If you are struggling to find the best car seat for a compact car, this guide will help you determine which car seat fits your toddler’s needs. Whether you have a newborn, toddler, or a rapidly growing child, there is a car seat small enough for your car. Continue reading for the best small car seat for each occasion.
The Best Car Seat for a Compact Car
When you have a compact car, even the smallest of car seats will feel bulky. If you bought a large car seat and realized there’s no more room for anything else in your car, you’ll be glad to know there are some great car seats out there designed to take up as little room as possible. This guide will help you find the best car seat for a compact car so you can get the space in your car back.
Why Should You Buy a Car Seat?
If you have a baby, toddler, or young child, you will need a car seat to protect him or her from the hazards encountered in your car. Whether you are driving on a bumpy road, make a sudden stop, or get into an accident, a car seat will protect your little one and potentially save his or her life.
How Do You Choose a Car Seat for a Compact Car?
When choosing a car seat for a compact car, you will need to pay special attention to the width of the car seat. In this guide, we don’t include any car seats over 20 inches.
Where Can You Buy a Car Seat?
You can buy a car seat online through Amazon or other major retailers like Walmart and Target. Some car seats, like the Nuna RAVA, can be purchased through the brand’s website.
How We Rated the Best Car Seat for a Compact Car
We researched the best car seats for compact cars and rated them based on their width, safety, durability, convenience and comfort. We also considered customer reviews and other review articles.
Overall Price Range
Expect to pay on average anywhere from $150 to $250 for a car seat. However, some car seats are under $100 or as much as $700.
The Best Car Seat for a Compact Car
- The #1-rated infant car seat in America!
- Easiest to install with Recline Sure levelling foot, Ride Right bubble levels, and Super Cinch LATCH tightened
- Designed for travel system use with compatible Chicco strollers (sold separately)
This top-rated infant’s seat will keep your baby safe from the moment he or she comes out of the hospital with EPS energy-absorbing foam. This car seat is a part of Chicco’s travel system, which allows you to easily take the seat off of the base in your car and place it into a stroller without having to wake up your little one. This car seat is designed specifically for infants and is not convertible.
- All-in-One seat grows with your child from 5-100 lb, rear- to forward-facing and becomes a belt-positioning booster;...
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest; integrated harness storage...
- Engineered & crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213; the SlimFit car seat has been side impact tested for...
All-in-one car seats are a popular choice because of how convenient it is to only buy one car seat for your child. However, all-in-one car seats can take up a lot of space, which can be challenging if you have a compact car. Luckily, Graco made the SlimFit, which is just under 20 inches wide, has adjustable cup holders and can be used by your child until he or she has outgrown car seats completely. Plus, it’s around $170.
- Easy installation: Patented ClickTight makes car seat installation as simple as buckling a seat belt
- No rethreading, ever: Quick-adjust 14-position harness with Click & Safe Snug Indicator gives a click sound when the...
- Adjust accurately: Harness indicator gives an audible click when you've pulled to the proper tightness
Your toddler is only getting bigger, but his or her car seat doesn’t need to. This convertible car seat is only 18.5 inches wide and can accommodate children from five pounds to 65 pounds. Your child will be kept safe with this car seat’s SafeCell Impact Protection features, which include an energy-absorbing base, advanced tethering and stitching, and a steel frame. Plus, it lets you know if your child’s harness is tight enough with an audible click. Britax’s ClickTight technology allows you to use your car’s seat belt, which is safer than the LATCH system many other car seats use.
- Designed to help protect your rear-facing infant from 4-50 lb and your forward facing toddler from 22-65 lb
- 4-position extension panel adjusts to provide 5" additional leg room allowing your child to safely ride rear-facing...
- Up to 50 lb rear-facing allowing your child to safely ride rear-facing longer
This is one of the best car seats for keeping older children rear-facing for as long as possible. The rear-facing position on this car seat can accommodate children up to 50 pounds. If you have the room to spare, you can allow your child up to five inches of additional legroom. This car seat takes up less than 20 inches and will fit in your compact car.
- SAFETY THAT FITS 3-ACROSS: The Diono Radian RXT packs our innovative safety features into a sleek design that allows you...
- STYLISH AND SNUG FOR YOUR LITTLE ONE'S COMFORT: The Radian RXT features a 12-position adjustable headrest, infant body...
- EXTENDED REAR-FACING CAPACITY FOR THE SAFEST RIDE: The Radian RXT offers an extended rear-facing capacity of 5-45 lbs,...
