Editor’s Pick
Chicco Fit4

An easy-to-install, all-in-one convertible seat with few drawbacks.

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Easiest Installation
Britax Advocate

A highly adjustable convertible car seat that never requires rethreading.

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Easiest To Maintain
Graco Extend2Fit

A high-quality car seat with soft and easy-to-clean fabrics.

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Most Comfortable
Maxi-Cosi Pria

A secure and plush convertible car seat available in 10 colors.

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Best Value
Evenflo Tribute 5

An affordable yet safe convertible car seat that is lightweight.

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Buying a new car seat for a baby can be nerve-racking, but it’s even more so when you throw a 2.0-ton vehicle, high-speed traffic, and happenstance into the mix. To help you find a safe, comfortable, and long-lasting car seat, our products team researched and tested some of the best convertible car seats.

Best Convertible Car Seats

Convertible Car Seats on studio table, frontal shot

  1. Editor’s Pick: Chicco Fit4
  2. Easiest Installation: Britax Advocate
  3. Easiest to Maintain: Graco Extend2Fit
  4. Most Comfortable: Maxi-Cosi Pria
  5. Best Value: Evenflo Tribute 5

#1 Editor’s Pick: Chicco Fit4

Chicco Fit4 on studio table, frontal view.

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The Chicco Fit4 is easy to install and highly adjustable, making it our top pick for convertible car seats. It has four configurations and nine recline positions. Many features of this car seat are adjustable (including a rising headrest and removable padding), the instructions are easy to follow, and setup is simple. You can even access detailed instructions through your phone.

Pros Multiple configurations for children between 4 and 100 pounds Steel-reinforced frame and EPS foam lining Easy installation Easy to adjust
Cons Bulky Some reports of headrest deteriorating after a couple years

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $250
  • Weight range: 4.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Height limit: Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 25.0 pounds

Our Experience

Chicco Fit4 installed in car, top down angled view

Having tested more than a dozen child car seats of various types and sizes, we found the Chicco Fit4 to include the most readable instruction guide. Not only are the instructions written more clearly than any other brand, but the buckles and latches are easy to attach and secure.

The interior padding is soft and easily removable as your child grows. The high number of inserts means you can configure the Fit4 to perfectly encapsulate your little one. The cupholders are removable to make extra space. We did find the seat to take up a lot of space, however. The passenger sitting in front of this car seat may not have much legroom in a small sedan.

Overall Rating5 out of 5
Ease of Use5 out of 5
Adjustability5 out of 5
Quality of Materials5 out of 5

Chicco Fit4 installed in car, view from passengers seat.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 1,800 reviews

Positive reviews say the Fit4 is easy to install and clean. Parents are pleased that the seat is comfortable and safe. Because the seat is usable by children of all ages (from rear-facing infant seat to high-back booster), it can last all the way to its expiration date of 10 years. This may be the only car seat a parent would need to buy. The Chicco Fit4 scores the most points with reviewers for its comfort (4.7 out of 5).

This car seat does take up a lot of space in your backseat, but because most multi-stage car seats are large, you can expect most of the best convertible car seats to take up a lot of room.

Some Amazon reviewers complain that the seat doesn’t detach from its base, which is a feature many infant car seats include (though not often a feature of convertible car seats).

A couple of reviewers say the foam material in the headrest deteriorated after a few years, but others report many years of successful use.

#2 Easiest Installation: Britax Advocate

Britax Advocate studio table, frontal view.

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The Britax Advocate employs a patented ClickTight system for easy installation and configuration. The five-point harness is padded for comfort and features three layers of side-impact protection.

This seat is suitable for newborns up to children six years old. While it will not be the only booster seat you’ll need to buy, few car seats last more than six years.

Pros Supports children between 5 and 120 pounds Lasts up to 10 years 15-position headrest and harness
Cons Expensive Heavy at 30 pounds

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $360
  • Weight range: 5.0 to 65.0 pounds
  • Height limit: Up to 49.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 30.6 pounds

Our Experience

Britax Advocate installed in backseat of car

The Advocate is simple to install and features high-quality padding, like many of the car seats on this list. What makes the Advocate stand out is the ClickTight system – a button in the front of the seat allows you to open the Advocate to reposition the straps for front- or rear-facing configurations. This makes the Advocate one of the easiest seats to safely install.

