Disclaimer: We may receive a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Best Infant Car Seats Reviewed
There are many surprises that follow after you leave the hospital with your first-born child, but one of them is likely to occur before you even leave the building. Many hospitals won’t let you leave their facility before the nursing staff has a good look at the infant car seat you intend to take your baby home with.
Thankfully you can leave the hospital without surprise by investing in a reliable car seat designed specifically for the needs of a newborn.
When shopping for the best infant car seats it is really important that you get the right car seat for your baby, your family, and for your vehicle. This is particularly important if you have a mid-sized or compact vehicle, and that’s why we reviewed 5 of the best infant car seats for small cars.
Taking that first ride home with your newborn bundle is really quite special and not something you will soon forget. If you play your cards right, that same car seat might last for years and years as your child grows.
Selecting a convertible cars seat is a good first step, but getting exactly what you need is going to revolve around a number of important considerations that can make your infant car seat much more desirable and helpful in the long run.
Top Infant Car Seat Features To Consider
- Safety – It goes without saying that any car seat should put safety at the top of the list. Beyond car seat crash test ratings, there are a lot of other features that add to the overall safety of any particular car seat. Good padding and support are important, particularly for a newborn that needs added neck support. A solid base and latch connectors are also very helpful to firmly anchor your infant car seat in place.
- Easy Installation – If you have more than one vehicle that your child will be riding in, or if the grandparents will also use your newborn’s car seat, then you might want to consider a model that is easily moved from vehicle to vehicle. The weight and size of the car seat is going to be a big factor in the ease of install and moving to other vehicles, but the latching system is also an important element to consider.
- Convertible – Converting your car seat to each new stage can be a real money saver in the best infant car seats. Some of the top quality car seats will provide of up to the first ten years of your child’s life. Today’s top car seats can convert from rear facing infant, to forward facing toddler, and to big kid booster. Another really a convenient feature is the ability to adjust the height of the back so your child is supported as they grow.
- Adjustable Recline – At face value this might seem like a comfort you would take or leave. But when your child is getting over tires and grumpy because they are in desperate need of a nap, having a reclining car seat that can keep your child comfortable while they nap is a big selling point. Take it from someone who has experienced this exact scenario with one of our car seats that does not recline back enough. If we could turn back the clock we would choose differently.
- Machine Washable – Traveling almost any distance with kids is bound to involve drinks and snacks. Needless to say, kids can make a real mess in short order. With newborn diaper blow-outs and potential car sickness, in all honesty who knows what disaster might be right around the corner? Being able to simply peel the cover off your car seat and toss it in the washing machine is a must-have.
- Stroller Compatibility – There is a growing trend among manufacturers to integrate their baby gear, and a good number of today’s car seats are designed to lock into strollers from a variety of manufacturers. So when your baby is sleeping in the car, you can simply unlock the car seat and secure it into the stroller without removing your child from the safety harness an waking them.
Top Infant Car Seats Comparison Chart
Best Infant Car Seat
If you are looking for the best infant car seat, you certainly will not be disappointed with the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat. Bucket-style seats can end up taking up a lot of space in the back of your vehicle. This is despite the fact that they are made to be compact and lightweight. This is one of the reasons why we highly recommend the Chicco KeyFit 30.
When it comes to small vehicles especially, this car seat for small cars is one of the best. It is small in size yet it is not lacking in terms of features or safety.
If you are looking for an infant bucket-style car seat, you are not going to be disappointed. There are so many great safety features included with this car seat. This includes the padded impact-absorbing materials that have been used.
It also incorporates features that mean the car seat is very easy to install. It has a bubble level to make certain you install it at the correct angle for your new baby. This is important because the way in which the seat of your vehicle is angled is going to impact the angle at which the car seat is installed.
There are some other great features associated with this car seat, including the SuperCinch. This is a tool that has been designed in order to enable you to tighten the LATCH straps when the car seat is being installed.
Without the SuperCinch or other installation technology like this, it can take a big amount of effort and frustration to ensure the car seat straps are tightened properly. Plus, if you are working in a tight area of a small vehicle, it is even more challenging without a feature as helpful as this one.
