8 Best Front-Facing Car Seat Picks for Every Budget
Choosing the best front-facing car seat can be a challenging task. That’s why we have created this helpful resource to help you decide which seat is suitable for your toddler. It takes us hours to research the best forward-facing car seats, their reasons for being the best, and which ones to avoid.
In the world of car seats, the options are endless. A simple Google search will prove that plus, parents may be overwhelmed by all available options.
When that child grows into a big kid, it’s time to upgrade to the next level of the car seat. You don’t want to purchase the wrong car seat, which could be more expensive than it needs to be, or maybe not as safe as you had hoped.
You need to make sure you choose the best front-facing car seat because it’s designed for your growing child.
What Does This Mean?
That means ensuring you get everything you need like
- Safety (will my child stay safe?),
- Comfort (it has to be comfortable enough for my big kid), and
- Accessories (because it needs at least one extra accessory that comes with an accompanying belt or strap).
Depending on the manufacturer, these seats may be referred to as: “forward-facing car seat,” “harness-to-booster,” “combination seat,” “2-in-1,” or a “3-in-1” seat.
Furthermore, these days, you can buy child safety seats that go from infant to booster, called all-in-ones (or 4-in-one). These seats will be overkill if you’re already in the forward-facing zone since you are already past the rear-facing phase.
According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), children should not face forward until at least two years old.
Later, they removed the age recommendation and said children should stay in rear-facing car safety seats “as long as possible until their weight or height reaches the maximum allowed by their seat.”
There is overwhelming research that shows children are much safer when they are rear-facing. An impact to the head is simply too powerful for a child’s body, especially their neck and spine. Therefore, you should not let your child’s age affect your safety decision.
Nevertheless, if your child can’t comfortably fit in his rear-facing seat due to his height or weight, it’s time to get the best forward-facing car seat.
Our Top Picks for the Best Front-Facing Car Seat
- Best Front-Facing Car Seat Overall: Diono Radian 3RXT 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
- Best Budget Front-Facing Car Seat: Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat
- Forward-Facing Car Seat for Tall Kids: Chicco MyFit Zip Air 2-in-1 Harness + Booster Car Seat
- Forward-Facing Car Seat With Harness: Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat
- Best Convertible Front-Facing Car Seat: Graco 4Ever DLX All in One Convertible Car Seat
- Most Portable Front-Facing Car Seat: Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Car Seat
- Best High Back Booster: Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat
- Best Forward-Facing Car Seat for Safety: Britax Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
What is a Front-Facing Car Seat?
A front-facing car seat is also called a “forward-facing car seat.” These seats are suitable for children who are no longer in an infant car seat but are too small to use a booster seat or seat belts that fit them properly.
Forward-facing car seats have a harness and tether that restrict your kiddie’s movement during a crash.
A forward-facing car seat with harness will get your child used to sitting upright and looking out the front of the car. It will still keep him, or her secured with a 5 point harness and includes the option to use the seatbelt for extra protection and stability.
Several types are available, including convertibles, combinations, and all-in-ones.
Although they are all similar in construction, their primary role is to protect children in front-facing car seats within the manufacturer’s weight and height range.
Based on our research, here are our top 8 recommendations for the best front-facing car seats. We look for the following factors:
- Convenience and Comfort
- Ease of Use
- Seat’s height/weight limit
- Price Point
In no particular order, check out the eight best forward-facing car seats so you can make the best possible decision for your child.
Forward-Facing Car Seat With Harness
Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat
Don’t hesitate to try this seat if you’re done with rear-facing seats but aren’t sure what’s next.
The Graco car seat converts from a forward-facing harness seat to a high-back booster before transitioning to a backless booster seat.
As a result of its portability and lightweight, parents find it to be just as comfortable and safe as much more expensive competitors.
The adjustable headrest offers eight positions, and there are two (easy-to-clean) cup holders to keep snacks and drinks nearby.
