The best i-Size car seats for babies and toddlers

Highest-rated i-Size car seats for newborns as tested by our reviewers including models from Britax, Maxi-Cosi, Joie, Kiddy and Cybex

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MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.

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With the introduction of the new i-Size car seat regulations, we’re seeing more and more i-Size car seats for newborn babies come on to the market – some taking babies through to 4 years. You don’t have to buy an i-Size seat right now as the new laws sit alongside the current ones.

That means you can still use a non i-Size seat, but buy one now and you’re future-proofing yourself. Plus research shows that sitting your child rear-facing for longer in a car is considerably safer – and that’s one of the benefits of I-Size.

We’ve answered all your i-Size safety questions below, or you can click here to go directly to the list of the best i-Size car seats.

How much should I expect to pay for an i-Size car seat?

Like all car seats, prices vary. In our top choices, we’ve highlighted car seats that range from £129 to nearly £500, although some will last longer than others.

Do I have to buy a car seat base with an i-Size car seat?

Yes. For a car seat to be i-Size, it must have ISOFIX fitting. Therefore, to use the car seat as i-Size, you’ll need a base with your seat – although some come with the base included. Bases can be very expensive, so we’ve added the cost of the base to the overall price, so you can see how much you’ll actually pay. And remember, not all i-Size cars fit all ISOFIX cars. Before you buy, you’ll need to check your car’s compatibility with the car seat manufacturer’s fitting guide. Read more: What exactly is i-Size and what do I need to know?

Here are the top baby i-Size car seats according to our reviewers and researchers…

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1. Britax DUALFIX i-SIZE

Age suitability: Birth to 105 cm (around 4 years)

Rear-facing until: 4 years

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: from £430

Travel system compatible: No

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Gold

A high quality and extremely safe option for your baby, this seat’s 360 rotation is also a saviour for grown-up backs.

At £430, it is not a cheap buy, but love its long product life so think the price is an investment.

Worth noting, it’s also bigger and bulkier than some of its newborn competitors, and can’t be clipped onto a pram. However, our judges were impressed – MFM judge Jeananne says: “Its extremely handy 360-degree rotation and exacting safety standards mean I would recommend this car seat to others”.

But, if you find your sleeping baby doesn’t easily transfer from car to pushchair, the Recaro Zero.1 Elite can also be used up to 4 years AND is travel system compatible.

Available from: Baby and Co, Babys Mart and Lesters Nursery World

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2. Joie i-Level

Age suitability: Birth to 85 cm (around 2 years)

Rear-facing until: 2 years

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 2 years: £250

Travel system compatible: Yes

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Joint Silver

An affordable option with a super-handy feature – you can lie your baby flat meaning you can keep your baby asleep for longer and not have to worry about how long they’re in the car seat. Great for peace of mind, and great for not waking a sleeping baby.

MFM judge Ruth says: “Easy to fit, easy to use, the Joie i-Level looks and feels comfortable! I love the lie-flat option and how simply it can be adjusted to use on a buggy frame, which helps when trying to keep a newborn asleep. It’s also compact and light.”

Like the other lie-flat options in our list – the Britax Baby Safe and Kiddy Evo-Luna – this seat can only be used with an ISOFIX base.

Available from: Babys Mart, John Lewis and Online4Baby

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3. GB Vaya

Age suitability: Birth to 18kg (around 4 years)

Rear-facing until: 4 years

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: £340

Travel system compatible: No

A long lasting car seat offering a five-position recline, washable covers, and 360 degree rotation. There’s not much setting this seat apart from the Britax DUALFIX.

MFM judge and mum of 2 Magda loves this seat, saying: “Fantastic seat to last until age 4. It feels safe and secure and is i-Size compatible. I like the innovation in the driving direction control which doesn’t allow for forward facing use before 16 months. It also feels cosy for a newborn.”

Available from: Uber Kids, The Baby Room and Baby Centre Bournemouth

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4. Cybex Sirona S i-Size

Age suitability: Birth to 18kg (around 4 years)

Rear-facing until: 4 years

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: £300

Travel system compatible: No

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Joint Bronze

A mid-priced option for a seat with a long product life – the Cybex Sirona is stylish, big on safety, and offers 360-rotation.

