9 Best Convertible Car Seats- Cheap, Swivel, Narrow for Small Cars

Right now on the market, there are several different types of car seats for children of different ages, including infant, convertible, and booster. But in this list, we will recommend the 9 best convertible car seats. Why convertible car seats? Because of its convenience. Besides, convertible car seats have several benefits:

Versatility – A few models can grow with your child from their birth to the time they don’t need a child safety seat.

Saves money – Though a convertible car seat costs more than a single infant or booster seat, it costs less than buying two or more seats as your child grows.

Long usage – Convertibles usually have a long lifespan, sometimes 10 years or more before they expire. So you could easily use it for younger siblings.

Higher weight limits – Convertible car seats usually have a higher rear-facing weight limit than rear-facing-only infant car seats and allow for extended rear-facing (ERF), which the AAP highly recommends.

We looked at dozens of convertible car seats in order to find the best ones to meet your kid’s and your needs. These convertible car seats are selected based on factors such as size, weight or height limits, Amazon ratings, portability, and other considerations like the swivel feature and narrow profile.

We narrowed our search down to 9 of the top-rated convertible car seats that parents can buy for their newborn babies, young toddlers, and kids at 7-8 of age.

Cheap Convertible Car Seats

Best budget convertible car seats under $200


Safety 1st Jive Convertible Car Seat
Safety 1st Jive



Diono Radian 3R 3-in-1 Car Seat
Diono Radian 3R


Affordable Convertible Car Seats

Mid-range priced convertible car seats between $200 and $400


Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
Graco Extend2Fit



Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat
Britax One4Life



Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat
Graco 4Ever DLX


Convertible Car Seats that Swivel

Rotating Convertible Car Seats


CYBEX Sirona S 360° Rotating Car Seat
Cybex Sirona S



Nuna REVV Rotating Convertible Car Seat


Cheap under $200

Cheap Convertible Car Seats

Affordable under $400

Affordable Convertible Car Seats


Convertible Car Seats that Swivel

We also make several lists of the best convertible car seats according to their performance (rear-/forward-facing/booster weight/height limits), budget, and by bonus features (like compact for small cars, portable for travel)

By Weight Limit

See Our Top Picks Organized by Size Limits from 4 to 120 lb

By Height Limit

Best Choices Organized by Height Limits from up to 57 inches

By Price

See Car Seats Organized by Price (Prices Start under $100)

By Bonus

See Car Seats by Bonus features (e.g. for travel etc)

Cheap Convertible Car Seats under $200

Safety 1st Jive

Safety 1st Jive Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Jive

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


If you have a limited budget for a convertible car seat, the Safety 1st Jive is one of the best budget options. It was very cheap, priced at around $100. Weighing only 14.25 pounds, the Jive is an ultra-lightweight convertible car seat, compared to other convertible car seats with an average of 20 pounds. See also lightweight convertible car seats. And in that post, you’ll see that all the lightweight convertible car seats are under or near the $100 price.

As a typical convertible car seat, the Safety 1st Jive support both rear-facing and forward-facing. When used rear-facing, this car seat can hold babies weighing from 5-40 pounds; and allows transition to forward-facing when the kids grow between 22-65 pounds.

Featuring a compact design, the Safety 1st Jive has a width as narrow as 17.5 inches, making it one of the best car seats to fit 3 across well in the back seat of most vehicles, even in small cars. This benefit makes Jive the best option for growing families with two or more children. It’s also a lightweight car seat, with a 14.25 pounds seat weight, though not as light as Evenflo Tribute LX’s 9.3 pounds.

This car seat meets or exceeds federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards and includes side-impact protection to keep your little one secure in the car. The built-in LATCH system helps you to properly install the car seat for better safety.

To ensure your child sits comfortably in the seat, Safety 1st Jive is designed with many nitty-gritty. The five-point harness is easily adjustable from the front of the seat, along with the removable pillows, to accommodate your child for a secure and snug fit. The headrest is adjustable as your child grows. There is an attached removable cup holder to keep your child’s drink at hand, really great design in case you want to have the kids traveling in the cars.

