cheap infant car seats

The 10 Cheapest Infant Car Seats [Reviewed] – 2018 Guide

Did you know that having your baby strapped into an infant seat reduces chances of death, in the event of an accident, by 71 percent? This is according to a research by the CDC.

Additionally, it is a requirement by the law in almost all the states to have your baby strapped onto the appropriate car seat. So, which is the right car seat for your baby?

As you must have realized, there are numerous car seats to choose from in the market. This, coupled with the fact that you are looking for a comparatively affordable product, makes things a bit tricky. However, this choice does not have to be that difficult.

Basically, the right seat should be ideal for the baby’s height and weight, compliant with laws in your state and safe for the child. To make things a little bit easier for you, here are reviews of 10 of the best affordable infant car seats today.

Top 10 Cheapest Infant Car Seats 2018

1. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham, One Size – Best Overall

If you have been shopping for the best infant car seat, you probably have come across the Graco car seat manufacturer. This is, undoubtedly, one of leading manufacturers of car seats today, with regards to quality, versatility, affordability and safety features. The Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat by this manufacturer is no exception.

The product is not only affordable, it is relatively versatile. To being with, you may use as a rear facing seat for newborns up to 22 pounds heavy infants. Since it is safer to use rear-facing seats for infants, this seat is designed to keep your kid safer for longer. In this regard, the Extend2Fit seat may be used until the child is 2 years old.

You will also love the fact that the seat is extendable, allowing you to adjust the base to accommodate the growing child. This adds more leg room for the baby while maintaining the rear-facing position of the seat. With such a sear, you can keep the baby in a rear-facing position until he or she is 50 pounds heavy.

Pros
  • Features a 6-position recline
  • May be used as rear-facing or front-facing seat
  • Fitted with an adjustable Simply Safe Adjust Harness System
  • Features a 4-position extension panel for the base
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Meets US Standard FMVSS 213 standards
  • Features an easy to use InRight LATCH system
  • Can be used for babies up to 65 pounds heavy
Cons
  • The warning labels printed on the cushions may get too hot for the baby

2. Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster Car Seat, Denver – The Best Booster Car Seat

Has your child outgrown the convertible seat, but is still too small to fit in the car safety belts? You need to invest in the best booster car seat, such as the Evenflo Big Kid High Back seat. At this age, the weight of your baby may remain constant, but he or she will be growing taller.

Bearing this in mind, the manufacturer offers several height positions in this product. As such, the back of this seat may be adjusted to align the head support and sides in the right position for the baby. With time, you may also convert this product into a no-back booster as the child grows older.

You will love the additional padding on this product, especially around the body and head of the child. This goes a long way in enhancing the comfort of the seat for the baby.

Pros
  • Serves as a 2-in-1 seat
  • Features 2 elastic cup holders
  • Easy to clean
  • Features Energy absorbing foam liner cushioning
  • Offers 6 position height adjustments
  • May be used as a no-back booster seat
  • Can accommodate babies up to 110 pounds heavy
Cons
  • No adequate padding for the child’s underside

3. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn – The Best Convertible Infant Car Seat

If you are looking for the perfect blend of affordability and quality, the Evenflo Tribute LX convertible car seat should your product of choice. Often, cheap products are not of good quality, but this one meets a number of rigorous test standards. Again, the product is manufactured in the USA, hence is of the best quality.

The product was designed to offer 2 times the structural integrity required by the federal crash test standard. This is a guarantee that the product offers enough protection for the baby against injuries during an accident.

The product is also lightweight, which makes it easier for you to switch form one vehicle to another. Many users also love the fact that the seat is customizable. In this regard, you can easily adjust the buckle release and shoulder harness for the best fit.

Pros
  • Offers several shoulder harness positions
  • Allows for the adjustment of buckle release and harness
  • Tested for side impacts
  • Meets the various safety standards
  • Offers the right structural integrity
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Comparatively affordable
  • Features a rear-facing recline
  • Equipped with a head pillow
  • It is machine washable
Cons
  • Does not have cushioning for the neck and shoulders

4. Cosco Topside Booster Car Seat – The Best Lightweight Infant Car Seat

If you are looking for the best booster car seat that is comfortable enough for your baby, the Cosco Topside Booster seat will do.  With regards to comfort, this product has an extra-plush pad for additional cushioning. Again, the use of this product is not restricted to the height of the baby.

The backless design of this product allows it to be used for babies up to 57 inches tall, provided that they are not more than 100 pounds heavy. You will also find this seat lightweight and easy to install.

Pros
  • The seat is unmarked, hence smooth
  • Easy to install and move
  • Offers a secure fit for your baby
  • Features an extra comfy plush pad
  • Ideal for babies between 40 and 100 pounds heavy
  • May be used for children up to 57 inches tall
Cons
  • You may find the harness systems a bit hard to secure

5. Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat – The Best Booster Car Seat

Are you looking for an infant car system with a latch system? The Affix Youth Booster is another Graco product that will meet your requirements. In addition to being an affordable option, this product offers a convertible safety you can rely on.  One things you will definitely love about this product is the snap, easy installation.

