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Best Convertible Car Seats

What’s the best convertible car seat? Sadly, it’s not that simple.

Size and Weight

Just to be crystal clear: by and large, convertible seats are huge and heavy — and not something you can easily transfer from car to car like you can with an infant seat (with bases). If you’re used to sharing a car seat with one or more people, you’ll be sorely disappointed to learn how difficult this is to do with convertible seats.


If you thought choosing an infant car seat was confusing, JUST WAIT. Ha!

For simplicity’s sake, we’ve narrowed it down to the best convertible car seats on the market (plus specialty seats). We chose these seats because they give you the best value for your buck in my personal opinion, based on experiences with my own car seats, my experiences as a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician), and taking into account hundreds of bits of feedback and user reviews.

Also, since I feel very strongly about it, most (all?) of these seats offer at least some side-impact protection. Side-impact protection is especially important if your child is riding in one of the side or “outboard” positions (i.e., not in the middle). —> Read more about where to put your car seat.

Again, remember: There are no guarantees that the seat you buy will fit properly into your car. Be sure to keep the tags on (the box, packing material, etc.) so you can return it if it doesn’t work.

* Note that all of the seats mentioned here are FAA-approved to be brought aboard an airplane.

Best Convertible Car Seat Summary

$ — Evenflo Sonus ($79, $99) – Best Economy Seat
$ — Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 ($139) – Best Economy 3-in-1
$$ — Graco Size4Me ($179) – Good Value (lots of features)
$$ — Graco Extend2Fit ($199) – Best for Extended Rear-facing
$$$ — Graco Milestone ($229) and 4Ever ($299) – Best 3-in-1
$$$ — Evenflo Symphony Elite ($229) – Fave all-around, #1 (seatbelt installation)
$$$ — Maxi-Cosi Pria ($250) – *review pending* – Best for Extended RF’ing in small cars
$$$ — Britax Convertible Seats ($169+) – Fave all-around, #2 (seatbelt installation)
$$$ — Chicco NextFit ($249) – Fave all-around, #2 (for LATCH installation)
$$$$  Peg Perego Primo Viaggio ($349) – Worth Mentioning
$$$$  Clek Fllo ($379) – 3-across, great safety features, eco-friendly
$$$$ — Nuna Rava ($449) – Fancy Euro seat, Extended rear-facing, narrow
$$$$ —  Clek Foonf ($449) – Great for LATCH installation, 3-across, great safety features, eco-friendly

Seats for Special Situations

$ — Evenflo Sonus and Sonus 65 ~ $79, $99 – BEST ECONOMY SEAT

The Evenflo brand really excels in this economy category. The Tribute, the Triumph and the SureRide have been economy allstars, but their latest and greatest is the Evenflo Sonus (and Sonus 65).


$ — Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 ($139) – Best Economy 3-in-1

The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 is an economy seat that gives you nice features and longevity of use. 3-in-1 means it can be used rear facing, forward facing, and as a high back booster. Though a booster seat probably isn’t on your mind right now, the takeaway is that this seat will prevent you from having to buy a separate high back (or “belt positioning”) booster later on.

These “all in one” seats are growing in popularity every year – and in 2019, we saw just about every major car seat maker release one onto the market. They tend to be more expensive than regular convertibles, but you’re getting longer use out of it. This one, however, is a bargain even for a convertible seat, and is pretty highly rated. So while it’s not the sexiest seat of the bunch, it’s one that mainstream America can get behind.

This seat is 16 lbs, so not super heavy. It would also make a decent spare or travel seat.

Things we like:

  • Harness holders (below) holds the harness out of the way, so it’s easy to get your child in and out of the seat. I LOVE this feature!!
  • QuickFit™ Harness for easy adjustment of both harness and headrest in one simple step – you don’t ever have to rethread it to adjust for height (except for use with an infant)
  • Washable cover: the cover can be removed without removing the harness or uninstalling the seat. Great for kids who get carsick!
  • 2 cupholders: one for drink and one for snack 😀
Oh yeah baby, harness holders are the shizz!

