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Best Convertible Car Seat Reviews 2016 (THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE)

best convertible car seatLast Update Sep 27th, 2016 

I believe you’ll agree with me when I say:

The most important thing for your child during travel is a good safe Convertible Car Seat… Or is it?

Well, there is only ONE problem. Finding that “Good” convertible car seat is tough.

That is why I have created a list of Best Convertible Car Seats 2016. After researching online and spending hours in testing these convertible car seats, I have shortlisted the top 5 baby seats which you can buy right now.

Top 5 Convertible Car Seat Reviews

To make the best decision on what are the best convertible car seats to buy calls for us to consider the pros and cons of the products available in the market. Believe me I have been buying car seats for my kids and I can confidently say that there are no car seats that will be 100% perfect though there will be some that will be a close fit for your needs.

While we strive to offer you the best reviews on the best convertible car seats for 2016, there may come a time when you need a quick guide. The table below offers you a guide on the five best convertible car seats rated according to price, rating, ease of use, warranty and safety.

Ultimate Convertible Car Seat Comparison Guide

BrandPriceEase of UseSafety Rating
Britax Advocate ClickTight$$$$Easy to Use4.6 Starscheck price
Chicco NextFit Mystique$$$$Medium Ease 4.5 Starscheck price
Diono Radian RXT$$$Medium Ease 4.3 Starscheck price
Graco My Ride LX$$$Easy tio Use4,2 Starscheck price
Evenflo Tribute LX$$$Medium Ease 4.0 Starscheck price

1. Chicco NextFit Mystique – Best car seat to buy in 2016

chicco nextfit convertible car seat

Safety

The Chicco Next Fit Convertible car seat is a great car seat particularly with regard to anchoring the toddler safely in the seat. Expanded polystyrene which lines the deep head wings serve to protect the child from impact from the sides.

Furthermore, an insert that is conveniently removable offers more protection. Nevertheless, as compared to the Britax, this car seat needs more dexterity in the installation process particularly when installed in the rear facing position.

However,thus car seat earns high marks for the safety and stability it offers. I strongly recommend the Chicco Nextfit as the best car seats for 3 year olds.

Ease of Use

Parents love the ease of installation of the Chicco NextFit since it makes use of the SuperCinch Latch technology that makes installation relatively easy. It is important to note that the manufacturers of the NextFit recommend that children weighing more than 40 pounds are additionally protected by seat belts.

The Chicco NextFit dimensions mean that it does not take as much space as other car seat models and I believe it is one of the best rear facing car seat. This I believe makes it suitable choice particular for households with standard size cars.

The seat has a sophisticated and stylish look and can also be easily cleaned whenever necessary.

Features

It is fit for carrying children weighing 5 to 40 lbs as a rear facing convertible car seat and 22 to 65 lbs in the forward facing position. Newborns are protected by a removable insert which will keep you at ease if you are driving alone with the child in the backseat.

While some parents have complained that the strap pads seem to be over-sized for toddlers, the pads can be easily removed since they have a Velcro strip allowing for instant removal if needed. The Chicco NextFit comes equipped with an add on cup holder that can be affixed on either the left or right side of the seat.

However, the holders are not tight enough and there have been complaints about its inability to hold cups larger than 12 ounces. The ReclineSure 9-position Leveling System ensures this seat scores highly since it offers the best fit for any type of backseat while ensuring best comfort for your child.

Price

It costs a mid range price and for a car seat with such stability and reliability this is great value for the Chicco NextFit. I do believe that if the few issues such as the small capacity of the cup holder were fixed, this car seat should cost even more.

Lastly the need for seat belts in the front facing mode is a negative. Nevertheless I do believe that for greater security the child should ride in the rear facing position and hence this aspect is not of so much importance.

The Chicco car seat expiration time is six years which is a very long time for such a fair price.

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2. Britax Advocate ClickTight – Safest convertible Car Seat

best convertible car seat

Safety

The Advocate is brilliantly engineered to compress in the event of a crash, lowering the child’s center of gravity making it one of the safest convertible car seats in 2016. Side impact cushions reduce crash impact by up to 45 percent. This model is lined with durable, eco-friendly EPP (expanded polypropylene) foam. With all its features, it is one of the top safety rated car seats in its class.

An Energy-Absorbing Versa Tether further restricts movement during a sudden stop. One satisfied customer remarked that using the Britax is like “surrounding your kid with airbags.”

Ease of Use

One of the easier seats to install the Britax Infant Carseat convertible scores highly on my scale of ease of use. The process of installation is made quick since it makes use of Latch connectors that make it possible to uninstall the seat simply by pushing a button.

