So, what is a best 3 in 1 car seat and why do you need one in your life as a parent? Well, the answer to that is quite simple; savings, safety, and utility.
If you have children, then you already know how expensive they are – or rather how expensive the things they need are. It seems like everything from clothing to car seats carry with them hefty and ridiculous price tags. The worst part is, these expensive things – the clothing and whatnot – will only fit them for a few months!
Yet, here lies the beauty of the 3 in 1 car seat. It can adapt to fit your child as they grow, eliminating the need for you to spend around two hundred dollars on a rear-facing infant car seat that will fit your child for a year before you have to purchase a new, front-facing car seat. By the time your little tyke is ready to turn around and face the world in your car, so will their car seat. Then, in a few more years the 3 in 1 car seat will be ready to turn into a high back booster seat.
It really makes perfect sense why the 3 in 1 car seat is a must have in every new parent's life. Since children never stop evolving, shouldn't their car seats and safety features be able to keep up? It's 2017 people! We landed on the moon nearly fifty years ago, and car seats are far from rocket science – yet your baby's safety is more important than any rocket ship. That's why in this list we're going to help you pick the best 3 in 1 car seat for your needs with a few reviews, and perhaps a little witty commentary.
With that being said, let's get started.
Best 3 in 1 car seat 2017 Comparison Table
|Model||Protection||Cup Holders||Machine Washable||Item Weight||Product Dimensions||Minimum weight||Maximum weight|
|Evenflo Symphony Elite||e3 Side Impact Protection and Symphony DLX||2||yes||24 pounds||27.5 x 21 x 20.8 inches||5 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Evenflo Symphony DLX||e3 Side Impact Protection and Symphony DLX||2||yes||24.6 pounds||27 x 21 x 19.8 inches||5 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1||The Grow and Go's side impact protection||2||yes||15.4 pounds||24 x 19 x 23.8 inches||5 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Safety 1st Grow N Go EX Air 3-in-1||Air Protect -an advanced cushion system that provides extra protection||2||yes||20 pounds||24 x 19 x 23.8 inches||5 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Safety 1st UltraMax Air 360||Air Protect for superior side impact protection and GCell HX patented race car foam absorbs crash energy||2||yes||29.2 pounds||21.4 x 24.5 x 28.5 inches||4 Pounds||120 Pounds|
|Graco 4ever||Standart protection||2||yes||27.8 pounds||26.6 x 20.9 x 20 inches||5 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1||Side Impact Protection||2||yes||23 pounds||28.8 x 20.2 x 19.9 inches||22 Pounds||110 Pounds|
|Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1||SafeZone||2||n\a||20 pounds||20 x 19.5 x 27.8 inches||22 Pounds||120 Pounds|
Evenflo Symphony Elite All-In-One Convertible Car Seat – Best Car Seat for Places with Extreme Temperatures
According to the manufacturer, the Evenflo Symphony Elite has already been voted the number one car seat in a leading consumer magazine (though, the magazine is not named).
However, one really cool feature about this car seat is the fabric that it is made from. It is said to help regulate temperature! If you live in an area that has hot summers and cold winters, this car seat might provide you with some peace of mind knowing that your baby won't be too hot or too cold. It also has buckle pockets that help protect your child from buckle burns during warmer months.
Unfortunately, some users have reported issues with the shoulder straps on this car seat, claiming that they were very difficult to tighten, or did not tighten well at all. This could, of course, be attributed to the user misunderstanding the instructions but we thought it might be worth mentioning.
Evenflo Symphony DLX Car Seat – Safest Car Seat for Under $200
Now, it may not seem at first glance that there is much difference between the Evenflo Symphony DLX, and the Evenflo car seat we just reviewed above. However, for our Amazon users, there is one major difference; this car seat is available on Prime and the Evenflo Symphony Elite is not – at least not right now.
Aside from this, there appear to be a number of positive reviews about this particular seat from users who claimed it "protected their child so well during a car crash that they ordered another while waiting for the tow truck." Another positive aspect of this car seat is that the entire thing is made and manufactured right here in the USA. This design also features buckle pockets to help prevent burns during warmer months.
