Table of Contents
- 1 Convertible Car Seats Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews
- 2.1 1) Graco Extend 2 Fit – Safest Convertible Car Seat
- 2.2 2) Britax USA Boulevard – Best Infant Car Seat
- 2.3 3) Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1, Harvest Moon – Best Convertible Seat Under $150
- 2.4 4) Diono Radian RXT All-In-One, Shadow – Best Rear-Facing Convertible Seat
- 2.5 5) Britax USA Marathon ClickTight, Verve – Superior Protection for Your Infants
- 2.6 6) Diono Radian R100, Black Mist – Full Steel Frame With Extended Rear-Facing
- 2.7 7) Graco Milestone All-in-One, Gotham – Best Car Seat Under $200
- 2.8 8) Evenflo Symphony DLX, Modesto – Upfront Multi-Position Recline
- 2.9 9) Graco Contender 65, Glacier – Best Seat Under $120
- 2.10 10) Evenflo Tribute LX, Saturn – Best Convertible Under $50
- 3 Our Winner: Graco Extend2Fit
- 4 How did we pick?
- 5 Buying Guide – 15 Factors to Consider for a Best Convertible Car Seat
- 6 More about Convertible Seats
- 7 FAQs
- 8 Final Thoughts
As your baby grows, it will no longer fit in a baby seat and you will be required to upgrade to a suitable and appropriate convertible seat. Witnessing your baby grow is one of the most emotional and joyful experiences of your entire life.
These convertible seats are versatile and can be fitted to face the rear position or forward position depending on the age of your child.
Therefore, we carried out a comprehensive test and reviewed ten best convertible car seat on the market and provided you with a detailed buyer’s guide to help you select these safest & comfortable convertible seats for your child.
Convertible Car Seats Comparison Chart
|Seat Name||Dimensions||Max Weight||Orientation||Price|
|Graco Extend2Fit||22.1 x 19.2 x 25.2 in||65 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Britax USA Boulevard ClickTight||21 x 18.5 x 26 in||65 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go||24.5 x 19.2 x 24.2 in||100 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Diono Radian RXT||10 x 17 x 28.5 in||120 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Britax USA Marathon ClickTight||23 x 18.5 x 23.5 in||65 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Diono Radian R100||16 x 17 x 28.5 in||100 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Graco Milestone||21 x 17.5 x 21 in||100 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Evenflo Symphony DLX||27 x 21 x 19.8 in||110 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Graco Contender 65||27 x 20.8 x 26 in||65 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
|Evenflo Tribute LX||18.5 x 22 x 25.5 in||40 lb||F/R Facing||View Price|
Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews
Below are the highly-rated convertible seat for kids.
1) Graco Extend 2 Fit – Safest Convertible Car Seat
The safety of your child is the most crucial thing for you right now. It can be stressful to drive around with a toddler on the backseat and constantly worrying about safety. That’s where a reliable convertible seat comes into play.
When choosing a car seat for your child, you are recommended to consider two things: safety and comfort. Its comfort allows you to drive around without a worry at the same time, helping your child rest.
Graco Extend2Fit Seat helps take care of this problem. Graco Extend 2 Fit has been designed with your child in mind. The seats are covered in soft fabrics that are ideal for a child. These seats come in two forms. The rear-facing and the forward-facing seats.
The rear-facing seats can handle infants from 4-50 pounds while the front-facing can handle toddlers from 22-65 pounds. The seats are also equipped with extension panel adjusts, which provide an additional 5″ additional leg space that allows your child to ride rear-facing for longer.
This is helpful in combating fatigue, especially on long rides. Getting your baby into one of these seats is much easier and safer. The fuss-free harness storage helps to hold the buckle and keep it out of the way.
This creates more space for getting the baby in the seat safely. To offer more comfort, you can safely adjust the harness system and headrest in a simple one motion. This eliminates the need for re-threading the straps. It can also be done when the baby is on the seat. It allows simplicity and versatility.
For the safety of your child, the buckles are made of plastic, as opposed to steel which might press on your baby’s chest hence causing discomfort.
