When you’re expecting a new little one, your car seat is one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need. Like your crib, a car seat is a critical piece of furniture. It’ll be difficult to do everything you need to if you don’t have one.
It’s also some of the furniture most likely to help protect your little one. A little fender bender that might be nothing for you can be a serious issue if you don’t have the right car seat for your child.
Convertible car seats are some of the most popular options for many reasons. They save on money, many grow with your child, and they’re built to meet specific safety requirements. Infant car seats, and other car seat designs, are usually less long-lasting.
Though all convertible car seats are built with your baby’s safety in mind, there’s a huge range of differences between different manufacturers and models. We know that you want a car seat that fits your needs and the needs of your unique family, and that means a one-size-fits-all solution won’t do.
Here are some of the best convertible car seats you can get. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each model, and we’ll also highlight some of the features that can make or break a good car seat.
|Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat|
|Chicco NextFit Zip Max Convertible Car Seat|
When it comes to car seats, we recommend doing your research. Small details can make a big difference in the performance of your seat. If you’ve ever talked to parents about car seats, you’ll quickly notice that they fall into two camps.
There are parents who love their car seat and can’t recommend it enough. Then there are parents who hate their car seat and can’t wait for their child to be old enough to ride without it.
The difference between those parents are in the details of their car seat. So, while this quick guide is a good option if you’ve already done your research, we still recommend going and reading our review of your chosen seat (and maybe a few other reviews as well). That way you know exactly what you’re getting into.
|Convertible Car Seats||Weight Capacity *||Physical Weight||Check the Price|
|Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat||40, 65 lbs||27 lbs||Check the Price|
|Chicco NextFit Zip Max Convertible Car Seat||40, 65 lbs||26.7 lbs||Check the Price|
|Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat||50, 65 lbs||25 lbs||Check the Price|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat||40, 100 lbs||18.7 lbs||Check the Price|
|Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat||40, 100 lbs||28.1 lbs||Check the Price|
|Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Max Convertible Car Seat||40, 85 lbs||16 lbs||Check the Price|
|Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat||40 lbs||2.2 lbs||Check the Price|
*the two or more numbers we’re listing in this category aren’t a range. They are different maximum weight capacities for each mode your convertible car seat can accommodate.
Pros and Cons of Convertible Car Seats:
Most people own convertible car seats. All the convertible part means is that the car seat works for infants and babies who still need to be rear-facing in the car, and then transitions for toddlers and small children.
While you can buy different car seats, starting with an infant car seat, for each stage, most people don’t. It’s actually easier to find a convertible car seat than it is to find the more specialized versions.
However, convertible car seats tend to be bulkier and harder to move than other car seats. If you need to have car seats for multiple vehicles, you’re probably better off buying a car seat for each vehicle than moving them.
Strapping a car seat in safely is no small job. Not to mention that convertible car seats tend to be heavy, hard to maneuver, and hard to get in or out of car doors.
A good convertible car seat will see your child through years of growth. For reference, you should expect your child to hit 100 lbs somewhere around 10 years old. The maximum weight capacity of your car seat will tell you how long they last.
These can also be some of the most comfortable options since they have a lot of extra padding and more comfortable harness designs.
Width of Your Car Seat:
This is most important if you have a small compact car or are planning to have multiple children. Most car seats are wide enough to completely fill a standard sedan seat. That means that you can usually only fit two in the back seat.
If you have multiple children, triplets, or a small vehicle, you may want to consider buying a car seat with a narrower profile. However, some narrower car seats will be less comfortable for your child. Almost universally, narrower car seats will have a lower weight capacity as well.
Many car seats will now recline. That’s helpful when your child is younger and need a less upright position while traveling. It can also be helpful if your back seats have a sloped back.
The recline can also make long travel more comfortable. Lastly, a smaller reclining car seat can also make flying easier, assuming the airline allows the chair.
Another good thing to look for are the installation aids that come with many different car seats. These things might not take a lot of time out of installation, but they can make it a safer and less frustrating process.
Look for things like clean seat belt guides to start with. These should be smooth, and with a minimum of sharp edges and corners to avoid wear and tear on the seatbelts.
Also look for a leveling tool, especially if you’re going to be using this as a rear-facing seat for your infant or baby. Leveling will help make sure it’s safer for your child, as well as more comfortable. Having a tool will help you find a good setting without having to play with the different settings too much.
Last, look for tools that will help you set up the harness and keep the different buckles and straps out of your way. This can be magnetic buckles, no tangle straps. Also look for cushioning with a minimum of seams and gaps, since those things can be catches for the straps.