- 8-position adjustable headrest
- Lightweight and portable car seat
- Dual easy-to-clean cup holders
- 3-in-1 harness booster
- Parent complains about difficult installation
- Material: Plastic, Metal
- Colour: Proof
- Orientation: Forward Facing
- Product Dimensions: 19 x 17.4 x 26.5 inches
- Recommended Age: 12 months to 10 years
- Forward-Facing Harness: 22 to 65 pounds
- High-back Booster: 40 to 100 pounds
- Backless Booster: 40 to 100 pounds
- Weight Minimum: 30 to 40 pounds
Best Forward-Facing Car Seat for Safety
Britax Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
Easily adaptable from a forward-facing harness seat to a belt-positioned booster when your child grows, this top-rated and best-selling pick is a top pick. If your child weighs 25 to 65 pounds, use it in forward-facing harness mode. Children between the ages of 40 and 120 pounds can sit safely in a belt-position booster when they meet safety requirements.
With color-coded belt guides, kids and adults can easily route the seat belt in the right direction, while the four cup and snack holders ensure their convenience during the riding style. Reviewers laud its high-quality fabric, easy installation, and sturdy seat.
- High-Quality Fabric
- Easy Installation
- Available in various neutral colours
- You can convert from forward-facing harness mode to belt-positioning booster mode.
- Well-padded in the head and body regions
- No Backless Booster Conversion
- Installation Type: Seat Belt, Latch
- Material: Alloy Steel
- Colour: Spark
- Orientation: Forward Facing
- Harness Capacity: 25 to 65 lbs
- Product Dimensions : 26.5 x 17.75 x 25 inches
- Booster Capacity: 40 to 120 lbs
- Click-Tight: Yes
- Layers of Protection: 2
- Quick-Adjust Harness: 9
- Recline Positions: 2
- Machine Washable: No
- Chest Pads: Yes
- Cups Holder: Two
Forward-Facing Car Seat for Tall Kids:
Chicco MyFit Zip Air 2-in-1 Harness + Booster Car Seat
Chicco now manufactures a forward-facing baby car seat! It’s great news for anyone who loves their Chicco convertible or newborn seats.
The Chicco MyFit is suitable for children weighing 25-100 pounds (up to 65 lbs when using the harness and 100 lbs when using the seatbelt). An extra layer of foam protects its steel-reinforced frame.
This first Zip Air model gets you the coveted SuperCinch LATCH connectors, the mesh “3D Air” weave fabric that keeps kids cool in hot weather, and the kid’s storage console.
In addition, it features four recline positions- an uncommon feature in a forward-facing seat. The seat has enough cushion for your child’s comfort.
Also, the Chicco MyFit Zip Air comes with a one-pull harness tightener for quick adjustments and two cupholders.
- It has a zip upgrade to keep your baby cool during summer and easy cleaning.
- Easy to install
- It can convert from harness mode to booster mode
- You can adjust the car seat to 9 headrest positions
- Lock-Sure Belt System
- Comfortable and breathable
- Installation Type: Latch
- Colour: Black
- Orientation: Forward Facing
- Usage Weight Range: 25 to 100 lbs.
- Product Dimensions: 21 x 27 x 18 inches
- Manufacturer Recommended Age: 24 months to 10 years
Best Budget Front-Facing Car Seat
Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat
You can use this car seat as an everyday seat, an extra seat when you’re traveling, in grandma’s car, or for anything else you want. It’s a cheap option that can fit many families’ needs.
In addition to its lightweight design, parents love that it’s easy to transport through airports and from car to car.
It won’t convert into a booster with a weight range of 5 to 40 pounds, but its price point makes it perfect for multi-car families.
