Budget Buys: 9 Top Car Seats Under $100

9 Top Car Seats Under $100Highly rated car seats under $100? Yep! They exist! In fact, here are NINE seats that you can regularly find under $100.

To put together this list, I consulted consumer ratings, car seat safety blogs, the NHTSA website, and reader input.

I’ve linked to the seats and Amazon or Walmart so that you can learn more. I’ve also linked to some great reviews where I’ve found them.


Cosco Light n Comfy DX  [Review]

  • Carrier weight: 8.9 lbs.
  • Height/weight limit: 29″/22 lbs.
  • MSRP: $79.98. Easy to find for less.
  • Notes: Least expensive infant seat on the list. Smallest weight limit on the list, but a great seat for premies, small babies.

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 [Review]

9 Top Car Seats Under $100

  • Carrier weight: 7 lbs.
  • Height/weight limit: 30″/30 lbs.
  • MSRP: $130. Easy to find for $99 or less.
  • Notes: Good ease-of-use rating.

Urbini Petal [Review (2014)]

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 7.56.51 AM9 Top Car Seats Under $100

  • Carrier weight: Under 8 lbs.
  • Height/weight limit: 32″/35 lbs.
  • MSRP: $99.99. Easy to find for $99.99.
  • Notes: Good ease of use rating.

Safety 1st Onboard 35

9 Top Car Seats Under $100

  • Carrier weight: 8 lbs.
  • Height/weight limit: 32″/35 lbs.
  • MSRP: $129.99. Easy to find for under $100.
  • Notes: “Air” version (about $50 more) has easier install, offers more headrest protection.


9 Top Car Seats Under $100Cosco Scenera NEXT Review

  • Weight/height limit RF: 40 lbs.
  • Weight/height limit FF: 22-40 lbs.
  • MSRP: $79.98 Easy to find for under $55.
  • Notes: Least expensive convertible on the list. Easy to install. Will be outgrown fairly quickly.

9 Top Car Seats Under $100Evenflo SureRide Review

  • Weight/height limit RF: 40″/40 lbs.
  • Weight/height limit: FF 54″/65 lbs.
  • MSRP: $99 Easy to find for under $90.
  • Notes: Large size range.

9 Top Car Seats Under $100Cosco APT50 Review

  • Weight/height limit RF: 40″/40 lbs.
  • Weight/height limit FF: 43″/50 lbs.
  • MSRP: $65. Easy to find for under $65.
  • Notes: Large size range. Good for small cars.

9 Top Car Seats Under $100Safety 1st Guide 65

  • Weight/height limit RF: 40″/40 lbs.
  • Weight/height limit FF: 52″/65 lbs.
  • MSRP: $99.99. Easy to find for under $85.
  • Notes: 6 harness slots.

  Combination (5 pt. harness + belt-positioning booster)

9 Top Car Seats Under $100Evenflo Maestro

  • Weight/height limit with 5-pt harness: 50″/50 lbs.
  • Weight/height limit with seatbelt: 57″/110 lbs.
  • MSRP: $79.99 Easy to find for under $75.
  • Notes: Good ease-of-use ratings.

Remember: The best car seat is the one that fits your child and your car. Consult a CPST for more car seat information and/or help installing your seat.


Related: Budget Buys: 6 Best Strollers Under $100

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2015 “Buy It Now” Prices for Bestselling Car Seats

2015 "Buy It Now" Prices for Bestselling Car SeatsWelcome to Baby Cheapskate’s 2015 list of buy-it-now prices for bestselling car seats. 

Buy-it now prices can help you decide when it’s time to pull the trigger on a car seat purchase. I’ve analyzed sale prices on more than a dozen of the most popular infant, convertible, 3-in-1 and booster seats to find them.

These “Buy It Now” prices, which you’ll find below in BOLD after the words “Buy Price”, are what I consider “very good” prices on the item. They’re the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularly, based on records of previous sales. Wait until the price on the item drops to this level or lower and you know you’re getting a deal.

Note: Don’t confuse these with current prices (although they may be) or with the “lowest price ever” price. In most cases, you can beat this price if you happen onto a unusually great sale.

