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The Best Budget Friendly Convertible Car Seats

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Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you click a link and purchase something. Please check out my disclosure policy for more details. All opinions are my own!

Today, let’s talk about one of the most important investments for your little one’s safety on the road—the best budget-friendly convertible car seats. 

As a mom who knows the value of getting the best bang for your buck, I’m excited to share some top picks that won’t break the bank. 

So, let’s buckle up and dive right in!

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What to Look For in a Convertible Car Seat

When looking for the best convertible car seats, there are several key features to consider. 

Safety

First and foremost, I think every parent is concerned #1 with safety. 

So let’s talk about those safety features. 

Look for seats that meet or exceed federal safety standards and have undergone rigorous crash testing. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are excellent resources for car seat safety guidelines. 

Features you should look for include: 

  • side-impact protection
  • a steel frame
  • adjustable headrests 

These are all important for keeping your little one safe on the road.

Height and Weight Limits

Next, you want a seat that offers a high weight limit and height limit to accommodate your child’s growth. 

This way, you can use the seat for a longer period, transitioning from an infant car seat to a rear-facing seat and eventually a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness. 

Some car seats will even transition all the way to a high back booster or regular booster. 

However, I don’t recommend you focus TOO much on the booster need right now, as those are often cheaper purchases down the road and a non-convertible booster may actually be a better fit for your vehicle and your child.

Car Space – Slim Fit or Regular Car Seat

Keep in mind the type of vehicle you drive? 

Do you have a big SUV, van, or truck with a lot of space?

Well, then you probably won’t have too many issues finding a car seat that fits well in your vehicle – yay!

However, if you’re one of us with smaller cars, finding a convertible car seat that fits comfortably can be a challenge. 

But here’s the good news: There ARE options out there specifically designed for smaller vehicles that offer compact designs without compromising on safety or comfort.

Car Seat Installation 

Installation and ease of use are also important factors to consider. 

Look for seats that offer an easy installation process, whether you’re using the lower anchors (LATCH system) or a seat belt. 

Adjustable harness straps and a rethread harness make it a breeze to achieve the perfect fit as your child grows, but when push comes to shove, may not be deal-breakers for you if you’re trying be budget conscience. 

Extra Features

Additionally, seats with easy cleaning features, like a washable cover, are a big plus because let’s face it, have you ever looked under a car seat? 

YIKES. Ha. 

Unless you can adhere to absolutely no drinks or food in your vehicle, spills and messes are definitely inevitable.

You’ll also want to weight how important other convenient features are to you, such as:

  • cup holders
  • trays
  • rotating/swivel car seats
  • stroller integration
  • padding/comfort (if your baby hates the car seat, it’s definitely the wrong pick)

What’s An Affordable Price For A Car Seat

Now, let’s talk price. 

What one person’s “affordable” isn’t everyone’s. 

For me and the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on the best convertible car seats under $150. 

This price range should give most people looking for a cheap convertible car seat some good options to consider. 

We all want the best value for our money, and fortunately, there are affordable options available that don’t sacrifice quality or safety.

10 Best Affordable Convertible Car Seats

1. Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Car Seat

Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Car Seat, Chili Pepper
$169.99 $135.99
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07/16/2024 11:40 pm GMT

The Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Car Seat is a fantastic option for parents who value versatility, safety, and affordability. 

This 3-in-1 car seat can be used in three different modes: rear-facing, forward-facing, and as a high-back booster seat. This means that it can accommodate your child’s growth from infancy to their early years. 

Safety:

This car seat meets and exceeds federal safety standards and has side-impact protection to provide an extra layer of safety in the event of a collision. 

Height/Weight: 

In the rear-facing mode, it can accommodate infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

In the forward-facing mode, it can be used for children weighing from 22 to 50 pounds and measuring 29 to 43 inches in height. 

Lastly, in the high-back booster mode, it can accommodate children weighing from 40 to 80 pounds and measuring 43 to 52 inches in height.

Car Space: 

Width: 19 inches

The Safety 1st Continuum is relatively compact, making it suitable for most smaller cars. 

