Click the item in the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or continue to read the whole review.
- 1 Best Convertible Car Seat for Your Unique Family
- 1.1 What is a Convertible Car Seat?
- 1.2 Which Convertible Car Seat is Right for you?
- 1.3 Convertible Car Seat Pros and Cons
- 1.4 Why Choose a Convertible Car Seat?
- 1.5 Are Convertible Car Seats Safe for Infants?
- 1.6 Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews
- 1.6.1 Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.2 Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.3 Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.4 Diono Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.5 Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.6 Britax Boulevard G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.7 Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
- 1.6.8 Conclusion
Best Convertible Car Seat for Your Unique Family
Inviting a new baby into the world is one of the most exciting experiences a parent will ever have. Choosing the best convertible car seat may be low on your list of priorities when you are preparing for the arrival of your baby. However, we urge you to begin your search early on. A convertible car seat is convenient and versatile. There are various brands with different unique features for you to choose from. Today’s market is packed with great options and rushing to find one may mean you might miss out on the perfect model for your family’s needs.
What is a Convertible Car Seat?
When deciding on which car seat your child will experience their first car ride in, you typically have two options. The first being, an infant car seat. These seats are a one-stage option which can only be used as rear-facing. The second option, is a multi-purpose convertible car seat. This style supports infants but can adjust to a forward-facing unit to suit your child as they grow. Certain models can even transform into booster seats, making them all-in-one options. A convertible car seat is usually installed directly into a vehicle rather than using a base like an infant seat. This takes away the convenience of removing a child from your vehicle while still in a seat. But do the negatives outweigh the benefits of using a convertible car seat? More on that below.
Which Convertible Car Seat is Right for you?
As parents, we want the best for our babies and finding the best convertible car seat to suit our child’s needs is important. Which seat works best for you will depend on the unique criteria you demand from a seat. For instance, some may choose to begin their child’s life of car rides in an infant seat and then make the switch to a convertible car seat once they meet the weight requirements of a forward-facing seat. In this situation, a seat that begins support at an extremely low weight is not necessary. This may give parents more options when deciding.
If you aim to utilize a convertible car seat at the very beginning of your child’s life into the forward-facing stage, it is crucial to understand the seat’s weight restrictions. We found a lot of models will support as little as four or five pounds. These are the magic numbers you will want to look for if you plan on bringing your bundle of joy home from the hospital in a convertible car seat. You can find models that features an infant-support insert to help hug your infant tightly in the seat.
For parents who want their children to stay in the same car seat all the way into the booster stage, an all-in-one model is key. These do-it-all convertible car seats cover a vast range of support to different weight groups. They will provide your child with a sense of comfort by becoming familiar with the same seat for so long. All-in-one models may affect your wallet more than an initial purchase of a one-or two-stage seat, but the money you will be saving by making one purchase will be drastic. We found models that support 4-120 lbs! Regardless of which model you plan to introduce into your family’s life, it is crucial to find a model that contains extreme safety measures, impressive weight support, convenience and features that you will benefit from. With an incredible number of models on the market today, you should have no problem finding your family’s best convertible car seat.
Convertible Car Seat Pros and Cons
Rather than purchasing an infant car seat and later upgrading to a forward-facing model, parents can save a considerable amount of money by beginning with an infant-supported convertible car seat. With any great idea, there are of course a few downsides. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of the best convertible car seat while considering what works best for you.
Pros: Parents love the convenience of this style of seat’s ability to grow with their children. Children love them too as they gain a sense of security and familiarity from using the same car seat for years. Convertible car seats tend to sit more upright, even in the rear-facing position, providing a more comfortable position for our children to sleep in. A sleeping baby is a happy baby! Most convertible seats that are approved for weights as little as four pounds include an insert for infants. These safe paddings keep a child’s fragile neck and head from too much movement during car rides.
Cons: Convertible car seats are typically not compatible as stroller companions, some infant car seats easily connect to compatible strollers making transporting an infant much less of a chore. Removing a sleeping infant from a convertible car seat will likely result in them waking up, and depending on their level of tiredness, can produce an ultra-crabby infant!
Why Choose a Convertible Car Seat?
