The Evenflo Tribute 5 DLX is one of my top picks in a budget-priced car seat. It’s available for around $60 at Amazon which is quite a bargain. How does it compare to other convertible car seats? Read on for my detailed review.
Tribute 5 DLX vs Sport vs Select
First off, I’d like to point out that the Tribute 5 DLX is a little different from the Tribute Sport and Tribute Select from Evenflo. Each of these seats has the same height and weight limits and uses the same structure, so they share the “Tribute” name. The “DLX” stands for “Deluxe.” The DLX adds infant head & body pillows, harness pads, and a cup holder. Between the Sport and the Select, the Select adds only the harness pads. For a small additional cost, the DLX is better padded and more comfortable – especially for younger babies.
The Tribute is a basic car seat, so it doesn’t have any enhanced safety features such as a reinforced frame or special side-impact bolsters. This is typical of reasonably priced seats. This seat, however, has passed all NHTSA crash tests.
Weight and Dimensions
Depth: 18” – This is a shallow depth which means the Tribute 5 DLX fits well in compact cars, even with taller passengers in front. Combined with a relatively short shell height, it’s one of the more compact seats available.
Width: 17” – This is a very narrow seat, with only the Combi Cocorro being less wide. When installed in the rear center seat of a smaller car, passengers on either side will still have room to sit comfortably. This seat is also well suited if you need to install more than one car seat in the same row.
Height: 25” – The low height means rear visibility for the driver is not affected, with the tradeoff of children outgrowing the seat earlier than many other (typically pricier) models.
Weight: 8.5 pounds – This is a very lightweight seat, which makes it ideal for traveling. It is FAA approved for flight use and as one of the smaller convertible car seats, it should fit most commercial airplanes.
With inexpensive seats, one thing you often sacrifice is a simple installation. The Tribute 5 does take a little work to install properly. There is no level adjustment, so you’ll need to use a rolled up towel or pool noodle if your car’s seats don’t provide the right incline. Also, there isn’t a bubble level indicator, but rather a line which you need to make sure is level with the ground.
The seat offers both LATCH and belt installation. Only one or the other should be used. Both methods are pretty easy aside from leveling.
The Tribute 5 can be used rear facing for infants as small as 5 pounds and weighing up to 35 pounds. The top anchor position of the belt cannot be used when rear facing. The weight limit and belt position mean it can’t be used rear facing as long as some other convertible seats on the market, but this is common for lower priced models.
The forward facing maximum weight is 40 pounds, while the height limit is 40”. These are low limits, so with the price of the seat and its small dimensions you do sacrifice the amount of time it can be used before being outgrown. Expect for this seat to last until your child is 4 to 4 ½ years old before it’s time to move onto a booster seat.
There are 4 different height positions for the shoulder straps. The bottom slot can only be used when rear-facing, while the top slot can only be used forward-facing. The crotch strap has two positions. The level of height adjustment isn’t great, but this is mainly due to the overall dimensions and height limit of the seat.
Fastening the buckles is straightforward. The harness is tightened by pulling an adjustment strap at the front of the seat. This strap can be a bit tough to pull tight enough, especially when used rear facing.
Fabric and Design
You won’t find as good of padding on budget seats as you will on seats such as those in the Britax line. However, the feel of the fabric on the Triumph 5 DLX is quite nice for the money. The cover is removable and machine washable. Unlike many seat covers which need to be air dried, this one can be dried in the dryer on a low heat setting.
Warranty and Customer Service
Evenflo offers only a 90 day warranty on the Tribute 5. This is shorter than the industry average of one year. I’m guessing this is a cost-cutting measure to keep the price down. People generally have very good things to say about Evenflo’s customer service, though, so it may be possible to get help even beyond the warranty period.
All car seats have an expiration date. The Tribute has an expiration date of 6 years from the date of manufacture. Six years is typical for all convertible seats under $100.
Though there are some areas where the Tribute doesn’t match higher-end models, it really is a good seat for the price. There aren’t a lot of good options below $100, and the Tribute is well below that price point at about $60. If you’re on a limited budget, I don’t think you can go wrong with this seat.
The Tribute 5 DLX model includes infant head and body pillows and a cup holder. The cup holder is a bit flimsy but does the job, and many other seats don’t even include one.
- Very reasonably priced
- Relatively small dimensions; good for travel
- Fabric is machine washable and dryer safe
- No recline adjustment or bubble level
- Low height and weight limits
- Harness takes a fair amount of effort to tighten
- Short 90-day warranty
The Evenflo Tribute 5 DLX is a great choice for the money. While high-end seats will allow for easier installation and can be used with older children, they can cost four times as much or more. In terms of features, it has other seats in its price range beat. If you’re looking to spend under $70, it’s my top pick.