I’ve linked to the seats at Amazon so that you can learn more.

The Seats:

  • Chicco NextFit convertible car seat in Mystique: List Price: $280 | Buy Price: $210 (25% off). 
  • Britax Boulevard ClickTight convertible car seat: List Price: $370 | Buy Price: $259 (30% off)
  • Britax Boulevard G4.1 convertible car seat: List Price: $330 | Buy Price: $231 (30% off)
  • Graco Size4Me convertible car seat: List Price: $180 | Buy Price: $144 (20% off)
  • Graco Contender 65 convertible car seat: List Price: $140 | Buy Price: $105 (25% off).
  • Diono Rainier convertible plus booster with adjustable head support: List Price: $360 | Buy Price: $288 (20% off).
  • Evenflo Tribute LX convertible car seat: List Price: $60 | Buy Price: $45 (25% off). 
  • Britax Advocate ClickTight convertible car seat: List Price: $420 | Buy Price: $294 (30% off)

See more posts with Buy-It-Now prices.

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2014 IIHS Booster Seat Best Bets [And Buy-It-Now Prices]

IIHS Booster Seat Best Bets [And Buy-It-Now Prices]When your child outgrows other forms of forward-facing restraints, it’s time for a booster. But which ones are best?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its latest report last week with belt fit data on more than 100 booster seats currently on the market.

Of the 41 new seats tested, 27 were listed as “Best Bets“(meaning that they fit most kids ages 4 to 8 well in most cars) and three seats were listed as Good Bets (acceptable fit in most cars).

Around eight seats fall into a middle “Check Fit” category (they work in some cars, but not others).

Three seats were not recommended–the Diono’s Olympica and Pacifica models and the Kids Embrace Batman No Back booster.

12 Popular “Best Bets” include seats at a wide range of price points starting at around $25:

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.44.04 AMI’m also including buy-it-now prices (the best sale prices you can expect to find fairly regularlyon these seats, and I’ve linked to Amazon below, so you can check out the seats there.

See More

You can see more results at the IIHS website, including ratings for older boosters

Other resources:

See more essential car seat posts at BabyCheapskate.com.

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Car Seat Blog Updates List of Recommended Car Seats for 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.16.45 AMHighly respected site Car Seat Blog just updated their list of recommended car seats. This list was created by Child Passenger Safety Technician-Instructors and Technicians. On it  you’ll find eight infant seats, 14 convertible seats plus forward-facing seats, high-back boosters and low-back boosters. Each listing includes a summary of the seat’s features, drawbacks, and comments from the site about the seat.

Budget-friendly infant seat picks that made the list include the Graco SnugRide 35 LX Click Connect (as low as $127.75 at Amazon) and Graco SnugRide 40 Click Connect (coming soon to most retailers)

Screen Shot 2014-06-26 at 9.29.48 AMBudget-friendly convertible car seats that made the list include the Cosco Scenera ($55 at Amazon right now), Safety 1st Onside Air (Currently $81.79 at Amazon), Britax Roundabout G4 (currently $144 at Amazon) and the Evenflo Symphony DLX ($185 right now at Amazon).

You’ll want to check out the entire list. You can do that here.

See my buy-it-now prices for 18 bestselling car seats. Most of the seats on the list are included.

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Want Car Seat Safety Info? Check Out these 13 Sites and Facebook Pages

Ever feel like you’re overwhelmed when it comes to car seat safety? You’re not alone!

There are lots of great sites, pages and groups out there to help parents understand the what, how and why of car seat safety. We’ve collected over a dozen of them here.

NOTE: None of these sites, pages or groups is a substitute for having your car seat checked IRL by a CPST. Find an inspection station here.


