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As a parent, your goal is to make the best decisions for your kids from the very beginning. That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to make some of those important choices with a compiled list of the best convertible car seats at affordable prices.
These seats are designed to accommodate both rear and forward-facing children and all under 100. Safety and comfort for your child don’t have to be expensive.
In the following reviews, each seat is evaluated on its safety, comfort, adjustability, and ease of installation so you can prioritize the features that matter to you and make the best decision for you and your child.
Table of Contents
Best Convertible Car Seat Under 100 – Reviews
1. Graco Contender 65 Convertible Car Seat – Best convertible car seat under 100 (Hands Down)
The Graco Contender 65 has some of the best safety stats for the seats we reviewed. It has undergone the most rigorous crash tests and is easy to effectively tighten and secure your child inside without much hassle.
The double-edged sword to that added security is that the Graco utilizes older style anchor clips that, while more secure than easy release ones, require more time to unbuckle.
However, this seat features LATCH parent-friendly installation making it much easier to install and remove from the car. This is the seat for you if you prioritize safety over convenience.
Safety 9/10 Comfort 7/10 Adjustability 8/10 Installation 8/10
The Safety 1st Jive seat’s best feature is its easy installation and adjustability. The five-point harness can be adjusted to fit a growing child, which means the seat is meant to last.
The smaller dimensions are also designed to fit three seats across on a standard bench back seat, so it’s perfect for a multi-child family.
This is the only seat we reviewed that is not only machine washable but dryer safe, meaning you’ll save time on cleaning.
The downside to the Safety 1st Jive is that it is difficult to properly recline and thus is not as well suited to supporting a rear-facing infant’s head as other options but certainly works great for forward-facing children.
Safety 8/10 Comfort 10/10 Adjustability 6/10 Installation 7/10
The Baby Trend Trooper is known for being an extremely comfortable ride for your infant or child, soothing even the fussiest of car rides.
It is extremely lightweight and able to fit three seats across for a multi-child family. While the seat itself is well reinforced for safety, the buckles are easier for little hands to undo on their own which makes it less secure than other options.
This seat is adjustable but not without some difficulty and faces a similar downfall with regard to ease of installation.
Safety 9/10 Comfort 7/10 Adjustability 7/10 Installation 9/10
The SureRide is extremely lightweight without compromising safety. The tradeoff comes in terms of comfort, where seat padding is sparser than on some other models which leads to a less comfortable ride.
This seat is quite easy to install but has some issues with the adjustability, namely the lap strap being extremely difficult to fully tighten.
Finally, only the seat pad on the SureRide is removable and washable while the rest of the fabric covering is difficult to remove.
Safety 10/10 Comfort 8/10 Adjustability 8/10 Installation 8/10
This adorable Disney Baby seat proves that cuteness doesn’t come at the cost of safety. It comes in a wide variety of colors but is also rigorously evaluated through crash testing to ensure it can withstand and protect against high impacts.
This is also the most affordable convertible car seat we’ve reviewed, currently pricing at under 100. While it scores high in all categories, this seat’s biggest downside is it’s limited height and weight limits, meaning it won’t last as long as children grow out of it more quickly.
Safety 10/10 Comfort 9/10 Adjustability 10/10 Installation 10/10
Not only is the Britax Boulevard ClickTight seat easy to install, but it is the most adjustable of any model we have reviewed.
No other model features seven recline positions, which offers the best support for rear-facing infants and increased comfort for forward-facing children.
Additionally, this model has a particularly high upper weight limit, meaning it lasts especially long. The only reported issues are the occasional fraying of the seatbelt portions which can decrease the longevity of the product but are relatively easy and inexpensive to replace.
Similarly, the fabric cover is more difficult to remove and machine wash than on other models.
Safety 9/10 Comfort 6/10 Adjustability 7/10 Installation 8/10
The primary appeal of the Cosco Mighty Fit is its affordability. While all of the models we review are inexpensive, this is the first in the list under $80.
It currently costs less than $75 from most major retailers, so it’s definitely one of the bargain options of the bunch. The tradeoff comes largely in its comfort statistics.
The seat features a removable fabric covering without much padding, making it a less cushy ride and potentially irritating to children with sensitive skin.
Additionally, the upper weight limit means this seat is best suited for younger children but that they will quickly grow out of it.
This seat does the job as far as safety is concerned, so it’s fine in a pinch but an investment in a slightly better model is worth the slight increase in price in most cases.
