Infant car seats, also called, baby car seats are the most important purchase every parent would make. The market is flooded with infant car seats and people reviewing them.
In this detailed buyer’s guide, we reviewed best infant car seats based on ease of installation, ease of cleaning, use of use, features, safety ratings, user ratings from around the web, and of course pricing.
Infant Car Seats Vs. Convertible Seats
Most parents wonder why they should even buy infant car seats, since they’ll have to upgrade to a convertible car seat as their child gets older. The main reason to get an infant car seat is that such seats are safer for an infant.
Additionally, infant car seats can be removed from the car and brought elsewhere, which also makes them portable. A convertible car seat, on the other hand, is installed in your vehicle almost permanently.
Reasons to buy a rear-facing infant car seat
Infants (six months and under) can’t sit up alone, and most strollers can’t fully recline the seat. If you wish to take a stroll with your newborn, you’ll often have to use an infant car seat.
While infant car seats click into bases, you can opt to simply install them with just a seat belt. This makes such seats easy to use in other cars or when traveling. You may unclip the car seat and move your infant without disturbing their nap or waking them up.
During extreme climates, you can store the infant car seat inside, so it’s always a comfortable temperature. According to this source, at least 80% of parents purchase an infant car seat, prior to buying a convertible car seat. While you can skip an infant seat and go right for a convertible, most parents simply feel more comfortable and safer going with ‘the infant choice’.
Weight and Height Limits
An infant car seat is limited for babies weighing up to 35 pounds and 32 inches high. Some infant car seats go up to 40 pounds. The infant seat can be used for 1 year comfortably, sometimes two years depending on the weight and height of the baby. After that, you should get a convertible one.
12 Best Infant Car Seats
|Seat Name||Dimensions||Weight||Best Feature||Price|
|Chico KeyFit 30||17" x 27.5”||9.6 lbs||Ease of Installation/Use|
|Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35||17" x 28.9”||9.5 lbs.||Lightweight.|
|Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35||19.96” x 30.87”||9.75 lbs||Extras for price|
|Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra||17.75" x 26.5"||12 lbs.||Safety ratings.|
|Cybex Aton 2||17” x 26.5”||9.5 lbs.||Innovative design.|
|Baby Trend Ally 35||18.5” x 27”||13.23 lbs.||Budget friendly.|
|Britax Endeavours||17.75” x 30”||11.5 lbs.||Safety ratings.|
|UPPAbaby MESA||17.5” x 26.5”||9.9 lbs.||Optimized for preemies.|
1.The Chicco KeyFit 30 – Best Infant Car Seats Overall
The Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best selling infant car seat in America. Therefore, most online outlets give it the top spot on every infant car seat list. In general, the seat is very safe and is very affordable. Therefore, we decide to rank it as the top pick on our list as well.
Designed for infants between 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches tall, the KeyFit 30 earns consistently stellar reviews from parents on ease of installation and use.The seat itself accommodates virtually all size babies due to a lush, full-body newborn insert recommended for use up with infants up to 11 pounds.
We love how easy it is to install the base into the car thanks to level-indicators that help find and verify the proper placement angle in the vehicle seat. This is a wonderful safety feature, especially for parents that it’s their first time installing the seat, after bring your newborn home from the hospital.
Smooth Click-in System
During those early days when sleep is of the utmost importance, we were impressed by how quietly the handle for the carrier moves up and down as to not wake the baby. The click-in-place feature when attaching the base to one of the eleven complimentary Chicco strollers (such as the Chicco TRE jogging stroller and KeyFit Caddy Car Seat Carrier) is also very quiet and easy to use.
As opposed to some other car seats, we found the straps easy to loosen and tighten. This comes in handy when trying to get a sleeping baby out of the car or stroller. The materials used are of high quality with thick and comfortable fabric we found easy to remove, clean and reassemble. Our favorite patterns are Lilla, a sweet lavender and gray polka dot, and Tullio, a sophisticated and textured navy blue.
What We Like Best
Ease of installation/use and features that make it quieter than other infant car seats makes the Chicco KeyFit 30 a top choice.
What We Don’t Like
The removable sun canopy on the KeyFit30 is smaller than other infant seats. We wish it would come down further (even all the way would be nice) as it just doesn’t block the sun sufficiently. Also, it would be helpful to not need to release both sides of the carrying handle to rotate it down or up.
However, additional safety features of the KeyFit30 include a five-point harness with one-pull tightening and a carrier shell lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam for improved impact protection.
