2019-2020 Recommended Car Seats List: Community Top Rated Picks

Status
Not open for further replies.

scatterbunny

New member
Updated August, 2019.

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 Aug. 24, 2019, 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 ($-$$): 4-30/35 pounds; some variation in features between models. Look for a base with a seatbelt lockoff.
  • Graco Snugride SnugLock (various models) ($$-$$$): 4-35 pounds; features vary slightly with model. Built in tightening and locking mechanism in base.
  • Chicco Keyfit 30 ($$$): 4-30 pounds. Easy to install with LATCH or seatbelt, compatible with a number of Chicco strollers. A perennial favorite, far and away the most often recommended by our community.
  • Nuna Pipa ($$$$): 4-32 pounds. Rigid lower LATCH, load leg ("stability leg"), seatbelt lockoffs on base, extra large canopy, compatible with several high-end strollers.
  • Cybex Aton 2 ($$$$): 4-32 pounds, load leg, linear side impact protection, easy installation and use.

Other community picks: Cosco Light n Comfy Elite ($), Urbini Sonti ($), Britax B-Safe 35 ($$$), Chicco Fit 2 ($$$)


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 Contender 65 ($$): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 20-65 pounds; shell as tall as the more expensive Graco convertibles at a bargain price with a few less convenience features; fits average to large newborns with newborn insert.
  • Graco Head Wise/Size4Me/MySize ($$$): 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.
  • Graco Extend2Fit ($$$): RF 4-50 pounds; FF 22-65* pounds. Roomy yet compact seat has a panel that allows more leg room rear-facing, low-priced option for heavier children to rear-face longer. *Please note: The Extend2Fit requires a recline for forward facing children under 40 lbs. that is so extreme it results in widespread incompatibility in this mode. We do not recommend this seat if you have a lighter-weight child whom you intend to turn forward-facing before they reach 40 lbs. due to installation difficulty in that mode. (Once 40 lbs. the seat can be installed more upright which resolves the installation issues.)
  • Britax Boulevard Click Tight ($$$$): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; nearly foolproof seatbelt installation, very tall shell.
  • Chicco Nextfit ($$$$): RF 5-40 pounds, FF 22-65 pounds; "SuperCinch" tightening system for installation, good ease of use, long-lasting.
  • Clek Fllo ($$$$$): 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 Allegiance ($$$), Graco Sequence ($$$), Graco Milestone/Landmark (all in one) ($$$$), Graco 4Ever (all in one) ($$$$), Nuna Rava ($$$$$)


Combinations/Harnessed Boosters (forward facing with harness or as a booster without harness)
  • Graco Nautilus ($$$): 20-65 pounds harnessed; High backed booster to 100 pounds; Backless booster to 120 pounds. Tall seats available in many colors, can also be used as backless.
  • Chicco MyFit ($$$): 22-65 pounds harnessed; booster 40-100 pounds. Multi-position recline with built-in lockoffs and a narrow-contoured base make this a choice for comfort and for simpler installation in many vehicles, though not suited for vehicles with forward-of-the-bight seatbelts.
  • Graco Nautilus SnugLock ($$$$): 20-65 pounds harnessed; booster to 100 pounds high backed, 120 backless. The highly-compatible design of the Nautilus with the added benefit of the SnugLock automatic tightening and locking mechanism for simple install with or without locking shoulder belts.
  • Britax Frontier ClickTight ($$$$): 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 ($), Cosco Finale ($), Harmony Defender ($$), Ride Safer Delight Travel Vest ($$$), Britax Grow With You ClickTight ($$$$)


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
  • Graco Highback Turbobooster ($$): 30-100 pounds. Removable back, widely available, inexpensive. Nearly universal fit-to-child.
  • Chicco Kidfit ($$$): High back booster 30-100 pounds, backless booster 40-110 pounds. Cushy cover, comfortable seat, and removable back make this a community favorite.
  • Graco Highback Affix ($$$): 30-100 pounds. Removable back, LATCHable. Fits children like the TurboBooster.
  • Evenflo Spectrum ($$$): 40-110 pounds. Extremely tall seat for taller children, removeable back make this a popular choice for parents who need a long-lasting booster.
  • Britax Highpoint ($$$$$): 40-120 pounds. Extremely tall seat is great for tall or long-torsoed children. SG clip is an anti-submarine feature that helps keep the belt positioned low on the child's lap, below the hips. Flexible LATCH.

Other community picks: Safety 1st Store n Go ($$), Evenflo BigKid Amp ($$), Britax Skyline ($$$), Diono Monterey XT ($$$$), Peg Perego Viaggio Flex 120 ($$$$$), Nuna Aace ($$$$$)


Backless Boosters
  • Cosco Rise ($): 40-100 lbs. Good basic backless booster, lightweight and easy to use, that positions the belt well on most children.
  • Graco Backless Turbobooster ($): 40-100 pounds. A classic, this booster has been a favorite for years because of good belt positioning, wide availability, and variety of designs.
  • Bubblebum ($$): 40-100 lbs. Inflatable booster is easy to take along for travel or carpool, positions the belt well on most booster aged children.
  • Graco RightGuide($$): 50-120 pounds. A nearly heightless booster that is great for older children who have outgrown a traditional booster, but still need a bit of belt positioning. Intended for 5 years and up.

Other community picks: Harmony Youth ($), Evenflo Backless Amp ($$), Chicco GoFit ($$), Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong ($$), Diono Solana 2 ($$$)

Updated August 24, 2019
 
ADS

Patriot201

Car-Seat.org Ambassador
Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

Wonderful!

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

scatterbunny

New member
Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

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.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
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!
 

jka1217

New member
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.
 

azgirl71

CPST Instructor
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.
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.
 

capeKO71

New member
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...
 

scatterbunny

New member
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...
The Frontier hadn't been released yet when I compiled this list. ;) I will be revising it in the near future. :)
 

pastrygirl

New member
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!!)
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
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!!)
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.
 

southerngal

New member
Re: Jenny's Recommended Seats List

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

ctbcleveland

New member
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.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Threads
219,417
Messages
2,201,332
Members
13,375
Latest member
kerryn1979

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2020 Carseat Media LLC

Top