- The Evenflo Gold EveryStage Convertible Car Seat ($280) could serve your child for their entire car-seat phase of life: It accommodates kids from 4 and 120 pounds.
- This is the easiest car seat I have ever installed thanks to its hand-cranked ratchet system that does the hard work for you.
- A built-in sensor will alert you via app if temperatures in the vehicle rise too high for safety or if a child unbuckles themselves.
There is a good chance that my daughter Scarlett, currently 17 months old, will be sitting in her Evenflo car seat until she is in the fourth grade, more than eight years from today. That’s because, as the seat’s name makes clear, the Evenflo Gold EveryStage Smart All-in-One Convertible Car Seat can be altered and adjusted to serve babies, toddlers, preschool kids, and children well into the elementary years. In fact, in its final booster configuration, it could even support many adults thanks to its 120-pound maximum capacity.
That name is admittedly something of a mouthful, so we’ll break it down piece by piece in a minute. But long story short, I have now used six or seven car seats with my own kids and I have tested out many more for product-research purposes, and this is the one my wife and I have chosen as our daughter’s everyday seat. That alone probably tells you plenty, but I’ve got plenty more to say about this thing.
The first thing worth noting about the Evenflo Gold EveryStage (which will be my shorthand name for it going forward) is the ease of installation. Anyone with small kids knows the struggle is real: Installing car seats is a frustration right up there with frozen software and bonked head rage.
This thing? In one day I popped it out of our primary family car and secured it in an Uber, removed it again at the airport, and, after one very long flight indeed, installed the seat again in our rental in France. The car seat was perhaps the only non-stressful part of the journey.
And not only is installing the seat using the latch system easy from a technical point of view, it also requires minimal strength for the most secure connection I’ve yet been able to create in a car seat.
How Evenflo Gold EveryStage Car Seat works
The Evenflo Gold EveryStage connects to the latch system anchors with the standard clips you know and probably hate. But to tighten the belt and secure the seat, you don’t have to use brute strength and pure rage, you just use the “Easy Click” ratchet system, cranking a little handle back and forth to tighten the seat in place. I can secure the seat without feeling like I’m making any real effort and without getting into an awkward position to generate leverage, either.
In the rear-facing configuration, you can easily adjust seat angle to accommodate support needs based on a child’s age, while myriad inserts and an adjustable backrest and head support allow a custom fit that’s comfortable and safe. Forward-facing, the seat is easily height-adjusted for ever bigger kids, and with all inserts removed, it accommodates children right up until they no longer need a car seat.
If you have ever installed and adjusted a car seat before, you will have this one mastered in minutes, and you will never want to use another.
What sets this car seat apart?
The word “Gold” in this seat’s name denotes it as part of Evenflo’s best product line. “Every Stage” and “All-in-One Convertible” are self-explanatory. But what about the words “SensorSafe” and “Smart?” There are lots of great car seats out there, and there are other car seats that are easy to install and adjust, but they do not have a sensor built in that could mean the difference between life and death.
Built into the buckle of an Evenflo Gold EveryStage is a sensor that records two simple but crucial metrics: the temperature, and whether or not the buckle is closed. If the sensor detects a temperature above a certain safe level, it sends an alert to a paired phone. And if it detects the buckle being opened, same deal.
Now, of course, you’re never going to accidentally leave your child in a hot car, and of course, it’s unlikely your kid will get themselves unlatched right before you get in an accident. But wouldn’t you like a little help in both cases nonetheless?
The cons to consider
This is a big, bulky, heavy car seat. In our full-sized SUV and mid-sized crossover, I can get the seat installed behind me and still drive with my seat where my 6-foot-2-inch body likes it, but in smaller cars, it would be all but impossible for me to fit Evenflo Gold EveryStage behind myself. (In fact, in one rental, we had to put it behind my wife who sat cross-legged in the passenger seat.)
If you have a compact car and you ever want to have a passenger in shotgun, this seat might simply not work. Likewise, if moving around an extra heavy seat will be a challenge for you, consider a lighter option. It’s at the pricier end of the spectrum for convertible car seats, though there are others that cost well above $300.
Another option to consider
Once installed, the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat is as easy to adjust as the Evenflo, and it enjoys excellent safety ratings and reviews. It costs about $85 less than the EveryStage, but it only accommodates kids up to 65 pounds.
Also, it lacks that amazing installation system and the safety sensor, but most car seats don’t have those two gems, either.
Is an Evenflo Gold EveryStage Car Seat worth your money?
Yes. Resoundingly, yes. As I said earlier, this is the car seat my wife and I use with our own child every day of the week
After testing so many different car seats for work and after simply using so many over the course of both of my kid’s lives, at present, I call this a pinnacle product: The Evenflo Gold EveryStage does everything it’s supposed to in terms of safety, and it has features I have never seen combined in any other comparable option.
Pros: Amazingly easy to install, sensor alerts parents to potential hazards, can be used for up to a decade (depending on child’s size)
Cons: Large and bulky, higher priced than many comparable options