Best car seats for babies 2022 tried and tested by parents

Not sure which are the best car seats for babies and toddlers? We’re here to help...

Best car seats: a mother putting a baby girl in an infant car seat
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

Our pick of the best car seats will help you get your most precious cargo from A to B safely in comfort and style.

There's nothing more important than your child's safety, which is why it's so daunting working out which is the best car seat to buy. 

To help you make the right choice, we handed our pick of the best car seats to a panel of parent reviewers and asked them to put them to the test (opens in new tab). We chose parents with babies of different ages to get a sense of the best car seats for various different stages of development, and made sure all of the car seats featured are suitable from birth.

Our parent reviewers put the car seats to the test over a period of several weeks, with babies aged between 11 weeks and nine months old. Based on their exclusive feedback and comprehensive reviews, this is our roundup of the best baby car seats.

Best car seats 2022 according to our parent reviews

Why you can trust GoodTo Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The first thing to know in terms of car seat safety (opens in new tab) is that the law requires children to sit in an appropriate car seat when travelling in a vehicle This is the case until they're either 12 years old or 135 centimetres tall – whichever happens first, according to Gov.uk. (opens in new tab)

Next, to help you choose the best car seat, it's important to know that car seats are sorted into categories (officially called 'groups') according to the weight and/or height limitations of each seat. So the best car seat for your baby depends on your little one's height and weight at the time of use - it's not based on how old your child is.

For this buying guide, we've reviewed car seats from several different groups. This means they have different features and cannot be compared like-for-like. Some have rotating bases, and some recline so that your baby can lie flat when the car seat is attached to a pushchair frame. Some are only suitable for your baby's first year or so, and some can be used right up until your child no longer needs a car seat. In other words, there's a car seat here to suit all sorts of different requirements and budgets - just look for the one with the functionality you need.

Our choice of the best car seat is the Cybex Cloud Z iSize (opens in new tab). You can attach this car seat to a compatible pushchair frame and when you do so, your baby can stay in the lie-flat position that's best for the healthy development of the spine, hips and lungs. 

That alone makes us love it; the lie-flat option is a real standout feature. It's so useful if you're likely to be moving your baby from the pushchair to the car and back again frequently. For example, if you have older children and will be nipping in and out of the car with the baby to take them to and from school or nursery, you won't need to worry about your baby being scrunched up in the car seat for too long - just lift the seat out of the car, attach it to the pushchair frame, and activate the lie-flat mode. 

The base also rotates for easy access to your child, making trips out of the house virtually hassle-free.

Overall, this seat impressed us in terms of both form and function. It has practical design features that truly make a parent's life easier, all wrapped up in a seriously stylish package.

Best car seats overall: Cybex Cloud Z iSize

Credit: Cybex

1. Cybex Cloud Z iSize

Best car seat overall - a rotating seat that reclines flat outside of the car

Specifications

Weighs: 4.8kg
Age range: Birth-24kg

Reasons to buy

+
Swivel base 
+
Reclines flat 
+
Stylish design

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive 
-
Base not included 

We say: This is an excellent rear-facing car seat with exceptional safety features, a stylish design, and – our favourite bit – a rotating base. In other words, you don't have to be a contortionist to get your baby in and out of the car.

The Cybex Cloud Z is perfect for parents who want a smart-looking car seat packed with safety features. The seat itself is easy to remove and install in the car, but it's also designed to make it easy to take your baby in and out of the seat as it rotates to face the car door.

Until you've used this type of seat, it's difficult to convey just how handy this feature is – it really makes light work of taking your baby anywhere in the car. The swivel base also makes this seat a good choice for anyone with a back problem or other injuries that can make taking a baby in and out of the car seat tricky.

Installing a car seat can be a challenge but this one is a good choice for extra peace of mind. The support leg, which attaches the base to the car, has lights that indicate when everything is correctly installed. There's also an alarm that sounds if the base is incorrectly secured.

The seat also has a removable newborn inlay for added comfort, and the height-adjustable headrest has 11 different settings so you can customise it as your baby grows. Outside the car, your baby can lie flat in this seat thanks to the recline feature. It's also compatible with selected pushchairs to create a travel system.

