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CarseatBlog

Recommended Carseats

Updated January 2021

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 –  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this short list is the place to start!

Looking for recommendations on a specific type of product? Use our jump links below to quickly move to the section that you’re interested in; it saves you from scrolling through the entire list.

JUMP TOINFANT – CONVERTIBLEALL-IN-ONECOMBINATIONBOOSTERS – EDITORS’ PICKS

Here’s an article with some background to these recommendations. If you’ve found this resource to be helpful, please consider purchasing through our affiliate links or from our exclusive DEALS TRACKER page. This supports CarseatBlog’s mission to deliver the most professional carseat reviews and child passenger safety resources.

Recommended Carseats

This is the complete list of our recommendations for 2021 split into categories. The selection criteria are based on multiple factors, including our extensive hands-on experience installing and using each seat as well as the competition in each category and price point. We do not separate this list by price, however, 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/Elite

 

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/Elite 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, 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 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 some parents choose to skip the infant seat altogether and use a convertible right from the start. Weight and height limits vary depending on the specific model.

Britax Advocate/Boulevard/Marathon 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 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 Sonus & Evenflo Stratos

 

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 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.

 

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.

 

All-in-One Seats

All-in-one seats can be used rear-facing, forward-facing, and as a booster. They are generally the next step after the infant seat. However, many All-in-One seats will fit average-sized full-term newborns well and some parents choose to skip the infant seat altogether and use a convertible or All-in-One right from the start. Weight and height limits vary depending on the specific model.

Britax One4Life All-in-One

Features: Rear-facing 5-50 lbs.; forward-facing 22-65 lbs.; highback booster 40-120 lbs.; 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 15 height positions; 2 buckle positions; non-twist harness straps; “rip stitch” energy management tether; anti-slip base with impact-absorbing technology and 9 recline positions; optional newborn insert and optional harness strap covers. All “Safe Wash” One4Life covers are free of added flame-retardant chemicals. Optional anti-rebound bar accessory (ARB) sold separately.

Drawbacks: Heavy and bulky, harness can be difficult to tighten when seat is rear-facing.

Our comments: Hands-down the easiest All-in-One seat to install correctly with seatbelt. To make your life easier, always use the seatbelt to install seats with the ClickTight system. Excellent option for extended rear-facing. Fits newborns well. Tallest harness height and booster height of any all-in-one seat currently available. 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). You may also purchase the ARB separately if desired. Made in USA! See our complete One4Life Review here.

 

Chicco Fit4 All-in-One

Features: Rear-facing 4-40 lbs. (includes “stage 1” insert for babies 4-16 lbs. and a “stage 2” insert for 12-40 lbs.), forward-facing 25-65 lbs.; highback booster 40-100 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.

 

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-rethread 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/Booster). 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!

 

Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-One

Features: Rear-facing 4-40 lbs., forward-facing 22-65 lbs., booster mode 40-100 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 is 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, booster 40-100 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: 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 SlimFit 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 with seatbelt. See our Graco SlimFit review.

 

Graco TrioGrow SnugLock 3-in-1

Features: Rear-facing 5-40 lbs., forward-facing 22-65 lbs., booster 40-100 lbs.; no-rethread harness with 10 position headrest; 2 buckle positions; swiveling “SnugLock” lockoff that can be used for both rear-facing and forward-facing installations, base with multiple recline positions for rear-facing and forward-facing; push-on LATCH connectors; EPS foam; infant insert; dual integrated cup holders.

Drawbacks: Heavy and bulky. Cup holders are required when seat is in use.

Our Comments: TrioGrow SnugLock is so easy to install correctly! The unique swiveling lockoff is also a tensioning device for installations with either LATCH or seatbelt. The SnugLock feature means no more sweating and cussing trying to install your car seat tightly! An excellent choice for extended rear-facing; TrioGrow is 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. Use seatbelt plus tether to install for kids who weigh more than 45 lbs. See our complete Graco TrioGrow 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.

 

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! See our Britax Grow With You ClickTight Review here.

 

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 with SuperCinch 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. See our Chicco MyFit Review here.

 

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 & Graco 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. See our Graco Nautilus SnugLock Review here.

Highback Boosters

Highback booster seats are dedicated belt-positioning booster seats that have a back and head restraint. They do not have a 5-point harness and must be used with the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt. Some models may also convert to a backless booster.

Britax Skyline

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-120 lbs.; 44-63″ tall. 10 height positions; dual cup holders; push-on lower LATCH attachments; converts to backless booster.

