Top 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2019 – Complete Guide

Top 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2018

Do infants always need an infant car seat? Yes and No!

Yes, because infant seats are specially designed to provide the best support and safety to the newborns. No, because convertible car seats are an excellent alternative that can not only carry the tots but also accommodate toddlers weighing up to 40 pounds. Some models even convert into booster seats, which means it will grow up with your child and accompany her until she becomes older enough to sit on the actual car seat and fasten the seatbelt. Read our complete guide about the best baby car seats.

Convertible car seats are a great solution for the budget-minded people. The good thing is that they provide the services of two or three types of car seats without compromising with the basics – which are the comfort features and the safety properties.

Convertible seats are more popular than one-stage units because they save plenty of money. Also, many parents consider it a hassle to purchase several seats during the growing period of the baby. Just buy a high-quality convertible seat and say goodbye to the struggle of going through a plethora of choices to find a suitable one that matches your budget and requirements for two to three time more.

The convertible units can convert from rear-facing to forward-facing. They accommodate the newborns with an added pillow insert and some even transform into the booster mode to accompany older children. Read our latest guide about the best baby booster seats.

General Characteristic of a Convertible Car Seat

There are some unique attributes of convertible seats that make them distinct from other types of seat.Top 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2018

  • The seats can be installed both rear-facing and forward-facing.
  • Depending on the child’s weight and the seat’s weight limit, it is possible to use one seat for newborns to until they are 6 years old.
  • They don’t have any removable base. You cannot transfer them into a stroller.
  • Use a 5-point harness.
  • Most of them can carry children up to 65 pounds or 49 inches, whichever comes first.

Convertible Car Seats vs. Other Types

Like any other products, convertible seats can be good, bad, and the best. Some models may not be up to standard but it is not hard to find one that fares better than many one-stage seats. A convertible unit can perform as an infant seat, a toddler seat, and a booster seat (in some models).

Let’s compare it with all these three types to see what features it has compared to them.

Versus Infant Car Seats

The main difference is a convertible model is designed to function as an infant car seat along with a few other types while an infant unit is exclusively designed for newborns.

An infant car seat is the more traditional of the two styles. It has a base that you have to attach to the car seat and a carrier that clips into the base. Due to its small size, it fits a small car and makes it easier to carry around. Many models come as part of a travel system where you can effortlessly transfer it from the car to a stroller. You don’t need to wake up the sleeping baby when the ride is over or put a strain on its neck when carrying around.

The real bummer is the newborn won’t fit into the seat anymore as it will be a toddler within 12 to 18 months. Also, when the baby is growing up, it will be more and more difficult carry her with the seat. Ultimately, you have to keep the carrier in the car, losing the benefit of its detachable feature.

On the other hand, a convertible car seat can be installed both rear- and forward-facing. You just need to switch theTop 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2018 side when your baby becomes older enough to sit forward-facing. All the models keep the tots rear-facing for at least one year. There are many units that can keep them in that position for two years or more as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. After switching the seat position, the child can sit front-facing for another one or two years.

However, convertible seats are huge and heavy. They take plenty of space inside a car, and setting them up in a rear-positon could be tough because of the cramped space. Also, you cannot carry them around due to the heaviness and most of them don’t fit a stroller.

Versus Toddler Car Seats

All the convertible seats function perfectly as toddler seat even if it is combination unit (a hybrid version that works as a forward-facing seat and a booster with a detachable harness system) instead of a convertible seat proper.

Other than being simpler in design and less bulky, a toddler seat does not have an edge over its convertible counterparts.

Versus Booster Seats

Technically, a convertible seat does not transform into the booster mode but a combination set and 3-in-1 unit do. A combination set is equipped with a harness while a standard booster uses the seatbelts.

The Exclusive Benefits of Convertible Car Seats

You might be tempted to wait to buy a convertible child seat for your infant, if for no other reason than the convenience of using the detachable carrier.

Safer. If you compare the safety aspect between a toddler and a convertible car seat, the latter will be the winner. It provides the full protection for a child’s head during a car crash.

Grows with your growing child. Many infant car seats have a 30-35 pounds weight limit. The problem is most children will be taller than the seat before reaching that weight. A convertible sea is convenient because you canTop 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2018 transform it to the forward-facing position when your child outgrows the rear-facing mode.

Cost-efficient. If you start with an infant car seat, you will have to purchase a toddler seat in your child’s second birthday (or sooner in some cases). It means you have to spend more than once and go through the hassling shopping process twice. To avoid it, go for a convertible seat and save a good amount of money.

The Characteristics of High-Quality Convertible Car Seats

Shopping for a car seat is no less complex than shopping for a car. There are plenty of factors to weigh making the decision. There is no formula to define the best car seat but look for these following features to make sure that it will work best for you:

Ease of Use

The convertible seats offer two different installation methods – LATCH connectors and the vehicle’s seatbelts. The LATCH system is easier and more secure but some old cars don’t have the LATCH anchors. In that case, the seatbelt is the only option. A high-quality convertible seat will feel secure even after installing with only a lap belt.

Getting your baby in and out of the seat including strapping her into the harness, tightening the straps, and positioning the reclining system should be easier processes. Also, it has to be lighter for parents living in a busy city where they have to travel with their little one often in a cab or Uber car. Some models are heavy and these are fine if you don’t need to move the seat often.

Performance & Comfort

All the seats follow a basic design and are made of almost same kinds of materials except for a few bells and whistles in some models. Most of them have a hard plastic shell covering a think foam padding. Some of them could have a metal frame instead of the plastic case or some other engineering to improve the performance during a ride and car accident.

The comfort factor mainly depends on the amount of padding and the quality of the exterior fabric. Almost all the models come with an infant insert pillow that helps the tiny bodies to properly fit into the contour of the seat. It is not also rare to find extra cushioning around the back and hip areas. The presence of head wings around the headTop 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2018 area is quite unusual, though. The wings do the double functions of enhancing the comfort and impact protection.

