TOP 25 BEST AFFORDABLE CAR SEATS BETWEEN $100 – $250

by admin April 13, 2017 at 1:41 am
BEST AFFORDABLE CAR SEATS BETWEEN 100 - 200 DOLLARS

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.

Instead, you may want to opt for a rear-facing car seat specifically designed for young babies and toddlers then switch to a front-facing and booster seat combination when your child is older.

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

1. Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

Buy Now on Amazon

2. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Blue Coral

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!

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

3. Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

4. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat and Base, Lilla

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.

As an added bonus, this seat is compatible with many of Chicco strollers and Chicco travel systems.

 Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

5. Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Fern

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 Nautilus is a harness booster seat, high back booster, and backless booster seat in one unit.

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

6. Disney KidsEmbrace Combination Toddler Harness Booster Car Seat, Mickey Mouse

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

7. Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System with onBoard 35 Infant Car Seat, Monument 2 

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • Car seat can sometimes be difficult to disconnect from its base
  • Seat is on the smaller side, and some babies may quickly outgrow it

 Buy Now on Amazon

8. WB KidsEmbrace Combination Toddler Harness Booster Car Seat, Batman Deluxe

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

9. Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster, Spade

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

10. Baby Trend Nexton Travel System, Coral Floral 

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • Depending on the position of the base, small infants may slump forward
  • Despite being jogger style, the hard wheels make jogging difficult

 Buy Now on Amazon

11. RECARO Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster Car Seat, Plum

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

12. Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Marshall

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.

 Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

13. Maxi-Cosi Vello 65 Convertible Car Seat, Grey

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

14. Britax Marathon G4.1 Convertible Car Seat, Azul

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.

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

15. Britax Pioneer G1.1 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat

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.

 Pros 

  • 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.

 Cons

  • 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

Buy Now on Amazon

16. Peg Perego USA Viaggio HBB 120 Car Seat, Fleur

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

17. Cosco Simple Fold Travel System with Light and Comfy 22 Infant Car Seat, Sapphire 

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • Padding and design features are minimal due to price point
  • Car seat may lack enough padding for some infants

 Buy Now on Amazon

18. Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat with Latch System, Atomic

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

19. Diono Monterey High Back Booster with Adjustable Headrest, Bloom 

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

 Buy Now on Amazon

20. Evenflo SafeMax Infant Car Seat, Noelle 

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • Securing the car seat with a seat belt can be tricky
  • Does not come with a stroller or connect with a travel system

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21. Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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

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22. Maxi-Cosi RodiFix Booster Car Seat, Loyal Grey

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.

 

Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • Rigid LATCH attachments makes securing the seat somewhat troublesome
  • No integrated cup holders or storage containers

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23. Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

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.

 Pros

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

 Cons

  • 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

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24. Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat

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.

 Pros

  • 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

 Cons

  • 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.

 Buy Now on Amazon

25. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is an Amazon Best Seller 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 Amazon Best seller by luck. It a solid, customer favored and certainly one of the best affordable car seats.

Buy Now on Amazon

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.

 Check our other TOP LISTS for Car Seats here.

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Best Deals on Amazon

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat, Saturn

$69.99
Too low to display
5 new from $ 59.99
10 used from $ 41.81
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • Side impact tested, Meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo's side impact test standard
  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2X the Federal crash test standard
  • Multiple shoulder harness positions for better fit and longer use
  • Upfront harness adjustment and buckle release allows easy and convenient adjusting
  • Integrated body cushion gives added comfort to baby and an easily removable head pillow for older children

Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Studio

$235.99
Too low to display
8 new
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • 4-in-1 Graco car seat gives you 10 years of use from four to 120 pounds
  • Rear-facing baby car seat from 4 to 40 pounds
  • Forward-facing toddler car seat from 20 to 65 pounds
  • Booster seats in high back belt-positioning mode from 30 to 100 pounds and backless belt-positioning mode from 40 to 120 pounds
  • InRight LATCH system for an easy, 1-second LATCH attachment

