When preparing for the arrival of a new baby — welcoming the first born, or second… or third — choosing a safe and reliable car seat is a top priority. Many new parents find shopping for a new car seat a daunting task before the baby is born. After all, how do you know which seat is the best?
There are consumer websites that will help parents sort through technical data to find a car seat they eventually feel will be best for their baby. In most cases, price is not always indicative of which car seat is superior over another. Parents get a surprise when they start doing the car seat research.
Form meets function as we explore the best car seats on the market today. From infant and all-in-one car seats, to convertible and booster seats — discover the best car seat for your lifestyle, and budget.
16 Infant Car Seats
Designed for newborns and growing babies with a capacity of holding 4 to 35 pounds, infant car seats offer maximum protection and a variety of extras to keep babies safe and comfortable. These are usually rear facing car seats that come with a plastic base which can be fastened to the backseat.
Most commonly, infant seats come with a sun visor, handle and padding that goes around the head. As the baby grows, the head padding will be removed for the babies safety. Also the straps will need to be adjusted while the babies grow in order to properly function as a life saving device.
15 Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat
This top-rated infant car seat boasts one of the easiest installations and is equipped with an ergonomic infant insert for newborns that can be removed as baby grows. The seating offers improved impact protection and is lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam. Features include the ReclineSure® spring-loaded leveling foot to adjust specific angled bases on vehicle requirements.
The RideRight® bubble-level indicators confirm when the required base angle has been achieved. And, to secure the base, the SuperCinch® one-pull latch tightener uses force-multiplying technology for a tight fit. Complete with an adjustable, multi-position canopy this car seat is available in two colors, black mélange and slate grey.Weight: 4 to 30 lbsMSRP: $199.99
14 Graco SnugRide® 35 LX with Safety Surround™ Protection Infant Car Seat
The company name, synonymous with everything ‘baby’ delivers a safe and stylish travel experience for newborns. The SnugRide® 35 LX with Safety Surround™ Protection is equipped with side impact protection and a harness that can easily adjust with one hand (a great added feature for a mom who is most certainly juggling a lot with a new baby).
Installation is easy with Graco’s latch-equipped base that stays in the car. Available in 3 color schemes Berri™ (dark pink, black, white and grey), Lucky™ (green, black, white and grey) and Pyramid™ (light beige, dark beige, black and grey).Weight: 4 to 35 lbsMSRP: $199.99
13 Maxi Cosi Mico AP 2.0 Infant Car Seat
The next generation Mico AP 2.0 is loaded with an abundance of features and is still one of the lightest infant car seats on the market. With advanced Air Protect® side impact technology, the patented cushion system provides superb protection. And the Cozi-Dozi™ infant support keeps newborns secure.
This revolutionary car seat puts safety first with a five-point harness, buckle, covers and a one click UAS system for better installation. The new, top-of-the-line self-wicking fabric deodorizes and keeps liquids away to help keep babies cozy and dry. And, the fabric can be easily removed to clean, is machine washable and dryer safe.
The canopy’s flip-out visor offers extra protection from the sun and the ergonomic handle provides extra comfort. Available in 5 colors: Red Rumor, Blue Base, Grey Gravel, Devoted Black and Devoted Black/White.Weight: 5 to 22 lbsMSRP: $329.99
12 UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat
A popular brand for trendy moms on-the-go, the UPPAbaby Mesa Infant Car Seat is now even better! The new, lighter system weighs in under 10 pounds, making it easy to carry.
UPPAbaby delivers an industry-first feature with the SMARTSECURE™ System, a unique technology that allows accurate base installation, in under 10 seconds. The tightness indicator window turns from red to green to confirm the base has been installed accurately.
And the adjustable headrest offers side impact protection and is available in 5 colors: Denny (Red), Georgie (Marine Blue), Jake (Black), Lindsey (Wheat) and Pascal (Grey).Weight: 4 to 35 lbsMSRP: $299.99
11 Convertible Car Seats
A great choice for those looking for a one-stop-shop car seat. Convertible car seats are adaptable, accommodating newborns, babies and toddlers. With a variety of adjustable height and harness positions, these options also offer front and rear-facing capabilities.
