Chicco NextFit car seats are one of the most popular convertible car seats on the market. I believe the engineers had parents who are always on the go when designing it. Also, it has useful safety features and comes in fun color combinations.
But does it all justify the hype and the price tag? My comprehensive Chicco NextFit review will answer all of those questions and provide you with everything you need to know before you decide.
Background of the Chicco NextFit Car Seat
The NextFit series offers four versions of the seat with design and feature variations.
For example, the NextFit Sport is suitable for children weighing more than 12 pounds and doesn’t come with the newborn insert. It is also the most affordable version.
The NextFit Zip has an infant insert, and the primary highlight of the seat is simple maintenance because of its easily removable and washable cover. This is also one of the best car seats for 1-year old toddlers. An upgrade from the NextFit Zip, the Chicco NextFit Zip Air features an innovative mesh cover, perfect for hot temperatures.
It also includes a removable and dishwasher-safe cup holder. But, I have a great liking towards the deep and unbreakable shell with a user-friendly installation system in all NextFit car seats.
In the past, the Chicco NextFit iX Zip version was available, which was extremely similar to the NextFit. But, the company discontinued the seat, drop the “iX” name, and now offers all significant features in the entire NextFit generation. For example, the older NextFit version had six recline positions, while iX had nine. Now, all NextFit seats feature nine recline positions!
The hip straps on the seat are very comfortable and easy to set. My daughter and I appreciate them! Lastly, Chicco Nextfit Zip Max is designed for taller babies and extended rear-facing use, which is excellent for future basketball players!
- Machine washable cover in NextFit Zip, Zip Air, and Zip Max
- Easy installation
- Deep shell ensures side protection
- Plenty of leg space
- Extended use – until the baby weighs over 65 pounds
- No anti-rebound bar
- Deep shell makes it hard to put the baby in the seat and out
- BUILT TO GROW — Use as a rear-facing (12-40 lbs.) or forward-facing (22-65 lbs.) car seat with 9-position easy-adjust headrest and padded no-rethread 5-point harness to accommodate infant, toddler and beyond.
- EASY TO INSTALL— Designed for secure install with remarkably simple leveling and tightening. A SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener and LockSure belt-locking system make it easy to achieve a tight fit with LATCH or with the vehicle seat belt.
- ADDED FEATURES — Includes dishwasher-safe cupholder and soft, padded machine-washable fabrics for comfort and convenience.
Chicco NextFit is designed to fit parents and children of different heights. Sometimes, petite parents can struggle to adjust and tighten the straps, but the user-friendly design of the NextFit series simplifies the process to all.
If you need one seat to stay put in the car or for the grandparents’ car, the NextFit Sport is a superb choice.
Also, if you are a busy mum, you will be happy with the Zip, Zip Air, and Zip Max seats because of the simple maintenance.
On the other hand, the seat is heavy, and I don’t recommend it for the parents who switch cars often. You can check the end of my Chicco convertible car seat review for alternatives.
Now, let’s answer some questions about the NextFit seat.
How long is a Chicco NextFit good for?
The Next Fit convertible car seat has an expiration period of eight years from the manufacturing date, but you won’t use it that long. You can use the seat (except the Sport version) for newborns of 5 pounds.
The Chicco NextFit weight limit is 65 pounds, so you should stop using the seat when the baby overgrows it. The height limit is 49 inches.
Is the Chicco NextFit ZIP worth it?
The Chicco NextFit Zip is pricey, but the quality of the seat, safety features, and time of use support the price tag. It is a sturdy seat that you can use for infants and toddlers, and you won’t have to get another seat until the child is ready for a booster seat.
The seat will save you time for installment and maintenance, and pay for itself in the long run.
Is Chicco NextFit FAA approved?
All versions of Chicco NextFit are FAA-approved and good for use in airplanes. Also, most companies don’t force you to put the car seat in the bag and allow you to check-in as free-standing.
Now, let’s dive into the exciting part of this Chicco NextFit review and analyze the essential features of the seat.
NextFit supports simple LATCH and seatbelt installation methods in both seat orientations. The openings on the side for the rear and forward-facing installation will guide you through the process.
I prefer the LATCH method because Chicco introduced the innovative strap design on lower anchors called SuperCinch. You can pull the straps one after the other to connect and tighten the anchors using minimal effort once you join them with vehicle anchors.
The seat also has a bubble level indicator to help you level the seat when installing in a rear-facing position.
The seat belt method works seamlessly, because of the integrated lock-offs. Thanks to the recline handle, you can find the appropriate recline position and route the belt through the color-coded path.
You can spot a red path on the seat sides and pull the belt through the base and under the padding to buckle it on the opposite side. It is easy to get used to it once you go through the manual and complete the installation several times.
Watch the video on how to install Chicco NextFit in rear-orientation using a seat belt here:
Chicco prides itself in making comfortable seats with plush padding and comfortable fabric. The headrest and shoulder pads are soft and provide enough support to keep the baby comfortable and secure during the ride.
