The 8 Best Convertible Car Seats

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There are no shortcuts when it comes to choosing a convertible car seat for your baby or toddler. There is no settling for a product that’s just good enough because their comfort and safety depend on you providing one of the best car seats on the market. So, while cost and appearance are important, this purchase is all about strength and security which means impeccable design and construction.

Convertible car seats are multifunctional safety seats designed to grow with a child from babyhood to early childhood. Some of these seats are 2-in-1 and convert from the traditional rear-facing seat recommended for babies to a forward-facing seat for older toddlers.

Other car seats have a 3-in-1 functionality and can be converted from a toddler seat to a basic booster chair for older children. In both cases, the benefit of buying a convertible car seat is that it doesn’t need to be replaced every time your child gets bigger.

Our Top 8 Convertible Car Seats

To help you find the perfect convertible car seat for your little passenger, we’ve tested eight of the best. In this review guide, we discuss our top picks and reveal which infant car chair provides the most safety and value for money.

Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat

The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is aptly named because it can be used until a child is ten years old. Unlike some rival products – which adapt with an infant from baby to toddlerhood but do not support older children – the Graco functions as (1) a rear-facing baby seat, (2) a front-facing toddler seat, (3) a high back booster chair, and (4) a backless booster cushion.

Has a 10-year product lifespan
Fully adaptable safety harness
Very easy to fit and use

May be too bulky for small vehicles
Chest release clip sticks sometimes

The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is designed to be the only child safety seat a family ever needs to buy. It comes with a heavy-duty steel-reinforced frame, a six-position recline system, a fast latch installation and a 5-point harness that has been voted one of the best child safety features on the market.

Browse some customer reviews to see how many times Graco’s convertible seat has protected a child from a road traffic accident and you’ll understand why we’re so enamored with this product.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 4 to 40 lbs
Forward-Facing Limit – 22 to 65 lbs, up to 51’’
Booster Seat Limit – 40 to 100 lbs
Dimensions – 24 x 21.5 x 20’’
Cup Holder – Two

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat

Britax remains one of the most popular car seat manufacturers around and its One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat demonstrates why. It offers parents a durable, long-lasting convertible car chair with forward and rear-facing functions, a dual-use booster seat, and a clean, sophisticated design.

Has a 10-year product lifespan
Headrest with 15 positions
Cover is machine washable

Inner buckle a bit short for larger children
Harness covers are thin (tear easily)

There are so many features packed into the Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Seat that you’d be forgiven for expecting a bulky, awkward chair. The fact it isn’t is quite extraordinary. From the honeycomb cells designed to crumple in a collision to the V-shaped tether bar that anchors a child across two points or the webbed harness that deters tampering, this Britax model is a feat of safe engineering.

The only downside is the thin fabric on its harness covers which may need replacing or repairing if you plan to keep the car seat for its full ten-year lifespan.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 20 lbs
Forward-Facing Limit – 20 to 50 lbs, up to 51’’
Booster Seat Limit – 22 to 120 lbs
Dimensions – 20.5 x 19.5 x 25’’
Cup Holder – Two

See also: Best Mini Fridges for Breast Milk

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

The Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat has been called ‘one of the comfiest convertible car seats around’ by parents whose children fall asleep as soon as they touch its plush foam padding. While it’s not as adaptable as some of the other products on our list – this model does not have a booster seat for older children – it comes with adjustable straps and several harness settings.

Quick to fit and install
No-rethread required
One of the comfiest on the market

No booster seat option (2-in-1 only)
No cup holder compartment

This Britax Marathon ClickTight Car Seat may not convert into a booster chair but it still manages to offer a wealth of adjustable features. The chair’s highly regarded safety harness system has 14 adjustable positions including seven reclining options and two ultra-secure buckle positions. If this sounds like overkill, think about how much easier it makes getting differently-sized children in and out of the seat.

