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Recommended Carseats

Our detailed reviews and ratings help you to find the best infant, convertible, combination or booster carseat for your child!  We narrow down all the options in our Editors’ Picks list to help you choose the most appropriate child safety seat for your vehicle.  

Updated 10/2020

JUMP TOINFANT – CONVERTIBLE – COMBINATIONBOOSTERS – EDITORS’ PICKS

Here’s an article with some background to these recommendations. Feel free to comment on our list or about your favorite carseats there! If you’ve found our data helpful, we’d appreciate it if you’d consider purchasing your carseat and other household items from our Amazon Storefront or use our updated DEALS page. This supports CarseatBlog’s mission to deliver the most thorough carseat reviews, and parent perspective on life, kids, and carseats.

Recommended Carseats

This award is a full listing of all of our recommendations for 2020 split into categories. These are based on many factors, including our extensive hands-on experience with each seat as well as the competition in each category and price point. We do not separate this list by price point. Our top picks in each budget category can be found at the bottom, in our Editors’ Picks section.

Rear-Facing Only (Infant Seats)

Infant seats typically have a base that stays in the vehicle although most (but not all) models can also be installed without the base. This type of carseat is rear-facing only for infants up 30-something lbs. and is highly portable. For infant seats rated higher than 30 lbs., almost all babies will outgrow the seat by height before reaching the weight limit. You can purchase extra bases to use in other vehicles if that suits your needs.

Britax Endeavours

Features: 4-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; 6-position no-rethread harness; 2 buckle positions; impact-absorbing base with SafeCell Technology; anti-rebound bar; allows European beltpath routing when installed without base; unique center-pull lower LATCH strap installation; premium push-on lower anchor connectors; built-in lockoffs for easy seatbelt installations; easy-to-read level indicators; extra-large canopy; handle can be in any locked position during travel; Otto “Safe Wash” cover is free of added flame-retardant chemicals.

Drawbacks: Interior space is narrow and better suited to babies who don’t have broad shoulders. Proper installation without base is more difficult than usual and may require the use of pool noodles to stabilize the recline angle. Carrier is heavy.

Comments: Fits preemies and small newborns well. Easy to install in a variety of vehicles with either lower LATCH anchors or with seatbelt. The carrier is almost the same as the B-Safe 35 Elite; however, the Endeavours has the anti-rebound bar on the base and the capability to be installed without the base using the European belt routing. See our full review of Britax Endeavours.

 

Chicco KeyFit 30 & KeyFit 35

KeyFit 30 Features: 4-30 lbs.; up to 30″ tall; 3 sets of harness slots; 1 buckle position; 5-position adjustable base; unique center-pull lower LATCH anchor tightening adjustment; premium push-on lower anchor connectors; lockoffs for easy seatbelt installations; EPS foam; newborn insert (4-11 lbs. only); handle can be in any position during travel

KeyFit 35 Features: 4-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; 5-position no-rethread harness, 1 buckle position; 6-position adjustable base with anti-rebound bar; unique center-pull lower LATCH anchor tightening adjustment; premium push-on lower anchor connectors; lockoffs for easy seatbelt installations; euro beltpath routing option when installed without base; EPS foam; newborn insert (4-11 lbs. only); handle can be in any position during travel

Drawbacks: KeyFit 35 offers a no-rethread harness (which is great) but this feature adds a little bit of extra weight to the carrier making KF35 weigh about a half-pound more than KF30 model.

Our comments: Both models fit preemies equally well. KeyFit 35 will last longer before being outgrown. Both models are very easy to install in a variety of vehicles using either lower LATCH anchors or seatbelt. Easy to attach and detach carrier from base. You can never go wrong with a KeyFit but be aware that there is a Chicco KeyFit 22 model for sale which is less expensive but has a maximum weight limit of 22 lbs. We have a full review of KeyFit 30.

 

Evenflo LiteMax DLX

LiteMax DLX Features: 3-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; 5-position no-rethread harness, 3 buckle positions; 4-position adjustable base with load leg; push-on lower anchor connectors; tensioning lockoff for easy seatbelt installations; dual-zone recline angle indicator; euro beltpath routing option when installed without base; EPS foam; newborn insert; handle can be left up in vehicle; lightweight carrier.

Drawbacks: If LiteMax is installed in an outboard seating position, Evenflo requires 1.5″ of space between the carseat and the vehicle’s front seat. Also, travel system stroller compatibility is currently limited to Evenflo strollers.

Our Comments: Evenflo is the first to offer the exceptional safety benefits of load leg technology on an affordable infant car seat. Between the safety features, the ease of installation, and the harness fit, it’s a great value for parents who are looking for premium safety features without the premium price tag. Also a good fit for preemies. See our full review of LiteMax DLX.