The straps are also made of soft but very strong cushion which offers comfort and keeps your baby safe as well. The headrest is perfectly fitted to allow both room and support to your baby’s head. The material inside the seat is soft and comfortable ensuring no harm comes the child. The materials also retain heat hence keeping your baby warm the entire time.
The base of the seat is solid and has a large surface area to avoid the seat tilting over and falling. This creates stability, especially when driving around the corners. The seat seems to rely heavily on comfort.
- Graco seat offers the latest safety in the market
- They are easy to install and maintain
- They can be used for a long period due to their adjust-ability
- The seats might not hold if you encounter an impact or a crash
2) Britax USA Boulevard – Best Infant Car Seat
Whether you are going to the mall or meeting up with your friends, it’s pretty clear that you worry about your child’s safety. It’s completely normal for a parent to choose the best and most secure car seats for your child. That’s why we believe that you only deserve to consider the safest convertible seats on the market.
The parent’s life is complicated enough. The stress that comes with raising the children and performing daily chores is not easy. That’s why you need a car seat, to ensure peace of mind while driving. Not only are these seats the best in the market, but they are made to be as simple and as safe as possible.
What makes Britax Convertibles ideal? These seats have some of the best features that make them stand out from the rest. They are equipped with ClickTight Installation system, which makes the installation of the seat into your car as easy as a single click.
First, open the car seat, fasten the seat belt and hit the seat shut. It eliminates all the fumbling that comes with setting up car seats. These seats come with a V-shaped tether to minimize rotation.
They have also included several impact protection safety including the energy-absorbing base and steel frame.
These safety tools would come in handy by reducing the forward movement if you experience a crash. If you experience a side impact crash, the seats are installed with a dual layer to enhance safety.
For head protection, they have installed the quick-adjust head protection. These tools are meant to absorb any energy while protecting your child from any dangerous impact from any direction. It is evident that as your child continues to grow, he or she might not fit in the harness as they used to.
The seats are equipped with a 14-position quick-adjust system.
This would come in handy to accommodate your child, as he or she grows. The harness can be moved upwards and buckled upwards for a comfortable fit of your kid. The seats also have a Click and Snug Harness Indicator that is meant to help you tighten the child’s harness. The Harness Indicator is audible hence making your job simpler.
The Britax car seat scored well in crash tests and is considered ideal for your child. It has undergone several tests before it was released to the market. The interior of the seat offers both comfort and safety. The materials used are smooth and retain heat. This helps your child experience both comfort and warmth.
The seats come in different colors, which make it easy for you to choose the color that complements the interior of your car. Even with the above innovations, one can’t help but point out at some of the areas that might need improvements.
- Britax seats come with the latest safety technology installed in them
- They can be adjusted to fit any needs
- They are ideal for rear-facing and front-facing
- The harness indicator might fail sometimes. This is because it’s mechanical
- There has been some concern regarding children with larger bodies, especially thighs, fitting in these seats
They seem to deliver on their promise and are by far, the best in the market. The technology innovations used in the seats is impressive and hopefully, in the future, we will see even cooler technology and safety mechanisms being used. See more options from Britax car seat.
3) Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1, Harvest Moon – Best Convertible Seat Under $150
For years now there has been a growing need for a car seat that can accommodate any child under five years while being flexible at the same time. Most of the seats in the market, unfortunately, are not up to this task. Most of them over-promise and under-deliver.
Parents have been left scrambling for a seat that promises safety and comfort for their children. To the surprise of most, most have been nothing but a disappointment. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, from Harvest Moon is trying to fill in this gap.
The seats have been tested and proven to tackle the issue that their predecessor failed to.
The company has worked tirelessly to deliver an auto seat that is equipped to deliver the best experience in the market. Meaning they can be used in three stages: Rear-facing, where a child weighs between 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing, where a child weighs between 22-65 pounds and finally the belt positioning where a child weighs 40-100 pounds.
The seats are also made to occupy a small space at the back of your car, while also having enough room for your child to fit in. The manufacturers have rather concentrated on the interior space as opposed to external size which occupies unnecessary space.
The seats only need an extra 7 inches in the front. The seats are also equipped to handle both forward crashes as well as the sideways crash. The technology used helps to absorb any impact hence keeping the child safe.