Safety 9/10 Comfort 7/10 Adjustability 7/10 Installation 7/10
With features galore, the Evenflo Sonus seeks to prioritize comfort on a budget but doesn’t ultimately achieve its goal.
Another bargain option under $75, the question you must ask yourself is if you’re willing to trade quality for cost. Like every other seat we review, this passes the safety standards and has undergone impact testing, but that’s about where the benefits end.
This seat is a lot more difficult to install than those with LATCH parent-friendly installation and has non-padded straps that can irritate your child’s skin.
However, its upper weight limit is higher than other inexpensive options meaning it has overall better longevity than some of the other models we have reviewed.
Safety 9/10 Comfort 6/10 Adjustability 8/10 Installation 8/10
As the lowest priced option we reviewed, the Tribute 5 scores surprisingly well in most evaluated areas.
Where it is lacking significantly is comfort; it lacks padding and many of the features that come with more expensive models, but it’s definitely a very safe and effective budget option.
It gets the job done with regard to adjustability and installation while having the added benefits of being airplane friendly and extremely lightweight.
It outscores the other budget options on the list, making it stand out as being inexpensive and effective.
Did you know, a booster seat for the table will save your space if you are living in a small apartment
Buyers Guide – What to look for?
Every one of the above car seats has its upsides and its downsides. Making the right decision for you comes down to recognizing your needs as a parent and what is best for your family.
Safety should be prioritized above any other statistic we review but after that, it’s up to you how much comfort matters to you.
Ultimately, every seat is subjected to similar safety and impact testing, meaning it is largely standardized across all models.
Every convertible car seat can withstand and protect against a crash, so it comes down to your budget and which features you hope to prioritize.
Additionally, considering the age of your child and how long they’ll be using a car seat can help inform decisions about how much you prioritize adjustability or which seats are best for rear-facing infants.
There is no one size fits all so make the choice that is best for you and your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does “convertible” mean?
- With regard to car seats, convertible means that the seat can be both front and rear-facing. This does not mean that the seat can become a booster seat.
All of the seats we reviewed do not have detachable parts that would make this possible, but can be reclined for rear-facing infants and positioned upward for front-facing children. Front and rear-facing guidelines are directed by state laws regarding height and weight limits, so check your state laws if you think it is time to switch your child to front-facing.
Are these seats removable or meant to be carried?
- No. 2-in-1 seats are not the same as infant seats which are designed with and handle so they can be easily removed from the car and carried.While the models we reviewed are generally easy to install and remove, they are not designed to be carried. With that in mind, some of the models are airplane-safe certified, meaning they will fit into airplane seats and offer additional support for your child or infant during a place ride.
How do I know if I’ve installed the seat correctly?
- Read the manual carefully and follow every instruction. The safety statistics for each seat are only applicable if the seat is properly installed.If you are concerned about incorrect installation, choose a model with high ease of installation score and a LATCH parent-friend installation, meaning the seat is designed to be intuitively installed in the car without any hassle.Additionally, most police and fire stations are happy to do car seat safety inspections free of charge in case you want to double-check.
When considering all of the features together as well as the price of each model, two seats rise above the others.
The first is the Graco Contender 65. Not only does it have LATCH parent-friendly installation, but it earns an extra safety point by having undergone additional impact testing above and beyond the industry standard. Additionally, its removable and machine washable cover makes it easy to maintain.
It has a high upper weight limit and adjustability rating, meaning it has the potential to last for multiple years as your child grows.
The second is the Britax Boulevard ClickTight. This seat outshines the others in every category, scoring high in safety, comfort, adjustability, and installation.
This is also the only model with any form of recline function, meaning you don’t have to adjust the seat positioning to get the effect of a recline for your rear-facing infant but can simply adjust the latch to achieve better support.
This model also features LATCH parent-friendly installation, making it foolproof to install and remove from the car. The only downside to this model is it’s bulk at nearly 30 lbs, making it more of a hassle to relocate or carry if required.
Honorable Mention: Tribute 5
While the Tribute 5 does not have the comfort and style of the top-rated seats we reviewed, it deserves credit for being the most affordable option on the list and still outsourcing some of its more expensive counterparts.
The Tribute 5 would make an excellent backup or secondary car seat for your child, even if it isn’t quite comfortable enough for regular use being lightweight and portable makes it a great seat for air travel. It gets the job done for an affordable price.