There might be some skepticism about the safety of these seats since the size of these seats might seem to big to put a newborn in. In some cases parents put towels around the seat to keep their newborn more "safe." In case you have never heard, do not place anything in the car seat with the baby. Abide by the safety sheet that comes with the car seat and you should be fine.
10 Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
From infant to toddler, this convertible car seat has traveling with baby, covered. With a child safety promise, the Marathon G4.1 offers SafeCell impact protection including side-impact protection and memory foam padding with an impact-absorbing base — all encompassed by a steel frame.
The latch connectors make installation a breeze and the 10 point easy-adjust harness accommodates babies of all shapes and sizes. Available in nine color patterns, this convertible car seat is not only stylish, it’s comfortable, safe and reliable too.Weight: 5 to 65 lbsMSRP: $289.99
9 Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat
The special edition Clek Foonf 2016 Convertible Car Seat in Tokidoki Space is not just funky — it’s functional too! Bursting with feature’s, the Foonf is innovative and convenient with a unique design and revolutionary technology that makes safety a top priority.
The signature Rigid-LATCH™ installation is fool proof and the super narrow profile (less than 17 inches at the widest point) creates space for three people, or car seats to sit comfortably in one row — regardless of whether you’re driving a car, SUV or minivan. When in rear-facing mode, the Anti-Rebound™ bar limits seat rotations and improves stability.
And ,the Revolutionary REACT™ (Rapid Energy-Absorbing Crumple Technology) safety system reduces the force transmitted to your forward-facing child in the event of a collision. Available in 13 colors including special edition Tokidoki Space, a multi-colored fabric with flare.Weight: 14 to 65 lbsMSRP: $649.99
8 Diono Rainier Birth to Booster Convertible Car Seat
The 2016 Diono Rainier is a safe and trendy option that grows with your baby. From birth to booster, the Rainier offers super deep walls on each side to reinforce side impact protection. With an aluminum-reinforced headrest, there are 12 adjustable height positions for head support and EPS foam makes for a cozy and secure fit.
The unique SuperLATCH™ system offers easy installation and the Safestop® energy-absorbing harness allows for five harness and three buckle positions so you can create a custom fit and keep your baby snug as a bug on the road.
The Rainier offers extra-long leg support with expandable sides and a long bottom seat to allow for proper leg support. The car seat is flat-folding for travel, has rear-facing tether capability and the angled cup holder keeps your baby’s beverage upright and is easily reachable. The cover can be removed easily can be washed and dried in your laundry machine. Available in three colors: Black Forest, Black Plum and Black Mist.Weight: 5 to 65 lbsMSRP: $429.99
7 ALL-IN-ONE CAR SEATS
Take the versatility of the convertible car seats and add a booster! All-in-one car seats have every seating option available — including a booster and can accommodate newborns through to children weighing up to 120 pounds.
Looking at one of these you might wonder how it can possibly last 10 years, but it's all in the details. All-in-one seats come with a recline function which what you need when rear facing. Once the baby outgrows the need to rear face, and extended rear facing, the seat is placed in the back to forward face.
Once the seat is placed forward, there's no need to recline. the child will still need to use the buckles that come with the seat until the child weighs 40 lbs and is 4-9 inches tall. At this point, the toddler can use the all-in-one like a booster seat.
6 Evenflo Platinum SafeMax™ All-in-one Car Seat
This roll-over tested Evenflo Platinum SafeMax™ All-in-one Car Seat easily transitions from baby to toddler to child so your first car seat is the only one you’ll ever need. With rear-facing, forward-facing and booster mode capabilities is with you little one every step of the way.
The SafeZone headrest and integrated steel frame were designed to absorb and dispel impacts, providing advanced protection for your precious cargo. The webbed harness protection system offers a custom and secure fit.
