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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
[amazon link=”B071L1NG6N” title=”Best Compact Car Seat for Infants: Chicco KeyFit 30″ /]
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.
- Can be used as a carrier or stroller seat
- Very narrow at 17 inches wide
- Popular infant car seat
- Very heavy when removed from base
- Can only be used for infants
[amazon link=”B01N3MYVZM” title=”Best All-in-One Car Seat: Graco SlimFit” /]
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.
- Affordable for an all-in-one car seat
- Can rotate cup holders to make more room
- Wider than some models on this guide
[amazon link=”B013YCWASA” title=”Best Compact Car Seat for Toddlers: Britax Boulevard ClickTight” /]
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.
- ClickTight installation uses car’s seat belt to install
- Audible click when harness is tight enough
- Expensive option
[amazon link=”B079PM11WW” title=”Best Compact Car Seat for Extended Rear-Facing: Graco Extend2Fit” /]
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.
- Affordable option
- Adjustable legroom
- Extended rear-facing
- Wider car seat
[amazon link=”B076PS61XS” title=”Best Compact Car Seat for Tall Toddlers: Diono Radian RXT” /]
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.
- Can fit very tall toddlers
- Only 17 inches wide
- Diono Rainier is a better model for only $10 more
[amazon link=”B076PQVCF1″ title=”Best Compact Car Seat for Heavy Toddlers: Diono Rainier” /]
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.
- Extra protection
- Can support even higher weight limits in both rear and front-facing
- Sidewalls makes this car seat wider
- Expensive model
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.
- Easy installation using your car’s seatbelt
- Very comfortable and well-insulted
- Very expensive
- Wider car seat
[amazon link=”B01NBVOBX4″ title=”Best Budget Compact Car Seat: Evenflo Sonus” /]
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.
- Very inexpensive
- Exceeds safety standards
- Difficult to install
- Harder to adjust the harness
- Minimum comfort and extra protection
- Wider car seat
[amazon link=”B01KMMRBXO” title=”The Narrowest Compact Car Seat: Combi Coccoro” /]
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.
- Thinnest car seat in this guide
- Visual indicator for harness
- Very low weight limit
[amazon link=”B01MQTOH0T” title=”Most Eco-Friendly Compact Car Seat: Clek Foonf” /]
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.
- Removable rebound bar
- Very thin car seat
- Extremely expensive
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.