The Best Infant Car Seats 2018 for Under $300!

When my husband and I discovered that we were pregnant, one of the first things we did was run to Toys R’ Us (R.I.P.) to look at the car seats. That’s about the time our enthusiasm died.

As exciting as buying your baby’s car seat might be, the price tag is enough to make you choke.

If you’re looking for a car seat on a budget, don’t feel bad. This post will show you the safest, most convenient car seats on the market–for the best price!  Here you’ll find the absolute best infant car seats of 2018 for under $300.

Let’s bargain hunt!

 

The Best Infant Car Seats of 2018 for Under $300

This post may contain affiliate linksIf you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. I only recommend what I trust. Thank you for your support! Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions. 

What is an Infant Car Seat and Why Should You Get One?

There are three things you need to know about infant car seats:

  1. An infant car seat is specifically designed for babies under 2 years old.
  2. Infant car seats are always rear-facing.
  3. Generally, the weight capacity for infant car seats ranges from 4-30lbs, with a maximum height of 35”.

When your baby maxes out of the infant car seat, you will either need to buy a convertible or 3-1 car seat (both still need to be rear-facing until your child is 3).

So, why not knock out two birds with one stone and just buy a convertible car seat now?

There are several benefits to buying an infant car seat that a convertible car seat just can’t beat:

  • Infant car seats double as a carrier. Believe me, when a newborn  baby is sleeping the last thing you want to do is wake her up at your new location.
  • Convertible car seats may be too large for a preemie.
  • Some come equipped with the LATCH quick-connect base systems, an invaluable feature.
  • Many infant car seats include additional safety features specifically designed for newborns

Related Article: How to Get Your Newborn on the Perfect Sleep Schedule

Important Features to Look for in The Best Infant Car Seats

Safety

All of the best infant car seats on this list meet and exceed federal safety regulations. You should never compromise safety for price, and you can be assured that any car seat on this list is a safe buy.

 

Infant Car Seats with Bases

If you’re entirely new to the concept of infant car seat bases, a base is installed in your car prior to the car seat, either by a seatbelt or a car’s integrated LATCH system. Most cars newer than 2003 come equipped with a LATCH system. After the base is secured, you simply place the car seat on top. It will click into place and you’re good to go.

When you arrive at your stop, instead of unhooking and rethreading the seatbelt through your car seat, you simply press a button and lift it out of the base.

This is an incredibly convenient feature that I could not live without.

All of the car seats on this list include a base that is LATCH compatible.

 

Price

Price is an important feature. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, baby gear is expensive. You need to distribute your funds wisely. So, this list will look at safe and comfortable car seats that are budget-friendly. Most of the items on this list are under $250, but all are under $300.

 

Related Article: The Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Baby Gear

The Best Infant Car Seats 2018 for Under $300

BrandImageCar seat WeightChild Weight/Height RatingStroller Bundle?
Chicco KeyFit 30 (Standard or ZipAir)10lbs30lbs or 30"4.6 (Standard)
5 (Zip Air)
Yes (Keyfit 30 Only)
Chicco Fit2 Infant & Toddler Seat11lbs35lbs or 35"4.4 No
Perego Primo Viaggio 4/359.5lbs35lbs or 32"4.4No
Britax Endeavours Car Seat11.5lbs35lbs or 32"4.4Coming Soon!
Graco SnugRide Click Connect 357lbs35lbs or 32"4.4Yes

My Pick: The Chicco Keyfit 30 Air Zip

The Chicco Keyfit 30 is a versatile car seat that can satisfy most families. I personally chose this car seat because it had many  “luxurious” features without the price tag. I also loved the compatible,  highly-rated strollers. The Keyfit 30 ranks well on crash tests, ease of use, appearance, and price.

The Chicco Keyfit 30 offers several models at ranging price points to accommodate everyone’s needs and budget. The “standard” Keyfit 30 model offers the same basic functions as the higher-end Keyfit 30 Zip Air (the model I purchased), such as the SuperCinch Latch Tightener, removable and machine-washable seat pad, and an easy base installation. However, if you can spring for the Zip Air, I would. The breathable mesh padding, extended canvas, and upgraded fabrics make the extra $20 worthwhile.

If you’re looking for the ultimate budget-buy, you can purchase the Bravo Stroller Bundle, which includes the standard Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Bravo stroller (which I also recommend!).

The biggest downfall to this model is the weight capacity and the lack of a no-rethread harness.  

Pros:

  • Only 10lbs
  • Budget-friendly
  • SuperCinch Latch Tightener
  • High crash test ratings
  • Breathable 3D Mesh (You don’t think you’ll need this until your baby is in direct sunlight or has a crying spell that causes him to sweat!) (Air Zip Only)
  • Machine-washable, easily removable fabric and seat pads
  • Extendable canopy (Air Zip Only)
  • User-friendly LATCH installation
  • Great compatible stroller selection

 

Cons:

  • Standard Keyfit 30’s fabric isn’t that impressive
  • Lacks no-rethread harness
  • Smallest weight capacity on this list

 

2 Newest Model: Chicco 2Fit

The Chicco Fit2 is a great alternative to the Peg Perego Viaggio, especially if you’re not keen on the Peg Perego stroller or the car seat’s price tag. In addition, the Fit2 solves the Keyfit 30’s downsides for only a small step up in price.

The new weight capacity for the Fit2 is 35lbs or 35”.  It offers a unique 2-Stage reclining system to give your toddler the leg room he’ll need. Finally, the Keyfit 30’s greatest downfall, the lack of a rethread harness, is solved.

