Buying a convertible car seat can be a little overwhelming. We understand that there is a lot riding on your decision… literally. Safety is always the primary concern, but there are several other factors that can go into finding the perfect safety seat for your family. Comfort, durability, weight, and ease of use are just as important. So let’s alleviate some of that stress and find the best option for your budget.
Our convertible car seat reviews cover a a wide range of price points and features to help parents make the best choice that they can. We have researched the most popular child safety seats currently on the market and gone over countless owner feedback to find you the top performers worth considering.
Top 10 Convertible Car Seats 2017 – Quick Comparison
With varying features at different price points, the ratings below will hopefully let you narrow down your search to find the perfect child seat that fits your family’s needs.
|Car Seat||Weight||For Kids||Price|
|Graco 4Ever |
Best All-In-One Car Seat
|23 lbs.||4 to 120 lbs.||$$$$|
|Chicco NextFit Zip||25 lbs.||5 to 65 lbs.||$$$$|
|Britax Marathon G4.1||19.5 lbs.||5 to 65 lbs.||$$$$|
|Graco Size4Me 65||19.3 lbs.||4 to 65 lbs.||$$$|
|Peg Perego Primo Viaggio||25 lbs.||5 to 65 lbs.||$$$$|
|Diono Radian RXT||22 lbs.||5 to 120 lbs.||$$$$|
|Recaro ProRide||24 lbs.||5 to 65 lbs.||$$$|
|Britax Roundabout G4.1||21 lbs.||5 to 55 lbs.||$$|
|Recaro Performance Sport||25 lbs.||20 to 120 lbs.||$$$|
|Evenflo Symphony DLX||22 lbs.||5 to 65 lbs.||$$$|
1. Graco 4Ever – The Best All In One Convertible Car Seat
With a 10 year lifespan, this is the perfect option for parents looking to buy just one seat that can be used for infants all the way up to toddlers. In its various configurations the 4Ever All-In-One is recommend for children 4 to 120 lbs. There is no need to buy a separate infant, convertible, and booster seat when this model can do it all.
Not only is it extremely versatile, but it is also one of the highest owner rated convertible safety seats currently available. Super comfort, excellent safety features, two cup holders, and easy installation are just some of the reasons why this model is so popular with both kids and parents.
The steel reinforced frame is what helps give the 4Ever the ability to last for 10 years. Side impact protection, energy absorbing materials, and crash tested to meet and usually exceed current safety standards will help shield and protect your child in the event of a collision.
Cup holders should never be overlooked and this model has two of them. You might think it is a small thing, but these can really come in handy with a fussy child.
Installation is also a breeze with Graco’s “InRight” technology for use with your car’s LATCH system. This produces an audible click to let you know that the seat is securely fastened.
If a seat is going to last for 10 years then maintenance is always a concern. The seat cover on this model is made to be easily removed and washed. Spills happen and it is good to know that you can take care of them without any hassle.
- All In One functionality
- Easy Installation
- Extreme Value
- Safety Features
- Two Cup Holders
- Weight: This is not the lightest convertible seat around
- Owner’s Manual
2. Chicco NextFit Zip – Designed With Parents In Mind
Why is it called “Zip”? Well, you can unzip the seat cover, remove it, and throw it in your washing machine to easily take care of those inevitable spills and messes. Recommend for children 5 to 65 lbs., this Chicco seat has all of the safety and comfort features that your kids deserve.
The NextFit Zip from Chicco is designed with both parents and kids in mind. It has multiple systems aimed and making installation a breeze. This convertible child seat has quickly made a name for itself with parents for being hassle-free. This model is very easy to adjust in a variety of areas from harness position, headrest position, and 9 recline positions.
Installation is also a relatively simple process. It is something that a lot of parents love about their NextFit Zip. With easy LATCH integration and double level indicators, securing it properly in your back seat should be a trouble free experience.
This also has high end safety features that you would expect. Chicco is a reputable brand and their seats have a track record of providing superior protection for kids. Side impact protection, a 5 point harness system with a double position chest clip, and energy absorbing foam are just some of the ways that the NextFit Zip is engineered to protect your precious cargo.