The reason a lot of parents say they forego the infant car seat and jump right into a convertible car seat is, savings. Yes, you can save a considerable amount of money by utilizing a convertible style seat that supports an infant’s weight. We won’t disagree, children are expensive, especially if it is your first child, the expense required to raise a healthy and happy baby can be overwhelming. For us, money should not be the determining factor when choosing which car seat to use. So, what are the factors?
1. Safety. Safety studies are showing that convertible car seats are becoming safer than infant car seats. Researchers have uncovered some great results that give us peace of mind. We’ll take a deeper look into this later.
2. Security. Our children flourish when they feel safe and confident, using a car seat that grows with them will provide them with a level of security each time they get in the car! They will become comfortable with the way a rear-facing seat hugs them as an infant, making a forward-facing transition more exciting than worrisome for them. Allowing our children to use the same car seat as long as possible is a great way to make a child feel more secure, and will make graduating to a booster seat an easier adjustment.
Are Convertible Car Seats Safe for Infants?
Perhaps, years ago, the level of safety convertible car seats provided for infants was questionable. That is simply not the case today. Manufacturers must meet strict guidelines set by the government before they can advertise that a car seat is suitable for infants. Many top rated convertible car seats contain removable infant-support cushions. These cushions add an extra level of support until our children can support themselves.
A 2015 study, conducted by Consumer Reports demonstrated how convertible car seats proved to add more protection to a child’s head. The studied showed that 22 lb. artificial dummies (representing an average 12-month-old child) experienced head strikes against a simulated seat back in 53 percent of the 30 models that were tested in infant car seats. However, in convertible car seats, the artificial dummies only encountered a head strike in four percent of tested models.
Credit was given to the convertible car seat’s longer shells and distinctive shapes which provides additional space between a child’s head and the seat in front of them. This startling study shows us the strides convertible car seat manufacturers have made when it comes to safety in their products. If you’re having second thoughts about purchasing a convertible car seat due to safety concerns, we can assure you that current models are built with a safety-first mindset.
Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews
Our review section was put together with unbiased opinions to determine the highest rated convertible car seat as well as the best convertible car seat for your family. We discovered that manufacturers are using fascinating cutting-edge technology to create the safest and best rated convertible car seats that you can rely on to protect your child in the case of a traffic incident. We are confident that you will find exactly what you are looking for in at least one of these seven reviewed seats. We hope you will find this guide incredibly beneficial when making a convertible car seat comparison.
Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
Parents have long trusted any childcare product to brandish the Graco name, and for good reason. For years, Graco has committed to creating safe, durable and exciting products for different age groups of children. They did not skip any of the features in this model, one we think is a contender for the best Graco convertible car seat. A car seat that will last the duration of your child’s need for one, is a great convenience to parents and provides children with a sense of familiarity that gives them a sense of security. We have listed it first as this model is our pick for the best convertible car seat of 2017.
This convertible seat can support a child from four pounds all the way up to 120 lbs. That means this car seat can accompany your child on the way home from the hospital all the way into their school days! This solid convertible car seat is built with a steel-reinforced frame to ensure a long-lasting, durable seat to protect your child. It has been crash tested to exceed US safety standards by utilizing energy absorbing foam which distributes crash forces effectively. The 10-position headrest easily adjusts as your child grows.
With the InRight LATCH, installation is a breeze, thanks to a 1-second attachment. This innovative system, which is exclusive to Graco, has prevented many headaches for parents around the globe! Scouring convertible car seat reviews for negative aspects of this seat proved to be difficult. Parents love the reclining feature and sleek style as well as its compact size which fits well even in smaller vehicles. At an average cost of about $260, it may be a bit of an investment, but think of it as one-time purchase that is built to last!
Chicco NextFit Convertible Car Seat
Chicco has a hit on their hands with the NextFit model. It offers children ultimate comfort and parents with unprecedented convenience. The design screams, 21st century and maybe even beyond. The impressive, sleek design is far from the most exciting part of it. Instead, its incredible features take center stage. Let’s start with the convenience of having nine reclining positions. This gives us no doubt that it will fit comfortably in any vehicle on the market. For this, we feel it is a contender for the best convertible car seat for small cars.