One common complaint we found is that while in rear-facing mode, your baby's head seems to slope too far forward, causing their neck to bend while sleeping. However, much like the Evenflo Symphony Elite car seat, this problem can be easily resolved with a thorough reading of the instruction manual.
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat – The Best Car Seat for Kids with Long Legs
One of our absolute favorite features about this car seat is the fact that it is cleverly advertised as providing seven extra inches of leg room for your child – but we know the truth. We know what this is all about; lessening the frequency and strength of the kicks that the back of your seat or the passenger seat will receive. Let's be honest with ourselves, long car rides and cranky kiddos can result in lots of kicking, and that's no fun for anyone… unless the kiddos have trouble reaching your seat. Then you only have to hear the crankiness, not feel it too.
The material that this car seat is made from is also removable and machine washable. Hallelujah. It also has harness strap holders, which mean when you are trying to wrestle your toddler into their car seat, you don't also have to go searching for the straps as well. It also has lumbar pillows and cup holders. Basically, this car seat is better than your recliner at home. Do they come in adult sizes?
Safety 1st Grow and Go Ex Air – The Car Seat with Built-in Airbags
Here's a fun feature; this car seat comes with dual airbags to the side of your child's head. Not like the airbags that explode out of your car when you are in a wreck. These are more like air cushions, for added safety.
This model also features harness strap holders and the material it's made out of is machine washable, much like the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 car seat.
Unfortunately, this model is not designed to add leg room, which means you'll still feel the wrath of your cranky tyke's feet, if and when they decide to start kicking. It still has cup holders though!
Safety 1st Ultra Air Max 360 4 in 1 Convertible Car Seat – The Safest Car Seat from Every Angle
This car seat might actually be one of the safest on the market if the 360 degrees of air cushions that surround your baby have anything to do with it. This Safety 1st model boasts 6 layers of protection and specific "G-Cell" cushions that are apparently made from race car foam.
The manufacturer boasts that this car seat has been tested for optimum safety during a car crash from every angle. Even rollovers. The seat of this model is apparently pretty deep, which is said to aid in shielding your baby. Even the headrest is adjustable – to ten different heights, actually. To top it all off, the Safety 1st Ultra Air Max 360 was named one of the best car seats of the year by New York Family Magazine in 2016.
However, it is also one of the most expensive. With all this over the top, near space grade safety technology, a hefty price tag follows suit. As in a minimum of $230. Potential buyers might want to do some research before shelling out the money for this mega car seat.
Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Six Position Recline Car Seat – The Best Car Seat for Parents with Extra Money
It's no surprise to any parent when they see a product from Graco on a buyer's list of baby products. It's a big name in the industry and the products they put out are consistently well made. But that's the kicker. Big names mean big name prices.
So, what about the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible car seat makes it worth paying upwards of $250 – $299 dollars? There are plenty of other options, even just on this list alone, that offer the same features for substantially less money.
Well, for one thing, its rear-facing position will support a child from five pounds all the way up to forty pounds. As any parent knows, the longer your child can stay in the rear-facing position of the car seat, the safer they are. However, there are plenty of other car seats on the market that provide these same weight limits for much less money.
Don't get us wrong, the Graco 4ever has all the bells and whistles. Storage for the harness, reclining adjustable positions, the ability to grow with your child, high weight limits, relatively easy installation, the seat material is machine washable, etc. But, so do nearly all the other seats on this list.
Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat – The Best Booster Seat for 22 Pounds and Up
This is not actually a "car seat" like people envision in their minds. New parents should know that The Evenflo Transitions is what's known as a booster seat. This is the next stage in child car safety after you baby has left the rear-facing car seat stage of their life. This is a front facing only car seat and will accommodate your child from 22 pounds all the way up to 120 pounds if necessary.
This booster seat has a five-point harness latch system and is meant to be the last car seat you ever have to buy before your child is finally ready to sit in the car like a "grown up." It takes your child through the harnessed 22-65 pound stage, then onto the belt positioned 40-120 pound stage, and straight into the no back booster seat phase. The material is soft, easily removable, and machine washable. There is even a removable body pillow.
