Of all of the things to buy for your infant or toddler, the car seat is arguably the most important. After all, the car seat literally cradles your child’s life while in the car and out and about. But which seat to choose? While some are designed only for infants, others promise to protect a child from infancy to well into childhood. Though some seats cost a small fortune, others are much easier on the wallet. To help new parents make this weighty decision, Top Value Reviews searched dozens of current car seats to find the very best of 2019. To narrow down our list of the best to 30, we considered such factors as:
- Overall safety record
- Unique safety features
- Comfort level for both baby and caregiver
- User friendliness, especially when it comes to installation
- Weight and height limits
Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat
Appropriate for children weighing five to 40 pounds, the convertible Evenflo Tribute Sport car seat is often recommended for those with smaller cars or those who need to fit multiple car seats into a single vehicle. Weighing in at 24 pounds, the Tribute isn’t a seat you’ll want to be lugging around a whole lot. Still, that heavier weight is an indication of the Tribute’s top-rated safety features, which include up-front, five-point harness adjustment and an energy-absorbing shell for structural integrity during impact.
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
Okay, so it doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as many of the other carseats on our list, but the Evenflo Tribute LX is a respectable product that’s easy on both the eye and wallet. First of all, the Evenflo Tribute LX is loaded with all of the necessary safety features that meet or exceed the Federal Safety Standards. It’s also compact, weighs fewer than 10 pounds, has a removable cup holder, and comes with a machine-washable pad for easy cleaning. Even if you don’t choose the Evenflo Tribute LX as your primary carseat, this is the perfect seat for a secondary vehicle, Grandma and Grandpa’s house, or traveling.
Baby Trend Inertia Infant Car Seat
The Baby Trend Inertia is a great option for parents intent on purchasing an infant car seat on a budget. Affordable and stylish, the rear-facing Inertia fits children from five to 32 pounds and up to 32” tall. Its extensive list of safety features includes:
- a five-point non-rethreading harness
- an eight-position headrest
- energy absorbing foam on the sides
- a specially reclined position to promote easier breathing.
Finally, the Inertia includes a rigid base and a level indicator that makes this seat a breeze to install.
Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe Titan 65
Consistent with the Evenflo brand, the Advanced SensorSafe Titan 65 boasts dozens of safety features such as:
- three layers of ComfortTech density foam
- an easy-access harness
- six shoulder harness positions
- two crotch buckle positions to ensure the child sits in the seat safely from five pounds all the way up to the seat’s 40 pound max.
But what makes the Titan 65 really special is its SensorSafe sensor technology that connects to a plug-in receiver in the car to remind parents that their child is in the seat. This unique technology is Evenflo’s way of preventing the approximately 40 accidental hot death cars that occur annually.
Safety 1st OnBoard Plus
Safety 1st is a highly respected name in car seats, and the OnBoard Plus is one of the brand’s best products. Some parent reviewers point out that the OnBoard Plus lacks some of the excellent features seen in other seats of the same price range. For example, this car seat must be used with its base and the cushions are not removable. However, reviewers do draw attention to the unbeatable safety features. These include:
- energy absorbing foam throughout
- a four-position harness
- three different buckle locations
And there’s the fact that the OnBoard is the first infant car seat to use an air protect cushion system that protects baby’s head in the event of a side-impact crash.
Graco SnugRide ClickConnect 35 Infant Car Seat
In recent years, different car seat brands are working hard to provide parents with safe seats that are also lightweight and easy to carry. Graco’s SnugRide ClickConnect 35 infant car seat weighs in at only 7.5 pounds. It can accommodate babies up to 35 pounds. As its name suggests, this seat provides for a comfortable, snug ride. It also includes a removable newborn head support. Parent reviewers like the fact that the SnugRide ClickConnect 35 is easy to get in and out of the car, easy to connect to the stroller, and easy on the arms, eyes, and wallet.
