The Evenflo Spectrum is an impressive booster that is straightforward and super easy to use. It earned one of the best results for the head sensor in our crash testing. It has soft fabric, a deep headrest, and riders say it is the coziest in the group. The Spectrum is one of the lightest high-backed options, and it can convert to a backless booster. This may not be the best option if you want a LATCH connection or you need to fit more than two car seats/boosters in your back seat as it is one of the widest we tested. But, if those aren't issues for you, we think most families will love this inexpensive booster and think you get more than you pay for with better performance and quality than much of the competition.Editor's Note: We updated the Spectrum review on December 21, 2021, to include more details on the sub-testing that is part of the overall metric scores.
Evenflo Spectrum Review
Pros: Inexpensive, comfortable, easy to use, light
Cons: Wider, doesn't LATCH
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|Price||$60 List||$160 List|
$159.99 at Amazon
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|Pros||Inexpensive, comfortable, easy to use, light||Better crash test results, price, lighter||Reasonable price, better crash test analysis, super comfy, high-quality||Easiest to use, better crash test results, price||Lightweight and portable, budget-friendly|
|Cons||Wider, doesn't LATCH||Less padding, quality||Heavier, can't go backless||Average quality, widest seat bottom||Harder to use, lower quality|
|Bottom Line||Inexpensive, easy to use booster that is comfy, light, and great for most families||Budget-friendly choice with better crash test results||This high-quality booster is super comfortable, with better crash test analysis and a reasonable price||Nicely priced, easy to use option with better crash test results||Acceptable performance for a travel friendly, inexpensive choice|
|Rating Categories||Evenflo Spectrum||Diono Monterey XT||UPPAbaby Alta||Chicco KidFit||BubbleBum|
|Crash Test (35%)|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Weight Size (15%)|
|Specs||Evenflo Spectrum||Diono Monterey XT||UPPAbaby Alta||Chicco KidFit||BubbleBum|
|Crash Test HIC Score||556||390||557||603|
|Crash Test Chest G Clip||42||53||46||45|
|Modes||High Back Booster,
|High Back Booster||High Back Booster,
|High Back Booster Weight Range||40 - 120 lbs||40 - 100 lbs||30 - 100 lbs||n/a|
|High Back Booster Height Range||38" - 63"||38" - 57"||38" - 57"||n/a|
|Weight||14.2 lbs||16.1 lbs||10.4 lbs||1 lbs|
|Backless Booster Weight Range||40 - 120 lbs||n/a||40 - 110 lbs||40 - 100 lbs|
|Backless Booster Height Range||38" - 63"||n/a||38" - 57"||40" - 57"|
|5 pt Harness Weight Range||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|5 pt Harness Height Range||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Can you use LATCH in booster mode?||Yes||Yes||Yes||n/a|
|Seat Lifespan||6 yrs||10 yrs||8 yrs||Not Listed|
Our Analysis and Test Results
In 1920, Evenflo began creating products related to baby feeding. Feeding nipples were the main product until 1935, when they started marketing nurser equipment featuring the first nipple that stayed on the bottle with a cap. In 1947, Evenflo expanded to glass baby bottles, and in 1960, Evenflo began marketing 12 nursing kits, with an assortment of sterilizers, bottles, nipples, and other accessories. In 1995, Evenflo as we know it was created from a merger of Evenflo Juvenile Products and Evenflo Juvenile Furniture Company. Evenflo creates bottles, car seats, strollers, homes goods, and more. The Evenflo Company is still headquartered in Ohio and is a Goodbaby International Holdings Limited subsidiary.
The Evenflo has better than average crash-test results. All of the boosters in this review meet or exceed federal minimum safety standards and are, therefore, considered safe. However, some performed better than others, indicating an additional margin of potential safety.
The Evenflo is a mixed bag when it comes to crash-test results. The data for the head (HIC) sensor is one of the best in the group, while the data for the chest (g) sensor is one of the worst.
The Spectrum earned an impressive result for the HIC sensor with a result of only 456. The maximum allowed is 1000, and lower numbers indicate better results. The best for this group was a 390 for the UPPAbaby Alta. Several of the competition had data over 600. The chart below shows the HIC sensor results for the boosters in this review.
The Spectrum earned the worst chest results in our tests with a 48 where the maximum allowed is 60, and lower numbers are better. While significantly below the max, it isn't as good as the best result of 39. However, it is still well below the maximum allowed, which you should keep in mind. The chart below shows a comparison of the chest clip sensor results for this group.
Ease of Use
The Evenflo is one of the easiest options to use.
The Evenflo is a simple, no-nonsense booster which makes it very easy to use. Children had no problem buckling themselves in without assistance.
The headrest adjusts with the pull of the handle on the back (above left) and moves the belt strap retainer with it. This can be done from the front and with a child in the seat if necessary. There is a pull-out cup holder/tray on the side of the seat bottom (above right).
The Evenflo can be used as a backless booster (above left) that utilizes the belt position retainer (above right) that attaches with a strap to the booster's bottom. The retainer is easy to use, but little ones may need help threading it when you set it up.
Weight and Size
The Evenflo is one of the lightest products in the group, but it is relatively wide.
The Evenflo is the second lightest high back option in the review, with a weight of 11.6 lbs. Given that most of the seats weigh over 14 lbs and some over 20, it is easy to see how this booster will be easier to carry. Unfortunately, the wider seat bottom prevents it from earning top marks in this metric. With a width of 19.8 inches, it is the second widest we tested. This makes it harder to move from car to car and near impossible to fit three car seats across in the back seat. This booster can also be used backless, making it suitable for travel, storing, or moving, but the width will still be an issue if you have more than two children in car seats.
The Evenflo was ranked one of the most comfortable options by our tot testers.
Little testers liked the roominess of this seat, remarking on both the softness of the fabric and the cushiness of the seat. They felt it would be one of the best for napping, and our impression agrees with their assessment. The padding is thick but not firm, and the fabric is smooth and very skin-friendly. The headrest is nice and deep, and the shape supports little heads and necks while sleeping.
The Evenflo offers better than average quality in this competition.
This score is impressive for the low price, and we thought the booster did an excellent job keeping up with the more expensive competition. The padding is only average, but the fabric is soft, easy to clean, and tight-fitting to the frame. The shell is flimsy feeling, which we have seen in all Evenflo car seats, but it does feel like it will last over time when used as intended. The overall fit and finish are thoughtful yet simple.
Should You Buy the Spectrum?
What more is there to say about the Evenflo than it is economical and high-scoring? We think this lightweight option is a good choice for most families regardless of their budget, and it was a tester favorite. This seat is budget-friendly, can go backless for travel, and offers more for comfort than much of the competition. With better crash test results and impressive quality for the price, the Spectrum is a booster we'd recommend to a friend.
What Other Booster Seat Should You Consider?
There is much to love about the Spectrum, but it doesn't have the absolute best crash test results. For that, you'll need to look at the high-quality Clek Oobr. The Clek has impressive crash test results and a steel frame for car-like protection. If you need an easy-to-transport option for travel or carpooling, the BubbleBum is one to compare to the backless Spectrum. The Bubblebum inflates and fits in almost any backpack. Kids can use it without help, and we've used it on travel ourselves.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More