The Evenflo Tribute LX didn't manage to break into the top third of the products, but it does offer a combination that we think is worthy of recognition. This seat sports one of the highest scores in the group for crash testing and ease of use and it is the least expensive in the review with a list price of only $70. These factors make it unique in the group; parents can purchase a very budget-friendly car seat that achieves high scores for two of the most important metrics next to the ease of installation. We think this makes the Tribute a Best Value for parents who want a simple seat they can afford without sacrificing safety or ease of use.
Evenflo Tribute LX Review
Pros: Budget-friendly, better crash test results, narrow
Cons: Thin padding, harder to install, lower quality
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Evenflo Company, Inc. is headquartered in Ohio and is a product of a merger in 1995 of Evenflo Juvenile Products and Evenflo Juvenile Furniture Company. However, their roots go back as far as 1920. Evenflo began by producing products for baby feeding. In 1947, they expanded beyond nipples to the manufacturing of glass baby bottles. In 1960, they created nursing kits and over time went on to develop products for bottle feeding, breastfeeding, car seats, strollers, and home goods over the following years.
This chart is a comparison of the overall scores for each seat tested in this review. The Evenflo Tribute (in blue) did not score that high overall, but it is an economy seat with impressive crash test results and a nice score for ease of use, which is why it won an award in this review.
The sections below provide in-depth information on how the Evenflo performed in our tests for each metric.
The Evenflo Tribute has some of the most impressive crash test data results for this group of 10 products. The testing data taken from the sensors placed in the head and chest regions of a crash test dummy in a sled crash test indicate that using this seat results in the second lowest amount of G-forces on the body than the other product we tested.
While all the products in the review meet or exceed the Federal Minimum safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213, this seat is a bit of a stand out for having the best results in the head sensor and better than average results for the chest sensor. This seat's head and chest crash test sensor data is significantly lower than the maximum limit allowed. We commissioned crash tests with the same specifications as those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The test data for the Evenflo indicates that it offers an additional margin of safety over most of the competition in this review.
The chart we prepared shows the crash test data from the sensors for the chest in the dummy used in the Evenflo (shown in black). The crash test data for the product with the least amount of G-forces for the chest sensor (Clek Foonf) is green for comparison.
The Evenflo has the second lowest amount of Gs recorded in the head sensor out of all the products we tested. The Britax Allegiance has the lowest.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Evenflo scored a 5 of 10 for ease of installation using the LATCH system. This score is not high for a method that was designed to be easier than using the vehicle seat belt.
The Evenflo seat is about as barebones as a seat can get and still call itself a car seat. The LATCH anchors are the simple clip style anchors that are relatively easy to get on, but require some pushing, twisting, and finagling to unhook. However, that is not what hurt this seat in the scoring.
We had to use a towel in the rear facing configuration to install this eat in a few of the cars. The LATCH strap threads through different spots for forward-facing versus rear-facing, and you will need to remove almost the entire seat cover to move the strap. There is also a plastic retainer clip that seems poorly placed and makes it difficult to tighten the belt effectively. Once we got it installed, it didn't feel all that secure in every vehicle. Rear-facing was somewhat more stable, but forward-facing seemed a little loose. It took two people to get the strap tight enough and two to get it loose as well. The button used to loosen the belt is so stiff it hurt our fingers when we finally managed to press it hard enough to work. On the upside, you hopefully won't be installing this seat very often. However, if you live in a city and take taxis frequently, you might be drawn to this option because it is the lightest, keep in mind though that you will need extra time to install it and a towel for rear facing in most cars. These facts may ruin its potential despite the attractive weight.
The recline adjustment foot (above left) alters the angle of the seat to help find the proper angle for correct installation. The arrow line level indicator (above right) on the seat is a basic style that works best when the car is level, and you observe it from a distance.
Ease of Install - Belt
Using the vehicle belt with the Evenflo is marginally better than the LATCH system with a 6 of 10 in our tests.
Given that this is a very basic seat, there isn't a lot to get in the way or cause issues when installing it with the vehicle belt. You will still need to use a towel when installing the seat rear-facing, and it is still kind of a pain to thread the belt, but it is easier to get the belt tight than it was using the LATCH strap.
The belt pathway for the rear-facing installation (above left) is different than the forward-facing belt path (above right). While we lifted the cover to reveal the track, you do not need to raise the cover to thread the belt for either method.