- Lightweight and travel-friendly
- Durable and sturdy
- Easy to clean and install
- No Booster Conversion
- Bigger kids may not be able to use it
- Colour: Saturn
- Product Dimensions: 18.5 x 22 x 25.5 inches
- Product Weight: 9.29 Pounds
- Weight Limit: 22 to 40 pounds (Forward-Facing)
- Fabric: 100 percent Polyester
- Recommended Age: 0 to 4 years
- Age Recommendation: Not Listed
Best High Back Booster
Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat
You may not be familiar with the Clek brand, but they manufacture chemical-free car seats. So, if you are looking for the most eco-friendly front-facing plus high-back booster car seats, the Clek Oobr seat is a must-have.
Like you know, many of the car seats we have today contain brominated or chlorinated substances for safety reasons. However, these chemicals are not good for health.
In addition, flame retardants are mandatory. Clek makes its products with merino wool, so there are no toxins to worry about. Therefore, if your kids have sensitive skins, Clek is your best bet!
Furthermore, it is a super-safe car seat for forward-facing. Both the frame and the headrest are made from durable aluminum. They protect against side impacts.
Moreover, Chek Oobr comes in a sleek yet simple look and caters to older kids with its backless booster.
- It has a rigid LATCH system that locks the booster seat into place, providing stability.
- Clek Oobr is one of the sleekest and lightweight front-facing car seats.
- Eco-friendly and best for sensitive toddlers
- It grows with your kid from toddlerhood to the childhood stage.
- Works for short and tall children, providing maximum safety.
- Easy installation and cleaning
- It is quite expensive
- This car seat might cover the belt buckle in some cars.
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 18 x 22 inches
- Installation Type: Latch
- Material: Jersey, Foam
- Colour: Carbon
- Recommended Age: 4 to 10 years
- Recommended Weight: 40 to 100 lbs
- Full Back Mode: 38 to 57 in
- Backless Mode: 40 to 57 in
Most Portable Front-Facing Car Seat
Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Car Seat
The Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat is a great forward-facing car seat for kids weighing 30 to 100 pounds and measuring 32-52 inches tall.
Designed by Cosco, this seat complies with all federal, ASTM, and JPMA safety standards.
This narrow, lightweight seat (only 11.5 pounds!) is ideal for families who are always on the move, as it’s easy to move from vehicle to vehicle.
It is easy for three of these car seats to fit into the backseat of a car.
Installing LATCH is simple and ensures a safe, secure fit. However, you cannot use the LATCH system with a booster seat. Instead, you’ll need to use a seatbelt to install it.
The deluxe, machine-washable fabric ensures your child’s comfort as well as easy cleaning. Dishwasher-safe and removable cup holders provide simple care for the accessories.
Furthermore, this is an affordable option for a child’s car seat.
- Exceeds Safety Regulations
- Narrow and lightweight
- For children 30-100 pounds
- Budget and travel-friendly
- Comfortable, washable seat pad
- Long-lasting and sturdy
- Reversible cup holder
- It transforms into a belt-positioning booster seat for older kids
- It may not be suitable for petite or smaller children below 30 pounds.
- You cannot use the Latch system in booster mode.
- Product Weight: 11.5 pounds
- Package Dimensions: 18.25 x 19 x 29.75 inches
- Recommended Weight: 40 to 100 pounds/ 32 to 52 inches
- Material Type: Fabric
- Orientation: Forward-Facing
- Recommended Age: 12 months to 10 years
- Installation: LATCH system
Best Front-Facing Car Seat Overall
Diono Radian 3RXT 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
The Diono Radian appears simple, but it holds a lot of power. It is among the narrowest forward-facing car seats available. This Radian 3RXT measures 16.9″ in width and is an all-in-one car seat. Therefore, it may be your last bus stop on the car seats.
Aside from its narrowness, it is one of the safest seats on the market. The care seat core is produced from metal and features advanced side impact protection.
However, if getting the forward-facing car seat is your focus, knowing its safety and weight limit and make-up is enough information.
With the 5-point harness, you can use this car seat up to 65 pounds in harness mode. From there, it can convert into a booster seat for 120 pounds. I consider that good value for money.
