In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Chicco KeyFit 30 Review

Crash test results and ease of install with a nice price make it a good choice for most families
Chicco KeyFit 30
Chicco KeyFit 30
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Best Value Award
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Price:   $230 List | $229.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy LATCH installation, better crash test results, price
Cons:  Coarse fabric, heavier, hard to install without the base
Manufacturer:   Chicco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 21, 2021
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64
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Crash Test - 20% 7.5
  • Ease of Install - LATCH - 20% 8.5
  • Ease of Install - Belt - 10% 5.5
  • Ease of Install -w/o Base - 5% 4.0
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6.6
  • Comfort/Quality - 15% 4.7
  • Weight/Size - 15% 5.0

The Skinny

You won't be disappointed with the Chicco KeyFit 30. Thanks to above-average performance in most metrics combined with an affordable price, it is a budget-friendly higher ranking selection suitable for most families. The KeyFit 30 delivered one of the top performances in crash testing and is also one of the easiest to install using the LATCH system. It is an attractive seat, and while not the least expensive, it is quite affordable and offers substantial value for the cost. It is a little bit heavier than some competitors, but not excessively so, and the fabric, while durable, is a bit less soft than some options. It is also compatible with most award-winning strollers across categories. That said, this is a seat we regularly recommend to friends without hesitation.

Editor's Note: We updated this review on December 20, 2021, to include details about the tests we run within metrics. This information helps create a better picture on how products compare side-by-side.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Chicco KeyFit 30
This Product
Chicco KeyFit 30
Awards Best Value Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Best Value Award 
Price $230 List
$229.99 at Amazon
$300 List
$299.99 at Amazon
$270 List
$269.99 at Amazon
$180 List
Check Price at Amazon
$140 List
$89.34 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Easy LATCH installation, better crash test results, priceBetter crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy installReasonable price, better crash test results, super easy LATCH installInexpensive, better crash results, easy install with beltInexpensive, good HIC score, easy to install with 2 methods
Cons Coarse fabric, heavier, hard to install without the baseHeavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatibleHeavier, canopy/handle rubbingHarder to use, lower qualityLess padding, lower quality, harder to install with belt
Bottom Line Crash test results and ease of install with a nice price make it a good choice for most familiesA great all-around seat with good crash test results, but limited stroller optionsA really nice seat with better crash tests analysis and a reasonable price tag, but it could be too heavy for some usersGenerally average seat, but the price is right for the budget-mindedA budget-friendly seat with better head sensor crash results and easy LATCH installation
Rating Categories Chicco KeyFit 30 Peg Perego Primo Vi... Chicco KeyFit 35 Graco SnugRide Snug... Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc
Crash Test (20%)
7.5
7.5
7.5
6.5
5.5
Ease of Install - LATCH (20%)
8.5
7.0
9.5
7.0
6.5
Ease of Install - Belt (10%)
5.5
9.0
7.0
8.5
5.5
Ease of Install -w/o Base (5%)
4.0
9.5
7.0
7.0
6.5
Ease of Use (15%)
6.6
6.6
7.1
4.9
4.9
Comfort/Quality (15%)
4.7
8.1
6.5
4.7
4.6
Weight/Size (15%)
5.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
Specs Chicco KeyFit 30 Peg Perego Primo Vi... Chicco KeyFit 35 Graco SnugRide Snug... Baby Trend EZ Flex-Loc
Crash Test HIC Score 330 491 342 606 617
Crash Test Chest G Clip 50.5 46 51 46 51
Minimum Passenger Weight 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs
Max Passenger Weight 30 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 30 lbs
Max Passenger Height 30" 32" 32" 32" 30"
Belt Routing Style American European European American European
Seat Weight 10.1 lbs 9.6 lbs 10.9 lbs 8.5 lbs 8.6 lbs
Recline Positions 5 Infinite 5 4 4
Shoulder Harness Positions 3 6 5 4 3
Crotch Strap Positions 1 1 1 2 1
Built in Lock Off Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Anti-rebound Device High Back Base Yes Yes Built in High Back Base No
Load Leg No No No No No
Locking Handle Positions 3 5 4 4 3
Allowed Handle Positions For Auto Travel Any 1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
Carry Position
Stationary Position
Rocking Position
Any Not Listed
Head Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Rethread Harness No Yes Yes No No
Onboard Manual Storage Storage Compartment on the front of the base. Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat. Storage Compartment on front of the base. Clips under the base. On the back of the seat towards the bottom.
Level Indicator On Base Bubble Vial Bubble Vial Bubble Indicator Weighted Wheel/Dial None
Level Indicator On Seat Line On Decal Line On Decal Line on Decal Line On Decal Hanging Indicator

Our Analysis and Test Results

Chicco (kee-ko) is the largest baby-centric brand in Europe and is part of the Artsana Group. The Artsana Group is a lifestyle company that offers a variety of products that include baby feeding, baby gear, and medical supplies. Chicco was founded by Pietro Catelli and provides baby-related gear to children from before birth to preschool age, and their products are currently in more than 120 countries.

