Best 3 and 1 Car Seat for Long-time Use!

infant secure in rear facing car seat

Buying a car seat used to be simple. Today there are so many choices it is really hard to decide on the best car seat!

One popular model is the 3 in 1 car seat, which grows with the child. In this article, we will review ten of the best 3 and 1 car seats to help you choose the best for your needs.

Comparison Table

Best 3 and 1 Car Seat FAQ

1. What is a 3 and 1 Car Seat?

A 3 in one car seat, or convertible car seat, is a seat that can be used in three different positions. Usually, the positions include a rear facing seat, a front facing car seat, and a high backed booster seat. Some include a backless booster seat.

2. What Are the Advantages of a 3 in 1 Car Seat?

It used to be that a car seat was only needed until a child reached about 2 years old. Today, children are expected to ride in car seats throughout elementary school.

Parents often like 3 in 1 car seats because they don't have to purchase a new car seat every time their child grows out of the old one. The best 3 in 1 car seats often also have extended rear facing weight and height limits.

3. Why is an Extended Rear Facing Weight and Height Limit a Good Thing?

Pediatricians and other experts recommend that children remain in rear facing car seats as long as possible, as this is the safest possible postion in a car for a small child.

An extended rear facing weight and height limit allows for a child to remain rear facing until they are two or three years old, or even older.

4. What is the Difference Between a Front Facing Car Seat and a Booster Seat?

A front facing car seat uses a five point harness to keep a child secure. A high back booster seat uses the car's regular seatbelt, but allows the child to be positioned in such a way that the seat belt keeps them safe.

It also usually has a guide that keeps the shoulder belt in place. A backless booster seat simply lifts the child a little higher in the seat so that the regular seat belt fits them correctly.

Experts suggest that children ride in the most restrictive type of seat that their height and weight allow, for maximum safety.

How We Reviewed

car seat

Image source: Pixabay

The following products were reviewed based on the following parameters Features, Pros & Cons, Price, Where to Buy, and Warranty.

We looked at many of the best 3 in 1 car seats on the market, and chose the ones that stood out due to easy installation, extra safety features, added comfort, and other details. 

Overall Price Range

child in car set

image source: Pixabay

The car seats on our list range in price from about $150 to $350. More expensive car seats often have more features. They may also have a more attractive design,

What We Reviewed

  • Evenflo Symphony Elite All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
  • Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
  • Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat featuring TrueShield Technology
  • Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
  • Diono Rainier All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
  • Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car Seat
  • Maxi-Cosi Magellan All-in-One Convertible Car Seat with 5 modes
  • Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
  • Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat
  • Baby Jogger City View Space Saving All-in-One Car Seat

Evenflo Symphony Elite All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


Sale
Symphony Elite All-in-One Car Seat, 5 - 110 lbs., Paramount Gray
  • THE ULTIMATE ALL-IN-ONE CAR SEAT: The Evenflo Symphony Elite All-in-One Convertible Car Seat is a robust all-in-one car...
  • REAR – FORWARD – BOOSTER SEATING: In rear-facing mode, it can protect infants from 5 to 40 pounds, in forward-facing...
  • EXCLUSIVE LATCH TECHNOLOGY: The Evenflo Symphony Elite All-in-One Convertible Car Seat features an innovative SureLatch...

Features

This seat can be used as a rear facing seat, forward facing seat, or high back booster seat. The seat uses Evenflo's auto-retracting Sure LATCH system, which makes it possible to install the seat in your car within 60 seconds.

It also has a five-point Infinite Slide Harness. Unlike some seats that require you to rethread it every time your child outgrows the current harness height, this car seat's harness height can be adjusted by squeezing a handle and sliding it up to the correct height.

It has an adjustable headrest that should be moved up if your child's head is above the top of the car seat, or if their shoulders are even with the head protection area.

One thing that puts this seat in the running as the best 3 and 1 car seat is the multiple forward facing reclining positions.

