The best rotating and swivel car seats

We've found the best swivel car seats and look at the pros and cons of using a rotating car seat

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If you’ve ever struggled getting your baby or toddler in and out of their car seat, a rotating car seat could be a great option as these allow you to swivel the seat towards your car door to take your child out. If you opt for a seat that rotates a full 360 degrees, it can also swivel to forward-facing, offering the flexibility for extended rear-facing.

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To help you decide which rotating car seat is best for you, we’ve extensively researched the car seat market as well as speaking to over 550 parents about the car seats they’ve used over the years.

Every car seat on this list has also been reviewed by MadeForMums users, as well as professional reviewers who have tested the car seats with their children over a period of at least 2 weeks.

We’ve also spoken to car seat experts from the organisations RAC and Child Seat Safety about the safety advice around rotating car seats as well. Along with this we’ve also taken into account safety testing carried out by ADAC who is one of the lead testers of car seats in Europe.

Why should I buy a rotating car seat?  

One of the main benefits of a rotating car seat is that it makes it more comfortable for you when taking your baby in and out of the car, by having the ability to swivel it around to the car door. This saves having to awkwardly bend over a seat to try to unstrap and lift them out.

When your baby is newborn they would start in a rear-facing Group 0+ car seat which lasts from birth to 13kg (approx. 15 months). Once they’re 9kg (approx. 9 months) you can decide whether to switch them to forward-facing, which many Group 1 seats offer the option of doing.

However, most of the rotating car seats on this list are in the Group 0+/1 category so offer more flexibility by having the option to have your child rear facing up until 18kg (around 4 years).

In the event of a collision, especially one that’s head-on, a car seat that’s rear-facing offers greater protection to your child’s under-developed head, spine and neck, which is why you may want to have them in one for longer.

Once you feel your child is ready or they’re getting uncomfortable in a rear-facing position, you can simply rotate them to forward-facing with a swivel car seat, saving you having to refit the seat as well as the cost of having to buy the next stage up.

What to look out for when buying a rotating car seat?

Whilst some rotating car seats can be fitted with your car’s 3-point-seatbelt, most of them tend to come with bases to make them easier to swivel. As some bases also come attached to the seat, you may find that your rotating car seat isn’t travel system compatible. So if you’re looking for one that can be transferred onto a buggy, you may want to opt for a Group 0+ seat or look at swivel options that aren’t attached to a base.

For this reason rotating car seats also tend to be heavier, with many above 10kg, as they’re designed to stay in your car, rather than using with a pushchair. But you also have the benefit of having a car seat that lasts longer, if you go for an extended rear-facing option.

You’ll find that most rotating car seats swivel a full 360 degrees, whereas some only rotate 180 degrees. Claire Waterhouse and Julie Dagnall, founders of Child Seat Safety, explain the key difference, “A 360 rotation will be a rear and forward facing seat, whereas a 180 rotation will only face in one direction (either rear or forward facing) but you’ll be able to swivel it to make it easier to get the child in and out of the seat.”

How do I choose a rotating car seat?

When choosing which brand or model of rotating car seat to go for there are many factors to take into account, depending on your budget and your family’s needs. Our handy shopping checklist below will make sure you don’t miss out any key features when deciding what to buy.

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How much does a rotating car seat cost?

As many rotating car seats are designed to take you up to 4 years, they can be more costly with a starting price of around £200 and some going up to £400.

However it’s worth shopping around to find what you get included in the price. For example you’ll find that most bases tend to be included in the price of the car seat, however with some you may have to purchase the base separately.

Are rotating car seats safe?

Providing you only use the swivel function on your car seat when taking your baby in and out of the car or switching from rear to forward facing, it’s a safe feature to have.

Some car seats lock into place when side facing to help when taking your child out the chair, but Sophie Steane, RAC shop spokesperson, stresses the importance of using the feature correctly. She says, “After rotation, the key point is to make sure that the seat is fully locked in the correct position before setting off.”

Claire Waterhouse and Julie Dagnall also add that swivel car seats that don’t have the ability to lock are less likely be misused, “We wouldn’t want a parent to turn it side on while travelling to maybe feed the child.”

