It’s Required by Law
The 2018 updated guide by the American Academy of Pediatricians(AAP), recommends that your baby should start using a safe infant car seat immediately after birth. In several states, this is already the law and some hospitals now have a policy of ‘no infant car seat, no baby‘. You’ll probably need to have that infant car seat as you check-in at the hospital to deliver your little bundle of joy.
This guide has a general guide on best infant car seats available in the market in 2020. If you want small baby car seats that will fit cars with limit space, you can check out our guide here.
Safety and Car Seats
While baby car seats are required for any infant under the age of 2, it was always so. First infant car seats were manufactured in 1930s but car seats specific to infants became popular in the 90s despite several companies and brands such as Chicco and Britax developing and retailing them as early as 1970s.
Where to find reliable crash test results
Test results and research materials on infant car seats safety are very important. I’ve relied on several organizations to give me critical info on crash tests. Fortunately, most materials are available online, safe for a few that we have to access via subscription such as Consumer Report. Regardless, we’ve combined over 2 dozens of crash test results and compared top-rated brands to narrow this list to just 10 safest brands you can pick from.
To come up with our list of the best infant car seats, we ranked each of the car seats using the following 6 ranking factors:
- Ease of use,
- Baby weight and height
- Car size, and
- Stroller types
The US government has a list of recommendations on which car seats are suitable for your infant. Manufacturers of infant car seats are also expected to disclose the infant car seat crash test results and we’ve actually rated each of the top 10 infant car seats on the results test. In addition, a number of infant car seats have been approved by the FAA.
How long to use an infant car seat?
You may be wondering why you’d need to get an infant car seat and then trash it after a few months or years for a convertible seat. We also sought to find out how long infant car seats are supposed to be used and what we found out will enlighten you. Infant car seats are recommended for use before your baby reaches 2 years in age or 32 to 35 inches in height.
Infant Car Seats Vs Convertible Vs 3-in-1
|Infant Car Seat||Convertible Car Seat||3-in-1 Car Seat|
|Rear-facing||Rear-facing and forward-facing||Rear-facing and forward-facing|
|Recommended for babies until they are 2 years||Recommended for babies until they outgrow the seat||Recommended for babies from infancy to 9 years|
|Recommended for babies with weight up to 35 to 40 pounds||Recommended for babies with weight up to 40 and 80 pounds||Recommended for babies with weight up to 20 to 80 pounds|
|Recommended for babies with a height of up to 32 to 35 inches tall||Recommended for babies with a height of up to 57 inches tall||Recommended for babies with a height of up to 52 to 57 inches|
|Price Range:||Price Range:||Price Range:|
Top 10 Baby Car Seats in 2020
- Britax B Safe Ultra: Overall Best Infant Car Seat
- Chicco Keyfit 30: Best Infant Car Seat for Small Cars
- UPPAbaby MESA: Best Infant Car Seat in Design & Safety
- Graco Snugride Click Connect 35
- Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat
- Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base
- Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat With Base
- Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat
- Evenflo Nurture Infant Car Seat
- Cybex Cloud Q Infant Car Seat
1. Britax B Safe Ultra: Overall Best Infant Car Seat 2019
Britax B Safe Ultra is our overall best infant car seat of 2019 and 662 parents who responded to our survey confirmed this. We’ve also spent about 3 weeks compiling data and comparing all the four main models of Britax car seats. Britax B Safe Ultra was released to the market in March 2018 as an upgrade to Britax B Safe Elite and the older Britax B Safe 35. We compared the latest Britax’s latest car seat, Britax Endeavor with all the three earlier versions including the Ultra as shown in the comparison table below:
Britax B Safe Ultra not only took the lead as the best Britax Infant car seat but it also beat other brands. It emerged top compared to other credible brands specifically Graco’s Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 and Chicco’s Chicco Keyfit 30.
Britax B Safe 35 is part of Britax’s series of infant car seats which include Britax B Safe Ultra, Britax Endeavour, and Britax B Safe Elite. The comparison below has all the 11 similarities and over 9 differences between the Britax car seats and demonstrates why we choose Britax B Safe Ultra as our overall infant car seat in 2019.