Toddlers who are used to rear facing seats may balk at the idea of riding sitting straight up in a forward facing seat. This seat can be reclined to a more comfortable position.

Another thing that makes it one of the best 3 and 1 car seats is that, in the booster seat position, it is rated Best Bet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

This car seat has elastic cup holders instead of regular cup holders, and some parents complain about that.

PROS

  • Great safety rating in booster mode
  • Sure LATCH system
  • Infinite Slide Harness
  • Recline options in forward or rear facing positions

CONS

  • Large and bulky, especially with the side head rests
  • Elastic cup holders
  • Shorter height limit than some other car seats

Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat


Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 in 1

Image via Amazon

Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 in 1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Featuring...
  • Integrated harness storage compartment holds unused harness straps while in the belt positioning booster mode
  • One-hand, 5-position adjustable headrest is easy to use and adapts for your growing child
  • Keeps your child in a booster up to 120 pounds for longevity of use, in keeping with American Academy of Pediatrics'...

Features

This seat can be a forward facing seat, a high back booster seat, or a backless booster seat. While this is one of the best 3 and 1 car seats, parents should note that this one does not have a rear facing function.

It features harness straps that are designed to be easy for parents to loosen as they transfer children in and out of the seat, and do not need to be rethreaded in order to adjust the height.

It also has an adjustable bottom buckle to accommodate growing children. Some users have mentioned that the bottom buckle is difficult to adjust.

Like many of the best 3 and 1 car seats, this one is large and heavy, and can be challenging to move around. While this seat meets federal safety guidelines, some independent crash tests have given it lower scores than similar car seats.

PROS

  • Easy to loosen harness straps
  • No rethreading harness straps to adjust height
  • Adjustable bottom buckle

CONS

  • Bottom buckle may be difficult to adjust
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Has gotten lower scores in independent crash tests

Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat featuring TrueShield Technology


Graco Extend2Fit 3 in 1 Car Seat

Image via Amazon

Sale
Graco Extend2Fit 3 in 1 Car Seat | Ride Rear Facing Longer with...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System headrest and Harness adjust together
  • One-hand, 10-position adjustable headrest easily adapts for your growing child
  • 6-position recline helps keep your growing child comfy on your many journeys together

Features

Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat may be the best 3 and 1 car seat for parents who want their children to ride in the rear facing position for as long as possible, because children up to 50 pounds can ride rear facing. It can also be used as a forward facing seat or a high back booster seat.

Because the rear facing position can support heavier children, it also has a leg extension to accommodate them as they grow taller. The leg extension panel gives children up to five extra inches.

It uses the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System for both rear and front facing positions to adjust the harness and headrest at the same time. This seat uses the InRight LATCH system to make it as easy as possible to install.

The TrueShield technology provides extra side impact protection. The car seat meets or exceeds all federal guidelines.

PROS

  • Rear facing up to 50 pounds, with leg extension
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System
  • InRight LATCH system
  • TrueShield technology

CONS

  • Heavy and wide
  • Some users say the cover is difficult to remove for cleaning

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


Sale
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Blue Coral
  • Built to grow with your child, this safety 1st car seat supports infants from 5 pounds to toddlers of 40 pounds as a...
  • An adjustable 3 position recline makes it easy to get a good fit for the seat in your car, assembled product dimensions...
  • Harness holders keep the harness open, making it easier to get into and out of the seat; front seat passengers can enjoy...

Features

This seat can be used as a rear facing seat for children up to 40 pounds, and between 19 and 40 inches tall. It can be used as a forward facing seat for children between 22 and 65 pounds, who are between 29 and 49 inches tall.

It becomes a high back booster for children who are between 40 and 100 pounds, and who are 43 to 52 inches tall.

It uses a color coded system to make it easier to install. This seat has a Quickfit no-rethread harness system for growing children, but it uses a separate position for newborns that does need to be rethreaded.

Some parents say that this seat can be a little tricky to install at the correct angle and correct belt position.

This seat is narrower than many of the best 3 and 1 car seats, which means it will fit better for families who are using multiple car seats at once. Parents also liked the soft and comfortable padding on the seat.