MFM judge Angelita is a big fan, saying: “A state-of-the art car seat. It’s snug, easy to use, brilliantly designed and fits perfectly in our big car. It ticks all the boxes in safety, and the rotation function helps me, as I have a bad back from my caesarean and I’m still healing. I highly recommend it to parents.”

Like the GB Vaya, it prevents the seat being used front facing until the baby is 16 months.

Available from: Amazon, Kiddies Kingdom and Bournemouth Baby Centre

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5. Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus

Age suitability: Birth to 12 months

Rear-facing until: 12 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £189

Total cost from birth to 12 months: from £199 (£388 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Joint Bronze

This is a very adaptable car seat – it can be used with many brands of pushchairs as a travel system and can be used without ISOFIX.

A relatively expensive option given its short product life, this didn’t stop our judge Claire from raving about it, “I found the Pebble very easy to install. I love that the base has light and beep indicators to ensure you have installed it correctly. The car seat slips in and out of the base very easily and securely. The newborn insert is snug and cosy. The Pebble really is a baby must-have.”

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Mothercare and Natural Baby Shower

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6. Recaro Zero.1 Elite i-size

Age suitability: Birth – 18kg (birth – 4 years)

Rear-facing until:  18kg (around 4 years)

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: £499

Travel system compatible: Yes

An excellent value car seat – the Recaro Zero.1 has it all. Not only is it travel system compatible AND suitable for up to four years old – it even features a removable infant carrier. The 360-degree swivel and the fact that it’s really light make it a winner for sore-backed parents too.

Our judge Melanie says: “The 360 degree turn, the deep-padded seats, sticky grip pads on the underside of the harness straps, the light weight of the infant carrier.

“The newborn cushion and seat reducer are perfect for getting a comfortable ride for your little one. It’s particularly good for parents who want invest in just one good car seat for the first 4 years.”

Available from: Uber Kids, Hello Baby and Pram World

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7. Joie i-Spin 360

Age suitability: Birth – 18kg (birth – 4 years)

Rear-facing until:  18kg (around 4 years)

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: from £280

Travel system compatible: No 

An affordable option with a long product life, this seat has some great features – 6 recline positions, 360-degree spin, and built-in side ventilation – super handy for warm weather when babies can get so sweaty in their seats. Its Guard Surround Safety panels automatically extend when child is placed in the seat and provide added security for the head, body and hips.

Available from: Boots, Halfords and Baby Centre Bournemouth

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8. Britax Baby Safe i-Size

Age suitability: Birth until 15 months

Rear-facing until: 15 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £80

Total cost from birth to 15 months: from £190 (£70 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

Robust, affordable AND it has a lie flat option– this is the chosen infant car seat of Wills and Kate.

Our mum reviewer Anna, says: “This bang-up-to-date car seat feels really robust with rigorous research behind its design. You might pay £40 or £50 more than rival models but it’s worth it: you feel like you’re getting first-rate protection for your baby as well as maximum support and comfort.”

Our judges were particularly impressed with the brand’s patented “lie-flat technology”. This automatically adjusts the straps and angle of the backrest too.

For other lie-flat options see the Kiddy Evo-Luna and Joie i-Level.

Available from: Samuel Johnston, Kiddies Kingdom and Lesters Nurseryworld

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9. Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Plus

Age suitability: Birth until 4 years

Rear-facing until: 2 years

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Total cost from birth to 4 years: £269

Travel system compatible: No

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Joint Silver 

A 360-spin feature with just a push of a button and a super snug newborn insert.

MFM judge Carolyn says: “This car seat has turned my life around! Every little feature on the seat has been well thought out. The seat is comfortable and it is really easy to adjust the headrest/shoulder straps to fit your child. It also looks very stylish.”

A good option for little ones but we’re not convinced its big enough to last until 4 years.

