Top 25 Best Affordable Car Seats Between $100 – $250
You have probably seen baby car seats and travel systems online that sell for a quite a few hundred dollars or more. However, as this guide list will prove, it isn’t difficult to find some of the safest, most reliable and best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 price range that will keep your child safe during short or long car rides without breaking the bank.
The best bargain car seats for you and your family will depend on your budget, style, favorite brands, and your baby’s needs. More and more parents are opting for all-in-one car seats since they save money and mean less upgrading down the line. They are a good option for families on a budget, but they do have some drawbacks. They are heavy, bulky, and often fit small infants poorly.
No matter which route you choose, the number one consideration for any car seat you buy should always be safety.
Since a car seat is a critical piece of safety equipment, you should stick to reputable retailers and well-reviewed car seats. You are probably already aware that every child’s car seat has an expiration date after which they are no longer compliant with federal safety standards.
Be wary of steeply discounted car seats, since they may be nearing their expiration date, and may not last until your child is ready for a new seat.
As you will see from our extensive list below, there are many safe and high-quality car seats available for less than 250 dollars. With lots of great customer reviews and great star ratings for each of the listed car seats, these mid-range priced car seats may prove great choices when you torn between choosing cheaper seats you are not so sure about or pricier premium car seats that may provide a greater level of comfort but may not necessarily fall within your budget.
We have tried to discuss the pros and cons of each car seat on our list to make your selection process easier.
Top 25 Best Affordable Car Seats Between $100 – $250
The Evenflo Symphony DLX is among the top 25 best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 due to its reputation as an elegant and versatile option for children between 5 and 110 pounds.
This stylish and ergonomic car seat has three modes to make traveling with your child easy at any age. As a rear-facing seat, it will accommodate your baby until they are 40 pounds. When they reach the toddler stage, flip it around and it becomes a forward facing car seat.
Finally, you can use the Evenflo Symphony DLX as a booster seat. It has clever touches like a multi-position recline option and two cup holders for storing your child’s drinks or their special treasures. Both you and your child will appreciate the Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat, Ocala‘s cushioned design and the well-padded machine-washable car seat cover.
However, if you’re looking for even more features, the Evenflo SafeMax Platinum is a great option from the same company. It offers temperature balancing fabric to keep your child comfortable, can fit children up to 120 pounds and is one of the first rollover crash tested car seat.
May be the only car seat you need to buy
Incredibly safe, meets or exceeds Federal Safety Standards
Made in the United States
Easy to install, easy to adjust harness, easy to remove and wash cover
The fabric may degrade before your child outgrows the seat
Incredibly bulky, may not fit well in smaller vehicles
In rear-facing mode, young infants’ heads may fall forward
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat is a fantastic choice for children from 5 pounds to 100 pounds.
It can be difficult to find an all-in-one seat among the best bargain car seats that comfortably fits in a small vehicle. Compared to similar 3-in-1 car seats, the Grow and Go car seat leaves up to 7 inches more room in the front.
This makes it ideal for use in smaller vehicles. It’s also perfect for families with multiple kids since they won’t need to squeeze past an oversized seat to get out of the car.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Blue Coral is also somewhat lighter than other all-in-ones, which makes it easier to move from one car to another if necessary. This versatile car seat is perfect fit for both babies and young children and comes in several appealing low-key colors.
The neutral fabric choice makes it perfect for both boys and girls and looks great in the back seat. Bigger kids will appreciate that the seat is well-padded and will make good use of the dual drink cups. A multi-point recline system and optional infant padding pillows make it a comfortable ride for baby, too!
Leaves up to 7 inches more room in the front than similar car seats
Harness holders make buckling wiggly or fussy children easier
Removable infant pillows offer extra support for newborns
Can be difficult to properly fit and tighten into the back seat
Like most all-in-ones, infants may slump forward in the seat
Parents complain the latch system can be difficult to adjust and buckle
The Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat is routinely among the highest rated top 25 best affordable car seats that you can find between $100 – $250.
This car seat has two modes: a rear-facing option for infants and toddlers up to two years old, and a forward-facing option which will suit older children until they are 65 pounds and ready for a booster seat instead.