The seats also are equipped with Quick Fit Harness which helps in the quick and easy adjustment of both the harness and a headrest. It eliminates the complexity of installation and adjustment giving room for simple operation.
The seats are equipped with Harness holders, which hold the harness back. This makes it easy for one to secure the child in the car seat.
The interior of the seat is designed to hold the child and offer comfort. Its space is enough to allow adequate movement of the child. The materials used are smooth and the seat pads are completely washable in case the child gets them messy. They are designed to come off the seat easily. The seats are also equipped with two integrated cup holders to hold your child’s drinks without spilling them.
The seats are also lightweight, weighing an impressive 24 pounds, making them easily portable. It is evident that these seats are great. Unfortunately, they seem to have some technical issues which have been pointed out by customers.
- The seats don’t take up much space, leaving room for others to use the back seats
- They can be used in three stages, the rear-facing, front-facing and seat belt positioning
- Safety Firsts are light-weight hence portable
- Equipped with side impact protection
- Installation with LATCH can sometimes be difficult
- The straps can sometimes get stuck and sometimes are too hard to tighten
Even though the seats have faced some technical difficulties, it doesn’t mean that they are worthless.
See more options from Safety 1st Car Seats.
4) Diono Radian RXT All-In-One, Shadow – Best Rear-Facing Convertible Seat
Research has shown that many parents have opted to use this seats in a small survey carried out in a major suburb. Many of the respondents were mothers with children ranging from 6 months to 5 years. The reasons why they opted for this are discussed below.
Diono seats offer an all-in-one service, where they are equipped with a full steel frame to make them the most secure seats to use in your car.
These seats also favor infants by offering body support cushions and the use of memory foam to offer additional comfort. This has proven useful to infants as it reduces fatigue and provides an ideal environment for adequate rest.
The seats come with an adjustable headrest and also have reinforced sidewalls which offer extra safety in case of an impact. Infant body support is safely and strategically tucked under the seat. The seats also fold flat to make it easy to carry during traveling.
Their size also makes it possible to fit three seats in a mid-sized back seat of a vehicle. The seats are also lined with Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) foam and energy-absorbing harness which provides more safety. This makes the seats safer compared to others in the market.
The SafeStop energy absorbing system helps to increase safety for children weighing between 20-40 pounds and are placed in a forward-facing position.
To prevent the seats from rotating during impact, the seats are equipped with Radian RXT which are suitable for the rear-facing seats. The RXT has been tested for rear-facing, forward facing, and booster weight capacity. This has made the seat to be well rated for more than ten years.
These seats have been crashed tested regularly and have surpassed expectations. Also, these seats are FAA approved meaning they can be used in airplanes, hence showing a sign of trust.
These seats are also equipped to handle your expanding family. The lack of pedestal makes the seat sit low hence making it easy for your child to boarding. The seat can also be folded, making it easy to carry and store. For convenience, the seat’s covers are washable and come with cup holder compatibility. The seats have deep shells which provide a comfortable rear-facing ride.
The seat also offers a higher rear-facing capacity, have expandable sides and a longer seat bottom which offers additional leg support. The nature of this seat makes the children feel cozy as well as accommodating during their physical development.
- The seats are multi-purpose and can be used for a long time
- They have a steel frame which offers additional safety
- Diono Radian RXT can be folded and stored easily
- They are FAA approved hence can be used in airplanes
- Come with a small base making it easy for a child to board
- They can be used for a very long time
- The installation is proving difficult for some seats
- Some vehicles are not compatible with these seats
In rear-facing position, you need to push forward the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat to accommodate this long seat.
5) Britax USA Marathon ClickTight, Verve – Superior Protection for Your Infants
Britax Car Seat, Verve is indeed one of the best car seats on the market. Coming from a trusted manufacturer and commanding a great market presence, these seats reside at the top of the chart as far as car seats are concerned. The manufacturer has done their best to ensure both safety and comfort at the same time.
Their innovation and ingenuity is impeccable and has gone on to impress the majority of the users. The seats are packed with clickTight installation system which is both simple to use and also very secure. Installation is simple. First, open the car seat then fasten the seat-belt across it.
