Best Carseats for Extended Harnessing: Seats That Go the Distance 

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A Definitive Guide to the Longest-Lasting Harnessed Car Seats of 2020

Are you looking for a car seat with a 5-point harness that will fit your child for longer before being outgrown by weight or height? We’ve compiled a list of seats that will do just that! Our exclusive criteria include weight limits, maximum height measurements (we personally check all measurements to make sure they are accurate), as well as some other factors that may affect bigger kids overall. We are NOT including standing height limits for forward-facing because those numbers are often unrealistic. Instead, we are focusing on the maximum harness height measurement since that is a much more reliable indicator of how long the seat might actually fit your child before being outgrown by height.

Generally speaking, the seats on this list will accommodate most 5- and 6-year-olds, and some 7- and 8-year-olds in the 5-point harness. Obviously, the tallest and heaviest kids will outgrow these seats before their average and smaller-than-average counterparts will, so your expectations should be realistic. However, this list should serve as a good point of reference.

Best Forward-Facing Combination Seats for Extended Harnessing:

These are forward-facing only “Stage 3” seats for kids who are at least 2 years old. They can be used with their 5-point harness until the harness is outgrown by weight or height and then these seats can be converted into a belt-positioning booster. Since combination seats are not designed to fit babies, they tend to offer more interior space for accommodating bigger, older kids. The seats on this list are rated on their ability to fit kids longer than average in harnessed mode. We are not evaluating their longevity in booster mode since this guide is focused on keeping kids harnessed longer. Just be aware that the weight and height maximums for booster mode are exaggerated in most cases.

Britax Grow With You ClickTight

Specs:

  • With Harness: 25-65 lbs.; at least 2 years old
  • Maximum harness height: 20″
  • Booster Mode: 40-120 pounds; 44-63”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$$

Comments: Based on the discontinued Britax Frontier model, the Grow With You ClickTight and its sister seat, Grow With You ClickTight Plus, have the tallest harness slots of any seat currently on the market. Add to that the amazing ClickTight installation system and you have an awesome, long-lasting harness seat that can also be used as a booster once the harness is finally outgrown. For kids who are past the rear-facing stage, this seat definitely goes the distance.

Chicco MyFit & MyFit Zip

Specs:

  • With Harness: 25-65 lbs.; at least 2 years old
  • Maximum harness height: 19.5″
  • Booster Mode: 40-100 pounds; 38-57”, at least 4 years old

Average Price: $$ – $$$

Comments: All Chicco MyFit models have super-tall harness slots but the seat itself is narrow-ish on the outside. This is another long-lasting harness seat that can also be used as a booster once the harness is finally outgrown. Better suited for kids who are tall but not stocky. The LATCH weight limit is 40 lbs. so once your kid reaches that weight you will need to install with seatbelt and tether, using the lockoff feature on the side of the beltpath.

Graco Atlas 65

Specs:

  • With Harness: 22-65 lbs.
  • Maximum harness height: 18″
  • Booster Mode: 40-100 lbs., 43-57″, at least 4 years old

Average Price: $ – $$

Comments: The Graco Atlas is a budget-friendly combination seat with tall top harness slots. It’s basically a “lite” version of the original Graco Nautilus model. It doesn’t have many bells or whistles but it does have a no-rethread harness and it’s typically a straight-forward installation. The LATCH weight limit is 45 lbs. so once your kid reaches that weight you will need to install with seatbelt and tether. Atlas can be used as a booster once the harness is outgrown.

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX

Specs:

  • With Harness: 22-65 lbs.
  • Maximum harness height: 18″
  • Booster Mode: 40-120 lbs., 43-57″, at least 4 years old

Average Price: $$

Comments: It’s a new generation of the ultra-popular Graco Nautilus model that has been around forever. While the top harness slot height doesn’t rival the MyFit or the Grow With You ClickTight, the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX is a solid combination seat that is tall, spacious on the inside, and easy to install thanks to the SnugLock lockoff and tensioning system. The LATCH weight limit is 45 lbs. so once your kid reaches that weight you will need to install with seatbelt and tether, using the snuglock lockoff feature behind the cover. It can also be used as a booster once the harness is outgrown.