Available from: John Lewis, Maxi Cosi and Halfords

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10. Evo-Luna i-Size

Age suitability: Birth until 15 months

Rear-facing until: 15 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £0

Cost from birth to 15 months: £359

Travel system compatible: Yes

Stylish, sturdy, and with a super-handy lie-flat feature. It’s a bit on the heavy side, and it has a shorter product life than the other lie-flat options in our list – the Joie i-and Britax Baby Safe. However, we love the rocker function.

Read our full review here

Available from: Buggy Baby, Lesters Nursery World and Natural Baby Shower

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11. Silver Cross Dream i-size

Age suitability: Birth until approx. 12 months

Rear-facing until: 12 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base£160

Total cost from birth to 12 months: from £180 (£340 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

With the high quality you’d expect from this brand, the Dnew ream is an affordable option car seat than can be used with a Silver Cross travel system.

Features include a 5-point safety harness, ventilated hood, 5 different head rest positions, bamboo fabrics, and 4 layer side impact protection.

Like the Maxi Cosi pebble and Jane Koos iSize, this seat can be belted not just used with an ISOFIX base so you can swap between cars super easily.

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Lesters Nurseryworld and Baby Planet

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12. Jane Koos isize

Age suitability: Birth until approx. 15 months

Rear-facing until: 15 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £144

Total cost from birth to 15 months: from £160 (£304 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

Another affordable option – this car seat can be used with or without isofix base. It has a 5-position headrest, a 3-point safety harness, and removable and washable upholstery. It also has an adjustable hood to protect baby from the sun and wind and creates a cosy environment for rest and sleep.

Available from: Samuel Johnston, Precious Little One and Jane

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13. Graco SnugRide I-Size

Age suitability: Birth until 13kg (around 18 months)

Rear-facing until: 18 months

Additional cost of ISOFIX base: £196

Total cost from birth to 18 months: From £129 (£325 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

This is a slightly longer-lasting product than other infant car seats like the Maxi Cosi Pebble – it should last until your child is 18 months. Its extendable and adjustable headrest may work well with toddlers who are tall for their age but still weigh under 13kg. Compatible with all Graco pushchairs.

Available from: Kiddies Kingdom, Online 4 Baby and Buggy Baby

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14. BeSafe iZi Go Modular

Age suitability: Birth until 12 months

Rear-facing until: 4 years (105cm tall)

Additional cost of ISOFIX base:  £199.99

Total cost from birth to 4: from £180 (£379.99 with base)

Travel system compatible: Yes

A super safe and affordable option – this seat has some cool features.  We love the magnets which hold the harness open, and the integrated sunshade.

Also, it can be used without an ISOFIX base so can be swapped between cars hassle-free – great for grandparents. However, the base is a good investment because it has a nifty extendable feature. You can then use this same base with the iZi Modular iSize, £210 suitable for up to 4 years.

Read our full review here

Available from: Babys Mart, Baby and Co and Hello Baby

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The car safety guidelines you should know

The 2 hour rule – it’s safest not to keep your baby in a car seat for longer than 2 hours, with the exception being a lie-flat car seat. The key thing is that car seats are made to be used in a car – rather than as a carrycot for your baby to sleep in at home. If you’re using the car seat as part of a travel system, you need to follow the 2 hour rule.

How the car seat fits in your car – not all car seats fit in all cars, and incorrectly fitted seats can be dangerous – so make sure you get it professionally fitted. Some manufacturers also offer a quick online checking service, such as Britax’s Fit-Finder or Maxi-Cosi’s car fitting list to see if a car seat is compatible with your car. Have your car’s make, model and year of production close to hand for fast checking.

Safety – when choosing a car seat, safety should be at the top of the list. While price is important, it’s not actually an indicator of how safe a car seat is, but don’t settle for second best – or secondhand.

ISOFIX – Not all cars have ISOFIX – so check your car is compatible before buying an ISOFIX seat. Although some ISOFIX car seats can also be fitted into a non-ISOFIX car with a seat belt – however, if using a seat belt, the car seat no longer confirms to all the i-Size regulations.

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