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  1. #1
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Post 2017 Recommended Car Seats List: Community Top Rated Picks

    Updated November 1, 2016.

    When I created my first recommended seats list years ago, things were very different. Gone are the days of shield boosters and combo seats with adjusters that couldn't be accessed when the seat was installed and t-shield convertibles with 20 lb rear facing limits. There are few if any truly bad choices out there these days. When I asked for nominations for this year's list, there were ~50 suggestions! That's too many "recommended" seats to be useful, so I put it to a vote. The seats recommended below were the top vote-getters in each category. I've also listed the other nominees below the winners.

    Experts know that the "best" seat is the one that fits your child, fits your vehicle, fits your budget, and will be used properly every single trip. This means there's no single best seat for every situation, and it also means that *your* best seat might not be on this list. That's OK! The list below contains seats which are generally found to be easy to use and to fit a fair variety of children and vehicles well. There are inexpensive and pricey seats on the list. While all seats have to meet the same basic safety standards, some seats may have features which make them more comfortable or easier to use.

    Speaking of safety, it's not unusual to hear a parent say they purchased this seat or that one because "it was the safest." While some seats may have features which could improve their performance in a crash, there aren't any reliable, comprehensive crash test comparisons for US and Canadian seats. This means that there's no way to tell if one seat is actually safer than another in the real world. Fortunately, a properly used seat provides excellent protection in most crashes. I hope the below list aids you in your search, and if you have any questions, please ask them on our forums!

    Within each category, seats are listed roughly in order of increasing price. Price ratings are based on typical retail prices as of April 8, 2015, with the following key for all seats except boosters:
    $: Less than $100
    $$: $101-$150
    $$$: $151-$200
    $$$$: $201-$300
    $$$$$: Over $300

    Rear Facing Only Seats (rear facing with a carrying handle, also known as "infant seats")
    • Graco Snugride Click Connect 30/35/35LX ($$-$$$): 4-30/35 pounds; some variation in features between models. Look for a base with a seatbelt lockoff.
    • Britax B Safe 35/35 elite ($$$): 4-35 pounds. Built in lockoffs, good ease of use. Compatible with all Britax strollers.
    • Chicco Keyfit 30 ($$$): 4-30 pounds. Easy to install with LATCH or seatbelt, compatible with a number of Chicco strollers. A perennial favorite.
    • Nuna Pipa ($$$$): 4-32 pounds. Rigid lower LATCH, load leg ("stability leg"), seatbelt lockoffs on base, extra large canopy, compatible with several high-end strollers.
    • Cybex Aton 2 ($$$$) and Aton Q ($$$$$): 4-32/35 pounds, load leg, linear side impact protection, easy installation and use.


    Other community picks: Cosco Light n Comfy Elite ($), Safety 1st Onboard 35 ($), GB Asana 35 ($$$$)


    Convertibles (rear or forward facing)
    • Cosco Scenera NEXT ($): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-40 pounds; a good choice for an inexpensive seat.
    • Evenflo Sureride ($): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; inexpensive seat with extremely high top harness setting so that it lasts a long time.
    • Graco Head Wise/Size4Me/MySize ($$$): RF 4-40 pounds, FF 20-65/70 pounds; nice tall harness and very tall shell. If using for a newborn, look for a model with an infant insert.
    • Maxi Cosi Pria 70/85 ($$$): 70 model is RF 9-40 pounds, FF 22-70 pounds; 85 model is RF 14-40 pounds, FF 22-85 pounds; for use with a newborn buy the Pria 70 with TinyFit; no-rethread harness and air protect head cushions.
    • Britax Boulevard Click Tight ($$$$): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; nearly foolproof seatbelt installation, very tall shell.
    • Chicco Nextfit ($$$$): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; "SuperCinch" tightening system for installation, good ease of use, long-lasting.
    • Clek Fllo ($$$$$): RF 14-50 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; for use with an infant must purchase the (not yet for sale) infant insert; the "little sister" to Clek's high-end Foonf; Crypton fabrics, easy seatbelt installation, narrow footprint makes it good for 3 across.


    Other community picks: Britax Roundabout G4.1 ($$$), Combi Coccoro ($$$), Britax Marathon G4.1 ($$$$), Graco Milestone (all in one) ($$$$), Britax Boulevard G4.1 ($$$$), Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible ($$$$$), Graco 4Ever (all in one) ($$$$$)


    Combinations/Harnessed Boosters (forward facing with harness or as a booster without harness)
    • Evenflo Securekid ($$): 22-65 pounds harnessed; Booster to 110 pounds. Reasonable price, good for cars with LATCH.
    • Graco Nautilus Elite ($$$) or Argos ($$$): 20-65/80 pounds harnessed; Booster to 100 pounds. Tall seats available in many colors, can also be used as backless.
    • Recaro Performance Sport ($$$$): 20-90 pounds harnessed; booster to 120 pounds. Tall seat with unusual (but not difficult) seatbelt installation, very deep sides.
    • Britax Frontier ClickTight G1.1 ($$$$): 25 lb - 90 pounds harnessed; Booster to 120 pounds. Highest harness of any seat currently available, nearly foolproof seatbelt installation.