The buckles are covered with a soft padding, and the straps are easy to adjust. However, the Advocate uses the more difficult-to-install type of metal anchor clasp, making the seat somewhat harder to secure than the Chicco Fit4.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Adjustability4.5 out of 5
Quality of Materials4.5 out of 5

Britax Advocate installed in car

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.8 out of 5 based on over 650 reviews

Happy customers like the safewash fabric, which is free of chemical flame retardants. Parents with infants especially appreciate how easy it is to remove and clean the padding.

Parents with small cars often note that the Advocate is bulky. Some users couldn’t recline their own seats while using the Advocate. While we like the ClickTight button, some people find it hard to turn.

#3 Easiest To Maintain: Graco Extend2Fit

Graco Extend2Fit studio table, frontal view.

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The Graco Extend2Fit is a solidly-made convertible car seat that features an adjustable headrest and legrest. It comes with a no-rethread harness and six recline positions. The soft padding is removable and machine-washable. At around $200, this car seat rivals the quality of pricier alternatives such as the Fit4 and the Advocate. To learn all about this excellent car seat, check out our review guide here.

Pros 10-position headrest Built-in cup holders Machine-washable pad Easy installation
Cons Large size may be tight in smaller vehicle Difficult to tighten straps Can be hard to reinstall after washing

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $190
  • Weight range: 4.0 to 65.0 pounds
  • Height limit: Up to 49.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 19.0 pounds

Our Experience

Graco Extend2Fit installed in car

The Extend2Fit features some of the softest padding, and all of the buckles and latches are of high quality. We found it easy to install the seat in forward- and rear-facing positions. However, it’s a pain to reposition the anchor latches, as this requires removing almost all the outer fabric layer. It can also be difficult to adjust the incline position.

While some of the adjustment mechanisms take a bit of strength to operate, they’re all robust and secure. The process is straightforward but can take some finagling.

This seat uses the LATCH connector system, creating easy installation, and a helpful ball indicator tells you if the seat is properly positioned.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Adjustability4.5 out of 5
Quality of Materials4.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.9 out of 5 based on over 67,000 reviews

Many reviewers say they’ve bought several Graco seats throughout the years and that the Extend2Fit is their favorite. The removable lining is easy to wash, and the seat is relatively painless to maneuver even at 19.0 pounds. Reviewers claim their children are comfortable and this durable car seat can last several years (the manufacturer says this seat is good for 10 years).

Some users note that the cupholders are square-shaped, which is not ideal for most beverage containers. Others say it’s difficult to tighten the lower LATCH straps (though we didn’t find this to be the case).

#4 Most Comfortable: Maxi-Cosi Pria

Maxi-Cosi Pria studio table, frontal view.

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The Maxi-Cosi Pria is a convertible car seat with three configurations available in 10 colors. Supporting children from 4.0 to 100.0 pounds, the Pria features a QuickFit shoulder harness, easy-to-connect anchor latches, and two removable cup holders.

Based on our experience with the fabric and the consensus of customer reviews on Amazon, the Pria seems to be one of the most comfortable convertible car seats. The removable, adjustable padding is perfect for gently securing your child.

Pros Comfortable and adjustable padding 3 configurations for children between 4.0 and 100.0 pounds Fits in smaller cars Steel frame
Cons Difficult to adjust Some complaints about rear-facing mode

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $235
  • Weight range: 4.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Height limit: Up to 52.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 22.5 pounds

Our Experience

Maxi-Cosi Pria installed in car, top down angled view

While the Maxi-Cosi Pria is simple to install and uses the best type of anchor latch, it’s difficult to adjust. The reclining mechanism is finicky, and we had some trouble tightening the anchor straps.

However, when it comes to material quality, the Pria shines. The padding was the softest of the car seats we examined, and the removable inserts ensure a safe, snug fit for your infant or toddler.

We’re thankful the padding is machine-washable and simple to remove. While available colors are not one of the most important features of a car seat, it’s worth noting the Pria offers the widest range of style choices.

Overall Rating4 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Adjustability3.5 out of 5
Quality of Materials4.5 out of 5

Maxi-Cosi Pria installed in backseat, view from passengers seat.

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.7 out of 5 based on over 3,700 reviews

Most Amazon reviews for the Maxi-Cosi Pria praise the car seat’s comfort. The fabric stays cool on hot days while offering a lot of cushion. Users, especially parents of multiple children, also like the color options.

While there’s a lot of praise for the Pria’s comfort when all of the padding is attached, some users complain that this vehicle seat is not the best for older children. Once the infant padding is taken out, the seat becomes less comfortable. Other reviewers note, like us, that the Pria is hard to tilt and adjust.

While we didn’t experience this issue, some customers also say the Pria doesn’t easily fit in small vehicles when used in extended rear-facing mode.