The foam used in the padding could be hard foam or soft foam. The first one is mostly used in the seats because they work as a primary energy absorbing material. The foam could be Expanded Polypropylene (EPP) or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), and the latter is the more common. The softer variation is mainly used around the head region. It cannot provide any protection but is good for extra comfort.

Safety Features

The safest convertible car seat is the one that perfectly fits your child, set nicely inside the vehicle, and be quickly and easily installed every time. However, considering the overall safety aspect, the seat has to pass federal safety standards and tests for side impact protection. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that every single seat has to undergo thorough safety testing before hitting the market.

The convertible seats do an excellent job in protecting the baby’s head during an accident. Most crash tests, including the government standards, don’t analyze the consequence of the baby seat colliding into the front seatback. The Consumer Reports did a test and found convertible seats doing better in protecting the child’s head than an infant car seat in a rear-facing position. The longer shell of these seats prevents the head to suffer a direct contact with the car’s seat.

The Consumer Reports testing found only 4% of convertible seats not performing up to the mark while it was 53% for the infant seats. Just make sure that the position of the bottom of the head support is right above the baby’s shoulders to ensure the maximum head protection.

Top 20 Best Convertible Car Seats in 2019

Picture

Name Feature Price

Rating

Picture

Name Feature Price

Rating

1. Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
14-position harness $$$ 4.8
2. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
InRight LATCH system $$$ 4.7
3. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
2 layers of side impact protection $$$ 4.7
4. Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
9-position leveling system $$$ 4.6
5. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
Dimensions 22.8 x 21.2 x 29.5 inches $$$ 4.6
6. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
Up to 50 pounds rear-facing $$$ 4.5
7. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 23.75 inch $$$ 4.5
8. Evenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
5-point Infinite Slide harness $$$ 4.4
9. Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
Belt-positioning booster 30 – 100 pounds $$$ 4.3
10. Eddie Bauer XRS 65 Convertible Car Seat
Forward-facing from 22 to 65 pounds $$ 4.3
11. Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat Featuring RapidRemove
Dimensions 22.3 x 19.3 x 26 inches $$$ 4.2
12. Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
FIRST rollover-tested car seat $$$ 4.1
13. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
100% Polyester $$ 4.1
14. Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
 3-position recline $$ 4.0
15. Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster
 Children from 22-110 lbs $$ 3.9
16. Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat
Compact design for small cars $$ 3.9
17. Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat
5-point harness system $$ 3.9
18. Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat
Dimensions 19.3 x 22.3 x 26 inches $$$ 3.8
19. Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Convertible Car Seat
 US standard FMVSS 213 Tested $$ 3.8
20. Disney APT Convertible Car Seat
for children 5 to 40 pounds $$ 3.7

1. Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car SeatBritax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

The Britax Marathon ClickTight is a Euro-styled, well-padded convertible car seat that accommodates newborns and preschoolers. The model boasts of EPP-stuffed headwings, no-rethread harness, and rubber HUGS pads. It uses an improved ClickTight Technology that requires no more than a few seconds to install the seat. It takes the top spot in this list because of providing the right balance of all the features. The seat is safe, comfortable, and offers a quick installation.

Ease of Use

Installing the car seat is as easy as buckling a seatbelt, thanks to the ClickTight technology. It has an integrated lockoff system, so there’s no need to figuring out the seatbelt’s locking features. Installation with the seatbelt is a cinch too. All you have to do is to pull the loose part of the lap belt and close the ClickTight panel.

Setting up with the LATCH system is ridiculously easy with the standard clip-on style connectors, which save space and reduce the overall weight of the seat. The seatbelt installation is so easy that you may not want to use the LATCH system. But, if you do, look into the back of the base to find the lower LATCH connectors stored in a small cubicle.

The tether is shorter than the previous models, cutting the risk of tripping over the excess tether webbing. However, you can purchase a separate tether extender in case you need it in your car.

Performance & Comfort

The Marathon ClickTight fits a newborn rear-facing with the infant insert and minus the standard rubber HUGS pads. Do the opposite when you are using it forward-facing for an older child. The entire seat is padded, ensuring the best comfort for your little one even if it’s a long journey. But, the lack of foam lining at the edge is a concern, though.

The seat should be in a reclined state for the rear-facing position and upright state in a forward-facing position. When it is rear-facing, you can apply 7 recline options to make sure that the angle is right.

If you think the seat should be reclined by one more notch for a newborn, you can do so by using a pool noodle. For the forward-facing, it is possible to set at the most upright position. Just be careful that the level indicator ball is not touching the edge. There is a recline option for the forward-facing installation, which makes a long trip cozy for the children.

Safety Features

The steel frame, impact absorbing base, and a thick layer of padding do the job of shielding the child from unexpected jerks and bumps. It is tested for the crash and side-impact protection.

Try to keep your child as upright as possible when sitting forward-facing. It is because a reclined position cuts the legroom and increases the chance of leg injuries in a crash.

The seat is FAA-approved and you can install it on an airplane seat both rear- and forward facing. With a 10-year of lifespan, the Marathon ClickTight is likely to serve you for a long time.

Pros

  • ClickTight technology makes installation super easy
  • Built-in lockoff
  • No-rethread harness
  • Overall padding
  • FAA- approved

Cons

  • Achieving newborn recline angle requires a pool noodle
  • Lack of edge foam lining

2. Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car SeatGraco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 is an all-rounder car seat that grows with your child until she becomes older enough to ditch the baby car seat. It has features that enhance comfort, increase safety aspect, and simplify the installation.

Ease of Use

The 4Ever 4-in-1 accommodates children from 4 to 120 pounds and converts to rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster mode (both high back and backless styles).

The seat is up for installation with both InRight LATCH system and the car’s seatbelt. There are color-coded sections matching the manual for both techniques. There is no need to figure out what goes where. Just read the manual and follow the color-coded labels.

Attaching with the UAS connectors needs just a push against the anchors but uninstallation requires pressing on the red release button while pulling from the anchors. Tightening the strap requires enough muscle power.

