Best Convertible Car Seats Guide

best convertible car seats
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Latest posts by Eran Jones, Child Passenger Safety Technician and Advocate (see all)

In America & Canada for that matter, there are no safety rating scales for car seats. We do have peace of mind knowing that the federal standards for both countries are pretty stringent and strict before they release anything on the market.

A convertible car seat is a seat that does both rear-facing and forward-facing.

When shopping for Convertible Car seats what you need to look for:

  • Compatibility– Does this seat fit my vehicle? Seats are not universal.
  • Affordability– Is this something I can afford?
  • Features– Will this seat get me to the booster stage or will I need to purchase a designated booster seat?
  • Safety– Will this seat offer the safety I need for my child?
  • Fashion– Color doesn’t affect how a seat works in a crash. Should not be a criterion when looking for what is best for your child.

Let’s take a look into what is our top 5 recommended seats as technicians.

Cosco Scenera Next

Best Convertible Car Seats: cosco scenera next

Rear Facing Limits: 5-40 lbs, 19-40″, or head 1″ below the top of the 23″ shell
Forward Facing Limits: 22-40 lbs, 29-43″, with 13″ top harness slots
Expiration: 8 years

The Cosco Scenera Next is one of my favorite low-cost options. Having experienced being a single mum and having to use transit on a regular basis, this seat is by far the easiest to lug around when shopping and traveling. It does come in a variety of bright fun colors and even has some Disney-themed models.

I really enjoy how easy it is to install and keep babies rear-facing for such a low cost. My child did outgrow this seat before ever being able to use forward facing. This was a bummer however not a dealbreaker.


  • This seat is one of the most recommended compact seats in both the US and Canada.
  • It is a basic affordable seat that allows you to rear-face in smaller cars until at least minimum age of 2, which is recommended by the AAP and NHSTA.
  • It comes in many fun colors and is very easy to install.
  • This seat is extremely lightweight and allows for easy transportation making it great for plane travel as well.


  • This seat has a 40lbs overall weight limit and a 40inch height limit rear-facing and 43inch forward-facing.
  • This poses some issues as the harness height limit is very short.
  • Meaning often times this seat is outgrown forward-facing before the rear-facing limits are even met.

Evenflo Titan65 / Sureride

Best Convertible Car Seats: Evenflo Titan65

Rear Facing Limits: 5-40 lbs, 19-40″, or head 1″ below the top of the 25″ shell
Forward Facing Limits: 22-65 lbs, 29-54″, with 19″ top harness slots

Expiration: 6 years

Another great low-cost option, the Evenflo Titan65 or Sureride was one of the most recommended for lower-income families as this seat allowed folks to keep their taller children harnessed until booster readiness. With a 19-inch harness height limit, it made great strides in keeping kiddos harnessed.  This is my favorite seat to recommend here in Canada where it is still available.


  • Affordable and lightweight.
  • This seat has a 40lbs 40inch rear-facing limit and a 54inch 65lbs forward-facing limit.
  • It is also equipped with a 19inch harness height making it one of the highest harness heights available for convertible seats on the market.
  • It is a versatile seat that fits the majority of vehicles and is also a really good fit for airplane travel.
Titan rf
2018 Kia Sedona. Photo by Eran Jones


  • One of the biggest flaws is that the seat can be quite large front to back in some vehicles.
  • With only one required recline line it makes it not a great choice if you have a smaller vehicle.

Recently retired as a program only seat in the US.

Graco Extend2fit

Graco Extend2fit

Rear Facing Limits: 4-50 lbs, head 1″ below the adjuster of the headrest
Forward Facing Limits: 22-65 lbs, up to 49″, with 17.5″ top harness slots

Expiration: 10 years

Now, this seat is by far one of my personal favorites. Before the loss of my children, I had no idea how much-extended rear-facing was going to become a part of my life. When this seat was first introduced, it was a game changer for the North American market.

With a whopping 49inch and 50lbs rear-facing limit it is the longest-lasting rear-facing option available.  Along with the extended rear-facing option, this seat also provides the most compact footprint on the market for convertibles.


  • Extended Rear-Facing capabilities with a weight limit of 50lbs and height limit of 49 inches.
  • It has a longer shell which allows those taller children to stay rear-facing longer.
  • With 4 allowable reclines available in the USfor rear-facing it is one of the most compact options available.


  • With the extender panel out it will take more room front to back losing that compact aspect.
  • The harness sometimes becomes difficult to tighten when forward-facing. 

Chicco NextFit

Chicco NextFit

Rear Facing Limits: 5-40 lbs, up to 43″ or 49″ *, head contained in the fully extended 26″ headrest
Forward Facing Limits: 22-65 lbs, up to 49″, with 17.5″ top harness slots
Expiration: 8 years

*Please check your date of Manufacturer for accurate height limits as updates were made.

As Canadian, we are limited on what seats we have up here. However, when I get to play in the US, this seat is always one I love to see.

We will call this one my DREAM seat. With multiple reclines and that oh-so-amazing zip feature that allows you to easily remove the cover for easy washing. It is amongst some of the compact footprint seats and allows you to rear-face your child comfortably until they are ready to be turned around.


  • This seat although not amongst the most compact is still in that category.
  • It is easy to install.
  • It comes with lock-offs and easy-to-remove covers on the zip models.
  • This convertible allows for 9 different recline positions to get you the best recline for your vehicle.


  • Unlike many seats on the market, this seat does not allow for a pool noodle or towel to help with the recline.
  • It is higher in the price range for convertibles.

