Chicco Keyfit 30 Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air
This is my side-by-side comparison review of the Chicco Keyfit 30 and Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air infant car seats.
The original Keyfit 30 infant car seat has been on the market for many years and continues to be very popular with parents, other caregivers, and car seat safety technicians. Whilst you can still buy the original Keyfit 30 seat, and there are currently no signs of Chicco discontinuing it, there are now some other options for parents to choose from.
The fact that the original Keyfit 30 seat remains available to buy after so many years is testament to the fact that it remains popular and still boasts high-end safety and convenience features.
Whilst none of the newer “Keyfit 30” seats come with any extra safety features over and above the original Keyfit 30, there are some added comfort and convenience features for you to consider.
The original Chicco Keyfit 30 and the newer Chicco Keyfit Zip Air seats are at the opposite end of the range in terms of features and price.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 remains the entry-level seat, whilst the Keyfit 30 Zip Air comes with every feature that Chicco has to offer in terms of dedicated infant seats.
So, what are the main similarities and differences between the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air seats, and which model is best for you, your child, and your budget?
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip Air at a Glance
|Feature||Keyfit 30||Keyfit 30 Zip Air|
|Child Weight Limits||4 - 30 lbs||4 - 30 lbs|
|Child Height Limits||up to 30" (see below)||up to 30" (see below)|
|Infant Insert||Yes (4 - 11 lbs)||Yes (4 - 11 lbs)|
|Seat Recline System||ReclineSure||ReclineSure|
|Bubble Recline Indicators||Yes||Yes|
|LATCH Installation||Yes (Supercinch)||Yes (Supercinch)|
|Belt Installation System||Built-in Lockoffs||Built-in Lockoffs|
|3D AirMesh Fabric||No||Yes|
|Conforms to FMVSS 213||Yes||Yes|
|Seat Expiration||10 years||10 Years|
|FAA Approved for Flights||Yes||Yes|
|Price||Check Latest Price||Check Latest Price|
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip Air – Similarities
As I have already mentioned, and as you can see from the comparison table above, the Keyfit 30 and Keyfit 30 Zip Air infant seats share a lot of features.
So, before looking at the few differences between these seats, lets consider those similarities.
1. Child Height & Weight Limits
The maximum child height and weight limits on the Chicco Keyfit 30 range of seats are pretty standard.
These seats are both rated as suitable for use for babies weighing between 4 and 30 lbs, provided that their height is no more than 30 inches. The lower limit of 4 lbs is very useful if you need to use a car seat with a very small baby, as most infant seats start at 5 lbs or more.
The Keyfit 30 seats come with a padded infant cushion insert that is designed to help you to get a proper fit when your baby is in the weight range of between 4 and 11 lbs.
Please note that, in addition to being no more than 30 inches in height, there must be at least an inch gap between the top of your baby’s head and the top of the headrest in order for them to continue to use the seat safely.
2. Seat Installation Methods
Like most infant car seats, the Chicco Keyfit 30 seats can be installed within your vehicle in 2 different ways.
If there are LATCH anchor points fitted to your vehicle, you will have the option of installing these Keyfit 30 seats by either using the LATCH connectors or, alternatively, the vehicle’s seatbelt.
Technically, you are not actually installing the seat itself into your vehicle. Instead, you install the seat base into your vehicle and simply click the seat into it when necessary. When you are not travelling with the seat in a vehicle, it can also be clicked into a stroller unit and can form part of a car seat travel system.
You can install both the Keyfit 30 and Keyfit 30 Zip Air seats into your vehicle using Chicco’s unique SuperCinch “one-pull” LATCH tightener system.
The tightener system works by multiplying the forces that you exert onto the strap, and this means that it takes very little effort on your part to get a proper tight installation.
If you do not install the seat base using the LATCH connectors, the belt-installation process is also very simple thanks to the built-in lockoffs.
You can see both installation methods demonstrated in this video …
3. The ReclineSure Seat Levelling Foot
The ReclineSure Seat Levelling Foot is a spring-loaded mechanism that allows you to adjust the angle of the seat base when it’s installed in your vehicle.
