As a parent, trying to find the best all-around car seat seems impossible. I know when I was a kid, my parents went through four different car seats and almost $500 before they found something they wanted. So how do you find something that prevents you from having to make so many purchases? You need a 4 in 1 car seat.
A four in one car seat will combine all stages of your child’s life. It goes from back-facing to booster with a couple of things in-between. We will answer how they compare to other types of seats. In this list, we will be determining the best 4 in 1 car seat.
How We Picked The Best 4 In 1 Car Seat
Similar to other car seats, the four-in-one will be rated based on the below stats.
- Safety Features
- Customer Experience
- Ease of Use
- Ease of Cleaning
Four-in-one car seats need to be versatile, given the amount that you invest in them. They should be long-term savings that prevent you from buying another car seat. Another reason you would not want to buy another car seat: safety. You do not want to buy another car seat because they are unsafe. Those who have been crash-tested will receive bonus points in this category.
Problems with any seat are inevitable, and there is always one unlucky customer that gets hit with something. But the overall customer experience will be reviewed in this case. We will also be looking for cost-effectiveness in this case. This portion of the review ensures that the quality of parts and service do not drop if the price is lower. The price still needs to be reasonable.
Finally, we will be looking at the ease of use category, which breaks down to include ease of cleaning. Machine washable parts are particularly useful in this area. It also needs to be easy to transition between back-facing to booster settings. The latches will also need to be easy to manage.
Best Overall: Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat
- Four to one hundred and twenty pounds
- Includes rear-facing, front-facing, high-back, and backless seats
- Easy to remove and machine washable seat cover
- Ten years of use
- Built to protect your kid in crashes including rollovers
Graco has produced a 4 in 1 car seat that comes with a great deal of confidence. The 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat is another high-quality product from their list. As a car seat that protects with a great deal of secure padding, this can handle anything from rollover to side-impact crashes.
Versatility is key with this one, as it does handle weights from 4 to 120 lbs. Its multiple settings will allow you to ensure that your child is comfortable with where they sit. The backless booster still includes cup holders, which is a neat feature if you are a parent that is always moving
It comes with a solid ten years of use statement, which is true given that the weight limit goes as high as 120 pounds. Further convenience comes with the removable seat cover that is machine washable. You should clean metal or plastic parts using a mild soap and water combination.
The lower customer ratings are pretty few. Some have had a negative experience with customer service. Others have complained about a lack of support for their child’s neck. There are multiple reclining features to prevent this, so try them out until you find something that looks comfortable. Regardless of this, it is still a fantastic car seat with features that make it the best overall pick based on our ratings
- Ten years of use
- Installation in three easy steps
- Crumple zone with v-shaped tether provides extra safety
- Machine-washable seat cover
- Five to one hundred and twenty pounds
The Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-one Car Seat is another example of Britax’s ability to create high-quality products. Their stylish designs also are very memorable. It has a beautiful and soft texture that will help your baby be able to sleep comfortably.
Installation and switching between the different settings are also pretty simple. There are a few satisfying clicks any time you get this thing in the right place. The anchor system ensures this.
There have been a few customer complaints regarding missing parts. Thankfully, their team has responded accordingly and replaced anything that was missing. These happen to be pretty limited.
As always, their high priority on safety comes in the form of a shock-absorbant material that is common in Britax products. Five to 120 lbs is a wide variance to consider, as well. As a result, this car seat has received a close second place on our list.
Best Budget Pick: Evenflo Symphony Elite All-in-One Car Seat
- Great for parents who want to make a long-term investment while on a budget
- Rear, forward, and booster seating
- Five to one hundred and ten pounds
- Machine washable seat pad, hand washable everything else
- An excellent amount of padding
Evenflo is a company known for making goods that are great for parents on a budget. The Symphony Elite All-in-one Car Seat I another excellent example of this working. All of this is in a package that feels safe and secure.
The full weight range does mean that it will cover for the entirety of a child’s young span. It switches pretty quickly between rear, forward, and regular booster settings. It has the click-on anchors that will give you confidence in knowing that you have installed this seat successfully.
The padding that this device has is pretty amazing. The tight fit means that your baby is unlikely to be jolted. Even if it were a substantial accident, the amount of padding prevents the most devastating results.
Advice from their customer service team if the seat slides around is to place a towel underneath this. For parents on a budget, that isn’t a bad idea in general. There are also some concerns regarding the strap quality, but these issues appear to be in limited quantities. Overall, an excellent pick for those who need to stick to a budget.
- Four stage booster
- Two layers of protection with a steel-reinforced frame
- QR code on the side provides instructions for transitioning between different types of boosters
- Four to one hundred pounds
- Machine-washable seat cover
I find myself enjoying Chicco’s style choice when it comes to car seats. They have a very recognizable black coloring that goes well against a contrasting purple, blue, or orange. The orange happens to be my personal favorite, and the Fit4 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is one of my favorite overall products from Chicco.