The Graco Contender makes use of a Simply Safe Adjust Harness System and an 8-position adjustable headrest which makes it easy to adjust the seat to fit your baby’s needs but does not require re-threading of the harness afterward.
You can use either the integrated LATCH system or your vehicle’s seatbelt to secure the car seat, though some parents find that tightening the straps require some effort to properly secure.
Despite this, it’s still a great choice for families which move their car seats frequently given that it fits well into smaller vehicles.
If you like the Graco brand, but want a true all-in-one car seat, you may want to consider the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, which will last throughout childhood but which costs nearly twice as much as the Contender.
Easy to adjust head rest and harness with no need to re-thread the harness straps
Fits easily in sedans and three door pickups, unlike many all-in-ones
Does have a single drink cup, though it cannot be removed for cleaning
Tightening straps require a lot of force to create a secure fit
Does not have an option to recline
Headrest inst as soft as it could be, and harness straps are unpadded
The Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat is at the top of the list of best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 both because of its price and its performance.
With a price tag just shy of the $250 mark, it may seem like a less favorable buy, but it is routinely rated the number one infant car seat in America.
With features like a one-pull harness adjustment which easily secures the five-point harness and spring-loaded leveling system, it’s easy to see why so many parents consider the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base, Lilla to be one of the easiest car seats to install.
Need to use the Keyfit in multiple vehicles? Instead of re-securing the seat each time, simply buy an extra base, and you can simply and quickly transfer your baby from one car to another.
Easy to install the base, and easy to connect and disconnect the seat
Many cute fabric choices to pick from
Compatible with most Chicco travel systems and strollers
Some versions have a limited sun canopy that provides limited protection
Only fits from birth to thirty pounds, unlike all-in-ones
Carry handle requires two hands to adjust
Once your little one is ready to transition to a forward-facing car seat, the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat can safely see them through the rest of their childhood years.
The open-loop seat belt guides will properly position an adult seat belt across your child’s chest once they’re the proper age, and when they are more than 40 pounds, the backrest can be removed, turning the car seat into a backless booster seat. The steel reinforced frame ensures kids up to 100 pounds will be safe and secure.
A drink holder and a small storage compartment are built into the seat, giving your child somewhere to keep small toys or snacks. All in all, the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Fern is a great value-minded car seat for young ones who have outgrown their first car seat and are ready for a ‘big kid’ seat.
Easy to remove and wash padded fabric cover
Comes in several non-obnoxious gender neutral color options
Ideal for taller than average toddlers and children
Adjusting the crotch buckle and shoulder straps is extremely difficult
Very little head support for sleeping children
It does recline but positions are limited making sleep uncomfortable
When your little girl outgrows her first car seat, the Disney KidsEmbrace Toddler Harness Booster Car Seat offers safety features and comfort fit for a princess.
While this particular seat features Minnie Mouse, several other Disney character seats are also offered. This high back booster seat can be used either with the included five point harness, or you can use it as a belt positioning booster once your child is over 30 pounds.
The quick button attach and release makes it easy to move this seat from one vehicle to another, and the contoured shapes make it ideal for long distance car rides.
Your child will love the two cup holders for storing drinks and snacks. Considering the price, the Disney KidsEmbrace Combination Toddler Harness Booster Car Seat, Mickey Mouse is well made and durable and fully deserves its spot among the top 25 best affordable car seats.
Tall and well-padded back and headrest make sleeping comfortable
Fun and durable Disney character printed fabric
Cup holders do not come off, making them safer and less likely to be lost
Five point harness buttons are somewhat easy for small children to undo
Minnie’s ears are large, and can somewhat obstruct the view out the back
Can be annoying to strap into a vehicle, but once it is in it is very secure
If you’ve been searching for an economic travel system for your infant, then look no further than the Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System.
The rear-facing car seat fits babies up to 35 pounds and has four adjustable harness heights to help fit your baby no matter how small or tall they are. For extra newborn support, removable head and body pillows create a snugger fit. The seat is also designed to be at a better reclining angle than many car seats for infant comfort.