There’s more! It comes in multiple colour options, so you can choose a colour that matches your child’s personality.
Due to its narrow profile, it is easy to do three seats across. Among Diono car seats product lines, this Radian 3RXT is the best available.
- Slim fit convertible design
- Grows with your baby
- Easy to move around
- Available in different colours with varying prices
- Built Steel frame
- Soft and padded
- It comes with side impact protection
- The brighter fabrics are not that stain friendly
- The fabric is not removable; you can only spot cleaning
- Package Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.5 inches
- Maximum height recommendation: 57 Inches
- Weight recommendation: 5 pounds to 120 pounds
- Installation type: Latch
- Material type: Steel/Steel core
- Reclining positions: 12
- Harness type: 5-Point
- Forward-facing child weight: 22 Pounds to 120 Pounds
Rear-facing child weight: 5 Pounds to 50 Pounds
- Product weight: 4.84 pounds
Best Convertible Front-Facing Car Seat
Graco 4Ever DLX All in One Convertible Car Seat
Graco Baby car seat is Amazon’s choice for the best convertible car seat. It is a 4-in-1 durable product for about ten years of use.
You can use this car seat from an infant to a growing child stage. Graco has an In-Right LATCH attachment with a loud click to ensure your baby car seat’s successful installation.
- Easy installation and use
- You don’t need to rethread the straps ever
- You can remove the machine-washable fabric covering without
- detaching the harness.
- The same product for different weights
- It moves with your kid from infant to childhood
- The straps easily tangle and sometimes feel frustrating to arrange with a fussy child.
- The cup holders fall off way too fast.
- Product Dimensions : 27 x 21 x 28 inches
- Installation Type: Integrated belt lock-off
- Colour: Zagg
- Orientation: Forward Facing, Rear Facing
- Weight Capacity: 4-120 lb
- Number of Modes: 4 Modes
- Recline Positions: 6-Position Recline
- Attachment Type: LATCH Installation
- Product Weight: 22.75 Pounds
What to Look for When Buying the Best Forward-Facing Car Seat
Before you leave, I thought about giving you something extra. A buyer’s guide would make the perfect gift for this car seat article. If you’re shopping around for the best front-facing car seat for your growing child, there are many things to consider.
You may never discover some factors and specifications when checking for the best front-facing car seat. Fortunately, you can use this guide to eliminate all unwanted car seats and only concentrate on those that matter.
So, let me share with you two important tips you must know.
Firstly, you may encounter an issue with car seat placement. You probably know that not every place in your vehicle is equal.
Keeping your child in the middle of your car is the best option. Though theoretically good, only a few parents implement it.
That brings us to the second safest place for your children. It is behind the driver.
The second tip concerns the perfect installation. If the car seat has too much wiggle room, then it won’t be able to protect your child properly.
For this reason, getting a proper installation is so crucial. You can always seek the advice of a licensed professional if you have second thoughts.
Let’s get started with this buyer’s guide.
When selecting the best forward-facing car seat, safety is the most important factor.
The safety procedures are less strict with these front-facing car seats because they cater to older children.
Whether the car seat is front-facing or not, side-impact protection is crucial. Many models also include rollover protection. Rollover accidents are less common, but they are also the most lethal.
When it comes to this category, I highly recommend obtaining the most protection possible.
Having no protection is much preferable to not having enough.
Usually, these are the easiest seats to install after infant car seats.
Generally, brands permit forward-facing with latches until 65 pounds. However, there may be some exceptions, but these are rare.
The longevity of a car seat is an important consideration if you are looking to purchase one that will last through all of your child’s milestones.
You can avoid continually replacing your child’s car seat by getting a seat that grows with your little one from a toddler to a big kid. Your toddler can use the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 seat, Diono Radian 3RXT 4-in-1 seat, or Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-one seat as a front-facing car seat. And your kindergartener can use the seat as a backless booster.
