best car seats of 2016

As a parent you definitely want to choose the best car seat for your infant and growing child. Of course “best” means the safest, most reliable, comfortable, and affordable car seat.

Unfortunately without the proper knowledge and how-to on the subject, it could be a very frustrating experience as there are thousands of different car seats available and you won't even know where to start. Here are a few things you should consider when deciding on the best car seat.

Rear Facing, Forward Facing (Convertible), All-In-One (3-in-1) or Booster Car Seat?

There are mainly three types of car seats that are used by parents. The rear facing infant carrier car seat is designed for newborns and infants and is pretty self explanatory by its name. You should use this kind of seat as long as possible and when your child's head is almost one-inch above the seat, it is time to move to the next type of car seat.

Contrary to popular belief, the weight of the child doesn’t matter as much as you would think in deciding the type of car seat you need, but the height is a very important thing to consider.

The second type of seat is the forward facing or convertible car seat, which are typically used for children over two. Most can be used int he rear facing position or forward facing position. They still use the five point harness system to protect children These are usually used until around 40-45 pounds. Once a child reaches 8 years old or over 40 pounds, the third type of seat is the booster seat, which can come in a high back version or backless.

One of the most important steps is to know what kind of car seat will fit in your vehicle. For this purpose, you can get help from the internet or if you have the vehicle manual, you might be able to find some information in it. Some newer car models come with the LATCH system in place, while older car models come with belt system. Knowing this will help you decide which car seats are compatible with your vehicle.

Other Considerations When Buying a Car Seat

Now you know what kind of car seat you need to buy and how to decide which kind of car seat would best fit your vehicle. Now, it is time to move forward and make a decision as to which particular model would best meet your specific needs.

Is Your Car Seat Safe?

Of course safety comes first, and luckily just about every car seat sold by any manufacturer that is reputable has been tested and is going to be safe, meeting the US safety standards.

What Is Your Budget?

Now this is the hard part; convertible car seats are quite expensive but they can save money in the long run because your child will be able to use that seat for a longer period of time. On the other hand, infant car seats are relatively less expensive, but they will be of no use after a short time. Additionally, purchasing the expensive car seat doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting the most suitable one.

Is It Comfortable?

This is a very important factor and many parents make their decision based on this factor alone. A comfortable car seat is important, especially if you take long trips with your family. A good way to learn more is by reading customer comments and reviews on different forums and websites.

Choosing the Type of Car Seat

While choosing the best car seat for your child, you should weigh pros and cons of different types of seats.

For example, a convertible car seat is way cheaper in the long run but they are usually larger, weigh more and are not really portable. 

On the other hand, an infant carrier car seat is very portable and easy to carry around, especially when your baby is very young and you do not want to remove them from the seat to take them from place to place.

The Top Rear Facing Car Seats

The Best Economy Rear Facing Infant Car Seat of 2016:

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30

Graco Snugride 30 Review

The Graco SnugRide came in as one of the most popular budget infant car seats in 2016. The SnugRide used to be available in two versions: the Classic Connect and the Click Connect.

The classic one has been discontinued, which means if you buy a new one it would have to be the Click Connect. You’ll have to keep in mind that the SnugRide Click Connect is compatible only with a Graco stroller (well for now anyway) which might be a downer.

Graco SnugRide Click Connect Consumer Rating
SnugRide Click Connect Price: $100-$140

Pros and Cons: Graco SnugRide 30

  • It's a great value car seat that's still ranked as one of the best budget buys
  • It's reliable
  • It's easy to install
  • The canopy is nice and does a good job of keeping the sun out of your baby's eyes
  • It's extremely lightweight
  • Loads of manufacturers of strollers don't make adapters for the Click Connect because it's too wide
  • The canopy makes a loud clicking noise when you put i up which can (and will) wake a sleeping baby
  • It has a particularly long base that hangs over.

