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Best Car Seats in 2022

By Jennifer Elswick · Aug 15, 2022

As a parent, car seats are one of the most important tools available to you. Babies cannot be brought home from the hospital unless there already is a car seat installed in your vehicle. While there are different types of car seats you can buy, most are sized by age range; there are forward-facing and rear-facing models as well as 3-in-1 seats and boosters. Finding the right car seat is confusing, which is why we found the best ones on the market and created a car seat guide you can use before you start your search.
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Best compact car seat
Graco Slimfit3

Graco SlimFit

Product Dimensions ‎21.5 x 19.9 x 25.5 inches
Product Weight 19.47 lbs
Color Annabelle, Darcie, Redmond
Material Polyester
Weight Limit 65 lbs
Orientation ‎Rear Facing and Forward Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point

Product available at:


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Best value for money
Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base

Product Dimensions ‎27.5 x 16.75 x 24 inches
Product Weight 16.6 lbs
Color Iron, Orion, Calla, Parker
Material Foam
Weight Limit 30 lbs
Orientation Rear Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point
Easy to install, premium car seat
Clek Liing Car Seat

Clek Liing Infant Car Seat

Product Dimensions 30.75 x 20.75 x 18.25 inches
Product Weight 36 lbs
Color Pitch Black
Material Polyester
Weight Limit 35 lbs
Orientation Rear Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point

Product available at:



Best safety features
Britax Advocate Clicktight Convertible Car Seat

Britax Advocate ClickTight

Product Dimensions ‎23 x 20.5 x 23.5 inches
Product Weight 30.1 lbs
Color Black, Blue, Gray, Green, Mosiac, Otto, Purple
Material Polyester
Weight Limit 65 lbs
Orientation Rear Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point
Best car seat overall
Graco Snugfit 35 Dlx

Graco SnugFit 35 DLX Infant Car Seat

Product Dimensions 27.5 x 17.5 x 25.5 inches
Product Weight 16.15 lbs
Color Spencer
Material Polyester
Weight Limit 35 lbs
Orientation Rear Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point

Product available at:



Best for comfort
Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat

Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat

Product Dimensions 25 x 16 x 19 inches
Product Weight N/A
Color Ocean, Lagoon, Refined
Material Polyester
Weight Limit 65 lbs
Orientation ‎Rear Facing and Forward Facing
Harness Type ‎5-Point

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6 of the Best Car Seats in 2022

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The Graco SlimFit gets our nod as the best compact car seat because it has a slimmer fit that takes up less room in your car. As a 3-in-1 car seat, it grows as your child grows to help you save some money. Use it in a rear-facing or forward-facing position without the need for any other accessories. ProtectPlus engineering ensures that the seat went through many tests before it reached your home, including those that tested for injuries and problems during side and front crashes. With four reclining positions, the seat allows you to adjust the angle to keep children comfy as they get a little bigger. Graco made the SlimFit compatible with its travel systems and strollers, too.

FAQs

Two of the top materials used in the SlimFit car seat include foam and steel alloy. The frame uses steel alloy to absorb more impacts and keep your baby safe. Under the fabric that covers the top of the seat is a thick layer of foam that acts as padding for your little one.

As the cover on the SlimFit uses polyester, it’s easy to clean. You may need to apply a stain remover to some stains though and let it sit for a bit before you rinse the seat. Antibacterial wipes are a great way to remove sticky fingerprints from the frame and handle, too.

Kids weighing between five and 40 pounds will fit in this car seat. Using it as a forward-facing car seat requires that your child weigh 22 to 65 pounds. You also have the option of using it as a booster seat for toddlers. As a highback booster, it fits kids of 40 to 100 pounds.

Graco gives you an InRight LATCH tool that helps you attach it to your vehicle in just one second. This helps you install the seat with a LATCH base and spend less time dealing with your seat belts. The SlimFit also has a level indicator on the top that lets you see when the seat is level.

