best convertible car seat

Are you looking for the best convertible car seat for babies? If yes, then you came to the right place. In this article, I’ll show you the top convertible car seats for babies.

A convertible car seat provides a safe seating position for your infant, toddler, and school kid. All car seats comply with government safety standards, but some have extra safety features. Convertible car seats are great because they allow parents to easily convert them from rear facing to forward facing. This means that they can be used for longer periods of time without having to worry about their children being too close to the dashboard or other hazards.

We included car seats for smaller cars, air travel, newborns, big kids, and tall for their age youngsters in the list. Our editor’s choice is the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertable Car Seat because of its versatility, safety features, and comfort.

What Makes A Great Convertible Car Seat?

When looking for the best convertible car seat model for your child, there are a few things to consider, like safety features, using the LATCH method or the vehicle’s seat belt for installation, cleaning, and weight limit for rear and forward-facing seats. Although convertible car seats have these characteristics and features, they all differ to accommodate the needs of parents, children, and vehicle sizes.

A convertible car seat installs with a LATCH system, a regular seat belt, or both. Car seats sold in the U.S. meet the Federal Safety Standards for safety with proper installation. The LATCH system has a weight limit of 40-50 pounds; switch to the seatbelt system when your child exceeds the weight limit.

Convertible car seats made after 2002 have built-in anchors and tethers on the sides of the back seat—vehicles made in 2000 and later will have tether anchors between the vehicle seats and backrest. However, most vehicles don’t have dedicated lower anchors for the center seat, limiting the car seat installation with only LATCH mode to the two side seats.

The Rigid LATCH system isn’t as standard but a stronger and more secure installation. 

All convertible car seats must comply with the government safety standards Federal Crash Test Standard. Some will meet the European Safety Standards that are sometimes higher than U.S. Federal standards. A car seat manufacturer will comply with constructing the safest car seat with good crash test ratings to keep your little one safe during a collision. 

A steel-reinforced frame, anti-rebound panel, extended rear-facing weight limit, energy-absorbing foam, and front, rear, and side-impact protection are great safety features to consider. Although a lightweight seat is a great car seat for traveling, many parents often purchase other car seats that are more robust for long rides and day-to-day trips.

The weight limit of the rear and front-facing seats determines when your child outgrows the seat. It is recommended to keep your child in the rear-facing mode as long as possible. Another way to keep your child safe is to ensure you’ve installed and secured the convertible car seat to the vehicle properly. Many car seats have a dial or bubble leveling system to show the seat is in the correct position.  

If the vehicle was in a collision, it is recommended to install a new car seat; the used car seat could be damaged that isn’t visible to the eye. When purchasing used car seats, make sure they are safe, haven’t been in a crash, and aren’t damaged; if you’re unsure, rather spend the money and buy a new car seat.

A convertible car seat cover should be easily removable; kids spill, mess, and throw up on car seats. How quickly can you remove the convertible car seat cover, and is it machine washable? Some fabrics you can spot clean, while others are handwashing only. Manufacturers often provide a cleaning kit to clean seat covers that aren’t removable quickly; a bigger mess will require steam cleaning. 

Most convertible car seats have the same features, but they differ in ease of use; you don’t want to struggle with a harness adjustment, tightening or loosening, or chest clips every time you fasten-unfasten the child. Buckle buttons and chest clips should line up and be easy to press with a thumb without needing both hands. What is the length of the harness straps, and does it pull effortlessly? Harness compartments keep the harness out of your way while seating an infant; a convenient feature if the child is resisting.

A convertible seat isn’t as portable or lightweight as an infant car seat. Some parents prefer using a convertible car seat from the beginning, so they don’t have to buy two car seats, while others prefer using an infant car seat up to a year for its portability to fit in a stroller. 

The weight limit differs from the weight capacity for the forward-facing position to the rear-facing position. Babies and toddlers generally start in the rear-facing seat, and when older, they change to the forward-facing car seat.

Parents who prefer for safety reasons to keep their children in rear-facing car seats as long as possible should look for convertible car seats with a higher weight limit. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping youngsters in the rear-facing position until age 4. Look for car seats with an extended rear-facing weight limit and extendable leg rests for taller children.