Clek Foonf/Fllo

infant thingy

Rear Facing Limits: 14-50 lbs, 25″ through 43″, sitting unassisted, with the head 1″ below the top of the fully extended 26″ headrest
Forward Facing Limits: 22-65 lbs, 30-49″, with 17″ top harness slots
Expiration: 9 years

clek fllo

When I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter I knew I wanted to get the best of the best to keep her protected. Now, this was before becoming a car seat technician and before learning that all seats sold on the market have been thoroughly tested to meet safety standards. However, I must say I am not disappointed with this purchase.

Cutie pie

The lock-off system makes for easy installation and allows you to get it into some pretty intricate 3 situations. I was disappointed that for infants you needed to purchase a separate piece after spending so much on the seat already.  They have some of the most amazing customer service and a database for fits multiple vehicles.

clek foonf


  • Extended rear-facing capabilities, Narrow for possible 3 across situations.
  • Equipped with a rebound bar.
  • The rebound bar controls the rearward movement in a collision and lowers the distance your child’s body rebounds in a collision.
  • This seat offers a one-time conversion sticker for those who move from the US to Canada.


  • The Clek Fllo can be quite large from front to back so not ideal for small vehicles.
  • While the Foonf has a small front-to-back space since it sits higher it can create a blind spot. 
  • Although extremely eco-conscious as a company, their seats are quite difficult to wash.
  • The Clek cleaning kit is amazing for this.
  • These convertibles can not be used for infants without the infant thingy which is sold separately.
Please note although these seats are the same in US and Canada, the weight limits permitted for the Foonf are not the same.

Why Are These Choices Top 5?

When it comes to making a top 5, it doesn’t mean that it is the same for all technicians. I personally like these 5 seats due to the different features each provides. For me and a majority of technicians when I make suggestions extended rear-facing is a huge factor.

Extended rear-facing provides the extra time your child’s spine needs to solidify. This is the factor between life and death in a collision. During impact, a rear-facing seat will keep your child’s head, neck, and spine in an aligned position causing minimum transfer of the crash forces.

Some of our choices do not offer extended rear-facing capabilities, however, they offer affordability and usability.  With the majority of my clients being from low-income backgrounds, affordability plays a deciding role when making a suggestion.

I also wanted to remind folks that even though a seat does not offer a 50lbs rear-facing limit, the average toddler will not reach 40lbs or 40inches until at least age 3 even 4. 16 US states have updated their laws to rear-facing until minimum age 2.

chico seats

Convertible vs All In One or 4-1 Which Is the Best Choice?

In reality, a Convertible seat can last you until booster readiness.  Cost wise it is sometimes cheaper to buy a convertible seat followed by a designated booster later on when needed.  Generally, you will use a harness for your child from newborn until at least the minimum age of 5.

The highest weight limits a seat in the US and Canada has for sale on the regular market is 65lbs. There are a few other seats no longer in production that had a higher weight limit. Some are still floating around, however, could be close to expiry.

Some adaptive seating options will have a higher harness limit and different functions. It is best that caregivers who might have children with specific medical and behavioral needs reach out to their medical teams for assistance in getting the right fitted seat for their child.


Question: Why should my child rear-face?

Answer: You as an adult have grown big and strong and the spine that acts as a protection to the spinal cord has had time to solidify. Your child’s spine has just started to grow. Ossification in children does not start to happen until closer to age 2 and continues to solidify as they grow older.

Question: What if we are hit from behind?

Answer: The majority of high-impact collisions happen from the front. So, you are less likely to be hit from behind at nonsurvivable rates.  With physics, everything goes toward movement. In a rear-facing position, your child will be cradled into the seat, keeping all the important parts of the body protected. 

Question: My seat says I can forward-face my child at 1 so why shouldn’t I do that if I must follow the manufacturer’s instructions?

Answer: Many manufacturers are working on providing their customers with updated information and instructions. As many know change takes time and does cost money. Some of these seats are mass-produced and manuals as well. To not be wasteful they continue to use older stickers and manuals until they run out or old stock is sold.

Question: My child is uncomfortable. Their legs are all bent.

Answer: You would be extremely surprised to see how flexible your child actually is. Take a game of hiding and seek when your child hides in a drawer. Or under their favorite play climber.

Best Convertible Car Seats: Conclusion

When it all comes down to it, the best choice is what works for your child, vehicle, and most of all budget. You don’t need to spend a fortune in making sure your child is secured properly in the car.

As a mom of 5, two of which are now angels, I thrive to make sure that my children will always have the best to keep them safe. As a child passenger safety Advocate and technician, it is my job and duty to ensure that all passengers in your vehicle are riding as safely as they can.

As a technician, I get to try out multiple seats on a daily basis and the ones my children use most are Graco Extend2fit, Clek Fllo and Britax Frontier, and Highpoint. For me my choices are based on personal trauma and also those that accommodate my lifestyle and my growing children. It is hard to imagine I do not drive! So having to use multiple vehicles at any given time I need to make sure that I have a seat for every situation.

I am blessed to have the access to have these seats, I know it’s not possible for everyone.

My most recommended convertible car seat is the Cosco Scenera Next for smaller vehicles. It is cost-effective and allows folks to rear-face an average size toddler to a safe age where bone maturity will be more prominent.  With the majority of my client base being low-income, this is the easiest to acquire and install.

For those with huskier children the top choice that I recommend is the Graco Extend2Fit.  With its multiple reclines to find the perfect fit for your vehicle and easy installation with premium LATCH. The cover is machine washable on a gentle cycle with mild detergent this allows for quick and easy clean-up.

Mom tip of the day….

In life folks need to slow down and appreciate every moment. Your child won’t remember the flashy colors or the extra head cushion when they graduate.  Them making it to Graduation, because you as a parent or caregiver gave them the best chance at safety is all that matters.

Saving Lives, One Car Seat At A Time


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