One of the hardest things about putting together a comprehensive “best car seats Australia 2022” guide is there are so many variables to consider when choosing a car seat. While I quite happily limit myself to recommending the best 8-10 prams and strollers every year when it comes to car seats I would be doing you a disservice if I put that kind of limitation.
Also, car seats are used over such a wide span of time it didn’t make as much sense to put them all on one page. If you’re just needing a booster seat for your 6 year old you probably don’t need to be scrolling through a dozen newborn car seat options.
So I have split up these guides into the following pages
- Best Baby Capsules : 0-6months / 0-12months
- Best Convertible Car Seats : 0-4 Years / 0-8 Years (The page you’re on!)
- Best Forward Facing Car Seats: 1-8 years / 4-8 years
So hopefully I’ve broken these guides down to make this search easier for you! Within each page, I have mostly sorted into price categories because I know a lot of parents are looking for the best car seat they can get on their budget. Please note all pricing is intended as an approximate guide and is accurate to the best of my ability at the time of publishing.
|0-4 Car Seats|
|Mothers Choice Adore||$419||$299||45cms|
|Maxi Cosi Vita Smart||$799||$499||45cms|
|Maxi Cosi Vita Pro||$849||$599||45cms|
|Britax Quick Fix||$399||$349||44cms|
|Britax B-First ClickTight||$949||$649||46.7cms|
|Britax B-First Ifix||$849||$599||46.7cms|
|0-8 Convertible Car Seats|
|Infa Secure Achieve||$829||$599||44cms (compressed)|
|Infa Secure Grandeur||$539-$769||$429+||44cms|
There are also some key features to consider when choosing a car seat:
Does The Car Seat Fit Your car?
Aside from budget and any particular features you’re looking for, this is the biggest thing you need to consider when choosing a car seat because they can vary so much in dimensions. Everyone seems to focus on the width of a car seat without considering the depth (front to back) when rearward facing.
It’s important to ensure your car seat isn’t pushed up against the back of your front seat, so you want to make sure the car seat you choose isn’t too big for your car. This is also why typically it’s recommended to put the car seat behind your front passenger – so your driver can adjust their seat forward and back without having to worry about hitting the car seat behind them.
Measuring up your back seat is all well and good, but I think the best thing to do is go to your nearest baby store and physically test the seats in your car.
What Is Your Budget?
Convertible car seats can cost anywhere between $130 and $799 and you absolutely get what you pay for when it comes to car seats. Not just with safety features, but also fabric quality, comfort and ease of use. Keep in mind while Australia does have quite high safety standards when it comes to car seats so an inexpensive car seat will still be safe to use, it’s ONLY safe when used correctly.
So you need to consider factors like how easy it is to adjust the harness (because you will be loosening and tightening the harness each and every time you put your baby in the car).
Also, do you have to uninstall the car seat to adjust the harness height? Because taking the car seat in and out yourself every time you have to adjust the harness can introduce the risk of the seat not being installed correctly.
How long will it last?
While they are all designed to last until approximately 4 years, the upper shoulder height marker on car seats can be substantially higher (or lower) on different models. This of course is another factor to consider when it comes to the price you’re willing to pay – if a more expensive car seat lasts you longer is it actually better value?
You may also want to consider the size range if you have multiple children and are planning to shuffle everyone through. For example, you want to make sure your middle child fits the 0-4 car seat long enough for the oldest child to outgrow their booster seat otherwise you might find yourself buying a second booster seat to use for 3 months.
Click here to jump to 0-8 Convertible Car Seats lower on the page if you’re considering this option.
Why Do Some Car Seats Look The Same?
Within the same brand you might notice several car seats with the exact same shape and dimensions, but at different prices. The reason for this is they often use the same “shell” (moulded plastic seat) but have different safety features, fabrics and mechanisms built into the same core design.
So with some of my recommendations below, I will also add the “budget” option car seats where possible, and explain what features they are missing compared to the more premium option.
0-4 Convertible Car Seats
Best Budget Car Seat – Mother’s Choice Adore
The Mothers Choice Adore is a very popular car seat at the moment because it does tick a lot of the boxes of higher-end car seats at a much more approachable price point. First, Mother’s Choice is manufactured by Maxi Cosi. Mother’s Choice is just their entry-level brand. So what you get from a Mother’s Choice car seat is the patented “Air Protect” technology in the headrest, a very easy-to-use car seat at its price point. It’s easy to recline, easy to adjust harness, and easy to install using Isofix. The Mother’s Choice Adore also has quite a compact footprint, so it’ll also suit families with smaller cars as well.
I will point out that the fabric quality on the Mothers Choice Adore isn’t as durable as the higher-end car seats, so you will need to expect more wear and tear, the fabric is known to pill easily, especially from catching on velcro shoes. And also there isn’t as much of that “Air Protect” material as you’d find in a Maxi Cosi branded car seat.
Best Mid-range Car Seat – Maxi Cosi Vita Smart
There are so many great mid-range car seats around the $450-$550 price point that it was really hard to narrow it down, so I am actually going to suggest two car seats at this price point and also suggest reading my Britax Graphene VS Maxi Cosi Vita Smart.