The stroller has all of the features you would expect from a high-end travel system, such as child and parent trays, flip-flop friendly brakes, highly agile wheels, and an extra large storage basket beneath.
The car seat connects to the stroller with an easy to use one handed click-in system, and the extra large canopy allows for a comfortable ride even on sunny or chilly walks.
Best of all, the whole system is easy to assemble and the stroller folds compactly with one motion. Considering that the seat alone would be worthy of making the list of best affordable car seats, this is a great travel system for parents on a budget.
Inexpensive but well-made travel system that grows with your child
Great wheel movement makes for easy maneuverability and a smooth ride
Stroller folds compactly; less bulky than many travel system strollers
Car seat can sometimes be difficult to disconnect from its base
Seat is on the smaller side, and some babies may quickly outgrow it
When your little crime fighter is ready to graduate from a rear-facing car seat, the WB KidsEmbrace Combination Toddler Harness Booster Car Seat offers a whimsical alternative to standard high-back booster seats.
Your child will love riding with batman, and the blue cape is a playful addition that means this seat is not only safe and practical but fun as well.
Practical touches include the option to use either a padded five-point harness or the built-in seat belt adjuster, a heavily padded three position head rest, and LATCH connectors for easy install. Kids will love the dual cup holders and comfortable contoured seat that makes long car rides easier. But mostly, your child will simply love how cool this seat is!
Keep in mind that it is somewhat larger than similar booster seats, and some parents find it difficult to unbuckle. Furthermore, you many need help to install the seat. That said, the KidsEmbrace is a fun option among the 25 best affordable car seats.
Children absolutely love riding in the car with batman
Dual cup holders offer lots of room for drinks and snacks
Large padded head rest makes sleeping in he car safe and comfortable
Bottom of the seat needs more padding; little ones complain it is too hard
Five point harness can be difficult to unbuckle for kids and parents alike
Batman will always be watching you from the rear view mirror
Thanks to its well-thought out features, clean design, and practicality, the Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster is one of the best-reviewed booster seats on the market, and an easy addition to the list of the 25 best affordable car seats between $100 – $250.
One of the unique safety features of this booster seat is its lap belt clip which helps keep your car’s seat belt properly positioned on your child’s lap and helps prevent abdominal injuries in case of an accident.
The ISOFLEX LATCH system keeps the seat secure in the car even when your child isn’t in it, which prevents the booster from becoming a hazardous projectile after a collision. The headrest is well padded and highly adjustable, and when your child is old enough, the backrest is removable.
Because it is so well designed and padded, your child can use the Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster, Spade seat until they are 63 inches tall or 120 pounds, making this a perfect choice for older children who still need a booster seat. They will also appreciate the well-padded material and the two stowable cup holders that hide away in the seat’s base when not in use.
High level of safety and a clear emphasis on crash protection
Well padded, yet small enough to still be a good fit for almost every vehicle
Secure ISOFLEX LATCH system keeps seat secure even when it’s empty
Some children have difficulty securing a seat belt through the clip
Short arm rests aren’t always practical for older children
Seat may become too narrow for older children
The Baby Trend Nexton Travel System is an excellent option for new parents in search of an inexpensive jogger style travel system.
The well-designed Baby Trend infant car seat is not only fashionable and cute but is highly rated and fits babies up to 30 pounds. A removable soft head support gives small babies extra comfort and support.
The car seat base installs into your car using LATCH clips or a seat belt and has four levels of height adjustment. The stroller is perfect for moms on the go, and the jogging style is perfect for easy maneuverability. The large canopy provides plenty of protection from the sun, and the seat can recline to multiple positions.
A covered parent tray and a large lower basket offer plenty of storage for shopping, and the five point harness keeps even wiggly babies secure during their travels.
For a jogging stroller, it is surprisingly light and easy to fold and store when not in use. Because this set has everything a new parent needs to travel with their baby, it’s a great option for families on a budget and its affordability makes the Baby Trend Nexton Travel System, Coral Floral one of the best bargain car seats available worthy of inclusion on our list of the top 25 best affordable car seats.
