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Reading online product reviews is one of the fastest ways to hurl yourself down a deep internet rabbit hole. For every person who adores a product feature, there's someone who hates it; for everyone who says the shoes run small, there's a crowd insisting no, they run big; these people give it 5 stars, those people say 1 -- don't waste your money!
So sometimes the way I like to pick out whatever I'm looking for -- a wooden comb, a cashmere sweater, new floor mats for the car -- by looking for what sells the best. The crowd has voted. There's a majority. That's the one I'm getting.
Amazon makes this particularly easy with its Amazon Best Sellers
page; nothing but the best-selling products in every category, updated hourly. It's like hearing directly from millions of people what hat, brand of toilet paper, or curtains you should pick out.
So according to these millions, these 20 car seats are the ones to get. Judging by this list, Graco is the brand to beat in the online car seat sales world. See for yourself.
1. Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
It converts from a rear-facing infant car seat to a forward-facing 5-point harness seat to a high-back belt-positioning booster to a backless belt-positioning booster, holding children from 4-120 pounds, and it's intended to be a one-and-done car seat for every stage of childhood. Parents say it's "reliable," "comfortable," "the car seat to end all other car seats."
2. Graco Backless TurboBooster Car Seat
Sometimes all you need is a simple booster to lift your child up a few inches to safely use your car's seat belts. Parents say it's "very light and comfortable," "doesn't take up a lot of space," and they love the adjustable cup holders.
3. Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat
A solid, inexpensive convertible that holds babies rear-facing from 5-40 pounds and forward-facing from 20-65 pounds, the Contender is popular for its easy-to-adjust harness system, and easy-to-remove cover, which can be machine-washed. Parents say it's "great and affordable," "easy to install and adjust," and "so fluffy."
4. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat
An almost shocking bargain, this lightweight and compact car seat is very narrow -- just 18.5 inches wide, making it a great bet for 3-across installation (for more narrow seats for 3-in-a-row installs, see our story 13 car seats that fit 3-across in most vehicles). It also weighs in at a mere 9.1 pounds (most car seats weigh from 15 to 25 pounds, and sometimes more), so it's a great seat for travel. The downside? The weight limits are low: 5-30 pounds rear-facing; 22-40 pounds forward-facing.
5. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat
One of Graco's newer seats, the Extend2Fit distinguishes itself with a panel that slides out from the seat's base, giving your child a place to prop their legs. The seat also has extraordinarily generous weight limits: rear-facing from 4-50 pounds, forward-facing from 22-65 pounds, which means all but the biggest of children can safely rear-face to age 2, 3, 4, even longer. Parents say it's "cute, easy to install, easy to adjust," has "fantastic weight limits for the price," although it's "on the heavy side" at 24 pounds.
6. Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
Made to handle kids who have outgrown their rear-facing car seats and are old enough to forward-face, the Nautilus holds front-facing riders from 22-65 pounds; works for riders 30-100 pounds as a high-backed booster, and converts to a backless booster for children from 40-100 pounds. Parents say it "Checks all of the boxes for safety, price point, and build design," "has all the safety, style, comfort, and functionality you need for less than half the price," and they like the "integrated cup holder and the little cubbies in the arm rests."
7. Graco Affix Backless Youth Booster Car Seat
Made to hold little riders from 40-100 pounds and from 40-57 inches, the Affix has an advantage over most booster seats: it connects to the LATCH system in your car, so if you should happen to hit the brakes hard, or get in an accident, when the seat isn't buckled in and/or is empty, it stays in place. A seat without this system that's empty or not buckled in turns into a projectile that can injure others in the car. Parents say it "works well," and that their kids love the cup holder, the snack holder, and the slide-out "little hidey tray to cram all kinds of small junk in."
8. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
An economical choice with great weight limits -- rear-facing 5-40 pounds, forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds -- and an easy-to-remove and machine-washable cover, this car seat is popular with parents who say "AMAZING!" "well-made and easy to use," "so much comfier than the older model.
9. BubbleBum Backless Booster Car Seat
Yes, this little blowup gadget is safety-tested, and certified to boost your child 40-100 pounds up to safely use your car's seatbelt. At only 13.2 inches wide, it fits in even the tightest spots, and it's great for travel or carpools. Parents say: "The name and concept are ridiculous, but, by golly, the thing actually works perfect," "very easy to use and super portable," "two blows of air and you're set."