Performance Comparison



Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - this chart shows the crash test data for the head sensor on the test...
This chart shows the crash test data for the head sensor on the test dummy. The Chicco had the best crash test results with regard to Head Injury Criteria in this review.
Credit: BabyGearLab, NHTSA

Crash Test


In our evaluation of the crash test results, the Chicco showed an additional margin of protection over much of the competition with results for G forces that were lower than most.


For the head sensor on the crash test dummy, the Chicco had the best crash test results in the group and can be considered to provide significantly better protection than required by the federal safety standards. The following chart shows the head sensor (HIC) results for the products we tested.


The Cybex Aton 2 has the best crash test results for the chest sensor with a 44, while the Chicco earned a 51 where 60 is the maximum allowed, and a lower result is better. The following chart shows the Chicco test results (in black) for the chest sensor compared to the seat with the best crash test scores for the chest sensor (in green). The chart below shows a comparison of all the products' chest sensor results.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - this chart shows the comparison of the crash test data for the chest...
This chart shows the comparison of the crash test data for the chest sensors for the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, which had the best chest score in the group
Credit: BabyGearLab, NHTSA


Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco had relatively thick dense foam compared to the...
The Chicco had relatively thick dense foam compared to the competition, but boasted no additional side impact protection features
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Keyfit has energy-absorbing foam for side impact protection (SIP) as its one marketing claim for an additional safety feature. SIP is not a defined industry term, and therefore, it can mean different things to different manufacturers. It is hard to tell if they tested this component or what the company feels it contributes to the seat's overall performance.

Ease of Install - LATCH




The Chicco is one of the easiest to install using the LATCH system.


All high-ranking products in this metric offer something unique for LATCH design, and their ease of install reflect this attempt to make installation easier.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco scored well for ease of install using the latch method
The Chicco scored well for ease of install using the LATCH method
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This Chicco also has a unique LATCH system. The connection anchors are push-style with a hard plastic shell and red button release. After attaching the LATCH anchors to the vehicle, a single middle strap is used to tighten them. The strap is comfortable to pull, and installing the seat is simple (below left).

The LATCH pull strap near the foot of the base has a storage...
The LATCH pull strap near the foot of the base has a storage compartment for the strap so it doesn't interfere with attaching the carrier to the base
Adjusting the Chicco base until the bubble is between the lines on...
Adjusting the Chicco base until the bubble is between the lines on the level indicator helps ensure a properly installed car seat

The bubble level indicator (above right) on the base helps parents find the proper installation angle. This base has a level on both sides so parents can easily see if the angle is correct. To help achieve the right angle, the base also comes with an adjustable foot. We did not need rolled towels or pool noodles to level the seat.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - installation of the chicco using the vehicle belt is easier with the...
Installation of the Chicco using the vehicle belt is easier with the lap only belt as opposed to the lap/shoulder belt common in newer passenger vehicles
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - Belt


It is a good thing the Chicco is so easy to install using the LATCH method because it isn't that easy to install using a vehicle seat belt.


The Chicco is below average for installation using the vehicle belt.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco does offer a shoulder belt lock off threading point that...
The Chicco does offer a shoulder belt lock off threading point that helps make installation using a shoulder belt a little more secure
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This seat has a belt lock-off, but unlike some competition, the belt path is not color-coded. Threading the belt is more complicated than it needs to be, and the belt lock-off is harder to use. We had trouble getting the strap under the lock-off without it getting wrinkled or folded over. Even when in the lock-off correctly, the base can still work its way up the side of the shoulder belt and tip slightly to the side. It is better with a lap belt, but those are becoming more uncommon in newer passenger vehicles. We feel the most stable installation is the LATCH system.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - we had to use multiple towels to achieve the best possible...
We had to use multiple towels to achieve the best possible installation without a base for the Chicco Keyfit
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - Without the Base


The Chicco is more challenging to install without the base than any other installation method. This difficulty means the Keyfit 30 is a poor choice for parents that frequent public transportation and may need to install their seat without the base.


This seat uses the American belt path, and it is not a color-coded belt path. Even though the belt is relatively easy to thread, we had significant difficulties getting this seat installed and secured without the base.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco uses the american belt path which threads the vehicle...
The Chicco uses the American belt path which threads the vehicle belt across the lower portion of the seat only
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We had to use two towels to get the right angle and secure it tight enough. Even then, the seat felt very unstable and wasn't something we'd want to use with our baby. Given that the European method feels more stable to us, we think this seat would benefit from this pathway.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco buckle is easier to use than the britax and graco, but we...
The Chicco buckle is easier to use than the Britax and Graco, but we found the chest clip to be more difficult than much of the competition
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


The Chicco is easy to use compared to the competition.