Here’s our pick of the best rotating car seats

Extended rear-facing car seats 

1) Joie i-Spin 360, £280 (base included)

An affordable all-rounder

Suitable for: birth to 4 years/105cm | Rear facing until: 4 years/105cm | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 13.9kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.6 stars

The Joie i-Spin 360, an upgraded i-Size version of the popular Spin 360, is one of the most affordable rotating car seat options at £280 with the base included.

It truly lives up to its extended rear facing capabilities with its grow-with-me infant insert made up of 3 individual pieces. This was a feature highlighted by one of our users who praised how it’s been a great fit for her newborns as well as her 4 year old.

She says, “Both of my babies were premature and they were small in size but went in this from day one and were so safe and secure. My 4 year old still fits in this comfortably but I now use it for my 16 month old and will continue to do so until he is 4.”

For extra reassurance when installing the i-Spin, there are green light indicators to confirm you’ve installed it correctly which our MFM reviewer also liked along with the ‘Guard Surround Safety’ panels for increased side protection. The ADAC review also highlighted how easy the i-Spin is to install with “very easy to understand” instructions.

However it’s worth noting that as the base is attached to the seat, it may be tricky installing it all in one go which our MFM reviewer also picked up on. But once the seat is in your car it’s unlikely you’ll be regularly moving it from its installed position. The base also makes the seat quite bulky which one user picked up on noting how it may not be the best fit for smaller cars.

Pros: Comfortable for newborns and older children
Cons: Bulky

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Joie i-Spin 360

Available from: Halfords, John Lewis and Argos

2) gb Vaya i-Size, from £329.95 (base included)

Best for enhanced safety features

Suitable for: birth to 4 years/105cm | Rear facing until: 4 years/105cm | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 14.9kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.7 stars

The gb Vaya i-Size impressed us with its enhanced safety features including Driving Direction Control. This means it will not rotate to forward facing until the headrest reaches a certain height, ensuring your child’s in the safest position for as long as possible. The ADAC review also gave the seat a high safety rating with a “very low risk” of injury during a side crash and “low risk” of injury during a head-on crash.

The swivel motion is easy to control with a handle underneath the front of the seat. One MFM user commented, “The ease of getting my daughter in and out of the seat is a breath of fresh air! I have sciatica so being able to swivel the chair to face me in a quick, single handed motion so I don’t have to bend awkwardly to get her in or out is excellent.”

It’s also got lots of nifty extras which our MFM reviewer praised, “I like the nice details like the magnets on the sides to keep the straps out of your way, and the harness is really simple to use.” Although she did feel the harness was easy to secure, one user we spoke to did find it fiddly, with the magnets too small to be useful.

Pros: Easy to use rotation feature
Cons: Heavy, fiddly harness

Read our full MadeForMums review of the gb Vaya i-Size

Available from: Uber Kids and Natural Baby Shower

3) Cybex Sirona S i-Size, £300 (base included)

A seat that grows with your child

Suitable for: birth to 105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 105cm/4 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 15kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.3 stars

Cybex has a solid reputation when it comes to car seat safety, and the Sirona S lives up the brand’s secure ethos.

It shares many of the enhanced safety features of the gb Vaya including Driving Direction Control, which prevents the seat moving to forward-facing until your child reaches the correct height and Energy Reduction Technology which reduces the forces on the neck during a front-on crash.

As an extended rear facing car seat, it also boasts features that means it’ll grow with your child including 12 different height positions. Our MFM reviewer also liked the longevity of the car seat, saying, “One feature I appreciated was that the headrest automatically adjusts the harness height so you know your baby is supported and in the correct position.”

However keep in mind that at 14.6kg it’s one of the heaviest swivel car seats on our list, which the ADAC review also picked up on. So it’s definitely one you’ll want to keep in your car once installed.

Pros: Designed with longevity in mind, enhanced safety features
Cons: Heavy at 14.6kg

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Cybex Sirona S i-Size

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Uber Kids 

4) Cozy n Safe Merlin, from £189 (base included)

Best for extra comfort 

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 18kg/105cm/4 years | i-Size: No | Weight: 14kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.9 stars

Made from the same high-density material used in racing car drivers’ helmets, comfort is a key component in the Cozy n Safe Merlin. This was a feature our MFM reviewer also praised, saying, “The padding is thick and plush – it has thick side wings, a padded headrest, shoulder straps and the crotch area around the buckle – and seems incredibly comfortable.”