Thing we don’t like:

  • One complaint is that the harness won’t properly tighten. This is because the splitter plate sometimes gets stuck on the plastic ribs between the bottom of the seating area and the base. If you have this problem, remove the seat and check the splitter plate on the back to fix it.
  • The Grow and Go’s lower anchor connectors are the standard j-hook style (nail breakers), but hey, what do you expect for the price.
  • It’s not our favorite for infants because, when reclined for an infant, it takes up TONS of space
  • Adjusting the harness height for an infant is especially difficult

The Upgraded version: The “EX Air ~ $199

There’s an upgraded version of this seat called the Grow and Go “EX Air”, which adds the Dorel company’s famous “Air Protect” Side Impact Protection — and offers a higher rear-facing weight capacity (50 lbs).

This is a better choice if you plan on practicing extended rear facing (i.e. rear facing into year 3 and 4), especially with a bigger/heavier kid. It also offers superior side impact protection.

This seat is available at Buy Buy Baby for $199.

Bottom line: All in all, the Safety 1st Grow and Go (and Grow and Go Ex Air ~ $199) are pretty darn nice seats for a great price. They have several niceties you only see in higher end seats, such as ample padding, a no re-thread harness, buckle pockets (squeee!!!) and a washable cover. Remember it’s still an economy seat, so nail breaker LATCH connectors it is. Be sure to check the splitter plate in the back if your harness won’t tighten, but that’s easy enough. Return it if it still won’t tighten. Enjoy!

$$ — Graco Size4Me ~ $179

While I may not be a huge fan of their strollers, Graco is a name I really like in the car seat world. They deliver good value in the realm of convertible car seats, and have even made some nifty innovations.

Graco Size4Me 65

The Graco Size4Me is a solid car seat for the value-minded buyer. It retails for $179 but can often be found on sale on Amazon and such. If you are a luxury buyer, this also makes for a great 2nd seat for a less-often-used vehicle; it also works well for grandparents because it isn’t super heavy and is one of the easier ones to install and adjust.

Features we like in the Size4Me include EPS foam-lined wings for side-impact protection, high-quality LATCH connectors that audibly click when installed, a cupholder, and a “no-rethread harness,” which means you don’t have to remove the seat and perform surgery in order to change the height of the shoulder harnesses.

The no-rethread harness and the high-quality LATCH connectors are enough to get my seal of approval for usability.

This seat can rear-face up to 40 lbs and has fairly decent legroom for it. In FF, it can go up to 65 lbs, which is more than ample for a non-special needs child. It also has two distinct pairs of LATCH anchors (one for rear facing and one for forward), which prevents a common installation error.

How does it compare to Britax seats, you might ask? I like Graco’s usability features better than on some Britax seats, but what you won’t get with this seat is a steel reinforced frame or the full-length EPS foam, which is found in all Britax seats (the foam in the Graco seats is typically only around the head). The padding on this model is also minimal, while you’ll typically find thicker padding (for comfort under the bum) in higher end seats. It’s the “under the cover” differences like this that you should be aware of, if you want to get technical.

That said, I’m a big fan of this seat and think it will serve the vast majority of people very well. For those on a slim budget that don’t want to overthink it (I mean, you’re already overthinking it by reading this guide, but that’s why we love yooouuu!), this seat is a great bet.

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$$ — Graco Extend2Fit ~ $199 MSRP

The Graco Exend2Fit was specifically designed to keep kids rear-facing for as long as possible. They accomplished this by offering an extendable tray, of sorts, that pulls out to grow with your child. This tray offers a whopping 5 extra inches of legroom. Talk about first class!

GracoExtend2Fit Tray Extended

But for real.

The #1 thing you can do as a parent to keep your child safe in the car is to keep him/her rear-facing for as long as possible. Alas, we cannot control the behavior of idiots who are texting and driving, but we can control what goes on inside our own car.

Four years is the goal for many; after four or so, it becomes too cramped. As a practical matter, many turn their child’s seat forward prematurely because of a real (or perceived) lack of rear-facing legroom. Some parents even think it “looks dangerous” for them to be sitting that way (it’s not).


The norm for kids in most European countries is to remain rear-facing until 3 or 4 years of age, so it isn’t that out of the norm.

