by | Jun 27, 2022 | Z

Last Updated: Oct 5, 2022 @ 1:22 pm.

What are the best car seats that feature a load or stability leg? And what is a load leg anyway? We answer that question and give you our top picks for car seats with load legs.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Finding the Best Load Leg Car Seats: Tips & Advice

Let’s talk car seats with load legs.

Load legs (also called stability legs) are a safety feature that absorbs the energy from a collision, keeping the car seat from rotating. The less rotation, the safer your baby.

Although load legs have been around for several years, they have become more popular in recent years—thanks in part to being incorporated in more affordable seats. At first, load legs only appeared on the most pricey car seats.

As always, you should consult your vehicle’s manual about car seat installation before purchasing a seat with a load leg. While most safety experts say the middle of the back seat is the safest place for installation, your vehicle may or may not allow for a car seat with a load leg to be installed there.

Finally, we should mention that car seats with load legs are optional—car seats without load legs are perfectly safe. No state requires a car seat to have a load leg. It is just an additional safety feature to have . . . but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t afford one or your vehicle can’t accommodate one.

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Best For Hot Climates

Lightweight carrier
The star feature here is the mesh fabric that allows for more air flow—great for hot summer weather. Also nice: no rethread harness and easy install.
$149.98

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Best For Hot Climates: LiteMax DLX Infant Car Seat

This seat by Evenflo has two key features: for those where the summer weather is hot and hotter, the mesh fabric on this seat allows for more air flow than others, in our opinion. Second, it also is more affordable than other seats with load legs. Here’s more:

What We Liked

 No rethread harness lets you adjust the harness height much easier than other seats.

• Affordable.

• Harness strap covers.

• Lightweight at 8.6 lbs.

• Mesh fabric provides good air flow.

• Note: only DLX version has load leg.

What Needs Work

• Babies can outgrow the rather narrow seat before hitting maximum height or weight.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Soft, cushy fabric
We liked the side impact protection and infant insert on this seat—and yes, this seat is among the most affordable we found with a load leg.

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Best Budget Friendly: Evenflo Gold SensorSafe SecureMax Smart Infant Car Seat

As we mentioned at this start of this article, load legs first appeared on the market on very expensive car seats—that was disappointing to folks who liked the safety feature, but didn’t have the requisite bank roll. Well, there is good news: this seat by Evenflo checks all the boxes we look for safety (newborn insert, side impact protection and, yes, a load leg) at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

What We Liked

 Soft fabric.

• Side impact protection.

• Load leg for additional safety.

• Newborn insert.

• Alert notifies you if baby becomes unbuckled.

What Needs Work

• Carrier is a bit on the heavy side (11 lbs).

• Sun shade could open and close more easily.

• Two hands needed to move handle up and down.

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Best Extra Recline

Canopy is excellent
Yes, it is pricey—but packed with top-of-the-line features like multi-position base, fabrics free of flame retardants and more. Caveat: lacks a no rethread harness.
$367.99

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Best Extra Recline: Clek Liing Infant Car Seat

Yes, this seat is very pricey, but you do get a raft of useful features. The big headline here is the base with seven recline positions. Yes, SEVEN. That is helpful if you have a vehicle with a challenging backseat for installation—the extra recline positions help position the carrier correctly. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Side impact protection.

• Load leg.

• Seven recline position base.

• Compact width of base is great for multiples (more seats can fit a backseat).

• Seat fabric is free of flame retardants.

• Rigid LATCH gives rock solid installation.

• Canopy is rated to 100+ SPF.

• 9 year life span before expiration means you can use it for several kids.

• Attaches to strollers with Maxi Cosi-type adapters.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• No rethread harness.

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Best Made in Europe

Built-in rebound bar
This Italian-made car seat has a premium price tag but you can see it in the quality of materials and construction. The padding and fabric are excellent.
$299.99

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Best Made in Europe: Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido

This car seat by Peg Perego is one of the few that is made in Europe with Italian fabrics and engineering. Peg is one of those tried and true brands that has been on the market for years—and many parents we interviewed think paying a premium for seat made in Europe is worth the price tag. We see their point: this is an excellent quality seat.

What We Liked

• Quality fabric materials.

• Excellent padding.

• Built-in rebound bar.

• Load leg.,

• Made in Italy.

• Headrest with six adjustments.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• A bit heavy at 10 lbs for the carrier.

• Installation can be confusing.

Best For Urban Parents: CYBEX Aton 2 with SensorSafe

If you live in the urban core of a city, your criteria for an infant seat is probably different from those who live in the suburbs.

First, you may or may not have a car. That means your infant seat will have to be belted into an Uber or taxi, requiring quick installation most likely without a base.

Urban parents are more likely to use their stroller to do everyday shopping, requiring an infant car seat to work natively with a stroller for the newborn months. For these reasons, we liked the CYBEX Aton 2 as the best bet in this environment.

What We Liked

• Anti-rebound load leg and added side impact protection for extra safety.

• Astonishingly light weight of only 8.8 lbs! (Other infant car seats can tip the scales at 11+ pounds. That may not sound like a lot, but if you are carrying an infant seat up or down stairs to your condo/apartment, you’ll notice it).

• Compatible with most Maxi Cosi stroller adapters. That’s important because most upper-end strollers with the additional weather protection favored by urban parents only offer Maxi Cosi adapters.

• Easy to belt in without a base. If you are lugging your baby around Manhattan or other urban areas, it’s a great, lightweight option.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet

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