The seats also come with a SafeCell impact protection, which is the latest innovation being employed in car seats. This system comprises of steel frame, energy absorbing base in case of an impact and a V-shaped tether that minimizes the seat rotation. The V-shaped tether is also assisted by staged-release stitches that help secure the child in place during a crash.
The deep foam-lined shell also helps reduce the side impact by absorbing all the energy during impact hence ensuring that the child is safe from any injuries.
The materials used on the seat offer comfort and are soft to the touch of the baby’s skin. The cushion is used and designed effectively to offer a sense of rest and support to the baby. The headrest is completely adjustable making it easy for the baby as it physically grows, to adjust well to the seat.
Securing a child is as easy as a breeze due to the seat’s easy-adjust 12 position harness. This is ideal as the child is growing and all you have to do is adjust the height of the seat. Apart from the above features, the seat does have some problems that have been addressed by some customers.
- The seats are equipped with SafeCell Impact Protection which is the best impact protection system
- Seats are easy to install and don’t require a lot of technical ability
- They are made with a deep-lined shell to absorb the energy during impact
- Adjusting the shoulder straps have been a problem
6) Diono Radian R100, Black Mist – Full Steel Frame With Extended Rear-Facing
Diono is famous for their car seat designs. They are among the best in this field and have proven this by providing the best car seats on the market. Their products have performed very well in the market and have received above-average ratings for a long time.
Diono makes some of the best and the safest car seats on the market. Diono Radian R100 All-In-One Seat, Black Mist is an example of their marvelous work. The Radian r100 is equipped with a full steel frame which makes it stand strong and firm. Other features are built around this frame to disseminate away the crash forces away from the child.
The seat is armed with Aluminum reinforced sidewalls which are lined with thick walls of EPS foam which absorb the energy from an impact hence providing extra safety. The seats are also equipped with Safe Stop system which is an energy absorbing harness that favors the forward-facing position.
The SafeStop system acts like a bungee which absorbs the energy during impact. The rear-facing tether capability of Radiant r100 also stops the seat from rotating during impact. It is FAA approved hence one can use it in the airplanes. This has gone ahead to show how trusted this seat is.
The Radiant r100 is also designed to accommodate a child as it grows and can be used for years. The slim feature of Radiant r100 makes it possible to fit up to 3 seats on the back seat of the vehicle.
Their folding design makes the unique and stands out from the rest. This new and Euro-inspired fashion together with interlock knit fabrics makes it appealing to the eye as well as offering extra comfort. The expandable sides and the longer seat bottom has been impressive in making a child feel cozy. These seats score high by its ability to be used for a long period.
Also, these seat’s covers are completely washable and are drier friendly. The seat lowers the child’s center of gravity which in return exerts less force on them during a crash. Radian r100 is adjustable to your child as they grow. The rear-facing position can accommodate a child weighing between 5-40 pounds. Front-facing position can accommodate a child weighing between 20-65 pounds.
The seat also can be converted to a booster seat for children weighing up to 100 pounds. The seat is also impact tested and has performed relatively well. The mechanism used to absorb the energy during impact has made it unique and safe. This seat is a product of ingenuity and style combined.
- The steel frame together with the Safe Stop adds extra safety
- The seats are FAA approved hence can be used on the airplane
- Seats are thin and can fit 3 of them in a back seat
- They can be folded for easy storage
- Their large size makes them uneasy to use in the rear-view position
- They are heavy to carry
Diono family of seats have performed relatively well in the market. The seats are comfortable and safe to use.
7) Graco Milestone All-in-One, Gotham – Best Car Seat Under $200
The customers who purchased this car seat have gone ahead and recorded an astonishing satisfactory result. This has made people question just what makes this car seat that amazing.
To start with, the car seat is an all-in-one seat. It can be purchased and be used in either a rear-facing position, forward-facing position or simply as a belt-positioning booster.
The rear-facing position supports a child weighing 5-40 pounds, the forward-facing position supports a child weighing 20-65 pounds and the belt position booster supports a child weighing from 30-100 pounds. To ensure child safety, the Simply Safe Adjust harness makes it possible to adjust the height of the harness and the headrest in one motion. This can be done without the need of moving the child.