Use this car seat in three different ways to keep your child secure in the coming years. It works as both a rear-facing and forward-facing car seat with the harness. You can also use it as a booster seat. Many parents also like that they can adjust the harness and headrest at the same time.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Best compact car seat with a space-saving design
  • Built-in storage compartment for the harness
  • Seat cover is machine washable
  • 4 reclining positions
  • ProtectPlug engineered to withstand crashes
  • 10 adjustable headrest positions
  • Functions as a booster seat
  • Rear-facing and forward-facing options
  • Suitable for babies as small as five pounds
Disadvantage
  • Gets hot enough that kids can overheat
  • Harness is too short for some babies
  • Anchors are sometimes hard to use
Keep your baby safe and comfy in this Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat, which we think is the best value for the money. With three reclining positions, it helps you get babies into the perfect position that keeps them secure. Thanks to the bubble level, you can easily see when the seat is level with the base to keep it from coming apart as you drive. Chicco gives you a classic 5-point harness that wraps around babies to protect them in accidents. You only need to use one hand to tighten or adjust the harness. The KeyFit 30 is also compatible with Chicco's line of travel systems and strollers to help you build the perfect system for all of your trips.

FAQs

The main material that the KeyFit 40 uses is foam. All areas of the seat use a thick type of foam that adds more padding for your baby. The padding includes some fillers, too. Other materials used in the car seat include metal and plastic. You’ll notice them in the handle and base.

Keeping this Chicco car seat clean is super easy because the seat pad is removable and washable. You can toss it right in your washer, but you may want to let it air dry. This reduces the risk of the foam and fillers breaking apart. Make sure you wipe it down after using the seat, too.

One of the complaints that Chicco got about the KeyFit 30 is that it doesn’t fit as many babies as other seats do. Your child needs to weigh a minimum of four pounds, which most newborns weigh at birth. It has a maximum limit of 30 pounds, which means you need to replace it faster.

This infant seat uses the SuperCinch installation system designed by Chicco, which can be confusing. LATCH connectors work with your LATCH system for fast installation once you get the hang of it. It also has a spring-loaded foot that helps you adjust the base as well as two bubble levelers.

With the adjustable canopy, you shouldn’t have any problems blocking the sun or giving your baby some privacy as they sleep. This canopy uses zippers that let you remove it when you want to improve airflow. Chicco gives you head and neck supports that look like pillows to keep newborns and smaller babies comfortable.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Available in multiple colors and patterns
  • Compatible with Chicco strollers
  • Adjustable canopy for added privacy
  • Head and body supports for your baby
  • Removable and washable seat pad
  • Best value car seat for the money
  • Built-in LATCH tightener for more security
  • Bubble levels for installation
  • 5-point harness
Disadvantage
  • Neck straps can rub against your baby’s skin
  • Hard to adjust the canopy
  • Can make babies run hot
Our choice for the best premium car seat that is easy to install is this one from Clek Liing. The LATCH anchors built into the seat work with your base and let you get your baby secure quickly. It comes with an expiration date that is nine years from now, which gives you more time to use it and pass the seat along to others. The infant car seat lacks some of the flame retardant materials that others have and works as part of a travel system. You need to pay extra for an optional adapter that lets you use it with strollers and other products. Clek Liing designed the seat with features that keep it from rotating and moving during crashes. These features absorb 40% or more of the shocks that your baby would feel. It only comes in one color – black – and only works as a rear-facing car seat.

FAQs

Clek Liing looked for premium materials when designing this infant car seat to make it more appealing to parents. The Merino wool used in the padding is as soft as your favorite sweater. It also uses durable plastic over a metal frame to last for years, which lets you use it for multiple kids.

Using hot water to clean this car seat is risky because it can shrink the Merino wool. You can use either lukewarm or cool water to clean it. Make sure that you use mild soap and not dish soap or laundry detergent. Those soaps can damage the wool.

Thanks to the included newborn insert, this car seat is suitable for small babies. They need to weigh a minimum of four pounds to fit in the seat. Clek Liing also allows you to use the car seat with older babies. It can fit kids who are up to 32 inches tall and weigh up to 35 pounds.

