4 Best Lightweight Car Seats For Infants of 2021

It’s an all too common situation. You’re on the road with your infant happily riding in the back seat, she falls asleep in her car seat, and when you arrive home, she’s (not surprisingly) still deep in slumber.

Of course, the last thing you want to do is interrupt her nap, but you don’t want to leave her in the car either. So what is a mom to do?

Luckily, several lightweight and portable car seat options are available, which is excellent news for exhausted moms like us. Because, let’s be honest, when was the last time you successfully transferred your precious bundle from the car seat to the crib without waking her? If you’re anything like me, probably never! 

Of course, there are other factors to consider when you choose a car seat, such as safety features, durability, and ease of use. It’s also essential for many on-the-go parents to have a car seat that smoothly and quietly transfers to the stroller. However, it’s hard to know the best choice for you and your baby with so many options and features available. 

To cut through the noise, we’ve done extensive research and testing of several portable car seats, and we’ve narrowed down the four best lightweight car seat options on the market. 

The #1 lightweight option is the Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant car seat due to its ease of use, affordability, and safety features. Safety 1st products are made using a high-quality natural cotton neoprene blend and are non-toxic. Not to mention it comes standard with a one-year guarantee in case you’re not satisfied. 

All four options weigh in at 8 pounds or less, offer a 5 point safety harness, are easy to install latch systems, are FAA-approved for use on airplanes, and are side-impact tested. So whatever your price point, read on to learn about the best lightweight car seat options for you, your spouse, and your little one. 

4 Best Lightweight Car Seats

NameWeight LimitHeight LimitMode
Safety First OnBoard 35 LT Car Seat4-35 lbs.32"Rear-Facing
Baby Trend Flex-Loc Car Seat4-30 lbs.30"Rear-Facing
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Car Seat4-35 lbs.32"Rear-Facing
Evenflo Nurture Car Seat5-22 lbs.29"Rear-Facing
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Car Seat5-22 lbs.29"Rear-Facing

1.Safety 1st OnBoard 35 LT Infant Car Seat

The combination of quality, ease of use, affordability, and convenience make the Safety 1st OnBoard 35LT our top pick for Lightweight infant car seats.

Though it isn’t the lightest car seat, it is really easy to use and is still only 7.9 pounds. It also has great safety features and comes with a one-year warranty.

Buyers find it easy to snap in and out of the base, which is important if you don’t want to wake your sleeping baby. It is also easy to tighten the straps, which is key when securing a struggling baby. The padding is machine washable for easy cleanup, which is always important with babies.

The weight range is 4-35 pounds and the maximum height is 32 inches, which is a full 2 inches more than most car seats in this style. Those extra 2 inches could make a big difference in how long you can use it, as many children exceed the height limits before they reach the maximum weight for these types of car seats.

Compatibility with Quick Click Equipped Strollers.

The OnBoard 35 LT is compatible with Quick Click equipped strollers so you can go from car seat to stroller with ease. With cushy newborn inserts and good padding, buyers think it is more comfortable for their babies than some less expensive models.

Some complain that the sunshade makes too much noise when you move it, which can irritate or wake a baby. A few buyers have found that the base is difficult to secure.

What We Like

  • Durable
  • Easy To Use
  • 1 Year Warranty

What We Dislike

  • Canopy Clicks
  • Base Hard To Secure
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat (Raven HX)
254 Reviews
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air 360 Infant Car Seat (Raven HX)
  • Providing five layers of safety, this LATCH-equipped Safety 1st car seat fits infants from four...
  • Shielded in the deep seat structure, your little one is further protected by AirProtect advanced...
  • Crash tested from every angle for front, rear, side, and rollover impacts, this seat includes soft...

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2.Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat

The Baby Trend Flex-Loc is our second choice because it is easy to use and has great safety features. Most buyers find the base easy to install and the straps easy to adjust. It’s also easy to adjust the height of the straps without re-threading which is nice.

Baby Trend’s unique triangular-shaped section on the handle does make carrying it a little easier. Even though it’s only 7.7 pounds, all infant car seat carriers are awkward to carry, so every little thing helps.

The Flex-Loc has added safety features like EPS foam for additional side-impact protection. Buyers report that it’s not overly large if you have a smaller vehicle or need to install multiple car seats in one row. It is compatible with many strollers, but you need to double-check to make sure you get the right style.

Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat Cover Is Not Machine Washable.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that the cover and padding are not machine washable. If you are a new parent, this may not seem like a big deal, but I guarantee that your baby will throw up in the car seat. It’s just what babies do.