It is however important to note that since the Britax Advocate Clicktight is a relatively large seat, parents ought to check the size of their backseat before purchase in order to avoid surprises. Nevertheless after installation the Britax usa is one of the best for seat stability when it has been locked in.

A reviewer was pleasantly surprised when she was able to easily remove her child from the firmly anchored seat after a rollover accident.

The Britax car seat manual and instructions are also one of the easiest and most comprehensive among car seats that I have tested.

Features

The Britax Advocate ClickTight is suitable for toddlers weighing in at between 5 to 40 lbs when installed facing the rear and 20 to 65 lbs when installed in a forward facing position. The new Britax convertible car seat has added an extra two inches of support strap that makes it easier to strap in adolescents safely as compared to its predecessor the G3. It is one of the best rear facing car seat that offers some of the most robust protection.

However, unlike other car seats in the same range the Britax lacks an in built cup holder though it makes up for this by having a clip on cup. The Britax car seat insert cup is just one of many accessories you can easily find on Amazon or order from Britax. I have found that children this seat which I believe is due to its being more comfortable. This aspect makes it invaluable especially during long family trips.

Price

The Britax convertible car seat goes for a fair price given the product’s value. Its easy installation through the Clicktight Installation Latch system enhances the convenience even for first time convertible car seat users.

Its manufacture through the environmentally conscious EPP foam technology as opposed to EPS makes this suitable for the environmentally conscious parent. It is also a bonus that it makes use of the SafeCell Technology for lowering toddler center of gravity during an accident. I do believe the Britax Advocate ClickTight is the best britax car seat in the market.

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3. Diono Radian Shadow – Best Car Seat for travel

best convertible car seat

Safety

The Diono Radian RXT is one of the best 3 in 1/combination car seat that are made from a full steel frame making it remarkably sturdy. The infant car seat is made with aluminium reinforced sides which make use o shock absorbent EPS foam as padding.

Some reviews have complained of some gassy odor from the padding even as one parent asserted that their toddle had managed to rip off the padding. However I believe that theDiono Radian scores top marks for impact protection which is it’s best quality by far.

It is not surprising that an emergency responder I interviewed asserted that the seat looked like it was designed for NASCAR.

Ease of Use

Newer vehicles making use of the LATCH system will make for easy installation of the Diono Radian RXT even as older models making use of seat belts tend to be a little bit more complex. Many parents have said that the RXT being so low enables toddlers to easily clamber into the vehicle.

In some instances the seat has been reported to have a faulty harness that fails to tighten to its maximum. Nevertheless there is a solution in making use of a factory-issued harness that will work fine after uninstalling and reinstalling the seat.

The weight and bulk of the seat is relatively higher as compared to other similar seats and hence may present a problem of where to install infant car seat for parents with small backseats. Being a huge seat it is important for parents to determine whether the car seat dimensions would be suitable for smaller cars.

Features

The Diono Radian can seat children from birth to 120 lbs and is usable for up to ten years. In the rear facing mode the toddler carseat accommodates children weighing 5 to 45 lbs. In the front facing mode, the seat can accommodate children weighing 20 to 80 lbs higher than that it becomes a booster seat accommodating children up to 120 lbs and hence all the car seat stages are covered by this car seat.

The one cup holder can be expanded to a four cup holder though reviewers warn that the holder is prone to spills and is not toddler proof. While a relatively bulkier seat, one of the biggest positives is that during travel it can fold flat and can comfortably fit three across for a mid size car.

As one of the narrowest convertible car seat this is the best convertible car seat for small cars and travel as several children may travel safely on three seats fitted in the back.

Price

The Diono Radian RXT convertible seat is a little bit pricey given some of its negatives. Nevertheless the steel frame of the seat and EPS foam offers top rank impact protection which will give any parent peace of mind when traveling with children thus making this one of the best convertible car seat in 2016.

The fact that it is a 3 in one car seat more than makes us for its relatively higher price.

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4. Graco My Ride 65 LX – Best budget friendly car seat 

lightweight car seat

Safety

For a fairly low price I quite like the Graco My Ride 65 Coda. It has the environmental friendly EPS foam that will protect your child from impact during a crash. While there were some issues with the buckle on some of the Graco models, all models sold post 2013 have been declared safe for use.

Similar to the Evenflo some consumers say that the car seat is wiggly even when employing the LATCH system. However, the Graco My Ride is one of the top FAA approved car seats in the market.

Coming with a range of recline positions and a removable insert your child’s head will not slump. The child will thus travel in greater comfort with this seat.

