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Best Infant Car Seats

There are loads of infant car seats to choose from, but here are our favorites in each price category —

$ — Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 ~ $139 – Economy Pick ~ A decent infant seat for a great price;

$$ — Britax B-Safe 35 ~ $199 – Good safety features for the price (steel reinforced), but must use Britax/BOB stroller read

$$ — Chicco KeyFit 30 ~ $199Editor’s Choice ~ Great mainstream value, compatible with most strollers

$$ — Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 ~ $199 – An “economy” Euro seat, but not our fave

$$Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite ~ $219 – Also a fantastic value – lots of great features for your money!

$$$ — Chicco Fit2 ~ $279 – Specialty seat; best for urban dwellers who don’t own a car (benefit: can use with a stroller for up to 2 years vs. 1 year for most other infant seats)

$$$ — UPPAbaby Mesa ~ $239+Favorite “American” luxury seat, pairs with UPPAbaby strollers, which are fab; also very easy to install and can go in center seat; the Merino Wool version ~ $349 – “The seat I would buy if money were no object”- this wool version has NO fire retardants added and is exquisite.

$$$ — Nuna Pipa ~ $299 – Lightweight luxury seat, great safety features, pairs with Nuna strollers; uses rigid LATCH connectors, so best for installing in a window seat

$$$ — Cybex Aton Q ~ $299+ – Super stylish (German, modern) and safety-features galore; also great for taxis or Uber

*Got twins? Check out our recommended car seats for twins & preemies list.

Stroller and Car Seat Compatibility

Again… ideally, you should select an infant seat that’s compatible with your stroller of choice. It will save you $40+ for a special “car seat adapter” alone. Yes, this is tricky because it’s a chicken and egg problem (the seat you choose kinda depends on your stroller; the stroller you get kinda depends on your seat).

Here’s the lay of the land in the best infant car seat department:

Our Economy Pick:

The Graco SnugRide is one of the all-time most popular infant car seats — and one of our favorites as well.

Read our full review for all the details but the long and short of it is:

If it’s compatible with your desired stroller, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 is a great value, and our Economy Pick. 

Please note that there are still a zillion different Graco SnugRide models (just kidding, there are only 12), which we talk more about — as well as stroller compatibility in the full review.

Also consider:

I trust the engineering of the seats from a safety perspective, but they are missing the mark with comfort and fit for babies

This is not an economy seat and it’s not a luxury seat either – *It’s somewhere in the middle*.

Bottom line: The Britax B-Safe 35 is a well-built seat for a middle of the road price.

Editor’s Choice

“Old Faithful” — the Chicco KeyFit is rated #1 by consumers on multiple 3rd party sites, including Consumer Reports. And I agree! The KeyFit is a high-quality, beautifully designed car seat that won’t break the bank.

Alice in her KeyFit on a plane

This seat is best known for ease of installation, safety, and fit (trust me, after doing many car seat checks for my CPST certification, I totally concur).

Because the KeyFit is such a popular seat in the U.S., you will (almost) never have trouble finding a stroller adapter for this seat. It’s ALWAYS on the list.

Bottom line: If you want a great seat and don’t want to think too much about it, this is your guy. It’s lightweight, it’s compatible with almost every stroller under the sun, and it comes in super cute patterns.

Who’s next?

Affordable European Pick:

Maxi-Cosi, a popular car seat brand in Europe, is well-liked in the states as well — especially in urban areas. Boiling it down, people generally buy the Mico because they want a lightweight seat that’s fashion-forward (I hate that phrase – gag) and compatible with many luxury strollers.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a lightweight seat in the middle price range (with great color selections!) check out the Mico 30 or Mico Max 30 — especially if you live in a warmer climate and are sold on a Euro stroller.

The Choice for Urban Families (who don’t own a car):

The Chicco Fit2 was designed specifically to be used longer (up to 2 years of age vs. 1 year with a regular infant seat) in conjunction with a stroller. This is great for urban families who may need to use a car or taxi on occasion (for your 1.5 year old, for example), and need a way of transporting the car seat (via the stroller) once at your destination. Toddler car seats are very big and heavy and hard to carry around/transport when you’re out and about — and you can’t plop them onto a stroller.

Please don’t say to me, “but I live in New York and we don’t have to use car seats in taxis”. Unless you have a death wish, you absolutely should use a car seat at all times.

American Luxury:

UPPAbaby is a US-based luxury brand that’s worth the money; their gear is always sleek, attractive, well-designed, and their US-based customer service is top-notch. I like pretty much everything they make.

The Mesa is an incredible car seat. Next to a Graco, for example, it’s apples and oranges. The schtick with the Mesa is ease of installation with a self-ratcheting base. Just clip the LATCH connectors into your car, push the base down with your body weight and BAM! He’s done. Finito.

Bottom line: The Mesa is a great seat. If you’re buying an UPPAbaby stroller, you’ll be very happy with it (plus, it’s all matchey-matchey). The self-ratcheting installation is amazing. See also their wool fashions, which cost a little more but are totally amaze-balls.

Euro Awesome:

Nuna made a splash when it entered the US market not long ago.

The Nuna Pipa infant seat is VERY similar to the Cybex Aton Q (below), but with a nicer/larger sun canopy that includes the “dream drape” for total darkness (I LOVE the dream drape!!). The Pipa is definitely a favorite seat in the big coastal cities — and we love their strollers as well. If you want an uber-duper lightweight seat, check out the Pipa Lite. Get all the details here.

The Sexy German Choice:

The German-engineered Cybex Aton Q and Cloud Q ($399-$499) are very cool infant seats, not to mention great-looking. And super pricey! They boast two safety features that most other seats lack — please read full review for that.

Yes! Those are our half-dozen or so favorite infant car seats. We hope you found something you like!

Stay the course, you’re doing so well!

*Got twins? Check out our recommended car seats for twins & preemies list.

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