The exclusive InRight LATCH makes it easy to install the seat with an audio click which helps to ensure a correct install. The seat has also undergone rigorous safety testing which makes it a confident buy. The 5-point harness is expendable to fit a child who is more than 65 pounds. This helps to keep the child harnessed even longer.
This goes hand in hand with the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that suggests that a child should remain harnessed for a long period until they reach a particular weight and age.
The use of Plush Inserts makes your infant child as comfortable as possible. They are however removable once a child has grown to a certain age to make room for more space. Your child’s comfort is ensured by the 4-position recline both in rear-facing and forward facing positions. The removable cup holder also ensures that your child’s drinks are always close.
The integrated compartment of the harness storage system also acts as a storage for holding the unused harness straps in case the seat is used in the belt position. It helps to cut down the car clutter. The easily removable and washable seat covers make life easy for the parent to keep the seat clean. Graco Milestone car seat is a piece of art. The design is elegant and beautiful.
- The covers are removable and washable
- It’s an all-in-one car seat. It is adjustable to provide comfort and safety for the child
- The seat’s installation system has failed several times
- It takes a huge space at the back seat hence becoming a problem
- Many clients have complained about the seat straps not lasting long
This seat offers both safety and comfort to your child. It can be used in any position hence it can be considered as a multipurpose seat. The design is flawless, and the technology is way ahead of its time.
8) Evenflo Symphony DLX, Modesto – Upfront Multi-Position Recline
It is hard to talk about car seats and not mention Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Seat, Modesto. It comes from a line of amazing and outstanding car seats. The Symphony DLX is a masterpiece and has been several reviews. It has been performing extensively well, and many customers have been opting for this seat.
Everything about this seat makes it unique and appealing to the user. The manufacturers have poured in years of experience in this seat, and the end product has not been a disappointment. The first feature that captures one’s attention is that this car seat is an all-in-one car seat. Meaning, it can be able to accommodate children weighing from 5-110 pounds.
It can be used in the rear-facing position while accommodating a child weighing between 5-40 pounds. The forward-facing position can hold a child weighing 22-65 pounds while the weight booster can handle a child weighing 110 pounds. The seat also uses the sureLATCH technology which ensures that installation by using advanced LATCH technology is possible.
This has made it completely easy to install this car seat. The LATCH installation has been in the spotlight before, but the sureLATCH technology is looking to improve on the installation.
The use of Infinite Slide Harness is an added advantage. This helps to eliminate the need for harness re-threading as your child outgrows it. It also ensures smooth and accurate adjustment of the harness. This technique has set this seat apart from the rest as the adjustment is accurate and very easy.
The use of Upfront Harness Adjustment makes it easy to adjust the 5-point harness from the front of this Car Seat, Modesto. This makes it easier to fit the child in the seat.
The seat also has the Upfront Multi-Positioning Recline which comes in handy in offering extra comfort to the child when sleeping or simply resting. The seat also has an integrated cup holder which ensures that your child has an easy access to the drinks. It also reduces the spills of the drink.
The seat is also equipped with an e3 Slide impact which is an expandable zone that reduces impact force by up to 50%. The e3 also absorbs the energy from the impact, keeping the child safe during a crash. The seat seems to be unique and has amazing features. However, I find it lacking a preventive mechanism that stops the seat from rotating via impact.
- It is an all-in-one seat meaning it can be used in different places
- The Upfront Harness Adjustment is creatively used
- The Upfront Multi-positioning recline is also impressive
- The lack of tether to stop the seat from rotating in the forward-facing position should be used
- Evenflo Symphony DLX seat is huge and occupies a huge space at the back seat
- The sure LATCH system may fail to install at times
While this seat seems to consider the idea of an all-in-one system, it’s safety system is relatively low-rated. The manufacturers have room for more improvements and hopefully, in the future, the car seat will be more amazing than it is now.
See more options from Evenflo.
9) Graco Contender 65, Glacier – Best Seat Under $120
Their seats have gone ahead and impressed people across the world and increased their market share and trust from their customers. Their main objective is to provide the best car seats that are both safe and comfortable for the little ones.
Graco 65 LX Car Seat, Coda is among their best products. The car seat has been recognized and used by many due to its safety mechanism. The seat is side impact tested for occupant retention and has performed well. This helps to ensure the safety of your child during the side impact.