The seatbelt setup is much easier because you don’t need to exert much force. Slowly pull the strap out all the way and then release it to go back on. It will click into the locking mechanism during the retraction. Don’t forget to attach the tether belt when setting up the seat forward-facing.

Performance & Comfort

Nothing works better than a cozy seat to keep your kids happy. The soft padding and adjustable headrest guarantee a comfortable ride. The breathable seat cover will keep the sweat away while the abundant body support will cradle the baby’s body and keep the head in the right posture when she dozes off. The two cup holders are great for keeping the drinks or toys close to your toddler.

You can tilt the seat in three positions when it’s rear- and forward-facing. It is not possible to create a different angle by using pool noodle because the base has to sit flush against the car’s seat. Remember that there is no way to position the seat in an upright posture, which could be uncomfortable for an older child.

Safety Features

The steel frame and energy-absorbing padding dull the sheer force created in a crash. The 5-point harness system further enhances the security. You can adjust it without rethreading, which is time-saving.

The 4Ever 4-in-1 is FAA-approved, eligible for use in the airplane. It has a 10-year lifespan and there is no need to replace it before that time unless it suffers an accident.

Pros

  • Color-coded installation
  • Adjustable headrest
  • 5-point no rethread harness
  • Energy absorbing padding
  • 10-year lifespan

Cons

  • The seat won’t be upright in forward-facing
  • More recline points would be nice
  • Rear-facing harness adjustment could be tricky

3. Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car SeatBritax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Baby car seats have undergone drastic improvements in the past decade or so, with new, feature-rich seats frequently hitting the market. Britax has honored that legacy by producing seats incorporated with the groundbreaking ClickTight technology. Britax marketed the Boulevard ClickTight convertible car seat as a game-changer. Is it good enough to live up to the hype?

Ease of Use

If you are talking about ease of installation, nothing can beat Boulevard because it literally installs itself – both rear- and forward-facing – with the ClickTight system. For fastening with the seatbelt, just open the ClickTight panel, route the belts through the designated belt paths, and push the panel closed. It is as simple as that!

LATCH installation is also pretty straightforward but the uninstallation is a bit complicated due to the hook-type connectors. Attaching the LATCH belt is similar to that of the seatbelt installation but you will need to loosen the LATCH strap to unhook the connectors. It requires pushing a button and pulling the webbing at the same time, which can be challenging when the strap is tight.

Always attach the tether strap when the car seat is forward-facing. Don’t forget to do it because it cuts down the possibility of head bumps in a crash.

Performance & Comfort

There is a newborn insert pillow to ensure the right fit for little babies. The seat is big enough for carrying even a 5-year-old rear-facing although the child will feel a bit cramped there. The harness fits even to a newborn whose shoulders are below the harness slots if you use the lower body insert.

Setting the reclining angle is as easy as pie. Keep the indicator in the light blue zone for small babies and deep blue zone for the older babies who are riding rear-facing. It should be in the green zone for the forward-facing installation.

Cleaning the seat cover is easy since it comes off in four pieces and putting them back on also does not take much time.

Safety Features

The Boulevard meets all the federal safety standards and its overall padding and deep headwings provide superior protection during side-impact accidents.

The seat is FAA-approved and you can install it on a plane seat rear- or forward-facing by using the plane’s seatbelt.

Britax offers a one-year limited warranty for the product and ensures it to have a 10-year lifespan.

Pros

  • Installation is a breeze with the ClickTight system
  • Comfortable padding and headwings
  • Cleaning is easy
  • 10-year lifespan

Cons

  • Uninstalling the LATCH is challenging
  • Limited legroom for rear-facing older children

4. Chicco NextFit Convertible Car SeatChicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat

The Chicco KeyFit received universal love from parents as an infant car seat. So, the bar as already set pretty high for the NextFit convertible car seat because it was wearing the Chicco name. Well, the NextFit won’t disappoint although many people will find the price a bit high.

Ease of Use

The NextFit is amazing since it is compatible with a wide range of cars in both rear- and forward-facing positions. Both LATCH and seatbelt installations are simple.

The lower LATCH anchors are suitable as long as the baby is under 35 pounds. Switch to the seatbelt with the lockoff system when the baby is between 35 and 40 pounds in a rear-facing position. For the forward-facing, use the seatbelt when the child weighs 40 to 65 pounds.

Tightening and changing the position of the LATCH strap is a cinch because of the Super Cinch LATCH Tightener. You can achieve a secure, tight fit within a few seconds.

Performance & Comfort

The entire seat is well-padded and the study frame is designed to blunt much of the force in a crash. Any baby at or more than 12 pounds of weight will nicely fit into the seat. For smaller ones, there is an infant insert to ensure a secure fit.

The good thing is you can tie the harness strap on a preemie too when the infant insert is there. Although Britax sets the minimum weight to 5 pounds, the seat is comfortable and safe to put a preemie weighing 4 pounds. The NextFit ultimately saves money as it accommodates the growing children with the 6-position headrest and 5-point harness systems.

The 9-position ReclineSure offers the most recline options for a convertible seat. You don’t have to worry about the right angle because two Ride Right bubble levels are there for indicating the correct inclination.

Safety Features

The NextFit meets or exceeds all the Federal safety standards. You can sit relax knowing that your child is safe in the event of a head-to-head or side-impact crash.

Pros

  • Installation is simple
  • Grows with the growth of a child
  • Can accommodate preemies
  • Meets all safety standards

Cons

  • LATCH weight limit is only 35 pounds
  • Expensive

5. Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car SeatMaxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat

The Pria 70 convertible car seat is different from all the models in this list because of featuring a seat-within-a-seat called ‘TinyFit’. Many convertibles claim to fit a newborn weighing 5 or 6 pounds but actually don’t. The Pria 70 rubs out all the confusion with the TinyFit that can take your preemie home and carry her until she is 5 or 6 years old.

