Alongside a crib and mattress, a baby car seat is one of the most crucial purchases you’ll make as a soon-to-be parent. So how do you go about selecting the best baby car seat?
Well, contrary to other decisions, where you can employ a simple “do-whatever-works-for-you” mantra, buying the best baby car seats is a tricky affair. Not only does the seat have to be compatible with your car, but it should also be able to keep your toddler safe.
Don’t forget that it’s a big-ticket item too. Buy the wrong one, and you’ll end up wasting a huge chunk of money. To help you out, we’ve narrowed down your options to 10 of the best baby car seats. Read on to find the perfect travel system.
Reviews of the Best Baby Car Seats 2021
#1 – Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat: Best Overall
Chicco KeyFit 30 continues to be a top option for most parents, and it’s easy to see why. It’s super easy to install, offers a 5-point harness for optimal safety, all while managing to be affordable.
In case you’re wondering, the “30” in the title refers to the maximum capacity it can accommodate (30 pounds). But if used with the infant insert, it’s suitable for carrying babies as little as four pounds.
The ease of installation is another feature that gives it an edge. The RideRight bubble level indicators that it’s equipped with, help you install it at the perfect angle.
- Can be used for a long time; holds babies weighing 4 to 30 pounds
- Easy installation
- Comfy padding
- It’s a little heavy
#2 – Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35: Best Budget Car Seat
Baby car seats are typically a top-dollar item. So finding one that’s affordable is no easy feat. Luckily, Graco offers a wide variety of car seats at different prices, and their SnugRide SnugLock 35 is one of their most affordable options.
For the style-conscious, the car seat is available in four color options: Tenley, Tansy, Pierce and Ames. More importantly, it’s reasonably-sized, making it possible to fit it in the backseat of most compact or small cars.
It’s also very lightweight. It weighs a measly 7.5 pounds, which makes it easy to carry around.
The SnugRide can be installed in one of two ways: using the vehicle’s seat belt or latch. Whichever approach you use, you’ll find the installation quite easy. Besides, the car seat includes level indicators, which let you know whether you’ve installed it correctly.
- SnugLock technology for a problem-free installation
- Includes a 5-point harness to secure your child
- Adjustable reclining feature
- The canopy doesn’t come down far enough to offer shade when used in a stroller
#3 – Doona Infant Car Seat: Best Car Seat Stroller Combo
When you’re ready to go an adventure with your little one, a car seat and stroller are essential accessories. Luckily, you don’t have to break your bank buying both items separately.
Well, not if you invest in the Doona car seat, which transforms to a stroller with the click of a button! When you want to use it as a car seat, simply pull and fold the stroller legs and wheels under the car seat.
And that’s not all. This all-in-one travel system is designed for the long-haul. If you’re a soon-to-be parent, you’ll be able to use it right from birth up to when your baby weighs 35 pounds or is 32 inches tall; whichever comes first.
- Pulls double-duty as a car seat and stroller
- Has an easy open and close system
- Grows with your baby
- A bit bulky
- As a stroller, it lacks an undercarriage basket for storage
#4 – Clek 2020 Liing: Best Car Seat For Newborns
If you don’t mind the price tag, Clek Liing is among the best baby car seats for a newborn. It’s comfortable and has top safety features.
One safety feature you’ll find in this car seat, and one that sets it apart is the metal load leg. This metal bar is meant to absorb shock in the event of a collision, a factor that helps to minimize the risk of head injury.
Also important to note is the car seat’s two-piece infant insert. This component offers plenty of support and makes the seat suitable even for preemies. The head support is well-designed and does a good job of keeping your little one stable.
Clek Liing is also pretty easy to configure. It comes fitted with rigid LATCH connectors, which make installation as simple as sliding the car seat base into your car’s lower anchors.
- 7-position adjustable recline positions
- Metal load leg for maximum safety
- Rigid LATCH connectors ease the installation
#5 – Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat: Best for Small Cars
If you own a compact or subcompact car, then you need to be extra careful when choosing a baby car seat as not all of them will work. Thankfully, the Britax B-Safe has a compact design, which is why it’s ranked as the best baby car seat for small cars.
It’s a rear-facing car seat, which measures 18 inches on the widest part and 26 inches in length. But what truly sets this seat apart is Britax’s proprietary SafeCell technology. The purpose of this is to provide maximum shock absorption in case of a collision.
Installation of this car seat is a piece of cake, and this is achieved using the manufacturer’s SafeCenter latch and built-in lock-offs.