This infant car seat from Clek Liing uses a Rigid-LATCH system. When you click it into place, you’ll both hear and feel that click, which lets you know it’s secure. The company also gives you a belt-tensioning system that helps you use it in the middle or on one of the side seats.

If you have more than one child who needs a car seat, you’ll love that this one fits any available seat. You’ll still have enough room to install and use other car seats, too. Clek Liing also allows you to use it without the base when you travel by car or plane.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Built-in LATCH anchors for installation
  • Reduces 40% of shocks during crashes
  • 7 reclining positions
  • Uses an optional adapter to fit a stroller
  • Saves space in vehicles
  • Includes a newborn insert
  • Lacks flame retardant materials
  • Expires in 9 years
  • 5-point harness
Disadvantage
  • Only works in a rear position
  • Does not work with just a seat belt
  • Available in only one color
If you want a car seat that offers the most safety features and protection for your little one, pick up the Britax Advocate ClickTight car seat. The ClickTight system is easy to use and allows you to tighten and adjust the belts with a few tugs. The strap is also adjustable to fit babies of different sizes. While the buckle can attract food and other debris, it clicks in place to tell you it's secure. As a convertible car seat, the Advocate works in both rear-facing and forward-facing positions. Your baby will feel more comfortable due to the headrest, which you can adjust in different ways. The Advocate also features three layers of padding to absorb more impacts and energy during crashes.

FAQs

Made from steel alloy, the frame on this car seat is durable enough to withstand the most severe of crashes. On top of the frame are some plastic pieces along with foam padding and a fabric cover. Though you can pick from different seat colors, some styles cost more than others.

You may want to keep a handheld vacuum around to remove lint and other debris that falls into the crevices around the release button. If too much debris gets inside, you may have problems pushing the button. Britax recommends you use a damp or wet cloth to clean the seat and pad.

Most newborns will fit in this seat, which has a minimum weight requirement of five pounds. When using it as a rear-facing seat, your baby must be no more than 40 pounds and no taller than 49 inches. Britax uses the same height requirement when you use it as a forward-facing seat but increases the weight limit to 65 pounds.

It’s not too hard to install the Advocate because you only need to follow a few steps. It has a push dial that you use to slide the belt through and a wide path that helps you buckle the belt on the other side. A tensioner inside the seat automatically adjusts to make the seat fit your car when you press down on it.

Britax designed the SafeCell Impact Protection system to keep your baby secure during a crash. This system keeps the seat from moving and also absorbs the energy that hits your vehicle. It has a harness that you can use in 14 different positions to ensure your child fits the seat as they grow.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • ClickTight system makes installation easier
  • Harness clicks in place
  • Rear-facing and forward-facing options
  • Adjustable to fit different sizes
  • Three layers of side impact protection
  • 7 reclining positions
  • Foam padding for extra comfort
  • Base absorbs energy during impacts
  • Head and side protection
Disadvantage
  • Debris can fall into the release button
  • Takes a lot of work to adjust
  • Uses some cheap Styrofoam
Our best overall pick for a car seat is this Graco model, which is compatible with the brand's travel systems. In only minutes, you can take the seat out of your car and attach it to a stroller or another base. You can even use it with the bases you have in each car. The Silent Shade offers some privacy for babies and keeps the sun out of their eyes and away from their face. This canopy easily comes out without waking your little one. With the Rapid Remove seat pad, you'll have no problem cleaning the car seat. Designed to prevent injuries from all types of crashes and accidents, this car seat also installs in 60 seconds or less with a seat belt or LATCH system.

FAQs

Looking at the materials that brands use is helpful when picking a car seat. You want to know how easily you can clean the seat. Graco uses composite materials on the base and handle. The seat itself uses polyester, which keeps stains from clinging to the seat when your baby has an accident.

Cleaning the SnugFit 35 DLX infant seat is easy. You can use a bleach wipe or a wet wipe to remove food and formula or milk from the handle and base. Cleaning the seat just requires a quick wipe down. Both dry foods and liquids come off easily, but you may need a little soap for set-on stains.

