Most of us do not have an endless budget when it comes to travel car seats, and while we want to choose a safe, comfortable option, it still needs to be affordable.

When traveling with a car seat, there is always a chance that it might get damaged or even lost in the process, so you wouldn’t want to spend too much money on a travel car seat and have this happen!

If you are looking for a convertible car seat for your child to use for a few years, but not break the bank, two great options are the Cosco Scenera Next and the Apt 50. Both are Cosco car seats, and to help you decide between the two, we will detail the differences and help you choose the best.

A Breakdown Of The Cosco Scenera Next And Apt 50

Before getting into a comparison between the two, it helps to know the basics of each.

Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat

The Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat is a smart travel chair, designed for families on the go.

The chair has side-impact protection built into the headrest, as well as a 5-point harness which is adjustable from the front of the seat. This harness can be adjusted to 5 different heights, as well as 3 different buckle locations, to give your child the best fit as they grow.

You are able to take the Cosco Scenera in the car or on a plane, as this lightweight car seat is easy to carry around with you and get through the airport without having too much extra weight to carry.

When it comes to cleaning, this easy-to-clean car seat pad is removable from the seat and are both washer and dryer safe. The removable cup holder is dishwasher-safe as well!

Adjusting to your child’s needs as they grow, the seat can be used rear-facing between 5-40lbs and forward-facing 22-40lbs.

The car seat is available in different colours – so you can have quite a bit of fun choosing!

Pros:

  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Lightest convertible car seat
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Restricted size limit
  • Difficult to install in certain vehicles
  • Requires a top tether when forward-facing

To view the latest prices on Amazon, click here.

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat

The Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat has 2 modes of use and is LATCH equipped to offer ease of installation and protection when traveling.

The 2 modes include rear-facing for children 5-40lbs and forward-facing for children up to 50lbs. The 5-point harness can be adjusted as your child grows, with 6 different heights and 3 buckle locations.

Both the rear-facing and forward-facing modes have built-in side impact protection, keeping your child properly secure.

If any spills or mess happen, you can remove the cover and place it in the washer and dryer for easy maintenance.

From the car to the air, the Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat is suitable for use on an aircraft and gives your child a familiar seat to use while on a flight. Two cup holders offer plenty of room for some snacks or drinks during travel time.

The car seat is lightweight and compact, making it ideal to travel with. The comfort and protection it offers is outstanding for the price you pay!

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Compact when installed rear-facing and forward-facing
  • Higher size limits

Cons:

  • Wide at top
  • No extra protections in headwings
  • Needs top tether when forward-facing

Click here to check it out on Amazon.

The Comparison

Now that the basics of these car seats have been broken down, it is time to go into a comparison of the two to decide which is the best!

Long-Lasting

Between the two car seats, the Cosco Apt 50 will last longer than the Scenera. The Scenera has a 43’’ height limit and a 40lb weight limit, which is lower than that of the Apt 50, meaning you will not be able to use it as long.

However, it is a very lightweight car seat, and the slim design allows it to fit easily into most cars.

Size

When traveling, you want a compact and lightweight car seat. While both car seats are lightweight, the Cosco Apt 50 is quite wide, and won’t fit on the more budget planes as easily if you sit on a chair with fixed armrests. It will also not fit 3 across the backseat in a smaller car.

Installation

Both car seats are fairly similar when it comes to installation. They do not have the easy installation that more expensive car seats have, and it does take a little more work to buckle in your little one safely. However, the point is to have a lightweight car seat, spending more time buckling in is just something you will have to deal with.

Which Is Better?

The two car seats are quite similar – both are affordable, lightweight, and offer protection to your little one when traveling.

However, if you had to narrow it down, the Cosco Scenera would probably be the better of the two. It might not be as long-lasting as the Apt 50, but it is more compact and lightweight, which is exactly what you want when traveling.

You could always transition over to a convertible car seat once your child has outgrown their Cosco Scenera, and look for a longer-lasting option then.