The EPS energy absorbing foam makes it ideal for any impact or collision. This auto seat is made up of plastic and metal pieces. This offers both safety and ease of transportation. The interior is well designed to keep the child as comfortable as possible. The cushions used help suspend the child upright hence maintaining its posture.
These seats have also been tested at both high and low temperature for structural integrity. This is important as the interior of the car keeps on changing, hence a need for an auto seat that can handle a change in the temperature of the vehicle’s interior.
The seat uses the LATCH installation system and it can support a child at rear-view weighing from 5-40 pounds. Front view can harness a child weighing 20-65 pounds. This seat also comes with removable body support that can be handy to handle a child as it grows. MyRide 65 also has a 5-point harness upfront adjustment system which makes it easy to get your child into the seat.
The 5-point harness is a recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that says a child should be harnessed for a long time. The seat comes with two integrated cup holder which makes it easy for your child to access their drinks.
The cushions are also removable and washable hence maintaining a high level of hygiene. The plastic and metal parts can easily be cleaned by using mild soap and water. The harness strap and buckle clean up quickly by using a damp cloth. The seat seems to score high in fashion and its ease of use and cleaning. The seat manufacturers seem to have lagged behind with regards to safety.
- These seats are designed to handle temperature changes in the car. This is important to the child as a change in temperature in a car can greatly affect the child
- LATCH installation system offers an easy and fast installation process
- The design is amazing with removable and washable covers and cushions
- It is light-weight with an impressive 15.8 pounds. This is ideal to carry around
- The seat used plastic and metal which might not be ideal for safety
- It doesn’t have enough safety measures. It is too big, and sometimes it takes up huge space in the rear seats
Use of plastic is not attractive as plastic doesn’t seem to offer enough safety. The manufacturers will likely make changes to the above features and add others to make it effective.
10) Evenflo Tribute LX, Saturn – Best Convertible Under $50
Their seats have gone to perform well. This is due to the manufacturer’s dedication and capabilities. They mainly focus on the well-being of your child and the comfort that the child needs.
They have a huge customer base globally and have continued to improve the quality of their car seats. This has been made possible due to recent innovations that have put them among the best.
Evenflo Tribute LX is a fantastic car seat. Everything about this seat is compelling. The seat is designed of Polyester. This has increased its security and comfort. Polyester is known to be crash survivors. By using this material, the seat can provide the safety to your child.
The seat has undergone rigorous side-impact testing and has met all the Federal safety standards. The seat is also designed to meet all the structural integrity ensuring complete safety of your child. This seat is also designed to be compact in size. It is also lightweight. Lightweight makes it more ideal for parents who switch from car to car.
The seat allows you to adjust the 5-point harness at the front of your car making it easy to get the child into the car seat. For rare-facing position, the seat also allows you to use rare-facing recline which helps to keep the child safe. If you have a growing child, the seat also allows a four shoulder harness position to accommodate the size of the child.
The seat also comes with two extended crotch buckle positions that hold your child safely in the seat. The seat comes with an easily washable and easily removable pad. This lets you maintain the highest level of hygiene.
There is also a removable head pillow that provides additional comfort and support. The materials are made of soft fabrics that are smooth and soft to the touch of your child.
The interior of the seat is also designed to trap and hold heat, hence keeping your child warm the entire time. The rear-facing position harnesses a child weighing from 5-40 pounds and the forward-facing position harnesses a child weighing from 22-65 pound.
This is to comply with the American Academy of Pediatrics that suggests a child should be harnessed for a long time. I found Evenflo Tribute LX lacking several things.
- The seat is built of Polyester hence more secure
- It is lightweight can fit in any vehicle
- Easily removable and washable covers are great to maintain hygiene
- The seat might have problems with installation
- It is not multi-purpose, hence cannot be used by children of all ages
- The design isn’t that appealing, and many would question its fashion
Polyester is a great material to use in a car seat. The manufacturers will have to improve on the multi-purpose aspect as it would be ideal if the seat could cater for children of all ages. The lightweight capability and the portability of the seat make it rank high above the rest.
