Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews 2017

(Updated )
Convertible car seats are designed to ensure that your child is safe and protected while riding in your car, especially during a crash. Since there are many car seats on the market, choosing the right one can be a nightmare. This is where our comprehensive review of some top car seat brands and products will give you a helping hand, so you can pick the best and safest seat for your child.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Capacity
Harness
Comfort
Protection
Extras
Our Top Choice
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
The Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat - Notte is designed for safety, comfort and convenience by a brand well-known for its great products designed for ease-of-use and safety.
Top safety features. High weight limit. Easy to install and use. Many recline options to suit different vehicles. High quality and comfort. Steel frame for additional protection.
Accessing straps from the rear-facing position is hard.
5 to 65 pounds
5-point harness
Seat pad
Steel frame, Belt lock-off
Black & white with silver accents
Best Value
Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Reversible Car Seat
Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat - Dahlia is easy-to-use and is easily adjusted to fit your child as he or she grows. The brand is well-known and popular among users.
3 seats can fit across the back seat. Adapts to a child’s growth. Comfortable. Lightweight. Affordable. Easy to install and use. Offers ultimate protection.
We just can’t find any!
5 to 80 pounds
5-point harness
Body pillow, padded seat
Side impact protection
Machine washable
Britax Advocate Clicktight Car Seat
Britax have been leading the way regarding child safety products for decades. All their car seats are centered on practicality, functionality and style.
High height limits for rear-facing positions. Easy to install. No re-thread harness. Built-in safety features. Absorbs accident shocks. Product life of 10 years. Smart design.
Expensive. Short crotch buckle. Heavy. No cup-holder.
5 to 65 pounds
14-point harness
Premium fabrics, removable pillow
Steel frame,side impact protection
Machine washable; 1 year warranty
Graco Contender™ 65 Reversible Car Seat
Graco is a brand synonymous with baby products. They led the world and set the standard with their innovative and highly functional products, including their car seats.
Affordable. No height limit. Fits newborns who are average in size. Double crotch positions for buckling.
Anchor connectors of lower standard.
5 to 65 pounds
5-point adjustable harness
Removable body support
Side impact protection
Machine washable;3 color options
Evenflo SureRide™ DLX Reversible Car Seat
With a centuries experience behind them, it’s safe to say Evenflo are an industry leader in baby products. Their SureRide Car Seat will grow with your baby from 5 to 65 pounds.
Lightweight. Affordable. Allows for extended use. Fits newborns. Easy to install.
Fixed-strap harness. Difficulty in moving lower LATCH connectors.
5 to 65 pounds
5-point harness
Head and body pillows, Seat pad
Side impact tested
Machine washable

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How Do I Choose the Best Convertible Car Seat?

When traveling in a car, it’s important to keep your child safe in a car seat. In fact, you need to have one ready before the arrival of your unborn child. Since a car seat can save your child’s life in case of an accident, there’s need to buy the best one for optimal safety.

First, you’ll have to decide whether you want an infant safety seat or a convertible seat. Whereas infant car seats are only rear-facing and have a capacity of 35 to 40 pounds, convertible car seats, just as the name suggests, convert from rear-facing to forward-facing.

Convertible car seats have capacities ranging from 40 to 80 pounds, and heights ranging from 40 to 57 inches tall. An all-in-one or 3-in-1 convertible seat doesn’t just convert from rear-facing to forward-facing, but also doubles as a booster seat for children weighing a maximum of 120 pounds. There are also 3-in-1 car seats that only support forward-facing use, hence not ideal for babies.

Buying a convertible car seat your baby can use as he/she grows is more cost-effective than buying an infant seat then transitioning to a convertible seat. Although this is true, some experts argue that infants are safer in car seats designed specifically for infants.

Some parents have also reportedly said that convertible seats overwhelm their newborns. Therefore, when shopping for a convertible seat for a young baby, make sure it has a newborn insert or padding to comfortably fit your baby.

Unlike car seats for infants, convertible seats are heavier and usually require installation. Infant seats, on the other hand, are normally just clicked into a base kept in the car. You also can’t easily remove convertible seats once installed in a car or use them with your baby stroller. Neither can you use them to carry your baby.