Ease of Use

The Pria 70 is a 2-in-1 convertible car seat that converts into rear-facing (holding babies 9 to 40 pounds) and forward-facing (holding 22 to 70 pounds of children) positions.

The push-on style LATCH connectors with one flexible strap do not take much effort to install. There is also an option for seatbelt installation. Remember that you have to thread both the LATCH and seatbelt through the belt paths on both sides for rear-facing attachment. The forward-facing setup is also pretty straightforward. To tighten the belt, you have to reach the belt path through an opening in the cover.

Performance & Comfort

The silky polyester cover feels comfortable due to the ample padding. You can remove the covers of both the seat and TinyFit for handwashing. There is no need to rethread the harness or uninstall the seat for cleaning. Unfortunately, the headrest cover is not removable.

There are 3 reclining positions, where positions 2 and 3 are required to settle the rear-facing angle line level. You must use recline 1 for a forward-facing child over 40 pounds and position 2 for a forward-facing child between 22 and 40 pounds.

It is rare to find a convertible that fits a 4-pound preemie. The Pria 70 is an exception in this case. The TinyFit accommodates babies smaller than a normal-size newborn. You can use the Tiny-Fit as long as the infant’s head does not exceed the insert’s top edge. The 5-point harness is suitable for babies from 4 to 70 pounds.

Safety Features

The Pria 70 has enough cushioning to protect the child from regular jerks and bumps. The Air Protect advanced cushioning system safeguards against side impact.

The seat also gets airplane certification. You can install it on a plane seat for carrying your baby. However, it is heavy (23 pounds), so think before deciding to carry it to the plane.

Pros

  • Accommodates children from 4 to 70 pounds
  • TinyFit can carry the preemies
  • Thick padding
  • Side-impact protection

Cons

  • Tightening the latch belt is difficult
  • Heavy

6. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car SeatGraco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit is a great option for those parents who want their babies to keep rear-facing as long as possible. It has a market-leading weight and height limit for the rear-facing mode. It lacks some bells and whistles compared to the expensive competitors but people with a tight budget will find it worth considering.

Ease of Use

The Extend2Fit beats other rear-facing seats in the market by allowing the rear-facing weight and height limit 50 pounds and 49 inches, respectively. Finding other models offering similar extended limits will be much more expensive. The forward-facing limits are also generous, 65 pounds and 49 inches.

The InRight LATCH system allows installing the seat with the LATCH connectors and seatbelt quickly and without any hassle. The weight-limit for LATCH installation is 45 pounds in both modes. After that, you have to use the car’s seatbelt.

The 10-position headrest and no-rethread harness system make your life easier. There is no need to readjust the harness when your child grows a few inches or gains a few pounds. It will readjust according to the headrest position. However, it will be a tad tough to loosen or tighten the harness when it is on a lower slot because the headrest is pushing against it.

Performance & Comfort

The seat feels comfortable due to the overall padding and extra cushion around the head, back, and bottom areas. The steel frame and the thick padding are great for sponging up the bumps on rough roads. There are 6 reclining positions that you can adjust by pulling or pushing a grey handle.

The great feature of Extend2Fit it provides 5 inches of extra legroom with an extension panel. No more complaint from the toddler or your older child about dangling the legs over the edge of the seat while in the rear-facing position. You can’t use that extender when the seat is forward-facing.

Safety Features

The Extend2Fit is tested for both the US Standard FMVSS 213 and side-impact protection. You can use it on the airplane too. Graco assures that it will last for 10 years but replacement is necessary after any crash.

Pros

  • Highest weight and height limits for the rear-facing position
  • Leg extender
  • InRight Latch system
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Seat cover does not come off easily
  • Tightening and loosening the harness is tough

7. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car SeatSafety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

There are hordes of convertible seats in the market but only a handful gives a reliable performance at every stage of conversion. The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 is one of those few models that remains functional through all stages – as rear-facing, forward-facing, and a high-back booster. Also, the slim profile takes less space in the passenger row, allowing you to set up even two seats in the back.

Ease of Use

The Grow and Go 3-in-1 does not come up with a built-in lockoff feature, making installing with the car’s seatbelt a bit difficult. You must figure out the right way to lock the belts into the vehicle.

You can use LATCH installation too but the weight limit is 40 pounds at the forward facing mode. For a heavier child, you must use the seatbelt, which has to be combined with the harness and tether. Also, you cannot use the LATCH in the booster mode.

The booster seat can carry a child up to 100 pounds but it won’t be the last booster your kid will need because the Grow and Go 3-in-1 is not very tall. The color codes (red for forward-facing and blue for rear-facing) make the setup process easier.

Performance & Comfort

For a budget-friendly convertible seat, the Grow and Go 3-in-1 feels incredibly plush and luxurious. There is adequate cushioning and the fabric that covers the pads and straps is super cozy.

Removing and reattaching the cover does not take more than a few seconds. You can hand wash or put it in a washing machine and even dry on low heat. Cleaning the harness does not need anything more than wiping with a damp washcloth.

There are 3 reclining positions and it is possible to find an upright angle for the older kids who can sit up unassisted. For infants, the red level line must be parallel to the ground. The positions 2 and 3 can be used for toddlers and older children. However, you must use the position 1 (fully upright) for forward-facing and booster modes.

Safety Features

The Grow and Go 3-in-1 passes the tests for all safety standards and side-impact protection. It is FAA-approved but only in the harness mode, which means you need to arrange for something else for your older kid sitting on a booster.

The seat has a 10-year lifespan but replacement is mandatory after a crash.

Pros

  • Functional in all three modes
  • The cover is luxe and easy to remove and clean
  • Slim profile
  • Booster conversion is quick

Cons

  • Reclining to the red level line is space consuming
  • LATCH is not compatible with booster mode

8. Evenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Convertible Car SeatEvenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

The Symphony Elite All-In-One from Evenflo is a relief to all those budget-minded parents who are looking for something that will carry their baby from birth to until it no longer needs a booster seat. The seat has all the good features except for a little bit on the larger side.

