Parent-Approved: The 6 Best Travel Infant Car Seats (2020 Guide)

Traveling with infants requires a good car seat that can travel with you. Not only will you want and need a seat that keeps your baby secure when riding in taxis or on car-led private tours, the seats can also keep your infant safe in their own seat on an airplane.

We reviewed car seats that are lightweight, travel well, and are relatively easy to set up. These are for infants up to age 18 months. They all weigh less than 22 pounds and convert from a rear- to front-facing seat. If traveling with older children, you’ll want to review our list of parent-approved car seats and boosters for toddlers.

At a glance: Best Travel Infant Car Seats

No. Stroller name Weight Child weight limit  
1 Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat 12 pounds 5-40 pounds Check price
2 Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat 19.5 pounds 5-65 pounds Check price
3 Diono Radian 3RX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 27 pounds 5-120 pounds Check price
4 Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat 25 pounds 5-65 pounds Check price
5 Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat 12 pounds 5-50 pounds Check price
6 Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat 19 pounds 4-65 pounds Check price

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Our rating criteria

  • Weight limit for kids: The car seats and boosters listed here are for children under 22 pounds and under age 18 months. We list the maximum weight capacity to make it easy for you to determine if it can handle your child.
  • Ease for travel: Lightweight, easy-to-travel-with car seats receive a higher ranking than if it’s cumbersome and heavy.
  • Ease of installation: This is important when catching an Uber or installing on a crowded plane. We give top ratings to car seats that are simple to install. The longer it takes to install, the lower the rating.
  • Optionality: This refers to whether the car seat can face forward and backward. Every car seat on this list has that feature.
  • Value for money: When we add up all our criteria and combine it with the price, we give higher ratings to those that offer the most features for the least amount of money.

Our top car seats

1. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

This convertible car seat is super inexpensive, which makes for a great travel car seat. Rear-facing, it can seat infants between 5 and 40 pounds, and then turns forward for children who are between 22 to 40 pounds. For safety, the Evenflo has a five-point harness system and has four shoulder strap positions. Add to these benefits the fact that it weighs just 12 pounds! We love the Tribute for hitting the road, and so do other parents. Of the 4,000 people that have reviewed it, eighty-one percent give it 4 to 5 stars.

Agreeing with us on this as a great travel seat is one father who wrote, “Attention to those who travel!!!! Especially those moms and dads who have to lug the car seat from the rental car/limousine, through the airport and then install it in an airline seat. THIS IS THE SEAT TO BUY!!! My wife and I travel frequently with our toddler son. It’s light! At 9 pounds, it makes carrying it a joy through the airport, especially when you see the other poor parents at an airport trying to lug the 20-pound “Luxury Sofa” that is supposed to be a simple child seat.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 5 to 40 pounds
Ease for travel: 5/5
Ease of installation: 5/5
Optionality: Yes
Value for money: 5/5

2. Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat

Britax Allegiance 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat

We just love the Allegiance. Not only does it look stylish and comfortable, but it offers a 10-position harness to safely hold infants between 8.5 to 17.5 inches without having to redo the belts. Infants from 5 to 40 pounds sit rear-facing in this car seat and can sit forward facing at weights of 20 to 65 pounds. The latch connectors are easy to install on this $165 car seat, which weighs 19.5 pounds. The weight makes it very sturdy but also heavy to carry when you travel.

Still, seventy-one percent of parents give this car seat a 5-star review, citing its safety features as being the best of the best. One parent raved: “This brand is the LAND ROVER of car seats for babies and toddlers. It is well-designed and smart looking. Easy in and out for infants and children. Easy to take apart and clean.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 5 to 65 pounds
Ease for travel: 3/5
Ease of installation: 4/5
Optionality: Yes
Value for money: 4/5

3. Diono Radian 3RX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Diono Radian 3RX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat

Priced at $250, the Diono Radian is an expensive option but has been approved by the FAA as safe for airplane use for children. Rear-facing (5 to 45 pounds) or front-facing (up to 65 pounds), the car seat also converts into a booster seat for children 50 to 120 pounds, making the price worth it when you can take it into your child’s toddler years. The car seat features five shoulder and three buckle positions for a secure fit. The good news? It folds in half to make traveling with it easier. The bad? It weighs nearly 27 pounds! Ouch.