You’ll also find that you can recline the seat in both directions for extra comfort for your child, with four recline positions in rear-facing and three in forward-facing.

Although, price wise, it’s at the lower end of the scale in comparison to other rotating car seats, it doesn’t comply with i-Size regulations which include car seat suitability classified by height and enhanced safety testing. However it’s worth keeping in mind that it still has lots of solid safety features including side impact protection and high-density foam padding.

Pros: Affordable, reclines rear-facing and forward-facing, extra padding
Cons: Doesn’t comply with i-Size regulations

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Cozy n Safe Merlin

Available from: Amazon, Precious Little One and Uber Kids 

5) Silver Cross Motion, £350 (base included) 

Best for easy installation

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 18kg/105cm/4 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 14kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.9 stars

Luxury pushchair brand Silver Cross expanded its small car seat range last year to release four brand new models, including the Motion. This i-Size seat comes with an easy-to-use swivel function that can turn the seat forward, rear or side facing with one hand.

Our reviewer said she found the swivel feature a “breeze”, saying, “With just one button, you can rotate the seat to the loading position where you can see everything more clearly and there’s less strain on the back.”

Silver Cross has also added a number of extras to help make sure you’ve installed the seat correctly including indicators that turn green on the base and leg, as well as its ‘Car Safety Made Simple’ app which you takes you through a five-step guide. Our reviewer said the simple checklist gave her “peace of mind that the car seat is installed safely and correctly”.

Pros: One-handed swivel function, simple installation
Cons: Can’t use with Silver Cross pushchairs

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Silver Cross Motion

Available from: Silver Cross, John Lewis and Amazon

6) Nuna Rebl Plus i-Size, £350 (base included)

A sturdy redesign 

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 18kg/105cm/4 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 14kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.8 stars

As well as complying with i-Size regulations, Nuna’s updated Rebl Plus now has a 20% thicker steel wall and 35% stronger steel frame which our reviewer said “gives the seat a very stable feel”. This can also be seen in the ADAC testing where Nuna Rebl had previously failed front crash testing, but testing on the updated Rebl shows a “low risk of injury” in both front and side collisions.

Like many recent swivel car seats, its 7-position recline and 360 degree rotation works easily at the click of one button and was one our MFM reviewer’s favourite features who called it a “life-saver”. Although some users we spoke to pointed out how the seat doesn’t recline very far back with one saying, “It doesn’t recline much so the child’s head falls forward when sleeping.”

However like lots of rotating car seats, it’s worth keeping in mind that the Rebl Plus is quite heavy at 14kg – an opinion shared by our MFM reviewer who said it’s “not easily transportable”. However this may not be a problem if you’re intending to keep the car seat installed up to 4 years, rather than switching it between cars.

Pros: Sturdy design, extra padding
Cons: Heavy at 14kg, doesn’t recline far back

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Nuna Rebl Plus i-Size

Available from: John Lewis, Trendy Baby and Baby & Co

7) Britax DualFix i-Size, £375 (base included)

A popular bestseller

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 18kg/105cm/4 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 15kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.4 stars

Britax is a well-established brand when it comes to car seat safety, with the DualFix i-Size incorporating the sturdy and high quality features it’s well known for.

Parents we spoke to felt it was a reliable all-rounder with an easy to use swivel function and many noted how “sturdy” it felt once installed. This can also be seen in the ADAC review which gave the DualFix a “low risk” of injury during a front or side crash.

As well as some strong additions that make it suitable from birth, like the newborn insert which makes the seat “very plush, comfortable and supportive” according to our MFM reviewer, the seat has been designed with its extending rear-facing feature in mind. This is mainly due to the fact it’s larger than some of its competitors – at 1cm wider and 4cm deeper than the Cybex Sirona S i-Size – which our MFM reviewer also noticed, saying it “has more room for growing legs”.

Pros: Sturdy, extra roomy
Cons: Heavy, expensive

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Britax DualFix i-Size

Available from: Britax and Halfords

8) Jane iKonic, £379.95 (base included)

The best for effortless installation 

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 18kg/105cm/4 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 15kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 5 stars

Jane is known for its focus on safety and innovation when it comes to car seats, and the iKonic certainly combines these factors to make a great all-round rotating car seat.

