Shopping for your baby’s first safest convertible car seat is a big responsibility – pretty much no other item is as important when it comes to keeping your precious cargo safe. But don’t let the options overwhelm you – our panel of mums have put six of the best infant car seats to the test, to help you work out which one is right for your baby.
Best Convertible Car Seats
Below is the comparison table of best convertible car seat consumer reports, including safest convertible car seat, comfortable and top rated products.
- Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars: Britax Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- Best Convertible Car Seat for Tall Babies: Chicco NextFit Sport Convertible Car Seat
- Best High End Convertible Car Seat: Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
- Best Affordable Convertible Car Seat: Joie i-Snug Infant Car Seat
- Best Convertible Car Seat for Twins: Cybex Cloud Z i-Size Car Seat for 0–18 month old infants
Best For Carrying Your Baby Under $300
Joie i-Snug Infant Car Seat
This lightweight i-Size infant carrier is easy to install on the Isofix base, and it’s compatible with several Joie pushchairs to create a travel system. The headrest offers three layers of side-impact protection to keep your baby safe, while the newborn pillow ensures correct head positioning for younger babies. The harness is especially easy to operate with no rethreading required, and we love the rocking base.
I love how light this is! With my baby getting heavier by the day, this was easy to whip in and out of the car. It also has a curved bottom, so you can rock your baby while resting the seat on the floor. The water-resistant sun canopy tucks nicely out of the way. Olivia looked comfortable, with lots of room to grow. It’s a simple all-rounder that ticks many boxes for me, it has all the qualities of top rated toddler car seats.
The straps are very easy to loosen to get Poppy in and out, which made for a happy baby. This is the lightest of all the car seats, so it was nice and easy to lift and carry, and I love that it attaches to my iCandy pushchair. However, the base was a bit fiddly to install, and I had to pull the passenger seat really far forward to access it.
It has 3.25kg weight and is suitable for kids from birth to 13kg.
One of our favourites, this is one of the lightest seats we tested. The base makes it really quick and easy to install, and the light indicators offer extra peace of mind. It feels really robust, despite being light. The seat angle is ideal for Archie to sleep comfortably – a big plus, as we do lots of driving.
Best for Longer Term Use Under $400
Ickle Bubba Mercury i-Size Car Seat with Isofix Base
If you are in need of best rated convertible car seats, i-Size infant car seat is an easy purchase as it comes with the Isofix base included. Suitable for babies up to 15 months, you’ll get more use from it compared to some other seats, so it’s good value for money. It’s easy to install, and has reinforced shell technology and advanced side-impact protection. It also comes with a memory foam newborn insert and headrest cushion, makes it good car seat for hot weather.
It looks really stylish. I like that the hood completely retracts without the need for removing (and potentially losing) it! The handle design means the bar doesn’t restrict my view of my baby’s face in the rear-view mirror. The seat is easy to remove from the base, but it’s a little heavy to carry.
This is a sleek-looking car seat with a practical, fold-away hood. It’s quite heavy to carry but once installed in the car, it feels very secure. I like the height adjustable headrest, and Poppy was very comfy in the padded newborn insert. The base is a little tricky to install, so if you swap cars often, this could be a problem.
It has 4kg weight and is suitable for kids from birth to 15 months.
Although my baby seems snug and protected, it’s not as comfortable as other car seats. It’s fairly easy to install the base, and the car seat clicks easily into place. The design seems a bit plain, though the white trim and silver circles on the handle are a nice touch. Releasing the straps is a little tricky.
Best for Easy Installation
Silver Cross Dream iSize Infant Carrier
This i-Size seat comes with a newborn insert and removable sections, so you can adjust it as your baby grows. It has four layers of side-impact protection and a five-position handle for easy carrying. The removable sun canopy has UV protection. It’s compatible with the Dream i-Size base, and with Silver Cross prams and pushchairs to create a travel system.
My favourite thing about this seat is the gorgeous, soft material. It has lots of padding and an adjustable headrest, so it’s supportive and comfortable at all stages. It’s easy to install, thanks to five green indicators and the app, which offers step-by-step instructions. The retractable hood is bulky, but really simple to remove. A classy, comfortable car seat.
Following the simple video on the app meant installing it was extremely easy – and it’s very reassuring to know that you’ve fitted it securely. The newborn insert is really snug and Poppy seemed very secure. However, although I love the look and feel of this seat, I found it hard to get Poppy in and out of it quickly.
It has 4.5kg weight and is suitable for kids from birth to 12 months.
The app made installation quick and painless. I like that this one has several different layers
of support, which you can remove as the baby grows. My baby has sensitive skin and the super-soft bamboo fabric is brilliant, as he rubs his face into the sides when he’s trying to get comfy before going to sleep.
Best For Sleeping for Longer Under $500
Cybex Cloud Z i-Size Car Seat for 0–18 month old infants
This innovative i-Size car seat offers a near-flat lying position for babies once you take it out of the car, so if your baby falls asleep in it, you can take the seat out and lie her flat when you reach your destination, without having to wake her. It also has telescopic side-impact protection and an energy-absorbing shell. It’s compatible with the Base Z, which rotates 180° to make it easier to get your baby in and out of the car.
This is stylish, comfortable and has a fully integrated hood that retracts neatly, without the need to remove it. I love that it reclines to lie-flat mode for use with buggy adapters, enabling me to take Olivia from car to pushchair. The rotating mechanism on the Isofix base makes getting Olivia in and out of the car so easy!
My favourite car seat – this felt sturdiest once installed and I love the rotating base, which makes slotting the car seat in and out of the car quick and easy. It looks fantastic, too. If Poppy falls asleep during a quick journey, I can simply lay her flat when out of the car without waking her up. With 11 headrest positions, it’s nice to know this car seat will grow with Poppy.