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is conveniently designed to be a child’s one and only car seat. When used in the rear-facing position, the car seat can accommodate infants between five and 40 pounds. From there, simply switch the seat to forward facing. When the child is big enough to need only a safe booster seat, the Grow and Go converts into a belt-positioning booster to ensure he or she remains safe until they weigh 100 pounds. Other impressive features on the Grow and Go include:
- side impact protection
- an easy-to adjust harness with QuickFit capabilities
- a removable seat pad to ensure easy washing
Combi Shuttle Infant Car Seat
The Combi Shuttle’s stellar safety record makes this infant car seat an easy addition to our list. The Shuttle is packed with features like:
- a reclining base for easier breathing
- an anti-rebound bar
- the ability to be installed safely without its base
Something to keep in mind: While the Combi has a recommended weight maximum of 35 pounds — a bit more than the standard rear-facing seat — it is most ideal for a smaller child due to its tighter straps and permanently placed groin buckle.
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP
We’ve included three different Maxi-Cosi seats on our list of the best car seats of 2019. Of those three, the Mico AP is the most affordable. The Mico AP is a great starter seat for an infant weighing five to 25 pounds. It’s available in a variety of colors and is compatible with myriad strollers. Keep in mind, some affordable adaptors may be necessary. It’s also lightweight enough to carry around with ease.
Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat
The Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat is an ideal choice for parents looking for a compact car seat for their infant. The Britax B-Safe fits easily into a smaller car, and doesn’t take up as much room as some of the other seats on our list. Plus, it’s extremely safe thanks to features like a narrow seat and sidewalls filled with energy-absorbing foam. While this seat is designed to be safely used without its base, parent reviewers say that baseless installation is tedious and challenging. Alternately, installing this car seat with its base is “a cinch.” The Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat works for children weighing four to 35 pounds, and measuring up to 32 inches in height.
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat
Thanks to its top-of-the-line safety features, stylish look, and affordable price point, the Chicco KeyFit 30 may just be the most popular infant car seat on the market today. Everything about the KeyFit 30 is easy to use, including the simple-to-install base which can be tightened with a single tightener and provides parents with a “click” to signify proper positioning. Plus, the KeyFit 30 works with most strollers on the market today, ensuring parents have even more options for choosing the very best for their baby.
Cybex Aton 2 Infant Car Seat
A favorite amongst parents and safety organizations alike, the Cybex Aton 2 is an affordable car seat that’s also safe and stylish. The car seat is available in eight different colors, and fits babies weighing four to 35 pounds. However, be aware that some parent reviewers report the seat feeling a little too roomy for their preemies. The seat is installed easily with LATCH technology, and can even be used safely without the base. This makes the Aton 2 an ideal option for city families or frequent travelers. Some of the Aton 2’s many safety features include:
- a side-impact device
- energy-absorbing shell
- an adjustable load leg that prevents the seat from rotating forward in the event of a crash.
Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The Britax Boulevard ClickTight convertible car seat is on the heavier side. However, it’s loaded with safety features that make it an appealing choice for parents intent on purchasing just one car seat. Made by the trusted Britax company, the Boulevard ClickTight consists of double-layered side impact protection, an impact-absorbing base, and a durable steel frame. The “ClickTight” part of this seat’s name refers to the Click & Snug indicator, which will click to inform the caregiver that the seat has been tightened properly. The child is also secured with a no-rethread harness that adjusts to 10 different positions throughout the baby’s time in the seat.
Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
Like the Britax Boulevard, the Britax Marathon convertible car seat is also equipped with the popular ClickTight system. With this easy-to-install system, caregivers need only lift the seat on its hinge, pull the car’s seatbelt over it, and click. The Marathon is also outfitted in a no-rethread harness to ensure a child of any size fits properly into the seat. And while it doesn’t automatically come with the seat, an anti-rebound bar can also be purchased for both the Boulevard and the Marathon for added safety.
Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat
Hate messes? Check out the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 infant car seat! This stylish, lightweight, and affordable car seat is one of the safest on the market, thanks in part to its anti-rebound bar and AirProtect side impact protection. But its real appeal is actually its seat pad, which is both removable and washable to ensure any messes can be cleaned up promptly. Babies living in hot climates are also sure to appreciate the fact that the Mico Max’s fabric is self-wicking in order to keep baby dry and comfy at all times.
Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat
Like the aforementioned Maxi-Cosi Max 30 infant car seat, the Pria 85 convertible car seat is one of the best of its kind on the market today. The seat fits children starting at 14 pounds, can be rear-facing until 40 pounds, and then forward-facing up to a whopping 85 pounds. Plus, it’s super easy to install and has a pad that can simply be unsnapped from the installed seat to wash.
Nuna PIPA Infant Car Seat
Sleek and lightweight, the Nuna PIPA infant car seat is a very popular choice amongst new parents, and for good reason. Besides stylish features like the extendable “dream drape,” the Nuna PIPA is chock full of top-of-the-line, above-standard safety features. These include a series of color-coded indicators which signal proper installation. It also has a fold-down stability leg which, when extended from the seat’s base to the floor of the car, is meant to take the brunt of impact in the event of an accident. This model of the Nuna PIPA is also popular amongst city parents due to the fact that it can be installed quickly into a car or taxi without need for a base.
Chicco Nextfit Convertible Car Seat
Chicco is a much beloved manufacturer of baby products, and the Chicco NextFit convertible car seat is no exception. Parent reviewers love the “Super Cinch” pulley latch system that makes installation a breeze, especially when paired with the fail-proof bubble levels that inform the installer the seat is in a safe position. Though some have complained that this NextFit is difficult to clean, parents interested in this seat should also consider the slightly more expensive NextFit Zip, which features a pad that zips off easily for machine washing.
Clek Fll0 Convertible Car Seat
Not only is the Clek Fllo incredibly good looking, it’s also the perfect carseat for families that need to save space in the backseat of the car. The Fllo has a width of about 17 inches, so it’s a bit narrower than some of the others on the market. Still, it’s loaded with safety features, is easy to install, and its extra tall seats allow a child to sit rear-facing up to 50 pounds. One thing to consider: a baby should be a minimum of 14 pounds before using the Fllo.
Diono Radian RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
If you don’t plan on moving your carseat much, the top-rated — yet heavy — Diono Radian RXT is a great option. This stylish seat is one of the safest on the market, thanks to features such as:
- a steel alloy frame
- energy-absorbing foam
- adjustable head support
- aluminum reinforced sidewalls.
It’s also on the narrower side, making it an ideal option for parents who need to fit multiple seats into a single car. Perhaps best of all is the fact that the Diono Radian can be used from birth. After 65 pounds, it then converts to a booster seat for children up to 120 pounds.
Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat
Purchase the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 convertible car seat and you’ll never have to purchase another one. This extremely adaptable safety seat can be used as a rear-facing seat for infants as small as four pounds! Conversely, it can be used as a forward-facing seat for children 20 to 65 pounds. Want to use the seat even longer? Simply convert it from its high-back form to its backless booster form. This means that the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 can be used much longer than most other seats on our list. Some parent reviewers admit the 4Ever 4-in-1 can be difficult to install, but that once it is properly installed in the car, it’s secure for as long as it needs to be.
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
Everything about the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is well thought out. Made in Italy, this car seat is one of the most stylish on the market. Safety features include:
- an anti-rebound bar
- lots of padding
- a stellar crash test rating
It also includes a no-rethread harness that adjusts to six different positions to ensure baby always fits the seat as comfortably and as safely as possible. Uniquely, the Primo Viaggio includes a dual-stage cushion system to insert as the child grows. The newborn cushion, for example, provides extra head and neck support. Finally, city parents and frequent travelers are sure to appreciate the fact that the Peg Perego can be installed quite easily and safely without its base.