 

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35SnugRide SnugLock 35 Platinum

 

SnugLock 35 Features: 4-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; 4 harness height positions; 2 buckle positions; SnugLock base which also acts as a lockoff for seatbelt installations; basic hook-style LATCH connectors; EPS foam; handle can be in any locked position during travel, allows European beltpath routing when installed without the base.

Platinum Features:  4-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; premium SnugLock DLX base which also acts as a lockoff, 15-position no-rethread harness, visor extension on the canopy, rapid-remove cover for easy cleaning, one-hand adjustable handle, allows European beltpath routing when installed without the base. Platinum XT model comes with cold-weather boot.

Drawbacks: The Platinum model has all the bells and whistles but the tradeoff is that makes the carrier heavier than the more basic SnugLock model.

Our comments: The SnugLock Platinum model comes with the premium SnugLock DLX base that we prefer but the regular SnugLock model is lighter and offers a better value. Both models are easy to install and both fit preemies and small newborns well. Both also have a tall shell so they fit older babies and smaller toddlers well. See our full review of the SnugRide SnugLock 35.

 

Nuna PIPA rx

Features: 4-32 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; 3 sets of harness slots; 2 buckle position; updated RELX base with load leg; rigid lower LATCH connectors; lockoff for easy seatbelt installations; EPS foam & memory foam; 2-piece newborn insert; UPF 50+ canopy with “Dream Drape”; handle can be in any position during travel; allows European beltpath routing when installed without base, all 2020 Nuna car seat covers are free of fire-retardant chemicals.

Drawbacks: Most vehicles don’t have dedicated lower LATCH anchors for the center seating position (although there are some that do). Just be aware that if you plan to install this seat (or any other carseat that has rigid connectors) with LATCH, that you will most likely need to install in an outboard (near the door) seating position. You can still install Pipa in the center position, but most likely you will need to install the base with the seatbelt. Not a big deal since the Pipa base has a nice lockoff but something consumers should be aware of.

Our comments: Load leg vastly improves crash protection. Super easy to install in a variety of vehicles using rigid lower LATCH connectors. Easy seatbelt installation with lockoff. Harness adjuster is smooth and very easy to tighten straps. Fits preemies and small newborns well. The “Dream Drape” feature is amazing. We have a full review of Nuna PIPA.

 

UPPAbaby Mesa

Features: 4-35 lbs.; up to 32″ tall; no re-thread harness with 5 height positions; 2 buckle positions; adjustable base with tension indicator and auto-retracting lower LATCH connectors; lockoff for easy seatbelt installations; EPS foam; integrated canopy made with SPF 50 material; handle can be in any position during travel

Drawbacks: No-rethread harness design lacks a splitter plate so it may not be possible to replace the harness straps down the road if you wanted to do that. Carrier is on the heavy side but that’s the tradeoff for a seat with bells and whistles.

Our comments: MESA is packed with safety and convenience features and is compatible with UPPAbaby Vista & Cruz strollers. The base is a breeze to install with lower LATCH connectors. Seatbelt install is also easy thanks to lockoff on base. This model fits preemies and small newborns well. The Henry & Jordan fashions are made with merino wool and are free of added flame-retardant chemicals. MESA has an industry-leading 3-year warranty with product registration. See our complete UPPAbaby MESA review.

Convertible and All-In-One Seats

Convertible seats can be used either rear-facing or forward-facing. They are generally the next step after the infant seat. However, many models will fit average-sized full-term newborns well and many parents choose to skip the infant seat altogether and use a convertible right from the start. For optimal crash protection, use a convertible seat in the rear-facing position until the child reaches either the rear-facing weight or height limit. With a few exceptions for the smallest convertibles and/or the largest toddlers, most kids can remain safely rear-facing until they are 2 or 3 years old. Weight and height limits vary depending on the specific model. Convertible seats are more permanent in the vehicle, so you lose the convenience features of the infant seat.

Britax Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate ClickTight

Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; Marathon is the base model; Boulevard has deeper headwings for enhanced side-impact protection; Advocate has “3-layer” side-impact protection which features the deeper headwings plus external energy-absorbing cushions. These models all have ClickTight installation system which also acts as a lockoff device for the seatbelt; headwings with EPP foam and energy-absorbing headrest; no-rethread harness with 14 height positions; 2 buckle positions; non-twist harness straps; energy-absorbing HUGS harness pads; “rip stitch” energy management tether; anti-slip base with impact-absorbing technology and 7 recline positions; optional newborn insert and optional harness strap covers. Otto “Safe Wash” cover is free of added flame-retardant chemicals. Optional anti-rebound bar accessory (ARB) sold separately although some models have the ARB included.