Other Graco models worth considering for 2016:

Since Graco is a budget-conscious brand, it makes sense that they have a lot of car seats that were hugely popular in 2016. Some of their other top performers include the SnugRide Elite, the Breaze and the Fast Action Fold Sport.

The Safest Rear Facing Infant Car Seat of 2016:

Britax B-Safe 35

Britax B-Safe 35 Review

If you’ve read any of my other posts you’re pretty clear on the fact that I’m a pro-Britax mom. They make some fine car seats and the B-Safe 35 was one that changed the lives of millions of children.

Before last year though, Britax made regular 30 pound versions of the B-Safe, but they replaced that model with two newer models: the B-Safe 35 and the B-Safe 35 Elite. These seats are meatier and more expensive than the old version and boast 35 pound weight limits and 32 inch height limits.

The B-Safe 35 also offers integrated steel bars and renowned Britax SafeCell technology in the base plus deeper sidewalls with side impact protection and a solid steel frame.

Britax B-Safe 35 Consumer Rating
Britax B-Safe 35 Price: $150-$200

Pros and Cons: Britax B-Safe 35

  • It boasts solid safety features
  • The seat is compatible with all Britax and BOB strollers
  • It’s easy to install and ensures your baby is always as comfortable as possible
  • It’s big and bulky
  • It’s heavy

Other Britax models worth considering for 2016:

The Britax B-Safe 35 Elite and the Britax owned BOB B-SAFE 35 Infant Car Seat were just as close to winning the prize.

The Best Luxury Infant Car Seat:

Cybex Aton 2

Cybex Aton 2 Review

For the more spending-fit families, the German engineered Cybex Aton seats were all super popular last year, and the one that got most of us daydreaming was the Aton 2.

Boasting safety features galore, an easy installation process, a small footprint and seriously stunning looks, these seats are set to be the best car seats the world has ever known. If you want to read more about these seats check out my post about the Cybex Aton Q.

Cybex Aton 2 Consumer Rating
Cybex Aton 2 Price: $300-$375

Pros and Cons: Cybex Aton 2 Car Seat

  • The seat comes with linear side-impact protection and a load leg that pops down from the base, a similar feature can also be seen on the Nuna Pipa Car Seat.
  • It’s incredibly easy to install this seat without the base thanks to the European Belt Path
  • It’s a space saver of note
  • With an adapter, the Cybex Aton 2 can be used on a wide variety of strollers
  • It’s freaking expensive!

Other Cybex models worth considering for 2016:

Like I mentioned the Cybex Aton (just Aton) and the Cybex Aton Q are also hugely popular!

Best Selling Infant Car Seat in 2016

Chicco Keyfit 30

Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat

The Chicco KeyFit is one of the best selling infant car seats in the USA and the reason is quite simple; it has an amazing design, it’s comfortable and classy.

This model comes with a base that you can attach to your vehicle's seat with the help of seat belt or the LATCH system and then mount the Chicco KeyFit on that base. Of course that makes it extremely easy to mount or dismount the car seat and carry along.

The Chicco KeyFit is available for $200, which is a relatively higher price than many other infant car seats, so that is also a huge turn off for parents. Additionally, the canopy on the Chicco KeyFit is not as big as on the Britax B-Safe, so it cannot protect the whole body from sunlight. Other than that, the Chicco KeyFit has a beautiful body and design, which is the main selling point of this model.

Chicco Keyfit 30 Consumer Rating
Chicco Keyfit 30 Price: $175 - $225

Pros and Cons: Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Seat

  • Beautiful design
  • Quick latch system
  • Smaller canopy than comparable seats
  • It's expensive

The Top Convertible Car Seats

One of the best financial options you can make when it comes to car seats is to purchase a convertible seat you'll get years out of. Convertible seats are also designed to adjust to a wide range of weights and heights.

There are two types of convertible car seats, rear facing car seats and​ ones that don't face rear. Be mindful of this when you're looking into a convertible seat; not all convertible seats face rear.  