The Safety 1st Jive is FAA approved for air travel. What you need to pay attention to is the expiration date for Safety 1st Jive car seat: for seats Manufacture Date prior to January 1, 2014, the expiration date is 6 years; for seats Manufacture Date after January 1, 2014, the expiration date is 10 years.

The only drawback that most parents complain about is the installation. The Safety 1st Jive does support both LATCH and seat belt installation, but it’s a bit harder to get this convertible car seat correctly installed rear-facing.

Safety 1st Grow and Go

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-in-One Car Seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go - 100 lbs

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


Being the cheapest all-in-one car seat, the Safety 1st Grow and Go is one of the most popular convertible car seats on Amazon. It would be our first and best recommendation for parents who don’t have much budget for travel baby gear

However, the cheap price of under $200 doesn’t compromise the safety, quality, and usage. Just as its name implies, it will grow with your child from birth to 100 pounds until they reach 52 inches tall. The only pity is that the 52-inch is lower than the child safety seat law’s 57-inch height requirement to stop using a car seat.

That means you’ll still need another booster seat for the last few months before your kid is ready to use the seat belt. Luckily, the booster seats, especially the backless models, are very cheap, mostly under $50.

The best cheap alternative for Safety First Grow and Go is the Diono Radian 3R in the next part, which has a 57-inch height limit to meet the law’s booster height requirement. The Grow and Go version has a 40-lb rear-facing weight limit. That’s very common among convertible car seats. If you would like to keep your kid rear-facing for a longer time, the Comfort Cool version (get it on Amazon at $199.99.) is a good option. It’s one of the best car seats with a 50 lbs rear-facing weight limit.

What we love about this 3-in-1 convertible car seat most is the harness holders on both sides. They are very useful. They help to keep the harness out of the way when putting your kid in and out of the car seat. It’s very easy to install, even the grandmas can effortlessly finish the installation of the Safety 1st Grow and Go.

Let’s be honest. There should be a few advanced features gap between the cheap and expensive models. For example, the Safety 1st Grow and Go convertible car seat has very basic safety features, no SafeCell as the Britax car seats, nor the ProtectPlus as the Graco car seats. It supports fewer recline positions, with only three available (slightly better than the Diono Radian 3R’s two).

Diono Radian 3R

Diono Radian 3R 3-in-1 Car Seat

Diono Radian 3R

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


The Diono Radian 3R would be the best recommendation if you want a cheap 3-in-1 convertible car seat that will be able to fit three across in the same row. It’s also a bit more expensive than the Safety 1st Grow and Go, but still under $200. That’s really inexpensive for an all-in-one car seat.

Better than the Safety First Grow and Go, the Diono Radian 3R has a higher weight limit for rear-facing (50 lbs vs 40 lbs) and a higher height limit for the booster (57″ vs 52″). With the top 57-inch booster height, the Diono Radian 3R is as good as the best car seats with a 5-point harness of up to 100-120 pounds to accommodate a kid well until they’re ready to wear the seat belt. The 50-lb rear-facing weight limit is really appealing for parents who want to keep the little passengers rear-facing for a longer time – rear-facing is constantly considered the safest position to ride a child. It is also one of the best rear-facing car seats with 50 lbs.

However, you should pay attention to the reclines for the Diono Radian 3R. It has only several reclines and lacks infant inserts, making it less fit for newborns and small infants. Using the 3R when your kid outgrows their infant car seat is better. It’s a good car seat for extendable rear-facing.

Featuring a narrow profile, only 17 inches at the widest shoulder rest part, the Diono Radian 3R is one of the best 3 across car seats. The ability to fit 3 across is the original intention that the company that designed the Radian series. The 3R is the entry-level model and it’s the cheapest with fundamental features.

If you can afford a more expensive one, you may check the Diono Radian car seat comparison and pick the one that suits your needs best. Or you can try its main competitor – Graco SlimFit3 LX, which is more popular than the Diono Radian 3R in the fitting-3-across car seat world. Check our comparison on these two slim-fit 3-in-1 car seats if you’re still stumped by choosing which one.

Moreover, the 3R and other Diono Radian car seats have a low profile. That’s easy for parents to put their kids in and out. Toddlers at four or five years old could climb in the car seat themselves after turning it forward-facing. What needs your attention is the installation. Installing the Diono Radian 3R is more challenging than installing the Safety 1st Grow and Go.