Along with its handy 360-degree rotation, it’s also simple to install providing you have ISOFIX in your car. Our MFM reviewer said she managed to fix the seat into her car “effortlessly” with “two ISOFIX guides to make it an even easier fit”.

As an extended rear-facing car seat it’ll take you all the way up to 4 years with simple adjustments to make to the headrest and straps as your child grows. Jane connects the headrest and harness as it says it offers better protection to your child in a side on crash, to provide extra support for their head.

This was also one of MFM reviewer’s favourite features. “I’ve used car seats in the past that have given me a headache trying to work out how to rethread them through but this one is so simple it’s a pleasure to use,” she observed. “You just push in the button at the front of the seat under the flap to loosen the straps. To tighten them you pull the strap at the front.”

Pros: Easy installation, easy to adjust harness
Cons: Heavy

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Jane iKonic

Available from: Jane, Samuel Johnston and Trendy Baby

Other rotating car seats suitable from birth 

9) Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus, £399

Best for a trusted car seat brand

Suitable for: birth to 18kg/105cm/4 years | Rear facing until: 87cm/2 years | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 12.45kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.8 stars

Maxi Cosi is one of the best-known brands in the car seat game and with over 30 years of experience under its belt, it’s easy to see why. The Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus is an updated version of the best-selling Axiss model – it now rotates a full 360 degrees rather than 90, and it complies to the latest i-Size safety regulations.

Adjusting the 5-point harness as your child grows is easy to do so, with the addition of a one-hand harness adjuster. This was a feature our MFM reviewer also praised, along with its simple installation which she managed to do securely do “in just a few minutes”. This can also be seen in the ADAC review which highlights “easy” installation and “low risk” of incorrect installation.

“The instructions are detailed in pictures on the car seat, and there are numbers on the back of the unit to show the order of attachment,” she said. “All is clear, simple and easy.”

Like many rotating car seats you can use it up until 18kg (around 4 years old), but keep in mind it’s only designed to be rear-facing until until 87cm (around 2 years old). Similar priced options have the option for extended rear-facing, so it’s worth taking this into account.

Pros: Easy to install and adjust
Cons: Only rear-facing up to 87cm/2 years  

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus

Available from: Maxi-Cosi and Halfords

10) Cybex Cloud Z i-Size, from £224.95 (base sold separately for £184.95)

The best for using with your pushchair

Suitable for: birth to 18 months/13kg | Rear facing until: 18 months/13kg | i-Size: Yes | Weight: 4.8kg | MFM Review Star Rating: 4.4 stars

Many rotating car seats can’t be used as part of a travel system, but with the Cloud Z you get the added benefit of being able to use it with all Cybex pushchairs as well as other popular brands with the use of universal adaptors. When the seat is placed on a pushchair, it also has the ability to lie-flat which offers your baby a safe sleeping position and was one of our MFM reviewer’s favourite features.

At 4.8kg it’s also considerably lighter than most rotating car seats, but this is also because, unlike many extended rear-facing rotating car seats, it can only be used up to 18 months. This was a feature our MFM reviewer liked, saying, “The handle makes it a breeze to carry – even with the sunshade down there is still enough space to get your arm through for a more comfortable hold.”

You can also be reassured by the seat’s enhanced safety features including the telescopic linear side impact protection system – this involves an ‘arm’ that pulls out on each side of the seat to absorb impact in the event of a collision. This can also be seen in the ADAC review which gives the Cloud Z a “very low risk of injury” during a side crash.

You don’t have to use the base to install the Cloud Z – you have the option of using your car’s seatbelt but you’ll lose its i-Size classification if you do so. If you want the reassurance of using the base, it’s worth remembering that you can buy it as part of Cybex’s Z-line system. This allows you to use it with the Sirona Z i-Size which sits in the next stage up.

Pros: Compatible with Cybex pushchairs
Cons: Base sold separately 

Read our full MadeForMums review of the Cybex Cloud Z i-Size

Available from: John Lewis, Kiddies Kingdom, Mamas & Papas

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