The Chicco KeyFit 30 has a 4.5 out of 5 star rating from 148 reviewers using Authentic Reviews. It is most highly rated (4.8) for ease of use and lowest (4.4) for design.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Chicco KeyFit 30 four, out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features.
2.Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 – Lightest Infant Car Seat
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is the newest addition to the Italian company’s extensive, high-quality baby products family.
Weight & Height Limits
Designed for babies 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall, it includes a base with the company’s Right Tight System. This system simply and securely locks the seat’s base in place for added stability with the vehicle seat belt or the LATCH strap. However, we love that a base is not completely necessary due to the infant seat’s European belt path option for seatbelt installation. This color-coded belt routing path can be found behind the shell and on the handlebar.
Unlike the previous version of this infant seat, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 seat is noticeably lighter in weight. Its weight of 9.5 lbs. allows for easy portability from car to stroller (the seat can be used with any travel system compatible Peg Perego G-Matic System stroller, without the need for adapters). In terms of weight, it is second only to the Cybex Aton 2.
Material And Comfort
The Italian textiles used for the seat are sleek, sturdy and attractive – our favorite patterns being the bright red Tulip and the fun, circle patterned Pois Grey. We found the padding for the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 very cushy and comfortable and like how it grows with the child by being removable.
What We Like Best
We love how lightweight the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is and that the car seat can be installed without the base if need be.
What Needs Work
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 is on the higher end of the seats we reviewed. We found the carrying handle to be very hard (no cushioned enough) and noticed there’s not much space between the canopy and the handle when the canopy is up
Adjustable Side Impact Protection
The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 includes adjustable side impact protection that adjusts to six different settings (even with baby in the seat) and a built-in anti-rebound bar attached to the seat’s base for extra protection in a crash.
Peg Perego’s website does not offer user ratings. On Amazon, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 has an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews. Its highest ratings (5) were in ease of installation and safety features and lowest (4.1) was in weight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 a 3, out of 5, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. This seat’s ratings are the lowest (in both categories) of the car seats reviewed here.
3.Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX – Easy To Install
The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX is for infants from 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches tall. For a rear-facing infant seat with a middle of the road price tag, it offers a lot of extras.
These extras include a 1-Hand Adjust feature that offers easy installation using the vehicle seat belt or LATCH and a 1-Hand adjustable handle.
Additionally, it boasts an InRight™ LATCH system for an advertised “one-second connection” (it took us a few seconds more, but not much). This base also has a 4-position recline and simple to read level indicator.
Unlike other seats where the canopy draws complaints about size or sturdiness, we found the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX’s canopy to be superior. The canopy, which Graco calls the Silent Shade™, is large, quiet and breathable.
Click Connect Technology
Additionally, the car seat’s Click Connect™ technology provides a one-step secure attachment to all Graco Click Connect™ strollers and bases. The padding and fabric for this seat is super soft and cushioned (but not so cushioned it overpowers the littlest babies).
If you are looking for a seat with a lot of color or fabric options, this is not the choice for you, though. The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX currently only comes in two color schemes: Tansy (pink, black and gray) and Pierce (black and gray).
What We Like Best
Overall, we like all of the engineering extras for the reasonable price of this seat, like the Silent Shade™ and the 1-Hand Adjust feature.
What Needs Work
We found the button for the carrying handle does get stuck in place some times and you really have to push it to get it to move. Also, the harness must be rethreaded to adjust the height for the child’s growth and for reassembly after cleaning.
In the United States, all car seats must meet the same federal safety standards. However, an additional safety feature unique to the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX is TrueShield technology that offers advanced side impact protection from the length of baby’s head to hips.
On Graco’s company website, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX has a 4.8 out of 5-star overall rating from 335 reviewers using Authentic Reviews. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX, 4 out of 5, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. Other Models: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite and Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX
British company Britax has been making high-quality, European style car seats since the 1960s. They are revered for safety and the company actually was founded in the 1930s to address vehicle safety developments like the adult seat belt.
Their Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra is a sturdy, rear-facing, infant seat for babies between 4 to 35 pounds and 32 inches tall. What sets this seat apart from others in its class, is the company’s Cool Flow ventilated mesh fabric.
This unique fabric improves airflow throughout the seat to ensure added comfort for the baby. Like other European counterparts, Britax seats boost a European Belt Guide that allows for installation without the base as needed.