Diono Radian Series - Fit Three Across

Car Seats Comparison Radian 3R Radian 3RX Raidan 3RXT Raidan 3QX Radian 3QXT
Price $199 $269 $329 $369 $399
Weight limits (lb) RF:5-50 / FF: 22-120 RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 5-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120 RF: 4-50 FF: 22-120
Rear Facing Weights Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb Up to 50lb
Newborn Protection - - 2-in-1 Advanced 3-in-1 Advanced 4-in-1
Safe+ Engineering - - -
Head Support - 12 Positions 12 Positions Safe+ 12 Positions Safe+ 12 Positions
Cup Holder -
Fit 3-across
Width (in.) 17 17 17 17 17

Affordable Convertible Car Seats under $400

Graco Extend2Fit - Affordable 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


This car seat comes from the Graco company – Extend2Fit, which is the best seller convertible car seat on Amazon and receives an average 4.9 rating from over 68,000 customers’ reviews. As one of the most popular car seats, the Graco Extend2Fit has some appealing functions for parents.

First, the Graco Extend2Fit supports a higher rear-facing weight limit of up to 50 pounds. According to FAA guidelines, it’s recommended to ride the children in the rear-facing as long as possible until they reach the maximum height or weight of the rear-facing car seat. The 50-lb weight limit makes Extend2Fit stand out beating other convertible car seats in the list, and is a great option for taller kids. See the full list of best rear-facing car seats 50 lbs

To provide a comfortable fit for extended rear-facing for 2-3 years toddlers, the Graco Extend2Fit features a 4-position extension panel that promises 5” of extra legroom, providing the best comfort to allow your child to ride in rear-facing longer.

When it’s time to transition from rear-facing to forward-facing, the Graco Extend2Fit can ride children who have a weight of 22-65 pounds. The upper 65-pound forward-facing weight limit makes Extend2Fit one of the best car seats for kids aged 4 or 5 years old until they need a booster seat.

Just like the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1, the Extend2Fit comes with Graco’s unique InRight™ LATCH system for a one-second LATCH attachment, and you can easily install the car seat with the help of the easy-to-read level indicator. Along with the Fuss Free harness storage, you can easily remove the buckle out of the way and get your baby in and out. It also features the Simply Safe™ Adjust which allows you to adjust the height of the harness and headrest as your child grows.

Talking about safety performance, the Graco Extend2Fit is engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed the US Standard FMVSS 213. It has also sides impact tested to ensure the child passenger safety with the built-in 5-point harness system. The steel reinforced frame not only provides strength when you need it at most but also gives the car seat great durability for long usage up to 10 years. If you have two or more kids, you can use the Graco Extend2Fit for the second younger baby when the older kid outgrows this car seat.

It seems that the Graco company wants to provide the best convenience to your child in the car traveling. All the car seats from this manufacturer have two integrated cup holders that help keep your child’s drink close to their hand. This is very useful if you are planning to take your kids for long-distance travel in the car. The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is FAA approved for air travel.

Don’t worry if the car seat is dirty which is inevitable. The seat pad is machine-washable and you can easily remove it for cleaning. Want to clean the metal or plastic parts? No problem, just use mild soap and cool water. The buckle can be cleaned with a damp cloth and the harness straps can be spot cleaned.

Britax One4Life-Affordable 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Britax One4Life ClickTight All-In-One Car Seat

Britax One4Life

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


Installing a car seat correctly can be really a big challenge for new parents, but now, the Britax One4Life ClickTight changes the game. The unique ClickTight Installation System provides an easy and safe way to install your child’s safety car seat within 3 steps.

It can be as easy as 1-2-3 to install the Britax One4Life: You simply open the front of the car seat, buckle the seatbelt through the path and click the seat shut. Done. The car seat is rock-solid and installed to keep your kids safe in the cars.

Britax One4Life is an all-in-one convertible car seat and it can be used for three stages rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. It’s one of the best car seats with a 50-lb rear-facing weight limit as well, the same as the Graco Extend2Fit and Nuna Revv.