The Britax Marathon also offers some of the strongest side-impact protection on the market. This chair has one obvious drawback though; there’s no cup holder.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs
Forward-Facing Limit – 20 to 60 lbs, up to 51’’
Booster Seat Limit – N/A
Dimensions – 23.5 x 18.5 x 23’’
Cup Holder – None

Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat

Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat makes it onto our review list because of its portability and traveling credentials. Many parents have commented on how lightweight this chair is, and at a mere nine pounds, it’s definitely one of the easiest to carry through a busy airport or bus terminal. However, the downside to having such a lightweight frame is a low weight tolerance.

Easy to fit and install
Great option for traveling
Superb value for money

Relatively low weight allowance
Not as comfy as some rival products

The Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Seat is a more basic car chair than, say, the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, and comes with just two configurations: rear-facing and forward-facing. While it doesn’t have as many customizable settings as some higher-priced rivals, it does a simple job remarkably well. The Evenflo’s integrated body cushion is a particularly nice feature as it can be used as a comfort pillow for babies or turned into a removable head pillow for toddlers.

Our only complaint with this model – and it could be a big one for some parents – is that it only comfortably accommodates kids up to 40lbs before becoming a tight squeeze.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs, up to 37’’
Forward-Facing Limit – 20 to 44 lbs, up to 40’’
Booster Seat Limit – N/A
Dimensions – 25.5 x 22 x 18.5’’
Cup Holder – One

See also: Best Baby Bouncers & Baby Swings

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

 Safety 1ˢᵗ Grow and Go All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

The Safety 1st Grow and Go All-In-One Convertible Car Seat lacks a lot of the bells and whistles seen on higher-priced car chairs but what it lacks in features, it makes up for in durability and strength. What’s more, as a 3-in-1 product, it can safely accommodate varied sizes, from the smallest newborns right the way up to older, independent sitters.

Pads are machine washable
Lightweight & easy to carry
Great value for money

Fit and install is a little fiddly
Cannot use LATCH while in booster mode

Safety 1st’s Grow and Go Car Seat is made to be used as a rear-facing chair until a child reaches 40lbs and 40-inches in height. Then, it can be converted and positioned as a front-facing chair for fast-growing babies and toddlers. During testing, we found the seat’s harness and straps a little fiddly – on some occasions, they were difficult to tighten – but the product’s safety credentials are almost unmatched.

There are numerous stories online about children sleeping through car accidents while strapped safely into their Grow and Go. If that doesn’t impress you as a parent, we don’t know what will.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs, up to 40’’
Forward-Facing Limit – 22 to 65 lbs, up to 49’’
Booster Seat Limit – 40 to 100 lbs, up to 52’’
Dimensions – 24.5 x 23.75 x 19’’
Cup Holder – Two

Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Symphony DLX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat offers a lot of bang for its buck with plenty of premium features at a mid-range price. For instance, the Symphony has temperature-regulating fabric which is something we didn’t see very often when testing out products. This feature alone makes it a great choice for fussy babies who need to be kept comfortable on long car or plane rides.

Super long lifespan (from 5 to 110 lbs)
One-hand adjustable headrest
Temperature-regulating fabric

Takes up a lot of room in the car
No safety belt lock-offs

As an all-in-one car seat, the Evenflo Symphony DLX could be the only convertible chair a parent needs. It’s a good job that this model is one of the comfiest then, with dense plush padding and three seat options (upright, half reclined, and fully reclined).