 

Best All-in-One Seats for Extended Harnessing:

These seats can be used rear-facing and forward-facing with the harness and can be converted into a booster once the harness is outgrown. The seats on this list are rated on their ability to fit kids longer than average in harnessed mode. We are not evaluating their longevity in booster mode since this guide is focused on a seat’s ability to keep kids harnessed longer. Just be aware that the weight and height maximums for booster mode are exaggerated in most cases. There are some exceptions but in general, all-in-one seats tend to be outgrown sooner than combination seats simply because they are designed to also fit babies and toddlers, unlike combination seats which are specifically designed to accommodate bigger, older kids.

Britax One4Life ClickTight:

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-50 lbs. and child’s head is at least 1” below top of headrest
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 19″
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 44-63”, at least 4 years old

Average Price: $$$$

Comments: With a 19″ top harness height measurement, plus the awesome ease and security of a clicktight seatbelt installation, the Britax One4Life all-in-one can definitely go the distance. Seatbelt is the preferred method of installation for all Britax seats that feature the ClickTight installation system, so no need to worry about those pesky LATCH weight limits.

Chicco Fit4

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs. and up to 43″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 25-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 19″
  • Highback booster: 40-100 lbs., 38-57”, at least 4 years old

Average Price: $$$$

Comments: With a 19″ top harness measurement and layers of inserts that you shed as your kids grow, the Chicco Fit4 can fit every age and stage beautifully. Just be aware that the incredibly easy SuperCinch LATCH installation is only an option until your kid reaches 40 lbs. Once your child is over 40 lbs., you must install Fit4 with seatbelt and tether, using the lockoff feature on the side of the beltpath.

Evenflo EveryStage DLX

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 4-50 lbs., up to 48″ tall and top of head at least 1″ below the bottom of the headrest adjust lever
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., at least 2 years old
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 44-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$ – $$$

Comments: The Evenflo EveryStage DLX is a fantastic all-in-one seat for extended rear-facing and extended harnessing. Installation with LATCH is exceptionally easy and secure thanks to the unique Easy Click latch tightening system. Just be aware that the LATCH installation is only an option until your child reaches 40 lbs. For children over 40 lbs., you must install EveryStage with seatbelt (and if the seat is forward-facing, with the tether as well).

Evenflo EveryFit

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs. and up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., at least 2 years old
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 44-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$

Comments: The Evenflo EveryFit is a budget-friendly all-in-one with tall top harness slots. There are some tradeoffs at this lower price point so this seat doesn’t have some of the features and options that the more expensive all-in-one seats offer. However, EveryFit (and its sister seat, Evenflo EveryKid) do feature a no-rethread harness and they will fit taller kids in the harness. The LATCH weight limit is 40 lbs. For kids over that weight, install the EveryFit/EveryKid with seatbelt and top tether.

Graco 4Ever DLX

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 4-40 lbs. and top of head is at least 1” below the headrest adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Highback booster: 40-120 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$$

Comments: The Graco 4Ever DLX is the updated version of the original 4Ever model. The DLX model offers a few upgrades over the original. Most notable is a lockoff device for forward-facing installations with seatbelt. This is handy since installation with LATCH is only an option until your child reaches 45 lbs. For children over 45 lbs. you must install the 4Ever DLX with seatbelt and tether, using the red lockoff that is hiding behind the cover in the middle of the beltpath.

Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 4-50 lbs. and top of head is at least 1” below the headrest adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Booster: 40-120 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$$$

Comments: The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit is a cross between the popular 4Ever DLX and the Extend2Fit models. It offers the best of both seats but it’s also one of the heaviest and most expensive Graco car seats. Due to its hefty weight, this model has LATCH weight limits that are lower than most of the other Graco all-in-one seats. Install with seatbelt once your child reaches 35 lbs. rear-facing or 40 lbs. forward-facing. The lockoff for forward-facing installation with seatbelt is a red clamp that is hiding behind the cover in the middle of the beltpath. There is no lockoff for rear-facing installations.

