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Best Lightweight Car Seats – Top 8 Rated in 2021 Review

When it comes to protecting your child, you can never take too many precautions. This is especially true when you take your child with you in the car. Car seat belts are designed and tested for adults only. They can do more harm than good if your child uses one.

This is why you have car seats specifically made for little children. When you think of a car seat, the words big and bulky might come to mind. While that was the case in the past, it’s not anymore; car seats nowadays are lightweight, compact, and safer than ever.

So, let’s take a look at the Best Lightweight Car Seat currently on the market and find the perfect one for you…

Best Lightweight Car Seat

Top 8 Best Lightweight Car Seats to Purchase in 2021 Reviews

ProductsSeat WeightChild WeightMax HeightOrientationPriceRating
Seat Weight
7lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Seat Weight
9.6lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 30llbs
Max Height
30-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Seat Weight
9.9lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$$
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Seat Weight
9lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$$
4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)
Seat Weight
8.7lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$
4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)
Seat Weight
10.5lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 30lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$$
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)
Seat Weight
16.5lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$$$
4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)
Seat Weight
11.6lbs w/o base
Child Weight
4 to 35lbs
Max Height
32-inches
Orientation
Rear Facing
Price
$$
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

1 Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat – Best Easy to Install Lightweight Car Seat

The first car seat we are going to look at comes from Graco. Graco’s SnugRide SnugLock 35 is made for infants that weigh anywhere from four to 35 pounds. It is one of the lightest car seats around, coming in at only 7.5 pounds without the base attached.

Furthermore, the small frame is only 18.5 inches wide. This makes it one of the best portable car seats as well. Graco has also included a newborn insert with this car seat. This insert adds much-needed neck support for your newborn, but we did not find it to be all that beneficial.

SnugLock…

Graco has made this car seat relatively easy to secure to your seat. You will find two loops that will attach to the docking points in your vehicle. They also have made it so you can secure the car seat in place with a seatbelt. This allows for an additional level of safety.

When you attach the car seat to the base, you will hear a click sound letting you know it is secured every time. If you have a Graco Click Connect stroller, then you can click this car seat directly into your stroller as well.


Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat

Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Washable covers.
  • Easy to install.
  • Multiple reclining positions.

Cons

  • Head support.

2 Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat – Best Five Point Harness Lightweight Car Seat

Next up in our Best Lightweight Car Seat review, we have the KeyFit 30. Chicco’s KeyFit 30 features a five-point harness that will fit infants up to 30-inches tall. It has energy-absorbing foam that can accommodate a child from four to 30 pounds in weight.

A little stiff…

We found the foam padding to be rather stiff through most of the car seat. This foam softens a bit towards the neck, though. The fabric over the seat cover is machine washable but feels coarse.

From our experience, this doesn’t make the car seat uncomfortable. The included newborn padding is much softer and has ample support around the head and neck areas. You also have an integrated canopy on offer to help keep your loved one in the shade. It isn’t the easiest to open and close, though.

SuperCinch Tightener…

Sliding this car seat into position should be a cinch since it only measures 17-inches wide. It uses what Chicco calls a SuperCinch Tightener to secure the car seat base in place.

There are panels on both sides of the car seat that open up and contain a seatbelt-type fastener. These fasteners are labeled in the order in which you should connect them to your seat’s mounting points.

Perfect positioning…

Once fastened, you simply pull on the central strap to secure the car seat base in place. Also integrated into the base is an adjustable level to ensure the car seat base is appropriately positioned each time you set it up.


Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat

Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Adjustable base.
  • Built-in level.
  • Five-point harness.

Cons

  • Small canopy.

3 UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat – Best Chemical Free Lightweight Car Seat

Our next car seat is part of UPPAbaby’s MESA collection. This car seat features merino wool and is naturally fire-retardant. According to UPPAbaby, the MESA is the first and only car seat to meet federal fire safety requirements without the use of harsh chemicals.

Comfort…

When it comes to a plush car seat, it is hard to beat the MESA. The padding is very thick, making it very comfortable. They did not skimp on the infant insert padding either. Head and neck support is among the best that we have seen, making it one of the most comfortable lightweight car seats available.

While this padding will surely have your child dozing off in no time at all, they may not be asleep for all that long. The fabric heats up rather quickly and does not breathe all that well.

