by blotting them gently with a clean cloth. For leather seats, use leather conditioners to keep the material supple and prevent cracking.

Additionally, avoid exposing the seats to excessive sunlight and use sunshades or window tints to minimize fading and heat damage.

Bucket seats Cleaning instructions for longevity and aesthetics

To maintain the aesthetics and cleanliness of bucket seats, it’s essential to follow proper cleaning instructions. Refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for specific cleaning recommendations based on the seat material.

Fabric seats may require spot cleaning or gentle machine washing, while leather seats may necessitate specialized leather cleaners and conditioners.

Avoid saturating the seats with excess moisture during cleaning to prevent mold or mildew growth. After cleaning, ensure the seats are thoroughly dry before use.

Regular cleaning and care routines will not only preserve the appearance of your bucket seats but also contribute to a more hygienic and pleasant driving experience.

How to Install bucket Seats

Proper installation of racing seats is crucial to ensure optimal performance, safety, and comfort. While the specific installation process may vary depending on the seat model and vehicle, the following general guidelines can help you navigate the installation of racing seats.

Step 1: Pre-Installation Preparation

Before starting the installation process, it is essential to gather the necessary tools and materials. Commonly required tools include wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, and a torque wrench. Review the seat manufacturer’s instructions carefully and ensure you have all the components and hardware provided with the seats.

Step 2: Removing the Stock Seats

Start by disconnecting the negative terminal of the vehicle’s battery to prevent any electrical mishaps. Remove any seat covers, headrests, and other accessories from the stock seats. Depending on the vehicle, you may need to access the bolts or screws securing the seats from beneath or through the front or rear.

Step 3: Mounting the Bucket Seats

Align the racing seat with the mounting points in the vehicle, ensuring proper fitment and clearance. Attach the seat using the supplied brackets, sliders, or adapters as specified by the manufacturer. Ensure that the seat is securely fastened to prevent any movement during driving.

Step 4: Seat Rail and Slider Installation

If your racing seat utilizes a sliding mechanism, install the seat rails or sliders according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These mechanisms allow for adjustability and finding the optimal driving position. Ensure the seat slides smoothly and locks securely into place.

Step 5: Seat Belt and Harness Installation

Reinstall or adapt the original seat belt receptacles to work with the racing seats. In the case of a racing harness, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper mounting points and installation. Ensure that the harness belts are correctly positioned and securely fastened.

Step 6: Testing and Adjustment

After installing the racing seats, perform a thorough inspection to ensure all bolts and hardware are tightened properly. Adjust the seat position, recline, and sliders to find the most comfortable and ergonomic driving position. Test the seat for stability by applying gentle pressure in various directions.

Step 7: Professional Assistance

While it is possible to install racing seats independently, seeking professional assistance from experienced installers or automotive technicians is recommended, especially if you are unfamiliar with the process or have limited mechanical knowledge. Professionals can provide expert guidance, ensuring proper seat installation and addressing any specific considerations related to your vehicle.

FAQ

Are bucket seats suitable for daily driving?

Yes, bucket seats can be suitable for daily driving, depending on personal preferences and comfort requirements. While bucket seats are often associated with sports cars or performance vehicles, there are options available that strike a balance between sportiness and everyday usability.

Consider factors such as the level of comfort, adjustability, and lumbar support provided by the bucket seats. Additionally, ensure that the seats comply with safety regulations and are compatible with your vehicle

Are bucket seats suitable for all types of vehicles?

While bucket seats are commonly associated with sports cars and performance vehicles, they are not limited to this category alone. They can also be installed in a wide range of vehicles, including sedans, coupes, and even certain SUVs.

The suitability of bucket seats depends on the individual’s driving preferences and requirements.

While sports car enthusiasts often prioritize the added support and sporty aesthetics of bucket seats, some drivers in other vehicle types may also appreciate the benefits they offer, such as improved body positioning and comfort.

Should you buy bucket seats online or in person?

Truth is if you know of a parts shop in your area that sells bucket seats it is strongly recommended to at least go and have a look. Even if you ultimately decide not to make a purchase due to factors like color or material availability, taking the time to physically sit in different seats can provide valuable insights into the most suitable size and configuration for your needs.

Are Bucket seats worth the investment?

Investing in racing seats depends on individual needs and priorities. These seats offer support, comfort, and safety features for enhanced driving experiences, especially during aggressive maneuvers or track sessions.

However, if your car is primarily focused on daily driving or cruising, the investment may not be necessary. Consider your driving style, preferences, and budget to determine if the benefits justify the investment.

What are considerations for racing harnesses?

Racing harnesses offer safety benefits during high-performance driving, but proper installation and usage are crucial.

They require specific mounting points like harness bars or reinforced seat belt anchorages, and should be consulted with professionals for proper installation and safety regulations compliance.

Racing harnesses may not be suitable for everyday driving due to their limited mobility and cumbersome use compared to standard seat belts.

conclusion

Bucket seats are specialized automotive seats designed for enhanced support and comfort during spirited driving or racing conditions. They offer improved body support, ergonomics, and a sporty aesthetic.

Popular brands include NRG, Bride, Recaro, OMP, Sparco, and Corbeau. Choosing the right bucket seat depends on factors like material, FIA and safety certification, comfort, fitment, harness compatibility, car compatibility, and mounting hardware.

Proper maintenance and installation are crucial for longevity, aesthetics, and safety. The choice depends on individual preferences, driving needs, budget, and vehicle requirements.