Furthermore, it is incredibly easy to carry and use because of the weight and size of the car seat. This is because of the fact that it is only 9.6 pounds in weight and only 17 inches wide.
Here is the full feature video on the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat:
- The #1-rated infant car seat in America!
- Easiest to install with Recline Sure levelling foot, Ride Right bubble levels, and Super Cinch LATCH tightened
- Designed for travel system use with compatible Chicco strollers (sold separately)
- Removable new-born head and body supports. For infants from 4 to 30 lbs and up to 30 inches in height
- 5-point harness with easy-pull tightened. 2-position carry-handle with comfortable grip
Next, we have the convertible car seat from Diono, the Radian 3RXT, which is one of the more expensive options out there. However, we definitely think that it is worth the money.
This is a very low profile car seat thanks to both the width and depth of the car seat. This means it is going to take up barely any space, making it another exceptional option if you have minimal space in your vehicle.
One of the greatest things about this car seat is that you are not going to need to purchase a rear-facing car seat for your infant and then upgrade it by buying a convertible car seat.
With this product, you have everything you need to take you through any stage of growth. Your child should stay in the booster seat until the seat belt from your vehicle fits them correctly.
There are a number of other benefits that are associated with this rear facing convertible car seat, including the fact that it is very easy to transport. This is something that does not typically tend to be the case with a rear facing convertible car seat.
One additional item we really like for traveling are the carry straps, which require a separate purchase as they are not included. However, they represent an excellent option particularly if you are looking at airline travel. Despite the fact that it may be on the heavy side, coming in at 27 pounds, being able to carry it on your back, rather than hauling it through the airport awkwardly is a massive benefit.
The good news just keeps on coming with this car seat, as it is also packed with safety features, including a rear-facing top tether and a steel frame. That solid build quality and secure latching helps to prevent the car seat from moving should there ever be an accident.
While you’re not going to have the option to attach it to a travel system, or easily carry a newborn around in it, all in all if you are searching for a compact all-in-one option this is a choice that will not let you down. Since it provides for all the other stages of car seats for kids, it is going to save you money in the long run.
- ORIGINAL 3 ACROSS: The Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible is an affordable ultramodern child car seat that protects and makes traveling with kids as safe and easy as possible. Fit 3 Radians across in most family-size vehicles—FAA-approved for air travel.
- SUPERIOR EXTENDED REAR-FACING SAFETY & SECURITY: Featuring our powerful integrated steel frame, our flagship convertible protects infants rear-facing 5-45 lbs, forward-facing up to 65 lbs in 5 pt harness, and converts to booster for kids 50-120 lbs.
- DYNAMIC HEAD & SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: Reinforced with an adjustable 12-position headrest, memory foam seat and aluminum side impact walls lined with energy-absorbing EPS foam, Radian safeguards kids in a robust cloud of cushiony protective comfort.
- MAXIMUM SAFETY & EASY INSTALLATION: Utilizing our SuperLATCH audible-click/visual-locking indicator connector system, 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions, expandable leg rests, and a nonslip rubber base—all for a secure installation.
- TRAVELING THE WORLD IN COMFORT: Created with an easily removable premium plush-knit machine washable fabric, tailored infant support cushions, a seat that’s easy for your child to climb in and out of as they grow, and folds flat for easy storage.
Next, we have the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat. This is a car seat that is very easy to use, as well as being comfortable and safe. It is suitable for toddlers and babies who are up to 52 inches tall and weight between 14 and 85 lbs.
When using this as a forward-facing car seat, the weight limit is between 22 and 85 lbs. When using this as a rear-facing car seat, the weight limit is between 14 and 40 lbs.
One factor you need to consider when looking for a car seat is the car seat crash test ratings. There is no denying that this is one of the safer car seats on the market today. It meets the required safety standards that are in place. It has a shock absorption system and side-impact protection, which means any impact is going to be absorbed instead of being transferred to your child
There is no denying that this is one of the most popular car seat brands around the world, not only in the United States. One of the great things about this car seat, in particular, is the vast number of features that come with it.
Among these features is the ten-year lifespan and the fact that it has been approved for use in an aircraft by the FAA. It also comes with an integrated cup holder and a separate harness strap cover for children over 65 lbs.