Adjustments and extras…

UPPAbaby’s MESA car seat also has quite a bit of adjustability on offer. You can adjust the no-rethread harness and the buckle in a variety of positions. The headrest and footrest can also adjust, allowing your child to sit level for as long as they can fit in the car seat.

A hideaway canopy is found on this car seat. It offers SPF 25+ protection against harmful UV radiation. The canopy almost hides away too well. When you extend it out, it does not cover much of your child. Even if it did, the SPF 25+ protection provided by the canopy fabric could be much stronger.


UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Very comfortable.
  • Adjustable footrest.
  • Chemical-free fire retardant fabric.

Cons

  • Fabric heats quickly.

4 Clek 2020 Liing Infant Car Seat – Best Load Leg Lightweight Car Seat

If you want to protect your infant from harmful UV radiation, the Clek Liing infant car seat has you covered. The large SPF 100+ one-handed quick-release canopy on the Liing car seat is all you could ask for. It is the best UV protection lightweight car seat in our review.

Any way you like it…

The way the canopy folds out from the back of the carrier is also somewhat unique. It folds out in multiple sections over the car seat, allowing for adjustability.

Furthermore, when you extend the canopy, the last section has a zipper containing an additional canopy section. Fully extended, the shelter will cover almost the entire length of the carrier.

I see you…

On the rear of the canopy, you will find a peek-a-boo type window. You can lift the magnetic rear canopy section and take a quick look inside the carrier and check on your child.

Additionally, the carrier can hold children that weigh up to 35 pounds and are 32-inches tall. On the inside of the carrier, you will find eco-friendly padded fabrics that are soft and flame retardant.

Installing the base…

Clek’s Liing infant car seat base secures to your seat via a latch or a seatbelt. To increase stability when connected via your seatbelt, Clek has integrated a tensioning level directly into the base.

The base also has seven different reclining positions. You can even adjust the recline angle of the Clek Liing after the base has already been installed. This makes it one of the best reclining lightweight car seats you will find.

Load Leg…

On the back of the base, you will notice a white handle. This handle contains something called a load leg. When you pull up on the handle, a steel leg will descend to the floor in front of the seat and lock into position. With the load leg in place, the car seat will stay securely in place and not rotate.

If you get in an accident, this load leg can be a lifesaver. Through testing, Clek has determined the load leg can reduce impact forces by up to forty percent.


Clek 2020 Liing Infant Car Seat

Our rating:4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

Pros

  • Load leg.
  • SPF 100+ canopy.
  • One-handed release.

Cons

  • Shallow head support.

5 Evenflo LiteMax Infant Car Seat – Best Budget Lightweight Car Seat

If you are going to name your car seat the LiteMax, then it better be very lightweight. Evenflo’s LiteMax infant car seat weighs in at 8.5 pounds without the base attached.

The LiteMax is covered in rather plain-looking fabric that breathes well and has a reasonable amount of padding. This fabric offers a decent amount of impact protection, all while being removable and machine washable.

Simplicity…

To install this car seat base, you simply attach the anchors to your seat. You can also attach the carrier via a seatbelt. It uses a belt lock-off system that makes it remarkably simple to remove and reinsert the car seat in pretty much any vehicle.

The LiteMax is made for children up to 35 pounds, but we do not think that to be very realistic. We found that children over 20 pounds will already have a tight fit. The adjustable base struggles as you add more weight to it as well.

With the car seat secured, impact protection is provided from the carrier’s durable shell and by the fabric’s padding. You will not find any special side impact protection like a rebound bar, unfortunately.

Nothing special, just basic…

Even though the car seat weighs 8.5 pounds, it feels much lighter. The oversized ergonomic handle makes it super convenient to carry the carrier from one place to another.

While this is not the heaviest car seat in this review, we do not know if LiteMax is a worthy description. Maybe they called it the LiteMax because of how light it is on your wallet. It is one of the most affordable lightweight car seats in this roundup.

Good protection for the price…

The materials used in crafting the Evenflo LiteMax are nothing special, and it feels sort of cheap. With that being said, the Evenflo LiteMax car seat will protect your child, which is the most important thing.


Evenflo LiteMax Infant Car Seat

Our rating:4.7 out of 5 stars (4.7 / 5)

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy-grip handle.

Cons

  • Base adjustability.
  • Rethread harness.

6 Cybex Aton M Infant Car Seat with SensorSafe – Best Value for the Money Lightweight Car Seat

Moving up in weight a bit is the Cybex Aton M. This another car seat to feature an extra-large canopy, load leg, and tons of adjustability. Having an adjustable headrest is pretty common in car seats. But, a headrest that has eleven adjustable positions is not.

