While infants require a rear-facing car seat, the best toddler car seat is forward-facing. As toddlers grow, they’ll eventually need a booster seat configuration to ride in your car safely.

The perfect car seat for your child depends on their weight and height. We’ve researched and tested several top brands and here suggest some of the best car seats for toddlers. We’ll also explain what to look for in a car seat.

The car seats above are generally recommended for children between 20.0 and 100.0 pounds and under 60.0 inches tall. Each seat meets federal crash test safety standards and performed well in our in-person testing process. While the best seat will depend on your needs and budget, these are an excellent place to begin searching for the right toddler car seat for your little one.

#1 Editor’s Pick: Chicco MyFit

chicco myfit

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The Chicco MyFit is an easy-to-install, adjustable toddler vehicle seat made from high-quality materials. It features a deep, rigid shell, triple foam padding, and breathable mesh fabric.

Based on the ease of installation and superb craftsmanship, we believe the Chicco MyFit is the best toddler car seat. It comes at an average price for car seats of this type and features metal buckles and anchor connectors.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $210
  • Child weight range: 25.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Child height range: Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 25.0 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

chicco myfit

This was the easiest to install among the car seats we tested. The anchor and top strap clip in seamlessly, and it’s simple to adjust the position of the Chicco MyFit to be level with the ground (aided by a built-in bubble level). Every adjustable lever and button is easy to find and use.

Removing the seat from the car was just as straightforward as installation. The instructions aren’t hard to follow, and explanatory stickers attached to this car seat help ensure you have it situated properly for your child.

Our Rating4.7 out of 5
Ease of Installation5 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

With more than 2,000 ratings, the Chico MyFit has an average Amazon review score of 4.9 out of 5, earning it an Amazon’s Choice designation. About 91 percent of reviews give this car seat a full 5 stars.

A few customers have experienced wrecks with this car seat and say the Chicco MyFit kept their child safe, so they plan to repurchase the same model car seat. Other customer praises highlight the sturdy quality of the seat materials, the light weight (which makes for easy installation), and the substantial headrest padding. Many users are also happy with how easy it is to adjust the MyFit’s straps and positioning.

Some negative reviews claim this seat doesn’t work as well with larger children. If your children are growing out of the toddler stage, a bigger car seat may be necessary. One reviewer complains that the cupholders were too far from the back of the seat and their toddler couldn’t reach them.

#2 Most Durable: Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus

britax grow with you clicktight plus

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Accommodating children between 25.0 and 120.0 pounds, the Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus is a solidly-built toddler car seat. It features a strong steel frame, nine-position headrest, and machine-washable fabrics. It can transform into a backless booster car seat to accommodate your child for several years, even as they grow past the toddler stage.

We believe the Grow With You is a solid pick if you’re looking for a durable car seat that won’t need replacing after a couple of years. Packed with safety features such as flame-retardant materials and three layers of side-impact protection, it’s a reliable and safe toddler car seat.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $370
  • Child weight range: 25.0 to 120.0 pounds
  • Child height range: 34.0 to 64.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 26.5 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

britax grow with you clicktight plus

We were most impressed with the high quality of the straps and buckles on the Grow With You. While the steel construction makes the car seat a little heavy, it also gives this seat a solid and safe feel.

We had some difficulty installing this car seat compared to others we tested. The instructions aren’t especially clear, and it took us a bit to figure out how to deploy the anchor straps. However, installation isn’t impossible or even frustrating. It’s just not as easy as some of the other best car seats for toddlers.

Our biggest complaint (and it’s a minor one) is that the straps are difficult to tighten. However, you can easily adjust the Grow With You seat to accommodate children of various sizes.

Our Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Installation3.5 out of 5
Adjustability4.5 out of 5
Quality of Materials5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

The Britax Grow With You ClickTight Plus has an average Amazon score of 4.8 stars based on nearly 4,000 ratings. About 88 percent of reviewers award the product 5 stars. Users rated the product 4.9 out of 5 stars for sturdiness.

Most people who rate the Grow With You highly say that they like this car seat for its many safety features. The sturdy construction seems to provide peace of mind to parents. Children enjoy this car seat too, as many parents say their kids find it comfortable for long drives.