Drawbacks: Very heavy; LATCH installations are limited due to LATCH weight limits; if car seat is installed with LATCH the hook connectors can be very challenging to disconnect from the lower anchor bars in the vehicle; grippy rubber HUGS pads on the harness straps can be bulky and annoying if you are using the seat for a small baby but they are optional for rear-facing so you can remove them if they get in the way more than anything else – just remember to put them back on before using the seat forward-facing. Rubber HUGS pads are required for forward-facing.

Our comments:  To make your life easier, always use the seatbelt to install seats with the ClickTight system. Very easy to install properly rear-facing or forward-facing with ClickTight. Very easy to use correctly. Marathon and Boulevard are narrow seats that tend to fit well in 3-across situations. All models are excellent options for extended rear-facing for kids under 40 lbs. Fits newborns well but you may need to shorten the harness straps to get a snug fit with the harness (read the instruction manual for info on shortening the harness straps before you try to use the seat for a newborn). If you don’t need the maximum recline angle for a very young baby, these seats do not take up a lot of space when installed rear-facing so they are a good option for smaller vehicles. Some models come with an anti-rebound bar (ARB) accessory. You may also purchase the ARB separately if desired. Made in USA! See our full Britax Marathon CT Review, Britax Boulevard CT Review, and Advocate CT with ARB Review.

Chicco Fit4 All-in-One

Features: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing (includes “stage 1” insert for babies 4-16 lbs. and a “stage 2” insert for 12-40 lbs.), 25-65 lbs. forward-facing; highback booster mode 400-100 lbs.; no-rethread harness with 10 positions; 2 buckle positions; SuperCinch LATCH tightening system; premium push-on LATCH connectors; 9 position base; energy-absorbing EPS foam; non-twist straps; lockoffs for seatbelt installations.

Drawbacks: Heavy and bulky; must switch to a seatbelt installation once child weighs more than 35 lbs. rear-facing or more than 40 lbs. forward-facing. Rear-facing installation with seatbelt takes a little patience. It’s more challenging to thread the seatbelt through the beltpath with the Stage 1 & Stage 2 inserts in place.

Our comments: One of the easiest All-in-One seats to install correctly with LATCH. Installing with SuperCinch is so quick and easy that it’s downright revolutionary. Use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 40 lbs. Fit4 accommodates newborns and even preemies very well. Also a great fit for bigger, older kids with the inserts removed. Almost all kids will be able to rear-face in the Fit4 until they reach 40 lbs. This is a tall seat so it will last a long time in the forward-facing position before being outgrown. Fit4 doesn’t take up a lot of space when rear-facing so it’s a good option for smaller vehicles. Well-padded and very comfortable. Dual cup holders. 10-year lifespan before expiration. Check out our comprehensive Fit4 Review.

Chicco NextFit Sport & NextFit Zip

 

Sport Features: 12-40 lbs. rear-facing (lacks infant insert so not suitable for use with newborns), 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; no-rethread harness; 2 buckle positions; SuperCinch LATCH tightening system; premium push-on LATCH connectors; 9 position base; energy-absorbing EPS foam; non-twist straps; built-in lockoffs for seatbelt installations.

Zip Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing (includes infant insert cushion for babies 5-11 lbs.), 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; no-rethread harness; 2 buckle positions; SuperCinch LATCH tightening system; premium push-on LATCH connectors; 9 position base; energy-absorbing EPS foam; non-twist straps; built-in lockoffs for seatbelt installations plus a zip-off cover for easy washing.

Drawbacks: Heavy and bulky; must switch to a seatbelt installation once child weighs more than 35 lbs. rear-facing or more than 40 lbs. forward-facing (not a big deal since you have lockoffs for easy seatbelt install but not quite as easy as using SuperCinch).

Our comments: One of the easiest convertibles to install correctly with either LATCH or seatbelt. Installing with SuperCinch is so quick and easy that it’s downright revolutionary. Use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 40 lbs. NextFit Zip model fits newborns well. Doesn’t take up a lot of space when rear-facing so it’s a good option for smaller vehicles. Generous rear-facing height and weight limits. Almost all kids will be able to rear-face in the NextFit until they reach 40 lbs. Well-padded and very comfortable. We love the extra convenience of the zip-off cover found only on Zip models. See full review of Chicco NextFit.

 

Clek Foonf & Clek Fllo

 - Snowberry  fllo-ink

Features: 14-50 lbs. rear-facing, 20-65 lbs. forward-facing; 5 sets of harness slots; 2 buckle positions; dual-length crotch strap; narrow width; REACT Safety System (Foonf); EACT Safety System (Fllo); steel and magnesium sub-structure; anti-rebound bar; rigid lower LATCH connectors on Foonf (for forward-facing installations only); lockoffs for RF and FF installations with seatbelt; some models feature Crypton super fabrics; Mammoth fashions are made with merino wool and are free of added flame-retardant chemicals.

