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Cheap child car seats: are they any good?

Which? latest car seat test results include three below £50

Can you get a decent car seat for £50 or less? Our 2019 survey of 4,831 parents and carers revealed that 36%  spent £50 or less on their child’s car seat.

In our latest child car seat testing, we’ve crash tested three car seats costing less than £50: an Argos child car seat, a Nania baby car seat and a Britax high-backed booster seat.

These were tested alongside the latest car seats from more popular Britax models, Cybex and Maxi Cosi.

See our pick of the best baby and child car seats.

Argos Cuggl Chaffinch child car seat – £33

Group: 1, 2 and 3 multi-group seat
Age: up to 12 years
Installation method: seat belt

The Cuggle Chaffinch lightweight, cheap multi-group seat is a popular seller for Argos.

It covers child car seat groups 1, 2 and 3, so it’s approved for use with children from 9kg to 36kg (around nine months to 12 years old).

It’s forward-facing only and installed using the car’s adult seat belt. We don’t advise swapping to this stage car seat until your baby has fully grown out of their rear-facing baby car seat.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Spans more than one child car seat group
  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t take up much room

Cons

  • Approved for use from 9kg
  • Approved to old regulations which don’t include a side-impact crash test
  • Forward-facing only
  • Manual harness adjustment
  • Thin padding, so not that comfy

Read our Argos Cuggl Chaffinch car seat review to find out what crash tests uncovered.

Nania BeOne SP baby car seat – £45

Group: 0+ baby car seat
Age: from birth
Installation method: seat belt

This lightweight baby car seat is also found on sale at Argos.

The Nania BeOne SP is approved for use from birth to 13kg, or around 12 to 15 months of age, depending on your baby. It’s the first-stage seat you’ll buy.

Like all baby car seats, it’s installed in your car rearward-facing only, using the car’s adult seat belt.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with newborn insert
  • Simple to install
  • Doesn’t take up much room

Cons

  • Instructions aren’t as clear as they could be
  • Approved to old regulations which don’t include a side-impact crash test
  • Thin padding, so not that comfy
    Handwash-only covers
  • Can’t be used on a Isofix base

Read our Nania BeOne SP baby car seat review to reveal the results of our crash testing

Britax Römer Adventure high-backed booster seat, £35

Group: 2 and 3 child car seat
Age: Three-and-a-half years to 12 years
Installation method: seat belt

The Römer high-backed booster seat has been in the Britax range for quite a while and we often spot it being promoted in baby events, sometimes even cheaper than its usual price.

It’s an affordable entry-level child car seat that’s forward-facing only and approved for use from 15kg to 36kg, which is around three-and-a-half years to 12 years of age.

Pros

  • High-backed booster seat
  • Cheap
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Doesn’t take up much room

Cons

  • Approved to old regulations, which don’t include a side-impact crash test
  • Forward-facing only
  • Thin padding, so not that comfy
  • Smaller children may not sit as well in the seat

Read our Britax Römer Adventure car seat review.

What if I spend a bit more?

If you can push your budget a little more, here’s a round-up of child car seats costing up to £200 that we’ve just crash tested:

Maxi Cosi Jade car cot – £199 (Isofix base costs extra)

We’ve also just tested the Maxi Cosi Jade car cot, which is a carrycot style baby car seat. It’s approved to the latest, tougher, car seat regulations (i-Size/UN R129) for use from birth up to 70cm or 9kg, which is around six months of age, but will depend on how big your baby is. The car seat sits across the back seat of your car so your newborn can travel in a lie-flat position, which makes it ideal if you plan on taking long journeys with your newborn, or have a premature baby or one with a medical issue.

Pros

  • Approved to the latest i-Size/UN R129 regulations
  • Lie-flat position
  • Travel system compatible
  • Isofix base can be used with other car seats
  • Plenty of space for your growing newborn

Cons

  • Isofix base is a separate purchase
  • Takes up a lot of room in the back
  • Need to swap to a rearward-facing baby car seat once outgrown
  • Heavy
  • Can’t be installed using the seat belt

Maxi Cosi Jade car cot review – read our full crash test report to find out if it’s worth splashing out on for your newborn.

All car seats sold on the UK market have passed legal minimum standards. But our car seat crash test experts continue to push for higher standards in child car seat safety, and feel our specially designed crash tests go further to help identify those car seats which help provide the best protection in a crash for your children.

Prices checked 24 June 2019

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