What are some inexpensive convertible car seats?
Prices on car seats range from under $50 to nearly $400. While the more expensive car seats may have a bit nicer materials and features to simplify installation, it’s still possible to get a great deal on a seat which is very safe for your child.
All car seats must pass crash tests performed by the NHTSA to be available on the market, so a $50 seat has passed the same tests that a $300 seat has.
Keep in mind that it’s not recommended to purchase a used car seat. The protective shell of a car seat wears out over time, and once damaged a seat may not protect in a crash. If you’re not 100% sure the seat has never been damaged and that it’s well before its expiration date, you should pass on buying a used model.
Cosco, Evenflo, Graco, and Safety 1st all offer some good bargains on new car seats.
While I don’t have a recommendation for a good-quality seat under $50, there are lots of great options under $100, and some well below that price.
Under $80, I recommend one of two seats. First is the Evenflo Tribute 5 DLX. The fabric is better quality than you might expect for the price, and the padding is comfortable. Next is the Safety 1st onSide Air. This seat is more compact than most, making it a great fit for smaller cars. Both are safe, good quality seats. Do keep in mind that they both have a maximum weight limit of 40 pounds, so you’ll need to move to a booster seat earlier than some other models.
Under $100, I would go with the Graco Classic Ride 50. It has a 50 pound weight limit, so your child won’t outgrow it quite as quickly as other cheaply priced car seats. It also includes a removable infant insert, which makes it a good fit for newborns. The Classic Ride 50 is also fairly compact and lightweight.