Ease of Use

Setting the Symphony Elite is a breeze due to the auto-retracting SureLATCH connectors. It will automatically adjust without requiring any pulling. Seatbelt installation is simple too but the absence of a built-in lockoff device requires you to figure out how the seatbelt locks.

The LATCH straps for the lower anchors could be too short in some vehicles. Remember that there are two LATCH sets for rear- and forward-facing modes. Use the correct one to avoid any trouble.

Another problem is there is no level indicator for the rear-facing mode. The only way to ensure the right angle is to position it in a way so that the arrow on the base’s side is parallel to the ground.

Performance & Comfort

The Symphony Elite is highly comfortable because of the abundance of plush padding and the cozy fabric cover. The seat cover is easy to take off and the machine washing option reduces your laundry chore.

Any average-sized newborn will fit into the seat but you may need to put rolled up towels between the baby’s body and the crotch strap for the slightly underweight newborns.

The lower body insert is great for pushing a little baby’s shoulders up to the lower level of the harness position. But, the small pillow insert is not so exciting since it pushes the baby’s head forward.

You can use the 5-point harness for rear- and forward-facing modes but most toddlers will be taller enough for it before reaching the 65 pounds weight limit.

Safety Features

The Symphony Elite scores some extra safety points with the energy-absorbing foam liner and E3 side impact protection that is made of three layers of protective materials. It minimizes the crash-force in a side-impact accident by 50%.

You can use the seat in the airplane with the harness, which means no booster mode. The 8-year of lifespan is pretty standard.

Pros

  • Quick installation with the SureLATCH connectors
  • Plush padding and cover
  • Energy-absorbing foam liner
  • E3 side-impact protection

Cons

  • SureLATCH strap length might be too short in some vehicles
  • No recline level indicator

9. Graco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car SeatGraco Milestone All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Graco nailed the combination seat class with the Nautilus. Have they been able to repeat the same quality in the convertible seat category with the Milestone All-in-1? They have, surprisingly. It lacks some features including the conversion to a backless booster mode than the more expensive 4Ever All-in-1. Otherwise, it does a great job in the less-than-$200 price category.

Ease of Use

The parents will be happy with Milestone’s quick, easy installation methods. It does not take more than a few minutes to set it up with the LATCH and seatbelt in both rear- and forward-facing positions. There is no integrated lockoff device, so figuring out the seatbelt installation can take a few more minutes.

The distinctly-marked and color-coded labels make the job even easier. You have to match the blue label for rear-facing, orange for forward-facing, and green for the booster mode.

The tilt-style adjuster makes it a cinch to loosen the LATCH and ether straps. Switching the LATCH connectors between rear- and forward-facing has to be done manually because there is only one set of belt paths. You just have to slide the strap under the red bar to FF from the RF position. But, two sets of straps would definitely make it a simpler task.

Using the seatbelt is mandatory in forward-facing once the child gains more than 42 pounds of weight. The Milestone is a high seat, allowing you to keep the kid rear-facing even when she is 5 years old given that the weight is ls than 40 pounds.

Performance & Comfort

The 4 reclining positions (1 & 2 for rear-facing, 3 & 4 for forward-facing, and position 4 for the booster) keep the baby in the right angle. There are a ball indicator and a pull-on adjuster for easy adjustment and setup.

With adequate cushioning, extra pillow and bottom inserts, and comfortable fabric, the Milestone is cozy. Removing the cover is not difficult although can be a little tricky because of having three types of attachments – snaps, hooks, and tabs. The laundry is not a chore, though. You can machine-wash the cover in cold water.

Safety Features

The Milestone meets all US safety standards. It is tested for side-impact protection with the 5-point harness system. It will last for 10 years but replacement is required after an accident.

The seat is rated for using in the airplane.

Pros

  • Easy installation with LATCH and seatbelt
  • Works fine in all three modes
  • High enough to carry taller children rear-facing

Cons

  • Does not have a lockoff device
  • Removing the cover can be tricky
  • The booster seat is not backless

10. Eddie Bauer XRS 65 Convertible Car SeatEddie Bauer XRS 65 Convertible Car Seat

The Eddie Bauer XRS 65 is an inexpensive car seat that you can use from the birth of your child to until she reaches 65 pounds. At less than $60, it is a great value for money and a financial relief for the parents with a tight budget.

Ease of Use

The XRS 65 is a 2-in-1 convertible seat that accommodates children from 5 to 40 pounds rear-facing and 22 to 65 pounds forward-facing. However, it is not quite suitable for a 5-pound newborn because the harness strap does not fit even into the lowest slot until the baby is 6 months old.

The height of the seat is enough to keep the children rear-facing before they cross the maximum weight limit. Also, any child is unlikely to outgrow the seat by height before they reach 65 pounds in the forward-facing mode.

LATCH installation is easier than setting it up with the seatbelt. However, tightening the strap in both processes can be tricky.

Performance & Comfort

The XRS 65 is padded and soft and the fabric feels nice to the touch. Taking off the cover is difficult and doing the laundry is a hassle too because it requires handwashing and air drying.

Instead of different reclining positions, the XRS 65 has a recline bar. But, there is no buddle level indicator to make sure that the angle is right. Also, it becomes confusing when you actually need to tilt the bar a tad forward for the seat to be at the right angle in the forward-facing mode.

The seat as a narrow profile and weighs less than 15 pounds. It is possible to fit even three seats side by side due to the slim structure.

Safety Features

The XRS 65 meets all the regular safety features and passes the NHTSA crash tests. The frame has a built-in protective layer for blunting the side impact during a crash.

The FAA-approved seat has an 8-year of lifespan.

Pros

  • Slim profile
  • Comfortable padding
  • Generous height and weight limits
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Bigger for a newborn
  • Setting the right angle is confusing
  • Tightening the strap can be tricky
  • The cover is not machine washable

11. Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat featuring RapidRemoveGraco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat featuring RapidRemove

The Graco Size4Me 65 will amaze any parent with its versatility. It fits an average newborn but is also suitable for a 7-year old. It also has a high rear-facing limit so you can keep your baby in the recommended safe position for a long time. If the high price tag suits you, it will quickly become your favorite convertible.