Two large cup holders in parent tray offer room for coffee or sippy cups
Stroller is easy to assemble, and folds compactly for storage
Super cute and durable fabric is a huge bonus for fashion forward moms
Depending on the position of the base, small infants may slump forward
Despite being jogger style, the hard wheels make jogging difficult
The racing-inspired RECARO Performance Sport Combination Harness to Booster Car Seat offers kids a comfortable ride and parents’ peace of mind and another one of our 25 best affordable car seats.
The Performance Sport is one of the few booster seats which accommodates harness use up to 65 pounds, making it a great choice for older children who still need the security of a five point harness.
In fact, if safety is your main concern, then this booster seat should be near the top of your list. Unlike some booster seats, great emphasis has been placed on side impact safety, as demonstrated by the protective headrest and large reinforced side wings.
This seat also has high padded sides which protect your child’s pelvis in the event of a collision. Comfort and cleanliness haven’t been forgotten, however.
The padding in this booster seat is a high-tech memory foam which conforms to your child. The fabric cover is perfect for hot or cold weather since it is temperature balancing, and the whole cover easily comes off and washes easily.
With many of the same features as booster seats twice its price, the RECARO Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster Car Seat, Plum is truly one of the best affordable booster car seats within the 100 – 250 price range available.
Cloud comfort memory foam and temperature balancing fabrics
Metal reinforced side wings offer full body side impact protection
Super easy to remove and wash cover comes in a variety of fun colors
While LATCH installation is easy, securing it with a seat belt is difficult
New, shorter crotch buckle design is uncomfortable
Lack of recline means that kids heads slump forward when sleeping
Easily earning its place among the top 25 best affordable car seats in the $100 – $250 price range, the Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car Seat offers premium features at an affordable price.
The most notable thing about the SafeMax Platinum is that it is the first rollover crash tested car seat.
Thanks to its integrated steel frame, SafeZone headrest, and secure five-point harness, there is no doubt that the SafeMax offers a superior level of safety. However, this comes at a cost.
The hefty steel frame and bulky head rest make it all but impossible to fit this seat next to another similarly sized car seat in a smaller vehicle. It also weighs over 25 pounds, so it is not a great option for parents who routinely switch their child’s booster seat from one vehicle to another.
That being said, most families are able to overlook these shortcomings given the utility and comfort of this seat. Nice touches like well-padded cushioning, removable cup holders, and a harness with integrated buckle covers to protect your child from touching hot metal during summer months make the Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Marshall perfect for long car rides.
Substantial and protective head rest for improved collision protection
Cup holders are removable to make washing them easier
Covers keep metal harness buckles cool to the touch during summer
Quite large and cumbersome; may not fit in small cars or next to another car seat
LATCH connections can take a bit of effort and muscle to secure
If your baby’s comfort is paramount, the Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 Convertible Car Seat is a great choice for larger babies and toddlers.
Though its safety features and economy match the other car seats on our list of the best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 price range, the Vello 65’s cushioning is what truly sets it apart.
It’s notable that this car seat does not accommodate smaller newborns under 9 pounds and is only suitable up to 65 pounds, so it is not an all-in-one car seat that will fit your baby for their entire childhood.
But by focusing on creating a car seat that properly fits young children, Maxi-Cosi has created a car seat that is better fitted to and more comfortable for babies and toddlers.
The highly padded cover easily snaps off and is not only machine washable but can be dried in a standard clothes dryer, too. The head rest is adjustable and safely cradles baby’s head offering safety during a collision as well as a comfortable surface to sleep on.
A removable soft fabric cup holder and a two compartment soft storage container provide room for drinks and snacks yet are also washable.
The one click LATCH system makes it easier to install the Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 Convertible Car Seat, Grey, and when in the rear-facing mode it has a deep recline angle, meaning that you can rest assured your baby’s head will not flop forward when they fall asleep.