Thus, the extend-ey feature on this seat is super cool. Note that the extendable tray can only be used in the rear-facing position. It manages to do this without eating up too much legroom from the front seat passengers, although the farther the tray is extended, the more room it takes up (obviously).

Check out our video shot at the 2015 ABC Baby Show:

It features push-on LATCH connectors, which spare your nails from breaking (usually). It has another cool feature called “fuss-free harness storage,” which are these cute little pockets where you put the buckle tongues to keep them out of the way while getting your child in his seat. Yessss – I lerrrvvvvv this feature!!

Tiny little buckle pockets — yesss!

The Extend2Fit also has two cupholders (are kids double-fisting sippy cups or something?). Because of this, the seat is wider than most. If space is tight in the backseat, you may want to look elsewhere.

Note that Graco allows 20% of the seat to hang over the edge of the seat, which is marked clearly with a sticker. If your car’s backseat is not super deep, you may be limited in how far you can pull the extender out.

Note that like many Graco convertibles, this seat does not come with a lock-off device for a seatbelt installation, so you’ll have to lock your seatbelts manually (which I assure you is quite easy – just don’t forget!).

Graco Extend2Fit
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You’ll find a new 3-in-1 version of the Extend2Fit at Amazon, which also becomes a high back booster, like the Graco Milestone and 4Ever.

Bottom line: The Graco Extend2Fit is the right seat if you want to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. I’m really glad Graco created this feature and hope other brands will follow suit.

$$$ — Graco Milestone and 4Ever ~ $229 MSRP and $299 MSRP

Rivaling the Symphony are the Graco Milestone and 4Ever. These too are 3-in-1 seats that are designed to go from rear facing to forward facing (harnessed) to high back booster (remove the harness and use the seatbelt).

The 4Ever, the premium offering, was designed to fit newborns to children up to 300 lbs (kidding). Seriously though, it fits newborns from 4 lbs (but not preemies) quite well, and even becomes a backless booster for your older child; whereas the Milestone doesn’t fit newborns quite as well and doesn’t become a backless booster (but has a long lifespan nonetheless).

Graco 4Ever

While I was skeptical when these seats first came out, I do believe they could (in theory) be the only seat you’ll ever need.

I say “in theory” because, as a practical matter, car seats just get… really gross and… gnarly over time. I am one of those people who enjoys getting new car seats every few years (maybe I’m really bad at cleaning them, I dunno), but if you’re a “one and done” type of consumer, then YES, you could enjoy this seat for a very, very long time.

Both of these seats rear face up to 40 lbs and don’t take up as such legroom as you might suspect. If you are looking for even more height for extended rear-facing, check out the Graco Extend2Fit (reviewed above) or the Extend2Fit 3-in-1.

The Milestone goes forward facing in seatbelt mode up to 100 lbs, the 4Ever up to 120 lbs. I have yet to see a child over 100 lbs riding in a booster seat, but sadly (truly, truly sadly), American kids are getting heavier every year, so… you never know. If your child is over 100 lbs and still needs to ride in a booster seat, you’ve got a big problem. But anywho.

The Milestone has four recline positions and the 4Ever has six. More recline positions means you can better tweak the amount of legroom for people in the front.

Both of these seats have cool usability features, including “InRight” LATCH connectors, which click audibly when they’re in, and a no-rethread harness, which means the harness height is easy to adjust without taking the seat apart. The no-rethread harness also means that different-sized children can easily share this seat (very convenient if you are bringing home a child’s friend or driving carpool).

Both of these seats are steel reinforced and have a 10-year expiration.

All in all, I think they’re both great buys. If you’re already past the newborn stage, save yourself some money and go with the Milestone. True, you don’t get the backless booster, but 8 years from now, I’m sure you’ll be more than ready to move onto a different seat – and backless boosters only cost about 25 bucks or so.

Graco Milestone and 4Ever, FTW!

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$$$ — Evenflo Symphony Elite ~ $229 MSRP

The 3-in-1 Evenflo Symphony Elite is a rear and forward-facing harnessed seat that later converts to a BPB (belt-positioning booster). Easy installation + fabulous side-impact protection + longer use + lots of bells and whistles make the Evenflo Symphony a top pick.