Cybex’s Aton M car seat offers just that. With eleven headrest positions and a no-rethread harness, this car seat will fit your child precisely as they grow. As a result, it’s one of the best adjustable lightweight car seats around.

SensorSafe…

When you go to adjust the car seat’s harness, you will notice Cybex’s SensorSafe clip. This SensorSafe harness clip works in coordination with the included OBD2 port adapter and your smartphone.

The adapter plugs into your vehicle diagnostics port, which is most commonly found in the driver’s side footwell. Once you download the SensorSafe app on your iOS and Android device, you will get real-time alerts regarding the car seat harness.

Safety assured…

When you position your child in the Aton M, the SensorSafe clip will stop them from getting out of the harness and notify you if they unbuckle it. Likewise, it measures the ambient temperature around the car seat.

So, if your car is in the sun and the interior is at an unsafe temperature, you will get notified as well before you place the child in the seat. You can tell that Cybex is trying to make this the safest lightweight car seat possible. Car seat safety is also present in the load leg of the base.

Versatile functions…

When you choose to use this car seat without the base, you will not have access to the load leg. To get around this, Cybex has added a clip to the rear of the car seat.

You will route the lower section of the seat belt through the blue clips on the front of the car seat. Then extend the seat belt over the back of the car seat and through the hook in the rear. Lock your seatbelt in position, and you are all set. Cybex has even integrated locking arms on the side of the car seat for additional side impact protection.


Cybex Aton M Infant Car Seat with SensorSafe

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • SensorSafe clip.
  • Linear side protection.
  • 11-position headrest.

Cons

  • Wide base.

7 Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base – Best Lightweight Stroller Car Seat Combo

So far in this Best Lightweight Car Seat roundup, the heaviest product we have come across is 10.5 pounds. Is a 16.5-pound car seat too heavy to be considered lightweight? We do not think so, given the fact this car seat comes with an integrated stroller. For a combination car seat and stroller, 16.5 pounds seems pretty lightweight to us.

A sturdy base…

The Doona comes with their patented Latch base. This base weighs 10 pounds and secures in place to seat mounting points and also via your seatbelt. When in place, the Doona is made to hold a 35-pound child securely.

The included carrier has a five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 32-inches in height as well. So, it’s one of the best large child lightweight car seats on the market.

The interior of the carrier features hypoallergenic and heat and humidity-regulating fabric that is machine washable, making it one of the best easy to clean lightweight car seats out there. An infant insert is also provided that features double padded energy-absorbing foam for side-impact protection.

Stroller…

Once you take this car seat out of the box, you will immediately notice a large handle and four integrated wheels on the carrier’s bottom. To release the stroller wheels, there is a large white toggle on the back of the carrier.

After you lift on the toggle, the wheels automatically drop, making it super is easy to convert the Doona from carrier to stroller. The wheels have a foot-actuated brake as well for safety. Since these wheels rotate, you can pull or push this stroller and navigate it through tight spaces. The large handlebar is adjustable and doubles as a rebound bar when the carrier is secured to the base as well.

Reassuring sounds…

One thing that is not adjustable is the seating position when in stroller mode. When you are using this car seat as a stroller, your child will lean back and not be able to see out from the carrier very well.

No matter if you are attaching the carrier to the base, extending the handlebar, or lowering the stroller wheels, you will hear a click sound. This is very reassuring and lets you know that everything is correctly secured in place.


Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base

Our rating:4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

Pros

  • Integrated stroller.
  • SPF 50+ canopy.
  • Anti-rebound handlebar.

Cons

  • Heavy.

8 Britax B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Cool Flow – Best Cooling Lightweight Car Seat

The last car seat we want to talk about is from Britax. Britax’s B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit car seat weighs 11.6 pounds without the base attached. The interior of the carrier is thinly padded yet comfortable.

It is covered in a mesh fabric that provides excellent ventilation. This fabric is also tagless, so you will not have to worry about anything rubbing and irritating your child’s skin.

Easy to adjust…

Britax calls this car seat the Flexfit because of the amount of adjustability it offers. The integrated five-point harness has a no-rethread design that allows you to adjust the shoulder straps without unhooking them.

You will find six different harness positions available. When you change the harness position, the headrest will adjust automatically, allowing for a comfy fit as your child grows.