Ease of Use

The Size4Me functions in both rear-facing and forward-facing directions – holding your infant from 4 to 40 pounds in the first position and toddler from 22 to 65 pounds in the second mode. The seat is large and bulky but the generous weight limits compensate for it.

The InRight LATCH system features push-in connectors, so installation is quite simple and quick. Switching the position does not require any re-routing because there are separate connectors for the modes. Seatbelt setup is also straightforward because of the presence of separate belt paths. However, there is no built-in lockoff device.

The 3-position recline keeps the seat at the right angle with the help of a ball-system level indicator.

Performance & Comfort

The entire seat is generously padded and there is extra support for the head and torso areas, making the seat cozy for small babies. You can remove them when the baby grows bigger. The pads and the seat cover are machine-washable in cold water.

The Simply Safe Adjust harness system is excellent because you can set it up at various points without rethreading the straps or uninstalling the seat. The headrest is also adjustable, so it’s not a problem to make the seat fitting for your child until she reaches the maximum weight or height limit.

Safety Features

The Size4Me has side-impact protection wings lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam that safeguards the baby’s head from the extreme force. It meets or exceeds the federal safety standards.

It has a 7-year lifespan but you have to replace if it suffers an accident.

Pros

  • Generous rear-facing limits
  • Simple InRight LATH system
  • No-rethread harness
  • EPS foam-lined head wings

Cons

  • Somewhat large and bulky
  • No built-in lockoff

12. Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car SeatEvenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo SafeMax Platinum is an all-in-one seat that can accompany your child from infancy to till she grows enough to sit on an actual car seat. You can consider the model as an improved version of the Symphony model from the same brand.

Ease of Use

The SafeMax Platinum can carry children from 5 to 40 pounds in rear-facing, 22 to 65 pounds in forward-facing, and 40 to 120 pounds in the booster mode. The problem is you can use the three lowest slots of the headrest in the rear-facing position, which means the kid will outgrow it in no time before crossing the 40-pound limit.

Even a noob user can set up the seat with a few attempts, thanks to the Quick Connector LATCH system. The seatbelt installation does not also require much figuring out.

However, the conversion from convertible to booster mode is a tough job since you have to detach the seat pad and male a few adjustments.

Performance & Comfort

The unique feature of this SafeMax Platinum model is the use of OutLast Performance fabric in the cover. The premium material controls the temperature and keeps the baby warm in winter and cool in summer.

The detachable cup holders are a nice touch as they will keep the kid’s drinks and toys close to her. Another great feature is the storage section where you can tuck away the buckle tongues and safeguard the kid from suffering hot belt burns.

The SafeMax Premium is a large and bulky seat. Fitting it in a small car and moving from one vehicle to the other could be a challenge.

Safety Features

The products in the SafeMax line are the first car seats to get rollover-tested. What does it mean? It means that these seats are equipped with an exclusive SafeZone headrest. Coupled with the steel frame, the headrest dissipates crash forces and provide special protection to the head.

In addition, the seat meets or exceeds all federal safety standards.

Pros

  • Works in three different modes
  • Premium LATCH system
  • OutLast performance fabric
  • SafeZone headrest

Cons

  • Large and heavy
  • Booster mode installation is complicated
  • Rear-facing mode suits with only three headrest slots

13. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car SeatEvenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

Despite being priced at less than $50, the Evenflo Tribute LX is one of the safest convertibles that you can find in the market. The installation and other adjustment features are also simple to operate, making it one of the most favorites among numerous parents.

Ease of Use

The simple clip-style LATCH connectors make installation quickly but not as easier as push-on connectors. It requires some twisting and pushing to set them in the right slots. Another downside is the different threading of the LATCH strap for rear- and forward-facing direction. Moving the strap requires removing almost the entire seat cover.

A plastic retainer clip makes tightening the strap is a bit tough, especially in the forward-facing mode. The push button that releases the strap is also very stiff.

You can make sure that the seat is installed at the correct angle with the help of the recline adjustment foot. There is an arrow sign on the right side to indicate whether you have done it right or not.

Performance & Comfort

The seat cover fabric is 100% polyester, which is easy to clean but not so comfortable. The lack of enough padding is another discomforting factor. However, there are integrated body cushion and head pillow for younger children.

The multiple options for tuning the shoulder harness add to the comfort factor. The upfront placement of the buckle release and harness modification makes adjustment more convenient. The push-on buckle adjustment does not require more than a push but you have to rethread the harness belt for altering the height.

Safety Features

The Tribute LX meets or exceeds all federal safety standards and Evenflo’s own testing for side-impact protection. The seat is quite safe, especially for safeguarding the head and chest area.

Pros

  • Converts to rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster mode
  • Easy harness adjustment
  • LATCH installation
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Thin padding
  • Polyester cover
  • The forward-facing secure fit is tough to achieve

14. Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car SeatSafety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat

The Alpha Omega Elite from Safety 1st is a versatile car seat that can accompany your kid from the infancy to until she reaches 100 pounds. It is a pretty good deal at less than $100 since it supports children of various ages. Safety 1st offers a range of products to choose from and Alpha Omega Elite is one of their best which you can completely rely on.

Ease of Use

The LATCH installation won’t give you much headache but you have to switch to the seatbelt installation for the booster mode, which can be a bit challenging.

When the performance of rear-facing and forward-facing modes are satisfactory, the booster mode is a real bummer. The lap belt does not provide a good fit and it does not sit properly on the lap but wraps up around the abdomen. It is a serious design mistake that makes the child suffer direct force into the abdomen in the event of an accident. Also, the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) does not include the booster mode of the seat on the safe list, which is a serious warning.

Performance & Comfort

The soft cushioning and good-quality fabric feel good on the skin and keep the child cozy. The pivoting armrests and the cup holders add further to the comfort factor, especially for the older children.

