Lucky for you, we scoured the internet to find the top-rated car seats on the market in 2020.
And here’s a mama to mama recommendation: Don’t leave this baby to-do for last. You’ll need a car seat to bring baby home from the hospital, so it’s a good call to install your car seat well ahead of time, to make sure you get the hang of it and just in case your little one makes an early appearance.
Best Infant Car Seat
Seat Weight: 9.2 lbs, 24 inches (H) x 17 inches (W) x 27.5 inches (D)
Limitations: 4 to 30 lbs, up to 30 inches in height
In front-impact crash testing, this infant car seat is among the safest, and it’s also relatively lightweight (you’ll be thankful when baby gains a few pounds). Hundreds of 5-star reviews on Amazon praise the Chicco KeyFit 30’s easy click-in and out system, high-quality fabric that is easily removed for washing, and compact yet comfortable design.
Best Convertible Car Seat
Seat Dimensions: 22.75 lbs, 20 x 21.5 x 24 inches
Specifications: 4 to 120 lbs, up to 10 years
When you start with a traditional infant carrier car seat, you’ll need to transition to a toddler seat sometime around baby’s first birthday, and then a booster seat further down the line. Wondering if it’s possible to avoid multiple purchases? Enter the Graco 4Ever DLX Convertible car seat.
Parents say it lasts the 10 years as claimed because it’s super comfortable thanks to its 6-position recline. It’s on the heavier side (understandably) and some reviews mention that it’s trickier to install, but once it’s in there, you’re set for life.
Best Travel Car Seat
Seat Dimensions: 6.8 lbs, 17.63 x 15.75 x 30.25 Inches
Specifications: 5 to 40 lbs, up to 40 inches in height backward-facing
This affordable and ultra-lightweight car seat is a good option for those on a strict budget, but it’s also a worthwhile purchase for avid travelers looking for a car seat they can bring on an airplane and/or use in rental cars while abroad. You won’t find bells and whistles here – some parents say that little ones outgrow it relatively quickly because of limited recline options and low shoulder straps – but it boasts high reviews on all retailer websites and has strong safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also fits comfortably three-across in most backseats.
Best Stroller Combo Car Seat
Seat Dimensions: 9.9 lbs, 37 x 36 x 25 inches
Specifications: 4 to 35 lbs, up to 32 inches in height
The Mesa car seat smoothly clicks in and out of Uppababy’s Vista stroller, outward or parent-facing, and features one of the best SPF shade canopies on any car seat.
The combo also comes with a toddler stroller seat, bug net, rain cover, and a comfy bassinet that’s approved for overnight sleep (so you can snap it onto the stroller for naps, or purchase the bassinet stand and keep it bedside). The Vista stroller’s claim to fame is that it can accommodate a toddler and newborn at the same time, but the Mesa also attaches adaptor-free to the UPPAbaby Cruz stroller, a more compact option for solo-child families. However, with all of its features popular among the celebrity crowd, be warned that this car seat-stroller combo also comes with a higher price, over $1,170 for the pair.
Top Safety Rated
Seat Dimensions: 9.3 lbs, 25 in length, 17.25” height
Specifications: 4 to 35 lbs, up to 30 inches in height
German engineering translates to high-tech safety features like a unique side-impact protection system and an adjustable load leg that absorbs and distributes force away from precious cargo while still being lightweight. Installation is easy, which also equates to added safety, since an alarming percentage of car seats are not installed properly. It’s on the pricier side, but if it’s within budget, there’s no reason not to opt for this luxurious car seat with a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and top marks from multiple independent crash tests.
Best Rotating Car Seat
Seat Dimensions: 30.4 lbs; 25.5″ x 20″ x 25″
Specifications: 5–40 lb. rear-facing with included infant insert; 22–65 lb. or 49″ forward-facing.
The seat is also packed with safety features, such as a chest clip featuring SensorSafe 2.0 technology, that connects to both your car and smartphone to alert you of unsafe conditions arise. It can even call emergency services to prevent a car seat death and has linear Side-Impact Protection (L.S.P.) to absorb 25% more force in a side-impact collision and a 12-position height adjustable headrest with an integrated no-thread, five-point padded harness.