An infant car seat is the most critical piece of baby gear you’ll ever buy. You can’t even take your baby home from the hospital without one. The best infant car seats can be locked directly into strollers, as part of a baby travel system.
For minimalist parents, we’ve also included a few convertible car seats (which can work through the toddler stage).
Read on to discover the best infant car seats available right now — including the one I chose for my own little newborn.
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1. Best for Both BOB and Britax Strollers: Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car SeatPros:
- Constructed with a steel frame, extra layer of side impact protection, and compressing base to absorb impact energy
- Premium fabrics, padding & easy-remove cover
- Contoured shell was designed to take up less space in the car than most car seats
- Britax is renowned for car seat safety, and with this model you can click into BOB strollers (best strollers for jogging and all-terrain)
- More expensive than most other car seats
- Car seat is heavier than some other models
- Narrower than some car seats
- Some feedback that it does not work with Honda 2019 minivan models
The Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat stands out because of its versatility. It’s the result of a collaboration between BOB and Britax (two of the most popular baby gear brands), so this ultra-safe rear-facing car seat will work with strollers from either brand.
This is actually the car seat I selected for my own little guy. We chose it because of its reputation for safety, and because it easily clips into our BOB All-Terrain Pro Stroller, with the BOB/Britax adapter. (If you plan to stroll your baby on dirt roads or trails, I can’t recommend this stroller enough.)
Before our baby was born, we had our car seat base installation inspected by a safety expert. (You couldn’t do this at a fire station during the peak of Covid, so we had to find a freelance infant car seat expert.) The expert congratulated us on getting an excellent car seat. But we did need some help correctly installing our Britax car seat base. But now that the base is safely secured, it’s easy to clip the car seat in and out. And it’s always easy to tell when it’s securely attached.
We aren’t alone in selecting this seat because of its ease of use — and how well it works as a travel system with our stroller. Many people prefer BOB strollers, particularly if they’re looking for an all-terrain or jogging stroller. But they also want the reputation for safety that comes with a Britax car seat. (Britax is consistently rated one of the best car seat brands for safety.)
The B-Safe Car Seat works with all Britax single stroller models, as well as all Bob single and dual strollers. (If you want to use it with a Bob stroller, you just have to purchase the adapter separately.)
This Britax car seat includes a layer of side impact protection, which helps to keep your baby protected if you’re in the worst kind of accident.
The cover is easy to remove for washing, and the harness is super easy to adjust as your baby grows. This means you do not have to rethread it to make it fit your growing baby (which would be a huge hassle).
When you purchase a Britax car seat, it comes with an all-steel frame and an impact-absorbing base. You just might want to buy an extra Britax base if you’re a two-car family.
2. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car SeatPros:
- Super easy installation, and seat can be used with or without base
- Base has a smooth underside to protect vehicle seats from any damage
- Fits any Chicco stroller
- Clicks in quietly, which is great if baby is sleeping
- The fabric is not breathable, so it can get hot and sweaty
- Accommodates babies only up to 30 lbs (most infant car seats fit babies up to 35 pounds)
- Neck straps may not be comfortable for all chunkier babies (according to one reviewer)
- Reviewers had issues with the canopy (hard to use; too short; etc., but it is removable)
The Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat stands out because it’s more affordable, while still meeting all the safety requirements and testing criteria of all modern car seats.
It’s also designed to click in and out of Chicco strollers, which are very popular. PLus, it’s easy to install, compared with other car seat brands.
The five-point harness can be adjusted with one hand. Parents also appreciate the leveling feature, which is easy to read, when you’re installing the seat and want to make sure it will hold your infant level.
While this car seat is very popular, keep in mind that it’s only recommended for babies up to 30 pounds. (Most comparable models can fit babies up to 35 pounds.) So your child may outgrow this seat slightly more quickly than other seats.
This seat comes with a foam insert, so you can position your newborn’s head comfortably and safely.
3. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car SeatPros:
- Less expensive than many other car seats
- Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed safety standards
- Click Connect assures you that the seat is properly installed every time
- Can be attached either with seat belts or LATCH system
- Installation is only 3 easy steps
- Compatible with many strollers for baby travel system
- One button on carrying handle to click in to connect with base (most models have two buttons, and require two hands)
- Some minor complaints about the fabric's breathability -- but reviewers love the fabric of the newborn mesh insert, and the pads
- Weights 18 pounds (heavier than many other options, including other Graco infant car seat models)
- One reviewer found that canopy and handle can overlap, which may cause some wrestling with the seat
The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat stands out because it’s one of the most popular infant car seats available today. Graco is one of the most popular car seat brands and has met all the safety testing standards of all commercially-available car seats.
Every Graco infant car seat is beloved by parents, and in this guide, we’ve compared several of their top models.
This model, which is called their “elite” car seat, is more heavy-duty than their Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat. This model (the Graco 35 Elite) weighs 18 pounds, while the Graco 35 LX weighs only 9 pounds.
This model will be twice as heavy when you clip it out of the car to carry it around, but it may also provide more protection, in the event of a crash.
Both of these Graco infant car seats can accommodate babies up to 35 pounds.