A unique feature that it has above the others is the QR code on the side. It does recognize that parenting is evolving, and everyone has a smartphone. So this QR code currently contains instructions on how to transition between different stages of your car seat.
There are four stages of seat setup. All of these are the common ones you expect: rear-facing, front-facing, high-backed, and backless boosters. For convenience, it also has a machine washable cover and multiple layers of protection in a reinforced steel frame.
The car seat is a bit less friendly for those who have smaller spaces. Also, the latches start to get a bit too tight when it comes to the later stages. Regardless, the majority of customers have agreed that the Chicco is an excellent purchase.
- Four to one hundred and twenty-pound limit
- Rear-facing, front-facing, high backed, and booster seat
- Up to fifty-pound rear-facing
- Tested under the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for safety
- Adjustable harness system
There is a reason that Graco holds two spots on our list. The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4 In 1 Car Seat is no slouch in proving that Graco produces excellent products. While it isn’t as extensive as the DLX model, the safety features and adjustable harness system allows your child to be rear-facing up to fifty pounds. It is excellent for parents who are especially safety conscious.
If that was not enough for you, this model has an NCAP endorsement for enhanced safety. Combine that with a 4 to 120 lbs limit and an adjustable harness system, and you have one of the safest overall models at a pretty reasonable cost.
Parents have expressed a couple of different concerns. First, they have stated that changing the color will replace the product shipped. Also, the dimensions are a bit big for smaller cars, especially while reclined. These issues appear to be somewhat limited, as few customers have noted these.
Graco has invested in an extensive customer service department to address these concerns. As one of the largest car seat companies in the world, they will work with you to handle any issues. As a result, they have a firm placement as one of the best 4-in-1 car seats available.
- Back-facing, front-facing, high-backed, and backless boosters
- Rear-facing up to fifty pounds
- For children from five to one hundred and twenty pounds
- Ten-year car seat
- Bright and beautiful colors
Diono has a bit less brand recognition as Graco, but don’t think that this counts them out of the list. The Radian 3RXT 4-in-1 Convertible Extended Rear Facing Car Seat is a mouthful to say. Still, all of this is in a pretty compact package. Also, it is the brightest car seat I’ve seen, which makes it incredibly appealing to seat in when compared to the rest of your car.
It is another car seat that claims it lasts up to ten years. Given the quality of materials, I’m willing to believe that. It also sits children comfortably from the 5 to 120 lbs stage.
The Radian has had a few customers grow frustrated over the difficulty of installation. Others have also had experiences of receiving what seems to be used product. A small portion out of 200 reviews has shared these issues. Thankfully, they are not widespread.
Radian does emphasize safety with multiple layers of protection over a steel frame. It is another model with a removable seat that can also be machine washed. Overall, an excellent option, especially if you love bright colors.
What is the Difference Between a Three-in-one and a Four-in-one?
There is a wide variety of different types of car seats available. For new parents, this can be an overwhelming thing. Below, we will get into the differences between 4 in 1 and 3 in 1.
Four-in-one Car Seats
Four-in-one car seats include four different settings: rear-facing, front-facing, high-baked, and backless booster seats. These models are the ultimate in versatility, which causes them to cost the most when compared with other models. It brings us to a similar category, the three-in-one.
Three-in-one Car Seats
Three-in-one car seats are almost as versatile as four-in-ones. As suggested by the name, they have taken away one of the four seat modes that you can choose. Usually, the sacrificed seat is the rear-facing model, as three-in-ones do not typically come with a removable carrier. They are great for children who are already transitioning into that 22 pounds and older phase.
Other options include removing the “high-backed booster” phase, which typically means it just has a removable back. Some can even remove the backless option, which makes them less suitable for larger children. Be sure to check in on the product description so you can find one that is great for you.
What Car Seat is Appropriate for my Baby’s Height and Weight?
The car seat mode you choose is entirely dependent on a combination of age, height, and weight. We will go through the breakdown of those differences below.
Rear-Facing Car Seats
Rear-facing car seats typically offer the most excellent protection for infants. “Rear-facing” is interchangeable with “infant seat.” Most children outgrow their rear-facing seats by their first birthday. Still, rear-facing can technically last up to fifty pounds based on our reviews.
Front-facing Car Seats
Front-facing car seats are typically reserved after the child turns two years old. But they can be transitioned into this option at a younger age depending upon weight. The best models of these come with a five-point harness. These will protect the baby from being thrown in the event of a severe crash.
High-backed and Backless Car Seats
Both car seat types are reserved for those who are forty pounds or more and below 4’9”. These numbers come from state requirements, which can vary based on location. You know they will be ready for these models when the standard seatbelt rests comfortably along their chest and thighs.
Conclusion – Best 4 in 1 Car Seat
All-in-one, or four-in-one, car seats are the ultimate example of versatility in use. As something that covers a child from birth weight to 120 lbs, they are a significant investment. But if you find the right one, they can be a first purchase and the last purchase.
With this guide, we hope that we have provided you a framework for making that decision. We heartily believe that this list contains the best 4-in-1 car seat available for you and your family.