The 9 different recline positions is also something that is not seen on most other child seats. This lets you find the perfect fit and ensures your child is riding in a comfortable and safe manner.
- Easy Maintenance – Simply unzip seat cover, remove, and wash
- Simple Installation
- Safety Features
- One Cup Holder
- Not the most functional cup holder we have seen.
3. Britax Marathon G4.1 – Still Going Strong
While Britax has come out with their new “ClickTight” line of convertible child safety seats, their older line continues to do well. The G4.1 has top notch safety features for children while giving Mom and Dad something that is easy to use and maintain. It also has some unique and fun patterns that help it stand out from the crowd.
Britax has engineered their “SafeCell” technology into the Marathon for the ultimate security. It is constructed with a sturdy steel frame. This model has a base that can absorb crash forces, a V-shaped tether to minimize rotational forces, and side impact protection. This should help you put your mind at ease driving down the road. Knowing that your little one is riding in something with this amount of protection is reassuring.
This seat also easily adjusts to your growing child. Rated for kids 5 to 65 lbs., you should get several quality years out of the Marathon. The harness is built to quickly change positions depending on the size of your child. It has a 10 position harness to help you get the right fit that is always secure.
As we mentioned before, one of our favorite things about this model is the patterns that are available. Our favorite one happens to be the Pink Giraffe design. If you are going to use the same car seat for a few years it is nice to have something that is not boring or bland looking.
- Safety & Protection Features
- Unique Pattern Options
- Overall Value
- Excellent Reviews From Parents
- Not as easy as some other models to install
4. Graco Size4Me 65 – Mid-Range Price With High End Safety
The Size4Me 65 from Graco offers the perfect balance between features and price. This is perhaps why it has been so popular with parents. With energy absorbing foam, Graco’s “Simply Safe” adjustable harness system, and LATCH compatibility, this seat has tremendous features to help put your mind at ease and relax while driving.
It has been engineered to accommodate children from 4 to 65 lbs. Rear-facing configuration is for kids 4 to 40 lbs. Forward-facing configuration is rated for children 22 to 65 lbs depending on their height. It also comes equipped with machine washable seat pads for years of easy maintenance.
It has one integrated cup holder as well. We always harp on this but cup holders are going to save you a lot of headaches on the road. Having their sippy cup handy is a great thing to keep them preoccupied in the back seat. It would have been nice to have two cup holders, but one is still a huge plus.
For the price you do get a lot of value. It does not have as plush of materials as some of the other more expensive models on our list. However, it is something that your child should love riding in. Graco makes terrific mid-priced child gear and the Size4Me 65 is a fine example of that.
Another aspect in favor of this model is that the seat pad is removable and machine washable. Kids are pretty inventive when it comes to new ways to make a mess and this seat is ready for them.
- Easy Installation
- Machine Washable Seat Pad
- Integrated Cup Holder
- Overall Value
- Size – May not be ideal for smaller back seats
- Good but not Great materials for comfort
5. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio – Italian Engineering
This is one of the highest rated convertible safety seats based on customer reviews that we have found. It is a bit pricey but owner feedback has been superb. This is made in Italy and has some serious safety engineering integrated into it. If we did not have to worry about our budget then this is probably the convertible car seat that we would seriously consider.
It is designed with premium features such as a 10 way adjustable side impact protection, crumple zones in the base that compress in the event of an accident and protect the passengers neck and head, and energy absorbing foam. This seat is also elite when it comes to being comfortable as it is made with plush materials that are easy to clean.
Installation is another area where the Primo Viaggio gets high marks. It is able to use your cars LATCH system or a standard seat belt. The simplicity is something that parents appreciate and it is one aspect that we see that gets the most praise from owners.
This may not be as well known of a name as some of the other manufacturers on our list, but Peg Perego has a solid reputation for building car seats that meet and exceed current safety standards. It is probably not be a name that you recognize, but it is a name that you can trust.
- Quality safety engineering
- Comfortable materials
- Removable and washable seat cover
- Easy installation
- High end performance
- Only two recline positions
- No cup holders
6. Diono Radian RXT – Perhaps The Most Versatile Convertible Seat
The Radian RXT is probably going to be your prime option if you don’t have a lot of back seat room or you have multiple kids and want something that you can use three across. This is the best convertible car seat for small cars due to its narrow design. It stands tall and slim making it ideal for tight spaces.