This review focuses on convertible car seats. We hope that this guide will help you make an informed buying decision for the best convertible car seat.
Price
The amount you can pay for a convertible car seat depends on its quality, brand, materials used, and the features it comes with. Since car seats are meant to protect your child in case of an accident, you need to buy one of high quality. Cheap car seats might mean your child isn’t well-protected from the uncertainties ahead whenever you hit the road, so we strongly recommend staying away from such products, especially when the safety of your little one is at stake!

Used car seats can come in handy when you’re on a tight budget, but they might miss critical features, have a history of being involved in a crash (hence have unseen damages), or might not meet prevailing safety standards.

There’s also the possibility that a used car seat could have been recalled for faultiness. What’s more, the plastic components of a car seat get brittle with time, and might cause the seat to fail in a crash. For these reasons, experts don’t recommend used car seats.

If you must buy a used car seat, make sure it’s been used for not more than five years, has never been involved in a car crash, and has all the parts or features and the instruction manual.

Consider buying a travel system - a baby stroller that comes with an infant seat - if you need a good seat but don’t have much to spend. A premium car seat comes with a high price tag because it comes with additional features for extra comfort and safety.

You’ll find convertible car seats in the price range of $50 to $500. High-end models with more features and higher weight limits cost more.
Features
Convertible car seats are designed to support your baby’s traveling needs from infancy to teenage years, depending on the features they’re built with. Whichever type of car safety seat you want to buy, it must be safe, comfortable, and easy to use. Therefore, there are specific features you need to look for in a car seat. But some features come at an additional cost.

Here are the important features you need to look for in a convertible car seat:
  • Harness system for added safety
  • Side-impact protection through padding, use of energy-absorbing foam, etc.
  • A latch system to secure the seat to the frame of your car
  • Adjustable harness system to accommodate your child as he/she grows
  • Padding and baby inserts for comfort
  • Detachable covers for easy cleaning
  • NHTSA rating for ease-of-use
  • Additional features such as anti-rebound bars, boots, and size of canopies
  • An easy-to-use installation manual
With a strong, safe, and adjustable convertible seat, your baby can enjoy safe and comfortable rides whether you’re going shopping or visiting your family miles away.
Construction and Design
When shopping for a convertible car seat, look out for the following features in the construction and design of a safety seat:

Harness – these are straps that hold your baby firmly onto the seat. Opt for a 5-point harness with one strap for each of your baby’s shoulders, one strap that runs between the legs, and one strap for each of the hips. The straps will secure your child for safety, and they come with new car seats.

Side-Impact Protection – find a seat built with side-impact protection for your baby’s chest and head in case you get involved in a side-impact collision. Look out for special energy-absorbing foam and any other side-impact protection features in a convertible seat.

Latch – these are lower tethers and anchors for additional protection. Car seats manufactured since 2002 are built with latch systems. Unlike older seats that were designed to secure to the vehicle’s frame using seat belts, new car seat models attach to the frame of your car through the latch system. Convertible car seats come with lower anchor connectors and a top tether strap to secure the seat onto your car. However, some manufacturers recommend that the top tether strap shouldn’t be used if the seat is being used in the rear-facing position for your newborn. Latch systems also come with weight limits, usually on the seat label or the manual. If your baby surpasses the weight limit, you need to secure the seat using seat belts. Always read your seat’s user manual before installing it to ensure you get to use it properly.

Anti-rebound Bar - decide if you want a car seat with an anti-rebound bar for minimal movement of your baby if you’re involved in a crash. This feature usually comes with premium car seats.

Adjustability – choose a car seat with options for adjusting the harness as your child grows.

Comfort – a good seat isn’t just safe, but also comfortable for your baby. Find seats with sufficient padding to ensure your child travels comfortably and safely.

Covers – kids can be messy, so find a convertible car seat with detachable covers for easy cleaning.

Ease-of-Use – opt for a car seat that’s easy to install and use, with a manual you can easily understand and follow. Look out for a seat’s NHTSA rating for ease-of-use. The more stars there are, the easier it is to use.