One recurring complaint is that the straps are difficult to adjust and tighten. Also, some less-than-positive reviews say the instructions are unclear and that the seat takes time to install.

Based on our experience, we can see why some people are frustrated with the installation process. It didn’t take us more than 15 minutes to install the Britax, but we found the straps harder to adjust than other toddler car seats.

#3 Most Adjustable: Graco Nautilus

graco nautilus

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The Graco Nautilus is installable in three configurations: as a five-point harness car seat, a high-back belt-positioning booster, or a backless belt-positioning booster. These multiple configurations allow the Nautilus to accommodate children up to 120.0 pounds and a height limit of 57.0 inches.

This seat is further adjustable through the five-position headrest and four-position adjustable base. As with all the best car seats for toddlers, the Nautilus is safe, featuring extra side-impact protection.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $200
  • Child weight range: 22.0 to 120.0 pounds
  • Child height range: Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 21.8 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

graco nautilus

While the cushion materials aren’t quite as soft and well-stitched as the Britax Grow With You or the Chicco MyFit, the straps are of the strongest quality. Installing the Graco Nautilus is fairly easy, in part because of the no-rethread harness. On the downside, the lower anchors can be finicky to attach.

Most notable when handling the Nautilus during our test installation was the car seat’s adjustability. The product has a broad range of configurations, though adjusting between each could be a little easier. Some of the adjustment levels don’t click perfectly into place.

Our Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability5 out of 5
Quality of Materials4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

The Nautilus has an average Amazon review score of 4.8 from more than 3,700 ratings. About 85 percent of reviews score the Nautilus at 5 stars. According to these reviews, the car seat does best in the area of safety features (for this, it gets 4.8 out of 5 stars).

Many users praise the seat for its comfortable seat pad and sturdy design. Adjustability is also a selling point, and many reviewers used this seat for several years as their child grew.

One semi-frequent complaint concerns the strap’s ability to adjust the seat belt restraints. Several users say it’s difficult to adjust, but we didn’t have any issues with this strap during our testing. Another common complaint pertains to the anchor straps. While we didn’t have difficulty attaching the anchor tether, we did notice the design of the clips isn’t as user-friendly as other car seats.

#4 Budget Pick: Evenflo Chase

evenflo chase

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Despite being a low-priced toddler car seat, the Evenflo Chase sports modern safety features such as side-impact cushions and a reinforced metal frame.

The light weight of this car seat makes it easy to install and handle. Like many of our recommended best car seats for toddlers, the Evenflo Chase can also serve as a front-facing booster seat, making it both a toddler and a youth car seat. Even at the seat’s low cost, customers can expect to use it for several years.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $80
  • Child weight range: 22.0 to 110.0 pounds
  • Child height range: 28.0 to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 11.0 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

evenflo chase

At only 11.0 pounds, the Evenflo Chase is easy to handle. Despite its low cost, this car seat comes with quality materials: sturdy nylon straps and strong metal clasps secure your toddler.

Even so, the materials aren’t quite as soft and comfortable as more expensive car seats, so this may not be the best car seat for long journeys. The Chase also uses the harder-to-install metal clamp style of anchor clamp.

Our Rating3.8 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials3.5 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

More than 7,800 Amazon reviews give the Evenflo Chase an average rating of 4.7 stars. About 79 percent of reviews rate the product 5 stars. Most users laud the Chase for its durability and ease of use.

Some reviews come from people who were involved in a crash while using this seat, and in these cases, the seat protected their toddler. Other positive comments mention the seat being easy to install and adjust.

Some reviewers say the Evenflo is less comfortable than more expensive alternatives, and others claim the angle of the seat (upright with little to no recline) can be uncomfortable for children after a period of time in the car.

#5 Best Booster Seat: Graco Tranzitions

graco tranzitions

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The Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster seat is an all-in-one lightweight car seat with eight adjustable height positions. It has two cup holders and machine-washable padding. This forward-facing car seat is adjustable and comfortable, designed to work as a toddler car seat and a highback booster seat.

We believe the Tranzitions is one of the best booster seats (once your child is old enough for that configuration). The open-loop belt helps guide your car’s seat belt to the perfect position for safety and comfort.