The Britax One4Life might be one of the safest convertible car seats to protect your child in case of any crashes. The side impact protection performed by a deep foam-lined shell can absorb energy and secure your child from any dangerous type of collision. There is also a SafeCell Impact Protection system that includes three parts for different effects: the impact-absorbing base helps to reduce the force in a collision; the impact-stabilizing steel frame offers superior strength; and the V-shaped tether minimizes seat rotation to slow and reduce any forward movement during a crash.

This Britax convertible car seat has a 15-position harness that can be easily adjusted to move the harness upward for a comfortable and secure fit as your child grows. Thanks to the 9-position recline with the automatic level indicator, you can adjust the car seat easily for your child’s greatest comfort while ensuring the best installation angle for your vehicle.

The premium fabric and padding provide maximum comfort for a relaxing ride even if you are planning to take your kids for long-time travel in the car. The easy-remove cover is machine washable, and you can easily pull it from the car seat for cleaning without having to remove the harness.

The Britax One4Life Convertible Car Seat is FAA approved for air travel. You might have a second consideration after checking its weight, 30 pounds is not as easy to carry as other lightweight convertible car seats.

There are multiple color options for parents to choose from for both boys and girls. At the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023, the Britax company improved the color with a [New Version], including the Plum. This color is very similar to purple, so we include the Britax One4Life as one of the best purple car seats for girls.

Graco 4Ever DLX-Affordable 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

Graco 4Ever DLX

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


If you’re looking for an ultimate top-rated convertible car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX won’t disappoint. It’s a tried and true favorite car seat for families who prefer a 4-in-1 convertible car seat, with a built-to-last design that can be used for 10 years for newborns to kids weighing up to 120 pounds.

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 is actually an all-in-one car seat, combining the infant, convertible, and booster seats into one. So you can use it as a rear-facing car seat for newborn babies or toddlers from 4-40 pounds, then transition it to a forward-facing 5-point harness seat for kids of 22-65 pounds.

When your child grows up to move to a booster, the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 can work as a high back belt-positioning booster seat for kids 40-100 pounds and finally as a backless booster seat for children 40-120 pounds. It’s one of the best 5-point harness car seats with up to 120 pounds weight limit.

Along with the multi features, this all-in-one car seat provides a very long lifespan – 10 years before it gets expired. That’s the longest usable life of Graco car seats. That means you can use it for young siblings as your older children outgrow the child safety car seat for using the vehicle’s seat belt.

To help you effortlessly adjust the most comfortable fitting position with this convertible car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 comes with Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System, along with the 10-position headrest, you can easily adjust the harness and headrest together, no additional rethreading needs. This 4-in-1 convertible car seat also features Graco’s InRight LATCH system that promises a one-second attachment, making it easy to install and switch between cars. There is a 6-position recline that provides your child with the best comfort.

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat has a great crash performance to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213. It has sides impact tested and has a peak crash force that is approximately two times the Car Seat Standard as the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), thanks to its built-in 5-point harness system. It has been proved that the Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 is one of the safest convertible car seats from an Amazon customer’s review.

The integrated two cup holders keep your child’s drinks and snacks at hand, making it easy to take your child for long-distance travel. The seat pad that comes in three parts is machine washable. And you can always clean the car seat parts to keep them neat and comfortable for your child. The metal and plastic parts can be cleaned with mild soap and cool water; the buckle can be cleaned with a damp cloth and the harness straps can be spot cleaned.

The Graco 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is also FAA-approved for air travel. However, considering its weight of up to 22.75 pounds, you might want to take another lighter FAA-approved-air-travel convertible seat to install in the airplane.

What we love most about the Graco 4Ever DLX is the ‘Rapid Remove’ design, which allows parents to remove the seat cover in 60 seconds without uninstalling it. That’s REALLY brilliant and convenient!

Convertible Car Seats that Swivel

Cybex Sirona S - 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat that Swivel

CYBEX Sirona S 360° Rotating Car Seat

Cybex Sirona S

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


Cybes was the first car seat manufacturer to bring a rotating car seat from the European market over to the US and its Sirona S was the first 2-in-1 convertible car seat that swivel on the market.