This SnugFit model is great for babies. You can even use it to bring home babies from the hospital as long as they weigh a minimum of four pounds. It works as a rear-facing seat for babies who weigh up to 35 pounds and are no taller than 35 inches. The same measurements work when you use it as a forward-facing seat.

It is not hard to install the SnugFit infant car seat. Many parents find that it takes them less than a minute to set it up. You can use the seat belt in your vehicle to secure the car seat or pair it with a LATCH system. Graco also designed the seat to let you adjust it with your child in place.

One of the top features of this Graco infant seat is that you can carry and adjust the handle with one hand. While the seat pad comes out for cleaning, the adjustable canopy keeps your baby protected. It also produces an audible click to let you know that the seat is secure.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Best overall car seat
  • Compatible with LATCH systems and seat belts
  • Installs in 60 seconds or less
  • Suitable for newborns and older babies
  • Adjustable base with five positions
  • Removable seat pad for fast cleaning
  • Works with travel systems
  • Protects babies in all types of crashes
  • Adjustable Silent Shade
Disadvantage
  • Can cause some babies to overheat
  • Requires more pressure to lock in place
  • Won’t fit babies bigger than 35 pounds
Not only does this Nuna Riva cart seat get our pick as the best one for comfort, but it's also one of the top convertible seats. With a two-year warranty, you get an extra year of coverage compared to what other car seats offer. Though it weighs a little more than other seats do at nearly 48 pounds, it's easy to transport and install. Babies more legroom when they want to lay back along with more space around their head. The breathable fabric prevents sweating and can keep your little one from overheating on long car rides. Nuna Rava added a metal frame covered by plastic. This frame absorbs more shocks during crashes before they can reach your baby.

FAQs

Nuna Rava uses fabrics on the seat and pad that stay cool to the touch on even the hottest of days. You can pick from different colors to match your nursery or your vehicle. While some car seats use flame retardant materials that have a strange odor, this seat is free from them. It has a metal frame, too.

Cleaning this car seat requires a little work on your part because most of the pieces are not removable. You need to use a damp cloth to remove surface stains. Deeper stains may require scrubbing and some soap. A damp cloth is usually all you need to clean the metal and plastic parts.

The age range that is suitable for this convertible car seat depends on how you use it. As a rear-facing car seat, it’s suitable for children under the age of two who weigh five to 50 pounds. You can use it with older children as a forward-facing seat if they weigh 25 to 65 pounds.

Installing this Nuna Rava car seat is easier than you might think because it works with both LATCH systems and belts. The company designed the base with ease of installation in mind. You can switch it between cars in a few minutes. Online videos can walk you through the steps of how to install it.

This is one of the only car seats we found that have built-in cup holders. They fold flat against the seat but pop open to hold a bottle or sippy cup. The two-position crotch strap adds some extra protection to the seat and keeps your baby secure. It also easily allows you to switch rear and forward positions.

Pros & Cons

Advantages
  • Does not use harmful or flame retardant materials
  • Works as a rear-facing or forward-facing seat
  • Gives babies more legroom
  • Built-in head support
  • Most comfortable car seat
  • Side impact protection
  • 10 reclining positions
  • 10 adjustable head positions
  • Two-position strap
Disadvantage
  • Too big for some babies
  • No added support
  • High minimum weight

List of all Best Car Seats in 2022 for your needs

Product Date Price Shop
Graco SlimFit 08/2022 $ 219.99 Buy
Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base 08/2022 $ 229.99 Buy
Clek Liing Infant Car Seat 08/2022 $ 439.99 Buy
Britax Advocate ClickTight 08/2022 $ 319.99 Buy
Graco SnugFit 35 DLX Infant Car Seat 08/2022 $ 229.99 Buy
Nuna Rava Convertible Car Seat 08/2022 $ 499.95 Buy

Are there different types of car seats?