The chair’s pillow headrest is one of our favorite features. It comes with a lever for increasing its height which addresses one of the most common complaints parents have about car seats; most are not designed to fit taller children. With the Evenflo, even fast growers can strap comfortably into booster seat mode.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs, up to 40’’
Forward-Facing Limit – 22 to 65 lbs, up to 50’’
Booster Seat Limit – 40 to 110 lbs, up to 57’’
Dimensions – 19.5 x 21.5 x 28’’
Cup Holder – Two

See also: Best Bottle Warmers for Formula & Frozen Breast Milk

Graco SlimFit 3-In-1 Convertible Car Seat

Graco SlimFit3 LX 3 in 1 Car Seat

As Graco’s SlimFit 3-In-1 Convertible Car Seat has a slightly narrower frame than most car chairs, it’s a fantastic option for smaller vehicles. This compact model is designed to take up as little space as possible. Even its cup holders can be tucked away to reduce its size. In fact, some parents with larger families claim to have squeezed three of these car chairs onto one back seat.

Slimline fit is good for small cars
No rethreading required
Quick fit and installation

Straps can be hard to tighten
Heavier than some rival products

The first thing we noticed about the Graco SlimFit 3-In-1 Convertible Car Seat (aside from its slimline design) is its weight. It’s a highly compact seat but it’s not very lightweight. This is a small disadvantage when you consider the fact it comes with inbuilt harness storage, the patented InRight LATCH safety belt system, two cup holders, and plush, ultra-comfortable padding.

It also happens to be one of the most stable car seats we tested. Even at maximum allowable speeds, the Graco SlimFit car chair doesn’t shift or slide and barely rocks when driving around corners.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs
Forward-Facing Limit – 22 to 65 lbs
Booster Seat Limit – 40 to 100 lbs
Dimensions – 25.5 x 19.9 x 21.5’’
Cup Holder – Two

Diono Radian 3RXT 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian 3RXT, 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The Diono Radian 3RXT 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat is probably the most stylish of all the products on our list. It comes in two gorgeous colors and has thick, plush cushioning and curved, ergonomically designed supports on its top, sides, and at its center. It’s stuffed with safety features including a doubly reinforced frame, anti-impact head supports, and shock-absorbing EPS foam inserts.

Slimline design is great for small cars
12-position adjustable headrest
Folds up flat for easy travel

Surprisingly heavy (strains the arms)
Can be very difficult to clean

The Diono Radian 3RXT 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat is a recommended product for fast-growing kids who need extra legroom. The chair’s extended rear-facing functions mean you can keep taller babies riding backward for longer without compromising on safety. Its slimline frame, twelve position headrest, memory foam seat, and extendable leg rests combine comfort and security for a peaceful journey every time.

The only downside we noticed is its carrying weight. The Diono Radian is the heaviest of all the convertible seats we tested so be aware of this if you plan to use it for traveling.

Key Specifications:
Rear-Facing Limit – 5 to 40 lbs, up to 44’’
Forward-Facing Limit – 22 to 65 lbs, up to 57’’
Booster Seat Limit – 50 to 100 lbs, up to 57’’
Dimensions – 28.5 x 16 x 15’’
Cup Holder – One

See also: [WHY] You Should Clean and Sterilize your Baby Bottles!

What To Look for in a Convertible Car Seat

Additional Safety Features

When shopping for a convertible car seat, rest assured that all products with the appropriate quality accreditations are deemed safe for road use. Car chairs must meet a variety of federal requirements before they can be legally sold to consumers. Some other safety features are optional so always read product descriptions carefully to ensure you’re getting the design you need.

Strap Design

Every child’s car seat is required to have a five-point harness. The highest quality harnesses pull out smoothly without snagging and resist twisting while the vehicle is in motion. If you’re going to secure the chair with a car seatbelt, look for a model with a built-in locking function. It prevents the car seat from tilting during rides, creates a tighter fit, and makes it quicker and easier for parents to release the harness.

Anti-Rebound Bar

Anti-rebound bars are not a federal requirement for car seats but they do act as extra protection during collisions. The purpose of these bars is to stop the car’s front seat from rebounding backwards into the child in their chair. In isolation, it’s unlikely to cause a serious injury but it’s never a bad idea to stop your baby from being jolted and bounced. Having an anti-rebound bar significantly reduces the chance of your child’s head hitting the back of their car seat.