The NextFit seat has nine recline positions, so it fits most cars and simplifies installation. The seat has a convenient recline handle for adjusting the angle and an indicator that tells you if the seat is leveled properly.
Another thing that only a parent who struggles to find a recline position in the past will appreciate is the convenient ReclineSure leveling system.
The seat is well-designed without sharp-edges or uncomfortable buckles or adds-on. All versions have soft fabric cover, while Air Zip and Zip Max have covers with improved airflow.
Foam paddings have a double purpose – to absorb shocks during the bumpy ride and to ensure a snug and comfortable fit for the baby.
Also, the thick padding masks the rigid shell underneath! Overall, the NextFit seat by Chicco is a wise choice, even for the longest ride in terms of comfort.
Alongside excellent comfort, the Chicco NextFit offers exceptional safety. The seat features a DuoGuard protection system with a sturdy shell and special foam that absorbs energy.
The shell is resilient because the frame is reinforced with steel. The seat meets all federal safety standards for car seats in rear and forward-facing use. Moreover, the seat got the highest score when tested for a crash by Consumer Reports.
Overall, the seat is reliable despite not coming with some additional safety features like the competition, such as an anti-rebound bar for rear-facing use or naturally flame retardant materials.
The Chicco NextFit rear facing limits are 40 pounds and 49 inches. I recommend installing the seat in a rear-facing position as long as possible because it is generally safer for babies. It is another advantage of the Chicco seat because most infant car seats allow rear-facing installment and use for babies up to 35 pounds.
Therefore, the NextFit is convertible, and you will use it for several years, and you can ride the baby in a more secured orientation for longer.
You can switch to Chicco forward facing car seat once the baby weighs 22 pounds. The weight limit for a forward-facing position is 65 pounds.
The steel-reinforced frame improves stability and resilience, but also affects the seat weight. The seat is heavy with 25.1 pounds of weight. Even though the seat isn’t designed for use as a carrier, it will help to have a lightweight seat.
Therefore, if you need to move the seat from one car to the other, you may struggle, especially if you opt for a one-handed operation while holding groceries or a baby.
Chicco NextFit forward facing and rear facing installment requires a distinct design of the convertible car seat. So, the NextFit seat, just like other convertible car seats, isn’t compatible with strollers.
The Chicco KeyFit generation of infant car seats is compatible with plenty of same-brand or other brand strollers via an adapter.
The use of Chicco NextFit convertible car seat depends on your baby’s growth rate. But, you will probably use it until the baby is five years old and legally allowed to move to a booster seat. However, some children won’t overgrow forward-facing limits for a couple of more years.
Therefore, prolonged use requires simple and effective maintenance to keep the seat as safe and good-looking as possible.
The Zip versions (Original, Air, and Max) are easy to clean. The zip in the title indicates that the cover has a simple zip method to unleash the cover. Covers are machine-washable and won’t stain easily, which is always a plus in convertible car seats.
The seat has a smart design without tight spots where food leftovers and crumbles can collect. You can always spot-clean after a minor mess or throw the cover in the machine.
Cleaning the plastic parts is also simple, with a damp sponge and mild soap.
The NextFit car seat has something which many parents will appreciate. As expected from the high-end car seat, the headrest is adjustable. It also has a five-point harness system with straps over shoulders and hips that connect in the middle. That way, the system keeps the baby secured in the seat and distributes the pressure evenly.
The NextFit generation features a convenient no-rethread system. Because of it, you can adjust the headrest without the need to unbuckle the harness and buckle it again when you finish the adjustment. The headrest and harness adjust together.
It might seem like an insignificant feature, but imagine adjusting the baby while sleeping to make it more comfortable. Rethreading and adjusting the harness and the headrest will probably wake the baby, so the system works amazingly in these situations.
The Zip Max version is an upgraded, and possibly the best Chicco convertible car seat. It comes with a higher price tag and premium features.
For example, the seat features soft and thick padding. But, the baby won’t sweat much in the seat because the backrest is made from breathable 3D Air Mesh fabric. It improves the airflow and keeps the baby comfortable during long rides on hot summer days.
But the thing that really makes the Max version stand out is the design. The seat ensures extended room space and allows you to drive your child in the rear-facing position until the baby starts weighing over 50 pounds. Therefore, it provides more safety than any other seat in the market as far as the seat orientation goes.
It also accommodates smaller newborns from 4 pounds, unlike the other variations.
Chicco NextFit Car Seat Review Summary
Chicco NextFit Car Seat Review: Alternatives
If the Chicco NextFit doesn’t seem like a right fit for you, here are three alternatives to consider.
The Diono Radian seat is a step further from convertible seats. It is a 4in1 seat, which means you can use it as an infant, convertible rear and forward-facing, and booster seat. The seat is pricier than the NextFit car seat, but it accommodates babies from 4 to 120 pounds.
The Diono Radian 3QXT features an anti-rebound bar as a safety improvement to reduce the rebound rotation by up to 50%. The shell is made from dense plastic steel inserts for ultimate security.