#5 Best Value: Evenflo Tribute 5

Evenflo Tribute 5 studio table, frontal view.

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Costing less than $100, the EvenFlo Tribute 5 is an affordable car seat that doesn’t sacrifice safety features (it does lose some points for comfort). The Tribute 5 meets or exceeds most federal safety standards. Though not the most adjustable car seat we tested, the Tribute 5 offers multiple shoulder harness positions to accommodate children from 19.0 to 40.0 inches.

Pros Affordable Lightweight and under 10 pounds
Cons Restrictive weight limit of 40 pounds Not as adjustable as similar products

Key Features

  • Cost: Around $80
  • Weight range: 5.0 to 40.0 pounds
  • Height limit: 19.0 to 40.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 9.3 pounds

Our Experience

Evenflo Tribute 5 installed in backseat, view from passengers seat.

The Evenflo Tribute 5 is lightweight and therefore one of the easiest car seats to hoist into our test vehicle. However, we had some difficulty attaching the seat anchors. The Tribute 5 uses a poorer type of metal anchor clasp (discussed in more detail in our Review Standards), and the straps can be difficult to tighten.

The padding feels thin compared to other car seats, and there’s no extra padding over the chest clip for added comfort. This seat is probably less comfortable for smaller children but suitable for riders out of the toddler stage.

Though the anchor clasps are difficult to connect to the car’s seat anchors, they are easy to adjust between forward- and rear-facing positions.

Overall Rating3 out of 5
Ease of Use3 out of 5
Adjustability3 out of 5
Quality of Materials3 out of 5

Evenflo Tribute 5 installed in back seat

What Customers Are Saying

Amazon Review Score: 4.6 out of 5 based on over 5,700 reviews

The most startling Amazon review shows a picture of an overturned vehicle, with the reviewer reporting that all survived the crash, including their infant secured in the Tribute 5. One of the most appreciated aspects of the Tribute (besides safety) is its light weight. Parents who often remove or carry their car seat (to bring on an airplane, for example) appreciate this feature.

Some negative reviews say it’s hard to attach the seat anchors. Others claim the padding feels flimsy compared to other car seats. While some parents like the compact nature of the seat, this is a downside if you have tall children.

Who Is A Convertible Car Seat For?

Buying a car seat is something all new parents face, and it is something they’ll likely have to do more than once as their child grows. The best convertible car seats replace the car seats designed for infants as children surpass the rear-facing weight limit or grow too large for a seat’s harness straps.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), all children should be in forward-facing car seats until they outgrow the manufacturer’s harness holders or weight limit, and can utilize the vehicle’s seat belt path.

What Is The Difference Between A Convertible Car Seat And An All-In-One Car Seat?

 A convertible car seat is intended to help your child transition from an infant car seat to a rear-facing seat, and eventually a forward-facing car seat. An all-in-one convertible car seat is meant to last a child from birth to almost the first decade of life.

Convertible car seats are some of the bulkiest when it comes to baby gear, and may have a difficult time fitting in smaller cars.

At What Age Should A Child Transition To A Booster Seat?

Your child should be at least four years old, over 40.0 pounds, or taller than the harness before transitioning to a belt-positioning booster seat. Convertible car seats can transform into high-backed boosters. Older children may need a backless booster seat.

How To Install A Convertible Car Seat

Parents should always refer to their product manual for instructions on how to install a car seat. However, we can offer the following tips that are universal across all car seats:

  • Secure all car seats using the lower anchors or a seat belt but never both. Lower anchors are small, horizontal bars in the space between the seat’s back and cushion.
  • Once your child exceeds the weight limit of the car seat, it’s important to transition your child into a bigger car seat or booster seat. Not only is a small car seat tight and uncomfortable, it may not be able to support your child’s weight limit and may damage the lower anchors.
  • You’ll want to use tethers to secure front-facing car seats. Tethers are typically located above or behind the back seat.

Owners of car seats used them incorrectly in 59 percent of cases the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) examined. Find a local station on NHTSA’s website for a free car seat inspection by a certified technician.

What Is The LATCH System?

The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) harness system is installed in cars made after 2003. These anchors and tethers make installing a car seat in any position in your car (even the middle seat) easier.

The top tether is located above the back seat. It secures the car seat in place when the driver makes a sharp turn or sudden stop, and it’s compatible with leather or vinyl upholstery. If you have an older car, you’ll use the seat belt rather than the lower anchors that are built into cars today.