Car seats are not one-size-fits-all; they come in all shapes and sizes, with a range of features to suit your child’s needs. Take a look at some of the types to narrow down your choice for the best car seat for your baby.

Infant car seat

Also known as a “rear-facing car seat,” you’ll likely come across some models that claim they are infant or baby car seats, designed for the smallest of babies. You can use one on the drive home from the hospital and when you need to run errands or take your child for a check-up. When you install it, you need to make sure that your baby’s head faces the back of your vehicle.

Forward-facing car seat

As the name suggests, a forward-facing car seat faces the opposite direction of a rear-facing seat. These seats are only suitable for older kids and those who weigh a little more. As you’re driving, you can use your mirror to keep an eye on your toddler and talk with them. These car seats also allow you to pass snacks and drinks back.

Convertible car seats

If you’re a first-time parent looking to save money, look for a convertible car seat. You start out using it as a rear-facing seat, but you can turn it around and use it as a forward-facing seat later. When you buy a standard infant car seat, you will need to replace it when your child reaches the maximum weight limit. The downside to a convertible car seat is that it’s quite larger. You may have problems using it in different vehicles or carrying it.

3-in-1 car seats

Another way to save money on a car seat is with an investment in a 3-in-1 model. Not only does it work as a rear-facing and forward-facing seat, but you get the benefit of a booster seat, too. Kids of all ages need to stay in some type of protective seat until they weigh enough to use a seat belt. With this combo, you have the perfect seat for your baby for years.

Booster seats

Booster seats are similar to car seats but are designed to keep older kids safe. Most models fit children of 40 to 100 pounds. The booster seat sits on top of your car seat and has latches, which you wrap the seat belt through to secure it on the opposite side. Some kids need booster seats until they reach elementary school or even longer.

What car seat stage is right for your baby?

You should never drive babies in your car without putting them in a car seat first. Though you might remember rolling around in the bed of your dad’s truck or jumping around your mom’s car on a family vacation without even wearing a seat belt; however, today it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an unsecured child. After looking at the different types of car seats, you can compare the developmental stage of your child to each one to know when it’s time to change their seat.

Babies

Do not drive your car unless you have your baby in a rear-facing car seat. Even if you only plan on making a quick trip, you need to secure your child. Rear-facing seats are usually suitable for newborns and kids up to the age of two. Depending on your child’s height and weight, they may use a rear-facing seat for a few extra years. Most rear-facing car seats have a maximum weight limit of 30 to 40 pounds and can accommodate kids of up to 30 inches tall or taller. As these seats offer more protection than other types do, experts often recommend that you use one as long as you can.

Toddlers

While you may not like that you can’t see your baby in a rear-facing seat, you should only move children to a forward-facing seat when they become a toddler. Forward-facing seats have a maximum weight capacity of 50 pounds or more and can fit taller kids, too. This type of seat has a tether that keeps it attached to the seat and a 5-point harness with straps to keep your child in the seat. You only want to move children to a forward-facing car seat when the harness and straps fit their body.

Older kids

Don’t assume that you can use a seat belt on a child who no longer fits in a car seat. Federal law states that any child under the age of four who weighs up to 40 pounds must use a forward-facing car seat. Another law requires that older kids who are eight or younger sit in a booster seat. Unless children are more than four foot and nine inches tall, you need to make them ride in a booster seat every time they are in a vehicle. Highback booster seats look similar to car seats and come with a tall headrest that reaches above your child’s head. There are also backless booster seats without this feature. You might prefer one with a back as it offers more protection in crashes.

When can kids use seat belts?

All new vehicles come equipped with seat belts. As both your front and back seats have seat belts, you probably wonder when your child can use them. You should only get rid of the booster seat when your child is too tall or heavy to comfortably fit in it. Some kids grow out of booster seats around the age of eight, but others only move to seat belts when they turn 10 or even 12. Keep in mind that your child must be a certain height to legally use a seat belt instead of a booster seat.

How can you pick the best car seat?