Evenflo Maestro Booster Car Seat Thunder

$84.99
$76.25
6 new from $ 76.25
1 used from $ 65.24
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • This 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat fitting children from 22-110 lbs. converts from a 5-point harnessed car seat to belt-positioning booster allowing for extended use as your child grows
  • The Maestro Harness Booster Car seat helps protect harnessed children from 22-50 pounds and belt-positioned children from 40-110 pounds
  • This lightweight Booster Car Seat comes equipped for LATCH systems allowing for easy installation and transfer between multiple vehicles
  • Designed and tested for both Side Impact and Structural Integrity at energy levels approximately 2 times the Federal Crash Test Standards to keep your child safe
  • Integrated cup holders keep drinks close without increasing the width of the car seat, allowing multiple car seats to fit your back seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Blue Coral

$125.99
8 new from $ 125.99
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • BUILT TO GROW: The 3-in-1 car seat built to GROW for extended use through 3 stages: Rear-facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-positioning booster 40-100 pounds
  • SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: The Grow and Go's side impact protection helps keep your child safe
  • EASY IN, EASY OUT: Harness holders keep the harness in an open position so it's easy to get your child in and out of the seat
  • QUICKFIT HARNESS: With the QuickFit Harness you can easily adjust both the harness and headrest in one simple step
  • WASH AND DRY: Machine washable and dryer safe seat pad features snaps that make it simple to take off of the seat; no fuss for truly easy cleaning

Disney APT Convertible Car Seat, Mouseketeer Minnie

$47.99
14 new from $ 47.99
2 used from $ 36.95
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • Designed for children 5 to 40 pounds and 19 inches to 43 inches in height
  • rear-facing 5 to 40 pounds and forward facing 22 to 40 pounds
  • Side impact protection
  • 5-point harness with up-front adjustment
  • Deluxe Disney softgoods package

Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat, Glacier

$139.99
$111.99
11 new from $ 111.99
4 used from $ 91.83
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • This Graco convertible car seat is designed to help protect your rear-facing infant from 5 - 40 pounds; and your forward-facing toddler from 20 - 65 pounds
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System is safe and simple with a one-hand, no re-thread harness that automatically adjusts
  • Side-impact tested In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, the Contender 65 car seat has been side impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system
  • Engineered and crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213
  • One-hand, 8-position adjustable headrest easily adapts to your growing toddler's needs, helping to keep her secure in her travels

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham

$199.99
$148.49
11 new from $ 140.49
3 used from $ 129.19
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • For rear-facing infants from 4-50 pounds and forward-facing toddlers from 22-65 pound
  • 3-position extension panel adjusts to provide 5" additional leg room allowing your child to ride safely rear-facing longer
  • Up to 50 pounds rear-facing allowing your child to ride safely rear-facing for longer

Evenflo Chase LX Harnessed Booster, Jubilee

$64.98
Too low to display
10 new from $ 59.99
8 used from $ 41.81
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • This 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat fitting children from 22-110 lbs. converts from a harnessed to belt-positioning car seat allowing for extended use for your child
  • The Chase LX Combination Booster Car seat helps protect harnessed children from 22-40 pounds and belt-positioned children from 40-110 pounds
  • This lightweight Combination Booster Car Seat comes equipped for LATCH systems allowing for easy installation and transfer between multiple vehicles
  • Designed and tested for both Side Impact and Structural Integrity at energy levels approximately 2 times the Federal Crash Test Standards
  • Integrated cup holders keep drinks close without increasing the width of the car seat, allowing multiple car seats to fit your back seat

Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat, Sprocket

$38.15
9 new from $ 38.15
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • 2 Seats In 1 Removable back for easy transition to a no back booster
  • One hand, 6 position height adjustment to accommodate growing children longer
  • 2 cup holders for drinks
  • Energy absorbing foam liner provides added safety and comfort
  • Machine washable pad keeps seat looking clean

Evenflo Tribute Sport Convertible Car Seat, Maxwell

$59.99
7 new from $ 59.99
1 used from $ 50.16
Free shipping
as of October 21, 2017 7:34 pm

Features

  • Compact size for great vehicle fit
  • Up-front harness adjustment for easy access
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  • Side impact tested, meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo's side impact test standard
  • Designed and tested for structural integrity at energy levels approximately 2x the federal crash test standard
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