Differences between Foonf & Fllo: Foonf has rigid lower LATCH connectors for forward-facing; sits up higher when rear-facing due to its unique base; has rear-facing LATCH weight limit of 25 lbs. and requires using the anti-rebound bar. Fllo has flexible (typical) deluxe LATCH connectors for both rear-facing and forward-facing, a different base that sits a little bit lower; rear-facing LATCH weight limit of 35 lbs. and the anti-rebound bar is optional.

Drawbacks: Both seats are heavy and there is a learning curve involved with both Foonf and Fllo. Cannot be used for newborns or small babies unless you purchase the “Infant Thingy” insert (sold separately) which modifies the seat to fit smaller babies. Make sure you understand the LATCH weight limits for both rear-facing and forward-facing. The initial rear-facing setup can be complicated.

Our comments: Once you’ve read the directions, have the anti-rebound bar attached and you’ve had some practice installing the seat to master the learning curve – you’re golden. The payoff for your time and effort is that you get one of the most advanced convertible carseats on the market, with unique, high-tech safety features and exceptional rear-facing weight and height limits. See our full review of the Clek Foonf here and our full review of the Clek Fllo here.

 

Cosco Scenera NEXT

Cosco Scenera Next - stock

Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing; 22-40 lbs. forward-facing and at least 2 years old; 4 sets of harness slots; 3 crotch strap positions; fits newborns well; narrow; generally easy to install; lightweight; budget-friendly.

Drawbacks: No EPS or EPP foam; very low top harness slots; sparse padding; basic hook-style LATCH connectors; no lockoff for seatbelt installations but you can use LATCH up to the maximum weight limit of 40 lbs, requires tethering when installed forward-facing.

Our comments: The Scenera NEXT is a good budget-friendly seat for babies and small toddlers. Just don’t expect it to fit many kids over age 3. Also nice for traveling since it’s so lightweight. If installing with LATCH isn’t an option then you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install this carseat with seatbelt. Made in USA! See our full review of the Cosco Scenera NEXT. Also, check out our Comparison of Convertible Seats Under $100.

 

Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One

 

 

Features: Rear-facing 4-50 lbs., Forward-facing 22-65 lbs. and at least 2 years old, booster up to 120 lbs.; no re-thread harness with 10 position headrest; 2 buckle positions; base with multiple recline positions; innovative EasyClick LATCH system ratchets to achieve a rock-solid installation; EPS foam; infant insert; removable dishwasher-safe cup holders, 10-year lifespan before expiration

Drawbacks: Heavy and bulky, lacks a lockoff for seatbelt installations, moving LATCH strap from RF beltpath to FF beltpath can be challenging

Our Comments: A great all-in-one product that works well in every mode of use (RF/FF/Boster). We love the rear-facing weight range of 4-50 lbs. Only the DLX model comes with the EasyClick LATCH tightening system but it’s worth every penny as long as your child is under the LATCH weight limit of 40 lbs. EasyClick LATCH allows everyone (even seniors and parents/caregivers with physical limitations) to achieve a rock-solid installation with almost no effort. Made in USA!

 

Evenflo Sonus & Evenflo Stratos 65

 

Features: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs.; forward-facing at least 2 years old and 22-50 lbs. (Sonus). or 22-65 lbs. (Stratos); 6 sets of harness slots; 3 crotch strap positions; fits newborns well; generally easy to install; lightweight; budget-friendly

Differences Between Sonus & Stratos 65: Stratos has a higher weight limit for forward-facing and includes 5-position height-adjustable headrest with deep wings – but does NOT have a no-rethread harness. Stratos also offers push-on LATCH connectors, removable cup holders, harness strap covers, and an additional “recline stand leg” on the base which makes it less likely that you would need to use a pool noodle or rolled-up towel to achieve the proper rear-facing recline angle in vehicle.

Drawbacks: No lockoffs for seatbelt installation but you can use LATCH forward-facing up to 50 lbs.; moving LATCH belt from RF beltpath to FF beltpath is challenging; both seats come out of the box with the LATCH strap routed in forward-facing beltpath which means parents will have to make this adjustment before they can install the seat in the rear-facing position with LATCH.

Our comments: Budget-friendly seats for extended rear-facing! 2 year age minimum age for forward-facing use. Both Sonus & Stratos fit a wide range of kids. Lightweight and great for traveling. LATCH weight limit is higher than most other seats on the market. These seats lack a lockoff for seatbelt installations so you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install this carseat with seatbelt. Made in USA! Check out our Comparison of Convertible Seats Under $100.

 

Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-One

 

 

Features: 4-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing with 5-point harness, booster up to 100 lbs.; no-rethread harness with 10 position headrest; 2 buckle positions; base with multiple recline positions for rear-facing and forward-facing; push-on LATCH connectors; EPS foam; lockoff for forward-facing installations with seatbelt; infant insert; dual cup holders (having the cup holders attached is mandatory), 10-year lifespan before expiration

Drawbacks: heavy and bulky, forward-facing recline positions are dictated by the child’s weight (under/over 40 lbs.) Cup holders are required to be attached when seat is in use.