PROS

  • Quickfit no-rethread harness system
  • Seat is narrow
  • Comfortable padding

CONS

  • Newborns do need harness to be rethreaded
  • Newborn harness straps can be difficult to tighten

Diono Rainier All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


Diono Rainier All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, from Birth to 120...
  • TOP-TIER SAFETY WITH A STREAMLINED DESIGN: Diono’s convertible car seats feature a fully integrated steel frame...
  • STYLISH AND SNUG FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE’S COMFORT: The Rainier features a 12-position, aluminum reinforced adjustable...
  • EXTENDED REAR-FACING CAPACITY FOR THE SAFEST RIDE: The Rainier offers an extended rear-facing capacity of 5-50 lbs,...

Features

This is another one of the best 3 and 1 car seats for people who want to keep their children rear facing. Children can ride rear facing when they weigh up to 50 pounds, and are 44 inches tall. It can also be a forward facing car seat or a high back booster seat.

This seat's shape is narrow, but tall. One unique feature is that it can be folded up and carried like a backpack during travel.

However, it is very heavy. Although it uses a SuperLATCH system that has an audible click and a visual indicator to let you know when it is installed correctly, getting it to that correct point can be difficult.

PROS

  • Chidren can ride rear facing up to 50 pounds
  • Narrow
  • Can be folded up for travel

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Difficult to install

Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car Seat


Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car Seat

Image via Amazon

Sale
Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Car Seat, Reclining Car Seat,Infant...
  • DURABLE ALL-IN-ONE CAR SEAT: The Evenflo EveryStage DLX all-in-one reclining car seat has been infused with the...
  • CUSTOM CRADLED FIT: Evenflo’s EveryStage all-in-one car seat features a proprietary in-seat reclining feature that...
  • INFANT + BOOSTER + CONVERTIBLE: Our all-in-one car seat is a complete 3-in-1 child car seat. It’s a rear-facing...

Features

This car seat allows children to ride rear facing if they are up to 50 pounds, and 17 to 48 inches tall. After that, it becomes a forward facing car seat or a high back booster seat. The EasyClick lower anchor tightening system makes it especially easy and quick to install.

It has three reclining positions in the rear facing mode, and when the headrest is all the way down, it automatically corrects itself to the best recline position for newborns. The forward facing mode has two reclining positions.

When being used as a booster seat, the harness can be stored on the seat. Many users like that the seat is comfortably padded.

PROS

  • Rear facing up to 50 pounds
  • Easy to install
  • Multiple reclining positions
  • Harness can be stored on the seat
  • Comfortable padding

CONS

  • Higher in price than other similar seats
  • Manual may be confusing

Maxi-Cosi Magellan All-in-One Convertible Car Seat 


Maxi-Cosi Magellan All-In-One Convertible Car Seat

Image via Amazon

Maxi-Cosi Magellan All-In-One Convertible Car Seat With 5 Modes,...
  • 10 YEARS OF ADVENTURE, 1 CAR SEAT: The Magellan 5-in-1 convertible car seat grows with your child and provides a perfect...
  • KEEP SAFETY WHERE YOU NEED IT: The only adjustable torso side impact protection with 14-position headrest adjustment...
  • EASY TO INSTALL: Integrated belt lock-offs designed for easy and secure installation; One-click LATCH connectors install...

Features

Children can ride rear facing in this seat when they are up to 40 pounds and between 19 and 40 inches tall. They can ride front facing when they are between 22 and 65 pounds, and between 29 and 49 inches tall.

The seat can become a high back booster when children are between 40 and 120 pounds, and between 43 and 57 inches tall.

One thing that makes it one of the best 3 and 1 car seats is its three torso settings that raise and lower the shell of the car seat with the push of a button. This helps ensure that the car seat is the best possible fit for the child.

It also has an AirProtect headrest, which inflates and deflates as it's squeezed, providing more protection and security for a child's head.

