Evenflo Symphony Elite / all one car seat

The Best All One Car Seat Styles of 2019

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Want a car seat that your child can use for life? An all one car seat does just that. With the ingenious convertible design of an all one seat, you can maintain proper fit at each stage of your child’s growth journey from infant to big kid.

What is an all one car seat?

All one car seats, sometimes also known as 4-in-1 or 3-in-1 car seats, start out in the rear-facing position for infants, babies and toddlers. Once your growing toddler has reached the height or weight limitations for the rear-facing position, the seat can then be switched to the forward-facing position. In this position, your child will remain restrained in the car seat’s built-in 5-point harness for as long as possible (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics).

Once your child is tall enough, you can convert the car seat to a booster seat. Booster seats use your vehicle’s own seat belt system, giving kids the freedom to “do it themselves”.

When your child reaches 4’ 9” in height, they no longer need to use a booster seat. At this point you’ll want to pat yourself on the back for getting a solid 10 years of use out of just one car seat. Now that’s money well spent.

So what are you waiting for?

5 Best All One Car Seats

Below are the 5 best all one car seats based on stellar consumer reviews. Of course, each car seat also meets or exceeds Federal Safety Regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They’re available on Amazon with Free Shipping straight to your front door.

Evenflo Symphony Elite All One Car Seat

Child Size: Infant to Big Kid

Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs. | Forward Facing: 22-65 lbs. | High Back Booster: 40-110 lbs.

Evenflo Symphony Elite / all one car seat

Coming in at an excellent price-point under $200, the Evenflo Symphony Elite has all the best features you’d expect from a company that’s been in the baby business for nearly 100 years.

In the rear-facing position, your baby will ride comfy and cozy between the removable and washable head and body pillows as they relax in one of the multiple recline positions.

As your child grows into the forward-facing and booster positions, you can easily adjust the headrest up or down with just one hand. You don’t have to re-thread the 5-point harness either as it has an infinite slide to keep the proper fit.

Evenflo Symphony Elite / all one car seat

You’ll also love the Sure LATCH installation that makes securing the car seat to your vehicle’s seat less of a struggle. The LATCH connectors auto-retract so you don’t have to pull to achieve the right amount of wiggle-free tightness.

Read reviews here.

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Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Child Size: Infant to Big Kid

Rear-Facing: 4-40 lbs. | Forward Facing: 20-65 lbs. | High Back Booster: 30-100 lbs. | Backless Booster: 40-120 lbs.

Graco 4Ever / all one car seat

The Graco 4Ever is a luxurious ride that will last the 10-year span from your child’s infancy up until no longer needed…. “4Ever”.

Unlike 3-in-1 car seats, which convert from rear-facing to forward-facing to high back booster, the Graco 4Ever is the only car seat on this list that converts to a fourth position – backless booster.

Graco 4Ever / all one car seat

While the high back booster mode may be used up to 100 lbs., some older children may prefer the use of the backless booster mode. This is because it is less babyish and will make them feel much more grown up.

The backless booster mode is also advantageous if you plan to use the car seat for carpooling in the future. Most all in one car seats are undesirable to frequently switch between cars due to their weight. But, in the backless booster mode, the Graco 4Ever makes this more than manageable. Without all the extra weight of the high seat back, you can easily uninstall, transfer, and reinstall the booster seat time and again in different vehicles.

Read reviews here.

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Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Child Size: Infant to Big Kid

Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs. | Forward Facing: 22-65 lbs. | Belt-Positioning Booster: 40-100 lbs.

Safety 1st Grow and Go / all one car seat

The Safety 1st Grow and Go makes investing in an all one car seat super affordable. With a price-point under $150 and all the bells and whistles of a premium car seat, there’s a lot to love.

Got long legs? This 3-in-1 car seat takes up less space in the backseat when in the rear-facing position. You’ll get an extra 7 inches of leg room in the front seat.

Safety 1st Grow and Go / all one car seat

The Safety 1st Grow and Go also has the unique feature of harness holders that store the buckles to the side when not in use. Less fumbling around makes it easier to get small children in and out quickly.

What’s more convenient is the snap off seat pad cover. You can machine wash and dry it to get rid of those inevitable snack, vomit or baby blow-out stains. Phew!

Safety 1st Grow and Go / all one car seat

Read reviews here.

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Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Child Size: Infant to Big Kid

Rear-Facing: 5-40 lbs. | Forward Facing: 22-65 lbs. | Belt-Positioning Booster: 30-100 lbs.

Graco SlimFit / all one car seat

Like the name suggests, the Graco SlimFit won’t take up too much space in your vehicle. This is the best all one car seat to save space if you also have another car seat in the same row. You’ll still be able to fit another passenger comfortably in between!

