Upgrading your Wrangler TJ seats is a great option to refresh the look of your interior and get rid of those old and worn down OEM seats. Alternatively, if you do a lot of off-roading or trail driving you might want a seat that has a bit more support and comfort.
Regardless of which you are looking for, this guide is going to cover our favorite Wrangler TJ seat upgrades. We will discuss some important topics like side and thigh bolsters, seat width, bracket mounting, and harnesses. Basically, we are going to cover everything you need to know when consider new TJ seats.
Wrangler TJ Seat Basics
Not all seats are the same. Outside of design, there are some important items to discuss. Base height determines how high or low you will be sitting. Bolstering controls how snug and tight the seat hugs you. Additionally, you have reclining or fixed-back options. Outside of the seat itself, one important thing to consider is seat belts or multi-point harnesses. And lastly, most aftermarket seats do no bolt directly into the TJ and therefore proper seat brackets will be required.
This section will cover all the important basics before digging into the best Wrangler TJ seats.
Seat Base Height
Seats have different base heights which impacts how high or low you sit. On the TJ, sticking with a base height in the 3.5″ to 5″ range is best. If you are using aftermarket brackets, you’ll want to make sure the brackets are a similar height to stock otherwise this can also affect seat height.
A 3.5″ base height will give you about a similar height to stock. A lot of aftermarket seats come with 4.5″ base heights which will give you a slight boost over stock – which most people enjoy. Ultimately, it’s up to preference but stick in the 3″ to 5″ range is most appropriate and won’t be a huge difference over the stock seats.
Side & Thigh Bolsters
Aftermarket seats also are not necessarily designed to be one-size-fits-all. Seats will have different widths and different bolstering setups which can limit seat options depending on how big you are. Some of the more basic seats will fit just about anyone, but if you are looking for a offroading or trail oriented seat you will want a tighter fit.
Bolstering has to do with the side and thigh support the seat offers. Side bolsters stick out and hug your love handles and ribs to help prevent body movement during cornering and rough riding. Thigh bolsters stick upwards from the seat cushion and prevent your legs and hips from moving.
If you are looking for offroad or trail seats then getting a seat with more bolster is recommended. It will fit you a lot more snug and help hold you in your seat. Bolstering on most aftermarket seats isn’t too aggressive to the point that they are actually still quite comfortable for daily driving. Just keep in mind some seats offer more and some offer less. We’ll point out which is best for what in our favorite TJ seat list below.
Belts and Harnesses
If you’re just refreshing your stock seats you will probably just want to keep your stock seatbelt. If you are building a trail rig then you might be considering a multi-point harness. Any seat will work just fine with the stock seat belt. However, if you want a seat harness, you will need to get an aftermarket seat that is capable of working with various different seat harnesses.
3 or 4-point harnesses will most likely require shoulder passthrough points. If you want a 5 or 6-point harness you will need an anti-submarine harness in between your legs.
There aren’t very many options on the market that are direct bolt-ons. Therefore, seat upgrades will require either complete aftermarket brackets or bracket adapters. Complete brackets replace the whole factory bracket whereas adapters will bolt on top of the factory brackets, allowing you to keep power seats and other functionality that you might have.
Brackets are going to be brand specific. For example, if you want to mount a Corbeau seat, you are going to need a Corbeau bracket. And vice versa for any other brand you might choose.
Additionally, seat fitment for the Wrangler TJ also isn’t consistent across years. 1997-2002 versions have a different bracket and mounting setup than 2003-2006. Most seats are universal and the brackets are year specific, but there are some seats that are year specific as well so make sure you double check fitment. Corbeau for example is universal whereas a brand like Rugged Ridge has some year specific seats.
Best Wrangler TJ Aftermarket Seats
- Corbeau Trailcat
- Corbeau Baja XRS
- Smittybuild Standard
- Rugged Ridge High Back
- Corbeau Sport Seats
All of our favorite seats are reclining seats which is why we didn’t get into fixed back options. If you want a true “bucket” seat then we recommend the Baja JP seats which look awesome and are very comfortable – you just lose the comfort of being able to adjust the backrest.
1) Wrangler TJ Corbeau Trailcat Seats
Our favorite seats for the TJ are the Trailcat seats from Corbeau. They aren’t the cheapest on the market, but they are in our opinion the best looking seats out there. Additionally, they provide a good amount of side and thigh bolster to make them great for off-road driving but still perfectly comfortable for daily driving.