This allows you to mount the high back seat in a matter of seconds using just one hand. This may be attributed to the front-adjust, one-hand Latch system by the manufacturer. Comfort is another aspect that makes this product a favorite among parents today.

The head rest, for instance, is made of multiple cushioning layers. Additionally, the seat offers a full coverage for the back for enhanced comfort as the child grows.

Pros
  • May be used as a backless booster too
  • Features an open-loop belt system
  • Features an integrated cup holder
  • The headrest is fully adjustable
  • Made of energy absorbing, EPS foam
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Comparatively easy to install and remove
  • Relatively affordable
  • Meets US standard FMVSS 213
Cons
  • The drawer on the left side is hard to open and comparatively small

6. BubbleBum Backless Inflatable Travel Booster Car Seat – The Best Inflatable Infant Car Seat

Are you looking for a car seat that is relatively lightweight and easy to carry around? Get yourself the very first inflatable car seat in the world today, the BubbleBum Backless Travel Booster car seat. The product is of the best quality possible in the industry today. In this regard, it meets the requirements of the Federal Motor Safety Standard FMVSS213.

The product is made of durable materials and exhibits high structural integrity for more demanding applications. The structure of this product comprises of webbing harness and memory foam for enhanced comfort and safety of the baby. It also comes with a stretchy bag for storage and easy transportation.

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight
  • An affordable option
  • Easy to store and transport
  • It is hand washable
  • Meets FMVSS21 standard
Cons
  • Does not have back support

7. Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster, Jameson – The Best 2-in-1 Car Seat

This may not be the lightest or cheapest car seat available today, but its versatility makes it a darling among parents. Being a 2-in-1 seat, the product may be used as a convertible full-back seat or just a backless booster seat. For that reason, you will not need to buy multiple seats for the baby as he or she grows older.

As a forward-facing seat, the product may be used for babies between 22 and 40 pounds heavy and up to 50 inches tall. If used as a backless booster, the product can accommodate babies as heavy as 110 pounds and up to 57 inches tall.

The seat features an innovative design and a unique harness system. The harness on this product is a bit flexible, offering 2 crotch strap positions and 4 shoulder positions.

Pros
  • Serves as a 2-in-1 car seat
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Features a latch system
  • Equipped with an integrated cup holder
  • Features a 5-point harness system
  • Meets the various safety standards in the industry
  • May be used for babies up to 110 pounds heavy
  • Features a removable head pillow
  • Machine washable pads
Cons
  • The straps may get twisted every once in a while

8. Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat – The Best Backless Booster Car Seat

The best cheap car seats list is incomplete without the Graco Backless TurboBooster car seat. This product is specifically designed for big kids, the ones who have outgrown convertible seats. Being a backless seat, the product can comfortably accommodate taller babies, up to 57 inches.

Not all babies exhibit similar growth patterns, right?  As such, you are going to need a really customizable product for your baby. In this regard, the Graco Backless TuboBooster is height adjustable.  You can easily adjust the height of armrests on this seat for optimal comfort of your child. Additionally, the armrests are also padded for additional comfort.

Pros
  • Equipped with 2 hideaway cup holders
  • The seat pad is machine washable
  • Comparatively affordable
  • Feature an appealing contemporary design
  • Meets U.S. safety standards
  • Has been crash tested
  • Comparatively comfortable
Cons
  • Not appropriate for children below the age of 6 years

9. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – The Best Value for Your Money

2-in-1 car infant seats are a common thing today, right? What if you had a 3-in-1 seat for your baby? This would mean a single product for securing your baby from the time he or she is born until he or she can use the safety belts in the car. Well, this is now possible with the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible car seat.

Right from your first ride with the baby from the hospital up to the time he/she can use the safety belts, you will not need another car seat. This is why the Grow and Go seat is rated the best value for your money product today.  In this regard, it may be used as a rear-facing seat, a forward facing seat or a Belt-positioning Booster.

The product is designed to offer additional leg room and enhanced comfort for your baby through all developmental stages; you will also love the fact that it is machine washable.

Pros
  • Features an attached cup holder
  • Comes with a comfort lumbar pillow
  • May be used in all 3 development stages
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Dryer safe
  • Machine washable
  • Features a QuickFit harness system
  • Equipped with a side impact protection
Cons
  • The recliner does not make much difference on a flat surface

10. Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier – The Best Car Seat &Stroller Combo

When it comes to car seats, the value each product offers will mainly depend on what it can do. The more tasks your proffered car seat can handle; the better value you will get for your money. With the Baby Trend Snap N Go EX Universal car seat carrier, you will not need to buy a stroller.

For added convenience, the product allows you to mount infant car seat onto the carriage frame with the baby in the seat. The stroller features a covered storage compartment where you can store various baby items as you travel.  You will also find the product lightweight and easy to fold using just a single hand, whilst holding the baby with the other hand.