Ease of Use

For newer cars installation of the Graco My Ride is through the LATCH system while older models have to make use of seat belts. Some parents have complained about the Ride being difficult to install or uninstall.

Some complained that the graco rear facing convertible car seat presented some difficulty in terms of access to the harness difficult making it hard to tighten. Nevertheless, the Graco safety ratings, comfortable padding and relatively fair price more than make up for installation issues. A graco car seat comparison conducted by our experts found that thegraco my ride 65 coda is one of the best convertible car seat for small car.

Features

This convertible car seat is suitable for children ranging from 20-65 pounds in the rear facing position and 5-40 pounds in the front facing position. The body support is an insert that is easily removable thus it is suitable for a growing child.

It has a choice of covering with the Asbury being a vinyl fabric while the Sonata has a microfiber fabric. With dual cup holders and straps out of the child’s reach and sight this is one of the best car seats for toddlers.

The graco car seat manual comes with easy to read and understand instructions.

Price

At a fair price of just above 100 dollars it offers greater comfort than the Evenflo. It requires a a bit more energy for the strap and harness though the customer satisfaction is higher despite of the instillation issues.

Moreover, this is one of the most durable of car seats in the market at the moment due to its mix of plastic and metal frame.

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5. Evenflo Tribute LX Saturn – Best Car Seat under $100

best convertible carseat

Safety

The Evenflo Tribute LX comes with energy absorbent foam as padding. It is also federal tested for crash and side impact stability and robustness.

Some owners assert that the car seat tends to wiggle from side to side to some extent even when using the LATCH System. However tests by the federal authorities give the Evenflo on of the highest safety ratings for its class.

Ease of Use

Some evenflo car seat reviews by users on Amazon assert that is one of the easiest of convertible car seats to install since it offers either the seat belt system for older car models and the federal recommended LATCH for newer vehicle models. While there have been some complaints regarding the thinness of the padding most parents assert that the seat is comfortable enough that their children fall asleep during travel.

As opposed to other bulky convertible car seats which we have rated, this is one the best car seats for a small car and for travel. Nevertheless, with a lower weight limit of 40 pounds it may not be suitable for some of your needs.

Still we do find that parents that go for the Tribute due to its relatively lower price seem to love the features it offers.

Features

The Evenflo Tribute is built to carry between 22-40 pounds in the forwards facing position and 5-40 pounds in the rear facing position. While this cap, is lower as compared to other models such as the Britax and the Diono, the top ratings and relatively low price makes this a great seat.

It has a clip on cup holder which reviewers assert is flimsy and not of much use. Nevertheless, there are many cup holders on Amazon that may be attached to deal with the issue.It comes with fewer recline possibilities in comparison to other seat like the Chicco Keyfit or the Britax Marathon even though it has similar levels of recline in the rear facing position.

With relatively thinner padding the car seat can be said to be more functional than a luxury convertible car seat. It is still a great choice if you are looking for a bargain or are on a low budget.

Price

It sells for a relatively low price yet offers sufficient safety regardless of its functional nature. It is a great cheap car seats for infants of parents on a budget. However, it may be suitable only for short or occasional travel that does not require utmost comfort.

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What is a Convertible Car Seat?

A convertible car seat is a car seat that can be used in both the forward facing and rear facing mode. Depending on the car seat you buy children ranging from birth to two years may travel in a convertible car seat.

On the other hand, a 3-in-1/combination car seat is a seat which can be converted from the rear facing to forward facing and lastly into a booster seat for children above two years of age.

At What Age Should I Switch to Convertible Car Seats?

Newborn weighing in at less than five pounds and up to two years can be carried in a convertible car seat. While there are different weight recommendations for different car seats, it is best to keep your child in a convertible car seat until they are two years old regardless of weight or height.

Children above two years can switch to a booster or 3-in-1 seat.

How to Install Convertible Car Seats

You may install the car either with LATCH system or with seat belts.

Safest convertible car seat

Installing with LATCH

LATCH is an anchoring system for car seats that is used in place of seat belts when you install the seat. Many parents prefer LATCH to seat belts as they find them to be easier to install. It usually comes with two tethers, the top one and the lower ones.  It is important o make use of the top anchor in all forward facing child car seats even if you are using seat belts since doing so offers the most safety for your child. Both seat belts and LATCH are equally safe but there are instances when it is more convenient to simply opt for one.

Newer vehicle models usually come with lower LATCH anchors that are found between the seat cushions. The anchors for the tether will usually be on the backside of the seat, in a sedan, on the floor in hatchbacks, SUVs and minivans or on the ceiling. The best car seats will come with attachments to attach to these anchors and almost all family vehicles that were manufactured post 2002 come with LATCH capability.