Accessories - also look out for any accessories a car seat might come with. Look out for baby boots, large canopies, etc.
Performance and Ease of Use
Whichever type of convertible car seat you opt for, make sure it’s safe, comfortable, adjustable, and easy to use. An adjustable harness comes with straps you can easily adjust as well as the harness height to accommodate your baby’s growth. Look out for seats with adjustable belts built with quick-release buckles.

Baby inserts and padding offer support for your child. Choose a seat with head support for better rides for your baby. Since children create messes all the time, you can’t expect the car seat to stay clean all the time. Therefore, buy a car seat with covers that you can easily remove and clean; if it’s machine-washable, that’s even better.

You also need to make sure that the seat you’re buying is easy to install and use; ensure it has an easy-to-use manual for installation. The best convertible car seat is also made using high-quality materials for durable use. Finally, check out the seat’s NHTSA rating for ease of use.

What is the Best Convertible Car Seat?

Affordable car seats are designed for use by children of different ages, meaning the product you pick should be age-appropriate for your little one. When shopping for the best convertible car seat, look at the capacity, harness, comfort, protection, and extra features that the product comes with. These will ensure that the car seat is functional enough to protect your child from any problems while on the road. Find out if one of our recommended convertible car seats is what you need.
Our Top Choice
The Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat – Notte comes with convenience and safety features for precise, secure and easy installation. If you need an affordable option with similar great features, opt for the NextFit Convertible Car Seat – Matrix.
Chicco NextFit Zip Child Car Seat with a 5-Point Harness Management System

Chicco Convertible Car Seat 06079019130070 - Notte


Features
With many car seats available for purchase in the market, choosing the best can be difficult. However, with this comprehensive review, the decision-making process has been made easy for you to pick a car seat that will meet all your needs. Chicco is a popular brand with top-rated products in the market. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat – Notte is bundled with a range of features to ensure that you make the most of what it has to offer in terms of safety, convenience and support.

Here are some amazing features that come with this easy-to-use convertible car seat:
  • Thermal-insulated cup holder for use on any side of the seat
  • Double-position chest clip
  • Zip and Wash seat pad
  • Infant insert for extra support
  • Lock-off vehicle belt for convenience and safety
  • SuperCinch® latch tightener
  • Double RideRight® bubble levels
  • Adjustable 6-position headrest
  • ComfortFlex® Harness Management
  • 9-position recline sure leveling system for precise adjustments
  • Harness tightener based on one-pull
  • Latch strap re-positioning slide path
With the great features, you can be sure that your young one is safe as you travel in your vehicle. Not only will they be safe, but they can travel in style with 5 color options to choose from: lavender, notte, sapphire, ibis or regio.
Best Value
Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Dahlia comes with advanced features that elevate the use of the car seat for children, taking it to the next level. If you need a forward-facing convertible car seat that’s versatile and comes with similar features and benefits at a lower price, go for the Scenera® Next Convertible Car Seat – Otto.
Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Baby & Toddler Car Seat with Side Impact Protection

Easy Elite 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – Dahlia


Features
Although car seats are designed and made for similar reasons, they come with different features to support their functionality. With this review of some of the best affordable car seats, you will be able to choose a product that’s suited to your needs and your child. Cosco is a top car seat brand with numerous reviews on top review sites. The Cosco Easy Car Seat has a sleek design to fit in the back seats of different vehicles.

Here are some great features to look out for in your Cosco Elite 3-in-1 Car Seat:
  • Body pillow for a perfect fit
  • Adjustable 5-point harness
  • Infant insert
  • Padded headrest
  • Smooth cover
  • 40 to 80 pounds belt positioning
  • 22 to 50 pounds forward facing for toddlers
  • 5 to 40 pounds rear facing for infants
  • Adjustable harness
  • Headrest
  • Recline for a perfect fit
These features will ensure that you gain the most from your user friendly convertible car seat.
Britax Advocate Clicktight is a convertible car seat that you can use either in the rear-facing or forward-facing position depending on your child’s age and weight. If you need something for a smaller budget, you could opt for the Britax Marathon Clicktight, which still offers the same protection for your child.
Britax Advocate Clicktight Reversible Car Seat with a 7-Position Adjustable Recline

Britax Convertible Car Seat E1A265Q - Circa


Features
Car seats are designed to ensure that you and your little one can travel safely on the road, and in the event of an accident, get protection. With many brands in the market selling this product, you can be lost trying to choose one: a good place to start, brands.