There’s a good chance your little one will also have some diaper leaks/explosions, so having to hand wash the padding is definitely not ideal. Baby Trend buckles are a little different in that you have to put the two sides of the bottom buckle together before buckling it in.

Some people really hate this, but I own a Baby Trend car seat and didn’t find it that inconvenient once I got used to it. What I liked less was that the lower buckle part was plastic (many other car seats have metal). Buyers have also found the seat narrow for babies with wide shoulders like my little hulk.

What We Like

  • Easy to adjust straps
  • Easy to install
  • Triangular handle grip
  • Good safety features

What We Dislike

  • Cover not machine washable
  • Narrow
  • Odd buckle design
Baby Trend Flex-Loc Infant Car Seat, Vanguard
  • For weights between 5 and 30 pound (2.2 and 13.6 kg.) heights of 30" or less (76.2 cm)
  • 5-point harness; easy one-hand harness adjustment; and push-button release
  • 4-position push-button height adjustable base with level indicator for proper installation

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3.Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 – Best Value

The Graco SnugRide 30 is our recommendation for the best value in lightweight car seats.  At 7 pounds, it’s one of the lightest options out there and is one of the most affordable as well.

Though the Evenflo Nurture is less expensive, we think that the combination of affordability with more convenience features makes this one an overall better buy.

Though it’s inexpensive, it still has good safety features and has been tested at 2X the Federal Crash Test Standard. It also has EPS foam which improves safety in the event of a side-impact crash.

How Compatible Is Graco Infant Car Seat With Click Connect Stroller?

Graco has a good variety of affordable strollers in the Click Connect line.  That allows you to easily snap the car seat into the stroller and go on your way without a lot of hassle. The padding is machine washable, which makes it easier when dealing with unpleasant messes.

The minimum weight is 4 pounds and the maximum weight is 30 pounds. If you really want one with a higher weight limit, the Graco SnugRide 35 goes up to 35 pounds and the carrier is still only 7.5 pounds.

Some buyers complain about the seat belt-tightening mechanism. I own a Graco SnugRide and while it’s not the easiest car seat I’ve used, it’s not enough to make me regret the purchase.

It also can sometimes get caught when taking it in and out of the base, which could cause the baby to wake up. I didn’t have too much of an issue with this, but it’s something to consider. The sunshade can come detached if you push it too far, but it goes back on pretty easily.

What We Like

  • Only 7 pounds
  • Inexpensive
  • Good safety features

What We dislike

  • Not the easiest to adjust
  • Sometimes has issues when taking it off the base
  • Canopy detaches easily
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 Infant Car Seat | Baby Car Seat, Tasha
  • SnugLock Technology: a hassle-free 3-step installation using vehicle seat belt or LATCH ; Engineered...
  • Infant car seat grows with and helps protect rear-facing infants from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30...
  • Adjustable base offers 4 recline positions, providing the right position for proper installation

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4.Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat – Best Lightweight Premium Car Seat

The Maxi-Cosi Mico AP claims to be the lightest premium car seat in its class. Many of the premium car seats tend to be heavier because extra features add extra weight. At 8 pounds, the Maxi Cosi Mico AP gives you the best of both worlds with a premium seat that won’t break your back.

Buyers like the premium padding and the extra comfort for their babies. The newborn insert has particularly good head support. The padding is not only comfortable, but it’s also functional as it is machine washable. There are compatible strollers which make toting your baby easier.

Though a bit more expensive than the other seats on our list, it is among the more affordable premium seats. The limited weight and height range also means you won’t be able to use it as long as other car seats.

Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat is too narrow.

This is especially true since many buyers report that it is so narrow that even non-hulk babies find the shoulder room too compact and outgrow it pretty quickly. Though the seat itself is narrow, the base is wide, so some people have trouble fitting it in smaller cars. Some buyers also have issues with the canopy falling off.

What We Like

  • Advanced side-impact safety features
  • Easy to adjust
  • Machine-washable padding

What We Dislike

  • More expensive
  • Limited weight and height range
  • Canopy detaches easily
  • Wide base
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat, Red Rumor
  • Superior Side Impact Performance featuring Air Protect technology.
  • Easy to clean. Fabric is easily removable and Washer and Dryer safe.
  • Cool Baby natural bamboo self wicking fabric keep baby comfortable even on the hottest days.

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Buy A Lightweight Infant Car Seat?

We highly recommend buying a lightweight, rear-facing infant car seat with a detachable base, because it will make your life easier. In general, the lightest infant seats are the ones with the detachable base, so they are also a good choice if you are looking for something lightweight and compact for travel.