Harness


This buckle feels less stiff than some of the competition and is easier to manage without the additional padding surrounding the buckle. The chest clip isn't the most rigid but is not as easy to depress and slide apart as it could be. Some testers had difficulty getting thumbs caught in the ring that surrounds the button, but overall it is easy to connect and mate-up the two sides.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco release button is easy to use situated on top of the...
The Chicco release button is easy to use situated on top of the padding. Most of the seats in this review have the button hidden under the padding to avoid accidental button pushing
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tightening the harness is relatively easy and tightens via a strap near the carrier's foot that is pulled to tighten the harness. The harness release button is also near the carrier's foot above the strap. The button is above the padding, which makes it easy to access.

Adjusting the shoulder strap height on the Chicco is challenging. The seat has three height options and one buckle strap location, and we found the process of getting the straps rethreaded annoying. The shoulder straps meet at a T-style splitter plate, and the small loops on the straps make it easier to get them through the slots than some of the competition but harder to reattach to the splitter. We prefer competing seats with a non-rethread style height adjustment. We also prefer the car seats with more height variations for the shoulder straps to increase the chances of getting the best fit.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the buttons to activate the handle on the chicco are easy to press
The buttons to activate the handle on the Chicco are easy to press
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Handle


The handle on this seat operates by squeezing the levers on both sides at the pivot point and rotating the handle to the desired position. It has three possible positions, and any of them are allowed when driving. We had difficulty with the handle and canopy rubbing in some positions, but the handle moves smoothly and works well. It does not have any rough edges or a strange design that prevents it from being used or held comfortably.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the release handle on the chicco is large, brightly colored, and...
The release handle on the Chicco is large, brightly colored, and easy to use
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Carrier and Base Connection


Attaching the seat onto the base is simple, and the carrier seems to fall into place. It has no visual indicator for attachment, but we didn't have any problems during our tests. Giving the carrier a good tug can help parents ensure it is truly connected correctly. Squeezing the release handle on the carrier's back will release the carrier connection from the base. Parents can use the release handle on the back of the seat to help them lift the carrier out of the car.

LATCH Anchor and Manual Storage


The Chicco LATCH anchors tuck into pockets in the back of the base. While this gets them out of the way and prevents interference with connecting the carrier to the base, the tightening strap for the LATCH anchors needs to be rolled up and stowed to avoid interference with the carrier attaching to the base. To prevent a potential connection problem, we suggest parents take extra time to tuck the anchor straps out of the way during installation.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the infant insert on the chicco is covered in really soft fabric...
The infant insert on the Chicco is covered in really soft fabric. Unfortunately, the main seat fabric is coarse and not as nice to the touch
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort/Quality


The Keyfit 30 is just below average for the products in this review regarding comfort and quality.


While the Chicco padding is thick all the way around, the fabric covering it is coarse and unfriendly compared to much of the competition. The head and body cushion is softer and nicer, but it is still stiffer than we would like for something rubbing on baby's sensitive skin. Plus, your baby will outgrow the insert at some point and then will be stuck with the coarser fabric underneath. The shell underneath the padding and fabric is above average and feels like it will hold up over time.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the canopy on the keyfit 30 is rather small and unimpressive. the...
The canopy on the Keyfit 30 is rather small and unimpressive. The heavy fabric prevents it from fully opening
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The fit and finish of this product are below average. It doesn't look as sleek as much of the competition. There is something sort of undone feeling as if the fabric is intended for a larger seat, making it appear frumpy. However, we still prefer it over most of the cheaper options, and it suits the price point.

Chicco KeyFit 30 infant car seat - the chicco weighs over 10 pounds, which is heavier than average for...
The Chicco weighs over 10 pounds, which is heavier than average for the group
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight


The Keyfit weighs in at 10.6 lbs, making it heavier for the group. It is lighter than the heaviest products, which are closer to 12 lbs.


Choosing a seat based on carrier weight is not the best idea. While weight might be important, other aspects should rank higher such as ease of installation and crash test scores. However, if you live in the city, it should be considered if you need to tote your baby in the carrier.

Stroller Compatibility


This Chicco seat is compatible with Chicco brand strollers. The Chicco Shuttle and Chicco Keyfit Caddy are both impressive frame strollers. However, if you are looking for a full-size stroller to combine with your car seat, the Keyfit has the most compatibility with other brands outside of its own. The Keyfit 30 also works with the UPPAbaby Cruz v2, BOB Revolution Flex 3.0, and the UPPAbaby Vista v2 and many others.

Should You Buy the Keyfit 30?


Yes. With a higher rank and impressive test results where it counts like crash test and LATCH installation, it is hard not to love this budget-minded car seat. The Keyfit 30 is a favorite with testers and parents alike for its strong stroller compatibility and ease of use. While it is somewhat heavy and perhaps not the best choice for those who plan to carry their baby in the carrier, we think the Chicco has much to offer almost any family.

What Other Infant Car Seat Should You Consider?


The Chicco Keyfit 35 is like the bigger, cooler brother of the 30. It has a slightly higher price, but for that, you get easier installation in all methods, a lighter weight, a larger weight limit, and more features for comfort. While you can't go wrong with either seat, in our opinion, we think the 35 is worth the extra money if your budget allows it.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
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