Well padded seat, infant insert, and soft fabric cup holder and storage pocket
Designed for babies and toddlers, more comfortable for them than all-in-ones
Easily machine washable and dryer safe for easier cleaning
Somewhat larger than a standard car seat, can be a hassle to move
The large padded head support prevents children from seeing out the windows
Ok this Britax is a little bit outside the price point we mentioned but we believe it better fits within the $100-$250 price range where most of its brethren range.
The Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat is specifically designed to exceed federal safety standards and has a protective SafeCell impact stabilizing frame made from steel.
As one of the best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 price range on the market, this car seat is a great value given its high-quality features such as its quick-adjust harness which has ten positions, impact absorbing base, and well-designed and well-padded harness.
Unlike a lot of car seats, Britax has made an effort to make this seat easy to install. It connects to standard LATCH points, yet can be taken out easily making it a good option for families that routinely use multiple vehicles.
The soft padded cover is quite comfortable and is easy to remove and wash when necessary. The Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat, Azul also has 3 recline positions for a more comfortable ride. One point against the Marathon are the harness straps.
Not only are they thinly padded, but the lower straps go over your child’s thighs and require near constant adjustment to keep them from digging into baby’s legs. There is also only a single recline position when in rear-facing mode, and smaller babies may sag forward.
Fits well in smaller vehicles, unlike some convertible car seats
10-position harness grows with baby and adjusts with a touch of a button
Very easy to install thanks to the ClickTight installation system
Fabric lacks durability on some models, and may need to be replaced
Lower straps go across baby’s legs, and can be uncomfortable
Infants may sag forward in the straps due to steep incline
Once your little one is over 40 pounds they may be ready for a booster seat. The Britax Pioneer G1.1 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat is a sporty and easy to use option and a wonderful choice for making travel with your growing child safe.
As one of the best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 price, parents love how easy it is to move from one vehicle to another. It’s suitable for kids four years through ten years of age and is great for children who are sensitive about using items meant for ‘babies’.
This Pioneer Combination Harness-2-Booster Seat provides all of the needed protection of a safety seat, yet looks and feels more age appropriate for older children using SafeCell Impact Protection that surrounds your child in safety components that work together to protect well beyond the established federal safety standards.
While it does not have the option of using a five point harness and it is designed to use Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS provides an advanced layer of protection with a protective shell and an energy-absorbing foam headrest designed to keep your child’s head and neck extra secure; and has been rigorously tested for safety.
Installation is made simple with Easy-On / Easy-Off LATCH Connectors that lock into place with an audible click and are easily released with the push of a button.
This car seat has hundreds of great reviews on Amazon.
SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components, including an Impact Absorbing Base, Tether and Harness, an Impact Stabilizing Steel Frame, and Complete Side Impact Protection.
SafeCell Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS provides an advanced level of protection and an energy-absorbing headrest keeps your child’s head and neck secure.
Quick-Adjust, 8-Position Harness and 2-Position Buckle allows you to easily move the harness upward and buckle outward for a comfortable, secure fit as your child grows.
Integrated Cup Holders and Storage keep drinks, snacks and toys close at hand.
Front-Adjust Recline so your toddler can sleep in comfort when the time is right.
Not secured by LATCH points and therefore unsuitable for restless kids
While it is rated for children as young as 4, it’s best for older children
As one of the top 25 best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 range, the Italian-made Peg Perego USA Viaggio HBB 120 Car Seat has a great mix of style and functionality.
This front-facing booster seat can be used with the padded backrest and seatbelt guides, or it can be used as a backless seat once your child is older.
The stylish and easy to wipe down fabric comes in several colors. Unlike the Graco Backless Turbobooster Car Seat, this seat securely connects to your car with LATCH connectors.
When you need to move it, simply pull the release tab on the front. The wide, padded headrest and sides offer world-class protection during a side impact and can adjust to fit children up to 57 inches tall.
It has seat belt loops to help guide the fit of your car’s seatbelts and makes it simpler for younger children to buckle themselves. The big drawback of the Viaggio is comfort.
While perfectly fine for shorter car rides, children may find that it is not ideal for long car trips. There is a reclining option, but it is a simple plastic bar that raises the front of the seat by a few inches.
Overall, the Peg Perego USA Viaggio HBB 120 Car Seat, Fleur is a good looking and safe option for families who want a seat that easy to use.
