Our editors have independently selected the items featured in this article because we think they’re worth knowing about. Shop TODAY has affiliate relationships so we may get a small share of the revenue if you buy something through our links.
Is there any consumer purchase new parents worry more about than buying a car seat? If you're like most of us, you use it multiple times a day, and you've got to worry about safety, ease of installation, price and comfort, among other things.
The Wirecutter, a product-review site owned by The New York Times, dug in to see which convertible car seats made the grade, sharing the results in a March 16, 2018 article.
"After 20 hours of research, including testing nine popular convertible car seats at home and crash-testing six finalists in a top lab to measure their side-impact performance, we think the Britax Marathon ClickTight is the best one for most families," the site wrote.
Stuff We Love
A convertible car seat is one that can be installed rear-facing, then turned around after a certain age to face front, unlike infant seats, which always face the rear. State laws vary on when a seat can be turned around, with different height, age and weight restrictions.
Even if you have older children, check your state's current rules. Many states that once required only children under a year to ride rear-facing have upped their requirement to age 2. (Look up your state's car-seat requirements here.) In fact, Rebecca Gale, the author of The Wirecutter's article, notes that she only recently turned her son's convertible car seat around, and he's 4½.
Here's a look at the winning seat, and the runner-up.
The best convertible car seats
- 1. The top choice: Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat, $230 (usually $280), Amazon
Wirecutter raved about this seat, saying it "performed better than any other seat in our side-impact crash-testing, earns excellent safety scores in government front-impact tests, and is significantly less frustrating to install than any other convertible car seat we’ve ever used." The company's own ClickTight installation system uses your car's seat belt rather than the sometimes-difficult-to-locate LATCH system. You can use it rear-facing for children up to 40 pounds. The only disadvantage? No built-in cupholder.
- 2. The runner-up: Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, $159, Walmart
The Wirecutter testers found the Graco Extend2Fit tougher to install, but were able to make it work. It performed second to the top pick Britax in crash testing, and is slightly lighter (22 pounds to Britax's 28.4), which makes it a little easier to move than that seat. It can also hold heavier kids (50 pounds vs. 40 for the Britax), is cheaper, and has not one, but two built-in cupholders. Juice box hero!
For more expert recommended items, check out:
Shop TODAY takes care to recommend our favorite items chosen by trusted experts and editors, as well as inform our readers of great deals, customer favorites, and newsworthy products from around the web. For more on our process, click here.