The Chicco NextFit begins as a rear-facing car seat, the removable infant insert provides extra support for children who weigh at least five pounds. We love the implemented RideRight bubble level indicators which eliminates any guessing game of how to properly angle the seat. Whether you’re using it for a rear-facing or forward-facing seat, these dual levels are there to assist you.
Chicco uses a specially designed latch tightening system called, SuperCinch, which adds force-multiplying technology to easily secure the car seat. Some consumers were a little put off by the weight of this convertible car seat, (25 lbs.) but only when it came to transferring it to different vehicles. Besides that, they felt the extra weight made the car seat more dependable when it came to protecting their child.
The price point for this is a little on the high side, averaging around $300. We feel that the features afforded in this superb model, cost should be a non-issue considering how much it can do. It is important to keep in mind that this car seat will only support a child up to 65 lbs. That means you will need to purchase a separate model when it comes time to switch to a high-back booster. This is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a model to last into preschool.
Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
Easily the most expensive convertible car seat on our list, the Fllo, averages around $375, but is full of safety features. It features an incredible Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology which transfers crash forces away from your child and impacts an aluminum honeycomb featured in the seat base. You will also gain industry-leading safety features including an extended rear-facing system, which supports up to fifty pounds and a steel anti-rebound bar. As far as style points go, this convertible car seat wins the “Sophistication” award.
Available in several different colors, this seat will make your child look like a chairperson of the board rather than a toddler who just threw a tantrum at the grocery store! Its sleek, compact design makes it possible to achieve “three-across seating.” In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, it means you can typically fit three of these narrow seats in the backseat of most vehicles. This is perfect for parents with several children. Fllo is built tough with GREENGUARD Select Certified Crypton Super Fabrics. Say that five times fast and then become amazed by its incredible resistance against stains, odors and even moisture.
It is amazing against spills also. Rather than absorbing liquids, you can simply wipe it off without any lasting damage. This fabric is soft too! Consider this one the most comfortable convertible car seats on the list. This model does have its downfalls that may be a deal breaker for your family. For one, it is not recommended for use until your child is at least 14 lbs. and only lasts up to 65 lbs. Not only will you need to purchase a new seat later in life, you won’t be able to use it for nearly three months after your child’s birth.
Another issue parents have is how much room the extended rear-facing system needs. It may be a cramped ride for the person sitting in front of the car seat. That being said, we feel like the benefits outweigh the negatives. We recommend you taking a hard look at this luxurious convertible car seat.
Diono Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
Back to a car seat that will fit every stage of your child’s car seat needs, the Radian RXT is full of cool features. Beginning support for children weighing only five pounds, this seat can safely manage up to 120 lbs. This convertible baby car seat is built around a protective steel frame and utilizes safety features that dramatically lessen the impact of crash forces your child will experience in the event of an auto accident.
Some of these important features include aluminum reinforced side walls and a thick layer of energy absorbing foam lining its headrests. The safety measures Diono took are enough for us to consider this one of the top rated convertible car seats, but they went the extra mile and provided even more useful features. The Radian features an innovative SuperLATCH system which makes installation a simple process.
We also really like the ability to fold this model if we needed a little extra room and our child is not using it. There are also carrying straps available separately so you can haul this around like a backpack! Other awesome features include the 12-position adjustable headrest and its angled cup holders. Again, this seat covers every weight range to meet all milestones of your child’s car seat needs. Typically costing around $290, we confidently recommend you making this your one-time purchase for a convertible baby car seat!
Maxi-Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat
The Pria 70 is a great option for children weighting at least nine pounds. Once your child reaches 40 pounds, this model converts into a forward-facing seat that supports up to 70 lbs. It won’t be the only convertible car seat your child will need as it does not have the ability transform into a booster, but it does offer some great features for the time you can use it!
First off, the variety of colors and styles supported for this model are awesome. You can find an attractive Bohemian Blue or Red for around $200. More traditional color schemes typically cost around $250, or if you feel you need a leather seat to match your vehicle seats, you are looking to spend around $875! With this large amount of color options, we’re sure you can find the perfect seat to go with your lifestyle.