The American Academy of Pediatric's recommends that you wait until your child reaches the age of (at least) two years old before you even consider witching them around to a forward-facing position. This means if you buy a non-rear facing convertible seat you'll first need a rear-facing car seat!

The Best Convertible Car Seat for Small Cars:

Combi Coccoro

Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat Review

It’s sad to say, but for small car owners the options for convertible car seats really aren’t as plentiful. But since buying a new car seat makes much more sense than buying a new car, 2015 provided us with some more pickings to choose from.

Last year’s best convertible car seat for small cars was the Japanese-inspired Combi Coccoro. Weighing in at a mere 11 pounds, the Coccoro turned out to be much more luxurious than most of us had expected it to be.

Combi Coccoro Consumer Rating
Combi Coccoro Price: $150-200

Pros and Cons: Combi Coccoro Small Car Seat

  • It fits 3 across easily
  • It’s lightweight and compact
  • It’s very portable
  • The Combi Coccoro has a weight limit of 40 pounds
  • It’s expensive considering its limits

The Best Car Seat for 3-Across 2016:

Diono Radian RXT

Diono Radian RXT Convertible Car Seat Review

Firstly, if you have 3 kids aged 4 and under than God bless your soul. Secondly, if you haven’t already considered it, it’s time you seriously think about investing in the Diono Radian RXT in order to get the best 3-across fit in the back of your car!

In 2016 the Radian rose as one of the niftiest, narrowest car seats that STILL packed safety features out of the wazoo and one of the tallest shells on the market. This is also a great extended-rear facing car seat by the way!

Diono Radian RXT Consumer Rating
Diono Radian RXT Price: $250 - $300

Pros and Cons: Diono Radian RXT Convertible Seat

  • It’s great for extended rear-facing
  • Its packs a mighty punch with all its safety features
  • It has a very high weight and height limit
  • It folds flat for storage
  • It hogs space in the rear-facing position, so it’s DEFINITELY NOT the pick for small, fuel efficient cars
  • It’s heavy
  • It's expensive

Other Diono models worth considering for 2016:

The Diono Rainier and the Diono Olympia are both well worth considering and have both been highly rated by consumers from across the globe

The Top Consumer Rated Convertible Car Seat 2016

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Car Seat Review

The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 convertible car seat boasts a brilliant combination of beauty and functionality, something Peg Perego is well known for.

The fact that it accommodates extended rear-facing for much longer than most other car seats and its ability to recline in several positions means this is one of the most durable and comfortable convertible car seats out there.

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Consumer Rating
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Price: $300 - $375

Pros and Cons: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible Seat

  • It comes with an anti-rebound bar on the base for additional protection in case of a collision
  • It’s a great seat for extended rear-facing
  • It looks great and offer high quality materials that are durable and reliable
  • The cushion isn’t machine washable
  • It's expensive

Other Peg Perego models worth considering for 2016:

The Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120 booster seat is a great option for growing tots!

Our Top Choice for Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat

Britax ClickTight Convertibles Review

These convertibles are TALL and support a weight of 5 to 40 pounds in the rear facing position.

The front facing positions will accommodate weights between 20 and 65 pounds and stretch up to 49 inches in height for the limit.

With the ClickTight installation system, 14 different height positions on the harness, and 7 recline positions, these seats are ALL about safety and comfort.

These seats are very user friendly because they’re super easy to install and he energy absorbing features will set your mind at ease that your child is protected against impact.

You have to be aware that these seats are HEAVY and don’t have LATCH attachment systems, but that’s about the only downfalls these great rear facing convertible car seats have.

Britax Clicktight Convertibles Consumer Rating
Britax Clicktight Convertibles Pricing: $250-$275

Pros and Cons: Britax Clicktight Convertible Seat

  • Easy installation
  • 14 different heights!
  • Rear facing convertible seat will give this car seat plenty of life.
  • Very heavy
  • No LATCH system

High End Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFIT CX Car Seat Review

We love this rear facing convertible car seat because it’s able to accommodate tall and skinny kids, something that’s not often found in these kinds of car seats!