Key Features

  • Approximate cost: $140
  • Child weight range: 22.0 to 100.0 pounds
  • Child height range: Up to 57.0 inches
  • Car seat weight: 17.3 pounds
  • Machine-washable padding

Our Experience

graco tranzitions

While some of the other car seats we tested impressed us more when it came to quality of materials and ease of installation, the Graco Tranzitions is nonetheless an excellent toddler car seat.

We had few problems installing the Tranzitions, though tightening the straps is somewhat of a hassle. Compared to other strap systems, the Tranzitions is not the smoothest to install. Once you’ve installed it, though, the Tranzitions is quite adjustable, and the padding material is plush and soft.

Our Rating4 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Adjustability4 out of 5
Quality of Materials4 out of 5

What Customers Are Saying

Nearly 34,000 Amazon reviews of the Graco Tranzitions yield an average rating of 4.8 stars. About 86 percent of reviewers give this product 5 stars based on its safety features, durability, and ease of installation.

Several users who crashed while using this car seat say the seat protected their child, working as intended. Customers are generally happy with the quality of the car seat at its price range (which is around average for a car seat).

Like us, several users experience difficulty tightening the straps on the Graco Tranzitions seat. Some users don’t like the anchor latch system, which can be hard to secure.

Buyers Guide: Toddler Car Seats

When shopping for a toddler car seat, safety is the most important consideration. Luckily for U.S. customers, all car seats sold within the country must meet federal safety standards. Despite this rule, it’s still possible to buy untested car seats online. Be sure that any car seat you purchase is clearly labeled to indicate it meets federal safety standards.

Simply purchasing a qualifying car seat doesn’t ensure safety, however. You must use the right type of car seat based on your child’s height and weight. This sizing chart, developed by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), clearly outlines the type of seat to use. Kids around toddler age typically need a forward-facing car seat like those suggested in this review.

Finally, you must properly install and secure a car seat to ensure it’s safe for your child. Many hospitals offer car seat inspections to determine if you’ve properly installed your seat. The NHTSA website features a handy tool for locating the nearest child passenger safety technician.

Beyond safety, you’ll want to consider adjustability, ease of installation, and quality of materials.  High-quality materials can mean a more comfortable ride for your child. You can use adjustable car seats to accommodate your child as they grow, so you don’t need to buy a new car seat every year. Most of the recommendations on this list have booster mode for when your child has grown beyond the toddler stage.

Our Review Standards

The car seats in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We scoured Amazon for top products, looking at customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.

For testing purposes, our product review team ordered the five toddler car seats that scored highest in these categories. A team member installed each seat, noting the quality of materials and adjustability. We carefully inspected each strap, latch, and lever.

Every car seat we recommend complies with United States Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. To determine our rankings, we focused on ease of installation, adjustability, and quality of materials. We also considered customer opinions as represented by reviews on websites such as Amazon.

Ease Of Installation

To be sold within the U.S., a car seat must pass federal safety standards. However, even the best-designed car seat is unsafe if installed improperly. For this reason, the simplicity or difficulty of installing a car seat is an important consideration when selecting the right product.

The design of a car seat’s anchor clasps can make a big difference in ease of installation. We noticed two types of anchor clasps during our testing process: a plain metal anchor and a buckle anchor (both displayed below). The buckle anchor is 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

Toddlers develop quickly, so it’s important that a quality car seat be adjustable in order to comfortably accommodate children as they grow. This is not only a comfort, but it’s a safety consideration. Some toddlers may require a booster seat configuration while others don’t.

Quality Of Materials

The best car seats for toddlers each include strong and secure straps for safety. However, some car seats have more adjustable straps and more robust buckles. Fine construction and durable materials are not only safer, but they last longer. Seats that scored highest in this category feature metal (rather than plastic) buckles and easy-to-use cinching mechanisms.

Car Seats For Toddlers Testing Process

To test each toddler car seat, our review team installed each product into the back seat of a sedan. In addition to inspecting the materials of each seat in person, we noted how easy each seat was to install.

We attached the car seats by using the car’s built-in infant seat anchors or the seatbelt. We then adjusted each seat to its multiple configurations. Our review team gave the highest marks to car seats that featured intuitive design elements and durable materials.

FAQ: Toddler Car Seats

*Data accurate at time of publication.