Also, the seat has eight layers of side impact protection with a safety pod to direct the crash energy away from the child. It is one of the most innovative car seats on the market in terms of safety features and prolonged use.
Similarities between Chicco NextFit and Diono Radian 3QXT:
- Both can be used in rear-facing and forward-facing position
- Both car seats feature steel-reinforced shell
- Chicco and Diono car seats have multiple recline positions
- Both seats are FAA approved
- Diono seat can be used as a high-back booster seat
- Diono has a larger weight range
- Diono seat has an anti-rebound feature
- Chicco car seat has easy to remove zip-cover for maintenance
- NextFit seat has SuperCinch LATCH Tightener for simpler installation
Check this high-end seat here!
- THE NEXT GENERATION 4-IN-1 RADIAN CONVERTIBLE CAR SEAT: Introducing 23 improvements in safety and new features from the award-winning 3QXT slimfit convertible car seat
- 4-in-1 NEWBORN PROTECTION FROM 4 lbs: The energy absorbing protection Safe+ newborn insert provides the secure travel position, adjustable harness and anti-slip harness pads complete with Safe+ steel anti-rebound bar to reduce rebound rotation by 50%. Security 3 different ways - rear-facing, forward-facing, and high back booster mode
- SAFE PLUS ENGINEERING: Radian 3QXT is subjected to a combination of the most rigorous crash tests to ensure we have the safest car seat possible. The radian 3QXT features high-density plastic and steel reinforcement to create the ultimate protection.Maximum User Weight - Rear Facing LATCH: 35 lb
Maxi-Cosi convertible car seat has a more interesting color range, with some pastel options available. The Pria model can be used as a rear-facing, forward facing, and booster seat with a total weight range from four to 100 pounds.
The seat has three recline positions and is easy to install due to the one-click latch system. Because the seat includes harness holders, the straps won’t be in your way when you want to buckle the baby.
The Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 car seat has a similar headrest integrated with the harness system for quick adjustments. It is more affordable than Chicco NextFit, but it is a pricier seat.
Similarities between Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 car seat and Chicco NextFit:
- Both have removable and machine-washable covers
- The car seats have the weight limit when used as convertible car seats – 65 pounds
- The headrest adjustment systems are similar
- Both have excellent side impact protection
- The Maxi-Cosi seat can be used as a booster seat for kids up to 100 pounds
- Chicco has more recline positions and is easier to install
- Chicco car seat has a steel-reinforced shell
- Maxi-Cosi seat is lighter, weight only 17.6 pounds
Learn more about this lightweight seat here!
- 3-In-1 seating system: Rear-facing, from 4-40 pounds; Forward-facing to 65 pounds; And up to 100 pounds in booster mode
- Side impact protection with cell protects your child's head where it's needed most in a side impact crash
- In and out harness holders keep straps out of the way when buckling
The Britax Marathon ClickTight is a convertible car seat that fits children from 5 to 65 pounds. The seat is comfortable, because of the soft padding and multiple headrests adjustment positions – up to 14.
The ClickTight seat features a V-shaped tether as an additional safety feature to reduce movement and absorb the impact.
Further, the steel frame makes the shell firm and strong, and the installation system is user-friendly.
Similarities between Britax Marathon ClickTight and Chicco NextFit car seats:
- Both accommodate children from birth to 65 pounds of weight
- Both have removable and machine-washable cover
- None of the seats have an anti-rebound bar
- The seats have a 5-point harness system
- The price tag is similar for the NextFit Sport and ClickTight models
- Chicco seat has more recline positions
- Chicco has a no-rethread headrest adjustment system
- ClickTight features a V-shaped tether
- ClickTight seat doesn’t have a leveling indicator
- It is easier to adjust the straps with Chicco seat
Check the ClickTight seat here and see if it fits your preferences better than the Chicco seat!
- Easy installation: Patented click tight makes car seat installation as simple as buckling a seat belt
- No rethreading, ever: 14 position harness, 2 position buckle for a comfortable fit as your child grows
- Relax and recline: 7 recline positions ensure comfort and the best vehicle installation angle
Overall, the Chicco NextFit car seat works remarkably as a rear-facing and forward facing convertible car seat. It has all things I look for in a car seat – it is safe, easy to install, and comfortable.
Moreover, there are different versions to choose from and several interesting color combinations. Details such as no-rethread height adjustments, simple recline settings, and SuperCinch LATCH system make the seat stand out in the convertible car seat category.
It is a reliable car seat, and worth spending a few bucks more because it offers great value for the money. Among all the variations, I would go for Chicco NextFit Sport despite being heavyweight as I like the breathable mesh cover to keep my child cool and comfortable while outdoors and it being a more affordable option than the NextFit Zip Max seat.
Have you used Chicco infant or convertible car seats? What are your thoughts on these seats?
If you know someone who is looking for a convertible car seat, share the review and help the person decide!
Last update on 2022-05-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API