best rear facing car seat

Best Rear Facing Car Seats of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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As parents, it’s crucial to choose the right car seat for your child, and there are plenty of options available.

If you’re already stressing out on what to purchase, don’t worry because we have your back.

We've found some of the best rear facing car seats that are guaranteed to keep your child protected until they’re big enough to fit a children's car seat.

Comparison Chart

Britax Emblem 3 Stage Convertible Car Seat

Diono 2020 Radian 3R Car Seat

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

Best Rear Facing Car Seat Reviews

1. Britax Emblem Three-Stage Convertible Car Seat

If you’re looking for a sturdy rear-facing car seat, you won’t find many others that provide two layers of protection than the Britax Emblem Three-Stage Convertible Car Seat.

It has SafeCell Impact Protection technology, and with extra padding, you can rest assured that your child’s head and neck will be secure in an accident.

Additionally, Britax has simplified their car seat to be easy to use and hassle-free.

Product Highlights

Here is an overview of the features of the Britax Emblem Three-Stage Convertible Car Seat:

  • Two Layers of Impact Protection

The car seat's two layers of high-density foam lined shells are excellent at shock absorption.

Specifically, the seat curves and cups your toddler's head, ensuring their head won't wobble if there is an accident.

Aside from just the head, there is neck support with the quick-adjust backing.

  • SafeCell Technology

SafeCell Technology is a handful of patented safety features that has been tested and approved by multiple organizations to provide advanced protection for your child.

  • Ten Harness Positions

With ten different harness positions, you’ll easily find one that fits your baby and makes them feel comfortable and protected.

  • Low Anchors

The low riding anchors are an ingenious system that allows for hassle-free lock-ins. With just one click, you can secure the whole buckle in place.

It is unlike other models where you’d be stuck struggling to get the clasp to even click into place.

  • Built-In Lock-Offs

Aside from the hassle-free buckles, you can detach the Britax Emblem's lock-off quickly. 

Installing a car seat into your car could take you up to thirty minutes if you don’t have a good model. 

With that in mind, Britax has taken the time to come up with a quick yet safe installation method.

  • Removable Cover

If there are any accidents, spills, or the seat itself gets dirty, you can quickly slip off the cover over the harnesses to help you some time.

Unfortunately, the seat cover isn’t washer-friendly, but you can wipe it down with a damp towel or disinfectant wipe.

  • Easy Buckle System

The Easy Buckle System of the Britax Emblem helps prevent the harnesses from moving around when you’re not using them.

This feature is handy when you’re attempting to place your child into the seat.

They lock into place and make it easier for you to get your child in the seat without using multiple hands to keep the harnesses out of the way.

  • Removable Body Pillow

The Britax Emblem car seat has an extra body pillow to ensure that even small toddlers fit in the seat.

You can remove it once your child starts to occupy the chair more. HIt’s made with the same heavy-duty impact material, so you know your toddler is safe.

  • Weight Capacity

For the rear-facing seat, it can support children weighing anywhere from five to 40 pounds, while when front-facing, it can accommodate a weight ranging from 20 to 65 pounds.

The Good

What we love about this convertible car seat are its high weight capacity and multiple comfortable and safety features.

The Bad

Unfortunately, the Britax Emblem's seat cover is hard to clean, and the seat itself is very bulky and heavy, specifically weighing around 19.5 pounds.


  • High impact protection
  • Easy to use
  • Heavy-duty
  • Comfortable
  • Convertible and adjustable


  • Hard to clean
  • Heavy

2. Diono 2020 Radian 3R Convertible Car Seat

The Diono 2020 Radian 3R is an updated convertible seat designed to exceed expectations.

With a newly engineered design, the Radian 3R can support kids up to 120 pounds. Plus, the lifespan of this car seat is about 10 years.

That means the company worked hard to ensure you won’t need to purchase another car seat.

Product Highlights

Here is an overview of what you would expect from the Diono 2020 Radian 3R:

  • High Back Booster

The high back booster of the Diono 2020 Radian 3R is the newest in rear-facing seat technology.

It ensures that your child is protected, even when they start to grow out of the toddler stage.

  • Four-Way Travel System

The four-way travel design of the Diono 2020 Radian 3R includes four different stages of protection.

Essentially, with each year, the Radian 3R has different buckles and is structured to protect your child at all ages.

  • Slim Fit Design

Having a "slim fit" design, you can place one Diono 2020 Radian 3R and allow two individuals to sit comfortably beside it.

Likewise, you can install three Diono 2020 Radian 3R's at the backseat without your kids feeling uncomfortable and unsafe.

  • Steel Core

The inside of the car seat has been mechanically engineered. The reinforced steel core makes it heavy-duty for any automotive strength.

In the case of an accident, the seat stays in its shape while still supporting your kid's vital points.

  • SuperLatch System

The SuperLatch System makes it easy to buckle your little one up. With one simple movement, you can have your child secured in the seat.

Just listen for the loud but audible “click”, and you’re good to go.