Graco Grows4Me

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and top of head is at least 1” below the headrest adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Highback booster: 40-110 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$ – $$$

Comments: The Graco Grows4Me is based on the popular Graco 4Ever platform but it only has one integrated cupholder, lacks a lockoff device for forward-facing seatbelt installs and the padding is more basic. The LATCH weight limit is 45 lbs. For kids over that weight, install the Grows4Me with seatbelt and top tether.

Graco Slimfit

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and top of head is at least 1” below the headrest adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″
  • Highback booster: 40-110 lbs., 43-57”, at least 4 years old

Price: $$

Comments: The Graco SlimFit is popular because it’s more narrow externally compared with the other Graco all-one-seats. It’s also less expensive than the other Graco all-in-one models. The LATCH weight limit is 45 lbs. For kids over that weight, install the Grows4Me with seatbelt and top tether.

 

Best Convertible Seats for Extended Harnessing:

These seats can be used rear-facing or forward-facing. They can only be used with the harness and they do NOT convert into booster seats. There are some exceptions but in general, convertible seats tend to be outgrown by height sooner than combination seats simply because they are designed for the birth-to-kindergarten crowd. Below, we’ve listed the convertible seats with the highest maximum harness heights.

Britax Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate ClickTight

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and up to 49″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18.5″

Price: $$$ – $$$$

Comments: The Marathon ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight & Advocate ClickTight models are all based on the same platform. Marathon is the base model, Boulevard features a more robust headrest with deeper wings, and Advocate adds external side-impact cushions. All 3 models offer the same weight/height limits, the same 18.5″ max harness height, plus the awesome ease and security of a clicktight seatbelt installation. All 3 models are also available with or without an anti-rebound bar accessory (for rear-facing use only).

Evenflo Sonus 65 & Evenflo Stratos 65

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″

Price: $ – $$

Comments: The Evenflo Sonus 65 and Stratos 65 are based on the same platform as the standard Sonus model but these “65” versions have extra reinforcement that allows them to be rated to 65 lbs. (the regular Sonus model maxes out at 50 lbs.). These are lightweight, budget-friendly seats which make them a great option for everyday seats, or for airplane travel, or as a backup seat for secondary vehicles. Since the Sonus 65 and Stratos 65 models are so lightweight, the LATCH weight limit for forward-facing is 50 lbs.

Evenflo SureRide

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 19.25″

Price: $

Comments: The Evenflo SureRide is an older model that has an unusual rear-facing recline mechanism and a large gap between harness slots 3 and 4, which can be awkward for kids who are in between those harness heights. However, there is no denying that the top harness slots are very tall and this lightweight seat can definitely go the distance, especially with tall slender children. Since SureRide is so lightweight, the LATCH weight limit for forward-facing is 50 lbs.

Graco Extend2Fit

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 5-50 lbs. and top of head is at least 1” below the headrest adjustment handle
  • Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″

Price: $$

Comments: The Graco Extend2Fit is the most popular convertible in the Graco lineup. It’s known for being a great rear-facing seat but with 18″ top harness slots, it’s also an excellent option for keeping forward-facing kids harnessed longer. The reasonable price is another huge selling point for Extend2Fit. The LATCH weight limit is 45 lbs. in either direction, rear-facing or forward-facing. Once your child weighs more than 45 lbs. you will need to install Extend2Fit with seatbelt (and if the seat is forward-facing, with the tether as well).

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85

Specs:

  • Rear-facing: 14-40 lbs. and up to 40″ tall
  • Forward-facing: 22-85 lbs.
  • Max harness height: 18″

Price: $$$

Comments: If you’re planning to use an infant seat first and then transition to a convertible when the baby is bigger, the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 is a great option to consider. With 18″ top harness slots and generous forward-facing weight limits, this convertible is well-suited for extended harnessing. The LATCH weight limit is 40 lbs. For kids over that weight, install Pria 85 with seatbelt and top tether.

 

We hope you find this information to be valuable in your research for a long-lasting harnessed car seat! For more detailed info, please see our list of Carseat Reviews and our list of 2020 Recommended Carseats.

 

 

 

 

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