Buyers Guide: Best Convertible Car Seats

When deciding which of the best convertible car seats to purchase, consider the following:

Peace Of Mind

You can memorize safety standards and read lots of customer reviews, but the bottom line is that parents know best. If you have strong feelings toward a certain car seat – good or bad – or if you find yourself gravitating back to a particular product, we advise you to follow your instincts. It’s your child’s safety and comfort at stake, after all, so it’s up to you to decide what’s ultimately best for your family.

Any car seat sold in the United States must meet federal safety standards. As long as the car seat features a tag or notice that displays compliance with NHTSA crash test standards, the seat is safe for your child. The best car seats sometimes exceed these seat safety standards.

Comfort

You’ll want to take a closer look at padding, fabric, and harness dimensions to evaluate whether a car seat will be comfortable for your child. Padding is important for keeping infants’ heads still, and it’s essential for kids who nod off as you run errands. If your baby often wears onesies or your little one loves to run around in shorts and skirts, be sure to prioritize soft fabric and flexible straps to protect their sensitive skin against irritation.

Car Compatibility

Convertible car seats are often bigger than infant car seats. Keep this in mind if you have a sedan or sports car. Bucket seats can also affect the ability to install two car seats side by side. If you or your partner are tall, your legroom may be limited by a bulky rear-facing car seat in the back.

Another consideration is your car’s upholstery material. A 30.0-pound car seat with a 40.0-pound toddler might mark up leather seats. If this is the case, you might want to invest in seat protectors.

Your Family’s Lifestyle

Do you and your partner switch baby duties throughout the week? You’ll want to consider all the vehicles your child will travel in. If the car seat will stay in one car for most of the week, you might be more comfortable investing in a bulkier or more complex seat. Simple installation and a lightweight design will be more important if you regularly transfer the seat from car to car.

It may be worth registering your car seat on the manufacturer’s website to receive updates on recalls or safety notices for that specific model. You can also ask a pediatrician for any recommendations.

Expiration Dates

Something else to know about convertible car seats is that they come with an expiration date. As your child grows and more demand is placed on the seat, the materials can wear out and become less comfortable. Car seat manufacturers are also subjected to federal standards, which are constantly being tweaked for safety improvements.

The best way to handle this is never to use a convertible car seat past its recommended usage date, and throw one away if it is ever involved in a crash or if it becomes damaged.

How We Tested

We analyzed thousands of convertible car seat reviews to weed out lower-rated products and ultimately identified the five best convertible car seats, which we recommend above. The convertible car seats in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

For testing, our team ordered the car seats that performed best in these categories. We installed each seat in a sedan and tried every adjustment mechanism. We evaluated each car seat based on ease of use, adjustability, and material quality.

Ease Of Use

Any car seats sold in the United States must pass federal safety standards, but even approved car seats are unsafe if improperly installed. If a car seat is easier to install, there’s less of a chance for user error.

We awarded the most points in this category to car seats that were simple to install in rear-facing and forward-facing positions.

A car seat’s anchor connectors can make a big difference with ease of installation. In testing car seats, we encountered two types of anchors: a plain metal anchor and a buckle anchor (both displayed below). The buckle-type anchor is much easier to attach and release. Seats with this type of anchor scored higher for ease of use.

Plain Metal Anchor

Plain Metal Anchor, car seats hooks

Buckle Anchor

Buckle Anchor, car seats hooks

Adjustability

To ensure a safe fit, you need to adjust any car seat so it’s properly level. Adjustability is especially important for a convertible car seat meant to accommodate your child as they grow. Car seats with multiple harness positions, removable padding, and more incline positions score best in this category.

Quality Of Materials

We examined the materials of each car seat we tested for quality and comfort. Seats with soft padding, quality stitching, and durable frames scored best in this category.

Convertible Car Seat Testing Process

To test each convertible car seat, our review team installed each product into a sedan. In addition to inspecting the materials of each seat, we noted the ease or difficulty of the installation process. We installed car seats in forward- and rear-facing positions and tested each adjustment mechanism.

We could attach each of the car seats using the car’s built-in infant seat anchors or the seatbelt. For our testing, we installed each seat using the built-in seat anchors.

Why You Can Trust Us

Each year, we test over 350 auto products on vehicles and in our testing lab. A team of product testers thoroughly researches top products, unboxes and puts our hands on each component, and tests the items on real vehicles before making recommendations to readers.

We publish hundreds of product and service reviews to bring car enthusiasts detailed guides on automotive tools, detailing kits, car seats, pet products, and much more.

Best Convertible Car Seats: FAQ

*Data accurate at time of publication.