It accommodates children of 5 to 40 pounds in the rear facing position and 20 to 65 pounds in the forward facing position.

With the SuperClinch LATCH system, you can rest assured that the seat won’t go anywhere while you’re out on the road and the no-rethread harness with its 6 height positions ensures you can keep your kid as comfortable as possible while still keeping them as secured as possible.

The base comes with 9 recline positions to allow optimal riding comfort.

This is probably one of the easiest to install car seats with LATCH system and it also has a super simple seatbelt installation using the lockoff feature.

Like the Britax seats, the Chicco NextFit is heavy and very bulky, and there’s also the fact that you won’t be able to utilize the SuperClinch system to install with LATCH once your child moves to the forward facing position.

Chicco NextFit CX Consumer Rating
Chicco NextFit CX Consumer Pricing: $300-$350

Pros and Cons: Chicco NextFit CX

  • Easy installation
  • Rear facing convertible seat will give this car seat plenty of life.
  • Fits even taller and slender kids
  • Expensive
  • Heavy
  • The LATCH system only works for the rear facing position

Great Value - Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat

Graco My Ride Convertible Seat Review

Since the Graco My Ride 65 LX installs with the LATCH system, you can sit back and rest assured that the car seat will always be safe and secure inside your car.

My Ride looks like a seat designed with toddlers in mind, and the fact that it boasts dual cup holders made me wish I had the freedom to go from one car seat to another depending on Bub’s mood.

Coming in at around $120, the My Ride is a best-bang-for-your-buck convertible car seat, giving you all the quality and safety you’d expect, the comfort you baby deserves and a price that isn’t going to break the bank.

Graco My Ride 65 LX Consumer Reviews
Graco My Ride Pricing: $100-$150

Pros and Cons: Graco My Ride LX

  • It’s affordable
  • It offers loads of comfortable padding for your most precious cargo
  • It has amazing safety ratings
  • It comes with very convenient dual cup holders
  • Installation is a little tricky, but once you’ve got the hang of it, the process becomes effortless
  • Getting the car seat in for starters is a pain, but getting it out of the car again was a major pain
  • The harness is a schlep to tighten in the rear-facing position
  • It doesn’t really have a great weight limit and will only accommodate children up to 65 pounds, so you’ll need to buy a booster at a later stage

The Cheapest Rear Facing Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Tribute XL Convertible Car Seat Review

The Evenflo Tribute LX comes in as the best option if you're looking to keep costs down.

If you haven’t got a lot of cash to splash on a convertible car seat, this would be a good option. It boasts energy absorbing foam padding and offers great stability in the event of a side-impact crash occurring.

This happens to be a great pick if you need a slimmer design or have to fit car seats 3 across in the back of your car since it really isn’t nearly as bulky as the top rated convertible car seats. While it might be a “bare bones” option, it’s still one of the safest car seats you can turn to when your budget is a little limited.

Evenflo Tribute LX Consumer Reviews
Evenflo Tribute LX Price $40-$50

Pros and Cons: Evenflo Tribute LX

  • The seat is easy to install
  • It comes with lower LATCH connectors
  • It’s cheap
  • It comes with high safety ratings
  • It offers a reclined position for infants in the rear-facing mode
  • There’s a lot of play in the seat (it wiggles around) even when it’s properly installed
  • The padding really didn’t do anything for me or Bub, but I suppose it’s comfortable enough
  • The weight limit plain sucks. At only 40 pounds, the Evenflo Tribute LX isn’t a car seat that’s going to grow with your child.

The Top 3-in-1 Car Seats 2016 

A 3 in 1 car seat is a must have and a great money saver for parents. From the time your baby is born, multiple expenses start to pile up, such as crib, diapers, clothes, and so much more. A car seat is one of the most important items that you need. It is always recommend that parents never compromise on the safety of their child over saving a few dollars. These purchases will ensure your child's safety over the years.

