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Hands-on Gear Review
Evenflo Tribute LX Review
Price: $70.00 List | $64.99 at Amazon - 7% off
Pros: Budget friendly, better crash test results, narrow
Cons: Thin padding, harder to install, lower quality
Bottom line: Inexpensive choice with impressive crash test results
The Evenflo Tribute LX came in 9th out of 12 products we tested in this review. While it didn't manage to break into the top third of the products it did put together a combination that we think is worthy of recognition. This is the least expensive seat in the review with a list price of only $70. It also sports one of the highest scores in the group for crash testing and ease of use. This combination makes it unique in the group; parents can purchase a very budget-friendly car seat that achieved high scores for arguably two of the most important metrics next to ease of installation. We think this makes the Tribute a Best Value for parents who want a simple seat they can afford without having to sacrifice safety or ease of use.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Evenflo Tribute LX is a convertible car seat that meets all Federal safety standards, is side impact testing (though it does not specify how or what for), and is designed for structural integrity at energy levels 2X the Federal crash tests standards. The Tribute is compact and lightweight and features four shoulder harness positions, two crotch positions, with an up front 5-point harness adjustment. The Tribute includes fabric shell cover, harness and buckle covers, and a machine washable seat pad. This seat is LATCH equipped and has a foam liner. The seat can be used rear-facing for children 4-40 pounds and 19-37 inches, and forward facing for children 22-40 pounds and 28-40 inches tall.
This chart is a comparison of the overall scores for each seat tested in this review. The Evenflo Tribute is shown in blue. While this seat did not score that high overall, it is an economical 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 Evenflow performed in our tests for each metric. The metric scores were used to calculate the overall score.
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 the seat results in the least amount of G forces on the body than any 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 used sled crash tests designed to the same specifications as those utilized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their testing. The test data for the Evenflo indicates that its 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 also shown in green for comparison.
The chest sensor located in Clek Foonf recorded the lower amount of G forces than all the seats that we had tested for this review. The Evenflo has the lowest amount of Gs recorded in the head sensor out of all the products we tested.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Evenflo scored a 5 of 10 for ease of installation using the LATCH system. This is not a great score for a method that was designed to be easier than using the vehicle seat belt.
The Clek Foonf, Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB, and the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB earned perfect 10s for the metric.
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 fairly 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 is threaded in different spots for forward 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 strap 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 strap 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. This might ruin its potential despite the attractive weight.
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. This is 1 point below the average of 7, but 3 points below the high of 10 earned by the Boulevard ClickTight and the Britax Advocate ClickTight.
The low score for the vehicle belt installation is a 5 earned by the Safety 1st seat, which proved to be hard to install no matter what configuration we tried.
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. All testers felt this seat is easier to install using the vehicle belt, and some remarked that the larger belt pathway holes were easier 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 using LATCH. This 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.
This ties with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Convertible, and Britax Marathon. The high is an 8 for the Britax Boulevard ClickTight and the Britax Advocate ClickTight. It was nice to find such a budget-friendly seat that 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 truly 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 difficult, 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 making the adjustment because they are busy and it takes time they won't have when they first notice the problem. This 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 fabric on this seat is very easy 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 is arguably one of the easiest fabric portions in the review 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 Chicco NexFit, Britax Boulevard and Britax Advocate tied for the high score in the metric with a 9 for lots of padding, a smooth back, and LATCH storage pockets.
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 fabric might not be very breathable and children might grow sweaty easily. The lack of padding means it isn't the coziest seat and isn't very cushy.
The simplicity of the seat makes it look tidy compared to many of the other seats, but there are other things that 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 is the lightest seat in the review at just over 9 pounds. This 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 for many parents.
It is one of the most narrow seats in the review as well 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 might be a good option.
Evenflo is a fairly well-known brand when it comes to baby gear, and while they may not be known for their car seats, this one has some of the better crash test data results in the review, which is something to brag about given that it is also the cheapest option. While this seat did not score that well overall, we think it is a good seat that has an increased margin of protection. The Evenflo is a simple price-friendly option for families on a budget or those looking for a good second seat or option for travel.
The Evenflo is the cheapest seat in this review, by a significant amount. However, we don't always feel that the least expensive choice is a good value if it fails to measure up in performance or features. It is worth noting that it did earn an overall score higher than three other seats in the review and it has one of the best crash test scores with only the Britax Marathon scoring higher for that metric. We think this, plus a higher ease of use score, make it a nice option for parents on a budget and thus, a good value.
The Evenflo Tribute EX is an inexpensive seat that offers a higher ease of use score and one of the best crash test scores in this review. While it is very basic and simple in looks and function, and it lacks many of the features and functionality of the higher end options, it manages to offer everything you really need in a car seat. This seat has crash test results that indicate it offers an additional margin of protection over most of the competition and it is easy to use. High scores in these metrics make it a Best Value winner in our minds because it offers what parents need in a seat for a price all families can afford.
Other Versions and Accessories
Back Seat Mirror from Cozy Greens would be handy for any parent that wants to keep an eye on baby from the front seat. The mirror has a flat base that fits against the front of the headrest and can pivot and adjust from there. It is kept secure by two straps that fit around a headrest, and the convex shaped lens provides a wide field of view without distorting the reflection.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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