Convertible car seats certainly give you the most bang for buck, considering they can last from infancy all the way into toddler hood and sometimes even longer! A car seat is by far the most important purchase you will make for your baby, so make this one count!
We sometimes forget, but driving is easily one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. This is why we recommend avoiding used car seats and sticking to a brand that is reliable and trustworthy. In choosing the best convertible car seat of 2018, we took into consideration price, comfort, and most importantly, safety.
Why go for a convertible car seat instead of an infant carrier?
Moms often go for a convertible car seat for many reasons, most importantly the value you can get from using the same seat from infancy through childhood. Most infant carriers max out at 30 lbs, but it is far from comfortable for a 30 lb toddler to be stuck in for car rides. It is highly recommended to keep children in a car seat up to the age of five, so an additional car seat would need to purchased. A convertible car seat grows with your child and most can accommodate children up to 100lbs.
Convertible car seats, however, are not designed for you to carry your newborn in them. Many modern moms have ditched dragging the car seat around and prefer using a baby carrier or wrap instead. Interested in baby carrying? Check out our article on baby wraps and carriers.
Without further ado, on to the reviews!
Our Top Picks for the Best Convertible Carseats
Time and time again, Graco car seats have proven to be built sturdy and Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat can grow with your child from newborn until toddler (65lb maximum). Adjustable 6-position recline and and 4-position leg room extension provides great value for the cost.
Our only gripe is that the unloading process for a newborn specifically requires a little more physical action compared to a dedicated newborn car seat, but it’s nothing that simply taking a little more time to accomplish can’t remedy.
This is about as easy and convenient as a convertible car seat can get. A key feature of the 4Ever 4-in-1 is the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System which lets the user adjust the height of the harness in one motion, ensuring a snug fit. There are plush inserts for newborns and 2 integrated cup holders for older babies.
One of the things that seems to be an issue with this car seat is that when positioned a certain way, the head rests didn’t exactly do the job of holding up a resting head. However, reviewers noted that this was an insignificant issue and they still felt their child was safe.
The Evenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Convertible Car Seat is the cream of the crop. For children from 5lbs up to 110lbs, this is the pretty much the only car seat you’ll ever need. It can be rear-facing, forward-facing, and it can be converted into a booster seat. With the Evenflo exclusive SureLATCH connectors, this car seat can be installed in 60 seconds, with no pulling necessary, which makes it great for moving between multiple vehicles.
This car seat does not have a leveling base, so the owner’s manual suggests using a rolled up towel to get the correct fit. Some moms found using a pool noodle got the job done as well. Initial installation can be challenging, but once you’ve got it all set up, switching between cars is an easy process.
One Of Our Favorite Features for Newborns – Graco Click Connect Car Seats
We also wanted to give a special mention to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect Infant Car Seat, in case you wanted a more comfortable fit for your newborn. This car seat is not considered a convertible car seat, but it fits babies 4-35 lbs and up to 32″, so it can still be used for bigger babies. The feature we love about these car seats is that they come with a stay-in-the car base, making it very easy to remove the car seat. You can also purchase an additional base which is such a great feature if you often switch your car seat between cars.
One more super convenient feature about the Graco Click Connect car seats is that they easily click into many of Graco’s strollers, creating a traveling system perfect for you and your family.
Check out our stroller reviews for help in choosing a stroller that is compatible with a graco car seat.
The Convertible Car Seat with the Best Value
The Graco line is of great quality, but the prices reflects a name-brand product. Fortunately, there’s quality non-Graco seats out there, too. One of our favorites is the Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat. This car seat can be used rear or forward facing and is suitable for babies 5-40 lbs. It’s FAA compliant, so it can be used on airplanes. It is simple, reliable, and safe. Our reviewers have found that this car seat fits nicely if you have other car seats next to it.
A down side to this convertible car seat is that you may need to use the rolled towel or pool noodle method mentioned above. That’s a pretty small problem in comparison to how much value you can get from this car seat!
That about rounds it up for our reviews of some of the most popular car seats available. For other essentials and gift ideas, check out our baby essentials article.