If you look at the video above, you can see a bright orange oval-shaped button on either side of the seat base. In order to adjust the base to the desired angle, you simply press on those buttons and the seat base will come up towards you.
This mechanism is to ensure that you can achieve a safe angle in a wide variety of vehicles without having to guess. The passenger seats on vehicles come in all shapes and sizes, and they are angled in all different ways. The ReclineSure foot really provides much more flexibility in terms of getting the right angle than other infant seats.
4. The RideRight Bubble Level Indicators
The RideRight Bubble Level Indicators work together with the ReclineSure mechanism to take the guesswork out of installing the seat and its base.
The seat base comes with handy indicators on both sides, and you have to adjust the angle of the base (using the ReclineSure mechanism) until the bubbles are positioned between the lines. It works in the same way as a spirit level that you might use when putting some shelves up.
This is a great way to ensure that your child’s seat is positioned at a safe angle and most cheaper seats just don’t come with this sort of feature.
5. EPS Energy -Absorbing Foam
Both seats have interiors that are lined with EPS energy-absorbing foam to provide added protection to your baby in the event of a collision.
In addition to helping you to get a proper fit with a baby weighing between 4 and 11 lbs, the infant insert also contains extra padding to reduce the risk of injury to the head, neck and back areas in a crash situation.
6. Other Shared Features
Both of these seats also come with the following features:
- Adjustable multi-position canopy
- Stroller compatibility
- Smooth Underside of base to protect car seat from damage
- FAA Approved for use in aircraft
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip Air – Differences
There are only 2 functional differences between the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Keyfit 30 Zip Air seats.
The Keyfit 30 Zip Air seat gets its name from the fact that, unlike the original version, it comes with the extra “Zip” features and the 3D AirMesh seat fabric.
1. The “Zip” Features
The “Zip” features comprise 3 elements:
- zip-off canopy
- zip-on visor
- zip-around boot
The “Zip” features are pretty self-explanatory and you can see how they work if you watch the second video below.
Zip-off Canopy: The seat canopy can be easily removed when it is not needed or when you need to clean it.
Zip-on Visor: The seat comes with an extra visor section that can be zipped onto the main canopy to provide extra coverage.
Zip-around Boot: There is an insulated foot muff section that can be zipped on and off according to the weather conditions. In colder weather, you can zip it on to keep them nice and warm.
2. The 3D AirMesh Seat Fabric
The 3D AirMesh fabric is designed with special “air flow” channels to improve the seat’s ventilation.
If you live in a cold part of the country, this is probably not going to be very important to you, but in hotter parts of the country it is likely to improve the comfort of your baby and stop them from overheating on long journeys.
It is hard to explain in words exactly how this works, so there is a short video explanation further down this page.
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip Air – Video Reviews
The second video is actually of the Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip rather than the Zip Air model, but the final short video explains the 3D AirMesh Fabric in more detail.
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip Air – Color Options
The Chicco Keyfit 30 and Keyfit 30 Zip Air seats come in different fabric color options.
Here are my favorites …
The Chicco Keyfit 30 seat also comes in Keyfit 30 Air and Keyfit 30 Zip models. The “Zip” version is less expensive that the “Zip Air”, but obviously doesn’t include Chicco’s new 3D AirMesh fabrics. The Keyfit 30 Air version is missing the convenience and flexibility of the “Zip” features.
Chicco Keyfit 30 vs Keyfit 30 Zip – My Verdict
The Chicco Keyfit 30 series of infant car seats all provide you with some great safety and convenience features and it is easy to see why they are so popular amongst parents, other caregivers, and car seat safety technicians.
There is no difference in safety between the entry-level Chicco Keyfit 30 seat and the much more expensive Chicco Keyfit 30 Zip Air. Both seats come with exactly the same safety features.
You choice between these seats comes down to whether or not you want to pay extra money for the added convenience of the “ZIP” features and the added comfort of the 3D AirMesh fabrics.
Unless you live in a hot part of the country, the 3D AirMesh fabric are probably not going to worth paying for.
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
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