For safety you get a substantial amount of “Air Protect” in the headrest, there is a layer of impact absorbing material through the shell, and also it’s a very deep and cocooning seat, so your baby is protected on all sides.
For ease of use, you get everything you would expect at this price. One-handed easy to adjust harness and headrest, smoothly tightening straps, magnets to hold the seat belt out of the way while you’re loading newborn into the seat, easy recline mechanism and also very well integrated ISOFIX straps.
It’s also a great slimline car seat, so you get all these features without compromising on space.
Closest Alternative – Maxi Cosi Vita Pro
This is actually the more premium option, though the only difference is a little extra adjustable head support specifically for forward facing when your child falls asleep to prevent “head flop”. HOWEVER, the mechanism is quite loud so you’d need to have it set up for them before they fall asleep!
Best Mid-range Car Seat – Britax Graphene
The Britax Graphene ticks all the same boxes as the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart for a very similar price point. It has SICT (Side Impact Cushion Technology) in the headrest and then through the shell. It’s also very easy to use – smooth flowing straps, every to address headrest, Isofix install. Great quality fabrics just like the Vita Smart.
The only thing I don’t love about the Britax Graphene is the base of the car seat has some corners to it that can dent the upholstery in your back seat, so I’d recommend getting a thick car seat protector (not a flimsy foam one).
On the other hand, the Britax Graphene is a little more compact compared to the Vita Smart.
Closest Alternatives – Britax Brava ($549*)/Quick Fix ($349*)
The Britax Brava still has the SICT in the headrest but not through the shell. The Britax Brava also can be a great option for fitting three across because the hollow space in the shell can be used to really push up and Tetris in the neighbouring car seat.
The Britax Quick Fix is structurally the same as the Britax Brava – just the fabrics aren’t quite as nice. But it offers all the same safety features and functionality for a more affordable price!
*The Britax Brava is exclusive to Baby Bunting, so it can be less competitive at full RRP – so I’d recommend waiting for it to go on sale!
Best High-End Car Seat – Britax B-First ClickTight
So I am still unreasonably excited about the Britax Click Tight that was released in 202 and I’m so glad to see that Britax has also rolled out the Click Tight Technology to their forward-facing car seat (which is so important when 1-8year car seats can’t use Isofix)
This is an amazing car seat. If I was having another baby (I’m not) and money wasn’t a consideration (it is) and I had a big car (I don’t) then I would absolutely get a Britax B-First Click Tight.
Why do I think the Britax B-First Click Tight is so amazing? Because it really is designed to be easy for parents to install themselves, and it uses the seat belt to install, rather than ISOFIX so it can be fitted easily into any car.
It’s a hard process to explain, so watch this video. Start at 55 seconds to just see the “Click tight” feature that just blows my mind.
Aside from the super easy fitting process the Britax B-First Clicktight have so many great features to make using a car seat simple, safe, and comfortable. I really could just go on and on about this car seat. Maybe just check out the video below!
Closest Alternative – Britax B-First Ifix.
This is the Isofix version of the Click tight and it almost hurts that it exists when the absolutely coolest thing about the Click Tight is the self-tensioning seat belt path. However, I get that the IFix version is replacing the Millennia and they needed a car seat sitting in between the Click Tight and Graphene in terms of price point.
Convertible Car Seats 0-8 Years
I still don’t entirely know how I feel about these 0-8 Convertible Car Seats. I absolutely get the appeal – the idea of buying one car seat to last from birth to outgrowing the seat entirely. However, if you’re planning multiple children typically you’ll be able to shuffle them through each seat as they outgrow one and grow into another. So you won’t necessarily be saving yourself anything by buying one of these car seats.
Also just imagine a car seat big enough to fit an 8-year-old installed in a rearward-facing position in your back seat. These car seats simply aren’t an option for everyone because they physically won’t fit.
Lastly, no car seat designed to accommodate a child over 4 years will have Isofix, so you need to be confident with a seatbelt path install – otherwise, it’s best to have these professionally fitted. I know from talking to fitters that they are not the easiest seats to install correctly.
However, they can work well for some families. Also, the only brand available in Australia that makes 0-8 Convertible Car Seats in Infa Secure and they do have a number of options at varying price points.
Infa Secure Achieve
There are some very slight fabric differences between the Achieve Premium and Achieve More, but nothing super important. It’s purely an aesthetic difference. The Infa Secure Achieve is a premium car seat with all the usual features you’d expect to see at a higher price point – great quality fabrics, easy-to-adjust harness and shoulder straps and additional impact protection through the shell and headrest.
Closest Alternatives – Discover and Cadence
Infa Secure Grandeur
The Infasecure Grandeur comes at a variety of price points – again purely fabric differences between the Grandeur Element, Astra and Go as the premium fabric options. Then the Grandeur Classic is the more affordable fabric alternative.
The Infa Secure Grandeur is the narrowest forward-facing car seat – however, this does mean the seat isn’t going to be super roomy – which is something you need to consider as your child is growing. A school-age child might feel a bit squishy in the narrower seat. However, it does make it a great option for fitting three across. I can see a strong argument for getting three of these if you’re expecting triplets.
I hope this helps! If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for check out all the Best Car Seat guides.
Also feel free to reach out to us for a personalised car seat recommendation!