4. Best for Anyone Using Taxis (Or Getting Rides in Multiple Cars): Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car SeatPros:
- Easy to transfer from car to any Baby Jogger stroller (though you'll need an attachment, which is sold separately)
- Can be installed with or without the base with equal safety ratings
- Soft, plush fabric and an extended UV 50+ canopy
- Ideal for parents who take taxis or get rides in multiple cars (easy to install with seatbelt straps, and still be totally safe)
- Baby Jogger stroller adapters are sold separately (although this is designed to work wtih Baby Jogger strollers)
- The canopy is loud when you extend it
- Not the easiest harness to adjust
- Large safety stickers have bothered some reviewers (they are not shown in the picture, and might irritate baby)
The Baby Jogger City Go Infant Car Seat stands out because it’s designed to easily latch onto Baby Jogger strollers, which are popular all-terrain and jogging strollers. (However, you still have to buy a Baby Jogger attachment, unlike most baby travel systems from one brand.)
The City Go car seat can be attached with or without a base, so it’s a great option for any parent taking their baby in multiple friends’ and family members’ cars. (Or anyone who frequently uses taxis, Uber, or Lyft.) It can be easily attached with seatbelt straps.
If you do use the base in your own vehicle, you’ll appreciate the easy push-button latch system. The base has six adjustable positions and is easy to install in your car.
Like all infant car seats, this is a rear-facing seat, which fits babies from 4 to 35 lbs and up to 35 inches.
All Baby Jogger car seats are engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed US standards.
According to reviews, the car seat fabric is very soft, and has plenty of padding for newborns.
Reviewers found this car seat wide enough to be comfortable for chubby babies.
The seat’s super smooth, rounded bottom is designed to provide gentle rocking, when the seat is removed from the car.
5. Best on a Budget: Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc Infant Car SeatPros:
- Narrow footprint makes it easy to install next to additional car seats
- Very affordable compared to other options
- Reviewers loved the breathable seat material and handle design
- Weighs about 17 pounds
- One-hand easy access seat release (great for busy parents, who don't always have two hands available!)
- Reviewers love the handle, which is comfortable for carrying and transferring baby
- Reviewers found it doesn't recline as much as other more expensive seats (tough for newborns)
- Reviewers found the harness more difficult to clip between legs than some other more expensive models
- Buckle may require some practice
- Not very lightweight (17 lbs)
- Multiple reviewers found not enough head support for newborns
The Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat stands out because it’s affordable, but it’s still high-quality. It’s also one of the narrowest car seats on the market, so it’s perfect for families with multiple young children.
Some people want to purchase a cheaper infant car seat, because their baby will only use it for about 8 months. (To save money, some parents opt to skip the infant-only seat entirely, and buy a convertible car seat instead. Of course, then you’d miss out on the added perks of having one, like being able to carry your baby in the seat, and snap it into a stroller.)
This seat features a five-point harness with a quick push-button release. Busy parents love this one-handed release feature — especially if they’re going to be taking their baby in and out of the car multiple times per day. However, several reviewers found the buckle more difficult to clip in than buckles on more expensive models.
This car seat also snaps into Baby Trend jogging strollers and regular strollers for an easy baby travel system.
The car seat base is easy to install, thanks to Baby Trend’s Flex-lock latch system. A push-button adjuster helps it adjust easily into any of its four positions. However, it does not recline quite as much as some other models, according to one reviewer.
Multiple parents discovered that this car seat does not have adequate head support for newborns.
But this car seat does meet all safety requirements and is great for families on a budget — especially if they have multiple children in car seats or booster seats in one car.
6. Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car SeatPros:
- Fits up to 120 pounds
- ClickTight ratchets for a tighter fit
- Easy to install and uninstall
The Evenflo EveryStage car seat is your all-in-one solution for the safest, most convenient convertible car seat. It fits infants from birth up to toddlers weighing up to 120 pounds and has some amazing features that make it easy to install and extra safe.If you have ever installed a car seat, especially a convertible car seat, you know it can be a huge hassle and it is especially difficult to move car seats between cars. The EveryStage has an “EasyClick” LATCH system that uses ratchets instead of having to pull the straps by hand. This is not only easier, it’s safer because you can get up to three times as tight of a latch using the ratchets. Uninstalling is as simple as clicking a button. It’s as easy as taking off a seat belt.EveryStage has a no-rethread harness, that allows you to easily adjust harness fit and also adjust the car seat through different growth stages without ever having to rethread it through the back.The car seat can be used as a rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster. When your little one is an infant, the car seat can be reclined inside of its frame to comfortably angle your child in a reclining position, minimizing head slump and ensuring that she has an open airway.EvenFlo has been building high quality, safe car seats for nearly 100 years, and the EveryStage is the latest and greatest model from this trusted brand.
- Very heavy
- Relatively expensive
- There is a learning curve to understand how all the features work
7. Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car SeatPros:
- Very heavy duty
- Easy to install and cover is easy to remove for washing
- Very comfortable, high quality padding for baby
- Britax consistently ranked one of top car seat brands for safety
- The car seat is bulky and takes up a lot of room, especially when front facing
- The car seat is very heavy compared with others
- The strap adjuster is a recessed button which collects a lot of crumbs and is hard to clean
The Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat is a convertible seat that will last until your baby is a toddler, who faces frontwards for more independence.
This model includes the SafeCell Impact Protection system, with a steel frame, an impact-absorbing base, staged-release stitching to slow and reduce forward movement, and a V-shaped tether to minimize seat rotation. A deep foam-lined shell provides serious side impact protection by absorbing energy and shielding your baby from the most dangerous type of collision.
The harness is quick to adjust in any of 12 positions. The buckle also has two positions to choose from. This provides a more comfortable and secure fit for your baby as she or he grows larger.
This car seat also features a seven-position reclining feature with an automatic level indicator, giving you the best installation angle for your vehicle, as well as maximum comfort for your child at any age. Britax’s Click Tight installation also makes it incredibly easy to install the base in your car.