Just as all other items you buy for your infant, the importance of having a high-quality car seat can’t be underestimated. I must say that the best 3 in 1 car seat is an innovative and money-saving option for your child.

Economic All-In-One Car Seat 2016

Best 3 in 1 car seat

With the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat, it is very simple to secure your child. It features an easy to tighten and loosen harness. It is also installed with either a seatbelt or LATCH system. This seat easily converts from the forward facing position to the rear facing position. It can then be converted into a safety belt-positioning booster

Overall, the car seat offers a height limit of 27-57 inches and a weight limit of 20-100 pounds. This makes it perfect for children up to 8 years old.

*Although this is advertised as a 3 in 1, it doesn't install rear-facing!*

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat Consumer Rating
Graco Nautilus Price: $150 - $200

Pros and Cons: Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat

  • Quick latch system
  • Extended use with infants up to 8 year olds
  • It doesn't install rear-facing.
  • The crotch strap isn't that comfortable.
  • Heavy

The Highest Rated All-In-One Car Seat 2016

3-in-1 Graco Argos Car Seat

This car seat makes it easy for you to provide maximum safety for your child. It is easy to adjust the harness tension. The only drawback this car seat has, is that it must be hand washed only. This car seat is perfect for children weighing between 20-65 lbs.

The side impacts have been tested and have exceeded all US safety standards. This also gives maximum protection to your child in case of sudden brakes, road bumps or an accident. This car seat also features a built-in 5 point harness system for added safety. Check more details at Amazon.

Graco Argos 65 3 in 1 Booster Car Seat Consumer Rating
Graco Argos 65 3 in 1 Pricing: $175-$225

Pros and Cons: Graco Argos 3 in 1 Car Seat

  • Quick latch system
  • Extended use with toddlers up to 8 year olds
  • 120lb booster seat compared to the Nautilus 100lb booster seat
  • Can adjust the harness quicker than the Nautilus
  • It doesn't install rear-facing.
  • The crotch strap can be uncomfortable
  • Heavy

The Top Booster Seats 2016

Britax Parkway SG Booster Seat Review

I feel like I’m constantly barking up the same tree here, but I just can’t say it enough: Britax is one of the finest car seats manufacturers out there! That statement is actually enough to justify why their Parkway SG G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster comes in as my very best pick for the 2015 bunch of boosters.

The Secure Guard belt-positioning system ensures that your toddler is always strapped in with the safety belt positioned correctly across his or her lap so it reduces the risk of abdominal injury should a crash occur. Given all its features, the Britax Parkway was rated as one of the safest booster seats on the market.

Britax Parkway SG Booster Car Seat Consumer Rating
Britax Parkway SG Booster Car Seat Pricing: $125- $150

Pros and Cons: Britax Parkway SG Booster Seat

  • It boasts the standard Britax SafeCell technology for impact absorption
  • The seat offers great head support for toddlers who still love to nod off during a road trip
  • I love the idea of dual cup holders that easily tuck into the seat when they’re not in use
  • The Parkway SG G1.1 will support kids up to 120 pounds
  • Like most other Britax models, the Parkway SG G1.1 is big and bulky
  • It doesn’t secure the car using LATCH, but if that’s a big deal you can always opt for the Parkway SGL

An Economical Booster Seat

Graco Affix Booster Review

This is the booster that we use for Bub, and it also happened to be one of 2015’s most popular highback booster seats.

The Graco has pretty much everything the Britax Parkway offers like high quality soft fabrics that are easy to clean, a cup holder (although Britax has 2), one “stuff” holder. I love the fact that the Affix boasts LATCH attachment as a standard feature, which means that it gets secured to the care in a much more reliable fashion than just using a safety belt.

All in all, the Graco Affix is my best booster by far, and since it comes with an attractive price tag, I’m guessing that’s also part of why the market just loves it that much too!

