One of the smartest things you can do when choosing a car seat for your baby is to choose one that will grow with them, because who wants to buy a new car seat for every stage of your baby’s growth? In this case, we checked out the best and worst aspects of the Evenflo Maestro Booster Seat car seat to figure out the value of its long-term use and how worth it the car seat is in the long run. Have you ever tried to buckle in a fidgeting toddler who just wants to thrust his or her little torso up so that you almost have to karate chop them to get them to sit in their seat? There is nothing fun about that aspect of parenting, so if you can avoid it, you will want to.
So while getting your kid to sit in their car seat is half the battle, the other half is choosing one that is both cost efficient and long lasting so that you don’t have to go through several of them before your baby is even potty trained. Obviously, in some cases, you get what you pay for, but if you can spend under $100 and still get one of the best car seats for babies out there, then you’ll have done your job for the day as a pretty cool parent. You know, at least until bedtime.
What it Says it Does
According to the Evenflo website, the Evenflo Maestro has been ranked as the “Best Bet Booster” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which should give you piece of mind on its own, but you know there’s more to it than just some safety accreditations. With a maximum weight recommendation of 110 pounds, the Evenflo Maestro legitimately grows with your kid, making it possible to have just one car seat after the initial infant stages. Or, in this case, after your baby has turned two years old and met the minimum weight requirement of 22 pounds and the height requirement of at least 28 inches.
From 22 to 50 pounds, the forward-facing car seat is perfect for your smaller kids and then can be converted to a booster seat for kids who are 40 to 110 pounds and 43 to 57 inches tall. It also has a five-point harness system until you’re ready to graduate to the seat belt position within the car seat, which helps put most parents at ease who just aren’t ready to go with the actual seatbelt just yet.
What it Does
I might just have an unusually tall three-year-old who thinks he’s 17 or seven on any given day, but having the different levels of height to thread the built-in straps through is super helpful. The Evenflo Maestro does indeed work for toddlers, up until booster-aged children and fits in the car just like any other car seat, even if the straps do tend to twist up on you and make you feel like you’ve somehow adjusted them incorrectly.
It definitely doesn’t eliminate the need for an infant car seat, since it can’t be used until your baby has hit the two-year mark, as well as the 22 pound and 28-inch-tall mark, which can also be said for other car seats of the same variety, so it’s not much of a surprise. And even though it won’t be the only car seat you’ll ever need; it will work once you’re at that toddler stage and onward.
- One (or two) of the best aspects of the Evenflo Maestro Booster Seat car seat is the cup holders that come with it. They can detach if your car can’t accommodate them or they seem too bulky as a whole, but having two cup holders in your kid’s car seat can be different between keeping the backseat of your car pristine and having milk stains and ground up cheddar crackers in your upholstery and carpet. You know exactly what I’m talking about too.
- It also doesn’t hurt that at $75, it lands a decent amount below the $100 cutoff that most decent car seats should be valued at.
- They’re also great for traveling. If you’re new at this whole parenting thing, you’ve probably Googled things about traveling on planes with babies, and after you shuffle through all of the anti-babies on a plane garbage, you’re likely to find that the thing that’s most stressful is finding a car seat that works on a plane.
- And the Evenflo Maestro is light enough to carry down the aisle and keep your baby comfortable for the plane ride. It is also plenty breathable for kids, which is useful for those long car rides where your little guy or girl will be ready to complain about the sun outside of the car, which will beat down on their empty car seat until you’re back in the car and back on the road. Luckily, though, the fabric and padding do not add too much extra heat.
- I get it; we can’t have it all with every single car eat, but while the Evenflo Maestro does a lot and can grow with your kid, it isn’t one that can be used rear-facing or when your little one is still an infant. For that first important stage, you’ll need an actual infant car seat, which is where the Evenflo Maestro lacks. Sure, it will serve your kid for basically their entire toddlerhood and up until they no longer need a car seat or booster at all, but it would definitely nice to be able to have it for all stages.
- The headrest, when the seat is in a car seat and not just booster mode, may squeak at times, which can be annoying for both the kid using the seat and the adults in the car. And we all know that when there’s an incessant noise coming from something, the kid in question who is making said noise will be all about continuing to make the noise until pretty much everyone is annoyed.
Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat
The Graco Atlas is similar to the Evenflo, in that its booster option can hold a child up to 100 pounds and it also features those handy cup holders. It’s a little more expensive, coming in at $110, but also features a multi-point harness system for smaller toddlers, before graduating to the booster stage.
Safety 1st All-in-One Convertible Car Seat
Much like the Graco Atlas, the Safety 1st is a car seat meant to become forward facing at 22 pounds, and then convert to belt positioning at 40 to 80 pounds, making it another car seat booster that can grow with your kid from toddlerhood to childhood, up until they no longer require any kind of booster at all. The cost is also comparable, at $100, which is more than the Evenflo but still less than the Atlas and affordable for a car seat that you’ll use for years.Safety 1st All-in-One Convertible Car Seat, Riviera
Britax Frontier G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
The Britax might be one of the closer options to compare to the Evenflo Maestro Booster, in that it also becomes a booster seat on its own after a while, but before that comes with the multi-point harness and buckle system to keep your toddler safe. And even when the car seat becomes solely a booster, the two cup holders still come with it. The cost, at $270, is much higher than the rest, but the features remain the same throughout.Britax Frontier G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Baxter
The Final Say
When considering the cost as well as the different features and literal room to grow, the Evenflo Maestro is a good value all around. Other car seats might compare to it in some ways, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a similar car seat that grows with your little one and also doesn’t cost you an insane chunk of change all at once. Every car seat is going to have its downsides, but a potentially squeaky headrest and the inability to serve your infant as a suitable car seat aren’t all that bad when you consider all of the great aspects of the Evenflo Maestro.
And what new parent (or parent with several other kids running around their legs) doesn’t welcome a deal like the $75 price tag of the Evenflo? There might be a couple of downsides to the booster seat car seat, but all of the positive aspects of it far outweigh the negative ones. You just can’t say no to a booster seat that is good for travel by car and by plane and one that could be the last one you’ll ever need for your kid since it will grow along with them.
Being a parent can be stressful enough without obsessing over the best booster car seats or saving the most money on baby supplies and products, so if you’re on the hunt for a decently priced booster seat that also supplies your toddler with a five point harness, then the Evenflo Maestro should serve you well.