Installation: 

This car seat features an easy-to-use LATCH system, but can also be installed using the vehicle’s seat belt. 

Features: 

The Safety 1st Continuum 3-in-1 Car Seat offers several convenient features:

  • Multiple recline positions to provide optimal comfort for your child during the ride
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height can be easily adjusted to accommodate your child’s growth and ensure a proper fit
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Has the belt positioning option 
  • Quick Fit Harness for easy adjustment of both harness and headrest in one simple step (the BEST feature)

Cons:

  • May be difficult to install

2. Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat

Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat, Ainsley
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We just ordered the Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat for our vehicle and I’m so excited to start using it. I always love a slimmer fit, along with something comfortable for my growing baby. 

Safety:

It meets and exceeds federal safety standards, and features side-impact protection.

Height/Weight: 

In the rear-facing mode, it can accommodate infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

In the forward-facing mode, it can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 49 inches in height. 

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space: 

Width: 18.9 inches

The Graco Contender Slim is designed to fit in a variety of vehicles, including smaller cars. The slim design of this car seat helps maximize space in the backseat while providing a comfortable seating arrangement for your child.

Installation: 

The Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat offers an easy installation process. It can be installed using the LATCH system or the vehicle’s seat belt. 

The car seat includes clear instructions and indicators to ensure a secure and proper installation. 

Features: 

The Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat comes with various features:

  • Multiple recline positions
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height to easily adjusted to accommodate your child’s growth. 
  • Removable and machine-washable seat pads
  • Removable, dishwasher-safe cup holder can be used on either side of the seat
  • Easy 8 position, easy 1 step harness adjustment – no rethread harness! (my FAVORITE feature!)

Cons:

  • Does not have a booster belt option

3. Safety 1st Crosstown All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Crosstown All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Rear-Facing 5-40 pounds, Forward-Facing 22-65 pounds, and Belt-Positioning Booster 40-100 pounds, Seal
$129.99
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07/17/2024 12:14 am GMT

Safety:

it meets and exceeds federal safety standards, with side-impact protection.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can hold infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

For forward-facing, the car seat can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 49 inches in height. 

Car Space:

Width: 19 inches

Compact design that allows for easy installation and leaves enough room for other passengers or car seats in the backseat.

Installation:

Installing the car seat is a breeze with the Safety 1st Crosstown. It can be securely installed using either the LATCH system or the vehicle’s seat belt, depending on your preference and the setup of your car.

Features:

The Crosstown All-in-One Convertible Car Seat offers a range of features that include:

  • Multiple recline positions
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height 
  • Removable and machine-washable seat pads
  • Removable cup holder, which can be conveniently placed on either side of the seat and is even dishwasher-safe.
  • Is a belt positioning booster as well
  • One step harness adjustment – no rethread harness! (LOVE this feature!)

Cons:

  • May be challenging to install

4. Baby Trend Cover Me 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat

Baby Trend Cover Me 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat, Quartz Pink
$159.99 $134.00
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07/17/2024 12:23 am GMT

Safety:

It meets and exceeds federal safety standards.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 4 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

For forward facing, the car seat can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 49 inches in height.

*Can be used as a belt positioning booster

Car Space:

Width: 18.25 inches

Its compact design maximizes space in the backseat, allowing for additional passengers or other car seats if needed. 

Installation:

It features a user-friendly installation process that can be done using the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system. 

Features:

The Baby Trend Cover Me 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat comes packed with impressive features:

  • Multiple recline positions 
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height 
  • Soft, plush padding for added comfort
  • Built-in cup holders
  • Integrated headrest with no rethread harness! (This is amazing for this price range!)

Cons:

  • May be challenging to install

5. Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat, Chambers
$99.99 $89.99
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07/17/2024 12:29 am GMT

Safety:

It meets and surpasses federal safety standards and has side-impact protection/

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

For forward-facing, it can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 52 inches in height. 

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space:

Width: 20.2 inches

Designed with versatility in mind, the Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat fits well in various vehicle sizes. 

Installation:

It offers a user-friendly installation process that can be accomplished using either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system. 