With this method, you can save money without sacrificing safety. The key is to choose a front-facing car seat that will last the longest. Investing in a long-lasting seat is more economical than upgrading frequently.
Even though forward-facing car seats are almost the last ones you’ll need, you can still save money when you buy a booster combination.
You and I know how kids are. Regardless of their age, messes are bound to happen, so you need to know how easy it is to clean them.
You can remove almost every car seat fabric and use it in a washing machine. This would be one of the initial things I will ask and consider when buying a car seat.
But if you find an excellent car seat that does not feature removable fabric, ensure that the material is easy to clean.
An easily removable and reinstallable car seat is essential for families with multiple cars or kids who like to rack up the stamps in their passports.
The lightweight options are ideal for families who are always on the go, live in a walking city, rely on taxis and Uber to get to places further away from their home or simply use multiple cars regularly.
With about 9.3 pounds weight, the Evenflo Tribute 5 Convertible Car Seat is super lightweight, making it fast to move from vehicle to vehicle.
Although price is a deciding factor when choosing the best front-facing car seat, don’t rely on price points only. While you will find forward-facing car seats lower in price, the price cannot determine seat quality, sturdiness, or durability.
Similarly, there is no guarantee that the higher-priced ones will offer safety, ease of use, or sturdiness.
You should pick the best forward-facing car seat with a harness based on your baby, family needs, and lifestyle.
The Best Front-Facing Car Seat Summary
Phew! Thanks for making it to the end of our best forward-facing car seat review. That was a lot of work. But we have knocked out all the time-wasters.
If you have read this far, you should know which car seat is right for you.
While checking for the best front-facing car seats, I discovered that they are in short supply. So, I recommend you get them as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Best Front Facing Car Seat
Do forward-facing booster car seats have cup holders?
Yes. Most modern booster seats come with either one or two cup holders.
What are the seat types for a toddler’s front-facing car seat?
Toddler seats include convertible car seats, rear-facing car seats, combination seats, and booster seats.
What kind of seat should I get if my child’s weight is more than 65 lbs?
In this case, rear-facing is out. You’d be better off with a belt-positioning booster seat.
Also, make sure that the regular seat belt goes below the child’s head.
In my opinion, the all-in-one seat is a bit late, but if you plan on having a second child, then it’s a good idea.
Can I find a high-back booster front-facing seat at an affordable price?
Of course, you can find a forward-facing booster seat at an affordable price. Best of all, you don’t have to give up any safety features.
Can my one-year-old sit in a front-facing car seat?
Yes, your one-year-old child can sit in a front-facing car seat. However, I recommend you keep him or her in the rear-facing position until two years old.
When can a baby be forward-facing in a car seat?
Like I earlier mentioned and based on the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, you should keep your child in rear-facing mode until two years old.
But, if you need a forward-facing car seat, check the weight and height limit for your chosen seat.
Your child should be within the manufacturer’s height and weight range. If you want, check out the weight limit for the particular car seat.
How long should a child ride in a forward-facing car seat with harness?
It is suitable for kids to drive in a forward-facing car seat with harness for a longer time, at least to age 4.
If your kid outgrows a seat before age four, consider using a car seat with a harness approved for higher heights and weights.
How do I install a forward-facing seat?
When installing a booster seat or forward-facing car seat, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
In the same way that infant seats and rear-facing car seats are different, every brand has its guidelines for how to install your car seat so that your precious cargo is as safe as possible.
How old must a child be for a forward-facing seat?
The age at which you can forward-face your child in their car seat can depend on the law in your state, as some require children to remain rear-facing until the age of 2.
Typically, convertible car seat brands advise turning your child around at 1 year old in states that don’t have a clear rule.
While most experts agree that keeping your child rear-facing for the longest possible time is best and most safe, keep in mind your car seat’s weight and height limitations.
Please let me know what you think. Drop a comment below with your thoughts.
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