However, one common complaint we have seen from users is the headrest. It appears this booster seat is not comfortable for your child to fall asleep in because the headrest causes their head to tip forward.
Evenflo SafeMax 3-in-1 Booster Seat – The Safest and Most Versatile Booster Seat for Under $200
Much like the Evenflo Transitions booster seat, this is not a rear-facing car seat, and cannot turn into one. It is a seat made to accommodate children that have come out of the rear facing stage, and are at least a year old (weight requirements vary with children). Nonetheless, this booster seat will grow with your little one from 22 pounds up to 120 pounds.
The Evenflo SafeMax has many of the same features that the Evenflo Transitions does, but goes above and beyond in terms of safety features. It features a "Safezone" that surrounds your child's head and runs down their body. This "Safezone" used unique materials to absorb the force of a crash and move pressure away from them.
Another added bonus is that this model is made with "moisture wicking" fabric which helps to regulate temperature and absorb sweat during long car rides in warmer months. It also is capable of reclining in certain positions and, of course, has cup holders. It has also been extensively tested for safety in side impact and rollover crash conditions.
Unfortunately, the same complaints that were seen in the Evenflo Transitions booster seat are also seen in this model. It appears that there is so much padding behind and around your child's head that it causes their head to face downward. Whether or not this can be fixed with a proper understanding of the instruction manual we are not sure.
The Best 3-in-1 Car Seat Buyer's Guide – What You Should Know
There is one undeniable truth about all car seats that every parent knows; they are built to protect your child and save their life, in the event of a car accident. No matter the brand, no matter the build, this is the main goal of any car seat. However, as with all products, not all are created equal. There are also certain factors you need to consider that pertain specifically to your child in order to make the right choice for your family when purchasing a 3-in-1 car seat.
We'd like to help you go over these factors in this buyer's guide, in an attempt to help you get the best "bang for your buck" for lack of a better term.
Know Your Environment
Do you live in a place where the summer months rise to ridiculously high temperatures? Or a place where the winter months are bitterly cold there for a while? How about a place where both of these conditions exist, like the high desert?
If this sounds similar to your situation then considering the material that your 3-in-1 car seat is made out of is very important. The car seat you choose should be able to regulate temperature, and not be too hot or too cold when you first place your baby in it. You should also look for a model that has pockets for the buckles, which will help prevent them from burning your child during hotter months.
If you live in a place that has high traffic areas there are a few other things you might want to consider. Do you traverse across various freeways or intersections that have a history of accidents on a daily basis? Safety features are another thing you might want to look into. It might be worth it for you to invest in a car seat that has more extensive side impact crash testing, or air cushions. It's not always you that you need to worry about when driving, but other drivers. There is little you can do to prevent an accident, but you can prepare for one when it comes the safety of your child.
Know Your Child and Your Family History
Do you and your partner both have long legs? Are you both tall? How about weight? Were you a heavier child? Was your partner? Chances are then that the product of your combined genes might follow suit.
If you have a feeling that your baby will grow into a child with longer legs, look into car seats that provide extra leg room. Both you and your little one will thank you later. If there is a chance that your child will be a skinny little green bean for a long time before they begin to fill out, there are specific car seats designed to better accommodate leaner children. The same is true for heavier children.
Does your baby have a tendency to fall asleep in the car? Does driving help them fall asleep when they are having trouble sleeping in the house? Then looking into a car seat with a comfortable headrest that will remain comfortable throughout its various stages may be worthwhile for you and your family.
How about messes? Most children are messy, some more than others. But if yours seems to be one of those little Tasmanian devils that spills nearly everything they grab hold of, a car seat with the easily removable material is a must for you.
Here's the Good News, Folks!
Much like all the products in the baby industry, they are constantly evolving and improving. There is a ton of money in childcare products, and that means lots of money is devoted by companies for research.
The good news is there are plenty of buyer's guides out there, much like this one, which can give you a leg up in what may seem like an initially stressful decision for new parents. So, fear not. The perfect 3-in-1 car seat for you is out there, and the open roads awaits! So pick one and let the adventures begin!