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.
Chicco KeyFit 30 Review
Pros: Easy LATCH installation, better crash test results, price
Cons: Coarse fabric, heavier, hard to install without the base
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Chicco KeyFit 30
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|Pros||Easy LATCH installation, better crash test results, price||Better crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy install||Reasonable price, better crash test results, super easy LATCH install||Inexpensive, better crash results, easy install with belt||Inexpensive, good HIC score, easy to install with 2 methods|
|Cons||Coarse fabric, heavier, hard to install without the base||Heavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatible||Heavier, canopy/handle rubbing||Harder to use, lower quality||Less 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 families||A great all-around seat with good crash test results, but limited stroller options||A really nice seat with better crash tests analysis and a reasonable price tag, but it could be too heavy for some users||Generally average seat, but the price is right for the budget-minded||A 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%)|
|Ease of Install - LATCH (20%)|
|Ease of Install - Belt (10%)|
|Ease of Install -w/o Base (5%)|
|Ease of Use (15%)|
|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|
|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|
|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)
|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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ease of Use
The Chicco is easy to use compared to the competition.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
— 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