With a separate base and car seat carrier, the Cybex Sirona S can rotate 360 degrees and make getting in and out of the car much less stressful. You’ll know the difficulty to put a 40-pound toddler in rear-facing. With the 360 degrees rotation – workable in both rear-facing and forward-facing modes, it’s now a piece of cake to take your kid in and out of the car seat. It should be the easiest rear-facing car seat 50 lbs

The rotation isn’t the only innovative feature happening with the Cybex Sirona S. It comes equipped with a smart sensor called SensorSafe, which is a technique that’s built into the seat’s chest clip and connects to your smartphone with the company’s app.

Once your little one is in any unsafe situations, like unbuckling the chest clip or being left behind in the car, you’ll get an alert. The alert even pops up if the child is sitting in the car for too long – child safety experts suggest not riding a kid in the car seat for over two hours continuously. It’s a really impressive feature that we wish was available on more car seats.

The Cybex Sirona S has a few other highlights, including an anti-rebound bar and a load leg for extra safety and stability, 12 recline positions, side impact protection, and a pretty straightforward installation process.

However, it’s on the expensive side – this happens to all rotating car seats, costing over $500. Also, it’s heavier than the traditional convertible car seats, weighing 30.4 pounds, so may not be a good option for all families who have limited budgets or travel a lot with a kid. You need also to consider another factor to leaving enough space in the back seat to rotate the car seat. That means if you have a small car, a convertible car seat that swivel is not the best choice.

Evenflo Revolve 360 - 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat that Swivel

Evenflo Gold Revolve360

Evenflo Revolve360

Key Features
The Good
The Bad


If you want only one convertible car seat that swivel, we strongly recommend getting the Evenflo Revolve 360. It belongs to the all-in-one type and is the cheapest rotating car seat. So it’s also the most popular rotating car seat on amazon.

The Evenflo Revolve 360 does exactly what its name implies, rotating 360 degrees on its base – yes it also has a two-part design just like the Cybex Sirona S. What makes it different from the latter is the size limit. The Evenflo Revolve 360 is an all-in-one car seat and can be used in three different modes (and stages): rear-facing, forward-facing, and as a booster seat. With a really high 120-pound booster weight limit, the Evenflo Revolve 360 is one of the best car seats with 5-point harness for up to 120 pounds.

Like other swivel car seats, the Evenflo Revolve 360 is easy to install. If you choose to install it with the seat belt, you’ll only need to install it once – LATCH installation method would not be okay to make full use of the size limit in all three modes. What needs your attention is that you can’t completely rotate the seat when it’s in rear-facing mode unless it’s in the fully reclined position. It still rotates to the side-facing position for easy putting the kid in and out of the car, so it’s not a huge deal finally.

The Evenflo Revolve 360 is packed with a few safety features and can be used for 10 years (to match its 120 lbs/ 57″ size limit). It’s decently padded with energy-absorbing foam, and along with the metal frame, the car seat performs well in a crash. Two layers of side impact protection are the basic, there is an anti-rebound bar that delivers extra protection.

To grow with your little one, the Evenflo Revolve 360 includes a no-rethread harness with 14 different positions. That’s more than most convertible car seats on the market (just one position less than Britax One4Life’s 15 positions). Besides the 360-degree rotation, this seat also gives four recline positions for parents to find the perfect and best-fit angle for growing children.

It’s also heavy and long from the front to back, not good to fit well in small cars, nor as friendly for traveling families as those lightweight convertible car seats or foldable car seats.


Nuna REVV Rotating Convertible Car Seat


Key Features
The Good
The Bad


The Nuna Revv is the most expensive convertible car seat that swivel, with a price over $600. We don’t recommend it for families who prefer practicality over flashiness, even though Nuna is becoming one of the most parent-favorite brands. Check our post on all Nuna car seats.

The Revv is positioned as a high-end seat and is loaded with a few safety features and smart extras. It’s 360 degrees rotatable and is equipped with soft, comfortable, and made from high-quality (and eco-friendly) materials. It stands out on the extras like the magnetic buckle holders (that work the same as the harness holders in Safety 1st Grow and Go). There’s an anti-rebound bar, a steel frame, and energy-absorbing foam, making the Nuna Revv one of the safe convertible car seats to protect your little one from collisions.