The Best Convertible Car Seats:
Editor’s Rating: 4.7
Britax Boulevard’s click tight car seat is one of the better-looking car seats out there. But, more importantly, it’s also one of the more comfortable and safe options for your child.
This car seat is designed so that it’s safe for your child staring the moment they’re born. It provides a comfortable headrest with side flaps that help keep their head stable, even asleep or in those first few weeks. The harness grows with your child, providing superior protection for years.
The rear-facing setting can support your child up to 40 lbs, making it a safer option for longer than many smaller car seats. The front-facing design is good to about 60 lbs, depending on the exact build of your child.
Even if the worst should happen, this car seat does a great job of keeping your little one safer. The harness will help prevent too much movement, that can cause injury and whiplash. It’s also designed with crumple zones to absorb energy before it gets to your child.
The click tight lock on the car seat also helps you know when the whole car seat is properly installed. The secure locking mechanism greatly reduces the chances of improper installation, or a bad clip, causing the car seat to fail.
Altogether, this is an attractive and incredibly safe option. That said, you might need to make sure the bottom slots for the seatbelt don’t have any sharp edges. This car seat can be particularly hard on your seatbelts.
|Crumple zones included|
|Easy to tell when the buckle is properly fastened|
|Lasts a long time|
|Multiple headrest positions|
|Can wear out seatbelts over time|
|The cushion is not removable|
|Rear-facing 5 to 40 lbs|
|Forward-facing 20 to 65 lbs|
|23” x 20.5” x 23.5”|
|Designed for ages 0-5|
Editor’s Rating: 4.9
This car seat might not look that different from your average convertible car seats, but it has a lot of the little features that can make a big difference in your car seat.
Designed for children from infancy through 65 lbs, this car seat is in it for the long haul. It capable of holding a higher maximum rear-facing weight than many car seats, making it a good option for large babies and babies that grow quickly, before hitting the important milestones for front-facing seats.
This model includes a cushion and headset insert designed specifically to make it a more comfortable and effective option for your littlest little ones. Once they outgrow that smaller seat, just take the insert out, and they’ll have the cushion and headrest of the main seat.
The frame is steel-reinforced for extra security and stability but also constructed with energy-absorbing foam and other crash safety measures.
You can also check how to level the seat is as you install it, guiding though many recline positions until you find the right one.
The Sure seat belt locking system also helps you know that the seat belt is in the right place, and reduced friction wear and tear. That makes the whole system much safer.
Plus, two cup holders, two different crotch strap positions, and several other small features make this a good car seat for families that like to travel or have a long commute to and from critical locations.
Hopefully, you can already see why this car seat made out top pick for this list, but it’s worth noting that, while it’s a little more expensive than some alternatives, it offers many important features. This car seat is designed to make your life easier while keeping your child comfortable and safe at the same time.
Since it’s also incredibly durable and easy to clean, we also felt that it might be worth spending a little extra upfront and passing this car seat down to future children.
|Level system included|
|14 reclining positions|
|2 different harness crotch strap arrangements|
|Comes with an infant cushion and headset insert|
|Very sturdy long-lasting design|
|Straps sometimes go underneath the cover|
|Button to provide slack in the harness is hard to press|
|3D air mesh backrest|
|Zip-off main cushion|
|2 folding cupholders (dishwasher safe)|
|Rear-facing weight 4-50 lbs|
|Front-facing weight 22-65 lbs|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6
This car seat looks a little different, but don’t let that fool you. It’s still a very safe, comfortable, and effective option for your little one.
The addition of more environmentally friendly fabrics, including bacteria resistant properties, also makes this a much easier to car seat to keep clean and healthy. It will also look better longer since the fabric is stain-resistant and will hold up against those inevitable spills and accidents.
It’s also designed to hold your little one in a rear-facing position, safely, for much longer. Its maximum weight capacity in the rear-facing position is 50 lbs.
That breaks the general rule of narrow car seats being lower weight capacity. This car seat is a good choice for large families and families with triplets since three of these car seats can sit side-by-side in most backseats.
In a collision, the aluminum base on this car seat has several crumple zones to absorb waves of energy before they can reach your child and cause harm.
|Crumple zones add safety|
|Designed for longer rear-facing use|
|Bacteria and odor resistant.|
|Takes up a lot of space in the backseat|
|Installation is time-consuming|
|24 x 16.9 x 16|
|Hand wash only|
|Made in Canada|
Editor’s Rating: 4.6
The truth is that not every family needs the most premium car seats, but every family wants a car seat that is as comfortable and safe as the top of the line products. This is one of the few car seats that offer the best adaptations along with a more modest price.
