How to choose the best toddler car seat 2021: 10 of the best from £50 to £250

As your child gets a little older, you’re going to need a toddler car seat. Here we take a look at the best car seats from birth right up to 12 years of age

If you have a child and own a car, it stands to reason that you’re going to need a child car seat. There are many different options covering various ages and weights of children, but in this article we’re focusing on the best toddler car seats for when your little bundle of joy is a little older.

There are many different toddler car seats on the market at the moment with most manufacturers even offering more than one product in this sector, but to help we’ve narrowed them down to ten of the best. 

By law, you’ll need a toddler car seat to last right up until your child hits either 135cm in height or 12 years of age, whichever comes first. Infant car seats, or  Group 0+, cover up to around 1 year of age and are rearward-facing, while Group 1 car seats are forward-facing and last from around 12 months up until 4 years. 

Once your child hits 4 years of age they are no longer required to be strapped to the child car seat itself, however they must still use some sort of booster seat. Group 2 and Group 3 seats cover this age category as they don’t have a built-in harness, but do allow for your car’s own seatbelt to be used instead. 

Child car seat categories

  • Group 0: Suitable from birth to 10kg (birth to 6-9 months)
  • Group 0+: Suitable from birth to 13kg (birth to 12-15 months).
  • Group 1: Suitable from 9kg to 18kg (9 months to 4 years)
  • Group 2: Suitable from 15kg to 25kg (4 years to 6 years)
  • Group 3: Suitable from 15kg to 36kg (4 years to 12 years).

Most toddler car seats offer a similar range of functions, focusing on side impact protection, different reclining options and plenty of cushioning. It’s also vital that they are adjustable as your child is going to grow a lot and your toddler car seat must still be able to accommodate them at every stage. 

It’s also important to check how the seat will fit into your car. Most toddler car seats use ISOFIX connectors to clip into your car’s anchor points, although the old-fashioned way of simply using your car’s seat belt is still a viable alternative and many seats also have this function. Always head to a store and check that the seat you want will actually fit into your car before you buy. 

Now you know what to look out for, read our list below for the best toddler car seats available right now…

Joie Every Stage FX

  • Price: Around £180
  • Group: 0+/1/2/3
  • Weight: 13.9kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes (Group 1 onwards)

Toddler car seats don’t just have to be for toddlers, and the Joie Every Stage FX is a prime example of this. As the name suggests, it’s designed from birth right up to 12 years of age – making it one of the most versatile seats on the market. It’s secured with a seat belt when rear-facing, but then uses ISOFIX and a top tether from Group 1 (forward-facing) onwards. With six recline positions and a bunch of safety features, the Every Stage FX really is the perfect all rounder. It may be a little pricier than some of the other seats on this list, but it's the only seat your child will ever need.

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Buy the Joie Every Stage FX from Halfords now

Britax Advansafix i-Size

  • Price: Around £225
  • Group: 1/2/3
  • Weight: 11kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes

The Advansafix i-Size is just one of a wide range of toddler car seats from Britax. It’s a forward-facing only car seat so is suitable from around 15 months of age right up until 12 years, and is secured using ISOFIX connection points and a top tether. As expected, it’s packed full of safety features, including a shock-absorbent foam pad that provides extra protection for the neck and shoulders.

Buy the Britax Advansafix i-Size from John Lewis now

Cybex Pallas B-Fix

  • Price: Around £100
  • Group: 1/2/3
  • Weight: 5.7kg
  • ISOFIX: No

Cybex likes to do things differently and the Pallas range is a prime example of that. The B-Fix is a forward-facing car seat suitable from around 9 months up until 12 months of age, but look closely and you’ll notice an additional impact shield that can be used for children between 9kg and 18kg – giving parents that extra peace of mind.

Buy the Cybex Pallas B-Fix from Mamas & Papas now

Cosatto Zoomi Mister Fox

  • Price: Around £100
  • Group: 1/2/3
  • Weight: 5.7kg
  • ISOFIX: No

Struggling to get your child into the car? Then look no further than a Cosatto car seat. Almost every seat in the range comes in a variety of colours and patterns – and we think the Zoomi Mister Fox should appeal to almost every child. It’s suitable from around 9 months to 12 years of age and is one of the cheapest products on the market, however it doesn’t come with ISOFIX connectors so has to be secured with a seat belt.

Buy the Cosatto Zoomi Mister Fox from Amazon now

Joie Duallo

  • Price: Around £85
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 6.6kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes

The Joie Duallo is suitable for toddlers only being a Group 2-3 seat, but is great value at around £85. It’s very light compared to some of its rivals at just over 6.5kg and has a range of features, including auto adjust side wings that expand as the headrest rises, extra Surround Safety side impact protection and ISOFIX connectors. 

Buy the Joie Duallo from John Lewis now

BeSafe iZi Flex Fix i-Size

  • Price: Around £200
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 6.2kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes

Norwegian car seat manufacturer BeSafe is making waves in the UK with great design and top-notch safety. The iZi Flex Fix i-Size is currently the only Group 2/3 seat it produces, but it’s got everything you need – ISOFIX connectors, side impact protection, an adjustable headrest and it comes in a variety of colours. You do you pay a price for the style though as it’s tough to find it for under £200.

Buy the BeSafe iZi Flex Fit i-Size from John Lewis now

Maxi Cosi Rodifix AirProtect

  • Price: Around £150
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 6.2kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes

Maxi Cosi’s Rodifix AirProtect is arguably the best-looking Group 2-3 seat available with the open design allowing for easy access. The brand’s patented AirProtect technology provides extra safety for your child’s head, while side impact protection ensures the neck, lower back and hips are also safe. It has fully adjustable height and width, and can be secured to your car with its ISOFIX connectors.

Buy the Maxi Cosi Rodifix AirProtect from Amazon now

gb Elian-Fix

  • Price: Around £160
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 7.6kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes 

The Elian-Fix highback booster seat is not the easiest to find in shops and is one of the more expensive Group 2/3 seats at around £160, but you do get plenty of tech for your money. It comes complete with integrated side impact protection, 12-position automatic height and width adjustment, air ventilation and ISOFOX connectors.

Buy the gb Elian-Fix from Uber Kids now

Graco Affix

  • Price: Around £60
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 4.5kg
  • ISOFIX: No

Despite being the cheapest seat on this list, the Graco Affix offers side impact protection, a multi-layer headrest, energy absorbing foam and even a convenient storage compartment. However, the Affix doesn’t come with any ISOFIX connectors meaning you have to secure the seat with your car’s seat belt.

Buy the Graco Affix from Halfords now

Recaro Monza Nova 2 Seatfix

  • Price: Around £130
  • Group: 2-3
  • Weight: 6.5kg
  • ISOFIX: Yes

The Recaro Monza Nova 2 is all about entertainment as it comes with integrated speakers in the headrest and a practical pocket for an MP3 player or similar. Safety has not been forgotten about either, with advanced side impact crash pads and foam supports in the head and hip areas as well as side crash fins and energy absorbers. In standard form, the seat lacks ISOFIX clips but for around £30 more the Seatfix version featured here can be fixed in place using either ISOFIX.

Buy the Recaro Monza Nova 2 from Recaro now

Have you owned one of these car seats? Tell us what you thought of it in the comments...

Web producer

Pete has over 20 years journalistic experience. Having previously worked for Ladbrokes and the Racing Post, he switched from sports writing to automotive journalism when joining Auto Express in 2015.

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