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Our editors rate and review products objectively based on the features offered to consumers, the price and delivery options, how a product compares with other products in its category, and other factors.
The ratings are based on the expert opinion of our editors and on underlying technology that analyzes decisions made by similar users to provide individual, targeted recommendations to each person who visits our site.
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Choosing The Best Option
What goes into being the best, you may ask. The criteria we've looked at include:
Car Seats Shopping Guide
Shopping for a car seat can feel like an overwhelming process, especially when 10 different moms tell you what they think is best. While you shouldn’t just buy the first car seat you see, it also shouldn’t require a PhD in Car Seat Science to find the perfect fit for your family. To begin your search, it’s helpful to know what to focus on and how to compare car seats, so we're here to help with that.
If you already know the kind of car seat you want, you can skip this and go straight to our top ten car seat picks, listed above. We’ve chosen our picks based on performance, user ratings, features, and actual comments made by parents who’ve purchased these car seats. For those who are ready to start comparing, scroll up to take a look at our top ten car seats and find your new favorite without the stress.
Four Types of Car Seats
To start, the four kinds of car seats that you’ll see are front-facing, rear-facing, booster, and convertible. These types of car seats all depend on the size, weight, and age of the child who will be using the car seat.
The first car seat you should be looking for with a newborn or infant is a rear-facing car seat, and you should be keeping your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as their height and weight requirements allow. Each car seat will come with guidelines on maximum weight and height requirements, rather than age restrictions.
As your child grows past these weight and height limits, they can start using a front-facing car seat, then a booster, and then eventually the seat belt. When you change from a rear-facing to a front-facing seat, you’ll need to adjust straps and buckle placement to ensure that your car seat is ready for front-facing momentum.
Due to the importance of proper shoulder strap and buckle placement, you’ll need to make sure your car seat is adjustable and appropriately fits the weight and height of your child. Read the owner's manual and restrictions before making your final decision.
Convertible car seats allow for multiple positions: rear-, front-, or booster without having to buy a new car seat. However, not all convertible car seats can function as all three of these car seats, so be sure to understand the limits and capabilities of your future purchase.
In our top picks, you’ll see several convertible car seats that can grow with your child. One of the biggest benefits of these is that you don’t need to relearn the ins and outs of a new car seat just because your kid grows out of a rear-facing position. While you’ll need to make the safety adjustments, you’ll have enough experience with your convertible car seat to know how it functions and how to work with it.
Ease of Use and Installation
What good is a car seat if you have trouble using it any time you decide to go to the grocery store? The hassle of some car seat functions can cause some parents to overlook certain adjustments, undermining safety aspects and putting your family at risk.
Safety being the number-one priority, a car seat that is intuitive and easy to adjust means that you’ll be installing the seat correctly every time you go for a car ride, ultimately resulting in a safer ride for everyone. How do you know which car seat is easy and which one is more complicated than a Rubik's Cube? Read the user reviews. Parents will not hold back on a car seat they deem hard-to-use with convoluted instructions.
It’s incredibly frustrating to have your toddler go from happy to grumpy just because you’ve taken 20 minutes to get out the car seat manual. Because of this, we wholeheartedly believe in the magic of parent reviews, especially in the world of Amazon where everything allows for a rating.
Along with this, you can typically tell how complicated a car seat will be by its adjustability functions. Some, like the Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat, have up-front harness adjusters that don’t require searching behind a child or fiddling with the straps under the car seat itself.
Look for keywords like “Adjuster” and multi-positioned headrests, footrests, etc. — hints like this mean that the manufacturers have prioritized simplicity into their design, not leaving you to manually change anything about the car seat.
Car Seat Portability
Portability is something that might come up last in your decision-making, but it’s important to consider where your car seat will be going. For flights or just changing vehicles, you want to make sure that your car seat can easily be transported for stress-free travel.
While most car seats are equipped with travel in mind, make sure your car seat is easy to maneuver and works well with different vehicles. You can take a look at the dimensions of the car seat to ensure that its sizing is appropriate for your car.
Even if you find the coolest, comfiest, most stylish car seat on the market, it won’t matter if you can’t fit it in your car.
Breathability and Comfort
Throughout the summer days, you might have realized how important it is to have breathable clothing or mesh-backed chairs. Without built-in ventilation in the fabric that is touching you, you’ll start to feel hot and sweaty once higher temperatures kick in.
That said, car seat fabric should also be breathable and comfortable for any little ones who are sitting in them. As car seats implement extra padding to absorb the shock of a collision, you have to take into consideration the warmth that comes from this added material.
Some manufacturers have taken this into consideration, putting breathable fabric and mesh netting into some of the material that comes in contact with children. This can be even more of a priority for folks in hotter regions, especially as you wait for that cool air from the A/C to kick in.
Trusting Our Top Pick
Navigating the many choices for every consumer purchase can be challenging. Our team spends hours doing research, combing through forums, and reading consumer reviews on even the most basic of household items, and we summarize that information in clear, precise comparisons.
Join the millions that have trusted BuyersGuide.org to help them make smarter buying decisions. We help our readers spend their money wisely and find the right product to suit their specific needs. Our independent expert reviews and data-driven shopping recommendations empower you find the car seat that's right for you and your family.
What Sets Us Apart?
We leverage user data to understand decision-making and put the best products in front of each user. We tailor our comparisons to what matters to our user's needs, specific or broad. We keep our content up to date, we are constantly looking for new merchants and products to compare, and we are quick to remove any that are outdated or no longer meeting our standards. Our rankings change day-to-day based on our proprietary algorithms that crunch data to identify top-performing products and tailor recommendations to exactly what our readers are looking for.
Have a question or want to make a recommendation? We love to hear from our readers and are always looking for new products to include on our site. Get in touch!
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