Our Comments: This seat is very popular and for many good reasons! An excellent choice for extended rear-facing; the 4Ever DLX so tall that all kids will be able to rear-face in it until they reach 40 lbs. Also fits most average-sized newborns well. Reasonably easy to install in many vehicles but discontinue forward-facing installation with lower LATCH connectors and use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 45 lbs. We have a complete review of the Graco 4Ever here.

 

Graco SlimFit 3-in-1

 

 

Features: 5-40 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing with 5-point harness, booster up to 100 lbs.; no-rethread harness with 10 position headrest; 2 buckle positions; base with multiple recline positions for rear-facing and forward-facing; push-on LATCH connectors; EPS foam; infant insert; dual integrated cup holders.

Drawbacks: Slimfit lacks a lockoff for easier seatbelt installations

Our Comments: Slimfit is a reasonably narrow seat that tends to fit well next to another carseat or person. An excellent choice for extended rear-facing; tall enough that kids will be able to rear-face until they reach 40 lbs. Low sides make it easy to load and unload your child. The harness adjuster is smooth and it’s easy to tighten the straps. Reasonably easy to install properly in many vehicles but discontinue forward-facing installation with lower LATCH connectors and use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 45 lbs. Since these seats lack a built-in lockoff for seatbelt installations you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install these carseats with seatbelt. See our Graco SlimFit review.

 

Graco Extend2Fit

Extend2Fit Gotham Target

Features: 4-50 lbs. rear-facing, 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; 4-position legrest extension panel for rear-facing only, no-rethread harness with 10 height positions; 2 buckle positions; base has 6 positions; EPS foam; push-on LATCH connectors; harness storage pockets to hold harness out of the way during loading/unloading; infant insert; dual integrated cup holders (cupholders are required to be attached).

Drawbacks: Lacks a lockoff for seatbelt installations; seat takes up more space rear-facing when the legrest panel is extended; harness is more difficult to tighten properly as compared with all other Graco seats; moving LATCH belt from RF beltpath to FF beltpath is challenging because the cover is difficult to detach at the bottom; recline position #4 is required when the seat is installed forward-facing for a child weighing less than 40 lbs. Cup holders are required to be attached when seat is in use.

Our Comments: We jokingly refer to Extend2Fit as the “Shut Up and Take My Money Seat” because it’s a home run for Graco! A top choice for extended rear-facing. Reasonably easy to install in most vehicles but discontinue installation with lower LATCH connectors and use seatbelt (plus tether if forward-facing) to install if child weighs more than 45 lbs. Since this seat lacks a lockoff for seatbelt installations you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install the E2F with a seatbelt. Should fit average-sized full-term newborns well but may not be a good fit for smaller newborns. See our full Extend2Fit review.

 

Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1

Features: Rear-facing 4-40 lbs.; Forward-facing 22-65 lbs.; Booster 40-100 lbs.; 5-position no-rethread harness; deep head wings with Air Protect technology for enhanced side-impact protection; push-on LATCH connectors; 3 position base; dual removable cup holders, infant inserts, easy remove covers that are machine washable and dryer safe.

Drawbacks: Lacks lockoff for seatbelt installations; full recline position is necessary for babies who cannot sit upright unassisted; limited use in booster mode; requires tethering when installed in the forward-facing position.

Our comments: All Pria models have premium soft goods that are comfortable and offer lots of padding. Easy to install in most vehicles but discontinue installation with lower LATCH connectors and use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 40 lbs. Tethering is REQUIRED for all forward-facing installations so you must have an available tether anchor in all situations. Since all Pria models lack a lockoff for seatbelt installations you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install these carseats with seatbelt.

 

Nuna Rava

Features: 5-50 lbs. rear-facing; 22-65 lbs. forward-facing; 10-position headrest with no-rethread harness; 2 buckle positions; innovative “true tension doors” for ease of installation with seatbelt (preferred installation method); 10-position base; energy-absorbing EPS foam & side impact protection (SIP) pods; smooth harness adjustment; extension panel that can be used rear-facing for increased legroom or forward-facing for additional thigh support.

Drawbacks:  Heavy and bulky; may not fit newborns well; top harness slots not as tall as many other convertibles; “true tension door” is not a lockoff so parents must remember to lock the seatbelt at the retractor if installing Rava with seatbelt.