We found this seat and base to be very easy to install with strap adjustments that are super simple to use via a button and slide option (as opposed to re-threading like many other seats).
The canopy size is one of the biggest we tested and is very sturdy. Fabrics and materials used are easy to wipe clean and of high quality. Our favorite color choices are the Cowmooflage (a fun, black and white bovine print) and the Cool Flow Grey (a sophisticated, black and white polka-dot print).
If you are looking for the lightest seat on the market, Britax is not for you. Their seats tend to be on the heavier side due to their steel frames. For this article, the two Britax seats we reviewed were indeed the heaviest of all (by several pounds in some cases).
What We Like Best
Consistently well-rated seats for safety is something you can count on with Britax. We also like this seat’s Cool Flow Ventilated Fabric.
What Needs Work
Britax seats are heavy due to their steels frames – the B-Safe 35 Ultra is 12 pounds, the second heaviest car seat reviewed in this article (second only to its cousin the Britax Endeavours at 13 pounds).
The Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra includes two layers of side impact protection, quick-adjust head protection, steel frame, and impact-absorbing base.
On the Britax website, the Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra has a 4.4 out of 5-star overall rating from 44 reviewers using the company’s rating platform. The highest ratings by users are in the impact protection and appearance categories; the lowest is in the overall comfort category.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra, a perfect five out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. Other car seats reviewed here with five out of five ratings are Cybex Aton 2, UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat and the Britax Endeavours.
5. CYBEX Aton 2 – Best Infant Car Seat For Small Cars
Weighing in at just under10 pounds, the CYBEX Aton 2 is among the lightest infant seats on the market right now. This is due not only to the materials used, but from the unique placement of the seat’s release mechanism on the base, not the carrier.
CYBEX, a German company, is a relative newcomer to the car seat industry, having been founded in 2005. However, its track record thus far is impressive when it comes to innovation and safety.
Its Aton 2 is a compact, rear-facing seat for babies 4 to 35 pounds and up to 30 inches tall (please note that most of the seats we reviewed here go to 32 inches tall).
Best Baby Car Seat For Small Cars
Due to its size, we found it to be a particularly good choice for those with smaller cars or a smaller amount of room in the back seats. We found the base installation to be relatively easy. Thanks to the secure European Belt Routing system, it is also easy to get a snug installation without the base should you ever need to (ex. Ubers, rental cars).
The fabric and color schemes for the CYBEX Aton 2 are modern and stylishly simple. Our favorite patterns are the bold, reddish-pink Hot & Spicy and the natural, outdoorsy looking Limestone. Purchasing the CYBEX Aton 2 can be a bit tricky due to its popularity. At the time this article was published, it was sold out in all colors on the company’s Amazon page and website.
We love the innovative design of the CYBEX Aton 2 with the seat’s release mechanism on the base instead of the carrier. Also, we like its low weight (tied with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 for lightest seat reviewed in this article).
The canopy is small and not of the sturdiest quality. Extra bases for the CYBEX Aton 2 are on the pricier side compared to other brands.
Adjustable Load Leg
The Cybex Aton 2 includes an adjustable load leg that keeps the seat from rotating forward in a car crash, linear side-impact protection and an energy-absorbing shell.
Ratings From Around The Web
Cybex Aton’s company website does not offer user ratings. On Amazon, the Cybex Aton 2 has an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews. It’s the highest rating (4.2) was in ease of use and lowest (4.0) was in weight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives Cybex Aton 2, a perfect five out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. Other car seats reviewed here with five out of five ratings are: Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra, UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat and the Britax Endeavours.
6. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat – Best Infant Car Seat For Preemies
UPPAbaby was founded by American parents Bob and Lauren Monahan in 2006 to address what they saw as a lack of high-quality and stylish car seats and strollers on the market. They’ve burst into the scene with excellently rated products, like the MESA Infant Car Seat.
The MESA is for babies weighing 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height.
It’s a great choice for babies born prematurely, as its included infant insert has a built-in wedge that creates a flatter and safer riding position specifically for preemies and smaller babies.
If the car seat has been installed correctly (something we found very simple to do) the base’s indicator window changes from red to green for visual confirmation (and peace of mind).
Chemical Free / Non-Toxic
Another thing that distinguishes the MESA is the chemical-free textiles used in some seat choices, like Henry and Jordan. Merino wool is used in place of chemicals as a natural fire retardant that passes all federal safety standards. Our favorite colors are the Jake – a stylish and sophisticated black and the Bryce White Marl – a serene, light, fabric.