Graco SlimFit / all one car seat

It may also be possible to fit 3 Graco SlimFits across your backseat, depending upon the size of your vehicle (an impossibility with other 3-in-1 car seats). No promises though – just be sure to measure carefully.

The narrow design of this 3-in-1 car seat doesn’t sacrifice on must-have features either. Dual cup holders hold your child’s snacks, drinks or toys nearby and simply rotate away to save space.

You’ll also appreciate the simple 1-second LATCH installation system, removable plush cushions and machine washable car seat cover.

Read reviews here.

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Evenflo EveryStage LX All One Car Seat

Child Size: Infant to Big Kid

Rear-Facing: 4-50 lbs. | Forward Facing: 22-65 lbs. | Belt-Positioning Booster: 40-120 lbs.

Evenflo EveryStage LX / all one car seat

The Evenflo EveryStage LX is the all one car seat that keeps your child in the rear-facing position the longest (up to 50 lbs. versus 40 lbs. on competing models). It then converts to a 5-point harness forward-facing booster and finally, a high back belt-positioning booster. If you’re set on following the AAP’s recommendation to keep your child rear-facing for longer (to the height/weight limitations of any given car seat), then this is what you want.

Evenflo EveryStage LX / all one car seat

The EveryStage LX is designed with a custom cradled fit that angles your baby properly in the seat. This reduces the risk of airway collapse caused from head slump. It also promotes a more comfortable ride, which of course, leads to better naps in the car.

Evenflo EveryStage LX / all one car seat

Another unique feature of this car seat is it’s EasyClick LATCH system. In a 2018 consumer research study, the Evenflo EveryStage LX was found to tighten 3 times stronger upon install than competing car seats thanks to the innovative way it’s LATCH system ratchets. A tighter fit = a safer ride for your little one.

Evenflo EveryStage / all one car seat

Read reviews here.

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Conclusion

The benefit of investing in an all one car seat is undeniable. Getting so many years of use out of just one car seat is a great feeling. But you might be wondering:

Are there any disadvantages?

Yes. You’ll want to consider a few lifestyle factors before making your purchase from the get-go…

Are all one car seats good for infants?

While all one car seats can accommodate infants as little as 4-5 lbs., you won’t have the option to hand-carry your baby outside of the car nor use it in combination with a stroller.

Why?

They’re heavy. We’re talking up to 25 lbs. Needless to say, they do not contain a carry handle and are meant to stay in the car.

If you need the convenience of an infant carrier as most parents do, then purchase an infant car seat as your first car seat. Buy an all in one car seat as your 2nd car seat after you no longer need to hand carry baby.

OR

In the meantime, put the all one car seat in your spouse’s car as an extra. That way both of your vehicle’s will be equipped even if you’ll be driving the car with the infant seat the most at first.

Click here to see our best baby car seats for infant carrier options.

Are 3-in-1 car seats easy to switch cars often?

If you plan to share a car seat often between vehicles, an all one car seat will certainly make this process more difficult. The bulkiness and weight of 3-in-1 car seats make for some super heavy lifting.

Lifting one of these bad boys into another vehicle and wrangling it into position takes time. Time you or your kid’s carpool pick up may not have. Parents know it can be hard enough getting out the door with children as it is.

Imagine a hot summer’s day when the inside temperature of the vehicle is sweltering as you huff and puff to install this heavy car seat as quickly but as safely as possible. It’s. Not. Fun.

Ideally, all one car seats should stay put in one vehicle for the most part.

If you’re not up for the challenge of building those arm muscles, choose a car seat that is more lightweight or purchase an additional car seat so you don’t have to share.

Will an all one car seat fit in your vehicle?

If you have a 2-door sports car, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult to install a large car seat in it.

Plus:

You’ll be left with little room for any additional passengers. This is true especially if you have more than one car seat in your vehicle for other children.

Even if you have a larger family vehicle, it’s also noteworthy that you cannot fit a 3-in-1 car seat in the same row with 2 other car seats. Most are simply too wide. The only exception on this list is the Graco SlimFit 3-in-1. This reviewer was able to fit two Graco SlimFits with an infant car seat in the same row of her Ford Escape.

So what’s the bottom line?

The best time to buy an all one car seat for primary use is after your baby has outgrown their infant car seat. Plan to keep it in the same vehicle, for the most part, with no more than one other car seat in the same row.

You’ll be glad you made the investment!

If you still have questions about what style of car seat you should be looking for, read our Car Seats Buying Guide or watch this video.

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