Britax is a renowned brand worldwide with thousands of reviews from happy customers on top review sites. The Britax Advocate Clicktight comes with Safe Cell Harness for impact absorption to precisely position your child’s chest clip and absorb extra energy in case of an accident.

Here are some great features to consider as you look to pick the best budget-friendly car seat:
  • Steel frame for stabilization
  • 7-position adjustable recline
  • Shoulder pads and removable pillow
  • EZ-Buckle System
  • 14-position adjustable harness
  • Clickable Snug Harness Indicator for safety
  • 2-position buckle
  • Removable cover
  • Plush foam padding
  • ClickTight Installation System
With these features, and when you put your car seat into good use, you can drive stress-free with your little one buckled up in the back seat.
Graco Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat has an engineered design and a LATCH indicator for ease-of-installation. Alternatively, the My Ride™ 65 LX Convertible Car Seat is based on the EPS technology to ensure that your child is highly protected. Opt for this car seat if you want something that’s affordable yet comes with many features to support its functionality.
Graco Contender™ 65 Baby and Toddler Car Seat with Rigorously-Tested Side Impact

Graco Convertible Car Seat 8W402GLC - Glacier


Features
Graco has been creating functional, innovative juvenile products for decades, meaning they definitely know their stuff. They were the ones to set the standard as their new and even more functional products hit the market by storm. This began simply with a baby swing and developed over the years into car seats, travel systems and hi-tech baby monitors.

Graco definitely stands out for their innovative car seats that are easy to use and could last years if you opt for a convertible one such as the Contender 65.

Here are some features to look out for:
  • LATCH with an indicator for ease-of-installation
  • 8-position headrest for adjustment as your baby grows
  • Cup holder
  • Simply safe harness system for simplicity, safety and adjustment
  • Engineered design
  • Side impact protection
  • Removable body support for comfort
  • EPS Foam for effective energy absorption and management
These features will enhance the functionality of your convertible car seat for increased safety of your child. If you also want to enhance the style of your car seat, then take your pick from three colors; glacier, sapphire or chili red.
The Evenflo SureRide™ DLX Convertible Car Seat is designed to ensure that you can use the safe car seat for longer as you can adjust it as your child grows. For the same natural integrity but at a lower price, go for the Tribute™ LX Convertible Car Seat.
Evenflo SureRide™ DLX Baby and Toddler Car Seat with Machine-Washable Seat Pad

Evenflo Convertible Car Seat 37121324 - Paxton


Features
Evenflo is a brand that’s popular among parents, with many amazing reviews online. It’s no surprise really considering they’ve been manufacturing baby and juvenile products for almost a century! When a brand really stands the test of time then you can feel confident that it’s for good reason.

The Evenflo SureRide™ DLX Convertible Car Seat comes with a seat pad that you can easily machine wash to ensure that your child enjoys safe rides in a clean environment.

Here are some features to look out for in this amazing car seat for children:
  • Double crotch positions for buckling
  • 6 harness positions
  • LATCH systems with tether for fitting onto different vehicles
  • Removable body and head pillows
  • Side impact tested
  • Energy absorbing foam
  • 5-point harness
  • 2-position chest clip
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Fold-down cup holder
Choose from five colors; bishop, Nicole, Paxton, sugar plum or Windsor and make sure your child is travelling safely and in style.

Get the Best Convertible Car Seat of 2017!

Whether you want a safe convertible car seat for your newborn, toddler, or small child, there’s a product out there designed specifically to meet their unique needs for safety and protection. We hope this comprehensive review of top car seats has given you a head start to pick the right product based on your working budget. You can also check out our reviews on booster and infant car seats for more information.

Our Top Choice
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
Best Value
Cosco Easy Elite 3-in-1 Reversible Car Seat
Britax Advocate Clicktight Car Seat
Graco Contender™ 65 Reversible Car Seat
Evenflo SureRide™ DLX Reversible Car Seat