Cosco Scenera Next vs Apt 50: What’s the difference?

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Lots of families over in our Facebook group aren’t looking to spend a fortune on a travel car seat. They want a cheap, lightweight seat to take on the go so they won’t be upset if it gets lost or damaged along the way (which can be a very real issue if you check your car seat).

For babies and toddlers, often the decision comes down to the Cosco Scenera Next vs Apt 50. Which Cosco travel car seat is right for you? In this head-to-head comparison I’ll show you the important differences between the Cosco Scenera Next DLX and its cousin the Cosco Apt 50 convertible car seat – plus another Cosco convertible car seat! I’ll also share some Cosco car seat reviews from our community members.

A quick note on where to buy Cosco car seats… Cosco has a semi-exclusive relationship with Walmart, so that’s where you’ll often find the best prices on their car seats. But if you’re married to your Amazon Prime account (I don’t blame you), you can find some of the Cosco carseat options for around the same price or just a little more.


Cosco travel car seat basic stats

First, here’s a quick synopsis of each of the Cosco travel car seats you’re probably considering.

Cosco Scenera Next DLX convertible car seat

Key stats:
-Weight 7lbs
-Shell height 24”
-Max harness height 13.5”
-Rear-facing size limits 5-40lbs, 19-40”
-Forward-facing size limits 22-40lbs, 29-43″

Pros:
✔ Compact
✔ Lightest convertible car seat
✔ Low price

Cons:
✘ Low size limits
✘ Hard to install in some cars
✘ Limited padding for patterned covers
✘ No extra protection in headwings
Requires top tether for forward-facing

You might also see the Cosco Scenera Next (not DLX), which has patterned covers available. Don’t do it! Yes, you can save a few extra dollars and you might be drawn in by the cute patterns. But in the Cosco Scenera Next vs Cosco Scenera Next DLX there’s a clear winner: the DLX. Those solid colored covers offer much more padding than the regular Cosco Scenera Next convertible car seat and will keep your child more comfortable when you travel. There’s just no competition when it comes to Cosco Scenera Next vs DLX.

Cosco Apt 50 convertible car seat

Key stats:
-Weight 8lbs
-Shell height 24”
-Max harness height 16”
-Rear-facing size limits 5-40lbs, 19-40”
-Forward-facing size limits 22-50lbs, 29-43” (the 43” limit may not be realistic depending on how long your child’s torso is)

Pros:
✔ Low price
✔ Compact front-to-back when installed more upright
✔ Higher sizes limits than the Cosco Scenera Next DLX

Cons:
✘ Extremely wide near the head
✘ Hard to install in some cars
✘ Limited padding for patterned covers
✘ No extra protection in headwings
Requires top tether for forward-facing

Just like the patterned Scenera Next covers have virtually no padding, you can get less padded versions of the Apt 50. But this time you have the privilege of paying more for the less padded version thanks to its co-branding with Disney! Don’t be fooled, folks. Stick with the regular solid colors of the Apt 50 if you decide that’s the best Cosco car seat for your family.

As if two weren’t enough, Cosco makes a third lightweight convertible car seat: the Cosco Mighty Fit 65.

Cosco Mighty Fit 65 convertible car seat

Key stats:
-Weight 11lbs
-Shell height 24”
-Max harness height 17”
-Rear-facing size limits 5-40lbs, 19-40”
-Forward-facing size limits 22-65lbs, 29-49”

Pros:
✔ First from newborn to elementary school
✔ Somewhat narrow convertible car seat

Cons:
✘ Tall shell won’t fit well rear-facing in compact cars and economy airplane seats
✘ Doesn’t last as long as the Evenflo Sureride
Requires top tether for forward-facing

True to form, you can get multiple versions of the Mighty Fit 65 as well. But it started off life as the Safety 1st Guide 65 and then became then Eddie Bauer XRS 65 and a few other names, so you’ll see a lot more differences when you compare the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 vs Cosco Scenera Next.