For those hot and cold days, you can rely on Evenflo’s OUTLAST Technology, a temperature-regulating fabric designed to keep your baby comfortable. The removable cup holders are dishwasher safe too. Available in four colors: Marshall (blue/black), Mason (red/black), Madalynn (purple/black) and Shiloh (white/black).Weight: 5 to 120 lbsMSRP: $399.99
5 Graco 4Ever™ All-in-1 Car Seat
The Graco 4Ever™ All-in-1 Car Seat features 4-in-1 capabilities and grows with your child over up to 10 years. From a rear-facing harness position for your infant, to a forward-facing five-point harness seat, to a high-back booster and a backless belt-positioning booster — this car seat adjusts and evolves with your little one.
One of few options that offers the high-back and low-back booster, this popular multi-function car seat is one of the hottest on the market today.
Loaded with features, the Simply Safe Adjust™ harness system speaks for itself. There’s a six-position recline and the 10-position head rest affirms a secure fit. Installation is a breeze — the InRight™ LATCH system makes installation easy with a one-second attachment so it’s convenient for you too.
The seat cushions are machine-washable and all metal and plastic components can be wiped down using mild soap and water. Use a damp cloth for the buckle and spot clean the harnesses. Available in upwards of 11 multi-tone colors.Weight: 4 to 120 lbsMSRP: $449.99
4 Safety 1st Grow and Go™ 3-IN-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Safety 1st Grow and Go™ 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat was built from the ground up with removable baby body pillows, the QuickFit™ harness system and three-position recline to grow with your baby. From rear-facing to forward-facing to a belt-positioning booster seat, you can change both the headrest and harness height in one easy step with a guaranteed appropriate fit.
The unique, integrated harness holders make is easy to get your little one in and out of the seat. And, the car seat pad makes for quick and easy clean-up. The fabric is simple to remove, machine washable and dryer safe. Available in four colors: Plumera (magenta/grey/black), Port Royal (green/grey/black), Lindy (denim/red/black) and Boulevard (grey/black).Weight: 5 to 100 lbsMSRP: $269.99
3 BOOSTER SEATS
Booster seats are appropriate for children 40 pounds and up, booster seats are easy to install and can safely hold up to 120 pounds. The idea behind a booster seat is that children of this size are too small to be ket safe by the seat belt in the backseat during a car accident.
The booster gives the child the height and security needed to stop their bodies from coming out of the straps during a car accident. There are two different types of booster seats. The first type is just a seat bottom with arm rests. The second type is a seat that fits on the back seat. Many have removable backs, check these ones out for size!
2 Clek Olli Booster Seat
The Clek Olli Booster Seat for big-kids is portable and travel-friendly. Ideal for children ages 6 through 12, this award-winning backless booster features belt-positioning and extra padding for comfort. No numb bums here!
The Olli is quick to install and easy to use. It boasts the signature Clek LATCH system to lock the booster seat into place is compatible with your vehicle’s LATCH anchorage system. The audible clicking sound serves as confirmation that the latches are locked in place.
The Olli also offers improved safety, specifically positioning the seat belt on your child’s hips and provides a secure connection even when the booster seat is unoccupied.Weight: 40 to 120 lbsMSRP: $129.99
1 Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 Booster Seat
When tots are ready for the big leagues, it’s time for a booster seat! Peg Perego’s Viaggio HBB 120 boasts side impact protection with Expanded Poly Styrene (EPS) in the headrest and cushions for extra support. The headrest is adjustable with 6 different positions and a removable back rest.
Complete with pull-out cup holders on each side and reclining options for longer drives, the Viaggio HBB 120 has it all, especially when it comes to meeting travel needs. Made in Italy, the booster seat is not only functional, it’s also fashionable. With stylish upholstery available in 7 color patterns, the performance microfiber fabric is breathable and absorbs moisture.Weight: 40 to 120 lbsMSRP: $219.99