Buying Premium Convertible Car Seats is Very Expensive
Buying premium convertible car seats is a very expensive business, especially if you have more than one child or need to buy extra seats for use in alternative vehicles.
Now, there is no getting away from the fact that you generally get what you pay for when it comes to convertible car seats. The top-of-the-range premium convertible seats come with pretty much every conceivable safety and convenience feature imaginable, but not everyone has $400+ available to spend per seat.
But, even those who could afford to spend $400+ on a convertible car seat often choose not to because they take the view that many of the added extras on the premium seats are unnecessary for them and their child.
If, for example, you are confident about being able to install seats correctly with standard LATCH and standard Belt fitting mechanisms, you don’t need to pay the extra money required to take advantage of the Britax ClickTight installation system.
Likewise, you might not mind having to rethread shoulder harnesses when adjusting for height, or having to hand wash seat covers, or even taking your time to achieve a snug harness fit without an automatic indicator telling you that you’ve done it!
All of the convertible car seats that are available to buy today have passed the appropriate Federal Safety Tests.
So, if we strip out the truly optional luxury extras, is it possible to find good quality convertible car seats for under $200 that have enough safety features to provide you with peace of mind?
A stress-free, simple installation is more likely to lead to a safe installation!
So, here are my candidates for the title of the best convertible car seats under $200.
The Top 3 Budget Convertible Car Seats
In my opinion, the top 3 budget convertible car seats, that can be bought for under $200 are:
#1 Graco Extend2Fit 65
There is no real controversy here. The Graco Extend2Fit is widely regarded as simply the best budget convertible car seat that money can buy.
It comes with many safety and convenience features that you would only expect to find on an expensive premium seat, but can usually be purchased online for well under its $199.99 full retail price tag.
It’s biggest advantage over the competition is probably the fact that it has the highest extended rear-facing weight limit of any convertible car seat. It also has a very generous rear-facing height limit. The seat can be used rear-facing until your child is either more than 50 lbs in weight or 49 inches in height.
It is also great for small babies since the lower weight limit is 4 lbs, rather than the usual 5 lbs.
The Extend2Fit also comes with a steel frame, infant insert, premium LATCH, a no-rethread harness, Side Impact Protection, 10-position headrest, leg extension tray, 2 cup holders, and a machine washable cover.
#2 Graco Size4Me 65
The Graco Size4Me 65 shares some of the same features as the Extend2Fit, but does not have an extended rear-facing height limit. Instead, you can use this seat in the rear-facing position until your child is either more than 40 lbs or their head is within 1 inch of the headrest adjustment button.
It great for small babies since the lower weight limit is 4 lbs, rather than the usual 5 lbs.
It comes with premium LATCH, Safe Adjust Harness and Headrest System, infant insert, a no-rethread harness, Side Impact Protection, Cup holder, and machine washable seat pad.
#3 Britax Boulevard G4
I feel like i’m cheating a little by recommending the Britax Boulevard G4, since it used to be considered a premium convertible car seat (with a price tag to match) until Britax brought out the replacement Boulevard ClickTight seat.
The older G4 is, however, still available to buy and comes with most of the safety and convenience features that you will find on the newer ClickTight version.
Granted, it obviously doesn’t have the ClickTight installation system that comes with the newer version, and you might have to opt for a fabric color that you wouldn’t ordinarily choose, but it is a genuine “premium” convertible seat that is currently available for under $200 if you know where to look.
Here is a video review of the Boulevard G4 from “Bibs and Binkies” …
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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