Of all the types of car seats there may be the most convertible car seats on the market all having slightly different features. The endless options make choosing a convertible car seat rather difficult. We’ve tried to condense some of the best models here. There are certainly other great seats out there and we’d love to hear from you if we missed one you have experience with. Britax definitely dominates the convertible car seat arena and they are well known for having high quality, super safe seats so you’ll see a few of their models reviewed. We’ve chosen two others – the Evenflo Triumph Advance LX and the First Years True Fit. Both of these seats are a bit more budget friendly than the Britax models. You’ll notice a slightly different format for the Britax seats – I thought it easier to compare the models in a chart as opposed to text. I know it is a bit small but by clicking on the chart it gets larger. One things that ALL of the seats have are five point harness systems, LATCH installation and are some of the top rated by consumer reports. For more information on what to look for and when to use a convertible car seat check out our car seat buying guide.
As of November 2012, Britax has recalled these seats with the HUGS technology, due to the potential of a choking hazard. For more information an how to order your replacement kit view the recall notice. In the meantime, you can remove the HUGS pads.
Evenflo Triumph Advance LX
Use: 5 pounds – 65 pounds and 50″ inches tall
Highlights: The Evenflo Triumph Advance LX is a budget friendly, highly rated convertible seat. Fully lined with EPP foam and plush padding your little one is safely and comfortably secured. The Triumph has a no re-thread harness and even a special harness that “remembers” the last setting. The infinite slide harness and adjustable crotch strap make this seat easy to adjust for a growing child. The seat has a tension knob on the side for tightening of the harness which is convenient and fairly easy to use. I tried this in store and it was pretty easy to use. I would definitely suggest trying out these features in store to make sure you are comfortable with how they work. One thing I liked about this seat was the upfront recline – there is a latch at the front of this eat that you just pull out and are able to recline the seat. It was pretty nifty! The pad and cushioning is easy to remove and machine washable. The Triumph DLX also comes with the LATCH accessories.
Lowlights: Many parents complain about the size of this seat and its ability to fit comfortably in a small car. The base here is a bit wider than some other models. After seeing this one in person, I’d agree its on the larger size (but they all are) so would definitely suggest measuring if you have a smaller car. Some parents complain the tension knob is hard to use when the seat is rear facing.
Bottom Line: We think the tension knob is a great feature as well the upfront recline and for those reasons and of course how highly safety rated this seat is, we’d definitely suggest this eat as a budget friendly alternative to Britax seats.
First Years True Fit
Use: 5 pounds – 65 pounds, 50″ inches tall
Highlights: In general the First Years True Fit gets very high marks from parents. The seat is fully lined with EPP foam and the ample sized cushions surround your child for maximum safety protection. The True Fit has a no re-thread harness making the harness easy to adjust for a growing child. One very cool feature the True Fit has that other models do not is the removable headrest. This makes installation in rear facing mode much easier and creates more space (the head rest is not needed for infants up to 22lbs). The seat has two positions – 35/35 degrees and a nifty indicator to let you know exactly which angle your seat is in. Lastly, the seat has an adjustable crotch strap as well as easily removable padding for cleaning.
Lowlights: As mentioned, generally this seat is well liked. One of the biggest complaints is the material and fabric quality – it is noted that is is not as soft and plush as other brands. After seeing it in person, I would have to agree. Although, it may soften up with use. Like all convertible seats, it is a large seat and can be a tight fit in a smaller car. Some reviews note the instruction manual is hard to follow.
Bottom Line: The First Years True Fit is a great alternative to a more expensive Britax seat (note the Premier model is more expensive but equally as good – just doesnt represent the savings over the Britax seats) and for that we can’t help but give it a five out five. Not to mention, the NHTSA gives it a five our of five for ease of use when used both rear and forward facing.