This model also has a new anti-rebound bar, which has the potential to minimize the energy of an impact in the event of an accident. Studies are undecided on how effective an anti-rebound bar is (especially with varying models), but an independent study by Britax suggested that they can reduce rebound rotation by 40%.

Rebound bars=good thing.

 

Pros:

  • Largest weight capacity: 35lbs or 35”
  • One-button handle-release
  • SuperCinch Latch Tightener
  • No-rethread harness
  • Extremely user-friendly LATCH installation
  • Large Compatible Stroller Selection
  • Machine-washable, easily removable fabric and seat pads
  • Anti-Rebound Bar

 

Cons:

  • Ties for Heaviest Model: 11.5lbs
  • Surprisingly lackluster fabrics
  • Safety tests ranked slightly lower than the Chicco Keyfit 30

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35

 

The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is the most expensive car seat on this list, but it come with a few safety and convenience features that might make it worth the extra $40.

(Note: As I’m writing this, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is on sale at Amazon for the same price as the Chicco 2Fit, so I’d at least check it out!)

Many of the car seats boast additional safety features ( Britax, for example), but lack the data to prove its efficiency. Peg Perego puts their money where their mouth is; this model has the highest safety rating on this list.

In addition, the Peg Perego has so many cool features that make it worthwhile, such as the toddler reclining system, 6 position, no rethread harness, and high-end fabric and foam. You’ll find smaller details that create a much better experience, such as fittings to hold the harness straps while you get baby situated or the plush seat cushions.

 

Pros

  • Capacity: 35lbs and 32”
  • Color-Coated seat belt system (for European baseless installation)
  • Advanced side-impact protection
  • Anti-rebound bar
  • Toddler recline system
  • User-friendly LATCH installation
  • 6-Position no-rethread harness
  • High-end fabrics (Italian leather edition available!)
  • Only 9.5lbs!

 

Cons

  • Generally, higher price tag
  • Compatible Peg Perego Stroller is mediocre

 

Britax Endeavours

Britax is a staple among car seat brands. Sold first in the UK, they were the brand of choice for all three of Prince William’s children. The Britax Endeavour has many features that the popular (and less expensive) B-Safe 35 model is lacking, such as an anti-rebound bar, additional headrest protection, quick-remove padding, and a no-rethread harness.

The downfall to this car seat is the price vs. safety rating. Like the rest of the car seats on this list, it exceeds Federal safety standards, however, the Endeavour is ranked poorly compared to the competition.

Also, although Britax specifies that the car seat can hold a child up to 35lbs and 32”, some parents have complained that their child outgrew it well before that threshold.

 

Pros

  • Capacity: 35lbs and 32”
  • 5 Point, no-rethread harness
  • 4 System Safety Padding, including the Safecell base, energy-absorbing foam, steel frame, and additional headrest padding
  • Includes European seatbelt system as well as American (if you don’t have the LATCH connectors).
  • Compatible with esteemed Britax strollers
  • Anti-rebound bar

 

Cons

  • Ties for the heaviest model: 11.5lbs
  • Despite additional safety features, crash tests are about average
  • LATCH connectors are stiff and are less user-friendly
  • Padding and fabric is only hand-washable!
  • Snug fit
  • Stiff fabric

SHORT ON TIME? PIN IT FOR LATER!

The Best Car Seats of 2018 Under 300

Graco Snugride Click Connect 35

 

If you’re on a strict budget, the Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 could be a great fit for you. You’ll find that this infant carrier has many of the conveniences and safety features as the more expensive models above, but it does make a few price-related compromises you’ll need to consider.

This car seat is blessedly light. If you’re a small person (or have a really big baby), a 7lb car seat will be a great asset. Despite its own weight, the SnugRide’s weight capacity is still up to par with the competition. The Snugride also offers recline adjustment to give your toddler some leg room.

Although the carrier exceeds federal safety test ratings, this model is the lowest performing carseat on this list. It is also much more basic, using a manual rethread harness and a hook LATCH system.

If you’re looking for the ultimate budget-friendly bundle, Graco also sells this car seat with the  Fastaction Fold Jogger.

Pros

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Capacity: 35lbs, 32”
  • Lightest option on the list at 7.5lbs
  • Adjustable recline with a color-coded age guide

 

Cons

  • Lowest safety rating
  • Hook LATCH system
  • Manual rethread
  • Fabric and padding feels cheap compared to the competition
  • Mechanisms are more likely to get stuck over time

 

There you have it, Mama: The best infant car seats under $300.

My best overall choice is the Chicco Keyfit 30. For the price, it is a reliable, feature-filled car seat that can hold your little one safely and comfortably. However, the other car seats on this list are excellent choices, depending on your budget and needs.

Whatever you do, try not to be stressed about your decision. Pick a car seat, try it out, and if it doesn’t work for your baby, don’t sweat it. If you purchase your car seat with Amazon Prime, you have a worry-free return policy to fall back on.

(By the way, if you’re not a Prime Member, you can try it out for 30 days free with this link!)

I hope you enjoyed my guide on the best infant car seats of 2018! If you saw a car seat on this list that you love (or hate!) please let us know in the comments below.

The Best Infant Car Seat on a Budget

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2 thoughts on “The Best Infant Car Seats 2018 for Under $300!

  1. By mama! Great article. Just wanted to mention that the picture you chose for your pin image has the car seat being used incorrectly. The straps should always be tight enough that your baby shouldn’t be able to move if you put the car seat upside down(such as what would happen in a roll over car accident) and the chest clip should be firm at nipple level. You should be able to fit two fingers under the straps and chest clip, nothing more or less, to keep your babe the most safe. I by no means mean this an any offensive matter, just want to spread the safety concern as it looks like you are all about child safety! 🙂

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