All testers felt this seat is easier to install using the vehicle belt, and some remarked that the larger belt pathway holes were more straightforward to use than some of the competition that had small pathways. In general, no matter which vehicle we tested it in, the seat belt is easier, and we managed to get the seat installed tighter than we could with the LATCH method. This functionality might make it okay for travel or use in taxis, but don't forget that pesky towel you will need to tote as long as your child is rear facing.
Ease of Use
Perhaps thanks to its lack of features that can sometimes make a seat difficult to use, the Evenflo managed a respectable score in the ease of use metric with a 7 of 10.
It is unique to find that such a budget-friendly seat is also easy to use.
The buckle on the Evenflo is the easiest in the group to push, and it sort of pops open releasing both sides of the buckle at once, which makes it a genuinely one-handed operation. We liked this buckle so much we wished all the buckles in the group were this easy. The chest clip on this seat is less user-friendly and somewhat difficult to open compared to the buckle, but it isn't the worst, and the operation is a straightforward one.
The height adjustment for this harness is the traditional rethread process of detaching the straps from a splitter plate in the back and unthreading them from slots and rethreading at the desired height and then reattaching to the splitter plate. This process is not complicated, but it is just more involved than the non-rethread style of adjustment, and parents will need to remove the baby from the seat to do it, and possibly remove the seat from the car. We worry that parents will inadvertently put off adjusting because they are busy and it takes time they won't have when they first notice the problem. This design could potentially result in baby wearing an improperly fitted harness that could cause injuries in a crash. The slots are easy to thread through thanks to a lack of padding and material that can make threading hard. The shoulder height has four positions, and the crotch strap has two. It is tightened using a strap at the foot of the seat and loosened using a lever button located on top of the fabric also at the foot of the seat.
The Evenflo has basic LATCH anchor storage with places for the anchors and tether to attach to the back of the seat. It doesn't keep the straps out of the way, so you'll also need to tuck the remaining material under the seat to make them inaccessible to little ones. This seat also has a foldable cup holder that can be kept closed to take up less space or opened for use. It is kind of a useless holder, however, and we weren't impressed with it.
While the Evenflo has a cup holder on the side of the shell, it isn't the easiest to use, and it doesn't feel like it will stand the test of time. The photos show the cup holder closed (above left) and opened (above right).
The fabric on this seat is effortless to remove and is held on with simple elastic loops that go around plastic prongs strategically located on the seat shell. The fabric is machine washable in cold water on a gentle cycle, and it is one of the few you can tumble dry (albeit briefly). This fabric is arguably one of the easiest to keep clean.
The Evenflo earned the lowest score in the group for comfort and quality with a 3 of 10. A large part of this is thanks to its lack of bells whistles and nods to added comfort like padding.
The fabric on the Evenflo feels sort of slick like plastic and only covers a thin amount of padding. The lack of padding and plastic feel mean the material might not be very breathable, and children might grow sweaty quickly. The lack of padding means it isn't the coziest seat and isn't very cushy.
The bottom and the back of the seat are sturdy plastic that should be easy to clean. Unfortunately, the sides are more scratchy feeling and have a texture to them that will make them more challenging to clean and seems like a poor design choice though they may have reasons we don't understand. The back also has a lot of crevasses, and this will make it even harder to clean. The foam in this seat is Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) which is the standard foam often seen in car seats and bike helmets.
The simplicity of the seat makes it look tidy compared to many of the other options, but other things take away from the overall look. The fabric cover fits over the shell frame and is held on by plastic clips. Unlike some of the competition that has the cover wrap around the seat and frame, this style allows the edges of the plastic frame to remain visible. The only part of the seat bottom that is smooth is the recline adjustment portion of the seat. The other resting points that make contact with the vehicle seat are narrow edges of plastic that could catch on things or rub on the vehicle seat and potentially cause damage.
This seat came in as the most lightweight seat in the review at just over 9 lbs. This weight makes it a good candidate for parents who frequent taxis or Uber. Unfortunately, if your child is still sitting rear-facing, it means you will need to use a towel as well and carrying a towel and car seat around might be a deal breaker.
It is one of the narrowest seats in the review at 17 inches, which is the same as the Clek Foonf. So, if you need to place more than two seats across the back seat of your car, or if you want to fit an adult between two car seats, it may be a good option.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team