The 7 Best Infant Car Seats of 2023

Written By: Samantha Wood
Reviewed By: Megan Svetz

Discover the top infant car seats of 2023 to help you and your baby travel safely and comfortably. We tested each model with our kids for several months to give you a real-life review of the best seats available today and help you find the one that’s right for you.

We focus on infant car seats in our ranking as these are our favorite models. They are specially designed for newborns and infants until about 18 months old, and are all rear-facing car seats (the safest position).

You might also want to take a look at convertible car seats if you want a seat that will grow with your child but you should first read why we think infant car seats are better for young children.

There are no bad options in our top infant car seats and they all meet the safety regulations to protect your baby in the car.

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The Chicco KeyFit 30 is overall the best infant car seat of 2023 because of its excellent safety score, easiness to install and value for money. But the UPPAbaby MESA V2 is a better choice if you have the budget because of its natural fabric that’s light and breathable without using nasty chemicals as flame retardants.

We also love the Maxi-Cosi Mico Luxe for its versatility and compatibility with most of the best strollers available today. The Graco SnugRide, on the other hand, isn’t our preferred model but is a good option if you’ll often be using the seat for short taxis or Uber rides as it’s lighter to carry around.

The Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is a safer seat for taxis or Ubers thanks to its European seat belt path but is also the heaviest seat on our list. We only recommend it if you’ll be using the seat for longer rides.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to see how we tested each seat and what you should pay attention to when choosing your infant car seat.

Without further ado, here’s a summary of our list of the 7 best infant car seats of 2023.

Best Infant Car Seats of 2023

ModelEditor’s RatingCategory
Chicco KeyFit 309.8/10Best Overall
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio9.8/10Best European Belt Path
UPPAbaby MESA V29.7/10Best Premium
Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX9.7/10Best Lightweight
Maxi-Cosi Mico Luxe9.6/10Best Stroller Compatibility
Britax B-Safe Gen2 9.2/10Best for Preemies
Evenflo LiteMax 359.1/10Best Value

1. Chicco KeyFit 30: Best Overall Infant Car Seat

Chicco KeyFit 30 best infant car seats review - Baby Gear Essentials
Read our in-depth review of the Chicco KeyFit 30.

We like:

  • Excellent crash test scores.
  • Very easy to safely install the base.
  • Comfortable for baby.
  • Best overall car seat for that price.

We don’t like:

  • Only the American seat belt fastening is possible without the base.
  • Canopy is on a small side, you might need extra sun protection.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

The Chicco KeyFit 30 is the best infant car seat for this price and will be perfect for most parents; however, if you’re a regular taxi user we would recommend another car seat that’s lighter and easier to carry around (see alternatives below).

The Chicco KeyFit 35 is an excellent option as well, the main differences being that it has an anti-rebound bar, is designed for babies from 4-35 pounds and 32 inches in height (KeyFit 30 is for 4-30 lbs and up to 30” in height), is slightly heavier and more expensive.

2. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio: Best European Belt Path

We like:

  • Excellent crash test results.
  • European seat belt path makes it safer when not using the base.
  • Beautiful design and soft materials.
  • Very comfortable for extensive periods of time.

We don’t like:

  • One of the heaviest seats in our tests.
  • Premium quality comes with a premium price tag.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

If you expect your baby to spend a lot of time at the back of your car, the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio is the absolute best car seat available today. With soft breathable fabric and plenty of extra padding, your baby will be comfortable for long journeys. The seat is our preferred option when used without its base thanks to its European seat belt path that doubles back at the back of the seat.

3. UPPAbaby MESA V2: Best Premium Car Seat

UPPAbaby MESA infant car seat review - Baby Gear Essentials
Read our in-depth review of the UPPAbaby MESA.

We like:

  • The high-quality Merino wool fabric is naturally flame resistant without the addition of nasty chemicals.
  • The fabric is also soft, lightweight and breathable to regulate your baby’s temperature.
  • The adjustable no-rethread headrest makes it easy to adjust the height of the harness with your baby in the seat.
  • It’s easy to install with and without the base. The base also has a special finishing on the bottom to protect your car seats.
  • It has a beautiful premium design and a sturdy build quality.
  • It’s easy to clean and maintain.

We don’t like:

  • It’s one of the most expensive seats on the market.
  • It’s also one of the heaviest seats that we’ve tested. Not the best option if you expect to often carry the seat without a stroller.
  • The release button on the harness is a bit stiff. You’ll need a bit of practice before being able to unstrap your baby easily.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

We recommend the UPPAbaby MESA V2 if you can bump up your budget for a premium seat. The extra features are great and we love the natural wool fabric (less nasty chemicals and more breathable for your baby). But only you can decide if that’s worth the extra $150 compared to the Chicco KeyFit 30.

4. Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX: Best Lightweight Infant Car Seat

We like:

  • Lightweight.
  • Fairly affordable.
  • Adjustable recline base.
  • Large canopy.
  • Machine washable cover.
  • FAA Approved.

We don’t like:

  • The harness requires rethreading to adjust the height.
  • No rebound bar.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

Graco has several SnugRide models, including the Click Connect and the 35 Lite LX. Weighing around 9.75 lbs, the Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX is one of the lightest infant car seats that we’ve tested, making it easy to carry around. We found it to be a definite improvement over the Graco SnugRide SnugLock seat, but still lacking compared to some of its competitors.

