Car seats, more specifically toddler car seats — love them or hate them, we need them, and our little ones need them even more. But allow me to be honest, and please be honest with yourself as well… don’t you just hate how clumsy and pain in the butt they can be? I do.
So I set off to research some of the top rated car seats in the market, by going on a huge road trip and testing one seat on the way there, and another on the way back.
- Crash dummy: Josephine
- Age: 3 years, 7 months
- Weight: 34 pounds
- Height: 3 ft 1 in.
- Proving grounds: 1,500 mile, 23 hour trip from Indianapolis, to New York City (round trip)
- Test Vehicle: 2015 Kia Sedona Limited
Disclaimer: No kids were harmed in the making of this article. No actual crash testing took place, and Josephine is certainly no dummy.
There are a few things in life that bring the worst out of me, and having difficulty installing or removing a car seat is one of them. Seriously, how many fingers have you pinched, how many knuckles have you busted, how many ways have you contorted you body to attach or detach and anchor? Or when you finally get those straps nice and tight — only to make your life miserable when you have to loosen them. That car seat is there for good, it’s going with the car when you get rid of it.
So I asked my friend Google which were the absolute best car seats for sale in 2015, with one car seat in the high end price range, and the other in the lower price range. Google got back to me and said: The $336 Britax Advocate Clicktight Convertible Car Seat, and the $110 Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat .
You’d think that for a $226 dollar price gap there better be some massive differences — right? Well, read our story to find out, or scroll all the way down for the result.
Britax Advocate Clicktight Convertible
Because why not use the longest, most tongue-twisting name to set you apart from the competition. All jokes aside, I am genuinely excited about this pink and girly car seat, it looks very well built and seems it could carry an astronaut into space.
Short history lesson, Britax and Volkswagen got together in 1996 to design a safer and more reliable standard of safety for car seats worldwide, and they invented the ISOFIX system, which is known as LATCH in the United States. LATCH has been a federally mandated safety regulation since 1998. So right off the bat, Britax knows a thing or two about safety.
The Britax, along with the 2015 Kia Sedona offered first-class seating during our trip
For your viewing pleasure, the kids and I decided to make a video showcasing the qualities of the Britax Car Seat. That way you don’t have to read a whole lot, and you can skip to the good bits — like Josephine farting.
(Please ignore the quoted total weight, the correct weight is 30.1 pounds)
Graco My Ride 65 Convertible Car Seat
Graco offers a plethora of kid products for all age ranges, and because you are most likely a parent, then you are very familiar with the Graco brand, along with their impeccable safety reputation.
The My Ride 65 has everything you can expect from a good car seat. I unboxed both car seats expecting the Graco to feel like the peasant of the two because of it’s price, but once I paid attention to the details — I was quickly proved wrong. At a solid 20 pounds, it’s sturdy and built to withstand a crash force two times the industry standard. It ’s also made of a special mesh fabric to help it remain cool during hot days, as well as retain warmth in the winter. And my favorite part, TWO cupholders!
Sadly, it uses the traditional anchor and strap system that I’ve grown to hate.
Once it was strapped in, I struggled to push the button to let the strap slide in order to loosen it. I guess they can’t all be easy like the Britax. But, at $110 bucks, this is a heck of a buy, and by far takes the cake by offering the most bang for the buck.
Josephine throughly enjoyed her time in the Graco My Ride 65
I hate that button
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Clicktight system
- Adjustable height
- No need to adjust straps individually
- Exceptional build quality
- Harness straps somehow managed to get twisted up
- Receiving buckle has very limited adjustability (biggest flaw)
- Cupholder is sold separately for $16
- More gender natural colors than Britax
- Seat has to be removed in order to adjust the recline/tilt angle
- Traditional anchor system
- Height is not adjustable
It’s hard to come up with a winner, because some parents are willing to spend more money for nicer quality products, and then we have ballin’ on a budget parents looking for the lowest price. But I can easily settle that debate by lining up the features and facts of two products, and tallying up how many they share in common. Which brings me to the conclusion, that the Graco is the better seat for the price, because it offers most of the safety features of the Britax without the extra bells and whistles.
But, I initially set sail in this car seat voyage because I am tired of the dealing with painful straps and anchors. So which car seat would I buy? Definitely the Britax. Only because of the Clicktight system.
Keep in mind this test was performed for information purposes only, and other than my own observations and my kid’s feedback, no other in-depth testing was performed. I Hope I helped you shine some light into the dark and mysterious world of car seats. If I didn’t, or you have questions, please leave a comment or send us an email!