 * Remember that most children outgrow car seats height-wise before they do weight-wise. This is not incredibly tall for a booster seat, so it probably won’t be the last seat you’ll have to buy (it’s still pretty neat though, no?).

evenflo symphony elite - a best convertible car seat
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There are three cool things that make this seat stand out from the bunch:

1. SureLATCH

If you’re using LATCH (instead of the seat belt), the Symphony Elite has a really cool feature called SureLATCH (other “lesser” Symphony models don’t have this…), which means you simply click-in the LATCH connectors and push the seat down (hard) for a quick, self-ratcheting, snug installation each time. It’s awesome, you guys!!! If you hate wrangling your seat like a wild animal to tighten it, you will really enjoy this feature. *In some cars, SureLATCH doesn’t work so well. If this is the case, you may have to use the seat belt instead. Just make sure you understand how the seat belt locks in your vehicle because this seat has no built-in lock-offs.

2. “Infinite Slide Harness”

To adjust the harness height, simply slide it up (or down); i.e., you don’t have to re-thread the harness straps. Yay!

3. Side-Impact Protection

The Symphony has super awesome side-impact protection in the form of deep head wings. If your child is riding in the outboard (side) position, this is an added bonus. It looks like this:

Evenflo e3

This is a wide, heavy seat that offers a decent amount of legroom when your kiddo is rear-facing and surprisingly does not take up as much room (depth-wise) as some of the other larger convertibles.

Once again, if your car doesn’t have LATCH connectors in the center seat, as most don’t, Evenflo allows center installation using the side “inner” LATCH anchors IF the vehicle manufacturer also permits it (check owner’s manual, call the company, or tweet them up).


The cheaper version of the Symphony is the LX model. While still offering plenty of energy-absorbing EPP foam, the head wings are not quite as deep. If your child is riding in the middle seat (and thus, side-impact protection isn’t quite as important), you may opt for the LX to save some money. The LX also lacks the self-ratcheting SureLATCH connectors. Decision, decisions…

Made in the USA; raise the flag!

Done and done. Who’s next?


$$ —  Essentials Allegiance and Emblem ~ $169 and $199

You see, folks, the thing is… Britax makes a damn good seat. Last year, Britax had some big changes for convertible seats… they introduced the “Essentials” line to compete with lower-priced competitors like Graco.

The two entry-level Essentials seats (which hold kids from 5 to 65 pounds) are no exception.

Essentials Allegiance (left) and Emblem (right)

With these seats, you still get the same thick, non-twisty harness straps, the premium push-button LATCH connectors, the built-in lock-offs, the infant insert, the rubber anti-slip base (which is kind on your upholstery or leather), the premium fabric, yada, yada, yada… as you do with higher-end Britax seats. They have an easily adjustable non-rethread harness, which means you can adjust the height to 10 different positions without having to take the seat out of the car to re-thread the harness straps.  

The big differences between this and other higher-end Britaces (that’s plural for Britax) is that these seats lack the ClickTight feature, which makes seat belt installation a breeze.

Safety-wise, you get the SafeCell Technology, the Versa-Tether, and Integrated Steel Bars. Side-impact protection comes in the form of deep side walls lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam. *The Emblem seat offers an extra level of side impact protection, which is what makes it slightly more expensive.

These seats work for kids up to 49 inches tall; you can get another two inches of shoulder height with the Britax Boulevard CT (below) if you have a super tall kid on your hands.

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$$$ —  Britax ClickTight Seats ~ $290+

In 2015, Britax introduced the ClickTight feature, which is now standard for the Marathon, Boulevard, and Advocate, though it does not come with the Essentials seats (mentioned above). ClickTight is such a neat feature that other brands (Nuna, Graco, Chicco) have started copying it (no surprise there). * Do you need ClickTight? We discuss it below in detail.

ClickTight seats make it SUPER easy to install with a seat belt.