Picking the best car seat for your new bundle of joy is important because you want to keep your baby safe on the car ride home and all of the other trips you take. Don’t assume that you just need to pick the right type to match the stage of your baby’s life though. We found some other factors that matter when it comes to buying a car seat.

Safety and testing

One of the first things to look for is the overall safety of the seat. Not only do you want to see the type of protection it offers, but you should also look at whether the maker tested the car seat. Graco puts all of its car seats through a rigorous series of tests to see how well they perform during side, rear, and front crashes. Britax includes helpful features that absorb more impacts and shocks during accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a good place to check on ratings for car seats if the brand doesn’t offer that information.

Comfort

As much as you hate sitting on a hard chair without back support, babies feel the same way when they sit in an uncomfortable car seat. Babies cannot tell you how they feel, but you may notice that they cry a lot when you take them for a ride. Some car seats have comfort features that will help your baby sleep during a long road trip and feel comfy on shorter trips. Look for lightweight and breathable materials that keep them from overheating. You should also look for seats that lack hard metal elements that can poke them and plastic components that can get hot.

Installation method

Car seats today either use a LATCH system or work with the belts in your car. There are some models that let you use both installation methods. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. A LATCH system comes with a base that you install inside your primary car. You then use the straps on the car seat to attach it to the anchors in the base. If you need a car seat you can easily move between cars, choose a belt installation model. These car seats ask you to use the seat belts in your car to install them. Both installation methods offer the same level of protection.

Size

Your child’s size isn’t the only factor to consider when buying a car seat. You also need to consider the size of your car. It’s helpful to measure the size of your backseat and compare those measurements to the dimensions of the seat. If you have a small car with limited space, a smaller model like the Graco SlimFit is a good option. It fits in your car and still allows room for groceries or luggage.

Travel systems

Do you love taking long vacations and want your baby to experience new things from a young age? Maybe you live in a different state than your family does and want them to spend time with your baby. A travel system is a good choice for you. Look for car seats that are compatible with strollers and other travel systems. While you can use the seat in your car, you can also attach it to your stroller and spend some time out of your vehicle. It’s also helpful to look for car seats that meet FTA requirements if you plan to fly with your baby.

Expiration date

Though you may not know it, all car seats have an expiration date. A label on the bottom or the back of the seat will show you this date. It tells you how long you can safely use the seat before you need to replace it. When you buy a new car seat, you usually get one that expires anywhere from five years to nine years in the future.

Price

Whether you want to buy a car seat or add one to your registry, pay attention to the price. The top car seats usually start at around $200 and go up from there. Some of the premium models that include more features cost more than $500. Adding an expensive model to your registry allows your family and friends to combine their budgets and get the right car seat. You’ll also find many affordable car seats in the $200 range. Do not buy a used car seat, even if you want to save money. You don’t know the history of the car seat, including whether it was involved in a crash or if the brand recalled it.

Helpful and useful features

Choosing a car seat is easier when you know which features other parents found helpful and useful. Some of those features include:

  • Canopy: Many car seats come with a canopy or a sunshade. With an adjustable canopy, babies can sleep without the sun streaming through the windows and into their eyes or onto their face.
  • Two-piece chest clip: The chest clip is the piece near the center of your baby’s chest where the straps touch. A two-clip design is more secure than those that use just one clip and keep your baby from accidentally opening it.
  • Reclining positions: All of the car seats we found recline in four or more positions. While this may not seem important, it allows adults to adjust the car seat to keep babies safe while also making them more comfortable.
  • Removable features: If you worry about how you can keep your baby’s car seat clean, look for those with removable features, such as a seat pad or cover. No matter how much of a mess your little one makes, you can remove those items and clean them in your washing machine.
  • Padding: Car seats with extra padding make babies feel as comfy as they feel in bed. The right type of foam can also absorb impacts and keep your child safer in the event of a crash.
  • Optional accessories: It’s also helpful to look for car seats that work with optional accessories because you can customize the seat. You might want a sunshade that covers more of their face or newborn pads that give your newborn more cushioning but come out as your child gets bigger.
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Last updated on Aug 15, 2022