    Other community picks: Evenflo Maestro ($), Harmony Defender ($$)


    Dedicated Boosters (positions the seatbelt properly)
    Since boosters tend to be less expensive than harnessed seats, the price rating has been adjusted as follows:
    $: Less than $20
    $$: $21-$50
    $$$: $51-100
    $$$$: $101-150
    $$$$$: Over $150

    High-backed Boosters

    Other community picks: Safety 1st Store n Go ($$), Safety 1st Boost Air Protect ($$$), Maxi Cos Rodi Fix ($$$$$)


    Backless Boosters

    Other community picks: Harmony Youth ($), Cosco Ambassador ($), Evenflo Backless Amp ($$)
    Last edited by jjordan; 04-09-2015 at 08:10 PM. Reason: Updated list - jjordan

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  3. #2
    Senior Community Member tjham's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Well done! Thanks!

  4. #3
    CPS Technician
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Awesome! Thanks!
    DS - 9 Riding in a Oobr, Turbobooster & RSTV
    DD - Infant Riding in a Graco CC 40


  5. #4
    Car-Seat.org Ambassador Patriot201's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Wonderful!

    That was cool... I added rep for this post and watched the squares light up.


    “Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” ~Carl Sandburg
    Learning to cope with the unexpected...

  6. #5
    CPS Technician AdventureMom's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Hmmm... so where's the Regent?

    DS|2002|FF in Britax Frontier 85 and Graco TurboBooster
    DD|2007|FF in two Britax Frontier 85's

  7. #6
    CPS Technician Stretchy Glue's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Nice, sums things up and includes all the important info.
    Joni
    Sunshine, 11, 5'3", 100 lbs in a 15.5" saddle

  8. #7
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Quote Originally Posted by AdventureMom View Post
    Hmmm... so where's the Regent?
    I didn't include the Regent because it doesn't neatly fit into any of the categories, and it's the only FF-only/harnessed-only seat I routinely recommend. I may add a "niche seat" category to the list and include the Britax Regent, Safeguard Go, Ride Safer Travel Vest and EZOn 86Y.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  9. #8
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Incidentally, Ulrike's old list ( http://www.car-safety.org/carseats.html ) was quite a bit out of date. With the new website updates, Jenny agreed to take over so we could have a basic list for members to reference. Ulrike's list, along with Suvsafety.info, are no longer updated and will eventually disappear completely. Thanks to Jenny and others who gave her input!

  10. #9
    CPST Instructor azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Great list, Jenny!! CAn I save it and use it?
    Lisa - CPSTI
    Mom to Tucker, 5 years old, 29.2 lbs, 39.25 inches tall who has a variety of different carseats to ride in.
    My new grandson is my signature photo

  11. #10
    CPS Technician jka1217's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Are you still planning on adding information on recommended booster seats? There are some moms in my playgroup with kids ready for boosters and I don't know a lot about boosters yet to give good recommendations.
    Jenny
    CPST (Nov 2008) and Car-Seat.Org Benefactor
    Katie: 3 years, 40 lbs, 40", FF in a Nautilus and Radian (RF to 2 years)
    Sophie: 10 months, 19 lbs 14 oz, RF in an Uptown

  12. #11
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Yes, I'll try to have the booster seat info posted in the next couple of days.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  13. #12
    CPST Instructor azgirl71's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Quote Originally Posted by jka1217 View Post
    Are you still planning on adding information on recommended booster seats? There are some moms in my playgroup with kids ready for boosters and I don't know a lot about boosters yet to give good recommendations.
    Jen, when you say ready for boosters do you mean they are at least 5 yo and 40 lbs (tech recommendations) or thier parents say they are ready for a booster? I know you know what is best. Want to make sure they know just because the booster says 3 yo it is still not recommended. A child needs to be able to sit still in the booster and a 3 yo most likely would not.
    Lisa - CPSTI
    Mom to Tucker, 5 years old, 29.2 lbs, 39.25 inches tall who has a variety of different carseats to ride in.
    My new grandson is my signature photo

  14. #13
    CPS Technician capeKO71's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    What about the britax frontier? I know there were install issues... but it seems that's fixed with the LBP installs...
    Kate - Mom to 2 boys! - CPST

    It's off! Yipee!

  15. #14
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Quote Originally Posted by capeKO71 View Post
    What about the britax frontier? I know there were install issues... but it seems that's fixed with the LBP installs...
    The Frontier hadn't been released yet when I compiled this list. I will be revising it in the near future.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  16. #15
    CPS Technician pastrygirl's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Is this the kind of list that we as techs can hand out? At private or public checks, at car seat safety info sessions for parents groups, and/or to friends/family? I plan to be involved with all of the above.

    I reformatted the list into table format for side-by-side comparisons on printed paper. I can post it if anyone's interested! (Obviously I take ZERO credit for the content!!)

  17. #16
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Quote Originally Posted by pastrygirl View Post
    Is this the kind of list that we as techs can hand out? At private or public checks, at car seat safety info sessions for parents groups, and/or to friends/family? I plan to be involved with all of the above.

    I reformatted the list into table format for side-by-side comparisons on printed paper. I can post it if anyone's interested! (Obviously I take ZERO credit for the content!!)
    I asked Jenny to update Ulrike's original list at Car-Safety.Org as part of our forums, to be used primarily for reference in other posts. We would appreciate that it not be reprinted for distribution.

    Of course, you are welcome to produce a similar list of your own. Since the NHTSA started rating seats a few years ago, I see no reason technicians can't rate them and give recommendations, also.

  18. #17
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Great list! We actually have the Chicco Key Fit and have been wondering which to buy next.

  19. #18
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    great list!! thanks..

    any input on the First Years True Fit car seat?

  20. #19
    CPS Technician ctbcleveland's Avatar
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Just got through reading this list. It would be great to update the SSK Radian and Britax listings for the higher RF limits where appropriate.

  21. #20
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    Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

    Thanks!

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