The 3-position recline helps to achieve the correct angle in different modes. The padded QuickFit headrest and harness further help to achieve the right position and fit. It is a no-rethread harness, eliminating the need to uninstall the harness strap for readjusting the headrest.

Safety Features

The EPP energy absorbing foam keeps the child protected from regular bumps and jerks on the road. The head support and pillow insert provide extra comfort and safety for the infants and you can remove them when the child grows up. It also provides good side-impact protection.

The seat is not completely safe in the booster mode.

Pros

  • Converts into three modes
  • Easy harness adjustment with the QuickFit harness system
  • Rotating armrest
  • Cup holders
  • Side impact protection

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Booster mode is not safe

15. Evenflo Chase LX Harness BoosterEvenflo Chase LX Harness Booster

Despite having an old design, the Evenflo Chase LX is a good value for money as a booster seat. Unlike other convertibles, it does not accommodate an infant. Buy it when your child is ready to move from rear-facing to forward-facing. Considering the low price, the Chase LX is hard-wearing and comes with great safety features.

Ease of Use

The seat is suitable for kids from 22 to 40 pounds in the forward-facing position and 40 to 110 pounds in the booster mode. It is equipped with a LATCH system for easy installation but the LATCH connectors will not work for the booster mode setup. In that case, the standard car’s seatbelt is the only option. Setting up the belt is hassle-free since there is a belt-positing route for a correct, safe fit.

The seat weighs only 11 pounds and it does not need a base for attaching to the car’s seat. For this reason, you can easily move it between vehicles if necessary.

Performance & Comfort

The seat has thin padding although there is extra cushioning in the forms of head and side wings. You can take out the cover and seat pad and put them into a washing machine to wash in cold water. You can also use the tumble dry option on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, the Chase LX does not have any reclining option for better head and back support. It has a 5-point harness system though that offers 4 different shoulder slots and an upfront adjustment option for tightening the strap.

There are built-in cup holders on both sides for the kids to keep their drinks or toys.

Safety Features

The Chase LX is tested for structural integrity and side impact protection. It meets the federal crash test standards. In addition, the head wings and side walls contain energy-absorbing foam that takes much of the force in the event of an accident.

The seat is FAA-compliant but only with the 5-point harness system. There is no way to use it as a booster seat in a plane.

Pros

  • LATCH installation is simple and easy
  • Lightweight
  • Standard safety features
  • Energy-absorbing foam
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No recline option
  • Thin padding

16. Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Convertible Car SeatSafety 1st Complete Air 65 Convertible Car Seat

If you want to buy one of the safest convertible car seats at a budget-friendly price, go for the Safety 1st Complete Air 65. At less than $100, it is a wonderful convertible that offers some innovative safety features. It could be the best companion for your child until she is ready for the booster seat transition.

Ease of Use

The Complete Air 65 is a 2-in-1 convertible car seat that can carry a child from 5 to 40 pounds when rear-facing and 22 to 65 pounds when forward-facing.

Fitting the seat into the car is quick and hassle-free, thanks to the push-button LATCH connectors. They are easy to operate in tight space, unlike the clip-style connectors. You can also use the vehicle’s seatbelt for this purpose.

The rear-facing installation is a pain in the back. Accessing the belt path is tough and it has rough edges to graze your hands. You will need to remove the seat cover’s bottom portion to get the belt and putting that cover again is difficult once the seat is installed. Also, the curves in the armrest make it challenging to pull the belt for tightening and setting the seat at the correct angle.

The forward-facing installation is comparatively easier, though. The belt path is readily accessible and it nicely fits most of the cars in that position.

Performance & Comfort

The Complete Air 65 is nicely padded with enough cushioning around sensitive body parts like head, back, and buttocks.

The headrest is adjustable. Along with the 5-point QuickFit harness system, it keeps making room for your growing kid. There is no need to unthread the harness for setting it in a new position. Twisting the tabs is so simple that you can do it with one hand.

There is a removable cup holder attached to the left side of the seat. It’s handy for the toddlers who want to sip their drinks while riding the car.

Safety Features

The Complete Air 65 boasts of using the Air Protect advanced padding system. It’s a patented technology that disperses the crash force and gives the best protection to your child’s head.

The seat is also tested for federal safety standards and side-impact protection.

Pros

  • Functions as both rear- and forward-facing
  • No-rethread harness
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Air Protect technology for head protection

Cons

  • Tough to access rear-facing belt path
  • Might not fit small vehicles when rear-facing

17. Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car SeatEvenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo has been manufacturing high-quality baby car seats for a long time. The Tribute Sport is a great addition to their convertible car seat line because of featuring multiple safety features. At less than $50, it is a great buy due to the combination of a compact profile, convertible design, and excellent safety attributes.

Ease of Use       

The Tribute Sport is suitable for babies 4 to 40 pounds in rear-facing and 20 to 40 pounds in forward-facing. The forward-facing weight limit is similar to rear-facing, which is quite disappointing because you may need another seat in between before transferring your child to a booster.

There are separate belt paths for rear- and forward-facing installation. The process is quite simple when you do it by using the push-on LATCH connectors. Seatbelt setup is also quick and easy since there is nothing more to do except for routing the belt through the right belt path, push down on the car seat, and tighten the belt.

Performance & Comfort

The Tribute Sport has a 5-point harness, 4 shoulder strap points, and two crotch buckle positions help to make the seat more comfortable for the child. You can easily rearrange the harness points because the strap is located right in front of the seat.

The seat does not have a headrest or head wings (which are so common in most baby car seats). You have to purchase extra pillow and seat inserts for fitting a smaller baby.

Cleaning the car seat is no trouble as you can put the seat pad into a washing machine. Wiping with a damp cloth is enough for cleaning the harness, harness buckles, and all other plastic and metal parts.

Safety Features

The structural integrity of the Tribute Sport is so strong that it can tolerate force double to the federal crash test standard. It is also designed for blunting the side-impact during an accident.

