Evenflo Evolve Review

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The Evolve was also previously known as the Evenflo Transitions.

The Evenflo Evolve is the newest seat in the world of combination seats.  It is a seat that offers a five point harness, a high back booster, and a backless booster.  With several comfort and ease of use features, the Evolve is a wonderful option for keeping kids harnessed longer. A sister seat, the SafeMax 3-in-1, has nearly identical safety features with different soft goods options, increased side impact protection features, and SensorSafe technology. Let’s take a closer look at the seat.

CSFTL Quick Stats


Evenflo Evolve

  • Forward facing weight range: 22-65 pounds
  • Forward facing height range: 28-50″
  • High back booster weight range: 40-120 pounds
  • High back booster height range: 44-57″
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-120 pounds
  • Backless booster height range: 44-57″
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Highest belt guide position: 20.5″
  • Lower Anchor weight limit: 45 pounds
  • Expiration: 8 years
  • 2015 IIHS Best Bet


  • Two position crotch strap
  • 2 Recline Positions
  • Use of Lower Anchors allowed in booster mode


Straight out of the box, the Evolve comes fully assembled, with protective plastic over the cupholders.  The manual, registration card, and shoulder belt guide for use in no back booster mode, is right on the front of the seat.  Always remember to send in your registration card that comes with the seat.  This registration card allows the manufacturer to contact you, should a recall occur.

Installation and Use

Harness Mode


Lower Anchors


Tether anchor and storage


Recline foot and lever

The seat belt installation for the Evolve is easy and straight forward.  The belt path for using the seat in harness mode is wide and easily accessible.  Having a wide belt path is beneficial, as it makes it easier to thread the seat belt and tighten it.

The top tether comes attached to the tether storage hook on the back of the seat.  It is important to always use the top tether.  The top tether on the Evolve is easy to clip onto the tether anchor, and easy to tighten and adjust.  The lower anchors on the seat feature what Evenflo calls “quick connectors.”  These are different from standard lower anchor connectors and easier to use.  Standard lower anchor connectors are clip style, which require you to hook around the lower anchor of the vehicle.  The quick connectors are the push on style.  There are arrows on the connectors that need to point.  These quick connectors also feature a red tab to pull on to release.  The weight limit for the lower anchors on the seat is 45 pounds.  Once your child weighs 45 pounds, the Evolve must be installed with the seatbelt in harnessed mode. The seat features handy storage spots for both the tether anchor and the lower anchors. If you are using the seat for a child who weighs less than 40 pounds, you MUST use the recline stand on the bottom of the seat.

Fit to Child

Harness Mode


Evenflo Evolve: 2.5 years old, 28 pounds, 34.5″

This model is 2.5 years old, weighs 28 pounds and is 34.5 inches tall. With this model, with the headrest in the correct position, it tended to push her head forward a little bit. She is using the third harness slot position. She is required to use the harness covers since she weighs less than 40 pounds. The material on the harness covers is rougher than the cover material, so they could irritate some children’s skin.


Evenflo Evolve: 4.5 Years Old, 41 pounds, 41 inches tall

Here we see the fit on a 4.5 years old, 41 pound, 41 inch tall model.  He is using the second to the top harness slot, so he has plenty of room to grow! He fell asleep several times in this seat and looked very comfortable.


Evenflo Evolve — 5 Years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

This model is 5 years old, weighs 46 pounds and is 45 inches tall.  She found the seat to be comfortable and “squishy.” She also found the strap covers that come with the seat, which are required to be used for a child under 40 pounds, to be itchy.  The harness straps are pretty narrow set, so I was concerned about them cutting into her neck without the covers.  This was not a concern or an issue for her.  With 18 inch top slots, she fit well on the last set of harness slots, with about 1.5 inches of growing room. The head wings on the seat provided a comfy place to rest her head when sleepy.


Evenflo Evolve: 6 Years Old, 51 pounds, 47 inches

This 6 year old model weighs 51 pounds, and is 47 inches tall.  She was right at the top of the harness slots so would need to transition to the high back booster mode soon. She fit well in the booster mode as well, but was sad she was almost too big for the harness.

Evenflo Evolve buckle tongue holder

Evenflo Evolve buckle tongue holder

Getting them in and out of the seat is easy too, with the help of the buckle tongue holders on the side of the seat.  The  seat also comes with an optional body pillow.  Please note that this pillow is optional before 40 pounds, but it must be removed after 40 pounds.

Harness to High Back Booster Conversion

Converting the Evolve from harness to high back booster is easy. It has a unique set up that allows you to keep the harness WITH the seat, so that you don’t have to worry about losing any important parts of the seat.


Front of harness routing


Harness routing in the back

Evenflo Evolve Jclip

Evenflo Evolve J-clip

The first step is to unhook the harness straps from the splitter plate and thread them through the front of the seat.  Then, unhook the “J clips” that hold the cover on to the shell of the seat.  Once the cover is off, rethread the harness and reattach to the splitter plate.  Then, thread the retainer clip through the belt path and clip it together. Reattach the cover, and you are good to go!

