Last Updated: May 19, 2023 @ 10:37 am.

What's the best infant car seat? Yes, shopping for a car seat can be confusing. So many seats, so many features to consider! We compared and rated 34 different infant car seats and picked these seats as best. Key metrics we looked at included safety crash test ratings and overall excellent ease of use.

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

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Best Infant Car Seat for Most Folks

Easiest to install, use
Crash protection for the Chicco KeyFit 30 is excellent, with added side impact protection making a difference. The KeyFit gets high scores from our readers on ease of use. Also nice: anti-rebound bar!

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Best Infant Car Seat: Chicco KeyFit 35

After researching and reviewing 34 different infant car seats, we pick the Chicco KeyFit 35 as the Best Infant Car Seat.

Crash protection for this seat is excellent, with added side impact protection making a difference.

The KeyFit gets high scores from our readers on ease of use—installation is a snap and adjusting the harness is easy. The seat also features EPS foam and a newborn insert.

The downsides? The seat lacks a no-rethread harness and the canopy coverage is somewhat skimpy. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Anti-rebound bar.

• Excellent crash protection.

• No rethread harness system—can change harness height without needing to rethread the harness.

• SuperCinch makes installs easier. The Chicco KeyFit 35 has several features that make it easier to use and install compared other seats we evaluated. Take the unique center-pull LATCH connector. This makes LATCH installs a breeze. By contrast, other infant seats have two LATCH connectors which must be individually tightened. 

Here’s what the SuperCinch One-Pull latch looks like:

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

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Best Infant Car Seat With Rebound Bar

Excellent additional safety features
While the B-Safe is an expensive seat, it features a rebound bar and additional side impact protection. A nice splurge or gift.

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Best Infant Car Seat With Rebound Bar: Britax B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit+ Infant Car Seat, Cool N Dry – Cooling & Moisture Wicking Fabric

The Britax B-Safe is also a good pick, especially if you are a fan of Britax strollers (which naturally work with this infant seat without any additional adapters). This seat has all the features of the brand’s best-selling B-Safe car seat, but adds an anti-rebound bar.

What We Liked

• Britax’s improved crash protection (which Britax calls SafeCell, a system seen on its convertible seats). The seat features a deep shell that is lined with EPP foam for additional protection in side impact crashes and comes with two crotch strap positions and a no-rethread harness.

• Fabric that wicks away moisture.

• Easy to install.

• Anti-rebound bar. Anti-rebound bars help stabilize the seat in a crash offering another level of safety for your baby.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Some babies may outgrow their Britax infant seats too quickly . . . the deep and narrow seat can be too tight for bigger babies. We wonder if the seat criticisms are the flip side of the enhanced side impact protection–all that padding means a narrower seat. 

• The carrier is heavy—slightly over 11 lbs.

• Stroller compatibility. If you are getting a Britax stroller, then this seat is excellent. As for compatibility with other strollers, well, that’s going to be hit or miss (mostly miss). Fewer strollers are compatible with Britax’s infant seat, compared with Graco and Chicco.

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Best Budget-Friendly

Lightweight carrier is 7.5 lbs
Tried and true—the Graco SnugRide SnugLock has good crash test results and is easy to install. Wide stroller compatibility and easy on the wallet.

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Best Budget-Friendly: Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35

The affordable Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat is part of the best-selling SnugRide family that has earned high scores from our readers for ease of use and overall quality. A major plus for the Snugride family: wide stroller compatibility, as most brands have Graco SnugRide adapters. Here’s more on the SnugRide:

What We Liked

• This seat has good crash tests—as good as seats that cost much more.

• Super easy install. The “SnugLock” part of the seat makes this a snap. On the flip side, installation with LATCH is not quite as easy peasy—the clip-style LATCH connectors are easy to install but hard to uninstall. This probably is NOT the best choice if you plan to move it from car to car and want to use LATCH.

• The carrier with out the base weighs a mere 7.5 lbs.—that’s significantly lighter than others in this price range.

• Good value for the dollar.

What needs work

• No anti-rebound bar. You typically have to pay somewhat more for this added safety feature.

Best Infant Car Seat For Urban Parents

Great for quick installs
The Cybex Aton 2 Infant Car Seat is an excellent choice for parents who live in urban environs and need a seat that quickly installs when taking Uber or Lyft.

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Best Infant Car Seat For Urban Parents (and those with little space): Cybex Aton 2

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. (If you are a heavy user of mass transit, we’d suggest also looking at our baby carrier section on this site—it is easier to navigate stairs down to a subway with a carrier than a stroller/infant car seat).

So here’s our pick: the excellent, city-friendly Cybex Aton 2.

What We Liked

• Anti-rebound load leg (optional) 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 (sorry Graco fans, there’s often no adapter for you).

• 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

• Priced like the snacks in a hotel mini bar. Yep, you’ll need some serious cash for a Cybex seat. 

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing infant car seats since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections of infant car seats, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We look to our reader feedback to give us a real world perspective on car seats—our message board on car seats has 23,000 (!) threads. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted online.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!

How we picked a winner

We evaluated car seats with hands on inspections, checking seats for ease of use (installation and adjusting the seat). We also gather significant reader feedback, tracking seats on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also talk with car seat “techs,” certified child passenger safety technicians who install hundreds if not thousands of seats at safety check points nationwide.

We’ve been rating and reviewing car seats since 1994. During that time, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and watched car seat crash tests. While we don’t personally crash test seats, we compare our reader feedback with crash tests done by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Consumer Reports. We also look at third-party evaluations of seats by groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which focuses on booster car seats.

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.