If you are looking for a compact car seat that will fit your tall toddler, then you don’t need to look any farther. The Diono Radian RXT is an all-in-one car seat that can fit rear-facing toddlers as tall as 44 inches and front-facing toddlers as tall as 57 inches. Since most car seats can’t accommodate children over 49 inches, the Diono Radian is exceptionally well-designed for tall children. Even though this car seat is plenty tall, it is still very narrow. At only 17 inches wide, this car seat will take up hardly any room in your car.
- TOP-TIER SAFETY WITH A STREAMLINED DESIGN: Diono's convertible car seats feature a fully integrated steel frame wrapped...
- 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,...
The Diono Rainier is almost identical to the Diono Radian with a couple of significant differences. First, the Diono Rainier has additional sidewalls that are extra deep and lined with energy-absorbing foam to provide more protection to your child’s head. Although this is a great safety feature, this causes the top section of the car seat to be 1.5 inches wider than the Radian. Compared to the Radian that can support 45 pounds when rear-facing and 80 pounds when front-facing, the Rainer can support up to 50 pounds and up to 90 pounds, respectively.
The Nuna RAVA is one of the sleekest car seats out there. It feels as comfortable for your child as it looks, and it provides a ton of protection. It is not too large at 19 inches wide and comes with cup holders that can easily flip open or closed. Toddlers can ride rear-facing up to 50 pounds, and both the headrest and recline have 10 position options. Nuna claims that using your car’s seat belt is the safest way to secure your car seat, so it is easy to use this installation method. The breathable fabric will keep your child comfortable during long car rides. Both the steel frame and side impact protection pods make this car seat a safe choice.
- VERSATILE: The Sonus Convertible Car Seat helps protect rear facing infants from 5-40 pounds, and forward facing...
- TESTED & TRUSTED: In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable federal safety standards, this car seat also passes...
- ALL-SEASON COMFORT: The Sonus features a revolutionary air flow ventilation system that provides a...
This car seat is a great choice if you want a compact car seat for less than $100. While premium car seats like the Nuna RAVA will obviously be full of impressive features, the Evenflo Sonus is a very basic car seat. Adjusting your car seat and installing it will be harder than many of the other car seats on this guide, and it won’t be as comfortable for your child. But don’t worry about safety because Evenflo is a brand that you can trust with your child’s life. It leads in safety and the Rollover Test Standard, and this car sear passed Evenflo’s Side Impact test.
- TRU-SAFE: Combi utilizes Tru-Safe Side Impact Protection in its Convertible Car Seat. This offers deep side walls and a...
- COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT AND THREE ACROSS: The Coccoro Convertible Car Seat was designed with small spaces in mind. At 15.5...
- COMFORTABLE AND EASE OF USE: The Coccoro Convertible Car Seat has a buckle with an indicator that provides a visual cue...
For the absolute narrowest car seat, you should purchase the Combi Coccoro. This car seat is only 15.5 inches wide and accommodates your child up to 40 pounds. You can likely fit three of these car seats side-by-side even in a very small vehicle. This car seat is best for infants and smaller toddlers since it can only accommodate up to 33 pounds rear-facing and up to 40 pounds front-facing. It has deep side walls to add extra protection for your child’s head and neck. It also features an indicator on the buckle to let you know if the harness is secure.
- REVOLUTIONARY FORWARD-FACING PERFORMANCE: The Rigid-LATCH system makes proper forward-facing installation effortless,...
- BUILT LIKE A TANK: We built the Foonf convertible car seat to look and feel like real vehicle seats providing a solid...
- MORE ROOM TO FIT 3 ACROSS: The Clek Foonf convertible car seat's compact design provides space that makes 3-across...
The Clek Foonf is an environmentally friendly car seat made out of all recyclable materials. The Crypton Super Fabrics used to make this car seat are Greenguard Select Certified. They are also free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants that aren’t good for the environment or your child. This car seat is very narrow at 16.9 inches. This model allows you to save room by removing the rebound bar if you want to. It is designed to be extremely safe for your child and supports rear-facing up to 50 pounds.
Where to buy
Car Seat Dimensions: 27.5 x 17 x 24 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 26.81 x 19.88 x 22.36 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 23 x 18.5 x 23.5 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 22.1 x 19.2 x 25.2 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 16 x 17 x 28.5 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 16 x 18 x 28.5 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 25 x 19 x 16 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 20 x 19.25 x 28 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 17.5 x 15.5 x 28 inches
Car Seat Dimensions: 17.5 x 16.9 x 28 inches
Hopefully, this guide can help lead you to the best car seat for your compact car. As you can see, the best car seat for you depends on your particular needs and the size and age of your child. Out of all the car seats on this list, the Diono Rainier is a great choice that is thin, comfortable and safe, and it can accommodate children of all sizes.