Choosing a Convertible Car Seat

Our big boy has out grown his infant car seat, and it’s time to move up to a convertible car seat. There are so many convertible car seats on the market and I’ve been stressing over this for a couple of weeks now. I did some research by asking friends and using our Baby Bargains Book – which is awesome when it comes to buying baby gear!

Liam has been off the charts in height and weight since he was three months old, so with that in mind, we want something he’ll be able to use for a while. We also don’t do a lot of driving, so aren’t looking for a high-end model, we just want something safe and comfortable that won’t break the bank. Ideally we would like a seat that can be rear-facing up to 40 lbs. and forward facing up to 65 lbs. and at least 40″ tall.

Here are a few convertible car seats that we are considering:

choosing a convertible car seat

[UPDATE: Our Pick]
Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat, Mineral Grey

  • Rear-facing: 9 to 40 pounds (40″)
  • Forward-facing: 22 to 70 pounds (52″)
  • Weight of seat: 23 lb.
  • Seat pad and harness covers are both machine washable and dryer safe
  • Air Protect® Side Impact Protection
  • Self-wicking fabric
  • Perfect Fit one-hand harness height adjustment
  • $199.99 on Amazon

We ended up ordering the Maxi Cosi Pria 70, because the Graco My Ride 65 was just too big for the backseat of our 2- door Saab 9-3. The Pria 70 is specially designed to fit better in your car, allowing more room for your passengers to stretch out in the front seats. The hubs and I are both pretty tall at 6′ 3″ and 5′ 11″, so this was a huge factor that I didn’t consider when choosing the Graco My Ride 65. The Pria 70 has more features, like the one-hand harness height adjustment and self-wicking fabric, and will be a better fit for Liam as he grows. Yes, it’s more expensive than the Graco seat we previously purchased, but it was totally worth the money. We love this car seat, it’s top rated for safety, and it fits great in our small car! It’s definitely worth looking into if you’re looking for a convertible car seat with a smaller footprint.

best convertible car seat for small cars
Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat, Coda

  • Rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds (head more than 1″ from top of seat)
  • Forward-facing: 20 to 65 pounds (50″)
  • Weight of seat: 15.8 lb.
  • Machine washable
  • EPS energy-absorbing foam
  • FAA Certified for air travel
  • $114.99 on Amazon

I love that this car seat has received high safety ratings from parents, and it is comfortable for the kiddos. It can be used forward-facing up to 65 pounds or 50″ which is on the higher end for convertible car seats, and it is relatively lightweight, so we should be able to travel with it without breaking our backs. For comfort and safety it is lined with EPS energy absorbing foam and soft plush fabric, and has two cup holders Liam will be able to use for his snacks and toys! Bonus, the seat pad is machine washable for when snack time gets messy! Another plus is that this seat is less than $150! We ordered this from the Amazon Warehouse – Open Box – and saved about $30.00 off of the regular retail price, so it was a pretty great deal (less than $100)!

There are a number of other Graco Convertible car seats we looked at and liked as well (Graco Contender and Graco Size4Me), but they were all pretty similar as far as features go, so we went with the more affordable model.

Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat

  • Rear-facing: 5 to 45 pounds
  • Forward-facing: 20 to 80 pounds in 5-point harness (57″); up to 120 pounds in booster
  • Weight of seat: 24 lbs.
  • Folds flat, compact, can fit 3 across in most mid-size vehicles
  • EPS Foam
  • $237.99 – $269.99 on Amazon

The Diono Radian RXT is super popular with parents of taller children – I was SO tempted to purchase this one for it’s extensive features, and high height/weight limits, but I just couldn’t justify the price for something we really wouldn’t use that often. But if you have a taller babe like we do and want something that will last through toddler-hood that you can also use as a booster, this is probably the best seat on the market!

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

  • Rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds
  • Forward-facing: 20 to 65 pounds (49″)
  • Weight of seat: 19.5 lb.
  • Side impact protection
  • $264.00 and up on Amazon

The Britax Marathon is another super popular convertible car seat. We have the Britax B-Safe infant car seat and it has worked great for us! They have very high safety ratings and are durable and well-made. I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase another Britax car seat and this one has the height/weight specs we were looking for, however, it is a bit more than we wanted to spend.

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

  • Rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds (37″)
  • Forward-facing: 22 to 40 pounds (40″)
  • Weight of seat: 9.11 lb.
  • Machine washable
  • Energy absorbing foam
  • $59.99 on Amazon

What I love about this seat is the price (it’s super affordable), it’s lightweight (great for travel!), and has great reviews on Amazon! What I don’t like is that forward-facing, it can only be used up to 40 lbs. or a max of 40″ tall. I have a feeling Liam would grow out of this seat much too fast, but it may be a great affordable option for someone with an average sized baby.

Choosing a convertible car seat can be tough with all of the options on the market – so I hope this helps a bit. What convertible car seat do you use with your littles?

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