10. Evenflo Chase LX Harnessed Booster
Use the Chase as 5-point-harnessed forward-facing car seat from 20-40 pounds, then convert it to a belt-positioning booster from 40-110 pounds. Parents say "fits well in smaller cars," "quality fabric," "easy to put in and take out of the car."
11. Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster
A low-cost booster option that's sleek and narrow and fits well next to wider seats, this belt-positioning booster is very popular with parents, who say "comfy, super quick to buckle up," "cushy back, one-handed adjustment, sleek design," "The arm rests are nice and high, making it easy to thread the seatbelt under it."
12. Britax Boulevard G4.1 Convertible Car Seat
Holding children rear-facing from 5-40 pounds, and forward-facing from 20-65 pounds, Britax is beloved by parents for its souped-up safety and nice features, like the one-hand adjustable harness. Parents say "super cozy," "safe and comfortable," and that the LATCH system is "easy to use, no fighting and digging to wiggle the latch off like standard latches."
13. Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat
One of Evenflo's older models, the Maestro holds children forward-facing from 22-50 pounds (and 28-50 inches, making this seat ideal for taller kids). After they outgrow that stage, the seat converts to a belt-positioning booster for children from 40-110 pounds and 43-57 inches. Parents say "plush and comfortable," "perfect for flying with toddlers," and "great seat for a great price."
14. Disney APT Convertible Car Seat
Cosco's APT seat is well-known for being lightweight and very inexpensive. The weight limits, however, are rather tight: rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds and forward-facing 22 to 40 pounds. The height limits -- up to 43 inches -- are more generous, but it's likely your child will outgrow this seat before outgrowing convertible seats in general. Parents say "simply adorable," "for the price, this is a nice car seat," and "comfortable, winsome and safe."
15. Britax G1.1 Frontier ClickTight Combination Seat
Parents interested in keeping children in a 5-point harness while front-facing for an extended length of time will want to give this seat a look. It holds riders aged 2 and up in the harness from 25 to an almost unheard-of 90 pounds. The maximum height for the harness is 58 inches, which should hold all but the very tallest of kids for a long time too. Once you're done with the harness, the seat converts to a booster that holds riders up to 120 pounds (and 62 inches). Parents say "the ClickTight feature is A-MAZING....single-handedly saved me from buying yet another seat for a different car as the install is easy enough that I don't mind switching it between vehicles on a semi-recurring basis."
16. Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat
Consistently on or near the top of best booster seat lists, the AMP is just hassle-free. It's lightweight, comfy, inexpensive, easy to put in and take out of the car, and has handy cupholders. Parents say "These are rugged yet lightweight, but heavy enough for me to feel my cargo is safe!" and "Looks and feels good."
17. mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat
This unusual entry into the booster seat market is little more than a small plastic seat with slide-out sections that guide the seatbelt properly around riders age 4 and up and 40-100 pounds. It is tiny enough to fit in a glovebox or diaper bag and weighs less than 2 pounds, yet it's safety-tested to U.S. standards. It's primarily marketed as a travel/occasional-use booster. Parents say it's "easy to take on trips," "fits wonderfully in a backpack for playdates," and "perfect for airline travel."
18. Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 Infant Car Seat
One of the most popular infant car seats on the market, the SnugRide has been a parent favorite for years due to its modest price, solid features, and straightforward installation. Parents say "we love how light it is," "works perfect," and "best infant car seat for the price."
19. Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
This combination seat holds forward-facing riders in a 5-point harness from 22-65 pounds and then converts to a highback booster for kids from 30-100 pounds. Like many other harness-to-booster or combination seats, this seat does not convert to a backless booster, which accounts for the bargain price. Parents like the hard plastic cup holders that don't spill drinks and say "it is so comfortable" and "great seat for the price."
20. Britax USA Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
The final seat on our list boasts Britax's popular ClickTight technology -- thread a seatbelt through, close a central section, and the seat is in as tight as a drum. It holds riders rear-facing from 5-40 pounds and forward-facing from 20-65 pounds. Parents say "it's easy to install correctly," "the best brand," and "though heavy, I feel like it's safe."
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Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.