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
The UPPAbaby line of strollers and car seats is wildly popular, and for good reason. Stylish, comfortable, and high-end, the MESA infant car seat comes in a variety of colors including black, indigo, and gray. Though it weighs in at about 10 pounds, this car seat feels safe and sturdy. Perhaps most appealing, however, is how easy the MESA is to install. Parents need simply clip in the latch connectors and press down with their body weight. A handy green light will indicate that the seat is both level and tight. Indeed, the UPPAbaby MESA is so safe and easy to use that the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration gave it a “5-star ease-of-use” rating.
Cybex Sirona M with SensorSafe 2.0
Recently named by The Bump as the best carseat of 2018, the Cybex Sirona M is one of only two seats on our list to use SensorSafe Technology. This impressive feature is a simple clip on the seat’s chest harness, which connects to a plug-in sensor on your car’s console. The sensor pings to remind the driver to get the child from the car. Additionally, the sensor alerts the driver if the child somehow unbuckles his harness while the car is in motion. Other safety features on this convertible car seat include an adjustable Linear Side Impact Protection System and a headrest that can adjust to 12 different heights.
Britax Advocate ClickTight Anti-Rebound Bar Convertible Car Seat
This top-of-the-line Britax convertible car seat is no stranger to “best of” lists.The Advocate costs a little more than some of the other Britax models on our list of the best car seats of 2019. However, it has the safety features to justify such a jump in price. Most notably, the Advocate boasts external side-impact cushions and an anti-rebound bar that prevents the seat from moving in the event of a collision. Ideally, the Advocate can also be safely secured with or without its base.
Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat
This top-of-the-line Cybex car seat is thoughtfully designed for families. For instance, while most car seats require the baby to be propped up while sitting in the seat, the Cloud Q can be reclined when the seat is being used outside of the car. This unique feature not only makes sitting in the seat more comfortable, but also safer as it allows for proper breathing and spinal development. Other impressive features include a bigger-than-average sun canopy, automatic height adjustment designed by German medical specialists, and specialized side-impact protection.
Nuna PIPA Lite LX
Everything about the Nuna PIPA Lite LX is designed for comfort and safety. Like the Nuna PIPA, which also makes our list of the best car seats of 2019, the PIPA Lite boasts a Dream Drape that is sure to keep baby comfortable from the sun (and would-be gawkers). The PIPA Lite’s safety features are many, and include:
- environmentally friendly moisture-wicking fabric
- a stability leg
- energy-absorbing Aeroflex foam throughout.
Perhaps best of all is the PIPA Lite’s unbelievably light 5.7 pound weight.
Clek Foonf Convertible Car Seat
There are lots of things to love about the Clek Foonf convertible car seat. For starters, it’s one of the safest on the market, and includes an industry-leading three-year warranty. Also, the Foonf has repeatedly been named Best-in-Class for Safety thanks to its:
- layered side-impact protection
- energy-absorbing headrest
- an anti-rebound bar
- REACT (Rigid-Latch Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology) safety system
- a rigid steel and magnesium substructure.
Other features that make the Foonf an appealing purchase include an infant insert for use with newborns. Otherwise, the Foonf is recommended for children weighing at least 14 pounds. It can also remain rear-facing up to 50 pounds.
Nuna RAVA Convertible Car Seat
Thanks to its stylish look and excellent safety record, Nuna is worth every penny when it comes to buying a safe car seat for your baby. The convertible RAVA can be used as a rear-facing seat from 5 pounds to 50 pounds, and as a forward-facing seat up to 65 pounds — longer than many of its competitors. It’s easy to install and shaped in such a way that it affords front-seat passengers more leg room. Some of the RAVA’s other thoughtful design features include:
- an extendable calf rest
- easy installation
- an easy-to-clean fabric.
Doona Infant Car Seat Stroller
Simply put, there is no other carseat on the market like the Doona. Sometimes referred to as “Transformers for adults,” this unique seat turns from a car seat into a stroller with the simple push of a button. This means there’s no need to wake a baby when it’s time to move from the car to the outside world. Added bonuses:
- it’s lightweight and compact
- easy to install
- clicks to inform the caregiver the seat is locked in
- fits perfectly into an airplane seat for easy travel.