Please see video below for deets:

Why would you want to use a seat belt to install your car seat? If your car doesn’t have LATCH or if you are trying to install the seat in the middle position (the safest spot) where there are no LATCH connectors (as in most cars!), or if your child has exceeded the max weight capacity for LATCH (60 lbs, which is the weight of the seat + your child), OR if you take taxis a lot and such (taxis almost never have LATCH connectors).

Note that the ClickTight (or “CT”) seats are heavier than the Britax Essentials seats. The Boulevard and Advocate allow for kids that are two inches taller (in shoulder height) than the Essentials or the Marathon CT. Thus, the Boulevard CT is the go-to seat for most.

Note: Many children outgrow a car seat by their shoulder height before reaching the maximum height capacity of the seat. Oftentimes, kids of the same total height will have different shoulder heights. For more on how to measure your child for a Britax seat, see here.

These seats all have a long, lovely list of safety features:

  • “HUGS” pads (below) on the harness straps absorb crash energy (in the forward-facing position) through SafeCells.


  • EZ Buckle ~ This is an awesome feature that makes the crotch buckle pop forward when not in use so you don’t have to fish around your child’s crotch like a pedophile searching for the damn crotch buckle every time (can you tell this annoys me?) <—- I love this feature!! Worth its weight in gold.
  • The seat base is made of SafeCells, which compress in a crash to minimize the risk of head injury.
  • Britax seats have integrated steel bars, which strengthen the connection to the vehicle and prevent forward flexing of the seat during a crash. STEEL, y’all. Heavy but solid.
  • The “Versa-Tether” (rear tether strap) restricts forward movement with staged-release webbing and 2-point attachment, which can be used in rear or forward-facing positions.
  • Integrated Lock-offs ~ Convenient for seat belt installations.
  • The Marathon, Boulevard and the Advocate CT now come in a version with an anti-rebound bar (“ARB”). The anti-rebound bar is a rare find on American car seats (see also: Clek) and prevents the seat from flipping up violently in a collision.

Height-wise, these seats are very tall and quite good for extended rear-facing. (Other tall convertible car seats include the Diono Radian, the Safety 1st Complete Air, and the Clek Foonf.)

The Members of the Britax CT family, in a nutshell ~

I remember them as MBA: Marathon, Boulevard, Advocate.

The entry-level ClickTight seat, the Marathon ClickTight (MSRP $279, marked down to $229 on Amazon) gives you all the safety features listed above; it lacks the deeper head wings found in the Boulevard and Advocate CT.

The Boulevard ClickTight ($309, marked down to $249 on Amazon) is the Marathon (above), plus better HUGS pads (with SafeCell) and deeper head wings with True Side Impact Protection AND a “safe and snug indicator,” which is awesome for people who are notorious for not tightening the harness enough! (like… everyone in the world). I love the Boulevard; it’s what my youngest rode in every day. The Boulevard CT has a tall shell and is great for extended rear-facing. You can also buy the anti-rebound version for all the safety features your money can buy.

Britax convertible car seat ClickTight series
Britax Boulevard CT
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If you really want to go balls out in the side-impact protection department, check out the Britax Advocate CT or CT/ARB (anti-rebound) which has crazy huge side-impact cushions. The seat offers the most side-impact protection you can get on the market today; just note that it’s VERY wide and heavy. I mean, it’s a real beast.

If your child rides in the outboard seating position and/or you or your partner/nanny is a shitty driver (you know who you are!), this may be worth the peace of mind (seriously). $349 list price; buy on Amazon for ~$299. For most people, I think it’s overkill.

* Note that none of these seats come with a cup holder, but you can buy one for $15.

Britax Frontier
Britax Frontier

Note: Preschoolers *can* stay in convertible seats for quite a while, but we bought a forward-facing/combination car seat (Britax Pioneer) for Lucie when she was 3.5 and passed her convertible seat down to Alice when she turned one. I LOVE the concept of a combination seat because it’s a “big kid seat” that sits totally upright and will convert to a booster when she’s ready; this seat will get her through the next several years and keep her in a 5-point harness (as opposed to a booster/regular seat belt) for as long as possible.