In addition to the useful features that we have already discussed, this car seat has been made using premium fabrics. It also comes with a cover that is easy to remove, as well as being machine washable and safe to use in the dryer too.
Overall, this car seat checks a lot of the boxes you’ll be looking for in a high quality convertible car seat. You will also receive harness holder clips, premium push-on LATCH connectors, a three-position base, and a no-rethread harness with nine different height positions.
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 is really an excellent option if you are in the market for an infant car seat that can grow with your child, so we don’t hesitate to recommend this option.
- 3-In-1 seating system: rear-facing, from 4-40 pounds; forward-facing to 65 pounds; and up to 100 pounds in Booster mode
- Side Impact protection with GCell protects your child's head where it's needed most in a side impact crash
- In and out harness holders keep straps out of the way when buckling
- One click latch system, with easy click-in for better installation
- Quick fit shoulder harness automatically raises the harness and headrest height
If you are looking for a convertible car seat that is going to last from the moment your child is born until they no longer require a safety seat, this is a good choice.
As you have probably gathered from the name, this is a four-in-one car seat, as you get a backless booster seat, a high-back booster seat, a forward-facing seat, and a rear-facing seat. The latter allows for extended rear-facing up to 40 pounds.
There are a lot of effective features found with this car seat as well. This includes a storage compartment for the harness when it is in the belt-positioning booster mode. You also have up to ten different color options to choose from, as well as a washable cover, ten-year expiration date, two cup holders, which are built-in, push-on lower LATCH connectors, and a steel-reinforced frame.
Other features that are worth noting include a bubble-level indicator, six recline positions (three forward-facing and three rear-facing), a ten position headrest, and a no-rethread five-point safety harness.
This is a versatile and nice-looking car seat, which features adjustability, quality fabric, and some great color options. The result is a car seat that can adapt to the different stages of your child’s life with ease.
The cover is easy to take off and wash, as well as the two cup holders having solid bottoms, so drinks and snacks can be close to your children while on the go. Every box is ticked with this car seat.
- 4 in 1 Graco car seat gives you 10 years of use from four to 120 pounds
- Rear facing baby car seat from 4 to 40 pounds
- Forward facing toddler car seat from 22 to 65 pounds
- Booster seats in high back belt positioning mode from 30 to 100 pounds and backless belt positioning mode from 40 to 120 pounds
- InRight LATCH system for an easy, 1 second LATCH attachment
Last but not least, we have the Evenflo Symphony LX Convertible Car Seat. There are currently two models of the Symphony car seat available in stores at the moment, and so it is vital to distinguish between the two.
This model is more affordable, which is why we have chosen it. We believe it is more than good enough and it is friendlier on the wallet, which is always a plus.
So, what do we love about this car seat? Well, there is a lot to like. Firstly, it is made in the USA and is approved by the FAA. It also has an eight-year lifespan, as well as two handy elastic cupholders and a front three-position recline.
Other features we like include the buckle pockets and the lower anchor, which is compatible with the booster mode. The seat is also made from reinforced steel. There is a five-position adjustable headrest, with a three-zone side impact protection.
Some of the other really nice features include the SureLATCH self-ratcheting connectors which secure the car seat safely in place, no-rethread harness, and six different and exciting color options. Overall, this is a very affordable option that won’t sacrifice safety. If you are in the market for an infant car seat option that won’t break the bank, this is a really smart and popular option.
- This All-In-One Convertible Car Seat fitting children from 5-110 pounds is the only car seat you'll ever need providing rear-facing, forward facing and booster capabilities
- The Symphony LX helps protect rear facing infants from 5-40 pounds, forward facing toddlers from 22-65 pounds and high back booster mode supports children 40-110 pounds
- Quick Connector LATCH system safely attaches and detaches to car with one hand, making movement between multiple cars easy;Evenflo Temperature Testing
- The 5-point Infinite Slide harness easily slides to adjust for an accurate fit every time which means easy in and out for your child
- Evenflo's proprietary e3 Side Impact Protection significantly reduces side impact crash forces up to 50% through 3 layers of expanded zone protection