Features:

The Safety 1st Guide 65 Convertible Car Seat is packed with practical features:

  • Adjustable headrest and harness height
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Removable and machine washable seat pad is removable and machine washable
  • Removable cup holder

Cons:

  • Harness has to be rethreaded to adjust
  • Does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat

6. Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat, 2-in-1, Saturn Gray, 18.5x22x25.5 Inch (Pack of 1)
$79.99
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07/17/2024 12:34 am GMT

Safety:

It meets and exceeds all federal safety standards, and has energy-absorbing foam liner and side-impact protection.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

For facing forward, the car seat can be used for children weighing from 22 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space:

Width: 17 inches

Installation:

It features an easy-to-use installation system that allows us to securely install the car seat using either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system. 

Features:

The Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat is equipped with several practical features:

  • Four different harness positions and a two-position crotch buckle
  • Seat pad is removable and machine washable
  • Weighs just over 9 lbs 
  • Removable cup holder is dishwasher safe

Cons:

  • Minimal padding
  • Flimsy cup holder
  • Harness has to be rethreaded to adjust
  • Does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat

7. Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat,Rear-facing 5-40 pounds and Forward-facing 22-65 pounds, Night Horizon
$119.99 $112.79
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07/17/2024 01:05 am GMT

Safety:

It meets and exceeds federal safety standards, and features side-impact protection.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

For forward facing, the car seat can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 49 inches in height. 

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space:

Width: approximately 18″ with the cup holder and 17.5″ without

Installation:

It can be installed using either the LATCH system or the vehicle’s seat belt.

Features:

The Safety 1st Jive 2-in-1 Convertible Car Seat comes with convenient features:

  • Multiple recline positions
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height
  • Removable and machine washable seat pad is removable and machine washable

Cons:

  • Harness has to be rethreaded to adjust
  • Does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

8. Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, Moondust (CV01C87B)
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Safety:

It meets and exceeds federal safety standards and has side-impact protection.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

The forward-facing mode can accommodate children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 50 inches in height.

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space:

Width: 17.5 inches

Installation:

It can be securely installed using either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system. 

Features:

The Baby Trend Trooper 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is packed with features:

  • Built in cup holder 
  • Multiple recline positions
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height
  • The seat pad is removable and machine washable

Cons: 

  • Harness has to be manually rethreaded to adjust the height
  • Latch can be hard to tighten fully
  • Does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

9.  Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat (Heather Onyx Gray)
$89.99
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07/17/2024 12:49 am GMT

Safety:

It meets and exceeds federal safety standards and is designed with side-impact protection.

Height/Weight:

In the rear-facing mode, it can support infants weighing from 5 to 40 pounds and measuring up to 40 inches in height. 

When your child is ready to face forward, the car seat can be used for children weighing from 22 to 65 pounds and measuring up to 49 inches in height.

*Note: this convertible car seat does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Car Space:

Width: 21.5 inches

Installation:

It can be securely installed using either the vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH system. The car seat comes with clear instructions and indicators to ensure a proper and snug fit.

Features:

The Cosco Mighty Fit 65 DX Convertible Car Seat comes equipped with convenient features:

  • Multiple recline positions
  • Adjustable headrest and harness height
  • Removal seat pad that’s machine washable
  • Cupholder
  • Lightweight

Cons: 

  • Harness has to be manually rethreaded to adjust the height
  • No level to check if your installation angle is correct
  • Does NOT convert into a high back or backless booster seat.

Best Convertible Car Seats When You’re On A Budget

Finding a budget-friendly convertible car seat is absolutely possible. There are many options available that prioritize safety, comfort, and convenience without breaking the bank. 

So, whether you’re in need of a new seat for your growing child or looking for a great deal for a second car, these affordable convertible car seats have got you covered.

Remember, the safest car seat is the one that fits your child properly and is used correctly every time. 

If you’re unsure about installation or harness height, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Child Passenger Safety Technician for guidance. 

They can provide expert advice to ensure you’re using your new car seat correctly.

Related:

best affordable convertible car seats for your second vehiclePin

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