Another appealing feature of Nuna Revv is the narrow profile. With a width of 18.5 inches (same as Britax Marathon), the Nuna Revv is as good as the best narrow convertible car seats. The 18.5-inch width is not as narrow as Diono Radian 3R’s 17-inch, but it’s still a good thing to note if you’re tight on space in the back seat or need to install multiple car seats.

The biggest drawback of Nuna Revv should be the size limit. It’s the lowest of all convertible car seats on the market, only 40 lbs/ 43″, for both rear-facing and forward-facing. That’s the capacity for facing-rear only of most car seats with extended rear-facing, even lower than the car seats with a 50-pound rear-facing weight limit (and 49 inches height limit for some).

The low size limit means that the Nuna Revv lasts only several years. It’s a good car seat for 3 year olds. However, it’s likely that many kids will grow out of it before they’re ready to move to a booster seat after 4 years old, meaning you’ll need to buy another convertible car seat. (Especially disappointing considering how expensive the Revv is.)

Best Convertible Car Seats by Performance

Weight/ Height Limits Convertible Car Seat Price Type
40 lbs/ 43" Nuna Revv $650 2 in 1
65 lbs/ 49" Safety 1st Jive $99.99 2 in 1
65 lbs/ 49" Cybex Sirona S $549.99 2 in 1
65 lbs/ 49" Graco Extend2Fit $239.99 2 in 1
100 lbs/ 52" Safety 1st Grow and Go $179.99 All in one
100 lbs/ 57" Diono Radian 3R $199.99 All-in-one
120 lbs/ 57" Graco 4Ever DLX $329.99 All-in-one
120 lbs/ 57" Evenflo Revolve360 $399.99 All-in-one
120 lbs/ 63" Britax One4Life $399.99 All-in-one

Best Convertible Car Seats by Price

Rank Price Convertible Car Seat Weight/ Height Limits Type
1 $99.99 Safety 1st Jive 65 lbs/ 49" 2 in 1
2 $179.99 Safety 1st Grow and Go 100 lbs/ 52" All in one
3 $199.99 Diono Radian 3R 100 lbs/ 57" All-in-one
4 $239.99 Graco Extend2Fit 65 lbs/ 49" 2 in 1
5 $329.99 Graco 4Ever DLX 120 lbs/ 57" All-in-one
6 $399.99 Evenflo Revolve360 120 lbs/ 57" All-in-one
7 $399.99 Britax One4Life 120 lbs/ 63" All-in-one
8 $549.99 Cybex Sirona S 65 lbs/ 49" 2 in 1
9 $650 Nuna Revv 40 lbs/ 43" 2 in 1

Best Convertible Car Seats by Bonus

All these best convertible car seats are good options for optimal protection. Some of them may have bonus features to satisfy different needs. Check below. 



Slim Fit to Do 3 Across



When to purchase a convertible car seat

Once your baby has outgrown his/her infant car seat, it’s time to transition them to a convertible car seat that has a higher rear-facing weight limit. These types of car seats help accommodate larger or taller babies/toddlers and make your child stay rear-facing as long as possible until they reach the convertible car seat maximum weight limit.

Consumer Reports has done some testing and the results recommend you buy a convertible car seat by the time of your child’s first birthday. The new safety guidelines and state laws also encourage you to buy a convertible car seat as sooner as possible.

Most rear-facing only infant car seats have weight limits between 30 and 35 pounds, and height limits between 30 and 32 inches. Few infant car seats, like the Graco SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Nido Car Seat allow for a higher height limit of up to 35 inches. In most instances, your baby usually reaches the height limit of an infant car seat before he/she outgrows the infant seat’s weight limit.

Considering the weight and height of kids around age 1, many child safety experts suggest that the convertible car seat may provide some additional protection over an infant car seat in protecting a child’s head.

Things to consider to look for the best convertible car seats

When looking for a convertible car seat, there are many considerations that need your attention, like your budget, your child’s weight, and height, your vehicle, whether the car seat is easy to install and use or not, the fabric is easy to clean or not. The basic things to consider are very similar to infant car seat considerations.