Graco Affix Booster Car Seat Consumer Rating
Graco Affix Booster Car Seat Price: $50-$75

Pros and Cons: Britax Parkway SG Booster Seat

  • Comes with LATCH and a LATCH tightening feature to ensure a snug fit
  • It’s seriously affordable, coming in at roughly $75 a pop
  • It’s super lightweight, which means it’s great for switching between cars
  • It doesn’t have a lap belt positioning system.
  • The Affix only supports weights up to 100 pounds, 20 pounds less than the Britax Parkway

The Most Affordable Booster Seat

Graco Affordable Booster Seat Review

Similar in many ways to the Affix, the Graco TurboBooster comprises of a high quality design, soft and easy to lean fabrics, two snack holders (or really narrow cups) and an overall sleek look.

The difference comes in with the lack of LATCH found in the TurboBooster, a feature which can be seen in the price. Regardless of its attachment style, the Graco TurboBooster was still rated as one of the best value boosters of 2015 for the budget conscious consumer.

Graco Highback TurboBooster w/o LATCH Car Seat Consumer Rating
Graco Highback TurboBooster w/o LATCH Car Seat Price: $30-$50

Pros and Cons: Britax Parkway SG Booster Seat

  • The back can be removed to increase the weight restrictions
  • It’s very affordable
  • It’s extremely lightweight
  • The quality isn’t as good as the Graco Affix
  • It doesn’t come with LATCH, but again this is a personal preference that not everyone is dead-set on
Recaro High Back Booster Car Seat Review

I really fell in love with this cool kid on the block. As far as looks go, the Recaro Performance Booster nailed the target head on!

Luckily it’s not just about looks because it features a bunch of great safety features too. I did gasp a little when I saw the price tag though, seeing as it costs almost twice the amount that the Graco models are classed in. But I must admit the Recaro Performance is seriously comfortable with its memory foam lining and soft fabrics and the fact that it rocks an air ventilation is a massive bonus!

Recaro High Back Booster Car Seat Consumer Rating
Recaro High Back Booster Car Seat Price: $100-$150

Pros and Cons: Recaro High Back Booster Seat

  • Sports memory foam for superior comfort as well as an adjustable back to accommodate growing bodies
  • It offers full-body side-impact protection
  • It comes with LATCH connectors for a more secure fit to your car
  • It comes with 2 built-in cup holders
  • It has an amazing feature which holds the car seat buckle upright in the right position, a total life saver for tots who insist on buckling themselves up!
  • It’s a bit expensive
  • It doesn’t feature a lap belt positioning system
  • It’s bigger wider and heavier than most other top booster seats, so 3-across installations is almost impossible with the Recaro Performance

The Cheapest Booster Seat w/ Solid Reviews

Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat

As one of the most basic boosters of 2016, the Evenflo Big Kid AMP is one of the cheapest offerings that still ensured reliability and some great safety measures.

I’ve always known Evenflo for its affordable baby and toddler products, which is why the cheap price tag of the Big Kid AMP is exactly what I expected to see, but then again you do get what you pay for.

Essentially, the Big Kid AMP brings reliable quality to the table without any fancy features, not a lot of color options and materials that aren’t best known for their high quality.

This booster provides you with fabrics that clean up easily, two cup holders, some side impact protection and head support as well as a height adjustment feature, much the same features that my other top picks brought to the table.

Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat Consumer Rating
Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat Price: $30-$50

Pros and Cons: Recaro High Back Booster Seat

  • It’s very cheap
  • It offers you the basics you need from a booster seat
  • It’s a lightweight seat, weighing in at just 8 pounds
  • Evenflo states that the Big Kid AMP will support toddlers up to 110 pounds
  • The cup holders aren’t great. They’re small and very awkward; I don’t even know what you’re really supposed to fit in there since they hang on stretchy elastic straps?
  • The head and neck support…not really there
  • The thin foam padding might as well not have been there since it’s not really a comfortable seat at all

And that was the highlight of some of the best car seats 206  had to offer. With this amazing building block, I’m really amped for the future of the car seat world!