Facebook Pages

  • The Car Seat Lady: Popular page run by “a pediatrician, nurse & new mom with 40+ years & 20,000+ car seat installations combined experience”
  • Car Seats for the Littles: Vehicle crashes are the #1 cause of death for children. This page’s mission is to change that.
  • Dear MTV: Care About Car Seats Inspired by improper car seat use on MTV’s Teen Mom & 16 and Pregnant

Facebook Groups

  • Car Seats for the Littles Group: Large group. Created to “provide a central location for moms, dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caretakers, and anyone else who takes care of or just loves children to stay informed about car seat safety.”
  • Car Seat Safety: Open group. “A community for people who have questions about their car seats or need help to find an appropriate seat for their child(ren). CPSTs, CRST and knowledgeable, passionate carseat lovers are here to help”
  • South Florida Car Seat Moms: A closed group run by our very own FB admin and CPST, Nava.
  • Car Seat Safe Kids:  Newish Facebook page spreading the word about car seat safety.

Thanks to Nava for helping gather these great resources.

Know of any other great sites, pages or groups focused on car seat safety? Let us know in the comments!

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Best New Baby Gear for 2013 [Part 1: Car Seats]

Welcome to Part 1 of BC’s Best New Baby Gear posts. It’s about car seats. Each year dozens (if not hundreds) of new baby items hit the market. Some are really promising and some are real head-scratchers (like these beauties from last year’s ABC Kids Expo).

Learning about all the new products can be overwhelming, so here’s help.

Below you’ll find a roundup of some of the most interesting new car seats hitting the market. Some came out in late 2012 and some will do so later this year. In addition to the MSRP and availablility date, I’m also including useful snippets from reviews and press releases along with links so that you can read more, see the specs, etc.

And remember, if these prices seem especially high to you, remember than these are MSRP or list prices. Expect to be able to save 15% or more on these items within the first year they’re on the market depending on brand. Here’s an example: the Britax Marathon 70 G3’s MSRP is $289.99 (similar to that of the Chicco NextFit), but it’s pretty easy to get it for $212 or so.

Another thing to remember is newer doesn’t necessarily mean better. There are lots of less expensive but still great seats out there–including highly rated models from Diono, Recaro and Britax–that you can find for 20% to 30% off fairly regularly. And if your budget dictates that you spend under $150, be sure to check out my new roundup of budget convertible seats.

✔ = Budget Buy

Car Seats | Convertible

  • Chicco NextFit 65 convertible car seat. $279 – $299. “For starters, there’s a really cool new LATCH system with integrated pulleys that significantly reduces the effort required to tighten the install. And—get this—the seat has a whopping nine recline positions, meaning it’ll fit into the contour of whatever seat you’re dealing with.” StrollerTraffic.com. JPMA Innovation Award winner. Available this spring.
  • ✔ Graco  Size4Me 70 / MySize 70 convertible car seat. $179.99. “Simply Safe Adjust harness system that allows you to raise and lower the harness height with the squeeze of a lever, without having to uninstall the seat or re-thread harness straps.  Also, the unique InRight LATCH system is easy to install and even easier to uninstall, unlike those on many basic entry-level carseats” CarSeatBlog.com. Available now.
  • ✔ Graco Head Wise convertible car seat. $199.99. Similar to the Size4Me but with side impact protection. Available now.
  • The First Years True Fit iAlert convertible car seat. $399.99. “Features car seat monitoring system designed to alert parents of potentially life-threatening situations.” Press release. JPMA Innovation Award winner. Release date unknown. Available for preorder at Amazon.
  • Diono Radian GTX convertible car seat. $369.99. Sarah says, “The Radian GTX is only sold by authorized independent stores and offers some extras like a free seat protector, 10 year warranty (first and only by Diono), 2 cup holders, and more plush PureFab stain resistant fabric.” Available now.

Car Seats | Infant
  • Uppababy Mesa infant car seat. $280. “The car seat has side-impact protection with a nice visual cue on the adjustable headrest that shows exactly where the head should be positioned relative to the side cushions for optimal protection. The harness adjusts quickly and easily with no rethreading necessary. The lowest harness position is optimized for preemies.” MBeans.com. Available in May.
  • Maxi Cosi Prezi infant car seat. $289.99. “Superior Side Impact Performance: Featuring New G-Cell HX & Air Protect technology; Easy-out harness lifts out of the way; 5-position no re-thread adjustable headrest; 5-point; harness with Center Front Adjust; 5-position adjustable base with built in Rebound Control; 1-click mini LATCH connectors” EverydayFamily.com. JPMA Innovation Award winner.
  • Cybex Aton 2 infant car seat. Price unknown (though the original Aton runs $249.99). “Height-adjustable load leg; increases stability and improves crash protection” Car Seat Blog. Also features Linear Side-impact Protection. Available mid 2013.