It has 4.8kg weight and is suitable for kids from birth to 13KG.
This was our favourite car seat. We really like the swivel feature, as it makes it much easier to get our heavy little boy in and out of the car. The three light indicators show you when it’s correctly turned/locked onto the base – a great safety-alert function. The chair is very stylish and looks great in the car. It’s a little heavy but we expected that with all the extra features. Its all qualities makes it best car seat for 1 year old.
Best for Lie Flat Travel Best Under 500
Maxi-Cosi Jade Car Cot Car Seat
Combining the safety of a car seat with the comfort of a carrycot, this is the first car cot to comply with the latest car-travel safety standards. The 180° flat sleeping position means babies can travel and sleep at the same time in the very safest way. It converts to a pram within seconds – just slide it off the Isofix 3wayFix base onto any compatible Maxi-Cosi pushchair.
Wow, I was so impressed with this lie-flat car seat. My baby slept peacefully and comfortably throughout a two-hour journey, and it doubled as a great place for her to nap while away from home. Downsides: it takes up two seats in the back of the car, and I found it difficult to see my baby, as the seat is positioned sideways.
This is by far the nicest looking – I love the stylish design. Perfect if you regularly take your baby on long car journeys. Poppy slept for the entire trip, and this was the only seat she didn’t cry about being strapped into. It’s super-easy to install, and I love the light and sound feedback to confirm it’s correctly fitted. However, Poppy will outgrow it quite soon.
It has 6kg weight and is suitable for kids from birth to 6 Months.
I loved the idea of this car seat, but unfortunately, it’s impractical if you have more than two children or a small car. This one sits sideways on the back seat, meaning I wasn’t able to fit both the baby and my eight-year-old twins into our car at the same time. It is also expensive for something that’ll be quickly outgrown – kids barely fit into it already.
What are car-seat groups?
Car seats are grouped according to their weight limitations, and some seats fit into more than one group. We’ve focused on car seats in the Group 0/0+ category. This means they’re rear-facing seats, suitable from birth up to 12 or 15 months. Up to the age of four, a rear-facing car seat is considered the safest option because they offer the best protection in the event of a collision. Some of the seats we tested are i-Size, which means they meet or exceed the very latest car seat regulations (R129) introduced in 2013 with the aim of improving car-seat safety.
You should know that if you need a rear and forward facing convertible car seat for your baby.
Do you need one?
Yes, if you’ll be taking your baby anywhere in the car – including your journey home from hospital. Babies and children under 135cm tall (around 12 years old) must sit in a car seat appropriate for their weight (or height, in the case of i-Size seats) when they travel in a car.
What’s an infant carrier seat?
The car seats here are sometimes called infant carriers, because the handle makes it easy to move your baby from the car to the house without taking her out of the seat – handy when she nods off in the car!
Do you need a travel system?
Many infant carrier seats can be attached to a pushchair frame to create a travel system. This is useful if you want to move your baby from the car to the pushchair without unbuckling her after a short trip.
What about a base?
Some infant carrier car seats can be installed using your vehicle’s seat belt, however, using a compatible car seat base offers better protection in a crash, so this is what we have chosen to test here. Some car seats and bases come as a package, some must be bought separately, so we have given you the price for both. An infant carrier seat with a separate base is very portable,and it’s a good option if you want to switch your seat between cars.You could buy a second base to use the seat in a partner’s orgrandparent’s car. Other types of car seat suitable from birth to four years are designed to stay in the car,so can’t be attached to a pushchair or moved around easily.
Do you need a lie-flat seat?
Lying flat on her back is the safest way for your baby to sleep, as it prevents any problems with her breathing or her spine development,soa lie-flat car seat is a good choice for long journeys with young babies who are likely to fall asleep in the car. Bear in mind,however,that she’ll outgrow this typeof seat muchmore quickly – probably by six months at the oldest.
Does your car have Isofix?
Isofix stands for InternationalStandardsOrganisation Fix, which is the system for fitting a car seat safely. All the seats we have tested here are secured in your car using an Isofix Base unit, which attaches very securely to anchor points underneath the seats in your car. Then you simply click the seat on to the base and press a button to release it. Some older Vehicles don’t have Isofix, so check that yours does, and check any other cars you plan to use the seat in, such as a grandparent’s vehicle.
Is it suitable for your car?
Not all car seats are approved for use in all vehicles. Make sure the seat is compatible with your car before you buy.
How heavy is it?
If you’re choosing an infant carrier car seat because of its portability, opt for a lighter seat that won’t be too heavy to carry– your tiny newborn is going to get heavier in no time!
“”Babies should not sit in car seats for prolonged periods and never for more than 90 minutes to two hours at a time.””
Some bases have light and sound indicators to alert you if the seat isn’t correctly installed – these provide extra peace of mind.
This cushions your baby’s head and keeps her head and neck in alignment, ensuring she’s comfortable and safe in the seat.
Between baby milk and snacks, car seats can get messy, so washable covers are a must. Check how easy it is to remove and re-attach the seat cover. Can it be popped in the washing machine and dried quickly?
Useful for carrying your baby between the house and the car, this is also a safety feature – it acts as a roll bar in the event of an impact. Check the instructions for the correct handle position during travel.
Most Isofix bases have a support leg to prevent the car seat from moving in an impact. This shouldn’t be used in cars that have underfloor storage, so check with your car manufacturer that the seat is compatible before you buy.
Nothing Is more important than your baby’s safety, so compare these features before deciding which to buy. Look for extras like side- impact protection and a seat shell designed to absorb impact in the event of a collision.
This makes the seat extra snug and supportive for small or young babies – check it’s plush enough, and easy to remove once outgrown.