Tested by: Hanna Cesek, mum to Noa, six months

'It was very hard to find anything wrong with the Cybex Cloud Z car seat,' says Hanna. 'It looks great, it's easy to use and – the piece de resistance – it has a swivel base! I think that alone makes it well worth the price. Why wouldn't you choose a baby car seat with a swivel base if you can afford it?! After all, you take your baby in and out of their car seat every day for at least a year. And this base can be used with Cybex's next seat up, so it could last your child right up until they're four years old. Apart from it being heavy to lift and carry, I pretty much love everything about this seat.'

Best car seats: Be Safe iZi Twist B-E iSize

Credit: BeSafe

2. Be Safe iZi Twist B-E iSize

Best premium car seat - a rotating seat that keeps your child rear-facing up to age four

Specifications

Weighs: 15kg
Age range: Six months-four years

Reasons to buy

+
Rotates for easy access to your child
+
Easy to install, with safety indicators
+
Extra support for newborn babies

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Heavy to lift in/out of the car
-
Takes up lots of space

We say: This i-Size car seat is an extended rear-facing seat. That means your child can travel in the safest position – facing towards the back of the car rather than facing the direction of travel – all the way up until the age of four. It also rotates, making it extra easy to get your baby in and out of the car. We also love the electronic indicators which ensure you've installed the seat safely in your car.

This seat has passed the world’s toughest crash test and has three layers of safety features, including built-in side impact protection in the seat shell. It has four recline positions and the adjustable headrest has 11 different settings. To provide extra support for newborns, it comes with a baby shell and a head hugger.

Tested by: Jenny Meechan, mum to Orlaith, aged six months.

'This was so easy to install – the light indicator completely eliminates any guesswork as to whether you've secured the seat properly, offering real peace of mind,' she says. 'The straps are straightforward to tighten and loosen – they glide really effortlessly between positions and don’t dig into the baby’s shoulders. It's quite heavy to carry though – I managed to carry it alone but felt I’d bitten off more than I could chew! It also takes up quite a lot of space in the car – I have a medium-sized family car and had to push the front seat quite far forward to create enough space to install this seat.'

Best car seats: Cosatto All In All Rotate

Credit: Cosatto

3. Cosatto All In All Rotate Child Car Seat

Best budget car seat - a rotating combination seat from birth to 12 years

Specifications

Weighs: 10.9kg
Age range: Birth-36kg

Reasons to buy

+
Impressively versatile
+
Excellent value for money
+
Rear-facing until age four 

Reasons to avoid

-
It's bulky
-
Can be attached to a pushchair frame

We say: Designed by Paloma Faith, this striking car seat covers all the car seat groups (0+123), meaning it's suitable from birth right the way up until your child weighs 36kg, which is around 12 years old. (Yep, we said 12 years old.)

It's another rotating seat, so it's easy to get little ones – and not so little ones, as they get older – in and out. You can use it rearward-facing until your child weighs 18kg (around four years old) and then turn it around and use it as a forward-facing seat until your child is old enough - or tall enough - to use the vehicle seat belt instead.

You can secure it in your car using ISOFIX anchorage points but if your vehicle doesn't have these, you can use the car's seat belt instead. It has flip-out side impact protection wings and an anti-escape system, which means this is one of the best car seats for little ones who like to try unbuckling themselves! The seat has multiple recline settings, and it's easy to adjust.

The seat fabric is made using 30 recycled bottles, and another standout feature is the anti-escape system; this is really useful for a wriggly little one.

Understandably, not everybody wants a combination seat that can be used across different age categories, but there's no denying that they offer good value for money since you won't need to keep buying the next stage seat as your child grows. The rotating design and the eco element of this seat also add extra appeal and real value, which is why we think it's the best budget car seat.

Tested by: Emma Goodall, who is mum to Charlie, aged nine months

'This is an amazingly adaptable and flexible seat,' she says. 'Knowing I only need this one seat all the way up until my child is 12 years old gave me peace of mind. Moving it between my car and my husband's van was also straightforward, and I knew this seat would adapt to suit my life rather than me having to plan my choices around a car seat. The design is so fun and my son will love it even more as he grows.'

Best car seats: Recaro Salia Elite Car Seat

Credit: Recaro

4. Recaro Salia Elite Car Seat

A highly versatile 2-in-1 seat with rotating base

Specifications

Weighs: 18kg
Age range: Birth-18kg

Reasons to buy

+
Clever 2-in1 design
+
Extra safety features
+
Easy to rotate with one hand
+
Very stylish

Reasons to avoid

-
Infant carrier is quickly outgrown

We say: This is a cleverly designed 2-in-1 car seat that can be used both rear-facing from birth-105cm and forward-facing from 15 months-76cm until your baby weighs 18kg or 40lbs. It's effectively an infant carrier and child seat combined.