Easy to install using LATCH straps, and easy to remove using release tab
Highly padded back rest offers world-class protection during collisions
Sleek design and multiple stylish colors to choose from
Lacks a true recline option which may cause the seat to be too upright
May be uncomfortable during long car rides
Cup holders seem flimsy and easy to bend or break
As one of the best bargain car seats and baby travel systems currently available, the Cosco Simple Fold Travel System is both affordable and also lightweight making it a great choice for moms on the go.
While it is somewhat stripped down and basic when it comes to features, the stroller does offer infinite seat recline unlike the other travel systems in this list.
It also has flip-flop friendly brakes, QuickClick technology that easily secures the car seat to the stroller, and one-handed lift and fold for easy stowing.
The parent tray has two cup holders. Large wheels make the stroller maneuverable even on grass or gravel, and a large gear basket makes it perfect for carrying large jackets or for shopping trips.
The car seat itself is solely meant to be used as a rear-facing car seat, which means you will need a new car seat after a few years of use.
However, it fits snugly into the stroller, and because it simply clicks out of its stationary base, you don’t need to wake your baby when transferring them to and from the car.
Both the stroller seat and the car seat lack the bulky padding of heavier travel systems, and for small infants, you may find its less supportive than rival brands.
Inexpensive! The entire travel system costs less than many car seats
Both stroller and car seat are lightweight and easy to travel with
Large, durable wheels make traveling over rough terrain easier
Padding and design features are minimal due to price point
Car seat may lack enough padding for some infants
Graco is one of the best bargain car seat manufacturers, and once your child outgrows their favorite Graco car seat, it’s time for a booster seat.
Specifically designed for older children under ten years of age, this booster seat is among the 25 best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 price range for several reasons.
Thanks to its sleek and simple design, this booster weighs less than 6 pounds, making it a great choice for families who frequently transfer their booster seat from one car to another. It’s also perfect for travel for this reason.
Unlike some booster seats, the Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat with Latch System, Atomic has secure LATCH point connectors which keep it in place even if your child is overactive in the car.
When you’re ready to move it, you can simply pull on the release tab to disconnect the booster seat from the car.
While it isn’t heavily padded and may not be the most comfortable seat for long trips, your child will appreciate the built-in cup holder and the large hideaway storage compartment for snacks, toys, or small electronics. They’ll also be able to quickly and easily buckle themselves into this seat.
Given that you may need this booster seat for several years, it’s good to know that the fabric is both durable and easy to remove for machine washing.
Perfectly designed integrated cup holder and hide away storage compartment
Easy to remove machine washable cover for quick cleanups
Lightweight seat is easy to transfer between several vehicles
Very little cushioning on the seat makes it uncomfortable during long rides
Arm rest design holds the seatbelt away from child’s body in some cases
Many families report that their booster seat was missing the cup holder part
Unlike some car seats specifically made for older children, the Diono Monterey High Back Booster takes varying body shapes and sizes into account. The seat will fit children up to 120 pounds and can be used with the padded backrest or as a simple backless booster.
The high hip guards, wide headrest, and broad shoulder wings ensure maximum protection for your child during a side impact collision.
The shoulders are especially impressive since you are able to adjust the width to accommodate children with narrower or wider shoulders. The head rest has 11 positions so that it easily grows with your child.
The booster seat has thick foam, tapered sides, and is extra long to help support your child’s legs. These features make the Diono Monterey High Back Booster with Adjustable Headrest, Bloom more comfortable than other booster seats.
There are two retractable cup holders, and while they are less substantial than preferred, they are angled perfectly to keep drinks from spilling. Moms and dads will appreciate the LATCH connectors which keep the seat securely in place even when empty.
Overall better design for older children than most booster seats
Longer seat base, dense foam, and curved sides make long rides easier
Unique shoulder wings adjust to fit children with narrow or wide bodies
Seat belts get easily caught in wide wings or seat belt guides
Arm rests may be too short for older children
Because of the size of this seat, it may not fit in every vehicle
Like other seats in the Evenflo SafeMax line, the Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat is one of the safest and most feature-rich options among the top 25 best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 .