While the color options are excellent, we’re most excited about the safety measures that Maxi-Cosi utilizes in their Pria 70. There is an impressive air-cushion system present to protect your child’s fragile head during a side impact. A five-point safety harness and flex technology makes this extremely effective in spreading crash force to sturdier parts of your child’s body.
Convenience is always an important factor in choosing the best convertible car seat, and the Pria 70 has plenty of solid selling points. For instance, the specially formulated material used to manufacture this model is a self-wicking fabric. That means it deodorizes and protects children from liquid by drawing it into the seat. If the seat does become a bit messy, the seat pad can be easily removed for a deep washing.
It also includes three reclining positions and a non-intrusive extension during its rear-facing stage. Your passengers can ride comfortably when riding in front of this seat. The main complaint parents had about this convertible car seat is the difficulty of installation and tightening of the harness. However once the seat is properly installed, parents are thrilled with it. We think these nuances are minor compared to the benefits you can gain by going with this one!
Britax Boulevard G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
Another home run for Britax, the Boulevard G4.1 is no doubt an epic convertible car seat. We feel that it is a contender for the best stage 2 car seat. From extreme safety to innovative features, Britax has succeeded in nailing all the important aspects which parents look for. For starters, installation is made simple due to easy-on/off lower latch connectors. Struggling is not an option when getting this seat in your vehicle. The awesome lower connectors quickly lock into place to guarantee a proper installation.
This model arguably tops this list in terms of convertible car seat safety ratings. The Britax exclusive, SafeCell Impact Protection is featured on the G4.1. This is a system of integrated safety components that slow and reduce forward movement during a traffic incident. The important components include a steel frame, energy-absorbing base and an impact-absorbing tether. We’re also very excited about the Click & Safe Harness Indicator. This extremely useful indicator uses the tension of the straps against your child’s shoulders to let out an audible click when the harness is positioned correctly. No more guesswork, which is invaluable when it comes to a child’s safety.
It is important to remember; this convertible car seat is not meant to be an all-in-one model. So, if your intentions are to only make one car seat purchase for your child, you may want to look at another option. This only covers rear-facing and forward-facing stages, but supports an impressive 65 lbs. The price tag typically averages around $250, which we feel is a bargain for the incredible amount of safety the G4.1 features. Check it out today and drive in confidence that your child will be safe in case of an impact.
Safety 1st Alpha Omega Elite Convertible Car Seat
Looking to purchase a convertible car seat on a budget? The Alpha Omega Elite has an incredibly low average price of just $110. At that price point, you probably won’t be shocked that this model lacks a lot of the innovations the others on this list boast. That’s not saying this model should not be considered, it is still solid and is easily one of the most affordable convertible car seats on the market. For such an inexpensive convertible car seat, it sure does cover a lot in the terms of weight range.
Acting as a rear-facing seat for children weight five pounds, it then supports up to 50 pounds as a forward-facing unit. It even works as a high-back booster for children up to 100 lbs! It also features a removable infant-head-support insert and lumbar cushion. The unit is incredibly lightweight at under 20 pounds but is still super durable. Researching toddler convertible car seats showed that many parents found this seat extremely efficient during traffic accidents. That is a huge plus as safety ratings are always the first thing to consider when deciding on a convertible car seat.
While it does feature the standard three-position reclining system and a removable cup holder, we didn’t notice many other fancy features. We did notice that parents are concerned about the latch system, some noticed premature failure without any warning. If you do choose this model, it requires more regular inspections than higher-end models. We wouldn’t classify this model as the best convertible car seat. However, if you’re looking for a durable, affordable car seat without too many bells and whistles, this model may be right for you.
We hope our article on the best convertible car seat helps make your decision easier. Just remember, the first thing to consider is the level of safety that the model delivers. Federal regulations require strict testing and durable manufacturing before a model can be sold. It never hurts to read about what other parents are saying about certain models. You can also gain helpful perspective by asking other parents what they consider the best convertible car seat.
Have more than one child and interested in learning about double umbrella strollers? Read our Double Umbrella Strollers Ultimate Buying Guide.