Drawbacks: Lacks some of the features found on the premium Britax Highpoint Booster model

Our comments: Designed for school-age kids who are at least 40 lbs., 44″ tall, and mature enough to sit properly in a booster seat. These versatile Britax boosters will grow with your older child. Very tall maximum height setting. Good head and torso support for sleeping kids and for enhanced protection in side-impact crashes. Skyline has a “Best Best” fit rating when used as a highback booster. See our Britax Skyline review here.

 

Chicco KidFit

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-100 lbs., 38-57″ tall, at least 4 years old; lower LATCH connectors; 10 height positions; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; converts to backless booster, “Kidfit Zip Plus” models have machine washable zip-off pads and quick-release LATCH connectors.

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

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

 

Evenflo Spectrum

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-110 lbs., 44-57″ tall, at least 4 years old; Lyf+Guard side-impact protection bolsters on headrest; dual cup holders/snack tray; 8 height positions; converts to backless booster;

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: Designed for school-age kids who are at least 40 lbs., 44″ tall, and mature enough to sit properly in a booster seat. It’s one of the tallest booster seats on the market! It’s also budget-friendly, well-padded and has enhanced side-impact protection features. It fits kids of different sizes well. We 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 fit 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

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-100 lbs., 43-57″ tall, at least 4 years old; lower LATCH anchor connectors; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; converts to backless booster.

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

Our comments: Designed for school-age kids who are at least 40 lbs., 43″ tall and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. It’s budget-friendly, LATCHable and tends to fit kids of different 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

 

 

Specs & Features: Main booster is rated for kids 40-100 lbs.; 43-57″ tall, and at least 4 years old. RightGuide Seatbelt Trainer is rated 50-120 lbs.; at least 43″ tall; lower LATCH anchor connectors on highback booster; EPS foam in headrest; dual cup holders; 7-position height adjustment

Drawbacks: None that we can think of!

Our comments: Designed for school-age kids who are at least 40 lbs., 43″ tall, and mature enough to sit properly in a booster seat. This innovative new booster is tall and we love the seat-within-a-seat feature which can be separated to accommodate 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

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-120 lbs., 40-57″ tall; 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. Also, RodiFix is a narrow seat and is better suited to slim or average-sized kids.

Our comments: Designed for school-age kids who are at least 40 lbs., 40″ tall, and mature enough to sit properly in a booster seat. 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. The RodiFix has a Best Bet fit 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
 

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-110 lbs., 40-57″, at least 4 years old; 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: The Evenflo Amp is a backless booster with cool, kid-pleasing fashions at a reasonable price. We recommend backless boosters only for older, school-age kids who 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 fit rating from IIHS.

Chicco GoFit Plus

 

Specs & 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. It’s tough to get excited about a backless booster but this little seat is pretty awesome! We recommend only for older kids who don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster.

Graco Turbo TakeAlong

 

Specs & 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

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
  

 

 

Specs & Features: 40-100 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 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

 

Specs & 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 don’t sleep in the car and are mature enough to sit properly in a booster. The BubbleBum has a Best Bet rating from IIHS. See our BubbleBum review here.

Editors’ Picks

This award goes to our favorite seats in each category. We separate each category by cost (budget, midrange & premium) and limit the choices to just one or two models at each price point. If you want to narrow down your choices quickly, this is the place to start!

 

Rear-Facing Only (Infant Seats)

Chicco KeyFit 30  UPPAbaby Mesa

Budget: Evenflo LiteMax 35 (Review)

Midrange: Chicco Keyfit 30 (Review)

Premium: Nuna PIPA rx (Review) & UPPAbaby MESA (Review)

 

Convertible Carseats

Graco Extend2FitChicco NextFit iX Zip

Budget: Cosco Scenera NEXT (Review) & Evenflo Sonus (Review)

Midrange: Graco Extend2Fit (Review)

Premium:  Britax Boulevard ClickTight (Review) & Chicco NextFit Zip (Review)

 

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

Graco 4Ever All-in-One

Budget: Evenflo EveryStage DLX (Review)

Midrange: Graco 4Ever DLX (Review)

Premium: Chicco Fit4 (Review)

 

Combination Carseats

Budget: Evenflo Maestro Sport (Review)

Midrange: Graco Nautilus SnugLock (Review)

Premium: Britax Grow With You ClickTight (Review)

 

High Back Boosters

 

Budget: Graco Affix (aka TurboBooster LX) (Review)

Midrange: Britax Skyline (Review)

Premium: Maxi-Cosi Rodifix (Review)

 

Backless Boosters

Budget: Harmony Youth Booster

Midrange: Evenflo AMP 

Premium: Chicco GoFit Plus

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

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