Ease of Installation

Well-designed safety features are worth their weight in gold when it comes to children’s car seats. However, the single biggest determining factor in whether a child will sustain injuries during a crash is the quality of installation. The easier a convertible car seat is to install, the safer a child will be because it’s more likely to be fitted without fault.

Seat Belt Installation

Convertible car seats with a seat belt installation have a belt path that tethers the infant’s car seat to the vehicle. When installed correctly, the vehicle’s seat belt remains in the locked position at all times to prevent the child from moving more than an inch out of position. Lots of modern vehicles now come with manual-lock seat belts designed specifically for convertible chairs and booster seats.

LATCH System

To use a convertible car seat with a LATCH system, you need a vehicle manufactured after 1999. A lot of older cars lack the necessary components so make sure yours is compatible before buying a seat with LATCH capabilities. What your car requires is a series of tether anchors. The first anchor is on the backseat nestled between the seat and its backrest. The second (and possibly the third) will be in the same place on the driver’s seat (and possibly the passenger’s side seat as well). Most newer vehicles have another anchor just below the windshield.

If you’ve spotted these tether anchors in the past and wondered what they are, now you have an answer. They clip onto a child’s convertible seat, creating multiple points of restraints to hold the chair firmly in place. We recommend using at least two anchors but, if your vehicle has more, add all or just some to stop your child’s chair from sliding and twisting.


The LATCH system is not the only type of anchoring method available to parents. There is another but it’s not as widely used. The Rigid LATCH system is, unfortunately, featured on just four varieties of vehicle seats manufactured in the U.S. This is despite it being proved the strongest installation for child seats. Check your vehicle’s manual to see if it has this safety feature.

See also: 8 Tips to Help Your Newborn Establish Healthy Sleep Habits

Seating Positions

There are four types of seating positions that children can use while riding in a motor vehicle. They are (1) rear-facing, (2) front-facing, (3) high back booster, and (4) backless booster. If you’ve browsed popular car seat models, you’ll know they don’t all come as standard. To purchase a convertible seat with every position, look for an ‘all-in-one’ product or a ‘4-in-1’ design.


Rear-facing positions are the safest way to transport children aged zero to two years. At this age, kids must ride backward to protect their neck, head, and spine in the event of a vehicle collision. In most states, it’s not an option. It is a legal requirement. If a child remains small enough to ride backward after two years, they can safely do so but passengers must never exceed the maximum weight limit for a convertible car seat.

The minimum age at which a child can sit safely in a front-facing car seat is two years. Parents mustn’t try to rush this transition. An infant should be able to sit independently and sustain the weight of their own head before riding forwards. If there is any chance they might fiddle with the chair’s belt, make sure it has a robust locking function. The child must be strapped in tight enough to sit without direct (eyes on) supervision and remain safe.

High Back Booster and Backless Booster
A high back booster isn’t necessary for all children but it can be a helpful transition point between fully restrained sitting (in a forward-facing chair) and mostly independent sitting in a booster seat. In either case, the booster seat is the last stage before a child is considered capable enough to ride without aids.
This should not happen before a child is at least seven and, typically, it only happens once a child has reached nine or ten.

The transition to unrestrained (excluding a normal seat belt, of course) riding is at the parents’ discretion. Some children grow quickly and can be seated in a standard chair at a much earlier age. Other children remain on the smaller side and need a booster seat for longer to ensure they’re at the right height to be protected in a collision.

Final Thoughts

Buying a convertible car seat is a big deal because it means you’ve got precious cargo to protect. Don’t be confused by technical specifications when shopping. Focus on finding a high-quality harness that doesn’t twist or snag and a seat with shock-absorbing padding that is designed to support your child’s weight and size.
It’s no good buying a convertible car seat just because your neighbor’s or your friend’s new baby likes it. Ask yourself, is it right for my child?

Which convertible car seat worked for your child? Let us know in the comments below!

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