What We Like Best
The base installation is incredibly easy and the color-coded indicator on the side assures it’s correctly installed. We also like how the design and features seem to be very clearly articulated by parents who know what fellow parents want and need.
What Needs Work
The UPPAbaby MESA is one of the most expensive infant car seats.
The UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat includes an adjustable headrest with side impact protection, SMARTSECURE system for easy installation with visual confirmation and natural fire retardant textiles.
UPPAbaby’s company website does not offer user ratings. On Amazon, the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews. Its highest rating (5) was in the ease of use category and the lowest (4.4) was in weight.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat, a perfect five out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. Other car seats reviewed here with five out of five ratings are Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra, Cybex Aton 2 and the Britax Endeavours.
7.Britax Endeavours – Best Infant Car Seat For Ride Sharing
The Britax Endeavours infant car seat, for babies 4 to 35 pounds and 32 inches tall, prides itself on safety first. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives this rear-facing seat a perfect five out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features.
However, we found the safety options, like a steel anti-rebound bar that testing shows reduced rebound rotation by up to 30% in the event of a crash, impressive.
The seat also boosts an impact-stabilizing steel frame and impact-absorbing base. With all of this steel in the seat, it does run on the heavier side at 11.5 lbs. If weight is a concern, Britax is not your best bet.
The Britax Endeavours does come with the European Belt Guide that allows for installation in a vehicle without the base as needed, which makes it nice for ride-sharing.
Click & Go System
Like other Britax seats, the Endeavours works with the company’s Click & Go system to pair it with any Britax stroller. Visually, we like the Spark, which is a gray and black sweatshirt looking material. Oddly, we found the other four color choices (in various black hues) look almost identical to each other.
What We Like Best
We like that Britax car seats come with a one year warranty and year expiration date – making them great choices for growing families. This seat’s easy-release harness button makes it simple to loosen harness straps.
What We Didn’t Like
This seat is the most expensive we reviewed. The harness must be rethreaded to reassemble after cleaning the car seat cover/padding. Padding is a bit harder/more rigid than other seats we reviewed.
The Britax Endeavours include 3 layer impact protection, steel anti-rebound bar, and steel frame, and dual-level indicators that show if the seat is angled correctly in your car.
On the Britax website, Britax Endeavours has a 4.1 out of 5-star overall rating from 35 reviewers using the company’s rating platform. The highest ratings by users are in the impact protection and appearance categories; the lowest is in the overall comfort category.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Britax Endeavours, five out of five, stars for both overall ease of use and installation features. Other car seats reviewed here with five out of five ratings are Britax B-Safe 35 Ultra, Cybex Aton 2 and UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat.
8.Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat – Budget-Friendly Infant Seat
With a price tag of less than one hundred dollars, the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat was the most affordable carrier we reviewed.
This rear-facing infant seat is for babies between 4 and 35 pounds and with a height up to 32 inches. A thirty-year-old company, Baby Trend is most known for their innovative Diaper Champ and Sit N’ Stand® stroller. However, their infant seats are well made and, despite their low cost, meet or exceed all federally regulated safety standards.
At 13.23 pounds it is the heaviest seat we reviewed, but the biggest challenge we had with the seat was that you have to hold both sides of the buckle together to insert it into the seat.
If you’re able to look past those two issues, though, the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat is an excellent product for the price.
Safety features include a 5-point safety harness with push-button release and advanced side impact protection. Some of the color choices are exclusive to specific retailers, like Target, Walmart and Burlington.
Fabric & Color Choices
Our favorites (both Target exclusives) are the Crochet – a grey and black striped pattern – and Wild Rose – a pretty, light pink. All seats come with a seat pad and reversible infant insert and additional bases are only $59.99.
What We Like Best
The sticker price makes this car seat a budget-friendly option.
What Needs Work
We found it cumbersome that the buckle tongues for the infant seat may not be inserted one at a time, but instead must be held together while placing into the buckle.
Additionally, we found that if you’re using a head or body pillow, some of the harness slots could be blocked. Also, the harness has to be rethreaded to adjust for baby’s growth and for reassembly after cleaning.
In the United States, all car seats must meet the same federal safety standards. However, additional safety features of the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat include: 5-point safety harness, LATCH-equipped base and EPS energy-absorbing foam for extra side impact head protection.