Our comments: Excellent seat overall if you are planning to use an infant seat from birth and then transition to the Rava when your baby is bigger/older. The 50 lbs. rear-facing weight limit gives parents the option to keep their kids rear-facing longer but the maximum harness height is only 16″ so it will be outgrown by height in the forward-facing position long before the 65 lbs. weight limit is reached. Rava is one of the most expensive convertibles on the market but the quality and features are all top-notch and the styling and fashions are luxurious. LATCH weight limits are 35 lbs. in the rear-facing position and 40 lbs. forward-facing but Nuna recommends installation with seatbelt so you don’t have to remember to switch from one installation method to another when your child reaches a certain weight. See our complete Rava review here.

Combination Seats

Combination seats are forward-facing only seats that can be used initially with their 5-point harnesses and then converted to a belt-positioning booster seat after the harness is outgrown. Most of these seats are designed for kids who are at least 2 years old.

Britax Grow With You ClickTight & GWY ClickTight PLUS

Features: Forward-facing 25-65 lbs. and at least 2 years old; booster mode 40-120 lbs.; innovative ClickTight installation system;  9-position no-rethread harness; 3 buckle positions; SafeCell technology in base; “rip stitch” energy management versa-tether; dual integrated cup holders; GWY ClickTight PLUS model has additional energy-absorbing “Side Impact Cushion Technology” bolsters on sides for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes; “Safe Wash” covers are available for the GWY ClickTight PLUS models – All Britax “Safe Wash” covers are naturally flame retardant so they are free of added flame-retardant chemicals.

Drawbacks: Heavy & bulky; GWY ClickTight PLUS model is especially wide due to the additional side-impact bolsters; LATCH installation is limited to kids who weigh less than 40 lbs. – but who needs LATCH when you have the awesomeness of ClickTight? The new naming scheme is awful and confusing. Be aware that there are 3 versions of Grow With You and the least expensive version lacks the amazing clicktight installation system. For this reason, we do NOT recommend the base model Grow With You.

Our comments: The 65-pound harness weight limit combined with VERY tall top harness slots means kids are likely to fit in this seat for a long time. ClickTight installation system makes it a dream to install properly with seatbelt and acts as a lockoff. 9-year lifespan before expiration. Made in the USA!

Chicco MyFit & MyFit Zip Air

 

 

Features: 5-point harness from 25-65 lbs. AND at least 2 years old; booster from 40 to 100 lbs.; 9-position no-rethread harness; 2 crotch strap positions; 4-position adjustable base, lockoffs for seatbelt installation, EPS foam; dual integrated cup holders, Zip Air version features SuperCinch LATCH tightening system.

Differences between MyFit & MyFit Zip Air: MyFit Zip Air offers all the features of regular MyFit but also includes SuperCinch force-multiplying system on the LATCH strap (same as NextFit convertible), a convenient 3D AirMesh breathable zip-off top layer that is easily removable for machine washing, comfort waist belts (these are pads that attach to the hip straps on the harness and make loading child easier by keeping the buckle tongues from sliding all the way down into the seat) and a kid console (storage pod that inserts into cup holder).

Drawbacks:  Challenging or incompatible installations in some vehicles (this is less of an issue if you have the Zip Air model and are installing with SuperCinch LATCH system), seatbelt lockoff can be problematic in some vehicles but you can always lock the seatbelt at the retractor if you’re having issues with the lockoff and that will solve the problem.

Our comments: Finally, a narrow seat with very tall top harness slots! Ease of use is spectacular but the ease of installation varies from vehicle to vehicle –  sometimes the installation is quick and painless (especially if you have the Zip Air model and you are installing with LATCH), other times you have to really work at it to get a solid installation. And sometimes it’s just completely incompatible with some vehicles or seating positions. You definitely want to “try before you buy” or order from a retailer with free returns in case it doesn’t work out in your vehicle.

 

Evenflo Maestro Sport

 

 

Features: 5-point harness from 22-50 lbs. AND at least 2 years old; booster from 40 to 100 lbs. AND at least 4 years old; 4 sets of harness slots; EPS foam; 2 crotch strap positions; dual integrated cup holders; lightweight

Drawbacks: Not height-adjustable; basic hook-style LATCH connectors; lacks a lockoff for seatbelt installations

Our comments: A nice, lightweight seat for kids at least 2 years old that is also budget-friendly. Tall top harness slots combined with the 50 lbs. weight limit on the harness is enough to get many kids to the size/age/maturity to safely transition to a booster. You can install with LATCH up to the maximum harness limit of 50 lbs. If installing with LATCH isn’t an option then you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install this carseat with seatbelt. The Maestro Sport has a Best Bet booster rating from the IIHS. See the Evenflo Maestro review here.

 

Graco Nautilus 65 & Nautilus SnugLock 

 

 

 

Features: 5-point harness from 22-65 lbs.; converts to a highback booster and backless booster; no-rethread harness; 3 buckle positions; several recline positions; EPS foam; integrated cup holders.