|Britax B-Safe 35||Britax B-Safe 35 Elite||Britax B Safe Ultra||BRITAX ENDEAVOURS|
|Made in USA||Made in USA||Made in USA||Made in USA|
|Released to market on March 22, 2018||Released to market on March 12, 2018||Released to market on March 12, 2018||Released to market on March 29, 2019|
|Dimensions: 17.75” W x 25” H x 26.5” D||Dimensions: 17.75 x 25 x 30.62 inches||Dimensions: 17.8 x 25 x 26.5 inches||Dimensions: 17.75 ” W x 25 ” H x 30.62 ” D|
|One layer of Side Impact Protection||Two layers of Side Impact Protection||Two layers of Side Impact Protection||Two layers of Side Impact Protection|
|Current Ranking on Amazon: 16 out of top 100||Current Ranking on Amazon: 35 out of 100||Current Ranking on Amazon: 37 out of top 100||Current Ranking on Amazon: 65 out of top 100|
|5-Point Harness||5-Point Harness||5-Point Harness||5-Point Harness|
|11.5 lbs||Weight: 11 lbs||Weight: 12 lbs||11.5 lbs|
|Not easy to remove the cover||Easy to remove the cover||Easy to remove the cover||Easy to remove the cover|
|Does not have an anti-rebound bar||Does not have an anti-rebound bar||Does not have an anti-rebound bar||Has an anti-rebound bar|
|Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
Below is a video review of Britax B Safe Ultra:
As shown in the table above, there are few features that differentiate Britax B Safe Ultra but I strongly recommend it because of the following:
- It has European Belt Guide making it rideshare ready unlike Britax B Safe 35 and Elite
- It has a flip-forward belly pad unlike its predecessors, B Safe 35 and Elite.
- It is specifically better than Britax B Safe 35 because it has double impact protection.
- It is cheaper than Britax Endeavour and has better impact test results
- Britax B Safe Ultra has been made with better fabric that is water-resistant and stain-resistant.
- Ultra has a slightly bigger space with dimensions 17.75” W x 25” H x 30.62” D. Although not the most ideal for a small car, Britax Ultra has a contoured shell common in all Britax car seats making it ideal for small cars as it does not take a lot of space. This design also ensures limited side-to-side movements and better safety for your little one.
- In addition to 2 layers of side impact protection, Ultra also has flip-forward belly pad and European Belt Guide which makes it the safest infant car seat for any car type. Whether you use a truck, a van, taxi, SUV or a small sedan, this Britax B Safe would be suited for all car types. The Flip-forward belly pad and European belt guide features of Britax Ultra are the biggest differentiating features from Britax Elite.
- Britax B Safe Ultra can be used with Britax Ready G2 Stroller and City mini stroller.
- Britax Ultra comes with Britax B Safe base that is compatible with all Britax car seats. You can, however, use this car seat with or without the base as the European belt guide can be used instead of the base.
Like all other Britax Infant car seats, Britax B Safe Ultra is assembled in Fort Mill, a town in South Carolina, USA. This is also the headquarters of Britax.
Now that we’ve determined Britax B Safe Ultra is the best out of all the other Britax car seats, let’s review some of the great features that we like about this seat. Some of the features cut across all Britax seats.
- Can be fit to the car seat using LATCH system or the seat belt making it easy to use in a taxi or rental car
- It does a nice job by safely supporting kids with lightweight, as low as 4 lbs because of its infant padding insert that comes with it.
- Britax B Safe Ultra comes with several color options and it is made right here in the USA.
|Britax Brands||Other Brands|
|Selection from four safe brands highlighted above||27 brands that meet our minimum safety guidelines|
|Cost $200 to $270||Cost $150 to $700|
|Weighs as low as 11 pounds||Most lightweight infant car seat brand weight as low as 7.6 pounds|
Chicco Keyfit 30 is our second overall best infant but the best for small cars such as sedans. Chicco Keyfit 30 comes in several colors and pattern options and is super portable. As of this update on September 1, 2019, Chicco Keyfit 30 has been rated 4.8/5 by over 400 users on Amazon. 80% of those users have given it 5-star reviews which goes to tell us that parents have really had good experiences with this car seat.
It currently ships about 3000 units per month on Amazon, according to data from Helium This car seat is cheaper than most Britax car seat brands, usually priced at around $199 with Britax B Safe 35.
Similarly, both Britax B Safe 35 and Chicco Keyfit 30 can be fitted to the car seat using a LATCH system or a seat belt. Compared with all Britax and Chicco systems, Chicco Keyfit 30 fits easily. Compared to Chicco Fit 2 and Britax Endeavor which cost as high as $280, Chicco Keyfit 30 is cheaper as it will only cost you about $200 on Amazon. You can check its current price on Amazon here.
Below is a video review of Chicco Keyfit 30:
Its base is 7lbs and the seat itself weighs 9 lbs. It is a favorite for most parents including those with small cars such as sedans with less space at the back. Its width is 16 feet which is considered small and very ideal for cars with limited space at the back.