However, parents still love it for its sturdiness and safety features. Eighty-one percent of parents gave the car seat 5 stars. One mom said, “I love the fact that I can go anywhere with my Diono Radian. I’ve had this barely a month and already traveled by plane three times, toting my 10-month-old daughter. Be warned, it is heavy; if you’re carrying a baby, too, then check the car seat. But, I love the fact that I can go anywhere with my baby. The attachment systems are really easy and versatile.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 5 to 120 pounds
Ease for travel: 3
Ease of installation: 4
Optionality: Yes
Value for money: 4

4. Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat

If you want safety and security, you’ll certainly find it with the NextFit, which gets high marks not only from parents but consumer reports as well. You’ll also pay for these high ratings, though. It costs $300 — the most expensive car seat on this list. On the plus side, you won’t need to re-thread the 17-inch harness, and children will have nine positions for both rear- and forward-facing setup. The steel frame adds to the seat’s solid 25-pound frame. It’s heavy and not great for travel, but the weight is what parents love about it, citing sturdiness, safety, and support as its benefits.

“We bought this in preparation for an 11-hour road trip,” one parent wrote. “The adjustable inclines are great. Our 5-month-old seems to like it so far. It sits rather high. Taking him out you have to be careful not lifting him too high, his head will hit the roof of the vehicle. Other than that, it’s great. Safe, comfortable, breathable. High safety test rating got us sold.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 5 to 65 pounds
Ease for travel: 2
Ease of installation: 4
Optionality: Yes
Value for money: 2

5. Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat

Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat

Though a bit bulky, this car seat weighs 12 pounds and serves as both a rear- and front-facing seat for children up to 50 pounds. Cosco’s Comfy Convertible Car Seat only costs $100 and makes a good option for a travel seat. The harness features five points, with five heights and three buckle locations to accommodate up to 50 pounds when it faces backwards. When installed in the forward-facing poisition, it can accommodate up to 60 pounds. We wish it could hold more weight when it faces forward, but due to its lightness and price, we can let that fact slide.

What we cannot let slide is the bulky size, which makes it difficult to face the rear when placing in a smaller car. You might not have a choice in car size when taking a private tour, so keep that in mind when selecting this seat. One grandmother said: “Caution: I have bucket seats front and rear in my car, so not an issue. However, can’t use it in my daughter’s smaller car rear-facing (Civic). It’s wide and the length/height is an inadequate fit between the rear and front seats. Not enough room to level it properly. Used it in a standard-size rental car and it just fit between the front and back seats (thankfully!). So if you have a need to place three across or use it in a smaller car, the Comfy is probably not your best choice.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 5 to 50 pounds
Ease for travel: 3
Ease of installation: 4
Optionality: Yes
Value for Money: 3

6. Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat

Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat

Graco is known for making great car seats for infants, and this stylish yet convertible seat can safely seat those as small as four pounds and up to 65 pounds. The headrest adjusts to eight positions, the seat has three levels of recline, and an easy latch system makes it easy to get kids in and out of the seat. It weighs just over 19 pounds and is priced middle-of-the-road at $180.

More than 800 parents like this car seat, which averages a 4.5-star review. One dad found that it, unlike the aforementioned Cosco, works well in compact cars. “This is a great size for a compact car. I drive a Hyundai Elantra and this fits both rear and front facing. It leaves enough room on either side for additional passengers, and does not require that the front seats be pushed up too far/too close to the dash.”

Our ratings:

Weight limit for kids: 4 to 65 pounds
Ease for travel: 3
Ease of installation: 3
Optionality: Yes
Value for money: 3

Our Ratings Guide for Best Car Seats For Infants

Which of these car seats is the lightest, easiest to set up, and can accommodate the most weight? The higher the rating (out of 5), the better we think the seat it is.

Car Seat Name Ease for travel Ease of Installation Optionality Value for Money
Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat 5/5 5/5 Yes 5/5
Britax Allegiance Convertible Car Seat 3/5 4/5 Yes 4/5
Diono Radian 3RX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 3/5 4/5 Yes 4/5
Chicco NextFit Zip Convertible Car Seat 2/5 4/5 Yes 2/5
Cosco Comfy Convertible Car Seat 3/5 4/5 Yes 3/5
Graco Size4Me 65 Convertible Car Seat 3/5 3/5 Yes 3/5

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