This rear facing car seat is specifically designed with younger babies in mind and will fit children up to 35 pounds. Parents who are expecting smaller birth weight babies should note that this car seat is appropriate for infants as small as four pounds. Both the harness and padding are extremely comfortable.
Some notable features of the Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat, Noelle include the car seat base which has a carrying handle for when you need to switch vehicles, Sure Safe Latch guides for easy and accurate installation, and temperature regulating fabric to keep your baby comfortable during hot or cold weather.
Although this is the first infant seat to be tested for rollover crash safety, it is surprisingly light and is easy to carry. Using LATCH anchors keeps this car seat secure and is the preferred way to fasten the base to the car. Some parents feel that securing the base with a seat belt is more difficult and makes the fit less secure. Using the built in leveler will make this job easier regardless.
First infant car seat to be fully rollover crash tested
Quick connect base and light weight make this infant car seat easier to carry
Large canopy keeps sun and wind out of your baby’s face
Securing the car seat with a seat belt can be tricky
Does not come with a stroller or connect with a travel system
You’ve probably been told that your child should ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are at least two years of age. Unfortunately, many of the 25 best affordable car seats don’t easily accommodate larger two-year-olds in a rear-facing position.
Thankfully, the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat line has specifically incorporated design elements which allow toddlers to stay in the rear-facing position for as long as possible.
The first and possibly most innovative features of the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is an extension panel that pulls out from the bottom of the seat to provide 5 inches of extra legroom as your child grows.
The seat’s base also allows for a decent recline in either the forward or rear-facing position which means you’ll worry less about your baby’s head flopping forward during naps.
Both the height of the harness and headrest can be adjusted as your baby grows to keep them comfortable and safe.
The seat cover is machine washable for easy maintenance and to keep the seat clean during several years of use. And on top of all of that, this is an exceptionally easy seat to install.
Unique extendable foot rest allows toddlers to remain rear-facing longer
Comfortable recline options in rear and forward-facing positions
50 pound rear-facing weight limit
Seat is very tall when head rest is at its highest position and can block view
Not easy to carry around like some infant car seats
Harness can be difficult to adjust and tighten properly
One of the 25 best affordable car seats older children is the Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Booster Car Seat.
Rest assured that this seat will last for years thanks to its premium moisture wicking fabrics that are machine washable and dryer safe.
The sleek European design looks more polished than many high back booster car seats, yet the ample and dense foam padding on this seat make it more comfortable than similarly designed car seats.
Premium Air Protect panels at the hips, shoulders, and head provide side impact protection above and beyond federal requirements.
Your child will like the easy to use seat belt guides which help keep them comfortably buckled and keeps the shoulder belt from cutting into their neck.
Sadly, this seat does not have a cup holder attachment, which is considered a serious oversight by many families. The rigid LATCH attachments are also somewhat troublesome to use and may limit which places in your car you can secure this booster seat.
Safety features exceed federal standards and keep older kids secure
Children can easily buckle and unbuckle themselves
Thick padding makes long car rides more comfortable
Rigid LATCH attachments makes securing the seat somewhat troublesome
No integrated cup holders or storage containers
While the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat is similar to several other seats in the top 25 best affordable car seats, it differs from the other Graco seats in a few ways.
Like the Graco Nautilus and the Graco Contender, this seat is suitable for children up to 65 pounds when using the harness. It can be used as either a five point harness car seat or as a high-back booster seat with your car’s seat belt.
One of the great options offered by the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat is the ability to stow the five point harness without removing it. When your child is in a transitional stage, this comes in handy during long car rides.
Your child may be perfectly able to use the seat belt during short car trips, but when they are sleepy or during long rides, the harness may be more appropriate. Now, you won’t need to worry about leaving the harness behind.
Once your child is comfortable using the seat belt alone, they can use the seat as a high backed booster.
3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child from toddler to youth
Harness booster (22 – 65 lb.)
Highback booster (30 – 100 lb.)
Backless booster (40 – 100 lb.)
Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest in one motion, to ensure that your child is always properly secured
3-position recline helps keep your growing child comfy
Side-impact tested for occupant retention with built-in 5-point harness system
Does not convert to a backless booster like other Graco seats
Recline is limited and may not work when the seat is in certain vehicles
The last Graco car seat on this list of best affordable car seats between $100 – $250 is consistently one of the best rated.
The Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat can be used either as a rear facing infant seat or as a forward facing toddler seat. The one-handed harness adjustment and headrest adjustment makes it easy to perfectly fit this car seat to your baby’s rapidly changing body size.
Removable head and body cushions keep smaller infants secure. And with eight headrest positions and three recline angles, your baby will feel more comfortable and secure in this car seat.
This Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat makes use of a machine washable RapidRemove cover for easy cleanup of spills and crumbs.
You’ll appreciate the one-second LATCH attachments which make securing this car seat to your vehicle easier than you’d imagine possible. It’s also easy to remove the seat and transfer it to another car.
Convertible Graco car seat keeps your forward-facing toddlers harnessed from 20-65 lbs.
Rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed U.S. safety standards
Simply Safe Adjust Harness System a one hand, no re-thread harness that automatically adjusts
InRight latch system for a one second, secure latch attachment and red push button for easy removal
Large buckle attachment at crotch presses into baby’s legs
Some parents find tightening the shoulder straps challenging
With all the features mentioned above, the Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat is by no doubt one of the best affordable car seats you will be able to find.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is an for a good reason.
It is built to grow with your child in all stages with safety and comfort in mind.
When in the forward-facing mode, the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat keeps your child protected in a harness up to 65 pounds.
When switched to rear-facing and forward-facing mode, harness holders keep the harness in an open position which makes it easier for you to get your child in and out of the car seat.
The built in Quick Fit Harness offers additional convenience by letting you adjust the height of both the headrest and harness in one easy step, making it simple to give your growing child the best fit.
When your child is ready to use the vehicle seat belts, remove the harness to use the Grow and Go 3-in1 Car Seat in belt-positioning booster mode: up to 100 pounds.
Features at a glance:
The headrest still adjusts easily, letting you get the best fit for your child.
Machine washable and dryer safe, it is also designed to come off the seat easily, with no need to remove the harness.
It takes up less room when placed rear-facing, giving up to 7 inches more leg room for parents in the front seat.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is made to grow with your child in 3 stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds
Side Impact Protection
Harness holders: with the harness held back, it’s easy to get your child in and out of the seat
Takes up less space in the back seat, for up to 7 inches of extra room in the front
Quick Fit Harness for easy adjustment of both harness and headrest in one simple step
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is not an by luck. It a solid, customer favored and certainly one of the best affordable car seats.
Conclusion: Best Affordable Car Seats
No matter whether you opt for a simple rear-facing infant car seat, an all-in-one expandable car seat and combination booster, or an entire travel system, be sure to buy the best quality car seat possible for your child, since it may one day save their life if you are in an accident.
Even though safety must always be the number one concern when shopping for a car seat, the second key determining factor when shopping for car seats is almost always cost.
Thankfully, as you can see from the list we have compiled, there are there are lots of good quality affordable car seats in the 100 – 250 dollar price range.
If you truly have your heart set on a car seat that is beyond your budget, keep an eye out for sales. The winter holidays are a great time to shop for expensive baby gear, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday often provide excellent opportunities to get otherwise unattainable car seats at bargain prices.
Since every car seat on the market today must meet strict safety guidelines, don’t feel as if spending less money means that your child’s car seat will be less safe.
Currently, even lower end car seats may have safety features not yet required by law, and you should certainly consider a seat that has better side impact safety or even rollover crash testing if it’s within your budget.
We hope that our list of the best affordable car seats above will help you find a quality car seat that is not only safe for your little one but one that will also meet your budget.
We love hearing from you. Please let us know what you think through our comments sections – may be there is a car seat we missed that you feel deserves to be on this list of the best affordable car seats.
Best Affordable Car Seats
Are you interested in finding more options? Check out these other buying guides we have created:
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