Best All-in-One Car Seats of 2019

Best All-in-One Car Seats of 2019

November 14, 2019

Best All-in-One Car Seats of 2019

Best All-in-One Car Seats of 2019

Car seat safety ranks pretty high on the list of the things parents think about throughout their little one’s life. Making sure your baby or toddler is in a safe, comfortable car seat and meets the proper weight and height requirements as they grow is pretty important. That often means purchasing an infant car seat for your baby, a convertible car seat for your toddler and ultimately a booster seat for your bigger kiddo. But is there a better way?

Meet the all-in-one car seat, the one-and-done solution to the multiple car seat conundrum.

What is an all-in-one car seat?

An all-in-one car seat is a convertible seat that’s designed to work from the baby days all the way through the big kid years. Many all-in-one seats boast a lifespan of about 10 years, meaning that instead of purchasing three (or even four) different seats as your child grows, you’ll only need to purchase one.

All-in-one seats transform from rear-facing seats to forward-facing ones, then ultimately to booster seats. (Some convert to both highback and then backless boosters, while other models end up only as highback booster seats.)

What are the pros and cons of an all-in-one car seat?

There are both pros and cons to all-in-one car seats, so you’ll want to think them through before deciding on the seat that’s right for your family.

The biggest pros of an all-in-one seat are cost and convenience. Depending on which car seat models you choose, it’s often much more economical to purchase one more expensive all-in-one seat than it is to buy three or four separate seats over the course of 10 years. An all-in-one also eliminates the hassle of having to research and purchase a new car seat every few years—and we’re always down with anything that eases decision fatigue and makes parent life that much easier.

The biggest cons of an all-in-one seat? Portability—or lack thereof. All-in-one seats are cumbersome and heavy. Once they’re installed, you’re not going to want to deal with moving them around all that much. And speaking of moving them around…if you’re planning on using an all-in-one seat with your infant, you’re going to lose some portability there too. An infant bucket seat is easily snapped in and out of a car, and then often right into a stroller, meaning you won’t have to disturb baby every time you get out of the car. You’ll lose that luxury if you’re using an all-in-one seat from day one.

One other thing to consider in the con category is how the seat will hold up over time. Ten years is a long time to keep any piece of baby gear, let alone one that’s probably going to endure a lot of spills and wear and tear. You’ll want to keep that in mind while you’re trying to make your decision.

Babylist’s All-in-One Car Seat Best Picks

Best Overall All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

Highly rated, endlessly adjustable, safe and boasting a 10-year lifespan, this four-in-one car seat pretty much has it all. A true one-and-done seat, it works just as well for a four-pound newborn as it does for a 120-pound bigger kid and for every stage in between, easily transitioning from a rear-facing seat to a forward-facing one and then to a highback and ultimately a backless booster. This convertible seat can be installed using LATCH or via your car’s seat belt and has a six-position recline, 10-position adjustable headrest and a no re-thread harness that adjusts the harness and headrest in one motion.

Keep in Mind

This seat has a machine washable cover, a feature that many parents appreciate. But there are specific cleaning instructions for other areas of the seat, like the buckle and straps, so be sure to consult the instruction manual before you try to tackle any larger messes.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I’ve used this car seat since we brought my little 6-lb son home from the hospital! I love that it will fit him for the length of his car seat-sitting days, which makes this the economical choice. The no-rethread harness makes changing the size of the headrest super easy.” -Katie R.

Weight and Height Requirements
Rear Facing 4–40 lbs
Forward Facing 22–65 lbs and 27–52”
Highback Booster 40–100 lbs and 38–57”
Backless Booster 40–120 lbs and 40–57”

Easiest to Install All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

The Evenflo EveryStage is a well-priced, easy-to-install seat that’s packed with features that both you and your little one will enjoy. The seat goes from infant to convertible to highback booster (there’s no backless option here) and grows with your child up to 120 pounds. The EasyClick LATCH System uses a built-in ratchet that solves for one of the most common issues when installing a car seat: a tight install. There’s also a machine-washable seat pad, recline options that provide extra support and minimize head slump, cup holders and extended rear-facing options for added safety.

Keep in Mind

This seat is on the larger side, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to use it in a smaller car or you’re pressed for space in the back seat.