Thanks to BC Facebook page admins Nava, Leah and Sarah for their help with this series of posts.

Which of these seats grabs your attention the most?

See more new gear for 2013: Part 2: Strollers and Carriers | Part 3: Boosters, Breast Pumps and More 

Related: “Buy It Now” Pricing on 13 Bestselling Car Seats 

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Top Convertible Car Seats Under $150: 6 Picks

Repeat after me: I do not need a convertible car seat that costs more than $150. I do not need a convertible car seat that costs more than $150…

It’s true! It’s easy to spend big on car seats, but the seats on this list will serve your family well for much less–less than $150, to be exact.

These seats are on the list because they’re priced right AND they get good reviews and ratings from folks who know about seats and safety: The American Academy of Pediatrics, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the folks at Car-Seat.org and others.

Notes on choosing a seat: All infants and toddlers should ride in a Rear-Facing Car Seat until they are 2 years of age or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. And remember, there is no perfect seat for every child. Ultimately, the seat that’s best is the one that fits your vehicle and your child well. For more info on choosing a car seat check out Car-Safety.org’s “basics” page.

Under $100

Cosco APT 40RF Convertible Car Seat: $59.99 at Diapers.com

Highlights: RF: 5-40 lbs. FF: 22-40 lbs. – 19″ to 36″. 4 harness heights. 3 buckle locations. Side Impact Protection. 5-point harness with up front adjuster. | Car-Seat.org review

Safety 1st OnSide Air Protect Convertible Car Seat: $59.99 at AlbeeBaby.com

Highlights: RF: 5-40 pounds. 19″ to 40″. FF: 22 to 40 lbs., 34″ to 43″, 4 harness heights and 3 buckle locations. Air Protect Revolutionary Side Impact Technology: Breakthrough system shields head and immediately reduces side impact forces through the precise release of air. Nava notes that the OnSide “is pretty much a Scenera in ‘fancier’ clothing.”| CarSeatMoms.com review

Safety 1st Guide 65: $78.27 at Walmart.com

Highlights: RF: 5-40 lbs and 19″-40″. FF: 22-65 lbs and 34″-52″ tall. 5 harness heights and 3 buckle locations. Sturdy frame with side impact protection. | CarSeatMoms.com review
$100 to $150

Graco My Ride 65 LX Convertible Car Seat: $125.99 at AlbeeBaby

Highlights: RF: up to 40 lbs. FF: up to 65 lbs. up to 50″ height. 5-point, front-adjust harness. Removable infant insert and headrest. Side impact tested for occupant retention by the harness system. EPS foam for effective impact energy management. | CarSeatMoms.com review

The First Years True Fit Recline C650: $128.60 at Dealomite

Highlights: Great ease-of-use rating. For use with children 5-65 lbs and up to 50′ tall. RF: up to 35lbs.Easy-to-read center angle indicator with two position settings. Easy adjust, no rethread harness for use to 65 lbs.

Safety 1st Complete Air 65 Convertible Car Seat: $149.99 at AlbeeBaby. [Edited: Amazon has it for 115. Thanks, Brandi!]

Highlights: RF: 5-40 lbs. and 19-40 inches (head below top of headwings). FF: One year of age and 22-65 lbs. 34-45 inches, shoulders below top of harness, ears below top of headrest. Breakthrough system shields head and immediately reduces side impact forces through the precise release of air. QuickFit Harness System adjusts harness height from the front in one easy step without uninstalling from the car. One Click LATCH installation system allows for faster and easier installation when moving between vehicles. | CarSeatMoms.com review

Which looks best for you? Do you have any other seats you’d put on the list? 

Thanks to BC FB page admins Nava, Sarah and Leah for help with this post!

More Resources 

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