Evenflo Evolve high back booster mode

Evenflo Evolve high back booster mode

For the crotch buckle, take it out of the slot, and reattach it upside down.  When the seat is being used as a high back booster, you can use the lower anchors to attach the seat to the vehicle.

Fit to Child

High Back Booster

Evenflo Evolve: High back booster mode, 5 years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

Evenflo Evolve: High back booster mode, 5 years old, 46 pounds, 45 inches tall

Here we see one of our models from the harness section above demonstrating the fit to child in high-back booster mode. She is 5 years old, weighs 46 pounds, and is 45 inches tall.   The seat provided an optimal belt fit for her.  It positioned the belt low on the hips, and flat across the shoulders. Still enjoying the comfiness of the seat, she said she preferred the harness.  Learn more about how a booster should fit.

Evenflo Evolve highback booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Evenflo Evolve highback booster mode: 6 years old, 51 pounds, 47 inches tall

This model is 6 years old, weighs 51 pounds, and is 47 inches tall.  The vehicle seat belt’s configuration in this vehicle made it difficult for the seat belt to sit flush against the model but she did end up getting a decent fit with the headrest in the second to highest position.

Evenflo Evolve highback booster mode: 6 years old, 51 pounds, 47 inches tall

Evenflo Evolve high back booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 51 inches tall

This model is 8 years old, weighs 56 pounds, and is 51 inches tall.  She said that while the seat was comfortable, it was “squished” in the shoulders.  The seat belt fit for her was optimal as well.

Evenflo Evolve Shoulder Belt Guide

Evenflo Evolve Shoulder Belt Guide

The belt positioner on this seat is wonderful.  It is wide open, so that getting the belt to retract is easy.  It also has loops enclosing the belt within the guide, so that it doesn’t come out.

Backless Booster Conversion

Evenflo Evolve: Backless booster conversion

Evenflo Evolve: Backless booster conversion

Converting this seat from high back mode to backless mode is by far the easiest conversion I’ve had the pleasure of working with.  There is a red lever on the bottom of the seat.  Pull on that, then lift UP on the recline handle, and the bottom portion of the seat comes off.  Once taken off, you are ready to use the seat in backless mode. To reattach the bottom, simply line it back up, and snap it back on.  The lower anchors stay with the top portion of the seat, so when using in a backless booster, you must remember to buckle the seat in when not in use.  Buckling the seat when not in use, or using the lower anchors in high back mode, prevents the seat from becoming a dangerous projectile.

Fit to Child

Backless Booster

Evenflo Evolve in backless booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Evenflo Evolve in backless booster mode: 8 years old, 56 pounds, 50 inches tall

Our versatile model from above is our model for our the backless portion.  She is 8 years old, weighs 56 pounds, and is 50 inches tall.  Once again, the Evolve provided an excellent belt fit in the backless mode.

Make sure that the shoulder belt is tucked underneath the lap belt guides by the buckle.  It tends to want to slip up and out of the guides.

Evenflo Evolve backless booster mode: 8.5 years old, 80 pounds and 51 inches tall

Evenflo Evolve backless booster mode: 8.5 years old, 80 pounds, 51 inches tall

Our second model for the backless mode is mode is 8.5 years old, 80 pounds and 51 inches tall. The seat once again provided a fantastic belt fit.

Important Information: Where to Find

FAA Approval The Evolve is approved by the FAA for travel in harnessed mode only.  Because airplanes only have lap belts, booster seats cannot be used on the plane.  The FAA approval sticker for harnessed mode is on the bottom left of the seat.
The Evolve originally released with a 6 year expiration date, which was found on a sticker on the back of the seat, and also on the bottom behind the recline lever.  However, since its release, Evenflo has confirmed that there is an 8 year expiry date on the seat.  For questions regarding the expiration date and when your seat expires, you can call Evenflo.
Evenflo Evolve cleaning instructions
Cleaning The J clips that attache the cover to the seat make it easy to take the cover off when the kiddo has an inevitable spill.  Here is a screen shot of the manual on cleaning the seat.  The manual is the best resource for any questions about the seat in general, as well as specific questions about cleaning.


  • Easy to use
  • Padded seat
  • Buckle tongue holders
  • Narrow at 19″ in width
  • Can use LATCH in booster mode
  • “Quick connectors” push on lower anchors


  • Harness must be rethreaded as the child grows
  • Narrow set harness straps can be uncomfortable for some children

Overall Thoughts

The Evolve is an easy to use, comfortable car seat that performs well in all functions: harnessed mode, high back booster mode, and backless mode.  The harness height yields a long-lasting seat in harness mode.  With the optimal padding on the bottom, it would suit even the pickiest child in terms of comfort.  The J clips make removing the cover a breeze.  The buckle tongue holders keep hot metal away from the child’s skin and make the summer months a bit easier. At 19 inches wide, it’s also fairly narrow, which could be beneficial to those families that need to fit 3 across in a vehicle.

Huge Milestone, Great Giveaway!

To celebrate 250,000 members in our Facebook group, our friends at Evenflo are giving TWO Evolves — one for our readers in Canada and one for our readers in the United States. Please read our terms and conditions before entering. Enter below for your chance to win!

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