- Includes a canopy to offer protection against rain and sun
- Compatible with Britax line of strollers
- Offers shock absorption
- Easy to install
- It’s not well-ventilated
#6 – Diono Radian 3RXT: Best Car Seat for Twins
Having twins means you’ll get double the blessings. But it also means that you’ll have to do double the planning and preparation for a newborn. Luckily, Diono has got you covered with their Radian 3XT.
This car seat has such a narrow and compact profile, letting you fit up to three such seats across, for most mid-sized vehicles. This arrangement comes in handy, especially if you have another toddler in addition to the twins.
Another impressive feature of the Diono Radian is the ability to grow with your child. Sure, it starts off as an infant car seat. But you can easily transform it into a booster when your child is older. Just don’t exceed the maximum weight limit of 120 pounds.
- The infant car seat has a 12-position adjustable head support
- Compact design allows you to fit 3 car seats across
- Designed to last up to 10 years
- Can be used from birth up to 4 years old
- Tends to limit the front passenger’s legroom
#7 – UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
UPPAbaby line of strollers is some of the most prominent. So it comes as no surprise that their Mesa car seat is also top-rated.
The ease of installing this car seat is one of its key selling points. All you need to do is clip the LATCH connectors, then push the base down by applying a little bit of force.
The advantage of this mechanism is that unlike other car seats, you don’t have to tug or pull at straps. Another thing that helps is the indicator, which turns green to notify you that the seat is installed properly.
You will also love how comfortable the car seat feels. It has a thick layer of padding, and it’s mostly made of soft fabric, creating a cozy and safe cocoon for your tot.
- SMARTSecure system, which installs very easily
- The headrest is adjustable and is fitted with a side impact protection feature
- Made of soft and breathable fabric to keep your toddler cool and comfortable
#8 – Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30: Lightest Baby Car Seat
Baby car seats are notoriously heavy. This can be an issue if you have to constantly transfer it from one car to another, or remove it so as to free up space.
Fortunately, Maxi-Cosi understands this, which is why they offer an array of lightweight car seats. One of my favorites is their rear-facing Max 30, which weighs just 8.9 pounds. Better yet, it’s equipped with a contoured handle, which makes it all the more portable.
In addition to being light, this car seat also looks sleek and modern. Plus, it comes in more than 10 colors, giving you a wide range of options to pick from.
Aesthetics aside, this car seat is a cinch to install, and that’s regardless of whether you’re installing it with a base or not. It’s also comfortable and has a harness to keep your baby secure.
- Light for easy portability
- Comes with footmuffs to keep your baby’s feet warm
- Self-wicking fabric keeps your baby cool
- Sleek and modern look with several color options
- Quality of the canopy can be improved
#9 – Evenflo LiteMax Infant Car Seat: Most Stylish Car Seat
If you’re looking for a car seat that is not only functional but also looks elegant, the Evenflo LiteMax is your best bet.
The manufacturer has used an exceptional color scheme that really makes the car seat stand out. The base and handle are in black color, while the interior chamber which holds the cushion is in gray. When it comes to the canopy, you can choose between azalea, bamboo leaf green and river stone.
Another feature that buyers like about the LiteMax is its lightweight, which makes it easy to carry. Plus, the handle is ergonomically-designed, and this also contributes to its portability.
- It’s light and has an ergonomic handle for easy portability
- Unique color scheme gives it an elegant look
- Equipped with a full-coverage canopy to offer protection from weather elements
- Might be a little too narrow for some users
#10 – Britax One4Life ClickTight: Safest Car Seat For Newborns
Although the Britax One4Life may not be the most pocket-friendly option, it’s a favorite for many because it contains an array of safety features.
Britax designed this car seat to be the only one that your munchkin will need from birth till they hit the 120-pound mark in weight. For newborns and infants, it’s designed to act as a rear-facing seat.
Once your toddler starts weighing about 22 pounds, you can easily transform it into a forward-facing seat. At this point, you can also recline it to achieve a comfortable position for your little one.
The safety features included in this seat include top tethers. These help to reduce your child’s head movement; hence, minimize the risk of injury during an accident.
The One4Life also features Britax proprietary SafeCell technology. This is fundamental in distributing energy appropriately in the event of an accident. There’s also an anti-rebound bar meant to absorb shock during a collision; hence keep your baby safer.
- Equipped with an array of safety features
- Scalable; can be used from birth up to 120-pounds.
- Simple to install
Buying a baby car seat is not one of those decisions that you can just “wing it”. There are a number of factors to consider, starting from the budget to safety features and more. One of the best baby car seats is the Chicco KeyFit 30.
It’s priced just right and has a number of handy features, such as the 5-point harness for securing your baby. Installing this seat is also a breeze thanks to the reclining capability, SuperCinch tightener, spring-loaded leveling foot, and bubble levels.
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