SafeCell base…

You also have the flexibility to install this car seat with or without the base. When using the base, Britax, like other manufacturers, uses a latch-type system for securing their car seat bases in place. Anchors on both sides and a center strap that you pull to tighten everything in place. Also, levers to hold your seat belt securely in place as well.

Integrated into the Flexfit base is what Britax calls SafeCell impact-absorbing protection. This padded cell compresses on impact and diverts energy away from your child. This protection is also incorporated into the carrier shell and adds another level of safety from side-on impacts.


Britax B-Safe Gen2 Flexfit Cool Flow

Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • SafeCell impact protection.
  • Ergonomic handle.
  • No-rethread harness.

Cons

  • Thin padding.

Best Lightweight Car Seat Buying Guide

Best Lightweight Car Seat Buying Guide

As you have noticed throughout this Best Lightweight Seat for Car Review, car seats vary from one to another. In the following buying guide, we will point out what we consider essential to keep in mind before purchasing.

Ease of Installation

All the car seats in this roundup are rear-facing and come with a base. This base will mount to your vehicle’s anchor points like seatbelt buckles. The base may also allow you to channel your seatbelt through it for additional protection. It may even include a load leg for extra stability.

Bases

These come in various shapes and sizes. They will differ in width, length, and depth, so be sure to measure your seat beforehand to be on the safe side. Moving your car seat base from place to place can be a burden.

The car seat will already weigh somewhere north of seven pounds, so carrying a 10-pound base as well will not be that pleasant. Car seat manufacturers make it so you can install the carrier without the base, thankfully. This is accomplished by using your vehicle’s seat belt only.

Mounting the carrier

To do so directly to the seat, you will find channels or clips to secure the seat belt in place. Or there will be levers or tensioners that adjust the seat belt tightly in place. Do not fret. The car seats in this roundup have been extensively tested to be safe for use with or without the base installed.

Adjustability

As your infant grows, they will inevitably get taller and gain weight. For safety reasons, never exceed the limits recommended by the manufacturer. A rear-facing car seat can typically hold children that weigh from four to 32 pounds. For smaller children, car seats usually come with an insert that will give additional neck and head support.

To further accommodate your child as it grows, you will notice that you can adjust certain aspects of the car seat. The most common adjustable feature is the harness.

Car Seat Harnesses

These come in two varieties, rethread and no-rethread. Adjusting a rethread harness requires you to take out the padding and remove the straps from the splitter plate on the car seat’s backside. You then need to rethread them and reconnect them to the splitter plate. This might sound easy to do, but that is not always the case.

No-rethread harnesses, on the other hand, will typically slide up and down. The harness will move with the headrest and typically click into place.

Just because two car seats might both be able to hold a child that is 32-inches tall, it does not mean the harnesses will feature the same amount of adjustability, though. The amount of adjustability and the type of interior padding the car seat provides will directly affect how comfortable your child is.

A Significant Investment

Car seats might last for nine years, but after only a few years, your children will grow out of them. This makes them a costly investment. Yes, you could go out and buy a cheap car seat and save a few bucks. We are talking about the comfort and safety of your child, so why would you?

Trust us and spend the extra money and get something that your child will enjoy being stuck in. In the long run, it will be worth it not just for your child but also for your peace of mind.

Looking for Something Else?

Along with a car seat, your vehicle might need a few more accessories. Check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Car Seat Gap Fillers, the Best Cabin Air Filters, the Best Car Speakers, the Best Car Seat Cushions, and the Best Flip Out Head Units you can buy in 2021.

Also, take a look at our comprehensive reviews of the Best Car Visor Extenders, the Best Bluetooth Car Kits, the Best Parking Sensors, the Best Car Compasses, and the Best Dog Car Seat Covers currently on the market.

What is the Best Lightweight Car Seat?

There are many excellent options on the market, but we have to give the win to the…

Cybex Aton M with SensorSafe

It’s about as safe a car seat as you can get. The carrier can accommodate children from four to 30 pounds in weight and up to 34 inches in height. Your child will rest comfortably in the soft padded cushions provided.

You can also relax knowing that the SensorSafe technology will alert if your child unbuckles the harness or if the ambient air temperature is too hot.

The Cybex Aton M is not the lightest car seat coming in at 10.5 pounds, but it is not going to break your back either. The extra bit of weight is well worth the additional safety this car seat provides.

Until next time, happy motoring.

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