Some convertible car seats are not for newborns and small babies; these seats have a minimum weight of 12-14 pounds. If they meet the minimum height level, car seats with a minimum 4-pound weight limit could safely carry premature babies. Other convertible car seats have a weight capacity that accommodates the adaptation to a booster seat for 5-year-old preschoolers who are still too small for vehicle seats and backless booster car seats for elementary school kids. 

The two types of harness adjustment are the rethread and the no-rethread harness. Rethread harness adjustment needs an empty seat; with the non-rethread method, parents can adjust the harness while the child is seated.

Check the strap design of the five-point harness that it pulls smoothly and doesn’t twist when buckling a child. When installing the car seats with seat belts, look for ones with belt lock-off; it installs more securely. Some convertible seats feature a front and rear lock-off. 

The material, fabric cover, padding, foam, and design determine your child’s comfort and the seat’s durability. How thick is the padding? Is the fabric soft, and is the seat made with a steel-reinforced frame for durability?

Integrated cup holders to the side of the car seat are convenient for having drinks at hand but often take up much-needed space. Some brands have polyester, foldable cup holders that are dishwasher safe and removable. Other car seat brands have rotating cup holders.

Top Convertible Car Seats

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
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Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat
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Britax Boulevard ClickTight Anti-Rebound Bar Convertible Car Seat
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Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat
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Chicco Fit4 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
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Best Convertible Car Seats

Best Overall Convertible Car Seat: Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is one of the best convertible car seats that grows with your child from an infant seat to a backless booster seat for your 10-year old. You won’t need another car seat from infant to elementary school.

A popular choice among parents, the best-selling Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 car seat is now upgraded to the  4Ever DLX model with three additional features, making it an even better option. The DLX model features a Rapid Remove cover when messes happen, an integrated belt lock-off for easy installation, and rubberized fuss-free harness storage for convenience. The Rapid Remove cover is machine washable, and it takes less than a minute to remove it without uninstalling the car seat. Mild soap and cool water clean the rest of the plastic and metal parts. 

The 4-in-1 convertible car seat effortlessly transforms into four different modes of use. A rear-facing harness car seat supports your infants and toddlers with a weight capacity ranging from four to 40 pounds. At a year old, you can keep the rear-facing infant seat position or transfer your child to a forward-facing harness car seat with a weight range between 22 and 65 pounds and 22 to 27 inches tall. The high back belt-positioning booster seat weight supports 40 to 100 pounds and 52 inches height limits, and the backless belt-positioning booster seat support 40 to 120 pounds and 57 inches tall. 

The Graco ProtectPlus Engineered protects your child from frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes. Another safety feature is the Simply Safe Adjustable Harness System that provides 10 adjustable headrests and harness height positions. Parents adjust the harness and headrest in one motion, ensuring your child is properly secured. The Graco exclusive In-Right Latch attachment gives an audible click to confirm the convertible car seat is securely installed.

The 4Ever DLX is an all-in-one convertible car seat with safety features, versatile seat modes, comfortable seating, and the only car seat you will need for ten years. Six recline positions and plush inserts ensure your child is comfortable for short trips to the mall or extended road trips. With two integrated cup holders, kids can sip and snack by themselves. 

Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: rear-facing 4-40 pounds, 1-inch below handle; forward-facing 22-65 pounds and up to 52 inches; high back booster seat 40-100 pounds and up to 57 inches; backless booster seat 40-120 pounds and up to 57 inches; Car Seat Weight: 22.8 pounds; Dimensions: 20 x 21.5 x 24 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Newborns: Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

 The NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat has a few features that make it one of the most popular car seats for parents with newborns. The removable newborn insert, 9-position ReclineSure leveling system, and 9-position headrest accommodate newborns to growing kids. 

With two types of installation, parents can use the installation method they prefer. A slide and lock LockSure belt-locking system and SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener provide a tight fit with the vehicle seat belt or with the car’s LATCH system. The built-in slide path repositions the LATCH strap with a clear routing of belt paths when transitioning to forward-facing mode. Premium LATCH connectors with push-button release and click-on attachment help parents easily transition the 3-in-1 convertible car seat from mom’s to dad’s vehicle. 