This is also an all in one seat. It was designed to handle your child’s needs from the time they are an infant all the way up to the moment they are big enough to use a regular seat belt. It can be used for small kids 5 to 45 lbs in rear-facing mode. You can switch it forward for kids 20 to 80 lbs depending on their height. The best part is that this model can then transform into a booster seat and can accommodate kids up to 120 lbs.
Another unique feature is that the Radian RXT does not have a huge base. This means that it sits rather low in the seat. It is easier for your child to get in and out of and will probably save some strain on your back.
This seat can fly as well…on a plane that is. It is FAA certified to be used on airplanes. Its narrow footprint makes it a great choice if you need something to take in the air. It folds down in half to make transporting and storing it a lot easier. The Radian RXT is perhaps the best convertible car seat for air travel.
We haven’t mentioned its safety features yet, but they are in there. Side impact protection with reinforced side walls, safety foam padding, steel frame, and “SafeStop” energy absorbing harness system. This is a safe seat that can protect your child from big to small.
- Narrow seat that enables it to fit into tight spaces. It is a great option if you need to use three car seats at once.
- Safety and protection features
- Low profile
- FAA certified for use on airplanes
- Limited recline positions
7. Recaro ProRide – Racing Inspired Safety Technology
Recaro brings their years of expertise in auto racing and incorporates many of the same safety features into their child seats. The ProRide offers supreme security for children with enhanced head wings for side impact protection, a Safety Stripe system, adjustable 5 point harness and energy-absorbing foam.
Designed for children 5 to 40 lbs while rear-facing and 20 to 65 lbs while front-facing. Made with materials that are easy to clean and comfy, this model delivers both a safe and enjoyable ride for kids.
The headrest is also easily adjustable in order to find the perfect position to fit different sized rugrats. This, along with its safety features and comfort, is one of the aspects that parents really appreciate.
Particular attention was paid to keep your kids cool and prevent sweating. Cool mesh materials were used and side air vents were integrated into the ProRide to offer the most comfortable experience for its passengers.
- Racing technology integrated into the seat for premium safety
- Cool and comfortable materials
- Adjustable headreast
- Easy to install with LATCH integration
- Bulky size can present a challenge in small vehicles
- No cup holders
8. Britax Roundabout G4.1 – Another Solid Offering From Britax
The Roundabout G4.1 is another fine example of the quality and safety built into all of Britax’s child safety seats. This model offers an excellent combination of safety and comfort, but at a more affordable price point. While it is not cheap enough to be considered a budget friendly option, it is one of the more affordable convertible seats in their line.
For the price you get a lot which is perhaps why it has been so popular with parents. Some of the standard features include a steel frame, impact absorbing SafeCell base, and easy on and off LATCH connection.
Since this is their base offering there are going to be some things that do not come with this seat. Features like impact absorbing harness pads, quick adjust headrest, secure harness indicator, and EZ buckle system. For these you will have to step up to one of Britax’s higher end models.
Britax convertible car seats do indeed have a great reputation and the safety aspects of the Roundabout bear that out. Some folks buy this seat just to have a dependable back up but it also makes a very good primary seat for children. Comfortable materials and relative ease of installation are areas where this gets high ratings.
- Britax safety standards
- Comfortable materials
- A little more budget friendly
- Base model that is missing some of the better features of more expensive seats in their line
- No cup holders
9. Recaro Performance Sport – Convertible to Booster Seat Option
This is another top notch seat from Recaro that is able to accommodate kids 20 to 120 pounds. It is not for newborns but for kids that have outgrown their infant seat and are ready to transition to a forward facing convertible seat. This is a good option for parents looking for a 2 in 1 seat as the Performance Sport also has the capability of a booster seat.
This model has race inspired safety features that include complete side impact protection, HERO harness system and a Safety Stripe system. This unit passes all new safety standards and provides world class protection. Padded memory foam, air mesh ventilation, cup holders and cooling fabrics also provide world class comfort for your child.
