Top 10: Cheapest child car seats
If money is tight, these are the cheapest car seats you can buy. The seats below cover a range of ages and sizes, from newborns up to 12-year olds. Be aware though, that because of the low price range involved, none of these seats conform to the new i-Size standards.
Don't forget to check the compatibility of your own car by using our unique Car Seat Chooser.
Cuggl Chaffinch Group 1/2/3
You may not have heard of Cuggl, but it's a relatively new brand that launched in mid-2017 and is available exclusively through Argos. The delightfully named Chaffinch offers a wide range of flexibility and is suitable for children aged from nine months all the way up to 12 years old – it’s a forward facing padded seat with an adjustable headrest that slides up and down to accommodate different heights.
Like all the seats in this list, the Chaffinch isn't i-Size compliant, hence why it's forward facing only. Some parents might want to wait until their little one is a little older than nine months old to pop them in – the recommendation is that children are kept facing backwards until 15 months old – but it is flexible enough that it could well be a good option for occasional use, by grandparents for example.
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Nania/TT Trio Group 0/1/2
The Nania Trio is capable of taking children right from birth up to around six years old, which is quite a rarity, especially at this price point. There is a removable body cushion and head support cushion that slot in to ensure a good fit for newborns, while the seat underneath also comes with padding to retain comfort as the child grows.
Because it is aimed at newborns, this seat can be fitted either forward or rearward facing, and it straps in with a three-point seat belt in either case. Smaller children are restrained using the integral five-point harness, while larger ones (from around 15kg to 25kg) are restrained using the car’s three-point seatbelt. The 3.5kg weight is relatively low, too, while the cover can be removed and washed by hand, which is a bonus.
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Team Tex Beone First Pop Group 0+
For those that want a dedicated infant seat that comes with a little more cocooning, this Group 0+ seat sits your little one facing backwards for up to the first 15 months of their car-travelling life, or until they are 13kg. One benefit of an infant carrier like this is portability – it has a handle to easily get it out of the car when your little one is sleeping at the end of a journey.
If you’re then sitting around outside, there is a handy canopy to keep the sun out of the child’s eyes to (hopefully) keep them asleep a little longer, or just to shield them in bright light. It has a simple three-point harness, and a removable newborn support cushion so tiny ones have a little more padding around them. As an added bonus, it comes in a selection of colours, so you can go for a bright or plain one as you wish.
Joie Juva Classic Group 0+
Joie is arguably the biggest and most well-known name on this list, which might bring some reassurance to buyers. It’s also one of the few seats that can be attached to a car using Isofix, although you will need to buy a separate base for that, which adds around £80 to the cost. If you want to keep costs down, though, then the seat can be attached using a standard three-point seatbelt.
It is also possible to slot the Juva onto some pushchairs, although it doesn’t fit onto every model so it is worth checking whether it is compatible with your base, or if you can get adaptors, before you commit if that is crucial. Like most infant seats, it is capable of taking a child up to around 15 months or 13kg.
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Nania Trio Eco Groups 0/1/2
The Trio is a fixed seat that is designed to take infants through the first six years of their life, and is quite basic in its approach. There is no flexibility, and it is shaped more like a seat than an infant carrier, so might not be something you want for the very early weeks and months.
There is a degree of adjustment in the straps, but they can only be moved up and down to a couple of positions, but they attach at five points to keep the little one secure. Although the seat is padded, users have reported that there isn’t a huge amount of padding available, so other options might be more comfortable for longer trips.
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Bebe Style Group 1/2/3 Convertible Car Seat and Booster
Unlike many of the other seats on this list, this one offers a little more variety in that it is possible to convert it into a simple booster seat so an older child doesn’t have to sit on the same seat they have been using since they were nine months old.
As you’d expect for a seat that can be used for a small child, it has large amounts of removable padding for younger occupants, while the headrest is adjustable, too. Parents of younger children will want to consider the first point at which they use this seat, though, as it is forward facing only – nine months is quite young to have a child facing forward. At 5.5kg it is quite hefty, so moving it in and out of a car regularly isn’t going to be as easy as other options.
Nania Racer SP Groups 1/2/3
A step up in size over the Nania Trio, the Racer SP is aimed at children aged nine months and older, with enough adjustment to take them at different sizes ranging from 9kg up to 36kg.
As with some of the other simple seats, it is forward facing only, though, so it will be less supportive for younger children and parents may want to keep their little ones facing backwards until they get to 15 months old. There are no clever features that stand out – it is a basic unit that doesn’t convert into a booster seat, but does have height adjustable head support and some protection at the sides.
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Halfords Essential 123
This seat is the equivalent of the supermarket own brand, as it is a Halfords product rather than one branded with a more recognisable company’s logo. There isn’t much to highlight that on the actual seat, though, as it is a plain black affair with some tasteful piping around the edges. It’s aimed at toddlers through to 12-year olds and comes with a five-point harness and a cushioned insert for smaller kids.
It isn’t expensive, but Halfords’ regular sales and discounts mean you might well get it for a bit less than that even.
Nania TT Racer First Pop Group 1/2/3 High back booster seat
Despite its name, the Nania doesn’t convert to a booster seat – this is another all-in-one affair that is aimed at toddlers and older children.
As with many, it comes with the basics – a five-point harness, an adjustable head support and padded sleeves on the harness to give some extra comfort on the child’s shoulders. The slightly garish pattern on the cover might not be to everyone’s tastes, but it can be removed to be washed thankfully.
Cuggl Goldcrest Group 0/1/2
As a Group 0/1/2 seat, the Goldcrest can be put facing either forwards or backwards, although it is a fair bit larger than some infant only seats so it might feel a bit big when facing backwards.
It’s quite a basic design, too, without any extra padding for a younger child’s head, so the claim to be suitable for newborns is possibly ambitious. It is more likely to be better suited to those wanting something to carry older passengers, therefore.
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