The Good

The seat supports children from a very young age up until the end of being a toddler. Not many other companies try to make their seats that wide of a range.

The company also ensured that the seat would last for years, making it an excellent investment not just for one child but for multiple kids.

The Bad

One problem we’ve found with this car seat is that it doesn’t come with an instruction manual, and it’s hard to install. 

The base frame of the Radian 3R also weighs 26 pounds, so it's a hefty product to carry around

Remember, though, that this is one of the only car seats with true steel.


  • Heavy duty and slim
  • High weight limit
  • FAA approved
  • Great value for money


  • Heavy
  • Hard to install

3. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat

With how fast kids grow, you want to know that their car seats can support them throughout the different stages of their lives.

The Safety 1st 3-in-1 Car Seat can rest assured that it can support your baby until he or she is a full-fledged toddler.

It includes three different types of support to help protect your child in each stage of development.

Product Highlights

Some of the features of the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat are:

  • 3-in-1 Design

This car seat features a rear-facing design that can support newborns to small toddlers with weight ranging from five to 40 pounds.

On the other hand, the forward-facing seat features a protective harness and side impact to help keep your kid protected. It can support children up to 65 pounds.

Lastly, the belt-positioning booster is designed to replace the harness in your traditional car seat.

It helps toddlers transition into a regular seat belt, while still having all the protection a car seat has to offer. It can support children weighing up to 100 pounds.

  • Machine Washable

We all know that there will come a time when your little one will make a huge mess in their car seat.

Knowing that this can happen, the company made the seat pad removable and machine washable.

It’s just that little extra detail that makes this model so handy.

  • Harness Holders

The harness holders can make getting your little one into the seat easier and quicker even when they are stubborn.

Moms only have two hands, and if you’re struggling to get the harnesses out of the way with a pouty toddler who doesn’t want to get in makes everything more complicated.

  • Cup Holders

Snacking and staying hydrated is a must on the road. Unlike other car seats, this one includes two small cup holders.

This way, you can give your toddler a snack and a drink whenever they’re feeling peckish.

The Good

Being able to use this unit past the toddler stage is a huge plus, especially since it can be difficult to transition your child from a car seat to a regular seat.

Having the ability to slowly transition each stage until they are used to the standard seat belt design is excellent.

The Bad

The bad thing about this product is that the seat itself is tough to install and comes with almost no instructions.

Aside from that, switching positions is very difficult and will require that you take the seat out before adjusting the recline.

It can become frustrating if you’re looking for a hassle-free and quickly adjustable seat.


  • Supports multiple developmental stages
  • Helps transition to regular car seat
  • Easy to clean
  • Hassle-free harness


  • Hard to install
  • Hard to adjust

4. Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat

The Britax brand is known for creating the sturdiest and most stunning car seats.

The Marathon excels at protection and features a high strength steel frame.

If you’re looking for a very adjustable and secure model, then you can’t go wrong with this version.

Product Highlights

The Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat has a lot to offer, including:

  • Side Impact Protection

The car seat has a design that can protect your child's head and neck.

With reinforced foam, the headrest cups your child's head to prevent any stress or movements.

What’s even better is that it extends downward to help protect your child’s torso.

  • SafeCell Technology

The SafeCell Technology is high-impact to help absorb shock and prevent your child from feeling any impact or pain.

  • 14-Position Quick-Adjust

Your child is continuously growing, so having an adjustable seat can help save on replacements. 

With the Marathon, you’ll be getting 14 different positions that can help support your child as they reach the end of their toddler stage.

  • Seven-Position Recline

Nap time is a must for newborns or young babies, and fortunately, the car seat has seven different recline positions to help get that perfect comfort.

  • Five-Point Safety Harness

The five-point safety harness also helps prevent your little one from moving around. They're tucked tightly into place, even if there’s a crash.

The harness also ensures that your kid can’t sneak out of the seat while you’re driving.

  • Removable Cover

For easy cleaning, the company made the cover removable, but it’s not washer safe. Still, you can wipe it down to keep it clean.

The Good

Overall, this is one of the safest models we’ve seen on the market thanks to ist a steel frame, extra harness protection, and more.

It also has many adjustable positions that can support your baby from newborn to the end of their toddler stage.

The Bad

Similar to the last model, the biggest drawback is both installations and adjusting the recline.

The installation takes forever, and if you’re planning on using it in multiple cars, you’ll end up wasting more time than necessary.

With the recline, you can only adjust it when the seat is out of the vehicle.

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  • Extremely safe
  • Highly adjustable
  • Supports a wide variety of ages
  • Easy to clean


  • Hard to install
  • Hard to adjust recline

5. Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat

The Evenflo Tribute has been designed to provide safety and comfort for your little ones.

As they grow, children tend to get rowdier and love to move around, and this car seat is for those children. 

It features extra restraints to help keep your baby in place during long car rides.

Product Highlights

Here is an overview of the features of the Evenflo Tribute LX Convertible Car Seat:

  • Newborn Support

This convertible car seat can support newborns and toddlers.