Both are great, affordable car seats to use when traveling, but the Scenera does come out slightly better due to its size and weight, which at the end of the day really does make or break the experience when traveling with a car seat.

The Big Kid Travel Booster Seat

Once you have gone through the infant car seat and the convertible car seat stage (where most of your money will be spent), you will need to look for an affordable travel booster seat.

You really do not need to spend a fortune to get a good quality booster seat that you can use daily and for special travel.

One of the better options for your big kid is the Graco Turbo Go. Here is all you need to know!

Graco Turbo Go Review: A Backless Booster for Big Kids

The Graco Turbo Go Booster Seat is a simple booster seat. There is a larger seating area to accommodate your child, the large red belt guides, and not much else to note.  It does not feature cup holders, there is no additional padding and no lower anchors to keep the seat down.

However, all of this can be forgiven with the fact that the Graco Turbo Go folds in half! Yes, this nifty little booster seat can fold in half with no levers, switches, triggers, or adjustment. It folds down to a very compact size for you to store away easily!

You have to apply some pressure onto the car seat when it is upside down and it then folds like a book. The belt guides slide down the back of the seat to be stored on the side and pop back into place when the booster seat is unfolded.

Making travel even easier, this booster seat only weighs 3 pounds!

Click here to view it on Amazon. 

Age Requirement For The Graco Go

The Graco Go was made for older children. The minimum weight is 40lbs, but the minimum height is 43’’, which is what you should pay attention to.

This means that kids aged between 5 and 6 are suited to use the booster seat, but you will have to judge it for yourself as to whether your child is ready or not. It is best to push it a bit than having them use the booster seat too early.

Should I Purchase A Backless Booster Seat?

While the backless booster is so convenient for travel, it is not as comfortable as a highback booster seat. It provides no upper support or comfort, which might make a trip more unbearable for your child. You will need to decide what you can and can’t do without!

It is best suited for quick travel, such as for carpooling or taxis, but it does help to have a more comfortable option for longer travel.

To help you decide if it is a booster seat you should consider, here are the pros and cons!

Pros:

  • Fairly lightweight at 3lbs
  • Allows for a good seatbelt fit
  • Available in different colours
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Folds down to a small size

Cons:

  • Minimum height means kids only use it from later on
  • Not a lot of padding
  • Carry handle is not included
  • Does not fold as small as a few other travel options

Graco Turbo Go versus The Graco Turbo TakeAlong Booster

There are actually two Graco Turbo folding booster seats to choose from. The Graco Turbo Go and the Graco Turbo TakeAlong Booster.

The two are very similar, and look almost the same when unfolded and in use. However, the Graco Turbo TakeAlong has dual cup holders and a handle in the middle of the seat which allows for easy carry when the booster seat is folded down.

Both of these booster seats are suited for the same weight and height range. The Turbo TakeAlong does weigh more – coming in at 5lbs – which makes it slightly more difficult to travel with.

The Graco TakeAlong is more suited for daily use at home, and then for travel once in a while. It has extra padding and the cup holders, which make it a comfortable option.

However, if you are looking for a booster seat purely for travel, then the Graco Turbo Go is the better option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cosco car seats safe?

Yes, Cosco car seats are safe. They are more affordable, and they do not have some of the extra features that other car seats do, but they still pass the same tests and offer your child protection when traveling.

Can I wash a Cosco car seat?

The cover of Cosco seats can be removed and machine wash and dried, which is such a blessing!

Can a 5-year-old use a backless booster seat?

Your child needs to meet the minimum weight and height requirements for a booster seat to be able to use it. If your child does, then they should be able to use it. However, it is best to start them on a booster seat at 6 years old.

Finding The Right Seat For Your Child

The above car seats are all affordable, good quality options, and are worth considering if you need to buy a new travel seat for your child.

Consider your family’s lifestyle and needs, and then make a decision on which would be the best car seat or booster seat to use.