The seat rotates 360 degrees so it's extra easy to lift your baby in and out of the car. Light indicators on the base let you know what the seat is safely installed, offering extra peace of mind before you travel. It gives threefold protection in the event of a side collision and has integrated side wings that fold out.

What we love about this seat is that you're effectively getting two seats for the price of one. Our tester loved the infant carrier for making it possible to move her baby between the house and the car easily, minimising the stress that sometimes goes along with that transition.

Tested by: Emma Goodall, mum to Charlie, nine months.

'The Recaro Salia Elite is on the expensive side but you can understand why,' she says. 'It's simple and smooth to use, offers a high standard of protection, and my son was very comfy in it.'

'It's also extremely easy to use. The rotating feature works with one hand, making it ideal when juggling a little one and multiple shopping bags. The infant carrier is very light and would be ideal for transporting a sleeping baby. Having the child seat as the base for the infant carrier means you don't need to store an additional bulky seat while your baby is using the infant carrier – helpful when you already have a huge amount of baby items taking up space in the home! And having both the infant seat and child seat in the same unit meant I wouldn't have to think about purchasing the next size car seat once my son was bigger too; it's all ready for the exact time he needs it. The design is also sleek, modern, and really appealing.'

Best car seats: Nuna Arra iSize Car Seat

Credit: Nuna

5. Nuna Arra iSize Car Seat

A lightweight iSize car seat that reclines flat

Specifications

Weighs: 3.9kg
Age range: Birth-13kg

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely light to carry
+
Easy to use 
+
Attaches to a pushchair
+
Luxurious insert for newborns

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires ISOFIX anchor points

We say: This rear-facing iSize seat can be used until your baby weighs 13kg, which is around 18 months. Its standout feature is the fact that it reclines fully flat. It also comes with the base included. It has helpful installation indicators that show when it's safely installed. It's also light to carry – another selling point – and attaches to a number of strollers. We love the memory foam merino wool insert for newborn comfort. 

Our tester says her baby is usually a car seat hater, but the family had a great journey with the Arra, with a lot less crying than usual because of the lie-flat position and the very comfortable memory foam insert padded with merino wool.

Tested by: Katie Archer, mum to Rory, seven months.

'Having spent a lot of time sitting in the car waiting for Rory to wake up after a journey and knowing that moving him would result in a very grumpy baby, we found the lie-flat feature really appealing,' she says. 'And as it's so light, it's easy to attach to the stroller frame with minimum fuss – we tested it with the Triv stroller, which matches perfectly in the design.'

'The harness doesn't need to be rethreaded for changing position either - another plus when trying to make a quick journey without disturbing Rory. The lie-flat recline is a game-changer for parents of newborns as the safety advice is not to leave a small baby crunched up in a car seat for too long. At its greatest recline, the Arra offers an ergonomic position that is good for the baby's spine and allows them to breathe more easily.'

'This is an ISOFIX-only seat so it can't be fitted with a seatbelt harness, which is a shame because with it being so light we would love to take it on the train to visit the grandparents, but without an Isofix base in their car, we couldn't use it. However, it does come with an ISOFIX base and it is very quick to install, made easier by the coloured installation indicators.'

Best car seats: Maxi Cosi Coral iSize Group 0+ Baby Car Seat

6. Maxi Cosi Coral iSize Group 0+ Baby Car Seat

An innovative iSize seat with lightweight removable baby carrier

Specifications

Weighs: 5.3kg
Age range: Birth-12kg/26lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Modern design
+
Light to carry
+
Removable carrier

Reasons to avoid

-
No recline mode
-
Fixed base

We say: The Maxi Cosi Coral is a modern-looking car seat, with a cosy newborn insert that's easy to remove when your baby outgrows it. It also has a soft inner shell that can be lifted out with your baby in it for a cosy, lightweight carrying option.

This is one of the best car seats to consider if you're looking for a very lightweight way to get your baby in and out of the car safely. It's also perfect if you live in a flat or have to park some distance away from your home, as you can leave the main seat in the car and still carry your baby into the house safely.

Tested by: Hanna Cesek, mum to Noa, six months.