Point being: Once your kid turns 4 or so, they’re usually ready for an upgrade anyway. However, if you want to keep them in the convertible for a really long time or practice extended rear-facing (beyond 2.5 or so), then you should opt for the ClickTight Marathon, Boulevard or Advocate — or look elsewhere.

All Britax convertibles are made in the US of A.

YES, Britax allows you to use the side or “outboard” LATCH anchors to install their seats in the center IF your vehicle manufacturer also allows it.

Britax convertible car seat ClickTight series
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$$$$ — Chicco NextFit ~ $249 MSRP –

*See my video review here and installation instructions here.

The NextFit is a high quality tried and true seat that won’t break the bank. It’s a favorite all-around seat for LATCH installation.

$$$$ — Peg Perego Primo Viaggio ~ $349

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
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Do you have loads of money and want a gorgeous car seat? Or perhaps you just want to impress your friends? Great, then I have just the seat for you! Check out the delicious Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible car seat.

All kidding aside, the Peg is a fantastic seat with luxurious fabrics. The 45-lb maximum rear-facing weight limit is one of the highest on the market. Other than the fact that it’s pretty difficult to install with a seat belt rear-facing, car seat techs generally like it too. If you’re in the market for a high-end seat, check out this beauty.

If have zero complaints about this seat, other than the fact that it was very hard to recline and un-recline.

* Made in Italy, si si!

$$$$ — Clek Fllo ~ $379

The Clek Fllo is the next step down from the famous Foonf. The Fllo is their newer, more affordable seat that has regular LATCH connectors (vs. rigid connectors) and an optional anti-rebound bar. Like its big brother, it’s super narrow and will definitely fit 3-across. This seat is built like a tank. For more info, please read our full review of the Clek Fllo.

$$$$ — Nuna Rava ~ $449

New for 2019: Moving forward, every Nuna car seat will be fire retardant-free – yay!

Newer on the scene, is the fancy Nuna Rava. For real, though, this seat is rad! Check out our quick review here.

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$$$$ — Clek Foonf ~ $449-$499

Clek is a neat company out of Toronto that makes high-end, luxurious, and very safe car seats. The company’s roots are in automotive products and they apply the same crumple zone technology to their car seats.

Their original seat, the Foonf, is the most coveted in the world of car seats, with rigid LATCH connectors and an anti-rebound bar. The Fllo is their newer, more affordable seat that has regular LATCH connectors and an optional anti-rebound bar. Both seats are excellent for extended rear-facing.

The Foonf is a little harder to install than the Fllo, but once you learn how, it will pay dividends.

The narrowest seats on the market (along with the Radian), they will both easily go 3-across in nearly every vehicle. And you know what? It’s not just about going 3-across, it’s the fact that you can have two of them in the outboard position and still fit an adult human in the middle in some of the smaller and mid-size cars out there, which is HUGE!!! Nope! You don’t need to buy a minivan, just spend a little more to get two of these puppies and you’re golden.

Fabrics, ahhhhh – the fabrics! The fabrics are easy-to-clean Crypton and best of all, they are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. Did we mention they are beautiful?

clek-3-across - best convertible car seats
Clek Foonf
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Both the Fllo and the Foonf have a rigid magnesium and steel substructure that prevents twisting in a crash. They also have an aluminum honeycomb system, which absorbs energy from a collision resulting in less force being transferred to the child.

Clek offers a 9-year lifespan, excellent customer service, and they can even be recycled (huh?).

Beauty, brains, extended rear-facing, Clek has it all. If you can afford it…

* Clek makes an infant insert thingy for infants (yes, that’s the name).

Best Convertible Car Seats for *Special Situations*

Some people have special situations that require specific seats, such as…

A small car

Combi Coccoro ~ $219

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So you have a small car. Or even a sports car. Sadly, you may not have a lot of options (sorry). But as my friend Mira said, “It’s much easier to buy a new car seat than a new car!” True that, sista!

Generally speaking, the best convertible car seat for a small car is the Combi Coccoro ($239). The Japanese-inspired Coccoro is specially designed for small, fuel-efficient cars. It weighs only 11 pounds and I’ll admit, it’s quite luxurious! People who own this seat love it. This seat also fits 3-across very nicely. But unless you have triplets, it’s unlikely that you will have three kids that fall in this age/height/weight range (~under 4) – if you do, God bless you.