Plus, there is an additional feature you should take into consideration – the car seat lifespan. As convertible car seats can be used for a wider range for growing children, starting at rear-facing, converting to forward-facing, some even transition to a booster seat, it would be better to buy a convertible car seat featuring a long lifespan.

Most car seats coming from Graco and Britax has a lifespan up to 10 years, which is very appealing to ride your child until he or she can stay in the back seat at 13 years of age. However, some other convertible car seats might have a shorter lifespan, like 6 or 7 years. So you should check carefully on the targeted car seat manufacturers’ official site or just call their customer service for confirmation.

Types of Convertible Car Seats

The convertible car seat might have the largest number of models on the market, because of its broadest range of child usage. You can use a convertible seat for newborn infants as light as 4 pounds, like the Graco 4ever 4-in-1 and Extend2Fit models. If your baby grows faster and taller, you might need a car seat like Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible to keep him/her in rear-facing until weighing 45 pounds. If you want your child stays in a 5-point harness seat in forward-facing as long as possible, the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Special Edition Car Seat meets your need with a 85 pounds weight limit.

Yes, the convertible seat covers a really wide range. Some can even use as a booster seat for older and larger children up to 120 pounds. This is a very long extended use until your child can use the vehicle seat belt for safety like an adult.

2-in-1 Convertible Car Seats

Classic convertible seats can be used for both rear-facing and forward facing modes. When using in rear-facing, they offer a higher rear-facing weight limit than infant-only seats. When using forward-facing, most convertible seats accommodate children from 22-65 pounds.
A few budget seats have a lower weight limit about 40-50 pounds, like the Evenflo Tribute LX and Disney Baby Apt 50 (manufactured by Cosco and same as its Apt 50). Few convertibles can hold children up to 80 pounds, like the Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Special Edition.

3-in-1 (or called) Convertbile Car Seats

From its name, we know that the 3-in-1 car seats can serve three stages. All 3-in-1 seats can be used as a forward-facing harnessed seat, but they are still different for different stages.
Some 3-in-1 car seats can be changed from the rear-facing position to forward-facing and then into a belt-positioning booster seat for kids weighing up to 100 pounds like the Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat. Most Booster Convertible car seat belongs to this type.
Some 3-in-1 car seats start at forward-facing, then transition to high-back booster and backless booster (refer to the difference of high-back and backless booster), like the Baby Trend Hybrid Booster 3-in-1 Car Seat. And this type of car seat is often categorized into booster seat.

4-in-1 Convertible Car Seats

As the name suggests, the all-in-one (or 4-in-1) can be used for one more stage than 3-in-1, generally adding the backless booster mode for the first booster convertible and the rear-facing infant usage for the second 3-in-1 car seats. It’s the most powerful: rear-facing, forward-facing, high-back booster, and backless booster. All-in-one!
Take Graco 4ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, for example, it helps keep newborn infants rear-facing from 4-40 pounds, next convert forward-facing from 22-65 pounds, then transition to the high-back booster from 30-100 pounds, and at last change to backless from 40-120 pounds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a convertible car seat?

A convertible car seat is a car seat that allows to convert to multiple different stages to accommodate a growing child along with his or her weight and height. All convertible car seats can be used in rear-facing mode and converted to forward-facing position. Some convertibles are listed as 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 or all-in-one models, and these types of convertible car seats supports to transition to a harnessed or belt-positioning high-back booster or even a backless booster seat.

What’s the safest convertible car seat?

All car seats sold in the US must meet the Federal and ASTM safety standards and have been rigorously tested before they went to the market. Most seats exceed these stands by adding extra protection, so it is supposed that any seat you buy will be “safe”, but ONLY if installed properly and used correctly. That’s why we recommend you to install the car seat following the manufacturer’s manual.

Do convertible car seats have separate bases?

No. Not like infant car seats that are designed with detachable parts – carrier and base, the convertible car seats don’t need a base for installation and use. Most convertibles come with a bulky and heavy design, making it only stay in the car, not portable. Some 3-in-1 booster convertible car seats might allow for detachable parts to leave only the seat pad for use in backless mode, like the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster.

When should I switch to a convertible car seat?