5. Maxi-Cosi Mico Luxe: Best Stroller Compatibility

Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30 infant car seat review - Baby Gear Essentials
Read our in-depth review of the Maxi-Cosi.

We like:

  • Very easy to install.
  • Anti-rebound technology increases the safety of its base.
  • Generous canopy to cover baby.
  • Compatible with many stroller brands with and without adapters.
  • 10 different color combinations to choose from.
  • Light and easy to carry around.

We don’t like:

  • Only the American seat belt fastening is possible without the base.
  • Doesn’t come with a no-rethread harness, adjusting the height of the harness is thus more complicated.
  • Lacks a recline angle indicator on the base.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

The Maxi-Cosi Mico Luxe is perfect if you already have a stroller from one of the compatible brands (Maxi-Cosi, but also Cybex, Nuna, Silver Cross and Quinny). We found it easy to install and made with some of the nicest fabrics we’ve seen. Additionally, the fabrics are fire-resistant and are made without added fire retardant treatments.

6. Britax B-Safe Gen2: Best Infant Car Seat For Preemies

Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat review - Baby Gear Essentials
The Britax B-Safe Gen2 is perfect for premature babies with its extra padding, making it one of the safest and most comfortable car seats available today. Continue reading our Britax B-Safe review.

We like:

  • Excellent crash test results.
  • Safe and comfortable for small infants and premature babies.
  • Beautiful design and high-quality finishing.

We don’t like:

  • Bigger babies might feel a bit squeezed.
  • Won’t last you as long as some of the other seats in our tests.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

The Britax B-Safe Gen2 has so much extra padding that it’s the best seat for small babies. However, Britax has moved away from the B-Safe series (they now have the Britax Willow S Infant Car Seat) so you may only find it when looking for a Britax travel system set.

7. Evenflo LiteMax 35: Best Infant Car Seat under $100

Evenflo LiteMax 35 infant car seat review - Baby Gear Essentials
Read our full review of the Evenflo LiteMax 35.

We like:

  • Excellent crash test results.
  • Good value for money.
  • One of the lightest seats available (8.8 pounds).

We don’t like:

  • Not very comfortable for baby.
  • The LATCH clips on the base are hard to attach.
  • Materials and fabric feel cheap to the touch.

Where to buy: Check price on Amazon

The Evenflo LiteMax 35 is the best infant car seat available under $100. It’s one of the most lightweight options on the market and it meets all the safety regulations. It’s safe and good value but the fabric and lack of padding make it less comfortable for extensive use. It’s not our favorite seat, but for this price point it’s a great value.

How we select the best infant car seat of the year?

We worked hard to make this list of the top infant car seats of 2023 as objective as possible. For us, this started by recognizing that there is no absolute best. Every family has different needs and lifestyles, so we needed to first understand what the different expectations might be before evaluating car seats against those expectations.

For example, you’ll have very different expectations from your car seat if you’re always using it with its base fixed in your car versus using the seat in taxis without its base. Similarly, families who already have a stroller and want a car seat that is compatible with that stroller, will have different criteria (take a look at our ultimate infant car seat and stroller compatibility guide if that’s the case for you).

best infant car seat top list - Baby Gear Essentials
Photo by Ana Sloan.

So how did we go about selecting the best infant car seats of the year? We started by creating a list of the top 35 best infant car seats available today by cross-referencing authoritative resources (see the full list below) with the best-selling models online. We then analyzed safety ratings, scores and reviews for each model to narrow down our list to the top models.

We purchased each seat on that list and gave two models to each family in our group. Everyone used their seats for a period of five months with their kids. Each seat was used extensively to get hands-on experience. We paid particular attention to their pros and cons and what they are like on a day to day basis.

After five months of testing, we all sat down together and shared our notes. We sometimes exchanged seats among us when we couldn’t reach a consensus on our reviews.

Finally, we assigned our rating to each seat. Safety is absolutely paramount when choosing an infant car seat, hence we gave more importance to crash test results in our ratings. We also considered the value that you get for the price of each seat and all the other extra features that make it easier to use them.

best infant car seat list - Baby Gear Essentials

Choosing a seat that’s right for you and your baby

Buying an infant car seat for your child is one of the first important purchases that you’ll do as a parent, as you’ll need a seat to leave the hospital with your baby. It’s a critical decision, as certain requirements are even mandatory in some states. A good seat will help protect your child when traveling during the first journeys of their life. A great seat could make it a more pleasant and restful trip for everyone.

It’s an essential, but also very symbolic purchase.

We hope that this list of the best infant car seats was helpful to you. Please let us know if you would like us to review other models that weren’t mentioned above. We always love to hear from you.

best infant car seat top Maxi-Cosi - Baby Gear Essentials

Further reading recommendations about infant car seat safety

We used several authoritative sources to help with our list of the best infant car seats. We recommend that you read them if you want to learn more about car seat safety in general. These are also great resources if you want to understand a particular aspect of child safety or want to stay up-to-date with the latest research.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Child Passenger Safety Board have excellent in-depth resources on car safety for children. We recommend you start there:

If you want to explore car safety even further, we recommend the following resources that were used when writing this article:

We also took inspiration from a few other excellent guides online to help us select which seats should be included on our list:



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