Evenflo has made safe, affordable carseats for decades, and they aren’t new to booster seats either. Spectrum is the newest member of the Evenflo family with some unique and innovate features. My first impression upon taking it out of the box was that it was very streamlined and modern looking. I know booster seats can be pretty run of the mill when it comes to looks, but Spectrum has some special touches that add to its unique appearance.
There is some assembly required when it comes out of the box but it isn’t difficult if you follow the directions in the manual. There are no tools (or screws) required and it doesn’t come in a million pieces like Ikea furniture.
Spectrum is currently available at Amazon, Target, Babies R Us and directly from Evenflo. MSRP is $59.99 but the seats can usually be found online for less.
(say that 10 times fast!)
- Weight 40 – 110 lbs.
- Height 44 – 57”
- 4 year age minimum. I got all nerdy over the spread in the manual regarding how to know if a child is appropriate to ride in a booster.
- Adjustable headrest with 8 height settings
- Lyf+Guard side-impact protection technology in the head rest
- Does not require a vehicle head restraint when used in high back mode
- 6 year lifespan before expiration
- Dual cupholders/snack trays
- Machine washable cover that can also be thrown in the dryer!!
Let me touch on Lyf+Guard (pronounced lifeguard). This technology is new to Evenflo and consists of two side-impact “pods” on either side of the headwings. These have multiple layers that are designed to compress upon impact and reduce the transfer of energy to the child and thus reducing injury. It does make the headrest wider overall (about 20” across), but I didn’t find any issue with it being awkwardly large.
Spectrum is also one of several Evenflo seats that has been rollover tested. The Evenflo Rollover Test is a dynamic test that simulates roof-to-ground contact. Evenflo believes this type of impact is responsible for the majority of injuries in a rollover event and they are designing seats to protect children in these types of crashes. Please keep in mind that there is no current federal standard for rollover testing. However, I personally feel that any additional testing done above and beyond what’s required by federal standards is a positive thing and certainly does not hurt.
- Highest (8th position) shoulder belt guide setting: 22”
- Lowest belt guide setting: 14”
- Width at the armrest: 18”
- Seat depth: 15”
- Weight: 11 lbs.
As you can see from the measurements above, Spectrum is TALL. It’s taller than most other boosters currently on the market. The fact that it’s so tall and so reasonably priced is a winning combination. This is how Spectrum looks next to a Graco Nautilus in top height booster setting. Notice the lower seating position of Spectrum plus the additional height.
Fit to Child:
I found Spectrum to be a great fit on my 50 lb, 50” 6-year-old. He’s only on the 3rd height setting, the shoulder belt fits nicely across his chest and the lap belt sits on his lower pelvic area instead of his belly. It has just the right amount of recline to encourage him to sit straight and back in the seat. The head wings provide nice depth around his head but aren’t confining. The ergonomic armrests curve inwards toward the child and the belt path is really easy to access for him to buckle himself. Liam commented multiple times about how cushy the bottom portion of the seat is. A lot of booster seats have just a thin padding over the plastic but Spectrum offers more than that and helps keep boney little tushes comfortable.
In backless mode, it fit my son fairly well, although he is nowhere near ready to use it this way due to him shifting around too much. The back portion and headwings remind him to stay in place in highback mode, but he has way too much freedom to ride safely in backless mode at this point in time. Spectrum does come with a seatbelt adjuster strap, although I did not need it for the shoulder belt to lay across him correctly. A vehicle headrest would be needed if using it in backless mode, and mine would need to be raised higher if he were using the seat in this mode. Converting from highback to backless mode was flawless. You simply pull the plastic tab on the bottom and it slides right out for backless or clicks into place for highback.
Fit to Vehicle:
I had no issue with the Spectrum in my 2005 CR-V. It fit nicely on my flat seats and the back fit nicely against the seat back. The Lyf+Guard pods on the sides of the headrest fit just inside my doorframe with no contact. The seatbelt slid easily in the shoulder belt guides and did not get hung up when Liam buckled himself.
- The most obvious thing that stands out is the Lyf+Guard technology. We’ve seen similar side-impact protection technology on harnessed seats but it’s nice to see it on a booster seat.
- Good belt fit in both highback and backless mode
- Ease of use. It’s protective, yet open. Liam had no problems getting in and out and buckling/unbuckling himself.
- Really tall. At 22″ to the bottom of the shoulder belt guide, Spectrum is one of the tallest boosters on the market.
- Comfort. Spectrum is nicely padded on the bottom, the cover is smooth and cool, and the armrests are shaped naturally towards the body.
- It stays together when you pick it up! I know this sounds petty but I cannot stand when I pick up a booster seat and it falls apart. Even though this booster converts to backless mode, it wasn’t flopping around or driving me crazy when I was carrying it. My shins thank you, Evenflo.
- Cover is machine washable and dryer-safe (machine wash separately in cold water, delicate cycle, tumble dry 10 – 15 minutes on low heat).
- Price. At $59.99 MSRP, you really can’t beat the price with the features you’re getting.
- Made in the USA! Piqua, Ohio, to be exact.
- Colors. The Spectrum comes in some super fun fashions for older kids. They’re bright and cute and live up to the Spectrum name. The fashion I received for review is a gray/black combo called “Foggy”, but the rest are very bright and lively. Here are a few choices, but there are even more to choose from.
- I realize Lyf+Guard is designed to absorb energy but I was disappointed that there was no EPS foam anywhere on the seat.