This question is much similar to “when should I purchase a convertible car seat?” You should buy and switch a convertible car seat as your child has outgrown the weight or height limit of the infant car seat, if you have bought one, generally until to your baby’s first birthday.

Can I use a convertible seat for my newborn baby?

Yes you can. Most convertible car seats are designed to keep newborn infants rear-facing as little as 5 pounds, some can even for smaller babies weighing 4 pounds, like the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible. However, the convertible car seats tend to be roomier, not fitting as well as infant car seats that are designed for small babies or preemie. The AAP and a few child safety experts recommend to use an infant seat for newborns at least up to 8 pounds.

Can convertible car seats be used in strollers?

The short answer is no. Convertible car seats usually feature a much bulkier design than infant car seats, meaning the strollers can fit an infant seat carrier well and might not support a convertible car seat.

Do convertible car seats expire?

Yes. All the car seats have limited time for usage, a lifespan. Most convertible car seats allow your child for a 10-year adventure. Many manufacturers will indicate the car seat’s lifespan in the manual or list on the official site. If you can’t find the specific lifespan, you should contact the customer service for inquiry.

What is after convertible car seat?

Booster seat for short answer. But some convertible car seats can be used in booster mode for older children up to 120 pounds, such as 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 or all-in-one convertibles. If you have purchased a convertible car seat that only supports rear-facing and forward-facing with harness, you can find a booster seat anyway.

What convertible car seat fits in my car?

The vehicle size is one of the most important considerations when buying a convertible car seat, especially for those families that have compact and small cars. You should check the car seat dimensions to know if it is suitable for your vehicle or not, paying special attention to the car seat width. For growing families that want to install two or three car seats in the back seat, the convertibles allow for fitting 3 across is preferable, like the Safety 1st Guide 65.

How long are convertible car seats good for

Convertible car seats are good for 10 years. That’s the average usable life of all convertible car seats approaching their expiration dates.

How long do convertible car seats last

Convertible car seats will last 10 years from the date of manufacture (NOT the date of purchase). That’s the longest time a car seat can be in service. After the convertible car seats get expired, you need to deal with them correctly – donate, trade, or trash them.

What are the best convertible car seats

The best convertible car seats are the ones that best suit your child’s and family’s needs. In this convertible car seat buying guide, we list a few different convertible car seats for different situations and hope you can find the best one fitting your demands.
Best 2-in-1 – Graco Extend2Fit
Best 3-in-1 – Britax One4Life
Best 4-in-1 – Graco 4Ever DLX
Cheap 2-in-1 – Safety 1st Jive
Cheap 3-in-1 – Safety 1st Grow and Go
Narrow 3-in-1 – Diono Radian 3R (best alternative – Graco SlimFit3 LX)
Swivel 2-in-1 – Cybex Sirona S
Swivel 3-in-1 – Evenflo Gold Revolve360

When do convertible car seats expire

The convertible car seats expire 10 years from the date of manufacture. That’s the common case for all convertible car seats from most brands.

Where is the expiration date on a convertible car seat?

The expiration date for convertible car seats is 10 years after the date of manufacture. The expiration date of a convertible car seat can be found either on the label that is found on the back or at the bottom of the car seat, depending on car seat brands and specific models.
Some brands do not have a specific expiration date on the label but just with the date of manufacture and the lifespan in the user manual. If this is your case, you should do a simple calculation to get the expiry date.
Check our guides on the expiration date for different brands:
Graco car seats expiration date
Britax car seats expiration date
Chicco car seats expiration date
Safety 1st car seats expiration date
Cosco car seats expiration date
Evenflo car seats expiration date
Diono car seats expiration date
Maxi Cosi car seats expiration date

How long can you keep a convertible car seat?

The upper size limit decides how long you can keep a convertible car seat. Strictly, if we take the top weight or height limit of the 5-point harness as the leading factor, then the 65-lb and 49-inch are the same for all convertible car seats. If so, this size combination is okay to last good years to fit kids at 5 or 6 years old.

According to the laws in US states, a kid should stay in a car seat with a five-point harness until they’re at least 40 pounds or 4 years old. The very basic 2-in-1 convertible car seat can do this job as well.