The maximum weight limit fro lower anchors is 65 pounds including the weight of the child and the car seat. You should always check the recommendations of your baby car seat manufacturer  for the maximum weight that your lower anchors can take. Check the label on the baby car seat for the maximum weight allowed for your anchors.

Installing Using a Seat Belt

For utmost safety in the installation of the car seat, you need to ensure that your seat is installed as tight as possible. If you have a new model of car, you can tighten the seat belt by pulling it then letting it retract for optimum fit on the car seat. Moreover, most newer models of car seats come with lock-offs that snap the belt into the anchors without you needing to lock it in. Your vehicle manual will give you details on the installation instructions of your seat belts.

The safest convertible car seat position is always the back seat for all children younger than 13. It is always preferable that the child rides in the middle of the backseat. However some cars do not have back seats that are suitable for installing a car seat in the middle since they lack lower anchors at that position or are not flat. It is always advisable to install the car seat in the position from which you can get the tightest fit with either seat belts or LATCH even if this is not necessarily the middle. You could consult with a child passenger safety technician (CPST) to assist you on the best position to install the car seat.

How to Buy the Best Convertible Car Seats

You do not necessarily need to take my word regarding the 2016s best convertible car seat reviews for your kid . You can very easily find your top infant car seats by making use of the criteria that I employed in creating this list. Employing this strategy will enable you to find the top rated convertible car seat in whatever online store you decide to shop at.

The most important aspects that you would need to take into consideration include the following:

  • Price
  • Safety
  • Ease of use
  • Features
  • Increments
  • Durability
  • Dimensions/ sizes
  • Warranty

I do believe that the most important aspects in the selection of the best convertible car seat in 2016, 2017 and beyond are price, safety, features, ease of use and customer reviews.

In terms of how much is a car seat, people tend to look for products that is the best affordable convertible car seat. In my opinion, this is not the best way of finding top rated convertible car seats given that there are cheap car seats  for babies out there but whose real value is very low on the above indicators. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you cannot cheap infant car seats such as the Diono that do offer good value with a relatively low price.

As most people would agree you get what you pay for and hence for every dollar in price you pay you are like to get more value for your buck.

When it comes to what is the safest car seats for infants in 2016, it is important that you select the car seat that offers the most stability and protection features during crash situations. It is not enough to just look at a car seat to determine its safety credentials.

Looking at the materials is especially critical if you are to find the safest convertible car seat. Materials such as a solid frame and EPS foam make for the sturdiest car seat that will withstand crash conditions.

I do believe the Britax USA Advocate ClickTight toddler Car Seat is a safety first convertible car seat having durable, eco-friendly EPP (expanded polypropylene) foam and An Energy-Absorbing Versa Tether. The Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat, Shadow also scores highly in this regard with its sturdy aluminum frame and EPS foam padded sides.

Organization such as safecar.gov offer convertible car seat safety ratings for every car seat in the market and would be worthwhile to check out before purchase.

Features such as having a cup holder and ease of installation through features such as the LATCH system are also critical. The best convertible car seat is a seat that is easy to install and are toddler friendly.

Easy to install car seats such as the Britax Clicktight make it easy for new parents to operate thus reducing frustration. Best Carseats for toddlers such as the Chicco Nextfit allow for affixing of cup holders and are thus preferable if you have toddlers.

Customer satisfaction should be an important criteria as well regardless of which type of car seat you are purchasing. A look at the customer reviews on Amazon will give you a better understanding of the car seat features including its positives and negatives enabling you to make a better decision on what to buy.

What fellow parents say will be critical even after purchase as they may offer tips on how to deal with problems as they arise.

Nevertheless an analysis of only the rating of a car seat on amazon might not be the best strategy for selecting the best convertible car seat. Sometimes you might need to look at the reviews left by users. It is also important to check out convertible car seat safety ratings before you buy.

However in instances in which you do not have the time to analyze all the convertible car seat reviews, the best strategy is to look at the 5 star reviews only. However when looking at reviews be sure to look at how many of them there are to find the nominal rating of the seat.

Conclusion

The Britax Advocate Clicktight gets my vote for the best convertible car seat 2016. Britax gets a high rating for many of its features including the SafeCell technology which in the event of a crash lowers the toddler’s center of gravity and a tether system that secures the seat in the case of a sudden stop.

Moreover it is one of the larger seats that come with sturdy anchoring and safety thus offering peace of mind to the parent and offering comfort to the infants. In terms of its quality it is priced relatively lower than similar high quality seats in the market.

It earns top rank for its fair price, scientifically advanced safety features and its durability.

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