Like all of Recaro’s child seats, this model has exceptional safety and comfort features that help set it apart from the crowd. They pay close attention to keeping your child cool with their Cool Mesh fabrics.
Its side wings are reinforced with metal to offer extremely high side impact protection. This seat is load with safety features which also adds to its weight. It is also certified for air travel in harness mode.
- Awesome safety features and engineering
- Both convertible and booster seat functionality
- Comfortable materials to keep you child cool
- Able to use for air travel
- Heavy and not fun to switch back and forth between cars
- Not made for infants under 20 lbs.
10. Evenflo Symphony DLX – Last But Certainly Not Least
This is another terrific option for parents looking for one seat that can do everything. Rated for children from 5 to 110 lbs, the Symphony DLX has the capability of an infant, convertible, and booster seat to keep your child safe no matter their size.
Evenflo is known for the quality of their car seats despite its lower starting price point. The Symphony DLX is not cheap by any stretch, but with all of its features it is going to provide you with years of service and deliver exceptional value for the money.
This “All In One’ model is perhaps the easiest convertible seat to install thanks to its innovative design. Evenflo boasts the ability to securely fasten this seat in just a few seconds. It also has a host of safety and comfort features that parents truly appreciate. It comes with 2 integrated cup holders as well.
One main safety feature that we really like is the 3 layers of side impact protection that can help reduce the force of a collision by up to 50%.
- All in one seat that can serve as an infant, convertible, and booster seat
- Great side impact protection
- Double cup holders
- Easy installation
- Very wide seat that may have trouble fitting in small back seats
- The seat cover is not the easiest to remove when wanting to wash it.
Convertible Car Seat Buying Guide For Parents
It can be a little daunting for first time parents when shopping for a new car seat. There are so many options and you want to make sure you do not make a wrong choice. If you are little lost and don’t know where to begin then here is a quick guide to get you moving in the right direction.
While safety is the most important aspect to any child seat, there are several other aspects to keep in mind. You want to not only find something that your kids will enjoy riding in, but you will also want something that easy to use on an every day basis. Here are some of the areas to pay attention to when looking for that perfect car seat for your family.
If you are looking to get a seat that is going to be a permanent fixture in one car then this is not a big issue. However, if you plan on using it in multiple vehicles then this is going to be important. There are some seats that are quite heavy and are not that practical to move regularly. Getting something this is lightweight is really going to save you a fair amount of frustration, as well as your back, in these types of situations.
You also want something that is going to fit your back seat properly and not impede your visibility. If you have have a small car this is an area to focus on while looking at different models.
Ease Of Installation
If you do wind up moving your convertible seat constantly back and forth then getting something that is easy to install should also be a high priority. Simple instructions coupled with a well labeled seat will save you a lot of trouble. Knowing where the straps should rest and ensuring it is securely fastened is a vital safety component for any car seat. You want to make sure that you get something that is easy to get right every time.
The right materials can make all the difference in the world. Getting a seat that makes use of breathable fabrics is going to keep your little one from sweating and will keep them cool. A comfortable child makes for a happy driver.
This is also an area that will affect how easy it will be to maintain your seat. Your kid is going to spill things, constantly, so having something that is easy to clean is vital. Not only is this key to keeping the seat looking clean but it will be important to keep things smelling fresh as well.
Since a convertible car seat is made to last several years, the materials used will also go to along way in determining its durability.
We can’t stress this enough, but having a seat that has at least one functional cup holder is going to be a real blessing. A happy passenger will lead to a less distracted driver and when your kid wants their bottle or sippy cup it is hard to ignore them. This one small feature will end up saving you a lot of headaches and make things easier for you when out on the road.
We all don’t have the luxury of getting something “pretty” but it will sure help. This is something that you will have to look at just about every day. Having a seat that has a decent design is going to be a nice bonus. How something looks is not as important as how it performs, but it sure won’t hurt to get a seat that is not an eyesore for you or your kids.
Car Seat Safety
Once you buy a new convertible car seat and before you start using, it is extremely important to read the owners manual and get familiar on how to install and properly secure it. A misused car seat presents its own risk and dangers to your child. This is an extremely vital step. You can find more tips and best practices on the SafeCar.gov website for valuable information on car seat safety.