Infant inserts enhance the versatility of convertible car seats; the Chico NextFit Zip car seat’s removable infant positioner supports babies from 5 to 11 pounds. The rear-facing mode has a limit of 5 to 40 pounds and up to 43 inches tall, and forward-facing seat models support 22 to 65 pounds weight capacity and kids up to 49 inches tall. 

The Reclinesure leveling system features nine recline positions for rear and forward-facing use. With multiple recline positions, the car seats fit in most vehicles. From a safety perspective, the DuoGuard provides two layers of head and torso protection with a deep rigid shell and EPS energy-absorbing foam that lessens the impact. The seat shell is a reinforced steel frame. 

The padded, no-rethread harness allows parents to adjust the one-pull harness with the child seated in the car seat. Designed for parent convenience, the polyester CupFolder is dishwasher-safe on the top rack, and the machine-washable seat pad zips off for quick removal. Spot clean fabrics and use warm water and mild soap to clean the harness.  

With an infant insert; DuoGuard head and torso impact protection; machine washable zip-off foam padding; 9 headrest positions; 9 reclining positions; and seat belt and LATCH method installation, the Chico NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat is an excellent pick. Your little one will be comfortable and safe in the backseat of your vehicle. 

Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: newborn positioner 5-11 pounds; rear-facing 5-40 pounds and up to 43 inches tall; forward-facing 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall; Car Seat Weight: 25.1 pounds; Dimensions: 21 x 19 x 26 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Taller Kids: Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is one of the best convertible car seats with impressive crash-test results. Kids can ride longer in the rear-facing car seats, and the extendable leg rest gives more legroom for tall for their age kids. Parents concerned about child passenger safety and prefer kids riding as long as possible in rear-facing car seats will appreciate these features.

The Extend2Fit 4-positon extension panel is adjustable with up to 5 inches for additional legroom for your kids. The weight limit for the rear-facing car seat is 4 to 50 pounds, 10 pounds more than most rear-facing models, and the minimum 4 pounds limit is a possibility for premature babies. With the extra legroom and the 50 pounds weight limit, two-year-old toddlers and even some 3-year olds can safely ride in the rear-facing position. The maximum height for the rear-facing harness is an inch below the headrest adjustment handle. The seat grows with your child from rear-facing to the forward-facing harness car seat with a 22 to 65 pounds weight limit. 

Harnessing and installation are made easy with the push-button InRight LATCH. The six-position recline ensures a better installation and a comfortable seat position for your child. The easy-to-read level indicator helps parents determine the correct vehicle seat installation position. The no-rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the headrest and harness in one motion. With a 10-position headrest, parents can adjust it to the safest and most comfortable fit for their kid. A fuss-free harness storage compartment keeps the harness out of the way while seating your child in the car seat. 

The reinforced steel frame strengthens the car seat for durability and safe usage. An additional safety feature, the Graco ProtectPlus Engineered, protects children in the frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes. The convertible car seat meets or exceeds the US FMVSS213 child restraint criteria for a frontal crash test and the rear-impact tested according to the European Rear-Impact Crash Pulse. The side impact tested for occupant retention with the 5-point harness system ad the Graco RollSafe testing standard is based on the European rollover testing procedures. 

Children are safe and comfortable for a long ride in the back seat with the right headrest height, extra legroom, reclining position, machine-washable seat pad,  and removable body and head infant car seat inserts. 

Complying with rigorous crash test standard procedures, the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seats are among the best convertible car seats to keep kids safe. The extension panel for additional legroom, higher weight limit, and adjustable harness and headrest makes it an excellent choice for an extended stay in the rear-facing modes before transforming to the front-facing convertible seat. However, it could be challenging in a smaller car and taller front-seat passengers who also need extra legroom.

Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: rear-facing 4-50 pounds and head at least 1 inch below handle, extension panel up to 5 inches extra legroom; forward-facing 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall; Car Seat Weight: 19 pounds; Dimensions: 22.1 x 19.2 x 25.2 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Easy Installation: Britax Boulevard ClickTight Anti-Rebound Bar Convertible Car Seat

The Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB Convertible Car Seat is one of the easiest to install car seats and the right car seat for parents who are looking for additional safety features. Instead of purchasing multiple car seats, the ease of installation makes this car seat a great choice for parents consistently transferring the car seat from one vehicle to another.

Correct installation is one of the best safety measures for keeping kids safe. The Britax seats featuring the ClickTight system help parents with a secure installation to the vehicle’s back seat. With the 3-step ClickTight installation technique, installation is straightforward. Push and turn the dial to open the front car seat buckle, thread the seat belt across, and click the seat belt buckle closed. Parents can confidently seat their little one in a car seat correctly installed. Easy-read level indicators and the quick-push recline helps parents find the right angle for their vehicle and a comfortable experience for the little one through growth stages.

The anti-rebound bar reduces rebound rotation during a collision up to 40%, helping to stabilize the seat. The vehicle’s back seat absorbs the energy of the crash, limiting the child’s movement during rebound (Rebound is the reaction to impact in the opposite direction.) The steel-reinforced frame structure keeps the car seat stable at the connection point between the car seat and the vehicle back seat. With its two-strap design, the V-shaped tether slows and reduces seat rotation, and the staged-released stitches slow and reduce forward movement during a collision. Surrounded by two layers of side impact protection, the child’s head, neck, and torso are protected during a crash. SafeCell impact protection technology crumbles as it absorbs crash energy diverting it away from the child and the 5-point safety harness manages the crash energy reducing bodily injuries.

With a 5-40 pounds weight limit for the rear-facing seat and the anti-rebound bar, parents can keep their kids safe in the rear-facing position until they outgrow the maximum length and weight. The forward-facing seat weight limit is 20 to 65 pounds. With the 7-position recline and the 14-position quick-adjust headrest and harness features, parents can ensure a snug and comfortable fit as the child grows. The removable cover is not a machine washable cover but must be hand washed and air dry.

With a 1-year warranty, excellent safety features, and the convertible seat design for comfort, safety, and easy installation every time, the Britax Boulevard Anti-Rebound Bar ClickTight is one of the best convertible cars seats on the market.

Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: rear-facing 5-40 pounds; forward-facing 20-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall; Car Seat Weight: 33.2 pounds; Dimensions: 18.5 x 23 x 23.5 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Smaller Cars: Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Car Seat

The Graco SlimFit 3-In-1 Car Seat is a popular choice for smaller cars, and with the space-saving design, you can fit three car seats in a standard vehicle’s back seat. The convertible car seat has all the features you could expect from a Graco car seat but with more space in the back.

Three-in-one convertible seats grow with the children from 5-pound infants to 100-pound kids. The infant rear-facing mode supports a weight limit from 5 to 40 pounds and the forward-facing harness from 22 to 65 pounds. The third mode is the highback booster seats with a weight capacity between 40 and 100 pounds. A growing family will benefit from the versatility of seat positions accommodating kids of different ages.

Sometimes integrated cup holders take up unnecessary room, reducing available space in the back. The secret to the space-saving design is the rotating cup holders that make the convertible seat 10% slimmer, providing that extra space needed with three kids in the car.

The Graco convertible car seats are ProtectPlus Engineered, a combination of crash tests to safeguard children against frontal, side, rear, and rollover crashes. The steel-reinforced frame provides durability and strength for years of usage. Proper installation is the primary concern to keep kids safe; the InRigth LATCH push-button is an easy one-second attachment. The 4-position recline assists parents for a better installation and keeps children comfortable as they grow.

With a 10-position adjustable headrest, parents can adjust the car seat for a safe and comfortable experience. The no-rethread Simply Safe Harness height adjustment system helps parents adjust the harness and headrest in one motion. The belt-positioning booster ensures the lap belt lies snug across the child’s thighs, and the shoulder belt crosses don’t cut across the neck but at the center of the child’s shoulder and chest.

The Graco SlimFit Car Seat also features a machine washable cover, an easy-to-read level indicator, and an integrated harness storage compartment.

 Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: rear-facing 5-40 pounds; forward-facing 20-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall, high back booster 40-100 pounds; Car Seat Weight: 19.47 pounds; Dimensions: 21.5 x 19.9 x 25.5 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Budget: Safety 1st Grow And Go All-In-One Car Seat

The Safety 1st Grow And Go All-In-One Car Seat is an excellent choice for parents on a budget. The car seat’s manufacturer designed it to be user-friendly and grow with your child through three stages from infant to toddler to big kid. The convertible car seat meets or exceeds ASTM and JPMA safety standards and features a 1-year limited warranty.

Harness holders keep the straps out of the way when parents seat infants with flailing arms and legs. When youngsters mess or accidentally spill their drinks, both the seat pad and the cup holders are easy to remove and machine washable. An angle guideline helps parents adjust the car seat in three recline positions for secure installation and baby comfort. The QuickFit no-rethread harness lets parents adjust the headrest and harness with one hand without the need to re-install.

The car seat is comfortable for children through different growth stages. The rear-facing mode supports infants from 5 pounds to toddlers weighing 40 pounds, and the front-facing toddler car seat has a weight limit of 22 to 65 pounds. Older kids are safely seated in the booster seat with a weight capacity ranging from 40 to 100 pounds. Headrests protect the kids, are adjustable, and don’t spoil your toddler’s view; the headrest easily adjusts even in booster mode. The headrest, harness straps, and crotch strap adapt to accommodate children up to 10 years. In the front-facing car seat mode, the seat adjusts to two positions for the best fit in the vehicle. Toddlers are comfortable in both positions, upright and reclined.

With the reduced rear-facing infant seat’s footprint, front-seat passengers have up to 7 inches more legroom. Ranked as the best convertible car seat of 2020, the Safety 1st Grow and Go Car seat is an excellent pick for new parents, parents looking for an affordable but safe car seat, and a growing family.

 Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: rear-facing 5-40 pounds; forward-facing 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall, belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds; Car Seat Weight: 18.7 pounds; Dimensions: 24.5 x 19.2 x 24.2 inches

Best Convertible Car Seat For Traveling: Chicco Fit4 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The versatile Chicco Fit4 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat is one of the best convertible car seats for air travel. The car seat is FAA approved up to stage 3, front-facing with the harness. It is also an excellent choice for parents who prefer only one adjustable car seat accommodating youngsters from infant to 10-year-old school kids.

Weight and height limits range from 4 pounds to 100 pounds, and with easy-to-remove 4-stage Fitkit multi-staged padded inserts, the car seat adapts through all the growth stages. The infant rear-facing supporting 4 to 16 pounds provides a reclined seating positioning for infants who don’t have proper head control. With a minimum weight of 4 pounds, the infant car seat could carry a premature baby, depending on the baby’s height. Toddlers can safely enjoy the rear-facing car seat from 12 to 40 pounds before transitioning to front-facing. Front-facing supports preschoolers weighing 25 to 65 pounds and the belt-positioning booster seats youngsters from 40 to 100 pounds.

The convertible seat features a non-retreading harness, a 10-position headrest, two crotch buckle positions, and two cup holders. Harness height adjustment allows for taller children. The car seat installation with the Supercinch force-multiplying LATCH tightener, LockSure belt-tightening system, RideRight bubble levels, and the Recline Sure 9-positon leveling system is easy and secure for ultimate safety.

A Duogauard head and torso protection shield the child from crash impact, and the steel frame is reinforced for strength and durability. EPS energy-absorbing foam limits the impact effect. The slim design and folding CupFolders allow enough space in the back for three children at different stages.

Convertible Car Seat Specs

Height And Weight Limits: infant rear-facing 4-16 pounds; rear-facing 12-40 pounds; forward-facing 22-65 pounds and up to 49 inches tall, belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds; Car Seat Weight: 25 pounds; Dimensions: 21.5 x 19 x 33.5 inches.

When selecting the best convertible car seat, the most important things to consider are the ease of installation, your child’s comfort, and how long your child will be using it. Which car seat meets your family’s needs?

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