- The cupholder was a bit difficult. It’s more of a little drawer that slides open, and you can use it for drinks, snacks, and the little toys that seem to follow kids everywhere. However it was really hard to open, and Liam wasn’t able to do it himself. I wasn’t able to do it from his angle either, and had to do it for him from the side. We resolved it by just leaving it halfway open at all times and he was able to open it the rest of the way as needed, but it would be nice if they were a bit more child-friendly.
Overall, the Evenflo Spectrum is a great new booster at an incredible price. It has some innovative and fun features that appeal to both parents and kids. I love the Lyf+Guard technology and how tall it adjusts, appreciate their focus on studying performance in rollover collisions, love the colors available (goodbye, boring gray!), and really like the look of it in general. It’s a stylish, modern booster seat that will keep your older kiddos safe and comfortable until they are big enough to pass the 5-Step Test and transition to using just the adult seatbelt!
Thank you to Evenflo for providing the Spectrum booster for this review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions expressed are those of CarseatBlog.
I’m a 25 year old female, 59 inches tall, 92 pounds, with a 21inch sitting shoulder height, I think I might buy this for myself, it doesn’t look too bulky. I’ve had juvenile osteoporosis since my teen years and fractured a thoracic vertebra when I was 20 that wasn’t induced by any trauma. My bone density is very low in my thoracic and cervical spine. My doctor made the offhand comment that I would likely fit in his kids’ booster seat and that I’d probably be safer that way anyway. Of course driving I’d have to use it backless, can’t imagine using the back in a driver’s seat would be legal.
Hi Catherine, we appreciate your dilemma. Consider that one reason shorter adults don’t necessarily need a booster seat is because we assume they are mature enough to wear the lap/shoulder belt correctly, even if it is uncomfortable on their neck. Children are often immature enough to simply put the shoulder belt behind their arm or back if it annoys them.
We would never advocate that an adult use a booster seat intended for a child while in the driver’s seat without contacting the manufacturer directly for special circumstances like yours.
There is a backless booster intended for older/larger pre-teens called the Safety 1st Incognito, $17 at Walmart: https://fave.co/2T50g1a – You should contact the manufacturer directly to see if they would advise using it in your situation if you are within the limits, here is our review: https://carseatblog.com/24482/ . If not, and you mainly are looking for something to raise you up to see the road better if your vehicle seat is already adjusted as high as it would go, you could always try an unregulated seat cushion instead. It may not help with the lap belt fit on an adult and won’t help with shoulder belt fit at all, but it will raise you up a bit and may improve comfort. I’ve used one similar to this both in the car and on stadium benches: https://amzn.to/2CDPXtT
I’ve been looking for a seat for my 9 year old. He is about 60lbs and 52″. He complains about his Radian RXT being too upright and uncomfortable. Would this be better? Or is there another one you’d suggest?
Do you feel this would fit 3 across in your CRV?
No LATCH? I always think that’s safer, but maybe it’s not. What’s your preference?
LATCH in boosters is just to keep the child restraint from becoming a projectile while the child isn’t in the seat but you’re driving around. It’s a convenience factor and can help keep some from sliding around as the child gets in, but it’s certainly not needed in a booster.
So I just bought this seat for my 6 year old, almost the same height/weight as your little guy. He’s 50# 48″ tall. But I have a question…. we tried it out today, and usually (on his old seat) there was an area where the seat belt buckles that the belt would be held “down” if you will. I get a little nervous with the little tabs that are there behind the armrests that the seatbelt is supposed to go underneath. But the belt doesn’t stay underneat, yet still seems secure not being under them. Do you know what I mean? Would you take a picture of your son from the side, under his arms where the belt buckles in? I want go make sure I’m good in my install! I can sent pictures to you if needed, my description is a little wordy!
Hi, are you able to give me the dimensions of the box and weight of the carseat? Thanks!
Love your site!
I haven’t had to purchase a carseat in years. My daughter is due in March with her first baby. All the reviews and thoughts have been extremely helpful.
The evenflo platinum is the one with the bad fabric the triumph Lx (the mosaic pattern one) that fabric is fine. Thanks for the review, 🙂 it is helpful. Which pattern did you get? The the black and spotted one or the red one? Do you like it?
Does it require a headrest?
Never mind! Just reread it.
Do you think this would be as easy to buckle with floppy buckle stalks? I’ve noticed booster design can make a big difference in such spots.
KQ, my buckles are definitely floppy and are very tired from years of use…haha. Liam didn’t have an issue at all buckling. The “belt path” is pretty open so he is able to lean over to the side and get it pretty easily. 🙂
Anyway to test it in a 2008+ Caravan or T&C third row? Does it have the LATCH lower anchors?
Hi Nic – no LATCH connectors but they would be useless in the 3rd row of a 2008 Caravan/T&C anyway (the only LATCH position in the 3rd row of those vehicles is offset and doesn’t line up with any of the seatbelts so you can’t use any LATCHable booster back there). None of us have a Dodge or Chrysler minivan but if you get a chance to try it out – post back and let us know if it works back there.
I just ordered it, and will try it in my 2008 Town& Country as soon as it arrives.
Will update you! 🙂
Another source has tested it in the T&C and it works! As long as the child doesn’t lean excessively far forward (in which case the shoulder belt may have a hard time retracting). But the super height of this booster will be great there, for long use.
I’m soooo loving the look of this booster! Do you think this booster would be a good candidate for three across?
Hi Janie – if it was next to a rear-facing seat, maybe. But the side-impact “pods” make it wider across the headrest area so it may not work well next to another forward-facing seat.
Wonderful, thank you! I’m planning to put three across in my Odyssey third row and it would be wonderful if my kids actually have room to buckle, haha.
I’m looking for 3 across for my 3rd row in my odyssey too! I’m going to try out the Evenflo rightfit…those may work !