It is also currently ranking number 7 out of the top 100 best-selling infant car seats on Amazon and below is its sales chart over the past month (July to Aug 2019):
Chicco Keyfit30 Vs Graco Snugride Click Connect 35
|Chicco Keyfit 30||Graco Snugride Click Connect 35|
|Has 17 inches width, 24 inches height, and 27.5 inches depth||Has 18.66 inches width,15.59 inches height, and 30.67 inches depth|
|Easy to install||Easy to install|
|Made in China||Made in China|
|Lead-free material||Lead-free material|
|The frame not made of steel||Frame not made of steel|
|Five-point harness||Five-point harness|
|Side impact tested||side-impact tested|
|Some have breathable materials||Non-breathable materials|
|9.6 pounds carrier weight||7.5 pounds carrier weight|
|Machine washable covers||Machine washable covers|
|6 years expiration||7 years expiration|
|4 to 30 pounds recommended baby weight||4 to 35 pounds recommended baby weight|
|Up to 30 inches height of the baby||Up to 32 inches height of the baby|
3. UPPAbaby MESA: Best In Style, Design & Safety
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is our third best infant car seat in 2019 but wins big with its stylish design and advanced safety features. The great safety and design features along with its easy-to-install seat come at a higher price compared to our top 2 infant car seats above. It currently goes for about $300 but the padding in the center and the sides gives your baby the comfort making it worth every dollar.
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is very similar to the second best in our list (Chicco Keyfit30) with the following minor differences:
- UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is relatively more expensive compared to Chicco Keyfit30
- UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is heavier than Chicco Keyfit30 by about 2.9 pounds
- UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat lasts longer than Chicco Keyfit30 because it has a higher maximum height and weight limits
- UPPAbaby MESA is easier to use and to install.
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat is currently ranked number 6 of the top 100 infant car seats on Amazon and it made it to our list specifically because of advanced safety features and is the easiest to install. In terms of installations, it has an automatically tightening LATCH system and the system has an indicator that tells you when the base is fully secured to the seat. If you choose to use seat belt to install UPPAbaby Mesa, it has lock-off.
To make sure your baby is super comfortable and safe, it comes with a headrest and shoulder straps that adjust easily. You can choose any of its five height positions without having to rethread every time.
Similar to Britax car seats such as Ultra and Elite, UPPAbaby MESA can support infants with weight from 4 pounds to 35 pounds. It can also support infants up to a maximum height of 32 ft. Without the base, UPPAbaby MESA weighs close to 10 pounds and the base adds another 9 pounds. In addition, it is not the widest seat in this list with a width of 15.5 feet.
While it does not have the biggest canopy or large canopy that we’d like, UPPAbaby MESA is great for most types of cars including smaller vehicles.
In addition to the small canopy, we also don’t like the fact that you need to use both of your hands to adjust the handlebar.
Our third reason for this infant car seat not making to be the first in this list is that its fabric is not the most breathable and not very soft.
Our last reason (4th) reason for this infant car seat coming behind Keyfit 30 and Britax Ultra is that it is more expensive. As of this update in September 2019, it cost $300. You can check its current price on Amazon here.
4. Graco Snugride Click Connect 35
Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 is our fourth-best infant car seat that made it to our list because of its reception in the market. It has been regarded as the best car seat with the most advanced protection. It has the following features:
- It is 28 inches in length, 18.66 inches in width and 15.59 inches in height. Although not the most ideal for small cars as its width of 18.66, it works with most sedans, SUVs, trucks, vans, and minivans.
- It weighs 7.5 pounds making it easy to turn it into an infant carrier.
- It is made in China, unlike Britax B Safe 35 and Maxi Cosi brands.
- Can support babies from 4 pounds to 35 pounds
- Most ideal for babies that do not exceed 18 months. One of our colleague here at 10BabyGear is actually using the infant car seat and the baby is just 9 months. They’ve used it from when the baby was six months and weighing 20 pounds (9 kgs).
It is currently the best-selling infant car seat as of this update on Aug 26, 2019, as shown in the snapshot below:
According to data from Helium, Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 11 sellers on Amazon ships about 25,000 units per month on Amazon as shown in the snapshot below:
It is also important to note that this product is currently on sale and many parents are taking advantage of this to save $60 or 33% of its original price.
5. Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat is the cheapest but gives you value for your money because of the following superior features:
- 5 layers of safety protection
- Ideal for a newborn weighing 4 pounds to 35 pounds
- Offers the best protection in case of a collision using its patented GCell HX race car foam for crash energy absorption
- Has 5-point harness
- It meets the federal, ASTM, JPMA safety standards as well as the European rollover standard
- Has one year warranty
6. Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base: Best for Small Cars
Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base is currently the 8th best-selling infant car seat brand on Amazon, out of the top 100 and it made it as our 6th best car seat for your infant. This car seat made to our list specifically because of its small size which makes it perfect for a small car.
Video Review of Doona Car Seat:
It comes ahead of other top brands such as Graco and Britax infant car seat despite it being relatively more expensive. It cost about $500 which is almost three times the cost of our cheapest best infant car seat, the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360.
Below are other features of Donna Infant Car Seat and Latch
- Dimensions: 17″ w x 23.6″ H x 26″ L
- Weight: 15.4 lbs
- Weight Capacity: 35 lbs
As mentioned above, Donna is the ideal infant car seat for a small car. The picture below shows Donna fitting perfectly to KIA Sportage. It can also fit VW car models such as VW Golf.
Donna is also the only one in our list which comes with a complete and fully integrated mobility solution which allows parents to convert this car seat into a stroller easily. It comes with award-winning foldable wheels that have been crowned as one of the safest and innovative infant car seats.
7. Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat With Base
Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat made it to our list of top 10 infant car seats of 2019. This car seat is manufactured here in America in Columbus, Indiana.
It specifically made it to the list and is ranked 7th because of its super soft fabric and has been ranked the most comfortable for your baby.
Maxi-Cosi is currently ranked number 30 of the top 100 best-selling infant car seats on Amazon as of this update in August 2019.
It can support your baby from when weighing just 4 pounds to up to 30 pounds and a maximum height of 32 inches. Without the base, this car seat is also considered among the lightweight with just a gross weight of 9.6 pounds. With the base, the weight increases by 7, making it 16.6 pounds.
It also has inflated air-side protection cushions, very easy to clean fabric and can actually be washed by machine or dry-cleaner. It has denim-like fabric which is great for breathing.
Below is a comparison of Maxi-Cosi Max Plus and other Maxi-Cosi infant car seat brands available in the market.
You can check its price on Amazon here
8. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat
Graco has 15 models of Snugride line of car seats and one of our favorites is the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Infant Car Seat. It is currently the 5th best-selling infant car seat on Amazon as of this update in August 2019 and it is our 8th best infant car seat after comparing with other top infant car seats in our list.
Below is a comparison of Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX Vs DLX Vs 30
9. Evenflo Nurture Infant Car Seat
Evenflo Nurture Infant Car Seat is our 10th best infant car seat and is co-incidentally, ranking number 9 of the top 100 best-selling infant car seats on Amazon.
Your baby may outgrow this car seat fast at it has a max recommended weight of 22 pounds (the minimum is 5 pounds). It has a canopy which provides great shade for your baby and may be used with and without a base.
10. Cybex Cloud Q and Cybex Aton 2
Cybex Cloud Q and Cybex Aton 2 are the best infant car seats made and most preferred by parents in Germany. They are rear-facing only infant car seats and are highly rated.
Video review of the top infant car seats:
The B-Safe 35, B-Safe Elite, and B-Safe Ultra infant car seats come with a seat base that easily attaches into (and detaches from) your car using either the Latch system or the conventional seat belt
Infant Guide Buying Guide 2019
Infant Car Seat Bases
Infant car seats come with bases which makes it easy for you to click and fit the seat. You can remove the seat when you want and fit them on the stroller.
How to install infant car seat base
Best Baby Car Seats in Australia
In 2019, we sought to find the best baby car seat in Australia.
Below are the top 10 baby car seats in Australia as of August 2019:
Best Baby Car Seats in India 2019
How To Install Infant Car Seat Without Base
Best Baby Car Seat Germany
The best infant car seat for babies in Germany in 2019 is the Graco Snugridge 35 which is currently leading in sales according to Amazon data.
Best Baby Car Seats for Different Car Models
- Audi Models/Make – Audio series from Audi Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4 are best with Chicco Keyfit30, Graco Snugridge 35 and Diono Radian
- Ford Models and Infant Car Seats: Ford have been tested and they work well with Clek Fllo and Chicco Keyfit30.
- Hyundai Models: Hyundai models such as Hyundai Tuscon and Hyundai i30 have been tested with several sets of infant car seats. Hyundai Tuscon works great with Chicco Keyfit30 and Clek Fllo as they are not big seats which fit well to Tuscon’s small spaces. Chicco Keyfit 30 also works well with Hyundai i30, Accent, and Elantra.