The fabric cover and cup holders can easily be removed for cleaning. In addition, users report that the padding is very comfortable.

PROS

  • Three torso settings
  • AirProtect headrest
  • Easy to clean
  • Comfortable

CONS

  • Difficult to install

Diono Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat, Dark Grey

Image via Amazon

Sale
Diono 2019 Radian 3RXT All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
  • JOY OF THE JOURNEY: From birth, keep your little one rear-facing longer to 40 lbs., and as they grow to 100 lbs. (10...
  • THREES NOT A CROWD: For safety that fits 3 across the Radian 3RXT packs all our innovative safety features into a sleek...
  • LOVINGLY ENGINEERED: The Radian 3RXT is built with automotive-strength steel, engineered into a dual spine, which...

Features

Children can ride rear facing in this seat if they weigh up to 45 pounds and are up to 44 inches tall. It can be used as a forward facing car seat or a high back booster seat. It has memory foam padding for extra comfort.

It also can be folded up for travel. It has a narrower frame than most of the best 3 and 1 car seats. However, it is still rather heavy and can be difficult to install.

PROS

  • Rear facing up to 45 pounds
  • Memory foam padding
  • Narrow
  • Folds for travel

CONS

  • Can be difficult to install

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


Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air

Image via Amazon

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Features

While the Safety 1st Grow and Go seat made our list of the best 3 and 1 car seats, the EX Air model has some added features.

While children can ride rear facing in the original Safety 1st Grow and Go when they are up to 40 pounds, they can ride rear facing in the EX Air until they are 50 pounds.

They also benefit from the AirProtect system, which provides extra cushioning for safety. In addition, there is a seat pillow on this model, instead of just head and back pillows.

PROS

  • Rear facing up to 50 pounds
  • AirProtect system
  • Seat pillow
  • All of the features of the original Grow and Go seat

CONS

  • Some users still say it is hard to tighten the straps

Baby Jogger City View Space Saving All-in-One Car Seat


Baby Jogger City View Space Saving

Image via Amazon

Baby Jogger City View Space Saving All-in-One Car Seat, Mineral
  • Narrow design saves space
  • All-in-one car seat offers 3 ways to ride for children 5-100 lbs.: rear-facing, forward-facing harness, and booster car...
  • SecureStopTM Anti-Rebound Bar provides a 45% reduction in rearward movement of the car seat during a frontal collision...

Features

This seat can be used as a rear facing seat, a front facing seat, and a high back booster seat.

One thing that makes it one of the best 3 and 1 car seats is the SecureStop Anti-Rebound Bar for the rear facing position, which keeps the seat from moving around in a crash.

It is relatively easy to install using the push button LATCH system and easy to convert from one mode to another. The no-rethread harness system has ten positions which adjust along with the headrest. 

It has a thick and comfortable cover that can be easily removed for cleaning.

This seat is also narrower than many. One complaint some users have is that the harness straps get tangled in the back of the seat and are difficult to tighten.

Another complaint is that the cup holder is made from a flexible material that doesn't work very well at keeping drinks from spilling or falling out.

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • SecureStop Anti-Rebound Bar
  • No-rethread harness system with ten positions
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to clean
  • Narrow

CONS

  • Harness straps are difficult to tighten
  • Cup holder doesn't hold cups well

The Verdict

There are many benefits to having one of the best 3 and 1 car seats. Many of the seats on our list are easy to install, have great safety features, and grow with your child.

We were impressed with the Baby Jogger City View's anti-rebound bar, which is a fairly new concept in the USA. Our top pick, though, is the Safety 1st Grow and Go EX Air.

It has all of the features we look for in a 3 in 1 car seat, such as the 50 pound rear facing weight limit, no-rethread harness with an adjustable headrest, and comfortable padding.

We also love that it has the extra safety feature of the AirProtect system. It is a good car seat, at an affordable price.

All families are different, though, so be sure to do your research to find a car seat you and your kids will love.

Featured Image via publicdomainfiles.com

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