Baby Trend’s company website offers reviews, but none are provided for the Ally 35. On Amazon, the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat has an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on customer reviews. Its highest rating (4.8) was in every category except ease of cleaning (4.5).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car, three, out of five, stars for overall ease of use and four out of five start for installation features.
With a 3, this seat ties with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 for lowest ease of use rating of the car seats reviewed here.
It has a weight capacity of 4-35 pounds and it allows the height limit of 32 inches. the carrier itself weighs about 4 pounds. It has side impact protection and a 5-point harness.
The LATCH storage has made One Click LATCH equipped. Ergonomic design has been provided Curve Handle for Carrying. Lock-Off system for base belt easily makes the seat belt of vehicles secured and safe. The fabric is of premium quality. Stay-car-base is adjustable. Infant Insert is also adjustable.
You will get an additional room for the leg to provide comfort. 3 locations for buckle are used to accommodate your child. Of course, It meets ASTM and Federal Safety Standard.
Want to know the best part? It is a very light infant car seat. The Carrying handle is specially designed to carry and it has a comfort grip to feel soft when you are carrying it. The seat pad is removable and machine washable. These features will make your journey memorable.
This rear-facing option has aimed at babies who are among 4-30 pounds and does not fit babies that are taller than 30 inches. It is a lightweight infant seat. But it rather expensive.
It has WeatherShield for protection. Bug Net is also attached here which is Breathable. The material is very easy to wipe down.
The air protection system is a side impact protection feature. In addition, it has a rebar protection.
Insert For Head Support
Cozi-Dozi insert for head provides additional support to keep your infant’s neck and head in right place. LATCH connectors can be easily installed with just a click. Outside of the car, you can use the Mico Max 30 also as a stroller. It will reduce your daily pain of carrying your baby. The seat pad is removable & fabric is machine washable.
Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For When Buying?
Ease of Installation
The NHTSA considers the ease of installation a top factor in rating. Car seats that are easy to install, are considered safer. Moreover, baby car seats with complicated installation guides will lead to wrong car seat installation and therefore increase the risk during an accident.
Five-Point Safety Harness
Those straps, two for the shoulders, two for the thighs and one last between the baby’s legs, are much more flexible than the older designs.
Adjusting the harness with their growth, so pass up it which makes it complicated. Improved seats let you adjust straps and harness the height from the front easily. Some models have one-hand belts adjustment having quick-releasing buckles.
Mess and babies go together, but a good number come equipped with covers that can’t be taken off. A removable and machine-washable covering will make cleaning easier.
From the year 2002, all the vehicles have been made compatible with a LATCH system. It lets you attach it to your baby car seat easily instead of using a belt to secure it. Most infant car seats use just lower anchors, not tethers.
Many come with exceptional energy-absorbing foams and added features designed to protect the baby’s head plus chest completely. So you can rest assured and concentrate on the road more clearly.
Head support is something that gets overlooked when shopping for a newborn’s car seat. A seat padded with abundant head support provides the baby with a comfortable ride and more importantly safe ride.
Price is always a concern. When it comes to infant car seats, the dilemma is even harder. On the one hand, infant car seats would be replaced by a convertible in about 2 years, so some parents believe they should not invest a lot of money in a baby seat that would be replaced. On the other hand, this is your child’s first seat and it make sense to get only the best for them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I use my baby car seat on the airplanes?
An Infant seat can be taken on the plane. If you planning to travel a lot try to pick a baby car seat that is lightweight. In fact, Experts highly recommend using an infant seat on the plane. Without it, you have to hold the baby and that is quite risky for both of you. But before buy one make sure that it is FAA approved travel friendly.
What is The Best Infant Car Seat?
The best infant car seat is Chicco Keyfit 30. This infant car seat has been the best selling baby seat for a long time.
How Long Do You Keep a Baby In An Infant Car Seat?
Most babies should stay in an infant car seat for up to 2 years. Alternatively, babies over 40 pounds should be moved to a convertible car seat.
Where should I place the Infant Car Seat?
Infant car seats should always be installed in the backseat. If possible aim to install the baby’s car seat in the middle of the backseat. The reason behind it is that in the event of a side collision, the baby would be safer.
However, some of the above infant car seats also have side impact protection, so if you can’t install it in the middle, you don’t have to.
Each of the seats we mentioned within our guide has passed all the applicable federal security tests. We spent hours doing research. We hope our detailed buyer’s guide helped you find an infant car seat you feel comfortable with. Please let us know in the comments if there is anything else you would like us to add to this guide.