Our Winner: Graco Extend2Fit
The Graco seat, Gotham is our pick of the bunch. Not only does it have a lower price point than competitors with similar features but also performed exceptionally well in the crash-test performance. It features an eight harness adjuster fitted into the seat and received high rankings for both ease of use and ease-of-fit to a vehicle.
How did we pick?
Before finalizing a winner, we had to analyze different aspects. These aspects collectively define a superior convertible car seat for babies. These are mentioned below:
- Its Growing Importance: Convertible seats have become popular products for increasing children’s safety while driving and thus regulations have been passed in many countries that require parents always to have them installed while driving with children. The main need for car seats is to protect your child in case you’re involved in an accident. It is great for providing protection if you encounter an accident.
- Crash Test Performance: The most important information collected from a crash dummy test is the risk of both head and chest injury. We carefully analyzed the information we collected from the crash dummy test to determine how all the seats performed. We also tested whether the seats were complainant with the federal safety rules and all the seats we tested passed the test in this regard.
- Understanding the Head Injury Criteria (HIC) Score: According to NHTSA crash studies, children face a greater risk of injury if they are facing forward. These tests were done with heavier three-year-old test dummies to get comprehensive results. NHTSA use Head Injury Criteria (HIC) score to determine the likelihood of head injury arising from an impact. The seats must record a HIC score of 1,000 and lower to meet the federal requirements.
- Understanding the Chest (g) Clip Score: The crash dummies are fitted with sensors in the chest area to measure the force of impact in the area. Information gathered from the chest sensors is then used to calculate the Chest (g) Clip score. This score is used to determine the likelihood of injury to the internal organs located in the chest. For a seat to meet the federal safety standard, it has to have a Chest (g) Clip below 60.
- Best Seats Based on Crash Test Analysis: Using the crash test reports, we used a scale of 1 – 10 to rate each seat. This helped us zero in on the seats that offered an additional protection margin. The good news is that the seats we have featured above performed exceptionally well in protection and safety that it was hard to pick a clear winner.
- Ease of Installation Using LATCH: LATCH or Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children was included in the child seats to ease the installation process. This method not only eases installation but also helps minimize mistakes when setting up the seat since all convertible cars feature LATCH clips.
- Ease of Installation Vehicle Belt: Some people find it more natural to install a car seat using the vehicle’s safety belt. Some car seats come equipped with a vehicle belt lock off attached to the seat. This lock helps secure the child in place to give you peace of mind while driving.
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You should not purchase blindly, take time to research and know more about the car seats to be well positioned to make the right purchase. See these 15 factors for sure before going for a purchase.
- Ease of Use: This is one of the primary considerations before purchasing a car seat. You should be able to easily install, uninstall and maneuver inside the vehicle with the car seat. Reliability, weight, and bulkiness are also other important considerations when choosing a car seat. Ensure the car seat’s design is easy to use especially if you commute on a daily basis with your child. Buy a car seat that is easy to install. Nobody wants to go through reading an entire user manual to figure out the installation. So the seat should be easily installable and removable. The adjustment straps should be placed in the front for easy accessibility.
- Comfort/Quality: Quality wise, our list has picked the best-made car seats on the market. However, regarding comfort, different brands have opted to take different approaches to ensure their seats are the most comfortable.
- Weight/Size: Weight and size are among the first factors we considered when reviewing these seats. Weight and size of the auto seats mostly affect parents who constantly use taxi services to move around.
- Car seat types: Consider the child’s age when buying a car seat. Not all seats suit all children due to the height, weight, age, and mental maturity. The height and weight of your child should determine the car seat you purchase.
- Infant Seats: Best suited for newborn babies up to the age of one year
- Convertible Car Seat: They can be configured to face the rear or the front and are best suited for babies of age one to four.
- Booster Seat: They come with a high back to accommodate children of age four and above.
- Buckles and Chest Clips: Since the release buttons on the buckles in convertible cars are not easy to use, most seats come with a middle buckle that stiffens when you push it. Some models such as the Diono Radian RXT are so rigid that you will need both hands to operate while also carrying the risk of hurting your fingers in the process.