Don’t get us wrong, the Safety 1st car seat is still a considerable investment. But, it’s a good value for the cost, and noticeably more affordable than many of the other car seats on our list.
This car seat transitions easily between a rear-facing seat for infants and babies to a front-facing car seat for toddlers, and then a booster for young children.
Dual cup holders in every car seat make it easier to bring beverages with you and keep your little one happier on long trips.
This car seat also knows that your child isn’t likely to always cooperate when it’s time to get in their car seat. The harness holders attached to this system make it easier to get your child safely harnessed and comfortable, even when they’re playing dead or arching against the seat.
|Helps make harnessing easier|
|Grows with your little one|
|More affordable than most similar car seats|
|Removable seat pad|
|No recline settings|
|Installation can be difficult|
|24.5 x 19.2 x 24.2 inches|
|Maximum weight 100 lbs|
|Removable seat cushion and head pillow|
Editor’s Rating: 4.5
This is another great car seat option for large families. Designed to hold children up to approximately 100 lbs (about 10 years old), this car seat comes in a wide range of colors. It’s also narrow enough that most car back seats will be able to safely hold three seats.
That means that your children will be able to have their favorite color, their car seat, and plenty of room without having to buy a large family van or other carpooling solution.
The smaller profile doesn’t mean you’re compromising on a sturdy frame though. The dual spine design, combined with a reinforced steel frame, means that there’s plenty of support. The car seat also has specially designed crumple zones to make it a little safer in case of a collision.
It’s also designed for safety from all angles, with crumple zones and structural support from all angles.
The SuperLatch system also makes it easier to tell when this car seat is properly installed and holds it more secure in your vehicle.
The five-point harness also provides added safety and comfort for your little one.
|5-point adjustable harness|
|Designed to handle collision|
|The forward-facing car seat can handle up to 120 lbs|
|The cover is machine washable|
|Narrow design might not be comfortable for all body types|
|Rear-facing design requires the front seat to be pushed forward|
|16.14 x 16.93 x 28.35 in|
|Maximum weight: 120 lbs|
|80% Polyester/20% Spandex|
Editor’s Rating: 4.4
This car seat is one of the better car seats for handling side-collision and is a good option for more compact spaces and smaller cars. While you never want the worst to happen, being prepared will help you weather the storm.
Premium fabrics also help keep your little one comfortable so that they can stand to be in their car seat a little longer. They also have an infant insert that makes it a little safer for your little one when they’re a newborn.
The air protection system in the car seat also helps keep your baby’s head safer from all complications.
The smaller design of this car seat also makes your car more comfortable for all the occupants of your car. The car seat is small enough that your front seat can sit further back in the car much more comfortably.
The main chest buckle is also a good option. It’s convenient thanks to a magnetic design, and also flips away to be further out of the way when you’re taking your kid out of the car.
|Magnetic chest clip|
|Deep reclining options|
|Removable machine washable cover|
|Advanced protection for the head|
|Harness straps twist easily|
|Maximum weight is 85 lbs|
|18.5 x 20.8 x 29.6 inches|
|Machine washable cover|
|Removable infant insert|
Editor’s Rating: 4.3
This car seat is a little different from some of the other car seats on this list. This is a more trimmed down and lightweight version of a car seat. It’s suitable for traveling, and for shorter car trips, though we might not recommend it for an everyday car seat or a road trip car seat.
Not that this car seat won’t get the job done. It just isn’t as comfortable and won’t be quite as safe as some of the bigger and heavier models that are available.
That said, this is a good car seat for parents who need a more budget option and aren’t looking for a big-budget or longer-lasting solution.
It’s also a great convertible car seat for air travel since it’s lightweight and a smaller design profile.
That said, there is plenty of padding in this chair. The harness is safe and comfortable, and the buckles are reasonable to use.
However, this car seat does have a fairly significant downside in that it’s only rated for children up to 40 lbs. That means that this car seat will really only be an option during your child’s early months and years, and they’ll likely still need a larger car seat or booster seat later.
Slits in the back of the fabric and padding provide some airflow, though this isn’t necessarily the best car seat where that’s concerned.
|Easy to move and travel with|
|Great for air travel|
|Easy to use harness|
|Not suitable for children above 40 lbs|
|Not as much structure as other car seats|
|Not as many safety adaptations as other car seats|
|5 point harness|
|40 lbs maximum weight|