Cosco travel car seat comparison

You probably came to this page to figure out which Cosco travel car seat you should buy. Take a look at this comparison table to understand the differences between the three Cosco convertible car seats:

Cosco Scenera Next DLX
Cosco Apt 50
Cosco Mighty Fit 65
Weight7 lbs8 lbs11 lbs
Rear-facing size limits5-40lbs, 19-40”5-40lbs, 19-40”5-40lbs, 19-40”
Forward-facing size limits22-40lbs, 29-43″22-50lbs, 29-43”22-65lbs, 29-49”
Shell height24”24”24”
Max harness height13.5”16”17”
Max width17.5″22″18.5″
Check prices

Ok, so the number definitely help to paint a picture. But here are some additional comments that you should definitely read before you buy one:

Cosco Scenera Next DLX: It’s the cheapest of the bunch but will also last the least amount of time. It’s often outgrown at the same time forward-facing and rear-facing thanks to the low top harness slots – the Cosco Scenera Next height limit of 43″ just isn’t realistic for forward facers. The 40 pound Cosco Scenera Next weight limit won’t be an issue for most kids. The most relevant limit for most kids will be either the 40″ rear facing height limit or the head exceeding the top of the shell.

But while it fits your child, it’s extremely light and extremely narrow – even in a European car you might be able to get three-across. If any car seat will fit in a budget airplane seat, it’s going to be the Scenera (or this one, which I like even better) since the Cosco Scenera Next width is just 17″. And there’s just no way to beat the Cosco Scenera Next weight – only 7 pounds! Find the best prices here.

Cosco Apt 50: The biggest downside of the Cosco Apt 50 car seat the width. It’s SOOOOO wide – 5″ wider than the Scenera! It definitely isn’t going to fit on a budget airline line Spirit if you end up in a spot with fixed arm rests and it won’t work for 3-across in a small rental car. The upside compared to the Scenera Next is that you can probably get another year of forward-facing out of it. Personally, this would be my last choice of these three Cosco travel car seats. Find the best prices here.

Cosco Mighty Fit 65: If you’re comparing the Cosco Scenera Next vs Cosco Mighty Fit, you’ll really have to consider who’s going to be riding in the car seat. The Scenera Next fits a newborn or infant much better than the Mighty Fit 65, but the Mighty Fit 65 will last several years longer – often into early elementary school. I don’t recommend it for a baby under 22lbs, as you’d have to have the seat extremely reclined and it won’t fit well on planes or in small cars.

The other downside of the Mighty Fit is that it weighs 50% more, but it’s still light enough to be considered “travel worthy”. For the Mighty Fit 65, you’ll need to install the seat using the seatbelt (and top tether) once your child hits 40 pounds. The Cosco Apt 50 convertible car seat can be installed with LATCH all the way through its top weight limit (it’s a moot point for the Cosco Scenera convertible car seat, which is outgrown at 40 pounds anyway). Find the best prices here.

None of these Cosco car seats will give the same kind of fool-proof installation as the really fancy seats. We found that Cosco car seat installation required a little more sweat, especially in rental cars with leather seats. But the trade-offs might be worth it to you since they’re all so light and so affordable!

It’s also worth noting that all Cosco car seats in 2020 require you to use the top tether when you install forward-facing. That’s great for safety since it decreases head movement in a crash. If you’re traveling in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia or New Zealand you should always plan on using the top tether anyway. However, if you’re traveling outside of those areas you are unlikely to find a top tether in your rental car or taxi. If you’re in that position, you would have to make a judgement call on whether or not to install the car seat forward-facing without the top tether. If your child is still under 40 pounds, the best option in that situation is to move the harness straps down below the shoulders and install rear-facing.

Lightweight Cosco car seat FAQs

Is a Cosco car seat safe?

Yes. While Cosco car seats don’t have some of the fancy “extras” like side impact pods and anti-rebound bars, they still pass the same standardized Federal testing as car seats costing ten times as much.

Are Cosco car seats FAA approved?

You bet! And the Cosco Scenera car seat and Cosco Mighty Fit 65 will even fit in some of the smallest airplane seats. While the Cosco Apt 50 is FAA approved, it may be too wide for some planes (especially if the arm rests don’t move).

How long is a Cosco car seat good for?

Cosco car seat expiration dates vary by model. Cosco Scenera Next expiration is 8 years, Cosco Apt 50 expiration is 8 years and the Cosco Mighty Fit 65 expiration is a whopping 10 years.

Who makes Cosco carseats?

Cosco is a division of Dorel Juvenile, which also owns Safety 1st (and numerous other brands). That’s why you’ll see many Cosco and Safety 1st car seats that seem to differ only in name.

How do I wash my Cosco Scenera next?

The Cosco Next car seat cover can be machine washed and dried. Hallelujah!

How much does the Cosco Scenera weight?

The Cosco Scenera Next weighs just 7 pounds.

If these aren’t right for you, check out other lightweight convertible car seats or jump to the best travel car seats by age.

I hope this guide has helped you figure out which Cosco car seat is right for you! Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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