Updated: Oct 6, 2017
Convertible Car Seat Reviews:No matter how you slice it, you have to buy a car seat when you have a new baby in your family. The question is should you get an infant car seat or go with the convertible car seats that serve more than one function. A convertible car seat is one that can be used in both a rear facing and forward facing position. That means it's usable with both an infant and a toddler. As your child grows, the car seat adjusts and some are capable of handling kids up to 65 pounds. You will pay more for these car seats but many parents think they are a better deal than having to buy the more convenient infant car seats. The Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat is the # 1 seller on several websites and Consumer Reports gives it excelleng ratings as well. Britax car seats have a great reputation in safety tests and really that should be your first concern when buying a new baby car seat. The Evenflo Triumph is slightly less expensive compared to the Roundabout but it still scores high with experts and parents alike.
Convertible car seat reviews can be found on dozens of websites online. About.com, in their baby products section, has a thorough buying guide and some helpful reviews on top models from Evenflo and Britax. Target and Babies R Us list all the leading brands and they too list owner reviews that you can read up on. Epinions is loaded with customer comments but some are outdated and not as useful with current products. Our favorite place to go online is Amazon.com - they literally have 100's of reviews posted on their site from ACTUAL owners of the convertible car seats. You'll get pros and cons for almost every particular model and be able to make an informed buying decision. If you have access to Consumer Reports magazine, we suggest looking at their convertible car seat ratings as they rank them in order based on several attributes like ease of use, safety features, price, etc. Most are priced between $80 and $300 depending on brand and features. Britax and Evenflo dominate this category and are the most popular as well as the highest rated by experts and consumers. One complaint we found most often is that parents say it's hard to fit some of these car seats into their smaller cars. The Sunshine Kids brand makes some slimmer car seats that are still safe, but fit better into small cars. If you have a heavier child, consider models like the Britax Boulevard which is rated for kids up to 65 pounds. For those on a budget, the Graco ComfortSport was less than a $100 and received excellent reviews on Amazon. You can browse the top selling convertible car seats online here.
Britax Convertible Car Seats:RECOMMENDED - It's really hard to go against 100's of reviews that give the Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat 5 out of 5 stars. The Roundabout car seat is offered in 9 different upholstery patters/colors and it scores exceptionally in crash test ratings. The five-point harness is tangle free and there are 3 harness heights to accommodate infants and toddlers of all sizes. Comes with the LATCH connectors for a secure fit and the car seat is rear facing rated for 5 to 35 pounds and forward facing for those 20 to 40 pounds (at least 1 year old). For taller kids consider the Britax Marathon and heavier kids might fit better into the Boulevard from Britax. We found it listed on Amazon for just over $175. You can check out all the top rated Britax convertible car seats online here.
Basic Convertible Car Seat:RECOMMENDED - We like to follow the masses when it comes to baby products, and the #1 selling convertible car seat on Amazon.com is the Evenflo Triumph at slightly over $110. The Triumph convertible car seat has features like harness adjustment, multi-position recline, removable body pillows, a flip down cup holder, and parents say they like the forward facing weight capability of up to 50 pounds. Also, taller kids (up to 50 inches) can sit in the forward facing position with this convertible car seat. Lots of parents buy this car seats for grandparents as a second car seat for the kids. Evenflo is a reputable name and almost all reviews are completely positive with only a few mentioning trouble getting the seat to fit in certain models of cars. Another excellent choice would be the Graco ComfortSport which rates well with consumers. At less than $100 it's hard to beat it on price and owners say the removable seat pad is easy to wash and clean. The ComfortSport is even approved for airplane use. The complaint on this model is that it's too short for taller kids. We suggest browsing all the most popular convertible car seats here.
Convertible Car Seats for Small Cars:As we have mentioned throughout this article, many parents have trouble fitting bulky car seats into smaller cars. The one brand that consistently came up with few "space" issues was Sunshine Kids. The Sunshine Kids New Radian 80 Convertible Car Seat - SuperCool is forward facing up to 80 lbs and the narrower build lets you fit it easily in most sedans and even bring it on airline travel. We found lots of feedback online from parents of twins or 2 small siblings and they needed to make sure the car seats would fit comfortably in the rear seat of their vehicles. The Sunshine Kids New Radian 80 is the way to go for that purpose. It will cost you $250, but several owners mention it's either that or buy a new car (just kidding). You can see all the Sunshine Kids convertible car seats online here.
See our buying guides for all car seat types below: