best infant car seats

The 10 Best Infant Car Seats of 2018 [Reviewed]

To land the best car seat for your infant, do take time to look at all facets of a car seat and also what other moms have to say. With all the car seat models available, finding one that suits you best can be overwhelming.

It doesn’t have to be though, separating the best from the rest will help on your quest, and that is exactly what we have done. You want a car seat that is comfortable for your little one and user-friendly to you.

All car seats must pass through certain safety standards, but are not equal. Some are very pricey while others are considerably inexpensive. Let us reassure you that price is not a defining factor of quality when it comes to car seats but features such as impact protection, leg loads, big canopies, compatibility are telling.

We tested over a dozen car seats to conjure up these top 10 best infant car seats. Check them out below.

Best Infant Car Seats 2018

Product Name
Lower and Upper Weight Limit
Maximum Height
Seat Weight
Price
Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat
4 to 30 lbs.
30”
9 lbs.
Check Price
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio
4 to 35 lbs.
32”
10 lbs.
Check Price
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
4 to 35 lbs.
32”
9.6 lbs.
Check Price
Britax B Safe 35 Elite
4 to 35 lbs.
35”
10 lbs.
Check Price
Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30
4 to 30 lbs.
30”
8.2 lbs.
Check Price
Cybex Aton 2
4 to 35 lbs.
30”
9 lbs.
Check Price
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
4 to 35 lbs.
32”
25.7 lbs.
Check Price
Doona Infant Car Seat
4 to 36 lbs.
32”
10 lbs.
Check Price
Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat
4 to 35 lbs.
30”
16 lbs.
Check Price
Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air Infant Car Seat
4 to 35 lbs.
31.5”
19 lbs.
Check Price

1. Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat – Best Overall Car Seat

At the very top of our cherry-picked infant car seats lies the Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat, which is bound to please any parent whichever way you look at it. The Chicco KeyFit gives you the option of using the LATCH system or conventional car seats depending on what you prefer.

While other car seats are justifiably heavy, the Chicco KeyFit does not skimp on important safety features despite its lightweight design. Chicco fitted in energy-absorbing EPS foam, a level indicator, and premium LATCH connectors in the KeyFit® 30 to ensure that you get a good install.

Many parents will appreciate the feel of the soft fabric and fit of this seat. In addition to this, small infants of 4 pounds also have an insert that makes them fit exceedingly well. While its upper limit is not the highest in the market, the Chicco KeyFit® 30 still does well supporting a 30-pound baby.

The Chicco KeyFit® 30 has one the best wide shoulder straps of many car seats, but one major drawback is the small canopy. We often found this inadequate for the infant, especially on sunny, rainy, or snowy days.

Overall, the Chicco KeyFit® is reasonably priced, it’s a very capable car seat, and has a lot going for it.

Pros
  • Easy to install
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Small canopy

2. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio – Best Seat in Form and Functionality

If you are like many moms who are paranoid about safety measures and engineering features present only in European styled car seats, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is your seat of choice.

You will fall in love with the Primo Viaggio’s build quality immediately when you caress its premium fabric. This car seat is made from premium Italian fabric, and there are many other reasons why you should get one.

The belt is color-coded for quick an easy installation on any vehicle. A must-have European safety feature the rebound bar is present in this car seat.

Capable of accommodating babies from 4 to 35 pounds and 32 inches high, the Primo Viaggio, is also adjustable to support growth. The seat is equipped with a dual cushion system that serves the smallest of infants and also allows for adjusting as the baby adds some extra pounds.

One particular feature that is a favorite for many parents is the Side Impact Protection which adjustable to six positions without rethreading. This ensures that your loved one stays protected at all times.

The Primo Viaggio fits most Perego strollers but can also be used with many from other companies with an adaptor.

Pros
  • High quality
  • Adjustable canopy
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Costly

3. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat – Best for Preemies

One of the most popular and an all-time best seller, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat is fan favorite for many reasons. Here’s why.

Like most top-ranked car seats on this list, this car seat holds babies as small as 4 pounds and goes all the way up to 35 pounds. The maximum height supported is 32 inches. Like the Chicco KeyFit 30 above, the SnugRide SnugLock 35 gives you the option of attaching via the traditional hook styled LATCH or the car’s safety belt.

For safety, Gracco fitted in an EPS energy absorbing foam, but the interior is not as plush and soft as we had hoped. It’s also important to note that the shoulders traps will require rethreading as your baby grows.

Coming in at ales than 10 pounds, the SnugRide SnugLock 35is incredibly lightweight making it very easy to snap in and out of its base. This coupled with the Click Connect system means that this car seat can connect with any stroller or base with ease.

Though this car seat lacked a steel frame and also suffered in terms of breathability, it’s still a safe and reliable car seat.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Compatible with most if not all bases and strollers
Cons
  • Not for toddlers

4. Britax B Safe 35 Elite – Best for Safety

Loved by both moms and dads, the Britax B Safe 35 Elite is the safest choice for your loved one. The Britax B Safe is made in the United States, which underlines its tenacity for quality and safety.

The padding insert enables the seat to support even small infants of 4 lbs. This removable padding also allows parents to remove the insert as the baby grows to give him or her more room.

Although the seat comes with a 35-pound weight limit on the manual, the multiple shoulder traps coupled with a two-crotch strap position helps it to easily accommodate a variety of baby sizes. The seat weighs about 10-pounds, which is a bit heavy we agree, but in return, you get superior safety features.

Both the elite and the standard version have the SafeCell technology that incorporates side impact protection, a steel reinforced frame and EPS foam to safeguard against side impact. These features set this seat apart from the rest and we think are very much worth the extra weight.

This seat has a plush interior that we found comfortable for the baby and a fabric that is easy to clean with wipes. By producing this magnificent seat, Britax continues in the same vein in manufacturing thoughtful car seats that are feature-laden, high quality and very safe.

Pros
  • Offers superior safety features
Cons
  • Heavy

5. Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 – Easiest to Clean

Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 is a rear-facing infant car seat weighing 8.2 pounds and ideal for babies weighing between 4 to 30 pounds. The seat looks adorable and is the coziest of them all just as its name suggests (Maxi – Cosi).

The seat has Cozi-Dozi infant inserts that fit babies who weigh as small as 4 pounds. The inserts are made from a plush premium fabric that keeps your baby secure and comfortable.

Apart from providing a comfortable environment, the inserts can easily be removed, washed dried and relayed back to the seat without having a need to rethread the harness.

The seat has an adjustable base made with a rebound bar to protect your baby. Talking of protection, the seat has a side impact protection that absorbs energy in case of a collision. Additionally, it has an extra-large canopy protects your baby from bright light as well.

The seat can create a good travel system because it is compatible with over 50 strollers.

Pros
  • Very comfortable
  • Light in weight and easy to carry around
  • Compatible with most strollers
  • Easiest to clean
Cons
  • Flimsy canopy

6. Cybex Aton 2 – Best for Taxis

The Cybex Aton 2 car seat weighs about 9 pounds and is rear facing. It is the lightest seat of all the Cybex infant car seats, and it is designed for babies weighing 4-35 pounds who measure up to 30’’ in height.

Due to its lightweight structure, the seat is ideal to be used in taxis because it is easy to move from one car to another and totting them is easy with hardly any frustrations at all. All that can be done without having to compromise the safety and comfort of your baby.

Cybex Aton 2 can be converted to a travel system when used together with Cybex strollers. By use of a seat adapter and the Click-Technology incorporated in this system, it is simple to remove your seat from the taxi without having to remove the baby from the seat.

The seat has a 5-point harness that holds your baby tight enough to their seat. The seat has an integrated designer canopy that protects your baby from bright light. The canopy can be folded when not in use to give your seat a neat look.

Pros
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Easily portable
Cons
  • Not adjustable

7. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat – Best Car Seat for Travellers

The UppaBaby Mesa is a popular seat and is highly rated in terms of its user-friendliness.  This is largely thanks to the smart and secure system that uses a tightness indicator and self-retracting LATCHES.

The seat is easy to install quickly and accurately. During installation, an indicator will turn the color from red to green to alert you when the base is installed appropriately. The seat is made with an adjustable headrest to give protection around the head area of your baby.

Aside from the headrest, the seat is made with a side impact protection to offer the baby more side-to-side protection. This keeps the head of the baby in a stationary position when the car makes side-to-side movements.

The Mesa can easily be paired with strollers to deliver a stellar performance traveling system. If you are looking for a seat that is ideal for you and your baby for traveling purposes, this is the seat to go for.

Pros
  • Quick and easy to install
  • Adjustable headrest
  • Comfortable seat fabric
  • Easy to use and very safe
Cons
  • No steel reinforced
  • Pricey

8. Doona Infant Car Seat – Best Inbuilt Stroller

For parents who are always on the go, the Doona Infant Car Seat is your ideal pick. This infant car seat has inbuilt wheels which mean that you can wake up and leave with very little preparation. You simply have to push a button, and the wheels eject ready for a stroll.

If you are the sort of parent who is free to take your kid out on a park, shopping or on vacation, then the Doona will suit you well. This very well erases the thought of carrying a separate stroller, which is a huge relief in itself.

The Doona is capable of carrying babies ranging from 4 to 36 pounds which is on the higher spectrum of high-end infant car seats. In addition to the extendable wheels, the Doona comes with a LATCH system and an indicator to notify you if the installation if done correctly.

What ’s more, the anti-rebound bar offers additional safety that many will love. Overall, many prefer the Doona as it allows parents to travel and run errands easily as the baby stays safely tucked inside the ride.

Pros
  • Best travel companion
  • Innovative design
Cons
  • Expensive

9. Evenflo LiteMax 35 Infant Car Seat – The High Tech Car Seat

Evenflo LiteMax 35 is one of the easiest car seats to carry around. Weighing around 16 pounds, the seat is rear facing and supports babies of 4-35 pounds in weight and 17 -32 inches in height. The seat’s design minimizes overall parent efforts because it is the materials are seamlessly tuned with the integrated features.

The Evenflo is made with an ergonomic handle that is mom-friendly which makes it easy to transfer your baby from your car to your home and vice versa. The seat has a convenient stay-in-car base and an included belt system that locks off to assure you that the seat is properly installed and at the same time providing a secure connection.

It is made with a plush fabric material that can be removed with ease for cleaning, drying, and later on relaying them back. Additionally, the seat has a full-coverage canopy that provides full protection to your baby from bright light, wind, and or rain.

Pros
  • Light in weight
  • Very safe
  • High quality
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Lack of compatible strollers

10.  Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air Infant Car Seat – The Affordable Car Seat

Equipped with a great many features, the Safety 1st Onboard 35 Air Infant Car Seat comes with a very competitive price point. First things first, the Safety 1st car seat has an air protect side impact protection system that helps shield the head and shoulder of the infant from shock upon impact.

Another clever safety addition is the GCell honeycomb absorbing foam fitted on both sides of the torso. The Safety 1st car seat holds babies weighing from 4 to 35 pounds and includes an insert for small babies and preemies.

Other features out of the box are just as we’d expect from a high-end car seat; 5-point harness and a soft fabric that is machine washable. The biggest drawback is the traditional LATCH that will cause you to falter when loading and offloading the seat.

The Safety 1st seat is filled with handy features, is a great addition to our best infant car seats and holds its place among the best despite the few drawbacks here and there.

Pros
  • Sturdy build
  • Easy to install
Cons
  • Hard to unlatch

Factors to Consider Before the Best Infant Car Seats

Outlined here is a clear lowdown of what you need to understand and what you will need to consider before you buy a car seat for your baby.

The Type of Infant Car Seat

The first thing you will need to know is that car seats are categorized into four groups.

Infant Car Seats – these are seats meant for newly born babies. The infant car seats are designed in a way that they are comfortable for young babies who are less than a year old. They are made with handles for schlepping and easily snap into a base installed in the car for easier portability of your baby when boarding and getting off your car.

The best thing about infant car seat is that their car bases can be purchased separately such that it is easy to move your seat from one car to another if you have more than one car.

Infant car seats are popular for most parents because of their convenience in transporting their newborn baby while they safely strapped in their seats. Most infant car seats are rear-facing carry babies of up to 30 pounds.

However, your baby will surely outgrow your car seat, and this means you will have to get a convertible seat.

Convertible Car Seats – being convertible, their name says it all. Convertibility means the seat can be installed facing both the rear for babies who are newly born up to around 2 years of age  and afterwards installed facing forward as required.

Therefore, this seat can be used to carry your baby from infancy to toddlerhood. Convertible seats carry babies who weigh up to 60 pounds are huge and weigh more than infant car seats.

All in One Car Seats –  they are popularly also known as 3 in 1 seats. Just like the convertible seats, they can be installed in a rear-facing position and later on switched to a forward facing position.

The only difference is that they can be converted into booster seats for older babies weighing up to 100 pounds.

The seats are heavy and bulky but sturdy in a way that they support your baby from infancy to toddlerhood and then to older children. Because of this, these seats are the most expensive on the market.

Travel Systems –   they are ubiquitous and unique stroller car seat combinations that are observed at the shopping malls and the neighborhood.

Buying a stroller and then a car seat separately can be costly and involving at the same. Most parents prefer buying a whole travel system that will make their journey enjoyable without having to worry about the safety of their babies.

How Well It Fits Your Baby

Your baby’s age, weight, and height are vital aspects to consider when buying an infant car seat. Various car seats have been made to match and support different baby weights. Outlined below is a quick guide to help you.

Use a rear-facing car seat for the newly born child and up to 2 years. The weight and the height of your baby should be no higher than the recommended one for your seat. You can do this by checking the weight limit and the age limit of the car seat. Rear-facing car seats protect your baby’s delicate neck.

Use a forward-facing car seat for babies of 2 – 4 years of age and who weigh not more than 40 pounds. For babies of 4 – 8 years of age who do not exceed 4 feet 9’’ in height, use a booster car seat that has well position belts.

Always remember to keep your babies in the back seat at all times.

Safety Features to Look For

Safety is always paramount to your child and should be put before anything else. For this reason, you have to put into consideration important features designed with infant car seats that will offer more security for your baby.

LATCH Connectors – Almost all car seats made in the last 20 years are compatible with a LATCH connection system. LATCH connectors attach your infant car seat directly to the car without having to rely on the seat belt. This allows easy installation of your newly bought seat.

LATCH connectors are of two types. The first types of the connectors are attached to a pliable strap, and they thread through the seat while the second type is attached to a rigid LATCHs that stick straight from the back seat. Most people prefer the rigid LATCH connectors because they are easier to use.

Side Impact Protection – Side impact collision has become a common accident, and the aftermath of these kinds of accidents can be daunting. When a side impact collision occurs, babies are usually at risk because their chests and heads are vulnerable to injuries.

Fortunately, most seats that are designed to reduce cases baby injury in such situations. The seats are made with a side Impact protection technology that works hand in hand with layers of EPS foam that is usually installed at the head area of the seat. The two absorb energy and distribute it away from the baby during a collision.

5- Point Safety Harness – These are webbing straps that adjust to hold your baby in the seat. The 5-points, in this case, means the positions in which the harness attaches to the car. Most modern seats have a 5-point harness; one for each shoulder, one for each thigh and one between the legs of the baby to hold your baby firmly to the seat.

Canopy – Most infant car seats are designed with a canopy but here are some seats that lack the canopy. The canopy is a very important feature because it protects the baby from bright light. The size of the canopy differs from one seat to another, and in some seats, the canopy easily folds away when not in use to give the seat a neat look.

Ease of Use

Various factors affect the ease of use of an infant car seat; from the simplicity of the installation process to adjustments all the way to the cleaning of the seat.

Easy Installation – A good seat will always be easy to install. The thought of finding it difficult when installing a car seat that cost you an arm and a leg can be very frustrating. While on the market, ensure you buy a seat that will be easy to install.

Easy Adjustments As your child grows, you will be required to adjust the harness. A good car seat will let you adjust the height of the harness and the straps from the front conveniently. Some models are made with buckles that are easy and quick to release using one hand.

Easy Cleaning Babies can be messy at times. Surprisingly, some car seats are made with materials and covers that cannot be detached from the system. This can be stressful. Therefore, removable covers made of materials that are machine washable make cleaning up simple.

A Seat Car base – Most baby car seats come with a plastic base that let you install in the seat in the car. With a car seat base available, all you need to do is snap your car seat into the base buckle up your baby, and you are ready to go. It is that easy. When you get to your destination, it is easy to unsnap the seat from the base.

Some cars seat bases have extra features like an adjustable foot, which helps in achieving the best recline angle.

Compatibility

Compatibility refers to the ability of a car seat to be easily snapped into a stroller. Compatibility is very important especially for parents who are always on the road and do not want to leave their babies behind. A travel system is an ideal seat in these instances.

In most cases, travel systems consist of a stroller and an attachable infant car seat- with either a one-click connection technology or an adapter. Buying a whole travel system means you are getting all the three components together in one system.

For this reason, there are higher chances that you could get a price break compared to buying the products separately.

Comfort

Comfort should be two way. A good seat is supposed to be a comfort zone for your baby and simultaneously make you comfortable when handling it.

The weight of the seats differs. Some seats are heavy while others are light. Putting in mind that you will be schlepping the seat a number of times, do a number of simple self-tests on the car seat while at the store to find out how comfortable they are.

For instance, put some little weight in the seat, carry it around the store for few minutes to feel how heavy the seat is and how the handle feels. You can hold the seat in your hands and try sliding it up your sleeves to the flex of your arm.

For the comfort of your baby, the seat should be well padded and made from plush materials with plenty of head support to give your baby a soothing and comfortable ride. Also, make sure to avoid fabrics that can suffocate your baby.

Price

There is always a price to pay at the end of buying an item. Just like any other item, you have to make sure that the car seat you will carry home after your shopping will be worth every penny and meets all your demands.

While on the market, you will realize that different car seats have different prices, with every seat having reasons that go hand in hand with their price tags. Generally, highly expensive seats are of the highest quality, are easy to use, and are made of plush materials.

That said, the cost of the seat does not matter that much. All the seats sold on the market have passed the safety standards and regulations set. All you need to get is an affordable infant car seat that meets your demands.

Our Final Verdict

The best infant car seats will provide safety first to your baby above all other things. How well the car seats can fit the car, how well they fit your baby, how easily you can use them, how much comfortable among other factors can be very important when buying a car seat for your baby.

You may want to acquire a car seat that is convenient in terms of being able to transfer your baby from one vehicle to another with ease. Additionally, you may also want to buy a car seat that can create a nice travel system without having to worry much about your baby’s safety.

That said, it’s important that you consider all the factors as they will help you choose a seat that is ideal for your baby. The main objective is to walk home with a seat that will meet your demands without having to dig so deep in your pockets.

Which infant car seat is your favorite? Share with us in the comments section below.

About the Author Gail Morrison

Hey there, I'm Gail Morrison, Founder and Editor here at Best Infant Car Seats. Being a mother is hard work, but it’s also full of surprises and laughter. With every month that passes, the joy only gets bigger, watching our kids grow. The journey never ends, and that’s what I love about it the most. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and tips with you.

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