The rear-facing seat is ideal for newborns weighing between five and 40 pounds, while the front-facing seat is perfect for children with weights ranging from 22 to 40 pounds.

Ideally, this model is suitable for children up to two years of age.

  • Federally Approved

Evenflo wanted to ensure you’re getting top tier protection, so this particular model has been federally tested and met all federal safety standards.

They have even put this seat through Evenflo’s side impact test standard to ensure structural integrity.

  • Five-Point Harness System

The five-point harness system comes with four shoulder strap positions, allowing you to move the harnesses around as your child grows. 

Plus, the unit includes extra restrains for those fussy children who like to wiggle.

  • Compact Design

The car seat is lightweight and compact. Other models are bulky and heavy, which can be troublesome to deal with, but with this model, you won’t have much trouble moving it from one car to another.

  • Machine Washable

Whether snack time gets messy or your child just has a bit of an accident, Evenflo has you covered.

The seat pads are fully removable and machine washable, allowing for quick and easy cleanup.

  • Removable Head Pillow

The plush head pillow located at the top of the seat is fully removable. Not only does it improve comfort, but it also gives proper head support for your little one.

Once your baby grows, you can remove it if necessary.

The Good

This version of a car seat is lightweight and easy to use. If you’re looking for a rear-facing car seat that can quickly be taken out and put into another, look no further.

Plus, the less bulky design ensures that it can fit in most vehicles.

The Bad

The biggest downside we’ve found to this model is that the fabric isn’t exactly the highest quality.

Your young one may find it uncomfortable at times and may not enjoy long car rides using this seat.

However, it still provides the proper protection necessary for any car ride.


  • Easy to install
  • Lightweight design
  • Compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Federally approved


  • Low-quality fabric

Buyer’s Guide

When searching for a rear-facing car seat, it’s essential to look at some key features.

Not every car seat is made equally, which means that your child may not be comfortable or can use the one you purchase.

We’ve taken the time to research and narrowed down the key features you should keep an eye out for and consider.

1. Model

To put this in simpler terms, look for the year the car seat was made. Older models tend to be outdated since they don’t line up perfectly with newer car models.

That can ultimately be a problem and put your child at risk if not taken seriously.

2. Seat Height and Weight Limit

One of the biggest factors that you should be looking for is that your child should meet the seat height and weight limits. 

The seat height is generally used for determining how tall your child is and if their head will rest within the padded headrest.

Thus, if you have a kid who seems to be taller than his or her age, you should look for the best convertible car seat for tall babies.

On the other hand, the weight limit helps determine if the car seat can withstand an impact at a certain weight load.

3. Seat Tightness

Seat tightness comes into play when you’re determining if the seat will stay put.

Tight car seats are recommended, but there are little methods to see if the car seat you buy has a “tight fit”, such as reading reviews of that particular car seat.

4. Harness Height

Harness height is less critical but weighs when you’re looking for a car seat to support growing children.

If you want to use the seat throughout different developmental stages, we suggest one with harness height to help your child’s growing body.

5. Harness Tightness

Tightness is also a huge factor that you shouldn’t disregard. It’s no secret that kids love to move around in car rides.

Having good seat tightness can help prevent them from wiggling out of the car seat.

Hence, look for car seat models with adjustable seat tightness to ensure that your little one won’t escape.

6. Recline Angle

Newborns and young children will always get tired during long road trips.

Having extra recline can help keep your little one's comfortable during their short naps.

Although finding adjustable versions can help support their neck and head as they age.

7. Tether Tightness

The tether tightness is mainly for front-facing seats. It latches the car seat into place and prevents it from flying in case of impact.


1. When Should I Move My Baby From a Rear-Facing Car Seat?

According to the AAP, your child should be in a rear-facing car seat until he or she is two years old.

However, the NHTSA also suggests that if your child develops fast, you should switch them to the forward seating if they exceed the height limit for rear-facing car seats.

2. Can My Ten-Month-Old Sit in a Forward-Facing Car Seat?

Yes, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of that particular car seat.

Guidelines will always be provided on the box, and you should change the setting accordingly.

3. At What Weight Can My Babysit Forward-Facing?

At a minimum, your child should reach at least 20 pounds or nine kilograms before they start using forward-facing seats.

4. Can Any Car Seat Be Rear-Facing?

No, you have to invest in a rear-facing seat for it to be safe.

If you try and use a regular car seat, you risk the seat moving if you get into an accident.

5. How Long Should Toddlers Be Rear-Facing?

Toddlers should be rear-facing until they reach the height or weight limit for that particular seat.

For an estimate, this is usually from ages three to five.

Final Verdict

Being a mom is stressful, and the last thing you want to do is stress out while you’re driving.

Having a rear-facing car seat can help alleviate any worry that your child may get injured while driving.

Following the standard guidelines can help keep your little one safe on all their new and exciting trips.

As for the best of the best rear facing car seat, we choose the Britax Marathon ClickTight Convertible Car Seat since it has great adjustability and protection features.

You can’t go wrong investing in a car seat that will last throughout the development of your little one.

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