The seat is certified for being used on an airplane.

Pros

  • Both LATCH and seatbelt installations are simple
  • 5-point harness system
  • Tested for crash tests and side-impact protection
  • Suitable for airplane travel

Cons

  • Disappointing forward-facing weight limit
  • No headrest

18. Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car SeatGraco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat

Graco has several convertible seats in its inventory. The My Ride 65 LX is another quality addition to that line that can compete with the My Ride 65 DLX and My Ride 70 but at a lower price. The 65 LX seems to be a balanced choice and value for money compared to the other two My Ride models.

Ease of Use

The My Ride 65 LX holds a baby up to 40 pounds in the rear-facing position and 65 pounds in the forward-facing mode.

You can use both LATCH and car’s seatbelt for the installation and the seatbelt setup is actually easier in the rear-facing mode. The forward-facing attachment is pretty straightforward in both methods.

There are different sets of LATCH connectors for both modes, so there is no need to reroute them when changing the seat’s direction. There is a flip-out foot on the bottom of the seat for changing the reclining angle and there is a side level indicator to check if the alignment is correct or not. The problem is you may need to use a pool noodle or towel to settle the angle at the proper position in the rear-facing configuration.

Tuning the harness position is easy but you have to rethread the strap every time you need to thread it into a different slot.

Performance & Comfort

The fabric of the My Ride 65 LX feels cozy and is suitable for wiping with a damp cloth. You can even remove the entire cover and put it into a washing machine.

There is an infant headrest for a better fit for the small babies. But, it does not have a torso insert that you need to purchase separately.

Safety Features

The My Ride 65 LX does not have any innovative safety aspects, which is understandable because the price is less than $100. However, it passes all the NHTSA safety tests and Graco’s own testing for side-impact protection.

The use of EPS energy-absorbing foam as the padding and large side impact wings add to the safety quotient and keep the baby comfortable during a journey.

Pros

  • Easy seatbelt installation
  • EPS energy-absorbing foam
  • Machine-washable cover
  • 5-point harness system

Cons

  • Rear-facing installation needs pool noddle for the correct adjustment
  • Rethread hares system
  • Only one crotch buckle adjustment

19. Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Convertible Car SeatGraco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Convertible Car Seat

There are only a few good harness-style booster seats in the market under a $100 price tag. Between the high-quality harnessed boosters ranging from $150 to $250 and the sub-par products under the $100 range, the Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster is a clever addition from Graco. It is a no-match to the higher-priced products but it definitely does better than the sub $100 ones.

Ease of Use

The Tranzitions 3-in-1 functions as a forward-facing and booster seats. Kids weighing 22 to 65 pounds can sit forward-facing with the harness attached, 30 to 100 pounds when it is in the high-back booster mode, and 40 to 100 pounds in the backless booster mode.

The no rethread harness makes it a cinch to readjust the strap positions without rerouting them. The installation can be done with both LATCH and car’s seatbelt. Remember that you must have to use the seatbelt in combination with the top tether when the child is more than 45 pounds.

The belt paths are smooth, removing the possibility of scraping your hand. You can use both the LATCH and seatbelt in the high-back booster mode where the LATCH strap will secure the car seat while the belt will hold the child.

The Tranzitions 3-in-1 has such a slim profile that you can install 3 to 4 seats (depending on the size of the car) together in the passenger row.

Performance & Comfort

No kid will enjoy sitting in a car seat that leaves them sore in a long journey. Fortunately, the Tranzitions 3-in-1 is not one of them despite being a budget buy. The seat is well-padded and the fabric feels cozy to the skin.

There is a seat insert for smaller children, helping them to have a better and secure fit with the harness and belts. The headrest and harness can be adjusted to eight different positions.

Another good feature is the integrated dual cup holders that keep the toddler’s drinks and toys close to their hands.

Safety Features

The Tranzitions 3-in-1 uses an energy-absorbing hollow plastic shell but the padding does not contain any EPS or EPP foam.

Graco claims the seat to meets or exceeds the safety standards of the US FMVSS 213. It is also side-impact tested with the built-in harness system. The lifespan is 7 years but a replacement is necessary after a crash.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Slim profile
  • Converts to both high-back and backless boosters
  • 8-position headrest
  • No-rethread harness

Cons

  • No recline position
  • No EPP or EPS foam

20. Disney Apt 40RF Convertible Car Seat

The Apt 40RF from Disney is a quality convertible that pleases the eye with a great design and pocket with a budget-Disney Apt 40RF Convertible Car Seatfriendly price. Functions in both rear- and forward-facing direction, the seat is carefully designed and engineered to keep your baby comfortable and safe.

Ease of Use

The Apt 40RF is designed to carry newborns as small as 4 pounds, which is a great feature because many convertibles are not suitable for preemies. It can keep a baby rear-facing until she is 40 pounds or 40 inches in height, which means she will ride rear-facing safely for a long period of time. For older babies, the Apt 40RF will convert forward-facing and accommodates kids from 22 to 40 pounds or until they are 43 inches long.

The installation of the Apt 40RF is nothing difficult as there is a LATCH mechanism to ensure a quick, secure setup. You can tie it up by using the vehicle’s seatbelt too. However, the real disappointment is children are likely to outgrow the seat before they are ready for a booster.

Performance & Comfort

The seat is comfortable although the amount of padding may seem inadequate compared to other convertibles in a higher price range. The pink fabric is definitely high-quality is cozy and mouse-ear shape headrest keeps the little head well-rested.

The 5-point harness system with an adjustment button in front of the seat allows you to make the fitting according to your child’s body size.

The two cup holders are a nice touch too. These will keep their drinks close during a trip.

Safety Features

The Apt 40RF meets all the safety standards and the seat’s hard shell is designed to provide side-impact protection in the event of an accident.

Pros

  • Looks great
  • Converts to both rear- and forward facing
  • 5-point harness system
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No recline position
  • Thin padding

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