Phil & Teds Alpha Review

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Phil & Ted’s isn’t a new name in the baby gear scene.  They have been a well known name in the stroller world for several years now and have just released a rear facing only seat that is compatible with a wide array of their strollers.  They have given us the opportunity to try it out and share our thoughts with our readers.


  • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
  • Height range: up to 32″ or head 1” from the top of the seat shell
  • Shell height 19.5″
  • Lowest harness position: 5.5″
  • Weight (carrier only): 8.3 lbs
  • Expiration: 6 years
  • Handle must be fully up when traveling


  • Integrated seat belt lock off on base
  • 2 position adjustable crotch strap: 4.5″ and 6.5″
  • Adjustable recline foot
  • Euro belt routing
  • Clip on lower anchor connectors
  • 2 position hip harness positions
  • Infant insert for infants and Preemie pillow insert for infants under 6 lbs


  • Expiration: 6 years
  • Handle must be fully up when traveling

With base

Phil & Ted's base installThe Alpha installs easily with either lower anchors or seat belt.  When installing with the base the seat belt or lower anchor connector strap is threaded under the blue lock off, tightened, then the lock off is closed.  The lock off is easy to use and allows for a very tight seat belt installation.

Phil & Ted's Alpha level ball



The base also has a ball level to show if the base is correctly reclined for the weight of the child.  There are 3 sections to the level; blue is 4-20 lbs, grey is 20-35 lbs, and red is not allowed.




Phil & Ted's Alpha recline foot


The base has an adjustable recline foot that can be either up or down to adjust help achieve the correct recline level for the child.  If the correct recline cannot be achieved with the foot, you may place a tightly rolled towel at the seat bight while leaving the recline foot up in the base.



A unique feature of the base is that the release is located on the base rather than the infant seat.  This allows the seat to be lighter to carry when out of the vehicle.  This also means that 2 hands are required to release the seat.



Without base

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBaseless installation is also simple.  The carrier is equipped with a clip on the back of the seat that allows for Euro belt routing.  Most rear facing only car seats are now allowing for this convenient feature that helps in getting a stable installation without the base.



Euro belt routing consists of installing the carrier on the vehicle seat with the lap belt threaded through the seat belt guides on the carrier and the shoulder belt routed behind the back of the carrier.

There is one issue with Euro routing and the Alpha though.  According to the manual it is only allowed to be installed with Euro belt routing baseless, so it is incompatible with lap only belts or shoulder/lap belts that are too short to route around the back.  The stickers on both the seat and the base show a graphic of a lap belt installation.  After contacting Phil & Ted’s they stated that installing it using the standard installation (not Euro routing) is okay.  Follow the instructions on the side of the seat to install this way.

Fit to Child

  • Weight range: 4-35 lbs
  • Height range: up to 32″ or head 1” from the top of the seat shell

The Alpha is very versatile in that it will fit a wide age/size range.  It includes a newborn liner as well as a preemie pillow which is used in conjunction with the newborn liner.  The preemie pillow is required for newborns who weigh less than 6 lbs.  The newborn liner can be used at the bottom two harness slots, then must be removed.

The harness, like many other rear facing only seats has incorporated 2 loops for different sized children.  The longer loop for larger children and the smaller for smaller children.  One of the unique features of the Alpha is the velcro on the end of the harness straps to store the excess strap length for smaller children.  This is both a pro and con to the seat.  The pro is that you don’t have excess straps hanging from the back of the seat, possibly snagging on items.  The con is that as a child grows and moves to the larger harness loop, the velcro can get caught on the harness slots.
Phil & Ted's Alpha hip slots


Another unique feature is the dual hip harness slots.  The inner slot is to be used for children under 12 lbs.  The outer is for children over 12 lbs.  This really helps keep small infants in position.  The Alpha has a continuous harness, so in order to change the hip strap position, the whole harness needs to be removed from one side, which can cause some issues with rethreading correctly.  The outer straps also need to be threaded through the seat bottom twice.  All this rethreading increases the instances of misuse, so make sure to follow the instructions in the manual.



Jo – Preemie Huggable Images doll – 4 lbs, 17″

Jo used both the preemie pillow with the newborn liner due to her weight.  She was also required to use the inner hip harness slots.  Her shoulders were right at the lowest harness position.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy only complaint with her fit was the liner wrapped around her hips.  It’s shaped as such that there aren’t any indentations or slits in the liner where the inner hip slots are.  This caused a lot of slack in the harness straps around her hips.







Fiona – Newborn Huggable Images doll – 7 lbs, 17″

The infant liner was left in for Fiona, but the preemie pillow was removed due to her being over the 6 lb limit.  Her shoulders were right at the 2nd set of harness slots.  Due to her wider hips/thighs, the newborn liner didn’t wrap around the hip harness like it did on Jo.



Anders – 7 months – 19lbs, 26″

Anders is at the upper limits of the Alpha for his height. He is right at the 2nd to top set of harness slots with about 2″ from the top of his head to the top of the shell.  He fits well in the seat, with no complaints.  The seat is on the narrower side, so he doesn’t have much wiggle room.


Overall Impressions

Although it doesn’t carry some of the extra ease of use features many rear facing only seats in this price range do, it’s a nice basic car seat that works well with a wide variety of children.


  • I love how lightweight it is.  Makes carrying my larger baby much easier.
  • The harness is easy to adjust without much effort, except when the velcro hinders it.
  • The infant liner and preemie pillow do an amazing job of keeping small infants in place.
  • The Euro belt routing makes for an easy baseless installation.
  • Ability to change the recline depending on the child’s weight.
  • Seat belt lock off for an easy seat belt base installation.


  • The carry handle is required to be up when traveling.
  • The Velcro on the harness straps can get caught up on the harness slots
  • Euro belt routing is the only allowed baseless install method, according to the manual.
  • Only 2 recline positions.
  • The fit and finish seems to be a bit thrown together.  A few examples of this includes the ball level sticker is stuck over another sticker, the carry handle gets caught up on the canopy, and the discrepancy between the stickers and manual for the baseless install methods.

Interested in one for yourself?  Phil & Ted’s is graciously giving away one Alpha rear facing only car seat to one of our lucky readers.  To enter, please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.
***Giveaway is now CLOSED.  Congrats to our winner Robyn M!***

Can’t wait and need one now?  You can find it on

Phil & Ted’s graciously provided the Alpha rear facing only car seat used in this review.  As always, the opinions are our own. Originally written by Angela Tastad. Edits maintained by CSFTL.

a Rafflecopter giveaway