The drop down storage basket on the stroller will give you additional storage space for your valuables. The rear wheels on the stroller have brakes for enhanced safety of the baby.

Pros
  • May be used as a stroller
  • The stroller frame is compatible with all Infant Trend car seats
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Features a large storage basket
  • Has a 2-cup holder parent tray
  • The rear wheels have brakes
  • Easy to fold using one hand
Cons
  • Requires additional storage for the stroller frame

Things You Need to Know Before a Cheap Infant Car Seat

Which of the affordable infant car seats available today is the right one for your baby? The best infant car seats are not necessarily the expensive ones in the market.

As a matter of fact, there are several of the affordable units that are good enough. Although you are looking forward to save some money on the purchase, it is not advisable for you to just go for the cheapest ones.

As you can see, the choice of the right affordable car seat for your baby is not as straightforward as you may have anticipated. To get the best product within an affordable range, there are several aspects that you should consider. Discussed below are some of the important considerations you should make while shopping for the best infant car seat.

1. Height and Weight of the Baby

Depending on the state you live in, there are two main regulations that govern the appropriate use of car seats:

  • ECE R44/04 – this regulation uses the weight of the child to categorize the various car seats
  • i-Size (R129) – this regulation uses the height of the baby to determine the suitability of a car seat.

To be on the safe side, you need to buy a product that will be suitable for the height and weight of the child as he or she grows. Since you are looking forward to saving money on the purchase, it is advisable to buy a product that will serve you for the longest period possible.

You may have notices that most of the affordable infant car seats available today have more or less the same maximum baby weight rating. As such, the choice will mainly depend on the height of the child.

2. Seat Type

If you are looking for the most comfortable, safest and most convenient car seat on the affordable range, you must know that there are many options. In addition to your own preferences, you must get a product that complies with federal and traffic law requirements in your state. In this regard, these are the three main car seat types you should consider:

Infant Car Seats

These are the car seats that are specifically designed for infants up to 26 inches tall or 22 pounds heavy. As such, the appropriate infant seat should have special features for supporting the developing infant’s head, neck and back. The law in most states stipulates that infant seats be installed at the center of the back seat and rear-facing.

Other than these requirements, you may need to go for a product that has the convenience features you desire. For instance, a seat with stay-in-car base makes installation easier. Additionally, this feature allows for a faster, gentler and safer removal. When shopping for the right infant car seat, you need to choose between these two restraint systems:

  • Five-point Harness system – this system will secure the baby at the hips, shoulders and in between the legs.
  • Three point harness system – this one will secure the infant in between the legs and at the shoulders.

Convertible Car Seats

Commonly referred to as Infant-Toddler car seats, convertible car seats are named so because they can be converted from rear facing to forward facing seats. As such, they may be used for infants from newborns up to about 20 pounds. The seat can then be converted and used for babies between 20 and 40 pounds heavy.

As you can see, this is a comparatively versatile option for parents who do not wish to buy multiple seats as the baby grows older. If this is your preferred seat type, you will have to choose any of the three restraint systems available today, including:

Three-Point Harness system with T-Shield

This system features a centrally positioned, soft T-shaped section. In this system, the straps are drawn over the child’s shoulders and then the “T” is buckled at the crotch on the seat shell. This system is comparatively easy to position and use. However, it is not ideal if the baby’s head does not clear the T-shield.

Five-Point Harness System

This system uses five straps to secure the baby onto the seat. In this regard, two straps are meant to secure the hips, one for the crotch and two for the shoulders. With this system, you will be able to adjust the harness for the best fit. Not only is this harness system easy to buckle and unbuckle, it has been proven to offer the best head injury protection for babies.

Three-Point System with Overhead Shield

This one features a triangular shield or a padded T-shaped shield that swings over the child’s head whilst drawing the straps over his/her shoulders. The third strap in this system buckles this shield at the crotch. Some of these harness systems are adjustable while others are not. For the best fit, it is advisable to position the shield at the chest level of the baby.

Booster Seats

Has your baby outgrown the convertible seat, but is still a bit small for the safety belt in the car? It is time to shift to a booster seat. Booster seats are meant to help fit the car safety belts around your baby. Such specialized car seats are specifically suitable for children between 4 and 8 years old.

With regards to weight, most booster sets are designed for babies between 40 and 80 pounds heavy. These seats should be used for children between 4 and 9 feet tall.

3. Safety of the Seat

The main objective of a car seat is to protect the baby against injuries in the event of an accident. As such, your preferred car seat should be secure enough for the child.

Most importantly, the product should comply with the various traffic and federal regulations in your state. Other than these, you can opt for whichever safety and comfort features you find more appealing.

Our Final Review

Choosing the right infant car seat can be a daunting task, especially if you do not know what to look for. The fact that you are looking for a cheap product can make the choice more difficult. In addition to your own preferences, you also need to get a product that complies with traffic and federal regulations in your state.

Safety for your baby should be of utmost importance and a key consideration while shopping for the right unit. Throughout this guide, you will learn everything you need to choose the best cheap car seat in the market.

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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