Also, note, this seat only goes up to 40 lbs (rear-facing, up to 33lbs), but by this time, your kiddo will be forward-facing and seat depth will no longer be such an issue.

If the Coccoro cannot fit rear-facing in your car, you may have to accept the fact that it’s time to ditch your sports car and buy a big, lame family car. Just kidding (sort of).


Diono Radian 3RXT ~ $299

If you need to fit three child restraints in one row (or two seats and an adult into a smallish car) the go-to seat is the Diono Radian RXT (formerly known as the Sunshine Kids Radian).

The Radian is a nifty, narrow seat that fits 3-across in nearly every car. It’s got safety features out the wazoo and is also one of the tallest shells on the market. If you want to rear-face your kid as long as possible, this is the seat for you.

Being so tall also makes it quite a space hog when rear-facing, so it’s NOT for compact cars or for people who need lots of leg room in the front seat. Yes, there is an angle adjuster to make it a bit more upright in the rear-facing position for older babes who have neck control, but it’s not always a sure thing. Many say the Radian is the best convertible car seat out there. I agree it’s a good one (in that it’s very safe), but the size and weight are a problem for many. It also lacks a lot of convenience features that most other high-end seats have, such as a no-rethread harness and a seat belt lock-off.

If you need to do 3-across AND you have a small car, use the aforementioned Combi Coccoro for this purpose. If you have some mo’ money to spend, check out the Clek Foonf, a luxury seat that will easily go 3-across as well.

Another unique feature of the Radian is that it folds for easy storage or for toting around (below). You might think — Yay, perfect for flying! Eh – not so much. This bad boy is 26 freakin’ pounds and is a BEAST. Not something I would want to lug through the airport on my back. Just sayin’. * Made in China.

Diono Radian Folded
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Best Convertible Car Seats for Newborns

Just because a seat says it fits down to a 5-lb baby (for example) doesn’t mean it will fit them well. In general, the lowest harness slots on most convertibles are too high for the average newborn. However, there are some exceptions.

The best seats for newborns are:

If you have a preemie, multiples, or a low birth-weight baby, I would stick with an infant seat like the Chicco KeyFit or the Britax B-Safe 35.

Best Convertible Car Seats For Flying

Flying with baby by Meg Collins

There are a few seats I recommend for airline travel because they are small, lightweight (less than 12 lbs) and affordable: the Cosco Scenera NEXT ($45+ at Walmart), the Evenflo Tribute ($59), and the Evenflo SureRide (see above) ($89).
While lacking the bells and whistles of nicer seats, these budget convertibles are perfectly safe and are consistently recommended for travel by my trusted community of CPSTs (Child Passenger Safety Technicians). If you want to pay for a higher quality, but still small/lightweight seat, check out the Combi Coccoro (mentioned above).

Did I mention they are less than 12 pounds? I promise you, there is an enormous difference between carrying a 10-lb seat and a 22-lb seat on and off a plane, into the car, etc. Plus, you won’t have to remove and install your everyday car seat(s), which is one less hassle to deal with when parking at the airport. I discuss all of this in detail in mahh eBook, Flying with Baby.

Okay, well, I totally failed at keeping this short, but hopefully you got what you came for.

Please note that nobody pays me to promote their product, nor do I get free products in exchange for reviews (I like it that way; it keeps everyone honest). However, we do make a small commission if you buy your seat from an Amazon (or other affiliate) link on our site, so please buy it here (cough).

To find an inspection station to have your seat professionally checked, go here

Back to: Gear Guides


  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much for your honest information. Especially around breastfeeding. I wish I had ready it a few months ago when things truly were difficult. However, it helps to look back and understand what was going on.
    I’d like to add that there were 2 things that really helped me.
    First, having a husband who was on board with doing everything we could to maintain breastfeeding even all through the night.
    Second, having a few key people who were so excited about the effort we were putting into breastfeeding. Be ok with asking people to celebrate this difficult task with you and accept any type of praise around the topic and know that you deserve it! Don’t give up!

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