- Adjusting the Harness: There are two methods of adjusting the harness. The first method involves moving the harness shoulder strap or headrest up or down on the seat. The second method involves detaching shoulder straps and moving them manually from one slot to another.You can easily tighten or loosen the harness using the strap and release button. It is worth noting that the release buttons are not located in the same place and that some buttons work by pressing and others by lifting.
- LATCH Storage: Some seats come with little pockets and storage cubbies which can be used to store things such as clips to keep them away from the reach of your child.
- Cover Removal and Cleaning: Since children are messy, we preferred the seats that come with removable covers that are machine washable. Ensure the seat covers can easily be removed for easy cleaning whether through a washing machine or more traditional hand washing.
- Belts and Comforts: You should make sure the belt is fastened adequately. Place two fingers beneath the belt to make sure that it is not too tight or too loose. The belt adjustment should be easily adjusted from the front. Also, find a padded seat to provide your baby with ample head and back support. Ensure it is well cushioned before purchasing.
- Price: Choose the best car seat for your budget. Pricier car seats tend to be of higher quality materials and have more bells and whistles.
- Safety: Along with comfort, safety is the most important aspect. Learn about the government regulations about the car seats and ensure it has adequate fasteners to secure your baby in place to protect them from an accident. Ensure the seats meet all the safety requirements before buying them. It is crucial to ensure your child is safe and comfortable during a commute.
- Brand: Brands that have been in the market for a long time produce more reliable products. So you can go for a branded product even if it is a bit costly, after all, it is for sake of your child.
- Tethers & Harness Type: The car seat should have special anchors that let you attach it directly to the car without having to use a safety belt. The LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) systems allow the seat to be attached to the vehicle’s frame. It should come equipped with a five-point harness that includes a two shoulder, two hip, and a crotch strap.
- Side-impact Protection: Should feature ample side padding to protect the baby from impact.
- Easy Adjustments: Some seats can be set to face the front or the rear. Research shows that babies are safer when secured in a rear-facing position than front-facing position.
More about Convertible Seats
What is a Convertible Car Seat?
Convertible seats help parents travel with their kids without worrying about their well being and comfort. With the car seat, you gain the confidence of taking long trips with your child, regardless of your child’s age. So, whether you’re heading for a vacation or are visiting your grandparent’s place, you can ensure that the long journey does not compromise on the baby’s safety.
Britax produced the first convertible seat in the late 90s. That seat offered convenience, if you had a baby, you could secure your child in place facing the rear and when they grew up, you could change the set-up to look forward. This concept was new in the market and therefore confused many parents. Fast forward to 2017 and almost every parent has considered purchasing a convertible auto seat.
Do You Need it?
These car seats can be used when your baby is born up all through his or her preschool. The auto eats can be used facing the rear for small children and changed to forward facing positions for grown-up children. Alternatively, you can use a kid auto seat and then upgrade to a convertible auto seat when your child is grown.
When do You Need it?
Convertible seats are more bulky and heavier than kid auto seats. For this reason, infant car seats have a higher level of portability and are much easier to install and uninstall. You should consider purchasing more than one convertible seat if your child is frequently transported in different vehicles.
Protecting Young Passengers
During the testing phase, each seat is crash tested in a simulated scenario to determine the risk of injury to your child during an accident. Tests indicated that children are likely to sustain no injuries to minor injuries if the seat is correctly configured. However, if the seat is not properly installed, your child faces a higher risk of sustaining serious head or chest injuries.
Important Safety Notes
For babies that are under the age of three, all car seats must be installed in the rear seat. No need to mention that it is safer placing him or her facing the back until he or she grows older as we’ve mentioned it throughout the guide. If installing the car seat is a challenge, you can always call professionals to come set it up correctly.
What It’s Going to Cost You
When it comes to price, you can get your hands on entry-level seats anywhere from $50 while the high-end models can cost anywhere around $400 and higher. You can also consider second-hand models which offer a great value for money and are just as effective as brand new car seats.
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We have continually stressed the importance of buying the best convertible car seat in our review and this is because we want to emphasize on that point. The seats we featured are some of the best in the market. They passed the minimum requirement tests for safety imposed by the NHTSA. Our ratings and buyer’s guide will help you determine which seat will provide comfort and safety for your child while being easy to use and install.