- Taxi: If you want a car seat that you can easily use on taxis, you’re better off with a very lightweight infant car seat such as Chicco Fit2, Graco Snugridge 35, Nuna Pipa, Baby Jogger City Go
- Toyota Rav4 model works great with Chicco Keyfit30 and Britax B safe 35
- Tesla Model S and Model 3 have been tested with Maxi-Cosi but also works well with Peg Perego Flex and Chicco Keyfit30
Best Infant Car Seats for Small Cars?
If you have a small car such as VW Golf or sedan/saloon, the following two are our best infant car seats you can use:
- Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat – Chicco Keyfit 30, our second-best infant car seat is our favorite car seat best suited for small cars. Small cars have small space and Chicco Keyfit 30 is 16 inches and can support infants from 4 to 30 pounds. It fits in several car types such as Fiat 500, Honda Element, Toyota Yaris, Toyota RAV4, Honda Civic, Mustang, Honda Jazz and BMW series (1, 2 and 3).
- Baby Trend EX Flex-Loc Convertible Car Seat – Baby Trend EX Flex is another infant car seat great for small cars. Its width is only 15 inches and can support babies from 4 pounds to 30 pounds. The picture below shows Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc fitting nicely into a car seat for a small car.
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc can fit nicely in car seats of small cars such as Honda Civic, Honda Jazz, Mustang, Toyota Prius, Fiat 500 and Toyota Camry. While these are ideal for Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc, other bigger cars such as SUVs can be suitable for this infant car seat. Parents also have great things to say about it using SUVs, trucks, and vans such as Nissan X-trail, Toyota Yaris, Jeep wrangler, Mini Cooper, and Nissan Qashqai.
Infant Car Seat Safety Tips:
- Try to have your baby rear-facing as long as possible or until they are at least 2 years old. Why do that? According to tests, it is 5 times safer to have the infant rear-facing than forward-facing.
- Consider going for the best infant seats with a 5-point harness until when your baby is at least 4 years or having 40 lbs
- As long as your child cannot pass the five-step test, use a booster.
- Always restrain your baby in the seat, regardless of the distance length.
- Don’t carry your infant in your lap as adults can crash on the baby in case of an accident.
Car Seat Buyer Guide
Best baby car seat brands
Best car seat for hot weather
Car Seats and Ages (0 – 4 years) and Weights
- 6 months: Infant car seats
- 9 months
- 1 year old
- 18 months
- 0-18 kg
- 0-36 kg
- 20 pounds
- 2 year old
- 6months to 8 years
Sales Glossary: Tips and Definitions To Know
Click & Go Travel System Compatible
The video below describes the safe Click and Go travel system in Britax strollers.
Car Seat Safety Precautions
As highlighted in this review, the best car seat to bring the baby home after delivering in the hospital are Chicco Keyfit and Britax B Safe 35 reviewed above. You can also read more about the comparison of the two above.
Graco SnugRide 30 LX Click Connect Infant Car Seat is the best infant car seat for long-distance travel. It meets and exceeds all US safety standards and you can choose to use a seatbelt to secure it if you don’t want to carry the base as you travel. It is also very light and considered among the most lightweight infant car seats. It weighs just 7 pounds without the base and 11 pounds with the base.
Yes, infant car seats and bases do expire and when you purchase them, you’ll find the expiry date on the sticker attached to the infant car seat or at the bottom of the car seat base. Most car seats have an expiry period that does not exceed 6 years. After years of use, car seats and car seat bases become more dangerous and it gets weaker and may not be as safe for you to use it with your baby. If you’re wondering how they expire, just consider that the older a car seat is, the older the materials and their protection does not give you safety guarantee. This is the reason why the car seats expire.
According to consumer reports, the best infant car seats in 2019 include Britax B Safe 35 and Chicco Keyfit 30, our top 2 infant car seats we’ve reviewed in this article. These rear-facing infant car seats are currently the best selling and Consumer Reports gave them great reviews on safety and comfort.
Considering the safety and comfort of your preemie or small newborn, Cybex Aton and Chicco Keyfit, Britax B Safe 35, Chicco Fit 2, Baby Trend, Peg Perego, and Nuna Pipa are your best options to choose from. I personally prefer Cybex Aton, the most-preferred infant car seat in Germany.
We compared over 12 infant car seats with strollers and Britax brands just outrank most other brands. My top 2 favorites are the Britax B-Lively and the Britax B-Safe 35 travel system. They can support infants with weights of up to 55 pounds and a foldable stroller. Both of them are three-wheel strollers with side-impact protection, a steel frame and an impact absorbing base.