'The Coral has a futuristic look and comes in a variety of colours but its USP is that the interior of the seat can be removed from the hard shell, so your baby can be easily taken out of the car but kept cosy and cocooned – a lovely feature,' she says.

'The cocoon itself is very light if you're just removing that bit from the car. It has an alarm system that lets you know if you've not fitted everything correctly and as well as indicators, the Maxi Cosi lights up, which is helpful in the dark and feels like a premium feature. I liked the large release buttons, they were very easy to use. I preferred the buckle on this seat to any of the others because you push the button down rather than in to release, which was easier to use and meant I could do it with one hand.'

Our tester thought the removable insert might only work with a tiny baby but she used it several times and found it an easy (and cute!) way of getting her baby out of the car to carry her inside. However, if you want to attach the car seat to a pram base, you'd have to take the whole thing out of the car, however.

Best car seats: Mercury iSize Car Seat with Isofix Base

Credit: Ickle Bubba

7. Mercury iSize Car Seat with Isofix Base

An iSize seat with cosy newborn insert and base included

Specifications

Weighs:
Age range: Birth-22kg

Reasons to buy

+
Base is included
+
Newborn insert
+
iSize

Reasons to avoid

-
Fixed base

We say: This iSize infant car seat with Isofix base is suitable for rear-facing use from birth until your baby is 80cm tall, which is typically around 15 months old.

As it's an iSize seat, it meets the very latest car seat safety regulations and has reinforced shell technology with advanced side impact protection. We love the memory foam newborn insert and headrest cushion, which are easy to remove when your baby no longer needs them.

The six-position headrest is easy to adjust, and integrated vents allow for air circulation. You can secure it in your vehicle using the Isofix base or the vehicle's seatbelts, and the seat can be used on selected pushchair frames to create a handy travel system.

Tested by: Jo Hewitson, with her three-month-old daughter.

'We actually replaced our own Maxi Cosi car seat with this Ickle Bubba seat as it's so good,' she says. 'My little one looked so snug and secure with the newborn insert in place and she has never once fussed about being put into this car seat. Now she’s bigger we have removed the insert and she still looks safe and snug and it's clear that she is comfortable in it. The car seat is easy to fit onto the Isofix base, and there is a button to make it clear where you need to push to lengthen the straps – something I have found tricky with other car seats as they tend to be hidden away and fiddly.'

Best car seats: Chicco Seat4 Fix Car seat

Credit: Chicco

8. Chicco Seat4 Fix Car seat

A rotating car seat suitable from birth to 10+

Specifications

Weighs: 12.5kg
Age range: Birth-36kg

Reasons to buy

+
Lasts all weight categories
+
Rotating base
+
Good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

We say: If you like the idea of buying one car seat that fits multiple car seat groupings – meaning you don't need to buy a new seat when your child outgrows each category of car seat – this is one of the best car seats for you.

It's suitable from birth right up until your child weighs 36kg. You can use it rear-facing for longer than other car seats - up until your baby weighs 18kg - and then turn it around and use it as a forward-facing seat until your child weighs 36kg. It has a reducer with a removable wedge, which offers extra support and comfort for your baby, and the base rotates for easy access. It also has an adjustable headrest and side-impact protection.

Tested by: Jenny Meechan, mum to Orlaith, six months.

'My daughter looked very happy to be in this seat and her travelling position looked good too – she seemed very comfy and her head didn’t loll forward but there was also plenty of cushioning around her,' she says.

'The 360° rotation makes it easy to put your baby in the seat and get her out, which is great for anyone with a bad back or any other reason for difficulty reaching over. It’s great that this car seat is suitable from birth to 10+, which I think makes it brilliant value for money.'

'The various components can be adapted for all age groups which is a huge bonus when buying anything for a rapidly growing child. It's a good price point for something that will last a long time and it looks nice too. I think it will really appeal to parents who like things to be aesthetically pleasing but who appreciate value for money. It's quite heavy, though, so if you’re pregnant or have just given birth, bear in mind that you might need help carrying it to the car.'

Best car seats: Joie iLevel Car Seat

Credit: Joie

9. Joie iLevel Car Seat

A rear-facing seat that reclines flat in the car and on a pushchair

Specifications

Weighs : 5kg
Age range: Birth-13kg

Reasons to buy

+
Reclines flat 
+
Removable newborn insert
+
Easy to install

Reasons to avoid

-
Canopy is fiddly to use