Weight and Height Requirements
Rear Facing 4–50 lbs and 17–43”
Forward Facing 22–65 lbs, 28-50” and at least 2 years old
Booster 40-120 lbs, 44-57” and at least 4 years old

Best High-End All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

Looking for a little bit of luxury and a lot of safety features? Look no further than the EXEC, Nuna’s first-ever all-in-one seat. You’ll find a long list of high-end, unique elements here not available in other similar seats. The EXEC has an all-steel frame along with an anti-rebound bar and an adjustable leg rest that allows for longer rear facing and a more comfortable forward-facing experience for your little rider. There’s also side impact protection pods, an 8-position recline and 12-position adjustable head support, cup holders, a no re-thread five-point harness and some seriously beautiful, breathable seat fabric. This seat is also on the slimmer side, so you can fit three across in most mid-size vehicles.

Keep in Mind

All of this amazingness doesn’t come cheap, as the EXEC has one of the highest price points of all the seats on our list. Also, some parents say the pop-up cup holders can be tough to get back down.

What Babylist Parents Say

“After countless car seats (I have three kids), this is hands-down my favorite. The fabrics, the added safety features, the footrest and even the design and the way it looks in my van are incredible. To have a seat that can last through all stages is worth every cent.” -Dawn F

Weight and Height Requirements
Rear Facing 5–50 lbs or 5–35 lbs with lower anchor belts
Forward Facing 25–65 lbs with seat belt; 25–40 lbs with anchor belt
Belt-Positioning Booster 40–120 lbs, 38–57” and at least 4 years old

Best Narrow All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

Diono car seats are known for their slim design and ability to fit three across a back seat, and this 3-in-1 model is no exception. This seat features a slim profile yet still accommodates rear-facing babies as tiny as five pounds all the way through bigger kids up to 120 pounds in booster mode. Some of our favorite features of this seat include its steel core construction, extended rear-facing capabilities, easy LATCH installation and a custom “nesting” insert that helps newborns feel secure and cozy. And did we mention there are eight fun, bright custom colors to choose from?

Keep in Mind

Planning a trip? The 3RXT isn’t light, but it does fold flat for easy (well, easier) travel.

Weight and Height Requirements
Rear Facing 5–45 lbs; up to 44”
Forward Facing 20–65 lbs; up to 57”
Booster 50–120 lbs; up to 57”

Most Comfortable All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

At a price point a bit higher than the popular Graco 4Ever but significantly lower than the Nuna EXEC, the Magellan is a solid choice for parents looking for an all-in-one car seat with a good range of safety and luxury features. This seat transforms from an extended rear-facing seat to a forward-facing seat and then finally a booster. (And converting it from one configuration to the next is pretty intuitive.) We love the comfort features like wicking fabric, extra cushioning and a seven-position recline and 14-position headrest, as well as the safety features like a headrest with adjustable side impact protection that grows with your little one.

Keep in Mind

This seat has a pretty large footprint, especially when it’s converted to booster mode.

Weight Requirements
Rear Facing 5–40 lbs
Forward Facing 22–65 lbs
Booster 40–120 lbs

Best Affordable All-in-One Car Seat

Why We Love It

The Safety 1st Grow and Go seat is proof that you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get a safe, comfortable all-in-one car seat. The 3-in-1 adaptability goes from rear-facing for babies and growing toddlers to forward-facing for toddlers and kids and then ultimately to a belt-positioning highback booster for big kids. Despite its lower price point, the seat is packed with features and conveniences like a machine washable and dryer safe seat pad (which comes off without having to remove the seat’s harness, which we love), two cup holders, a three-position recline, and a no-rethread harness. The seat also features side impact protection and a grow-with-baby “pillow” for a more comfortable ride.

Keep in Mind

Squirmy kids + loose harness straps can equal lots of car seat frustration. This seat boasts harness holders, one of our favorite car seat features of all time; there’s one on each side to hold the straps back, making the process of taking your little one in and out of the car a lot more pleasant for everyone.

Weight and Height Requirements
Rear Facing 5–40 lbs and 19–40”
Forward Facing 22–65 lbs and 29–49”
Booster 40–100 lbs and 42–52”
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