You get shoulder passthroughs for different harness options which makes this a great seat for more serious offroad builds. The seat fits just about anyone with up to about a 40″ waist – anything above that and the bolsters might be a bit tight. Additionally, it has options for an anti-submarine harness, lumbar support, and seat heaters. It has a 4.5″ base height which will give this a small height boost over stock.
Overall, this is our favorite combination of looks, performance, and price available on the market.
2) Jeep TJ Baja XRS Bucket Seats
The Baja XRS seats are unique in that they are suspension seats. They have suspension type components within them that helps absorb bumps. Combine that with shoulder passthrough slots and solid side and thigh bolsters and you might just have the best offroading seat on the market.
The XRS is comfortable up to about a 42″ waist and is a great option for both the trails and for daily driving. It’s an extremely versatile seat that can be used from daily drivers to extreme offroad builds which is why it’s one of our favorite seats. They look great in the TJ and have a few different color options which makes them a great addition. The XRS has a 3.5″ base so it is slightly shorter than the Trailcat, but a very similar height to stock.
If you’re looking for a seat that is great both on flat roads and on trails, this is the best option out there and features the suspension technology that the Trailcat doesn’t have.
3) Smittybilt Standard Seats
Smittybilt seats certainly aren’t the nicest or the most comfortable TJ seats. However, they are some of the best budget seats out there. If you just want a budget friendly seat refresh and are looking to save some bucks then these seats are the way to go. At about $300 per seat they are decently cheaper than Corbeau’s and their seat brackets are only about $60 each, giving you brand new seats for about $360 each.
These seats have mild amounts of side and thigh bolsters, but they don’t have any shoulder passthroughs. Therefore, these seats aren’t going to be the best for offroading use. But they work just fine for a stock seat refresh which is why they make it on our list.
Price: $299 per seat and about $60 per bracket
4) Rugged Ridge High Back TJ Seats
Rugged Ridge is another decent budget-friendly seat option for the TJ. If you don’t care about reclining seats, they have an option that is as cheap as $189 and their adapters are very affordable as well. Rugged Ridge has a number of budget seat options outside of their High-Back seat. Just keep fitment in mind as some of their seats do not fit 2003-2006 models.
These seats are designed to look just like the factory seats which makes them a good refresh option. They are going to be more comfortable than your worn down stock seats but they aren’t made for much more than daily street driving. There are a few more sport-friendly seat options they have, but once the seats start getting a bit more expensive we recommend just making the jump to Corbeau.
Price: $189-299 per seat
5) Wrangler TJ Corbeau Sport Seat
The Sport Seat from Corbeau really should come in at #3 on our list, but I wanted to put some of the most budget friendly options in there. However, Corbeau does also have a more affordable seat option for those looking for newer seats but not needing the fancy suspension technology or shoulder passthroughs and so on.
The Sport Seat is designed to look very similar to the stock seats, but does have some mild side and thigh bolsters for a bit more snug-ness than the stock seats. They come in black, tan, charcoal, and spice colors so that you can match them to your original interior. It is a reclining seat and has a 4.5″ height so it will sit slightly higher than stock but otherwise be very similar.
Ultimately, this a good more affordable option that adds a bit more comfort but isn’t as aggressive as some of the more trail-oriented seats.
Rear Bench Seats
Matching your rear bench seat to your front seats is an awesome look. Most of the manufacturers also have rear bench seats. Corbeau offers both a Baja and a Safari style rear bench seat that can be matched to whichever you choose on the front.
Uniquely, the 40″ Baja Bench seat from Corbeau is a direct bolt-on for all TJ Wranglers, so this saves the cost of an aftermarket bracket and makes it a bit more price friendly.
Wrangler TJ Seat Upgrade Summary
Whether you are looking to upgrade your worn factory seats or need something a bit more offroad friendly, upgraded TJ seats are one of the best interior mods for the Wrangler. New seats will not only provide a clean interior look but also bring a bit more comfort. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing new seats. Height, bolsters, and harness capabilities are all things you should consider. Offroad Jeeps should look for seats with more bolstering and seat harness capabilities. There are a handful of direct bolt in seats, but the vast majority of aftermarket seats will also require aftermarket mounting brackets.
Our favorite Jeep seats are made by Corbeau. They specialize in Jeep seats and are the highest quality manufacturer on the market. There are a number of more budget-friendly options that will work just fine for daily driver refreshes, but the quality and comfort just doesn’t quite match what Corbeau is putting out there. Also checkout our Guide on Upgrades in Wrangler YJ Seat