Differences between original Nautilus 65 & new Nautilus SnugLock models: All-new SnugLock version has easy tensioner and lockoff, removable armrests and premium push-on LATCH connectors.

Drawbacks: Original Nautilus 65 model lacks a lockoff for seatbelt installations and has basic hook-style lower LATCH connectors

Our comments: Both Nautilus models offer a no-rethread harness. Both are generally easy to install and use correctly although the new Nautilus SnugLock model has a nifty tensioning and locking feature that makes it super easy to achieve a secure installation. Use seatbelt plus tether to install if child weighs more than 45 lbs. Since the original Nautilus models lack a lockoff for seatbelt installations you must read your vehicle owner’s manual to determine how your seatbelts lock in order to properly install that model with seatbelt. The original Nautilus models and the Nautilus SnugLock DLX have a Best Bet rating from the IIHS when used in highback mode.

Highback Boosters

Highback booster seats are belt-positioning booster seats that have a back and head restraint. They do not have a built-in harness and must be used with the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt. Some models may also convert to a backless booster.

Britax Highpoint & Midpoint

 

 

 

Features: 40-120 lbs.; adjustable “SecureGuard” lap belt clip to prevent submarining; back adjusts height-wise with one hand; dual cup holders; premium LATCH attachments; external side impact cushions (highpoint model only)

Drawbacks: Does not convert to backless booster

Our comments: A versatile booster that will grow with your child. Tall maximum height setting. Good head and torso support for sleeping and for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes. See our Highpoint review here.

 

Chicco KidFit & KidFit Zip

 

 

Features: 30-100 lbs.; 40-110 lbs. as a backless booster; lower LATCH anchor connectors; 10 height positions; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; zip models have machine washable zip-off pads

Drawbacks: Minor assembly required; not as tall as other dedicated highback boosters

Our comments: We recommend only for kids over 4 years old who weigh at least 40 lbs. and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. It’s reasonably priced, comfortable, LATCHable and tends to fit kids of different ages and sizes well. We just wish it was a little bit taller! The KidFit has a Best Bet rating from the IIHS in both highback and backless mode. See our Chicco KidFit review here.

Evenflo Spectrum

 

 

Features: 40-110 lbs.; 44-57″ tall; at least 4 years old; Lyf+Guard side-impact protection bolsters on headrest; can be used as backless booster; dual cup holders/snack tray; 8 height positions; height adjusts with one hand

Drawbacks: Minor assembly required; it’s wide due to the extra side-impact protection on headrest so it won’t fit well next to another booster or forward-facing carseat.

Our comments: It’s one of the tallest booster seats on the market! It’s also budget-friendly, well-padded and has enhanced side-impact protection. It fits kids of different ages and sizes well. We only wish it had lower LATCH anchor attachments but considering everything that you’re getting for the price (under $60), we really can’t complain. Spectrum has a Best Bet rating from the IIHS in both highback and backless mode. See our full Spectrum Review here.

 

Graco Affix (Also sold as TurboBooster LX)

Graco Affix - Atomic

 

 

Features: 30-100 lbs.; 40-100 lbs. as a backless booster; lower LATCH anchor connectors; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; height adjusts with one hand

Drawbacks: Assembly required; not as tall as other dedicated highback boosters

Our comments: We recommend only for kids over 4 years old who weigh at least 40 lbs. and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. It’s budget-friendly, LATCHable and tends to fit kids of different ages and sizes well. We only wish it was taller! The Affix has a Best Bet rating from the IIHS in both highback or backless mode. See our review of the Graco Affix here.

 

Graco TurboBooster Grow with RightGuide Seatbelt Trainer

  

Features: Main booster in either highback or backless mode 40-120 lbs.; RightGuide Seatbelt Trainer 50-120 lbs.; lower LATCH anchor connectors on highback booster; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; 7-position height adjustment

Drawbacks: ???

Our comments: This innovative new booster is tall and we love the seat-within-a-seat feature which can be separated to seat two kids at once! The compact RightGuide Seatbelt Trainer pops out of the main seat so you can use it to seat a second child (who weighs at least 50 lbs.) for carpooling, playdates, etc or throw it in a backpack when traveling. The RightGuide Seatbelt Trainer is also perfect for many tweens who just need a small boost in the car to achieve proper fit from the adult seatbelt. Full review coming soon!

 

Maxi-Cosi RodiFix

 

 

Features: 30-120 lbs.; highback only (does not convert to backless booster); rigid lower LATCH connectors; thick energy-absorbing EPS foam; Air Protect Technology for enhanced SIP; height-adjustable back; recline option; no armrests

Drawbacks: Side wings are just EPS foam and are not supported by plastic shell making them potentially fragile; narrow seat—is better suited to slim or average-sized kids

Our comments: RodiFix is a unique, high-end booster with innovative features that make it easy to install and easy for kids to buckle themselves. Deep head and torso wings plus the Air Protect cushions offer enhanced protection in side-impact crashes and make the RodiFix comfortable and supportive for sleeping. The rigid lower LATCH connectors are a huge bonus and we like the fact that it only weighs 14 lbs. We recommend only for kids over 4 years old who weigh at least 40 lbs. and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. The RodiFix has a Best Bet rating from IIHS. See our full review of the Maxi-Cosi RodiFix here.