Convertible seats are nice because you can use them for your child after they reach toddlerhood. Though this is an appealing feature, these tend to be bulky. Furthermore, convertible seats don’t have some of the features infant-only seats have.

Infant car seats with detachable bases are amazing because they allow you to remove a sleeping baby from a car (or airplane for frequent travelers) without waking the baby. For anyone who has ever had a baby, this is no small luxury.

The Motion & Its Importance

Some babies really don’t fall asleep easily unless they’re in motion, others just fall asleep the best in the car. It’s a lot easier to follow the adage “never wake a sleeping child” if you can easily move a sleeping child from the car to your destination without waking them.

Another great benefit is that running errands is much easier with a sleeping baby than a baby who is awake and needs constant attention. Most models snap right into strollers of the same brand. Therefore, you can easily shop or take a walk without waking your baby up.

These types of infant car seats also allow you to get an extra-base if you have multiple cars or a grandparent or other caretaker who regularly drives the child.

This means that you don’t have to either purchase another car seat or spend time making sure to properly install the car seat every time you switch vehicles. Install a base in each carr and all you have to do is snap the carrier into the base.

It’s also really nice to be able to buckle the baby into a car seat before you leave the house when it’s really hot or cold.

If you live in a cold climate, safety experts warn against bundling up the baby in a snowsuit or winter coat before putting them in a car seat as the bulk can make it impossible to tighten the straps enough to keep the baby safe in a crash.

This means that those of us in cooler climates benefit from being able to buckle the baby in and cover them with a car seat cover or blankets before going outside so they are never exposed to the harsh weather.

Buyer’s Guide

Shopping for a car seat is overwhelming. There are so many choices out there that it is easy to spend hours trying to find the best one. The good news is that any car seat you buy has to meet rigorous safety standards and some also have additional safety features.

Beyond safety, there are a lot of other features that can make life easier for a parent of an infant. It can help to choose the style of a car seat, then pick a few key must-have features to narrow down your list.

Additional Safety Features

The point of a car seat is safety, so additional safety features are always desirable.

Ease of Use

It’s important to have a car seat that is easy to use. You want one that has easy-to-tighten straps. So that you can make sure you get your squirming baby securely strapped in every time.

There will also likely be times when your baby does not want to get in the car seat and will fight hard to keep you from getting them snugly strapped in. Having an easy tightening mechanism is really nice in those moments.

It’s also nice to have features like machine-washable padding since a baby can create a bigger mess than you would think possible for someone so small.

Price Point

Car seats are expensive. Yes, your child’s safety is paramount, but many of us can’t afford to drop $400 on a luxury car seat, especially one that is only for infants.

Thankfully, even if you don’t have a lot of money, there are still car seats that are affordable enough that you can take advantage of the benefits of an infant seat with a detachable base. If you do want a premium car seat, don’t worry because we have a recommendation for that too!

Amazon’s Top 3 Best Selling Lightweight Infant Car Seats

Bestseller No. 1
Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat, Midnight Black - Purecosi
704 Reviews
Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat, Midnight Black - Purecosi
  • Rear-facing from 5-30 pounds and up to 32" And includes a convenient stay-in-car adjustable car seat...
  • Fully compatible with Maxi-Cosi and many other premium-brand strollers, this car seat gives you...
  • Lightweight with a contoured handle that curves around your hip for a more comfortable carry
Bestseller No. 2
Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System With SafeMax Car Seat
  • FLEXIBLE INFANT TRAVEL SYSTEM: The Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System is a car seat and stroller...
  • VERSATILE & LIGHTWEIGHT: This car seat and stroller combo features a modular frame with 6 modes. The...
  • EASY INFANT CAR SEAT TRANSFER: This car seat and stroller combo has been designed with a stay-in-car...
SaleBestseller No. 3
Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat | Baby Car...
  • Snug Lock Technology features a hassle-free 3-step installation using vehicle seat belt or LATCH
  • Grows with and helps protect rear-facing infants from 4 to 35 lbs. and up to 32", making it an...
  • Adjust handle with one hand, leaving other hand free for baby. This infant car seat base can be...

Last update on 2021-09-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Let’s Find Your Ideal Lightweight Infant Car Seat!

Lightweight infant seats with a detachable base are a great option that is worth the investment. Having the flexibility of moving your sleeping baby in and out of the car and into a stroller easily without waking the baby is amazing for any parent of an infant.

We hope our guide to lightweight car seats will help you navigate the overwhelming number of options. So that you could find one that works well for you and your baby!

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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