Backless Boosters

Backless boosters are belt-positioning boosters that raise the child up so the lap/shoulder seatbelt fits correctly. The vehicle must have a head restraint for the child since the booster doesn’t provide head support for whiplash protection. Backless boosters are recommended for older kids who don’t sleep frequently in the car.

Evenflo AMP
 Performance - Blue 

 

 

Features: 40-100 lbs.; dual integrated cup holders; tall armrests for easy buckling; optional shoulder belt adjuster strap

Drawbacks: Wide; may not fit well in narrow or contoured seating positions.

Our comments: It’s a backless booster with cool, kid-pleasing colors at a reasonable price. We recommend only for older kids who weigh at least 40 lbs., don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. What else is there to say? Well, there’s more to say in our AMP Review! The AMP also has a Best Bet rating from IIHS.

Chicco GoFit Plus

Features: 40-110 lbs.; innovative quick-release lower LATCH connectors; dual integrated “cup folders”; optional shoulder belt adjuster strap

Drawbacks: More expensive than most other backless boosters

Our comments: It’s a backless booster with premium push-on LATCH attachments that detaches quickly and easily with a single motion. Well-padded and comfortable with removable, foldable, dishwasher safe cup holders. Usually it’s tough to get excited about a backless booster but this little seat is pretty awesome! We recommend only for older kids who weigh at least 40 lbs., don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster.

Graco Turbo TakeAlong

 

 

Features: 40-100 lbs.; narrow, compact and portable, dual collapsible cup holders, collapses into carry bag, highback version available

Drawbacks: More expensive than most other backless boosters and it lacks LATCH attachments (which isn’t a big deal but would have been nice to see on a product at this price-point.)

Our comments: If you’re looking for a compact, narrow booster to take on vacation or to store in your car as a spare, it is definitely worth considering. The backless portion, when folded, is easy to carry and could be stored in a backpack. See our full review here.

Harmony Youth Booster
  

 

 

Features: 30-100 lbs.; full-wrap cover; optional shoulder belt adjuster strap; size and shape make it a good option for contoured seating positions

Drawbacks: Low profile belt guides are easily missed by kids who buckle themselves (and inattentive parents or caregivers). Make sure you route the seatbelt properly under those little armrests!

Our comments: Narrow and lightweight. A great little booster for a great price. Fun fashions that appeal to big kids. We recommend only for older kids who weigh at least 40 lbs., don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. Available only at Walmart.com. The Harmony Youth Booster has a Best Bet rating from IIHS.

BubbleBum

BubbleBum black and purple

 

 

Features: 40-100 lbs.; inflatable; extremely lightweight; optional shoulder belt adjuster strap; size and shape make it a good option for very narrow or contoured seating positions.

Drawbacks: Shallow leg depth; lap belt guides can be difficult for younger kids to navigate

Our comments: A niche product. Great for travel, carpooling and tight 3-across situations. We recommend only for older kids who weigh at least 40 lbs., don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. Newest models have updated lap belt guides which are easier for kids to use. The BubbleBum has a Best Bet rating from IIHS. See our BubbleBum review here.




Editors’ Picks

This award goes to our favorite carseats in each category. Where possible, we separate categories by cost and limit the choices to one or two carseats at each price point.  If you want to narrow down your choices quickly, this is the place to start!  You can find many of our top picks at our Amazon Storefront: https://www.amazon.com/shop/carseatblog

 

Rear-Facing Only (Infant Seats)

Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air Chicco KeyFit 30 Nuna Pipa UPPAbaby Mesa

Convertible Carseats

Evenflo SureRide Graco Extend2Fit  Chicco NextFit iX Zip

All-In-One Carseats (RF/FF/Booster)

Graco 4Ever All-in-One

Combination Carseats

 

High Back Booster Seats

Graco Affix with LATCH   Clek Oobr with LATCH

Backless Booster Seats

Evenflo Amp 

In many cases, manufacturers make nearly identical seats with different names or slightly different features. For simplicity, we do not list similar products on our Editors’ Picks list. Our full list of Recommended Carseats can be found above by scrolling UP.

You can find many of our top picks at our Amazon Storefront: https://www.amazon.com/shop/carseatblog. For reference, here is an article with some background to these recommendations. Feel free to comment on our list or about your favorite child seats there.

Last Updated: Jan 2020

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